Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, No. 3, February 15, 2013


President Jackson and Professor Hendler Participate in World Economic Forum

Rensselaer President Shirley Ann Jackson and World Wide Web expert and Rensselaer Professor Jim Hendler joined global leaders in government, business, academe, media, and the arts at the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2013 Annual Meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s meeting,
focusing on “Resilient Dynamism,” was held Jan. 23 to 27.

President Jackson, a member of the WEF Science Advisory Committee and the WEF-USA Board, moderated a session on “Global Supply Chain Resilience,” focusing on new approaches in risk management.

Professor Hendler, head of the Computer Science Department and a senior constellation professor in the Tetherless World Constellation at Rensselaer, participated in an IdeasLab titled “Cyber Resiliency,” and on a panel titled “Science: The Next Revolution.”

“The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity to set the goals and enhance the interconnections that help strengthen our various and collective institutions.” —President Jackson

President Jackson also hosted a reception for Rensselaer alumni and others participating in the World Economic Forum.

The World Economic Forum describes itself as “an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.”

In an announcement of the meeting agenda, Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum, said, “To be resilient is to adapt to changing contexts, withstand sudden shocks, and recover from them while still pursuing critical goals. We face a new reality of sudden shocks and prolonged global economic malaise, particularly in major economies experiencing economic austerity. Future growth in this new context requires dynamism—bold vision and even bolder action. Either attribute—resilience or dynamism—alone is insufficient, as leadership in 2013 will require both; thus, the theme of ‘Resilient Dynamism.’”

President Jackson said, “We gather at an important inflection point both in the United States and around the world. New technologies and other new tools make it more possible and more essential for universities, businesses, and governments, along with NGOs, to collaborate in new ways to chart a sustainable path forward. Scientific discovery and technological innovation are at the core of the solutions to many of the great challenges and opportunities of our time. Universities play a significant, though perhaps under-recognized, role in generating the ideas and sparking the innovations that drive the global economy and sustain our security. The World Economic Forum’s annual meeting offers an unparalleled opportunity to set the goals and enhance the interconnections that can help strengthen our various and collective institutions as we work to meet the challenges and tap the opportunities before us.”

Professor Hendler, whose research seeks to expand the utility of the World Wide Web, serves as an “Internet Web Expert” for the U.S. government, providing guidance to the project. Hendler said, “When thinking about resiliency and the Web, one needs to understand that it is a socio-technical construct—a technical network of computers that affects a social network of people—two very different networks. Currently we have a disconnect that needs to be bridged to make the Web a safer place, as well as to understand the societal effects of the Web.”

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 7, Number 3, February 15, 2013
Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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