Skip to content ↓

Industry Summit to Draw Leaders from 53 Nations

About 800 business, government and academic leaders from 53 countries will begin arriving Thursday for The Industry Summit, an intense four-day conference based at MIT.

From North and South America, Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia, experts on 11 key industries will hold more than 100 meetings through Sunday in an unprecedented program jointly organized by the World Economic Forum and MIT, in collaboration with Harvard University. A limited number of badges are available at the MIT campus to admit members of the MIT and Harvard communities and the press to about half the meetings. (See other article for details, and remember that all persons, including participataing speakers, must have a form of identification with them.) A full program of the quasi-public plenary sessions, interactive sessions and faculty briefings was published last week in a special edition of MIT Tech Talk; copies are available at the Student Center Information Desk, the Information Center in Lobby 7, the News Office and, on Thursday, at the Building 7 news stands. Familiar names among the participants include United Nations Secretary General Boutros-Boutros Ghali, French oceanographer Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld, US Senator from Massachusetts John F. Kerry, former Massachusetts Governor (and 1988 Democratic presidential candidate) Michael S. Dukakis, former US Senator from Massachusetts (and 1992 candidate in the Democratic presidential primaries) Paul Tsongas, New York Stock Exchange Chairman William H. Donaldson, and a number of chief executive officers of the world's largest corporations. About a dozen members of US President Bill Clinton's administration will take part, including former MIT provost John M. Deutch, now the undersecretary of defense for acquisition and technology.

The summit will begin Thursday with a 6pm plenary session in Kresge Auditorium on "The Role for National Government in Global Industry." The session will be chaired by MIT President Charles M. Vest and Dr. Klaus Schwab, president of the World Economic Forum, Geneva, Switzerland. The World Economic Forum is an independent, nonprofit institution dedicated to bringing leaders from business, government and the sciences into a global partnership for economic and social progress.

Discussing the topic will be Sir Leon Brittan, vice president of the Commission of the European Communities; Hisashi Owada, vice minister of foreign affairs, Japan; Percy Barnevik, president and CEO of ABB (Asea Brown Boveri, Ltd., of Switzerland and Henry B. Schact, Chairman and CEO of Cummins Engine Co., Inc., of Indiana.

On Friday, the summit activity will shift to Harvard-where classes have not yet begun-for private industry working sessions in the morning and quasi-public "interactive sessions" in the afternoon involving topics affecting a wide group of industries. The summit will conduct parallel programs for these 11 industries: Automotive; Energy; Engineering and Construction; Financial Services; Food and Agro; Health; Information Technologies; Media and Communications; Mining and Metals; Textile Trade and Industry; and Transportation and Logistics.

Dr. Vest will chair a 2:00pm panel Friday on "Technology and National Competitive Strategy," featuring John H. Gibbons, assistant to President Bill Clinton for science and technology; US Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.); Institute Professor Robert M. Solow, Nobel Prize winning economist; and Boris Saltykov, minister of science, higher education and technological policy, Russian Federation.

Later in the afternoon, Professor Michael Dertouzos, former chairman of the 16-faculty MIT Commission on Industrial Productivity Commission and co-autbor of the commission's noted 1989 MIT study, "Made in America -Regaining the Productive Edge" will chair a session summarizing similar studies that have been done in Japan, France and Sweden.

On Saturday, the topic of the 8am plenary session at MIT's Kresge Auditorium is "Ecological Governance: Who Is In Charge?" Chairing that session will be Harvard President Neil Rudenstine and MIT Provost Mark S. Wrighton. The panelists include Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the French oceanographer; Nitin Desai, United Nations undersecretary general for policy and sustainable development; and Maurice Strong, secretary general of the 1992 U.N. conference on environment and development in Rio de Janeiro and chairman/CEO of Ontario Hydro. Interactive sessions will be held in the afternoon.

The summit will conclude Sunday with a keynote speech by Dr. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Secretary General of the United Nations in an 11 a.m. plenary session in Kresge Auditorium focusing on "The New World Divide: Is Technology the Gap or the Bridge?" The session will be chaired by Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld and Professor Fred Moavenzadeh, who has directed MIT's Industry Summit efforts involving scores of faculty and staff over the past seven months. The panelists will include Robert B. Palmer, president and CEO of Digital Equipment Corp., and Dr. Saltykov, the Russian minister of science, higher education and technological policy.

Dr. Vest said in a message to the MIT community last week, "The Industry Summit is a prime example of the way MIT can play a leadership role in addressing the issues surrounding the basic transformations occurring in industry today. By providing opportunities for new and renewed intellectual dialogue between our faculty and corporate leaders, this meeting will help to ground our relevant teaching and research programs with the world of practice, and will reinforce our rapidly emerging strength in industrial sector studies and our long tradition of cross-disciplinary and policy-oriented scholarship.

"The Summit will, as well, create a forum for a large number of America's industrial leaders to work with each other and with their colleagues around the world on the complex economic, environmental and social challenges facing industry today," Dr. Vest said.

A version of this article appeared in the September 8, 1993 issue of MIT Tech Talk (Volume 38, Number 5).

Related Topics

More MIT News