A new session of "IdeasLab with・・・" started this year, so I adjusted my schedule to create time to join in this session with Yale University.
Four professors presented summary of issues, each for five minutes (Power Point could be used, so "visual" effect was important), after which followed group discussions on each theme so as to produce a number of conclusions. Very nice style. Davos meeting is creative in many ways. At the Yale session, presenters were two professors on economics, my friend Dr. Daniel Esty（a member of Obama’s transition team, specialist of environment）, and especially Dr. Robert Shiller’s presentation about the history of collapse of housing bubbles was extremely interesting. The last presenter was President Richard Levin who started with recent scientific topics in Yale. Everybody was good, but Dr. Levin was especially impressive in・・・so to say "performance." Indeed he is a cream of the crop.
Photo2: From right, Professor EZ Ponce de Leon of Yale University raising an issue, Professor Richard Pascale of Oxford University acting as Facilitator, Professor Robert Shiller and Daniel Esty of Yale.
Among the discussions that followed, I mainly participated in the group of Dr. Levin, which was very interesting. Admitting the strength of American/European Universities and research careers that develop individual talents by systematically supporting constant competition away from home ground, the argument followed that this is exactly the point where Asia, especially Japan, is weak. All participants quickly agreed on this point, and I also repeatedly point this problem out on many occasions. Especially, at this timing when progress and global competitions are inevitable, one of our conclusions was to recognize the mission of higher education for developing talents and potentials of the younger generation.
In the evening of 30th, I accepted invitation to seated dinner hosted by UBS where David Cameron, Leader of Conservative Party, gave speech. British politicians are extremely good at speeches.
After dinner I left the place to participate in a meeting of Cambridge University starting from 10:30pm. It was a small gathering, but opening address by Vice-Chancellor Allison Richard(I have explained why the head of Cambridge University has this unusual title in my blog in 2006) was charming, starting with comment on the 800th anniversary Cambridge is celebrating this year. President Komiyama of Todai, President Susan Hockfield of MIT were also present. The meeting continued till late at night as we enjoyed conversation.
Presidents Richard and Hockfield represent epoch-making changes in global age which I stress repeatedly in my blog. Both of them were Provost of Yale University before being recruited to the presidency of Cambridge and MIT respectively. Dr. Hockfield was successor to Dr. Richard at Yale, both personnel transfers having been managed by President Levin whom I touched upon earlier in this column(Dr. Levin told me personally several years ago that Provost is appointed by President.) . I am amazed by Dr. Levin’s outstanding insight.
In any organization or institution- universities, companies, government offices, etc. -leaders must be likewise. After all, ultimately, the essence is education. It is all about bringing up talents.