Close

Search

Loading...

Right

Topics

Law and Technology: Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World
Law and Technology: Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World
Salzburg Global Seminar 
Technology has led to fundamental disruptions across society, commercial sectors, and traditional spheres of governance. While these changes provide ample and exciting opportunities to develop products, systems, and structures designed to optimize public good, they also create new fields and grey areas that raise unprecedented challenges for policy, law, and regulation. Through its new Law and Technology Forum, Salzburg Global Seminar seeks to create meaningful partnerships and formulate tangible outcomes by encouraging participants to discuss the place of technology in today’s society, and how law and governance structures could improve this status quo. The inaugural program – Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World – in April 2019 brought together stakeholders from a diverse set of technology companies, along with academics, regulators, and policymakers from around the world to tackle these issues.  Working as a small group of peers, representing multiple sectors and countries, the discussions in Salzburg enabled participants to foster meaningful and ongoing relationships with stakeholders who may have different perceptions of technology and its role in the world. Download the report as a PDF Topics of discussion:  Ensuring an ethical underpinning for technological development, consistent with the rule of law and global public good, seeking in particular to balance needs for security and privacy, law enforcement and human rights, and responsibilities for private firms and public institutions to each other and to citizens. Resolving specific priority issues and global challenges through a comprehensive and cross-sectoral process within conditions of mutual trust. Devising methods to equip rule-makers from judicial, legislative, and executive bodies with technological literacy, including both through facilitating continuing education or mainstreaming technical staff advising and supporting the rule-makers within institutional and legal processes. Developing leadership skills and competencies that help to unleash human potential to lead technological change, exploiting existing capabilities and new opportunities. The takeaways from this inaugural program, together with input from the Advisory Committee, will now inform the future topics of discussion for the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum, the next program of which will be held in 2020.
READ MORE...
Meeting in the Middle and Increasing Trust
Lee Hibbard at Salzburg Global Seminar
Meeting in the Middle and Increasing Trust
Oscar Tollast 
What are the metrics for ethics regarding AI-enabled products and services? What do you need to inform public trust? What are the protocols? What are the accreditation, transparency, and accountability measures required? These are just some of the questions which brought Lee Hibbard to Salzburg Global Seminar, as he continued his quest to obtain a greater understanding. Earlier this year, the deputy secretary of the Committee on Bioethics of the Council of Europe found himself as a participant at the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum: Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World. During the three-day program, Hibbard and his peers defined initial priority issues and identified possibilities for new international norms and practical collaborations. In his role on the Committee on Bioethics, Hibbard is focused on the development of a strategic action plan concerning governance arrangements in the biomedical field. He told Salzburg Global, “Technology is really the promise to help improve health care, and it is really exciting. We’re looking at, in general terms, not just AI, but we’re looking at, what are the biomedical implications [and] considerations for the next five years? And, in that, there’s a lot of technology and human rights discussion.” Until recently, Hibbard was the internet governance coordinator at the Council of Europe. His responsibilities included strategizing and liaising with governments, the private sector, and intergovernmental organizations. He helped set up a platform for dialogue on human rights and the rule of law between internet companies and governments within the Council of Europe. Hibbard believes individual rights are important to maintain. He doesn’t believe there’s anything “completely nihilistic” at the moment regarding technology, but there is a lot of scaremongering concerning the future of AI and the potential loss of jobs which will occur. According to Hibbard, there is a need to find a middle space to encourage collaboration and understand further the importance of ethics and how they interface with rights and freedoms. He said, “There’s a lot of work in that middle space to try to say, ‘We agree to be pedagogical. We agree that it’s about the past, it’s about now, and it’s about the future.’ We must create a continuum. We must find a way where we can come together… Democracy’s about sitting in the middle, opening your ears and saying, ‘I’m listening to you, and I am trying to understand you, and I’m trying to maybe even change my mind.’ But if we live in this polarized world where we all think we know what we know and that’s it, then we’re not meeting in the middle.” Hibbard has been involved in the field of technology and human rights since 2005. During this time, he has brought people together to create new platforms and worked with member states to develop policy instruments. He said, “I’m quite curious about technology in general. I read about AI. I am helping to shape a course on AI, and I am quite curious and quite passionate about societal issues—how society should be informed… We’re missing the fact that it’s not just about companies and states, it’s about people…” Every day many people blindly accept the terms and conditions for new online accounts or software for their computer. These online contracts should be simple and easy to read, but they’re not, as highlighted by Choice.com.au. It's one example of where people might not understand the potential consequences of their digital actions. Hibbard said, “You don’t know what the hurt is in the tech world yet. You don’t know what’s happening to your data. You don’t know what’s being built around your avatar self, so you actually don’t know if you’re being hurt… whether it becomes about insurance payments, about lifestyle choices… all these things are not understood digitally online. I’m very curious to make sure that we do the right thing. We’re in a moment of transition, of course, and we have the power to come together and discuss these things.” Hibbard recognizes the value of communication and bringing different sectors together. He has previously attended two Salzburg Global Fellowship events, including a Klingenthal meeting in 2016 titled, Remaking the State: The Impact of the Digital Revolution Now and to Come. He said, “It’s very, very refreshing to meet people that you don’t normally… meet and get to talk about a common subject… we’re all pretty much in the same situation, just at different ends of the spectrum, and, actually, we’ve got a lot of common things.” Currently, there are not enough people from other sectors coming together, having these discussions, according to Hibbard. Silos need to keep being broken, and discussions need to keep taking place regularly, particularly in the field of technology and human rights. He said, “We need to demystify what we think we don’t understand as about being technical and overcome that vertigo and really get to the same table…. We need to find a way to understand it, and we need to make that jump…” The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World, was the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. More information on this multi-year series is available at the following link: https://bit.ly/2VPcn3z
READ MORE...
The Truth About Trade Agreements in the Digital Age
Robert Holleyman in conversation at Salzburg Global Seminar
The Truth About Trade Agreements in the Digital Age
Lucy Browett and Oscar Tollast 
Robert Holleyman, a partner in Crowell & Moring’s International Trade and Privacy and Security Groups, was among the participants at the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. The program—Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World—took place at Schloss Leopoldskron, in Salzburg, from April 7 to 9, 2019. Holleyman, who is also the president and CEO of C&M International, sat down with Salzburg Global to answer questions relevant to the discussions which took place. Read his Q&A below, which has been edited for brevity and clarity. Salzburg Global: How do you incorporate digital technology into trade agreements, and how do you take into account the differing approaches by countries? Robert Holleyman: Well, I think you've seen one major thing happening in the world of trade agreements, which is they have moved beyond simply dealing with issues of tariffs for taxes on goods going between borders, and they've looked at other things that are potential barriers to trade in areas, like [the] use of digital technologies. So, the most modern trade agreements now are including chapters related to either e-commerce or, more recently, they're being called digital trade chapters, but they're looking at things that aren't necessarily tariffs…. they're looking at how do you build confidence and trust in doing things over the internet. How do you deal with issues around privacy or on security around cross-border data transfers? The type of things that are designed to reduce the barriers so that new means of commerce, which is doing things electronically across borders that can grow and flourish as well. So, that's essentially how trade agreements are looking at this now. I think the biggest question there is how far should trade agreements go? How do countries who have different approaches to data, how do they come to an agreement? In the context of trade agreements…. When those trade agreements get put in place, there's usually some mechanism for enforcement among the countries who are part of it, and what does that enforcement look like at the time around digital trade? SG: How important are trade agreements in solidifying a code of ethics? RH: …. I think what you're seeing in the trade agreements are…. a way that countries are choosing to bind themselves to a certain set of principles because they tend to be either two countries or three countries or more often a region in Asia-Pacific or elsewhere—they have a lot of precedents. Each new trade agreement, particularly in the area of digital trade, tends to add something new to ones it passed on before. I think the relevance is that what they're trying to do on digital trade is prevent a series of barriers from being erected in a lot of traditional trade-like agriculture. There are literally hundreds of years of protectionist measures designed that trade negotiators usually try to go to break down…. I think there's a sense that something should be done early to keep the internet as open as free as possible with the minimum barriers while still recognizing the ability of every nation to be able to regulate and protect public safety [and] national security, which is inherent that something every government [has] to do. SG: How might the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), in particular, form the basis for future cross-border agreements on new technology? RH: The TPP which is now called the [Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership] CPTPP....  