What global challenges is the world facing in health, politics, technology and business? This was the key question pondered and discussed at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting of the New Champions held recently in Tianjin, China. Extraordinary researchers from across the globe were invited to participate alongside business and political leaders to help spur innovation and share scientific solutions to current global challenges.
Yan Yuan, assistant professor with the School of Public Health, was one of 34 young scientists from 18 countries around the world invited to the conference. Through sessions on economic growth, sustainability, policy and political changes on a global scale, Yuan provided input on how to address these global challenges. She found the experience beneficial due to the broad ideas and experiences of those she was exposed to.
“There were a number of communities brought together under the themes such as Young Global leader, Technology Pioneers, Young Scientists and Global Growth Companies,” explains Yuan.
“Sitting in sessions with professionals from all different backgrounds helped give me vision and broadened my experience.”
With sustainability on the minds of every community converged at the Forum, the break-out sessions (called Idea Labs) covered topics such as urban planning and design, stomach cancer screening test trials in Singapore, empowering women in Africa, bringing the Internet to remote corners of Mongolia and developing software to better handle traffic issues.
All of the sessions had the betterment of the public in mind and the purpose of bringing together experts in the Idea Labs was to help move the ideas forward.
As perhaps the only scientist with a public health perspective attending the Forum, Yuan found plenty of discussions related to her interest areas, and that also spoke to the collective interests of faculty in the School of Public Health.
“Sustainability of the health-care system was top-of-mind in many of the sessions I attended,” says Yuan. “Hearing all of the entrepreneurial approaches others have taken regarding public health issues is in line with what we are thinking and doing already.”
“At the School of Public Health, we are focused on so many different aspects of an issue, such as the social, medical, policy, environmental and health system aspects. When you put them all together, it’s really quite brilliant.”
For Yuan, the most interesting aspect of the Forum is that world leaders are taking a multidisciplinary approach to the sustainability, growth and health of the global economy. By attending conferences such as the World Economic Forum, Yuan sees the School making connections with others from diverse backgrounds to continue tackling issues to promote and protect health globally.
“Being able to sit in break-out sessions with experts from Egypt, Korea, the United States, Europe and other countries opens up possibilities for future research collaborations,” relates Yuan.
Learning how each expert and country approaches global issues will also help Yuan and the School prepare for the future. “We need to incorporate more technology into our approaches to preventative health,” says Yuan.
“Simple innovations and procedures that can reach wider audiences will benefit many more people.”
The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.