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MIT Will Organize, Host World Industry Summit

By Jackson Jung
Top international leaders in industry, government, and academia will be meeting in Cambridge this September for a four-day world industry summit. The World Economic Forum, MIT, and Harvard University will organize the summit.

The forum, the first of its kind, will provide opportunities for discussion among the participants on the latest knowledge, trends, technologies, and challenges facing industry. Activities will take place on the MIT and Harvard campuses from Sept. 9-12. The forum was announced Saturday.

According to David R. Lampe '76, associate director of the Industrial Liason Program and editor of the MIT Report, the focus of the summit will be dialogue rather than formal presentations. It will be a "relationship building meeting" where the participants can draw on their particular expertise to contribute to the forum, he said.

The summit will focus on 11 key industrial sectors: automotive, energy, engineering and construction, financial services, food and agriculture, health, information technologies, media and communications, textiles, transportation, and mining, metals, and materials.

Faculty will help plan summit

Fred Moavenzadeh, professor of civil and environmental engineering, will head a team of 30 MIT faculty members who will help plan and organize the program. Moavenzadeh is currently attending the annual World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, Switzerland and could not be reached for comment.

According to Lampe, the ILP expects to play a significant role in the organization of the summit. The majority of the sessions will be open to the community. He also emphasized that efforts will be made to get students involved. Since the summit is still in its planning stages, specific opportunities for students could not be identified yet.

Maria Cattaui, managing director of the World Economic Forum, and MIT President Charles M. Vest announced the summit at a news conference in Davos last Saturday.

Vest said, "The World Industry Summit is a new kind of venture. It is an opportunity for corporate leaders and MIT faculty to share their perspectives on the challenges facing our industries, and to discuss ideas on how to meet them. Participants in the summit will take a broad look at how the latest knowledge, trends, and technologies will affect global industry strategies.

"A fundamental aim of the summit is to develop a common intellectual ground for a continuing dialogue on long-term strategic issues as well as on new models for action among industries, governments, and universities," Vest continued.

Cattaui said, "The partnership with MIT brings together the global business network of the World Economic Forum with some of the best thinking in the world of science, technology, and management."

Massachusetts Governor William F. Weld (R) and Senator John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) also attended the news conference.

Weld said, "In those industries which are expected to be the most prominent in the 21st century, Massachusetts has literally hundreds of companies within its borders. We think this is an environment fit for such a landmark forum as the World Industry Summit."

Kerry added, "I hope this conference will also develop solutions to industrial environmental challenges -- solutions that at the same time create jobs and fuel economic growth."

The World Economic Forum was founded in 1971. It is a networking organization for top leaders in business, government, and academia to encourage the exchange of ideas and the integration of perspectives on major global issues. Its constituents include chief and board-level executives from 800 member companies in 50 countries.

Some of the faculty members expected to participate in planning the summit are: Professor of Political Science Suzanne Berger; Professor Michael L. Dertouzos PhD '64, director of the Laboratory for Computer Science; Professor Nazli Choucri Field, associate director of the Technology and Development Program; Professor Richard K. Lester PhD '80, director of the Industrial Performance Center; Professor Thomas L. Magnanti, co-director of the Operations Research Center; Professor Daniel Roos '61, director of the Center for Technology, Policy, and Industrial Development; Peter M. Senge PhD '78, principal research associate of the Organization Learning Center; and Professor Lester C. Thurow, dean of the Sloan School of Management.