A few weeks ago, I traveled to Switzerland for the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. It might seem an unlikely destination for the president of Yale, but my invitation to the forum was to attend a meeting of global university leaders, who came together to examine the challenges facing higher education and the contributions that we, as universities, make to the world today.
That meeting, and so many others I had over an extraordinary three days in Switzerland, underscored just how much we as an institution can do—and have done—to help address the most pressing challenges of our time: issues like equality, freedom of expression (about which I spoke in an interview with the Huffington Post), access to education, preservation of shared heritage, and innovation in an ever-changing global landscape.
Amidst a whirlwind of talks, meetings, and receptions (nearly 300 people—including Robert Shiller, Sterling Professor of Economics, and Aleh Tsyvinski, the Arthur M. Okun Prof of Economics—joined Vice President Linda Lorimer and me for a gathering of Yale alumni and friends), a personal highlight for me was the opportunity to see Rob Schoelkopf, Sterling Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, headline a session focused on his groundbreaking research into quantum information processing and the technology of future electronics. That same day, I was honored to visit with Secretary of State John Kerry, who graduated from Yale College in 1966. Everywhere I turned, it seemed, I saw shining examples of Yale as a university constantly pushing the boundaries of intellectual inquiry; a university whose alumni are leaders in society; a university always seeking to make a profound difference in the world.
At the World Economic Forum: Konstantin Novoselov, a 2010 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physics, and Rob Schoelkopf, Yale’s Sterling Professor of Physics and Applied Physics, spoke on January 23 in a panel session, “Beyond Moore’s Law.”