Great Narrative Meeting: Here are some of the most prominent names taking part

Internationally influential thought leaders, innovators, futurists to discuss future directions in vital, human-centred sectors

By SM Ayaz Zakir

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Published: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 8:22 PM

Last updated: Thu 11 Nov 2021, 8:29 PM

The Great Narrative Meeting, held in collaboration between the UAE government and World Economic Forum on Thursday and Wednesday, brings together some of the most influential thought leaders, innovators and futurists from all over the world to discuss future directions in vital, human-centred sectors.

The participants come from various backgrounds and sectors, including economy, engineering and biotechnology, manufacturing, urban design, government management, physics, environment and sustainability, education, innovation, technology, energy, infrastructure, and digital transformation.

These are some of the most prominent names who will be taking part in the two-day discussions:

Carlo Ratti

Carlo Ratti is the director of the MIT SENSEable City Lab, Department of Urban Studies and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Cities of Tomorrow. He is a founding partner of the international design and innovation office CRA - Carlo Ratti Associati and was involved in the launch of several companies in the USA and Europe.

Ratti acts as a special adviser to the European Commission and serves as a member of the Global Future Council on Cities of Tomorrow.

Jagjit Singh Srai

Jagjit Singh Srai is the head of the Centre for International Manufacturing within the University of Cambridge’s Institute for Manufacturing. His research focuses on the analysis, design and operation of international production, supply and service networks.

Helena Vieira

Helena Vieira is the managing editor, London School Economy’s Business Review and is the current director general of maritime policy under the Minister of the Sea in Portugal. She has over 20 years of professional experience both in academic, industry and political backgrounds, holding lecturer, expert, management and coordination positions in the fields of life and ocean sciences and bioeconomy.

Dambisa Moyo

Dambisa Moyo is a global economist, Mild Storm Group. She holds an undergraduate degree in chemistry; MBA in finance from the American University, a Master’s degree from Harvard University; and a PhD in economics from Oxford University. She is the author of many bestselling books.

Megan Palmer

Dr Megan J. Palmer is the executive director of bio policy and leadership initiatives at Stanford University. She leads research, teaching and engagement programs to explore how biological science and engineering are shaping our societies, and guide innovation to serve public interests. She is also an adjunct professor and works closely with groups across the university and with stakeholders in academia, government, industry and civil society around the world.

Michio Kaku

Dr Michio Kaku, theoretical physicist at the City College of New York, is one of the world’s most widely recognized figures in the field of science and future trends prediction affecting business, commerce, finance and technology. He has also written many international best sellers, including ‘The Future of the Mind: The Scientific Quest to Understand, Enhance, and Empower the Mind’.

Ngaire Woods

Ngaire Woods is the Dean of Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Frontier Risks. She holds a BA in Economics and in Law, Auckland University, MPhil and DPhil, University of Oxford.


Sadhguru is the founder of Isha Foundation, and yogi, mystic, visionary and bestselling author and influences a large portion of the public to advocate for and take direct, local action for developing climate solutions. Three decades ago, Sadhguru founded Isha Foundation, a non-profit organization with human well-being as its core commitment.

Suzanne Fortier

Suzanne Fortier is the Vice-Chancellor, McGill University, Canada, Co-Chair of the GFC on the New Agenda for Education and Skills. She serves as the Vice-Principal and Vice-Principal-Academic at McGill University since 2013. She is Specially Elected Fellow, Royal Society of Canada and serves as the Vice-Chair of Science, Technology and Innovation Council.

Eric Parrado

Eric Parrado is the Chief Economist and General Manager of Research Department, Inter-American Development Bank; and the Co-Chair of the GFC on Frontier Risk. He held many international consultant positions for central banks and governments of Colombia, Guyana, Mongolia, Nigeria, Panama and Papua New Guinea on fiscal policy and implementation of sovereign wealth funds.

Freeke Heijman

Freeke Heijman is founding director of Quantum Delta NL, the foundation that runs the Dutch national Quantum Initiative. The board of directors is responsible for the 615 ME government funding for programs of research & development, education, and research facilities. Freeke has been active in the field of Quantum since 2013 as a special advisor to the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy.

Nandita Parshad

Nandita Parshad is the managing director, Sustainable Infrastructure Group, European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), London; she heads a group of 200 staff covering the energy, transport, social infrastructure, and municipal infrastructure sectors worldwide. She held several senior positions at the EBRD.

Jun Murai

Jun Murai is Professor at Keio University, special advisor to the Japan Cabinet, and advisor to the Japanese Digital Agency. He chairs and serves on many other governmental committees and numerous international scientific associations. He was inducted into Internet Hall of Fame in 2013 and received the Knight of the Legion of Honor by the French Government in 2019.

Landry Signé

Professor Landry Signé is a senior fellow in the Global Economy and Development Program and Africa Growth Initiative at the Brookings Institution, a distinguished fellow at Stanford University’s Center for African Studies, and founding chairman of the award-winning think tank/do tank Global Network for Africa’s Prosperity. He works as a special adviser to world leaders on international and African affairs.

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