Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson has joined other global leaders at the 45th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) held this week in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s meeting is titled “The New Global Context,” and has convened a record number of participants. In addition to 1,500 top business leaders from over 140 countries, more than 300 heads of state, heads of government, and government members were also expected to participate.


In 2012 President Jackson was a panelist in two forums, “The 7 Billion Challenge” and “The Future of Innovation.” Photo courtesy of World Economic Forum

“Today we face great global challenges of such magnitude and complexity that no single person, working alone, can address them; neither can a single discipline, or even nation,” said President Shirley Ann Jackson. “The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting offers us important opportunities to launch the collaborations and partnerships that allow us to change the world for the better.”

During the Forum, President Jackson, a member of the WEF-USA Board and the WEF Science Advisory Committee, was scheduled to moderated a discussion during which participants will consider examples of “extreme science” that, in less than a century, are likely to become commonplace, because they help humanity address extreme threats. She also will participate in a discussion with the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF) on how universities are adapting to the rapid transformation of higher education. Among other topics, the group seeks to identify the most important issues facing university presidents and discuss the operating model of the university of the future.

“Complex challenges and new opportunities, many of them data-driven, require universities to re-envision themselves as crossroads that bring together brilliant people across sectors and global regions,” said President Jackson. “At Rensselaer, we call this new paradigm for leadership ‘The New Polytechnic,’ as we use advanced technologies to unite a multiplicity of disciplines and perspectives.”

Discussion at this year’s meeting has been designed around four main themes: Crisis & Cooperation; Growth & Stability; Innovation & Industry; and, Society & Security. Key challenges arise across and within these thematic tracks, and the Forum “has committed to providing a neutral space for discussion of the major challenges dominating the global agenda today.”

More information about the World Economic Forum 2015 Annual Meeting