A Better Future for Girls and Women: Empowering the Next Generation
From women’s suffrage movements in the early 20th century to the Arab Spring, countless exceptional women have redefined their role in the world on their own terms. Yet the reality for many girls and women is still stark: over 60 million girls still do not have access to primary education, approximately 10 million women die each year due to nonexistent or low-quality healthcare, and three out of every four war fatalities are women or children. The education and empowerment of girls and women is not only a moral issue—it is also a critical economic issue. Ensuring access to education, financial capital, and political participation for women is among the most impactful strategies for advancing long-term sustainable development. From the creation of all-girls schools to women-run microcredit cooperatives, how can students and universities support the projects that are working to empower girls and women? This panel will bring together practitioners and pioneers who will explore the tangible ways in which young people can continue to build a better future for girls and women around the world.
Billions of Drops in the Bucket: Engaging Women in Water Solutions
Ann W. Olin Women's Building
Clean water shortages—due to pollution, disappearing resources, or lack of infrastructure—affect over 1.6 billion people around the world. Scientists predict that climate change will only exacerbate these conditions, the effects of which are especially acute on women. In most regions of the world, women serve as the primary managers of the local and household water supply and sanitation. Yet women hold title to under two percent of the world’s private land. How could equitable access to water serve as a powerful tool for poverty alleviation and gender equality, and what leadership roles could women have in the water management and sanitation sectors moving forward? This panel will combine environmental policy and project-based expertise to explore how students can take part in initiatives that not only mitigate the effects of water scarcity, global warming, and water contamination on women, but also empower women to serve as leaders for sustainable local, regional, and global water management.
Ensuring Medication Safety: The Overlooked Epidemic of Prescription Drug Misuse
Ridgley Hall & Holmes Lounge
Every day for the past decade, approximately 6,000 Americans started misusing prescription drugs, and more than one-third of these new users were under the age of 18. Prescribed by doctors and tested by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, many people perceive prescription drugs as ‘safe’ and not harmful to share with friends and families. This lack of awareness of the potentially dangerous side effects of prescription drugs—and their escalating abuse—seems to only be recognized in the wake of a tragic outcome. And deaths from unintentional drug overdoses continue to rise: from 1999 to 2009, the number of deaths from narcotic pain pills in the U.S. nearly quadrupled to 15,597—more than those from heroin and cocaine combined. However, there is a renewed focus on increasing public awareness on this issue, and a myriad of new interventions are being developed to identify and support those in need. This panel will highlight successful strategies for combating prescription drug misuse and explore how students can harness their universities’ resources to accelerate action in prevention and treatment efforts on this issue.
Poverty and Promise in America's Rust Belt
Across America’s Rust Belt region, economies that have traditionally relied on manufacturing have experienced a devastating decline. Characterized by high unemployment, high crime, and staggering population outflow—in some cities the population has decreased by more than half in the last 50 years—communities in this region are struggling with a new level and understanding of poverty. Yet there are also signs of economic renewal and possibility in these areas. Several states have seen impressive declines in unemployment, as non-traditional employers are moving in to provide thousands of new jobs. Students and young people are building on this momentum with creative initiatives to tackle poverty, including urban farming, investment in women employees, and microfinance. What unique solutions exist for the Rust Belt region, and what lessons could be learned from international poverty alleviation efforts? This panel will discuss how to scale and replicate existing successes in the Rust Belt across the region, and how to apply these lessons on campuses and in communities around the world.
Reinventing STEM: How Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Can Help Address Global Challenges
Knight Executive Education & Conference Center
While STEM education has been widely recognized as a critical determinant of innovation and economic competitiveness around the world, many opportunities still exist to make STEM education more relevant, engaging, and effective for students. There is growing recognition that directly applying STEM knowledge and training can enable students to have a tangible impact on some of the most pressing concerns facing the world today. To that end, an increasing number of educators, NGO leaders, and government officials are using attempts to solve “grand challenges” as models for applying STEM education in new ways. These grand challenges range from providing access to clean water to making solar energy more economical, and allow students to boost their job prospects and realize the necessity of STEM degrees in our world today. How can STEM education become even more relevant and attract those from the most marginalized and underrepresented populations? This panel will explore how STEM education can simultaneously prepare students for both the jobs of tomorrow and solve the grand challenges of the 21st century.
The Human Rights Information Revolution
Both before and after the Arab Spring, it was evident that the Internet had become a powerful tool for human rights activism and expanding access to information. Recently, the United Nations identified Internet access as a human right in itself, and affirmed that “the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice." Internet access has fundamentally changed human rights advocacy and activism—it has increased the capacity of victims and witnesses to report violations of rights, and it has provided tools to mobilize mass responses to such violations. What are some of the most powerful examples of digital human rights activism, and how are citizens and entrepreneurs effectively increasing internet access around the world? This panel will explore how the Internet is both a human right and a tool for human rights, and will examine new tools and strategies for digital reporting, law enforcement, and stakeholder mobilization.
