From Dubai-Part 1: Summit on the Global Agenda


After a six-and-a-half hour flight from London, I arrived at Dubai Airport on the morning of Nov. 8 without enough sleep. I checked into my hotel Jumeirah Al Qasr and went to the conference venue early. I was in Dubai for the first “Summit on the Global Agenda” convened by the World Economic Forum. It’s a huge brainstorming meeting on the global agenda. If you check out the conference website you can see that 8 large themes are broken down into 68 global challenges. A working council for each issue held a series of discussions, each lasting for about three hours. I am a member of the councils for “Innovation” and for “Global Health.” I mainly focused on attending sessions at the “Innovation” council. I reunited with many friends. Mr. John Gage who was also at the STS Forum in Kyoto in October and Davos conference in January was on the same council. I also ran into Mr. Tim Brown of the IEDO, whom I recently introduced in this blog, for the fifth time this year. He was participating in discussions at the council for “Design.” The sessions can be quite draining as they require debating skills and concentration. If you read the columns on the blog of Dr. Yoko Ishikura who was also at the conference you can probably see what I mean by “draining.”

In the evening, a 40-minute bus ride took us to a reception in the desert. Here are some images from it.

Dsc00288Photo1: The University of Tokyo President Hiroshi Komiyama(on a day trip to Dubai), Prof. Akihiko Tanaka, Prof. Motoshige Ito, Prof. Hiroko Akiyama

Dsc00290Photo2: With JICA President Sadako Ogata and Ambassador of Japan to the US Ichiro Fujisaki and Mrs. Fujisaki.

Dsc00295Photo3: Horse riding demonstration

Having been engaging in intense debates at conferences one after another, in Tokyo, London and then Dubai, I felt a bit tired.

But then I learned that JICA President Sadako Ogata had left Dubai on Nov. 6 to attend the opening event of a new terminal at Afghanistan’s Kabul International Airport on behalf of the Japanese prime minister, and then made a quick return to Dubai for this conference. I’ve got to tip my hat to her. She even attended the evening reception in the desert with us.

Wherever Ms. Ogata goes people always gather around her. You can tell that they sincerely admire and respect her.