has the most advanced chapter around digital trade of any existing trade agreement today…. There are 11 countries who are part of that. Seven of them have already implemented it, and it has provisions around favoring cross-border data transfers while still allowing governments to protect their national security or privacy interests. But the default is that there should be flows of data across borders among those seven countries—among the 11—absent a compelling national reason why a government needs to restrict it. So that's important to put in place because it really begins favoring openness, saying it can be restricted as opposed to what the status quo is now. Absent an agreement, which is there's sort of no agreement, governments are putting things in that are barriers many times for legitimate purposes but sometimes are doing that just to try to be protectionists to domestic companies or to harm foreign competitors. SG: Should the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum become a new multi-year series—from the discussions you've had so far—what kind of direction do you see that going in? RH: Well, I think the diversity of voices that are coming into Salzburg Global Seminar are important for elevating these issues. What I hope they will do at this intersection of law and technology [is] recognize some of the biggest issues that have to be dealt with are around privacy security and ethics. I think the contribution of this effort to helping define the questions, helping governments collaborate—not that they will have any one solution but to understand what the set of issues are—and help us see what the end goal should be, which is more collaboration, more products, [and] more data transfers that will be extremely important, and this work hopefully can be very helpful in that foundation. The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World, was the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. More information on this multi-year series is available at the following link: https://bit.ly/2VPcn3z
READ MORE...
Laws, Tech, and Narratives for the Future
Dr. David Bray in conversation at Salzburg Global Seminar
Laws, Tech, and Narratives for the Future
David Bray 
Dr. David Bray was a participant at the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World, the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. He is the executive director for the People-Centered Internet Coalition, an Eisenhower and Marshall Memorial Fellow, World Economic Forum Young Global Leader, and one of the “Top 24 Americans Who Are Changing the World Under 40.” Later this month, on June 26, he will deliver the future-focused AI World Society Distinguished Lecture at the United Nations Headquarters on United Nations Charter Day. Through shared narratives, the enforcement of laws, and use of technologies, humans have shaped social norms and reshaped how power (i.e., the capability to compel or oblige someone to take a certain course of actions) has been distributed in our communities. Now, with the beginning of the 21st century, we are facing big questions of “Quo Vadis?” — where do we want to go? Communities and human societies, especially given the recent rate of new technologies challenging the distribution of power within our societies. With these changes, there is both huge opportunity for improving our communities with people-centered approaches, as well as significant challenges where our digital future may not be as hopeful as we would like it to be. We, humans, are tool users. Our tool use is connected to our use of narratives, laws, and technologies to distribute power. Starting with the beginning of history, we used fire and stone tools to make the transition from a nomadic lifestyle to one where we began to settle and plant crops. Our use of tools helped give rise to civilization, including the advancement of writing, the development of calendars for crops, and the start of navigation of the seas. Even before the start of human civilizations, human nature included some aspects where selfish instincts –- be they greed, envy, or other hurtful elements — challenged the formation of large human communities beyond immediate family members. While some civilizations generated social order through sheer physical force imposed upon other humans, compelling obedience, other civilizations generated social order through an initial system of laws that sought to protect communities from the greed, envy, or other hurtful elements of others. Such a system of laws was not developed for purely altruistic reasons. The same system of laws solidified the power of rulers and included different forms of taxation