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Global Agenda Council: the Challenges of Gerontology?

I announced two months ago (Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cils: The Chal­lenges of Geron­tol­ogy) that I had been invit­ed to join a very stim­u­lat­ing new ini­tia­tive by the World Eco­nom­ic Forum.


Update (Novem­ber 2nd, 2008): my pro­pos­al is to cre­ate a Glob­al Con­sor­tium for Neu­rocog­ni­tive Fit­ness Inno­va­tion. Thank you for your com­ments below!


Next month, 700 experts will meet to dri­ve an inter­dis­ci­pli­nary agen­da cov­er­ing 68 top­ics (see below); 16 of us focused on the Chal­lenges of Geron­tol­ogy.

Dubai To Host 700 Of The World’s Most Influ­en­tial Lead­ers From Acad­e­mia, Busi­ness, Gov­ern­ment and Soci­ety At First World Eco­nom­ic Forum Sum­mit on the Glob­al Agen­da (I didn’t write the title of the press release…)

- “The World Eco­nom­ic Forum, in part­ner­ship with the Gov­ern­ment of Dubai, will hold its inau­gur­al Sum­mit on the Glob­al Agen­da in Dubai from 7 to 9 Novem­ber 2008. The Sum­mit is a new, unique gath­er­ing of the world’s 700 most inno­v­a­tive and rel­e­vant minds – lead­ers from acad­e­mia, busi­ness, gov­ern­ment and soci­ety. In Dubai, Mem­bers of the Forum’s Net­work of Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cils will share ideas and col­lab­o­ra­tive­ly address some of the most press­ing issues on the glob­al agen­da.”

- “Dur­ing the three-day Sum­mit, the 700 par­tic­i­pants of this inter­dis­ci­pli­nary event will engage in inter­ac­tive work­shops and ses­sions to set pri­or­i­ties for the most com­pelling ideas for improv­ing the state of the world – from ground­break­ing areas of research to new and excit­ing devel­op­ments to address the world’s chal­lenges. The out­comes will be pre­sent­ed at the World Eco­nom­ic Forum Annu­al Meet­ing 2009 for fur­ther dis­cus­sion and action.

The list of Glob­al Agen­da Coun­cils (I have high­light­ed with Bold top­ics rel­e­vant to the aging soci­ety and geron­tol­ogy):

- Glob­al Chal­lenges: Demo­graph­ic Shifts; Migra­tion; Urban Man­age­ment; Gen­der Gap; Skills Gap; Cli­mate Change; Alter­na­tive Ener­gies; Water Secu­ri­ty; Bio­di­ver­si­ty and Ecosys­tem Degra­da­tion; Mit­i­ga­tion of Nat­ur­al Dis­as­ters; Food Secu­ri­ty; Eco­nom­ic Imbal­ances; Sys­temic Finan­cial Risk; Glob­al Trade Regime; Glob­al Cap­i­tal Flows; Finan­cial Empow­er­ment; Eco­nom­ic Growth and Devel­op­ment; Trade Facil­i­ta­tion; Glob­al Gov­er­nance; Ener­gy Secu­ri­ty; Cor­rup­tion; Illic­it Trade; Ter­ror­ism; Pro­lif­er­a­tion and Weapons of Mass Destruc­tion; Cor­po­rate Gov­er­nance; Human­i­tar­i­an Assis­tance; Frag­ile States; Inter­na­tion­al Legal Sys­tem; Wel­fare of Chil­dren; Tech­nol­o­gy and Edu­ca­tion; Health­care Sys­tems; HIV/AIDS; Chal­lenges of Geron­tol­ogy; Pan­demics; Chron­ic Dis­eases and Mal­nu­tri­tion; Chal­lenges of Nan­otech­nol­o­gy; Human Equal­i­ty and Respect; Islam-West Dia­logue; Nego­ti­a­tion and Con­flict Res­o­lu­tion; Empow­er­ing Youth

- Indus­try-ori­ent­ed: Future of Mobil­i­ty; Future of Media; Future of Enter­tain­ment; Future of the Inter­net; Future of Mobile Com­mu­ni­ca­tions; Future of Met­als and Min­ing; Future of Sus­tain­able Con­struc­tion; Future of Real Estate

- Region­al/­Coun­try-ori­ent­ed: Future of Africa; Future of Latin Amer­i­ca; Future of the Mid­dle East; Future of Chi­na; Future of Rus­sia; Future of Japan; Future of Aus­tralia; Future of Korea

- Exper­tise Coun­cils: Design; Mar­ket­ing and Brand­ing; Entre­pre­neur­ship; Phil­an­thropy and Social Invest­ing; Bench­mark­ing Progress in Soci­ety; Emerg­ing Multi­na­tion­als; Finan­cial Mar­kets Devel­op­ment; Future of Gov­ern­ments; Sports in Soci­ety; Geog­ra­phy of Inno­va­tion; Strate­gic Fore­sight; Diver­si­ty; Social Entre­pre­neur­ship

Home­work assign­ment: I have been asked to write “an 800 words sum­ma­ry of your most com­pelling action­able idea on the chal­lenges of geron­tol­ogy” by Octo­ber 28th.

