TIANJIN, People’s Republic of China – The World Economic Forum celebrated the various communities it has brought together at the eighth Annual Meeting of the New Champions taking place in Tianjin, China. These new champions are transforming science, technology, commerce, civil society and other fields with their innovations and commitment to make a difference.
“We are all the new champions,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum. “Our world needs a new spirit, a much more collaborative spirit, a much more society-oriented spirit.”
One new champion is Stéphane Bancel, President and Founding Chief Executive Officer, Moderna Therapeutics, USA. His biotech company has developed a new way to design and deliver medicines by sending messages to the patient’s cells and allowing them to produce the needed healing proteins. “The patients make their own drugs,” he said.
Ivana Gadjanski, Assistant Professor, Belgrade Metropolitan University, Republic of Serbia, represented the Young Scientists, a community that is reinventing what being a scientist means. She is acquiring knowledge not for knowledge’s sake, but to help people. “Scientists must not be good only in one field,” said Gadjanski, who is also a poet. “It’s being Renaissance-like – you have a blurring of science, technology and maths and a merger of science and entrepreneurship, and also the arts.”
Yobie Benjamin, Co-Founder and Chief Operations Officer, Avegant Corporation, USA, represented the Technology Pioneers. His company developed a device that projects images directly to the retina. It was originally designed to help with military targeting systems, but is now being developed to help the functionally blind. “Someday, they can enjoy the same movies that you can enjoy today,” he said.
Peggy Liu, Chairperson, JUCCCE, People’s Republic of China, is working to bring sustainability to her country. “We have brought the concept of a smart electricity grid to China and have trained 800 mayors and bureau chiefs on how to build sustainable cities,” she said.
She is collaborating with organizations around the world to “giga-scale” their sustainability solutions for China. It’s a difficult task given the country’s 1.3 billion population and massive geography. “China is a unique place that matters when it comes to climate change,” she said. “It’s the only battlefield that matters today.”
Marc Freedman, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Encore, USA, represented the Social Entrepreneurs, while Matsi Modise, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, South African Black Entrepreneurs Forum, South Africa, represented the Global Shapers, the community of emerging leaders in their twenties. “The innovations in medicine, technology and commerce have to be met with social innovation that leads to sustainable societies,” said Freedman.
The eighth Annual Meeting of the New Champions is taking place on 10-12 September 2014. More than 1,900 participants from 90 countries are taking part.
A select group of business leaders from the Forum’s Member companies will act as Mentors at the Meeting. They are: Jean-Pierre Bourguignon, President, European Research Council, Belgium; Natarajan Chandrasekaran, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Tata Consultancy Services, India; Dong Mingzhu, Chairperson and President, Gree Electric Appliances of Zhuhai, People’s Republic of China; Paul E. Jacobs, Executive Chairman, Qualcomm, USA; Max Levchin, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, HVF, USA; Young Global Leader; Kevin P. Ryan, Founder and Chairman, Gilt Groupe, USA; and Subra Suresh, President, Carnegie Mellon University, USA.