Solutions without Borders: Working with Unlikely Allies
In an age of increasing global interdependence, the challenges facing the world require more than economic or technological solutions alone: they also require cooperation, civility, and trust. Countless students and social innovators are working across traditional boundaries of nation, class, religion, and worldview to create transformative social change. Israeli and Palestinian entrepreneurs are partnering to launch a wind power company in the disputed territories; Democrats and Republicans continue to work together to fund PEPFAR and boost the availability of antiretrovirals around the world; and youth living in conflict-ridden zones from Northern Ireland to the West Bank are building unity through the power of sports. Expanding on these efforts, how can students put aside their own agendas, work with unlikely allies, and build more effective partnerships with their commitments? What are the real and even dangerous challenges that arise when working beyond traditional cultural, religious, political, or economic boundaries? This panel will convene notable entrepreneurs and policymakers who are proving the value of cooperation over conflict.
Going Digital in Education
Knight Executive Education & Conference Center
As the digital world enables us to share more information at faster rates than ever before, many underlying assumptions about formal education are changing dramatically. Courses once only offered at elite colleges are now accessible to students around the world through the Internet. Recent developments in information and communications technology are enhancing the ways in which teachers can deliver material to their students, while simultaneously expanding the ways students can demonstrate what they are learning. Social networking allows students around the globe to share ideas with each other and build new solutions collectively. But many education systems are slower to change than the rapidly evolving digital environment. As digital natives, young people themselves are on the cutting edge of not only participating in education through technology, but also developing new uses of technology to support education. How can we leverage technology to provide students both young and old with more opportunities to learn? This panel will discuss how we can use technology to improve the quality of education and provide all students and learners with access to effective teaching.
Modern Day Slavery: How Do We End Human Trafficking?
Human trafficking is the third most profitable criminal activity in the world, accounting for more than $7 billion in annual revenue. Today, human trafficking, slavery, and involuntary migration quietly ensnare the lives of an estimated 25 million people, 61 percent of which are women and children. Approximately 700,000 to four million people are trafficked across international borders each year, and up to 50 percent of them are minors. This is not an issue that affects developing countries exclusively. Each year, an estimated 50,000 women and children are trafficked into the United States. The number of U.S. citizens trafficked within the country each year is even higher, with nearly 200,000 American children at risk for trafficking into forced labor and the sex industry. This panel will assess the major issues surrounding trafficking, highlight the progress the human rights community has made, and explore how young people can continue to effectively combat trafficking.
Powering the Future: Reimagining Electricity
Ann W. Olin Women's Building
The global demand for electricity is growing exponentially, as more people connect to urban grids, developing countries expand their industrial sectors, and sophisticated technologies enhance our ability to extract natural resources from the planet. Addressing this demand in the face of global warming and other environmental and economic challenges is one of the most critical questions of the coming decades. With options ranging from fracking to solar energy, what are the cleanest and most cost-effective sources of electricity? What next generation innovations are already being developed, and what business models can accelerate the adoption of these new, sustainable technologies? This panel will draw on the expertise of energy innovators who will offer ideas for how students can reimagine and reinvent the future of electricity.
Solving the Global Sanitation Crisis
Ridgley Hall & Holmes Lounge
Today, more people around the world have access to a mobile phone than a toilet. An estimated 2.5 billion people lack access to clean and safe bathrooms, resulting in diarrheal diseases that kill more children than AIDS, malaria, and measles combined. Many developing country governments simply do not have the financial or human capital to deliver improved sanitation to everyone who needs it. Furthermore, many development programs that strive to provide sanitation often fail to have the impact and sustainability needed to scale, and instead distort the market for innovation in the sanitation field. To truly move the needle on this challenge, profitable sanitation services need to be developed so that businesses—rather than nonprofits—can expand access to coverage in ways that will not only increase their profit margins, but also make a major public health impact. This panel will focus on how students can get involved in market creation for sanitation enterprises and will highlight recent innovations and business models that have already been developed by young leaders.
The Rise of Makeshift Innovation
Around the world, approximately 2.6 billion people live on less than two dollars per day. For many of these people, the costs of basic services are so high that they have no choice but to innovate to make ends meet. Such constraint-based innovation has sparked a grassroots industrial revolution around the world. With production equipment available more widely and at lower costs than ever before and access to information increasing with the growing use of mobile phones, the poor are seizing the tools available to them to engineer solutions uniquely tailored to their problems. From bicycle-powered corn mills in Guatemala to scrap-metal stoves in Cameroon, this panel will highlight how the poor are gaining access to the tools they need and learning to apply them creatively in conditions of resource scarcity. This panel will discuss how students and other young innovators can learn from this form of entrepreneurship and put it to use on their campuses and in their communities.