Can you help me out? In your view, and in just a cou­ple of para­graphs,

1) what is the sin­gle most impor­tant thing that as a soci­ety we could be doing to engage the grow­ing num­ber of brains over the age of 60 in our plan­et,

2) how can we help trans­form a “chal­lenge” into an “oppor­tu­ni­ty” to add val­ue to oth­er top­ics list­ed above — and to the brains involved in doing so?

You can either write a com­ment below, or send your thoughts to me using this Con­tact Us form. Thank you!

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7 Responses

  1. I am inquir­ing about the pos­si­bil­i­ty of a schol­ar­ship for this con­fer­ence?

  2. Elizabeth Smith says:

    Many brain dis­eases asso­ci­at­ed with aging seem to be mit­i­gat­ed by exer­cise yet we do not yet under­stand pre­cise­ly how this hap­pens. Drug-relat­ed research is rich­ly fund­ed, yet it is more dif­fi­cult to find research fund­ing for poten­tial­ly pow­er­ful dis­ease mit­i­ga­tion strate­gies that will not result in prof­its. I’d like to see increased fund­ing for an aggres­sive research agen­da that aims to iden­ti­fy spe­cif­ic men­tal and phys­i­cal exer­cise strate­gies that have a mit­i­gat­ing effect on spe­cif­ic brain dis­eases.

  3. T. Sprenger says:

    The car­rot and the stick.

    The ‘stick’ is time and aging.

    the ‘car­rot’ is mon­ey. Our eco­nom­ic sys­tem often throws the work­ing per­son out when they get over 50.

    Can we change that?
    Can we have an enhanced min­i­mum wage specif­i­cal­ly for those over fifty? So the work­ing poor who are old­er are not so depen­dent, and can cre­ate their own retire­ment?

  4. Emory Hill says:

    We are now able to use automa­tion and touch screens in med­ical facil­i­tyes to cheap­ly track changes in the cog­ni­tive func­tion­ing of old­er peo­ple around the world. The accu­rate antic­i­pa­tion of cog­ni­tive decline results in sub­stan­tial reduc­tions of costs, both emo­tion­al and finan­cial, to patients, fam­i­lies, doc­tors, and retire­ment facil­i­ties. When bet­ter treat­ments for Alzheimer’s emerge, a record of base­line abil­i­ties will allow doc­tors to selec­tive­ly per­form the expen­sive eval­u­a­tions for pos­si­ble treat­ment as soon as impair­ment begins, rather than wait­ing for more severe impair­ments to be evi­dent. This is cru­cial because new treat­ments for Alzheimer’s are like­ly to slow or stop, not reverse, cog­ni­tive decline.

  5. Priscil­la, as far as I know, this is an invite-only con­fer­ence.

    Eliz­a­beth, T and Emory, thank you for your excel­lent con­tri­bu­tions!
    — more research empha­sis on how phys­i­cal and men­tal exer­cise can poten­tial­ly delay/ alle­vi­ate brain prob­lems (aging-relat­ed, and beyond).
    — pro­vid­ing options for old­er adults to main­tain eco­nom­ic inde­pen­dence.
    — how to lever­age emerg­ing com­put­er-based cog­ni­tive assess­ments as base­line and to inform diag­no­sis and treat­ment.

    More sug­ges­tions?

  6. William McPeck says:

    In this age of infor­ma­tion over­load, seems to me one of the great­est chal­lenges we face is how to make best use of what we already know. We need to take the infor­ma­tion we cur­rent­ly know about the brain and aging, along with what we have yet to learn and put it into a format(s)that can be wide­ly dis­sem­i­nat­ed for use by the great­est num­ber of peo­ple. Com­ing from the work­site well­ness are­na, I won­der how employ­ers might best use this infor­ma­tion, par­tic­u­lar­ly as our work­force ages. How might health­care orga­ni­za­tions best use what we already know, par­tic­u­lar­ly our long term care facil­i­ties? How might com­mu­ni­ty pub­lic health and social ser­vice agen­cies best use the infor­ma­tion? What are cur­rent evi­dence based best prac­tices and how might they be used across the var­i­ous venues? While new research endeav­ors are impor­tant, let’s make sure we put to the best use pos­si­ble what we already know, and I am not con­vinced we are cur­rent­ly doing that. Hope­ful­ly you will share with us your final prod­uct…

  7. Thank you William, I agree with your assess­ment. Focus­ing on imple­ment­ing and scal­ing best prac­tices is as impor­tant as new research.

    I will be hap­py to share my “action­able idea”, and have asked the orga­niz­ers what oth­er infor­ma­tion I can share (oth­er par­tic­i­pants are writ­ing sim­i­lar essays, and then we are work­ing as a group). This is going to be a very stim­u­lat­ing, and we hope impact­ful, ini­tia­tive. Thank you for your thoughts.

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