DUBAI- The Great Narrative Meeting, held in collaboration between the UAE government and World Economic Forum on the 11th-12th November, brings together thought leaders, innovators and futurists from all over the world to discuss developing new future directions in vital, human-centered sectors.

Participants in the Great Narrative Meeting come from various backgrounds and sectors including economy, engineering and biotechnology, manufacturing, urban design, government management, physics, environment and sustainability, education, innovation, technology, energy, infrastructure, digital transformation, among others.

Among the thought leaders and futurists, many renowned and influential names stand out, such as Carlo Ratti, the Director of the MIT SENSEable City Lab, Department of Urban Studies and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Cities of Tomorrow.

He is a founding partner of the international design and innovation office CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and was involved in the launch of several companies in the USA and Europe.

Carlo earned his MPhil and PhD degrees at the University of Cambridge, UK. He initially joined MIT as a visiting scholar in 2001, exploring how new technologies can enable a better integration between the natural and artificial worlds.

Carlo has co-authored over 500 researches and publications and is one of the top 10 most-citied scholars in urban studies. He is an active contributor to the debate on cities and technology, and has been a contributor to several general publications including The New York Times, Washington Post, Financial Times, Le Monde, CNN, BBC, and others.

Ratti acts as a special adviser to the European Commission and serves as a member of the Global Future Council on Cities of Tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Jagjit Singh Srai is the Head, Centre for International Manufacturing within the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing. His research focuses on the analysis, design and operation of international production, supply and service networks.

Jagjit also advises leading corporations, governments and international institutions on industrial transformation. Previous roles were in industry with Unilever as Supply Chain Director. He holds BEng (Hons), MPhil and PhD (Cantab) degrees and is a Fellow of the Institute of Chemical Engineers.

Helena Vieira is the Managing Editor, LSE Business Review and is the current Director General of Maritime Policy under the Minister of the Sea, in Portugal. She has over 20 years of professional experience both in academic, industry and political backgrounds, holding lecturer, expert, management and coordination positions in the fields of life and ocean sciences and bioeconomy.

Helena has a PhD in Biomedicine from Imperial College, London. She founded a few start-ups and was co-founder and CEO of BIOALVO SA (2005-2013), a Portuguese biotech company. Helena was also Executive Director of BLUEBIO ALLIANCE (2014-2019), the Portuguese network for the marine bioresources sector and a Full Associated Professor of FCUL, in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Technology Transfer (2008-2020).

Dambisa Moyo is a Global Economist, Mild storm Group. She holds an undergraduate degree in Chemistry; MBA in Finance from the American University; a Master’s degree from Harvard University; and a PhD in Economics from Oxford University.

Dambisa is co-principal of Versaca Investments and serves on a number of global corporate boards including: 3M Corporation, Chevron, and Conde Nast as well as the Oxford University Endowment investment committee. Her areas of interest include capital allocation, risk, and ESG issues. She is the author of many bestselling books.

Dr. Megan J. Palmer is the Executive Director of Bio Policy & Leadership Initiatives at Stanford University.

She leads research, teaching and engagement programmes to explore how biological science and engineering are shaping our societies, and guide innovation to serve public interests. She is also an Adjunct Professor and works closely with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world.

Dr. Megan leads biosecurity programmes in partnership with the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI) at Stanford. She has led numerous programmes on the role of synthetic biology in society. She founded and serves as Executive Director of the Synthetic Biology Leadership Excellence Accelerator Programme (LEAP), and she is a member of the council of the Engineering Biology Research Consortium (EBRC) and co-chairs a World Economic Forum Global Future Council on Synthetic Biology.

Dr. Michio Kaku, Theoretical Physicist and at the City College of New York, is one of the world’s most widely recognised figures in the field of science and future trends prediction affecting business, commerce, finance and technology.

As the co-founder of string field theory, he continues Einstein’s search to unite the four fundamental forces of nature into one unified theory that will summarise all the physical laws of the universe.

The author of numerous international best sellers, Kaku’s latest is The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind (February 2014), in which he gives an authoritative and compelling look at the astonishing research being done in top laboratories around the world all based on the latest advancements in neuroscience and physics.

Ngaire Woods is the Dean of Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Frontier Risks. She holds BA in Economics and LLB (Hons) in Law, Auckland University, MPhil and DPhil, University of Oxford.

She formerly taught at Harvard University, was Adviser to IMF Board, and UNDP. She is the Founding Dean of Blavatnik School of Government, as well as the Founder and Director of Global Economic Governance Programme; Oxford-Princeton Global Leaders Fellowship Programme. Her expertise includes international cooperation and global economic institutions.

Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, and Yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author; influences a large portion of the public to advocate for and take direct, local action for developing climate solutions.