over the labor of their subjects. Laws, Technologies, and Civilizations Laws and the legal process of distributed power, and in several cases of early civilizations, solidified the power of community members to compel or oblige other humans to perform certain actions. Laws and the legal process also enabled humans to co-exist more peacefully in larger groupings insofar the distribution of power did not motivate any part of the community to revert to sheer physical force to change this distribution. As human communities grew, so did their use of tools and development of more advanced tools such as metal tools and weapons, bows and arrows, and later both gunpowder and flintlock firearms. Such tools as technological developments had the effect of expanding civilizations and disrupting the distribution of power within societies. Certain new tools as technological advances, such as the assembly line, required new laws to protect individuals from an asymmetrical distribution of power associated with these technologies, such as long work hours in unsafe working conditions. With advances in technologies, the ethics of societies also shifted, with the embodiment of these changing ethics in new laws — such as laws against child labor. Certain technological developments, like railroads or radio, allowed certain individuals to aggregate power or allowed the distribution of communications across communities that challenged the distribution of power. For some civilizations, these technologies helped highlight discrimination against groups of humans in societies and prompt civil rights laws. The same technologies however also allowed a mob-mentality that failed to uplift humanity in ways that were intended, such as Nazi Germany’s use of “People’s Radio” sets leading up to and during World War II that created dangerous echo chambers of thought during that dangerous time period. Human Narratives and Societies There’s an additional interesting linkage between narratives, community norms, and power distribution. In addition to tool use, and due to selection pressures in our species’ evolutionary history, we humans are storytellers. This may have to do with consciousness, including some element of simulating events — which stories allow us to do. By simulating events in our mind, we can “test potential scenarios” without incurring some near-fatal or fatal outcome and thus increase our survival chances. Stories can be told that change behaviors. A simple, visceral story of, “I did X once, and it caused me to puke my guts out” probably would serve to make several people who have never do whatever X was to avoid it. Note: this is where we get into the serious challenges of misinformation online, namely that the best way for something to go viral is to make it hateful or fearful; positive narratives don’t go viral as well. If stories can be told that change behaviors, repeat behaviors over time can become ‘sticky’ habits. These repetitive habits inculcate norms. The power of narratives is exactly their ability to shape behaviors over time, thereby institutionalizing norms and power distribution in our human communities— again, with power defined as the capability to compel or oblige someone to take a certain course of actions. There’s also increasing evidence though that we humans developed communication and language to convince others that the scenario there were facing was similar to what we were facing, too (i.e., “myside”) so much that some researchers now call confirmation bias “myside bias” which is adaptive insomuch that if the group of humans can collectively be on the same “myside” that helps with coordinated responses to whatever threat or opportunity was presenting itself. Now, however, our world is much broader than the immediate environment that we see and experience nearby. This has dangerous side-effects, such as challenges in reaching consensus or disputing the relevant facts for a situation. Quo Vadis? Now, with the start of the 21st century, we need to ask important questions about where we want to go? How do we want to uplift and improve our communities with people-centered approaches? Whereas laws can be revised and rewritten, digital technologies— once developed— are hard to put back in the box. We see increasing polarization in open societies, partly as a result of these questions of where we want to go not being considered in ways that can translate to action. An even larger question is, where do different localities want to go in terms of progress in parallel to what values or norms it wants to hold dear to? This is a question that span sectors. No one organization or influencer or group with power can either solely answer or execute actions towards that desired future state. In the absence of finding ways to build bridges that span sectors, power — through narratives, laws, or technologies— will be grabbed by whoever aspires to this. An important question for the future, is can we build such bridges across sectors? Will our divisions be our undoing as open, pluralistic societies? Can we develop narratives of hope for open, pluralistic societies that bring people together? Dr. Bray was a participant at the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Privacy, Security, and Ethics in an Asymmetric World, the inaugural program of the Salzburg Global Law and Technology Forum. More information on this multi-year series is available at the following link: https://bit.ly/2VPcn3z
READ MORE...
