This weekend in New York was my orientation to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leader program, and my mind is swimming with everything that I learned and the amazing people I met. Some of the highlights from the people I met:
1. Former Speaker of the House in Colombia who’s now a fellow at NYU’s urban management program
2. Documentary filmmaker whose work covering women in the Middle East will be featured this month on PBS
3. Founder of a company that converts unrecycled/unrecyclable plastics into petrochemicals
4. Blockchain pioneer running the largest blockchain company in the world
5. Filmmaker who started a theater group in a Sao Paulo prison to give hope and opportunity
6. Biologist who runs a global portfolio including research on consciousness and creating AI to improve moral decision-making
The orientation was one of three worldwide: one each in New York, Switzerland, and China. This was an opportunity to meet some of my fellow classmates and learn about how to engage in the community. WEF staff shared about available resources. There are different members of the YGL community finding new ways to leverage “impact investing,” using technology to enable food security, public-private partnerships for energy innovation, and just about kind of social innovation you can imagine (and then more). There is an online platform for members to share their projects and seek collaboration. And then there are several events ranging from topical summits, executive education at Oxford, Harvard, and Princeton, and excursions where we see first-hand the work being done on a variety of issues around the world.
Already I’m seeing opportunities to work with other members. One classmate started a company that seamlessly connects specialists and primary care physicians with real-time information, lowering costs and enabling rural communities access to quality healthcare. Another opportunity could be with the ideas coming out of the NYU urban management program. Regardless of what direction my involvement goes, I’m truly inspired by what my fellow YGLers are working on and am thrilled to take part. All of this in just a 3-hour orientation.