February 6, 2013

World Leaders Meet to Encourage Global Collaborations

Elizabeth Bradley, Ph.D.
Faculty Director, GHLI/GHI
Master, Branford College

I was warned about the long train ride from Zurich and the icy walks in Davos, but nothing truly prepared me for the World Economic Forum. As a professor accustomed to more limited signs of power, I had never seen so many prime ministers, CEOs of mega-corporations, and global influencers in one place as last week nestled in the Alps.

The week was full of optimism. Nothing seemed too daunting, and the group tackled massive global problems with confidence. Dialogue about even grim challenges – the war on drugs, global climate change, and obesity – reflected a firm determination, guided by the silent and sure mantra, “We can do it!”

The Congress Center in Davos was pulsating with new ideas. Art and leadership are the same thing. We need a GPS for the soul. An eleven-year old in Pakistan knocking off straight A’s in advanced MIT physics courses online. You have to see this to believe it.

The Yale Global Health Leadership Institute (GHLI) presented its work on improving the supply chain in Tanzania for essential medicines, an endeavor of a public-private partnership between The Global Fund for AIDS, TB, and Malaria, The Coca Cola Company, The Gates Foundation, Accenture Development Partners, and Yale. As I watched academics, public health, big business, and high finance all in one space working on a common problem, I thought I was in a rarified environment of great hope and commitment.

The most exceptional session discussed the development of Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) to replace the Millennium Development Goals. The General Secretary of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon, moderated the session with the great and beautiful – the likes of David Cameron, Bill Gates, Queen Rainia Al Abdullah. They asked for input on the SDGs, so I crowd sourced Branford College at Yale.

Here is the view from the 18-20 years old Yalies, who will someday populate the World Economic Forum themselves: 1) increase global internet access, 2) liberalize food trade policies, 3) redesign global power structures to be anti-fragile, 4) decrease global violence, 5) decrease rates of human and sex trafficking, 6) increase global response to natural disasters and climate change, 7) increase primary care, 8) improve early childhood care and education, 9) create sustainable living and urban environments, and 10) decrease corruption through increasing transparency. Selection of the SDGs will be hammered out by 2015. In the meantime with vision like this from the next generation, we should be optimistic.

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