In an event filled with optimism about "new frontiers" in science, technology and economics, yet tempered by current world events, the 2003 Global Conference focused on how to get the engines of economic growth running again.
More than 180 speakers from around the world - senior executives from major corporations, CEOs and analysts from leading financial firms, senior public policy officials, Nobel laureates, academic experts, scientists and journalists - gathered to discuss how to improve global economic conditions before an audience of 1,600.
The 6th annual Global Conference opened Monday with two special events - a luncheon that launched the Center for the Accelerating Medical Solutions, a new initiative of the Milken Institute, and a special presentation by Stuart Eizenstat, former Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, who discussed his book, Imperfect Justice: Looted Assets, Slave Labor and the Unfinished Business of World War II, his account of the battle to reclaim the stolen and confiscated assets of Holocaust survivors and other victims of World War II.
The conference got into full swing Monday night with a discussion of "The Long View" of history and the future of our civilization with Dr. Steven Pinker of MIT, one of the world's leading evolutionary psychologists; Alvin Toffler, legendary futurist and author of Future Shock; Dr. Robert Fogel, Nobel laureate in Economics; and Dr. Paul Ehrlich of Stanford University, author of The Population Bomb.
That was followed by more than 30 plenary and concurrent sessions Tuesday and Wednesday that focused on job creation, regional prosperity, business issues, international finance, health care, technology, education, immigration, biotechnology, regional outlooks and other issues that impact every individual and business.
This year's theme is "Creating Value, Opportunity and Economic Growth," with sub-themes looking at human capital, financial capital, social capital, regions and business. But several other issues inspired many of the conference discussions, including the search for financial and economic growth, the diminishing rates of return and the impact that will have on pension funds and other investors, security and the war in Iraq, and America's role in the world today.