Creating Urban Environments Which Let Nature and People Thrive
Jonny Hughes, chair of the IUCN Urban Alliance, at Salzburg Global Seminar
Creating Urban Environments Which Let Nature and People Thrive
Jonny Hughes 
Salzburg Global Seminar is an independent non-profit organization founded in 1947 to challenge current and future leaders to shape a better world. Its multi-year programs aim to bridge divides, expand collaboration, and transform systems. In my capacity as Chair of the IUCN Urban Alliance, I was recently asked to chair a program at Salzburg Global entitled, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals. The program is part of a series - the Parks for the Planet Forum - a ten-year collaboration to reconnect people and nature in an urbanized world. Launched in 2015, it aims to improve human and societal well-being by expanding access to nature-rich urban spaces, increasing investments in urban conservation, and creating dynamic partnerships between people, cities, and protected area systems. In my opening remarks, I challenged the assembled delegates to think about six issues which, if we can make progress on, could be transformative in creating urban environments which sustain thriving nature and thriving people while helping address the twin global crises of biodiversity loss and climate warming.   1. If not, now then when? The urban-nature agenda is an agenda whose time has finally come, but we need to act fast to transform urban environments as we adapt to a changing climate and a rapidly urbanizing world. How do we move from a series of inspiring case studies, pilot projects, and green architectural statements and make "ecological urbanism" the new normal?   2. Without inclusivity and equitability, this agenda will fail. The urban-nature agenda cannot be exclusive – we must resist falling into the trap of being too purist and siloed. This means designing nature-based solutions with a myriad of other considerations in mind from aesthetics to the often particular needs of the communities that call cities their home. Ecologists, road engineers, and real estate developers need to be speaking with each other more regularly and combining skill sets. The recent IPBES assessment included strong calls to action on green infrastructure provision but what was missing for me was an understanding that we will remain siloed in our own bubble until we have a proactive strategy of embedding ecological thinking and practice into all aspects of urban design and neighborhood life. All city people are not alike – cultural differences abound, and we must embrace local ideas if we are to create enduring, successful, and truly green neighborhoods.   3. Multi-scale or bust. We will need to succeed at all scales in the urban ecosystem – from window box to the city region. For this to happen, both citizen-led bottom-up approaches will need to combine with top-down planning and design approaches. How do we successfully meld the two? Hinterlands are critical – both as a resource for city dwellers to experience rural nature and as a provider of vital water and even climate services to cities. Cities must care more for their hinterlands, and yet this will continue to be a massive challenge in the global south (where most population expansion will take place) due to lack formal governance structures, reliable financing mechanisms and the almost overwhelming pace of urbanization.   4. The time has come for a new economics for cities. The natural capital assets that underpin healthy, liveable cities, and by extension, healthy, fulfilled people have been undervalued or ignored for too long. The challenge is to make the value of this vital natural capital visible through true-cost accounting – only by doing this can we expect to attract the levels of investment from both the public and private sectors that we need to unlock transformational change.   5. Urbanization is good for the planet. The fact that urban area has doubled since 1992 is reported in the IPBES assessment as a negative trend – at least that is the inference. Perhaps this needs to be challenged? Peak rural population may be as near as 2030, and if we can combine the design of a sustainable agri-food system with sustainable urban design, then urbanization could take massive pressure off rural ecosystems. This is already happening in some parts of the temperate zone as we see re-wilding of landscapes and the return, for example, of the grey wolf to parts of Europe and North America where it has been absent for decades.   6. Big data and disruptive digital technology could help to reduce the exported ecological footprint of cities - that is, the impact cities have on ecosystems across the world. How can we use such technological advances to drive down the global impact of cities as we strive for carbon neutrality and net biodiversity gain? We also need reliable metrics to track the health of nature and other aspects of natural capital in cities - something the IUCN Urban Alliance is working on through the development of a standard Urban Nature Index. I share these thoughts in this article and invite comment and ideas for those interested in this fascinating subject area. If you would like to respond to this op-ed, please email press@salzburgglobal.org The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, is part of the Parks for the Planet Forum. This program is supported by Future Cities Forum, ICLEI CBC, IUCN Urban Alliance, Learning Economy, National Park City Foundation, The Centre for Conscious Design, World Urban Parks, and 21st Century Trust.
