As I start to comb through the attendance list of the Summit, I find myself excited to see the shape of the conversations that will begin here tomorrow. Almost a thousand of the world’s smartest people have descended upon the Madinat Jumeirah Convention Centre – a modern kasbah. I recognize many of the names on the lists of the various councils – typically they are people who I have long admired for their personal and professional achievements. I am hopeful that this gathering of some of the world’s greatest minds, attempting to digest the current state of affairs, will yield tangible results that will increase the quality of life for the masses. The mood becomes more reverent as I walk around the Global Agenda Councils’ meeting space.
John Roberts is currently the President (pro tempore) of the Open University of West Africa. He has a Diploma in Cuisine and Pastry from Le Cordon Bleu, a Bachelors in International Affairs from the American University of Paris, and a Masters in Public Policy from the National University of Singapore. He studied at Tel Aviv University for a summer during his undergraduate, and at SciencesPo for a semester during his masters. He is on leave from his Doctorate in Education at Pepperdine University in order to focus on his work with the Open University of West Africa. He has worked in Niger with the World Food Program, co-founded a non-profit organization, and a social enterprise. He is a Global Shaper at the World Economic Forum, Member of the Sandbox Network, a Fellow at the Kairos Society, as well as at Power of Youth. His research has focused on development assitance, education, Africa’s role in geo-political affiars, and technology’s role in economic growth. He has traveled extensively throughout the world, speaks fluent French, basic Spanish, and basic Mandarin. He is an avid hiker, enjoys surfing, and creating art.