January 26th was the busiest day in Davos. In the morning, we had a panel discussion, "Who Funds Research and Innovation?" and I was a facilitator. The eight panelists were as follows:
? Seth Berkeley, President and CEO, International AIDS Vaccine Initiative, USA
? Alexander Bradshaw, Scientific Director, Max-Planck-Institute for Plamsa Physics, Germany
? James Fruchterman, President and CEO, The Benetech Initiative, USA: Social Entrepreneur
? Thomas Insel, Director, National Institute of Mental Health, USA
? Linda Lomier, Vice-President, Yale University, USA
? Neelie Kroes, Commissioner, Competition, European Commission, Brussels
? Xu Zhihong, President, Peking University, People’s Republic of China
They are all preeminent people and we had a great discussion. I think we all have different opinions, although sharing a mutual understanding and a common goal is very important in the process of having an open discussion.
At the same time of my panel discussion, Dr. Yoko Ishikura and Mr. Thomas Stewart, the Editor Managing Director of Harvard Business Review co-chaired a panel discussion: "How Cities Drive Innovation." Of course I couldn’t attend it.
In the afternoon, a very interesting panel discussion "How Much Should World Spend on Healthcare?" was held and the facilitator was my friend, James Kondo. Dr. Michael Porter, who has risen in the field medical policy as of late, was one of the panelists. He attended the panel discussion of the same theme with me last year.
I was not able to attend Dr Kondo’s discussion, because I was invited to another closed-door, unofficial discussion, "The Meeting of the Chemical Industry’s Presidents." Mr. Sadayuki Sakakibara, the president of Toray Industries Inc. and Mr. Hiromasa Yonekura, the president of Sumitomo Chemical (Picture 1) were also invited. Dr. Daniel Esty (Yale University) was present as well (Picture 2).
Picture 1 Mr. Yonekura, the president of Sumitomo Chemical (second from the right).
Picture 2 Dr. Esty, myself, and Dr. Siwei, Chinese big-name. You can see the book, Green to Gold.
I got along with Dr. Etsy very well and he gave me his recent book, Green to Gold. This book will be very helpful in explaining how companies should function in the future. Dr. Etsy wrote with clarity on companies and their environmental responsibility. I want many Japanese corporate workers to read this book. I believe the book helps to predict upcoming world business trends. Actually, in this year’s Davos Forum, the panel discussions which attracted the largest number of people were those on environment and climate change. Over ten such discussions were held. In the area of energy policy, Dr. Steven Chu projected his strong presence.
From 4:15 in the afternoon, I went to attend a panel discussion, "Scaling Innovation in Foreign Aid." Panelists were Mr. Bill Gates, Dr. Paul Wolfowitz (a neoconservative in the first Bush administration and currently the President of the World Bank), Dr. William Easterly, a professor of Economics at New York University, and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia (Picture 3). The facilitator was Fareed Zakaria, editor of Newsweek International (he’s always willing to ask the tough questions and is unafraid of authority. I thought he is a model journalist). I saw Dr. Tachi Yamada, who became the Executive Director of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Global Health program and my friend from UCLA. Dr. Yamada introduced me to Mrs. Melinda Gates. While I was listening to this panel discussion, I thought Mr. Bill Gates was very insightful.
Picture 3 From the left, Mr. Bill Gates, Prof. Easterly, and Dr. Wolfowitz, the President of the World Bank.
Afterwards, Prime Minister Tony Blair, Bono from U2, and Mr. Gates were the panelists of the discussion, "Delivering on the Promise of Africa." Ms. Sadako Ogata is always a panelist in this kind of theme panel discussions. Whenever I see Ms. Ogata, I feel proud of that she is Japanese.
In the evening, I was invited to a discussion of space project in the future. I was with my sworn friend Lord Martin Rees, President of the Royal Society and Master of Trinity College. I had a great time there. Dr. Yoko Ishikura was present and sat next to Load Rees. I went back to the hotel with Dr. Ishikura and Ms. Tsubouchi (Picture 4).
Tomorrow morning I will leave Davos for Japan. This year Ms. Sadako Ogata and Mr. Heizo Takenaka attended many panel discussions and showed great charisma. I feel that as the world’s second strongest economy, Japan needs more people who have such an outstanding presence. I would like to thank everyone who was involved in this Forum.
Picture 4 From the right Dr. Ishikura, myself and Ms. Tsubouchi.