READ MORE...
Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss What Institutional Investors Should Be Prioritizing in Health and Well-Being
Photo of megaphone on orange background from Oleg Laptev on Unsplash
Hot Topic - Fellows Discuss What Institutional Investors Should Be Prioritizing in Health and Well-Being
Yasmina Ghandour 
A select number of Fellows at the Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, were asked: What Should the Institutional Investor Community Be Prioritizing in Terms of  Health and Well-Being? We have published their answers below. “It’s a question of deliberation and engagement. I tend to think that investors don’t just arrive. There are engagements that happen between the state and the investors. I think when business engagements are made – within [the] economic center – there should be a consideration of nature, a consideration of human health, in the whole deliberation... I’m sure if the state brings that as a condition, the investor will be willing to look at it. But I think many times it’s an economic focus without looking at all other areas that are linked to it... we need to change the way we perceive development.” Shirley Mathebula Deputy municipal manager for community services in the City of uMhlathuze, South Africa "It’s very important to be communicating to institutional investors that investing in nature, health, and well-being is actively investing in our future, and the future of our citizens, people, [and] next generation societies... Maybe that’s the first step... The second would be specific areas where priority investments are needed. In my opinion, [this] would be supporting the business models that integrate nature, health, and well-being. My particular bias and interest would be supporting investments on sustainable food systems in our cities because for me sustainable food systems, it’s a good opportunity for linking urban and rural needs.” Wilson John Barbon Director at the International Institute of Rural Reconstruction in Myanmar "One thing we’ve talked about a bit is... related to stormwater remediation. So one approach – and I’ve seen it in my own small town – is they’ve worked very hard to try to come up with a plan to assess homeowners a certain amount of money so that they can build more stormwater drainage and more stormwater holding pits for the big storms that we’re experiencing... But what they’re not talking about at all is bio-remediation and approaches that are on the individual level... helping a community understand how each entity within the community, each homeowner... can also be working on non-sealed surfaces, on plantings that function properly on swales... and really individually replicating, so you have a tapestry of these unsealed bio areas that... are interacting with rainwater... with the things that if the built environment weren’t there, they’d be interacting with – with the ecology, with plants, with the animals, and really moving towards the kinds of diversity, the kinds of culture of those as well that complement the human culture.” Kate Christen Environmental historian and senior manager of the Smithsonian Conservation Commons in the USA "There is an interesting trajectory for organizations and countries... in the past couple of decades, where you see a movement from measuring a country’s success in the GDP terms, in economic finance fiscal terms, and moving away from that and now measuring countries, or nations, or a city’s success rate based on well-being indicators, or [a] well-being index... That’s what is starting to define these agendas at that institutional level.” Ana Rold Founder and publisher of Diplomatic Courier, based in Washington, D.C., in the USA "We have to think about the traditional way that the investors think and how that is not traditionally assessing the health and well-being of communities or people. So, this is about... creating a new value and then evaluating that in the proper way that incorporates the effect that these investors will have in improving the health and the well-being.” Togo Uchida Director of ICLEI Japan The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, is part of the Parks for the Planet Forum. This program is supported by Future Cities Forum, ICLEI CBC, IUCN Urban Alliance, Learning Economy, National Park City Foundation, The Centre for Conscious Design, World Urban Parks, and 21st Century Trust.