Three decades ago, Sadhguru founded Isha Foundation, a non-profit organisation with human well-being as its core commitment.

He has been a primary speaker at the United Nations World Headquarters and the World Economic Forum and many more. He is the recipient of Padma Vibhushan, Government of India (2017), the highest annual civilian award to international cooperation and global economic institutions.

Suzanne Fortier is the Vice-Chancellor, McGill University, Canada; Co-Chair of the GFC on the New Agenda for Education and Skills. She serves as the Vice-Principal and Vice-Principal-Academic at McGill University since 2013. She is Specially Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada and serves as the Vice-Chair of Science, Technology and Innovation Council. She is also a member of many boards and institutions such as the Advisory Council on Economic Growth to the Canadian Federal Minister of Finance; Global University Leaders Forum, World Economic Forum; Board, Montreal International; Conference Board of Canada; Universities Canada and Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation.

She served in many positions at McGill University, most notably as the Vice-Principal Research, Vice-Principal-Academic, Professor in Department of Chemistry and School of Computing, Queen's University (Ontario), as well as the President of Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

Eric Parrado is the Chief Economist and General Manager of Research Department, Inter-American Development Bank; and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Frontier Risk. He holds PhD in Economics, New York University, and worked as Manager of the Chilean sovereign wealth funds, with assets under management of $22 billion.

He held many international consultant positions for central banks and governments of Colombia, Guyana, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama and Papua New Guinea on fiscal policy and implementation of sovereign wealth funds. He formerly served as the Chairman of the Regulatory Banking Authority of Chile (Superintendencia de Bancos) and Professor of Economics and Finance at the ESE Business School in Chile.

Freeke Heijman is Founding director of Quantum Delta NL, the foundation that runs the Dutch national Quantum Initiative. The board of directors is responsible for the 615 ME government funding for programmes of R&D, education, and research facilities. Within the board, she is responsible for the startup ecosystem, public-private partnerships and the development of a new house of quantum.

Freeke has been active in the field of Quantum since 2013 as a special advisor to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy. In this context she is responsible for the Dutch national policy and investments in Quantum Technology, international partnerships such as the NL participation in the EU flagship and development of the Delft Quantum Campus ecosystem.

She has extensive experience in European and national space, industrial and innovation policies. She graduated at the TU Delft Policy Analysis and Systems Engineering department in 1999 and started her career at KPN Research. Her passion is to drive innovation at the crossroad of academia, business and government.

Nandita Parshad is the Managing Director, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London; she heads a group of 200 staff covering the energy, transport, social infrastructure, and municipal infrastructure sectors worldwide.

She held several senior positions at the EBRD, where she led several project financings involving debt, equity, syndications and intensive policy dialogue at the highest level in governments and with domestic and international strategic investors. She also led the Energy & Natural Resources Business Group prior to current role.

As the Co-Chair of the GFC on Energy Transition, she has some 30 years’ experience in financing and investing in the energy and infrastructure sectors in diverse emerging economies such as India, Eastern Europe, Mongolia, Turkey, Middle East and North Africa.

Nandita is Member in many boards such as the Energy Transition Commission and World Economic Forum Future Council on Energy Transitions. She was also a Director of International Board, and Trustee, United World Colleges. She formerly worked as Consultant for Finance Department, World Bank; Project Officer in Energy Sector, New Delhi, India. She holds BA and MPA from School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University.

Jun Murai is Professor at Keio University, Special Advisor to the Japan Cabinet, and Advisor to the Japanese Digital Agency. He chairs and serves on many other governmental committees and numerous international scientific associations. He was the recipient of many international awards such as Jonathan B. Postel Service Award and IEEE Internet Award.

He was inducted into Internet Hall of Fame (2013) and received the Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French Government (2019).

He holds PhD in Computer Science, Keio University, and is specialised in computer science, computer network and computer communication since 1984. He developed Japan University UNIX Network in 1988, and established WIDE, one of the top internet infrastructure projects in Japan. He was a former member in Internet Architecture Board (IAB), Board of Trustees, Internet Society (ISOC) and Board of Directors of Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN).

Professor Landry Signé is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Programme and Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University's Centre for African Studies, and founding chairman of the award-winning think tank/do tank Global Network for Africa's Prosperity.

He works as a special adviser to world leaders on international and African affairs, and partner at a small African-focused emerging markets strategic management, investment, and government affairs firm. He has been recognised as a World Economic Forum's Young Global Leader, Andrew Carnegie fellow as one of the most creative thinkers, Woodrow Wilson Public Policy fellow for his pre-eminent and world-class research, JCI Ten Outstanding Young Persons in the World, Private Investors for Africa Fellow, and Tutu Fellow who drives the transformation of Africa. Previously, Landry was the president of a business strategy and development firm based in Montreal.


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