Klowden Mike formal

Published July 28, 2014.

I have been privileged to attend 16 annual Milken Institute Global Conferences, from the early days of a few dozen speakers in a single day to this past year's three day marathon, with 650 speakers on 160 panels. At the Institute, we're extremely proud of what the GC has become in the past 17 years. It is one of the world's premier gatherings for leaders in government, industry, finance, education, health and philanthropy – a place where they come not only to gain new insight on issues that directly affect their own work, but to learn from the whole spectrum of human endeavor.

GC participants tell us they find the array of choices stimulating – and a bit overwhelming. For us, that's part of the point: The program is designed to encourage attendees to sample topics far from their own expertise. We, of course, program dozens of sessions on business, finance and health – topics central to our research efforts. But, in synch with our broader mission, we focus as much on human capital as the financial sort. At Global Conference and elsewhere we aim to spur innovative thinking on how human talent and imagination – the true wealth of nations – can be mobilized. Thus, I'd like to share highlights from a few of the many panels from this year's gathering that represented the GC experience at its best.

  • Social Justice, Incarceration, and Re-entry: New Directions for a Better Way delved into the economic and social cost of our current prison system, and pointed to alternatives that would be both more humane and more productive.
  • Women, Leadership and Economic Impact: Is the Story Being Told? explored the imbalance between women's leadership potential and men's continuing domination of the centers of financial and political power. The panelists raised the question of whether the media's "under-telling" of the woman's story is partly responsible for the continuing failure to achieve parity.
  • YesWeCode: Training Next Generation Technologists convened an all-star panel that included Van Jones and Chris Tucker. Their point of departure was the current skills mismatch, when jobs in technology go begging, even as workers in other sectors beg for jobs. The panel also offered insights into how information technology could transform communities and lift up young people in America's urban centers.

I invite you to stream these and all the other GC panels on the Institute's website. From our perspective, the value is not just the insights to be gained from watching, but the inspiration these insights spark among the watchers.

Michael Klowden

CEO and President


Michael Klowden, CEO and President