READ MORE...
Breaking Down Barriers and Finding New Solutions
Moitreyee Sinha presenting at Salzburg Global Seminar
Breaking Down Barriers and Finding New Solutions
Martin Silva Rey 
“We’ve kind of forgotten what it is to be human, so in the sense that society is so fragmented. Each of us… in terms of how our lives are, how the world around us—there’s so much fragmentation that it’s hard sometimes to remember that in the end, everything is interconnected…,” said Moitreyee Sinha, co-founder and CEO of citiesRISE. Sinha grew up in India, and when the time came to choose a profession, she says the options in front of her at that time were limited. “You were either a doctor or engineer, and if all failed, you were a teacher and an artist. Those were the only career paths, and I chose to study physics because I was always drawn to more fundamentals,” she said. “And I felt like physics had the answers to the universe. That was only until later on when I realized that science models the truth, so in the sense that it’s only to the extent that your own knowledge is.” She longed to see the world outside of India, so the young physicist crossed the world to start a life as a Ph.D. student in the United States. But Sinha did not want to remain a witness of innovation – she was ready to work where she could be part of the changes. Digging into unsolved problems in science and technology, Sinha understood soon enough she needed to bring together disciplines that usually would never mix. She said, “I’ve always been fascinated about partnerships – people just working together. And so I feel like a lot of the innovation happens at intersections…” After years working on the problems that fascinated her, like merging health care, energy, and aviation to design the next-generation aircraft, Sinha’s journey changed course – the physicist became a philanthropist. Surrounded by refugees and their poignant life stories during her childhood, she wanted to come behind the issues of humanity. Social impact work was the new chapter of her life, where she led the General Electric Foundation’s Global Health portfolio in 22 countries. There, she developed critical care programs for children, maternal child health, clean water, ICT, humanitarian relief, and education. “I was very shocked when I moved from research and innovation… because I felt that there was no customer focus in philanthropy,” she said. “So, in the private sector when you’re looking at markets and when you’re looking at products and services, it’s all about understanding your customer. Whereas in social impact, it’s so often because it’s about social good people think that they know what answers are. So, it’s not really designed around what the community’s own needs are sometimes.” For Sinha, the biggest challenge was to find the answer to the question, “How do you flip the model upside down?” Her commitment was to establish a bottom-up system in her organization – listening to the people.    She said, “Instead of going into countries and looking at solutions, it’s more like figuring out what are the ideas and the energies of every community, and then how do you connect them to learn from each other? That was pretty challenging, but it was also, I feel, very rewarding. Because I think that some of the kind of changes we were able to do – so for instance when we looked at child survival – we were able to in countries like Kenya… look at more local solutions, rural entrepreneurship, start working with the government, start creating new markets. So, it became much more sustainable and scalable.” Sinha helped launch citiesRise to empower cities to take a leadership role, as places of innovation and to address challenges in mental health through collective, community-based action.      When asked to describe herself, Sinha said, “I feel like I’m constantly learning, and I feel that there’s so much untapped wisdom, experience in communities, insights in people, and civilizations, and cultures. And I feel that so often that everything is so hectic – that we are not thoughtful enough. So, I feel like I often play this kind of a role of a catalyst… where I don’t necessarily know the answers, I don’t know the solutions, but I feel that when people come together, many things are possible...” The Salzburg Global Seminar program, Partnerships for Urban Wellbeing and Resilience: Harnessing Nature and Protected Areas for the Sustainable Development Goals, is part of the Parks for the Planet Forum. This program is supported by Future Cities Forum, ICLEI CBC, IUCN Urban Alliance, Learning Economy, National Park City Foundation, The Centre for Conscious Design, World Urban Parks, and 21st Century Trust.
READ MORE...
Displaying results 1 to 7 out of 1462
<< First < Previous 1-7 8-14 15-21 22-28 29-35 36-42 43-49 Next > Last >>