World Economic Forum

Justine Cassell's interview

World Economic Forum

Davos, Switzerland

Four Carnegie Mellon University faculty members were invited to present at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF), a prestigious international organization committed to improving the state of the world.

This was not the first time CMU had been asked to join the world's most engaging business, political and academic leaders in shaping global, regional and industrial agendas.

Known colloquially as "Davos," a nod to the small Swiss village that has played host to the WEF since 1971, the 42nd Annual Meeting convened Jan. 25–29 in Davos, Switzerland.

"We are in the era of profound change that urgently requires new ways of thinking instead of more business as usual," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.

The theme of this year's meeting was shaping new models. Schwab explained, "We need to break out of the mode of purely reactive crisis management, and instead, determine what new models are needed to fulfill the mission committed to improving the state of the world."

Four critical sub-themes that were addressed throughout the Annual Meeting were growth and employment, leadership and innovation, sustainability and resources, and social and technological models, according to Lee Howell, managing director and head of Centre for Global Events.

CMU presenters included:

They discussed how human-machine collaboration can solve some of the world's greatest challenges in areas such as cybersecurity, new models of learning, and how robots and machines may change and improve the way we work.

In CMU's session — one of a select group called an 'IdeasLab' — each faculty member had five minutes to convey an idea through the highly visual "pecha kucha" style of presentation, followed by a Q&A discussion with the audience of CEOs and leaders from around the world.

They each had 15 images that automatically rotated every 20 seconds. The images were representational — no charts, graphs or text — and served as background to what each faculty member discussed.

CMU President Jared L. Cohon introduced the discussion, which was facilitated by Tan Chorh-Chuan, president of the National University of Singapore.

President Cohon represented CMU as a member of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), a community of leading university presidents from 25 top global universities, only 11 of which are in the United States. The community fosters collaboration between top universities in areas of significance for global policy and helps shape the WEF agenda.

"My wish is that the annual meeting is much more than an economic forum. It should be a forum for the future of global humanity," said Schwab.

CMU also presented an IdeasLab session at the WEF "Annual Meeting of New Champions 2011," in Dalian, China, to discuss "Disruptive Health Technologies."

Related Links: About the World Economic Forum | Summary of CMU's IdeasLab session

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