Speakers in the news 20th April

1) Janan Ganesh

  • Janan Ganesh is a political columnist for the Financial Times, and gives his incisive take on UK politics in a weekly column. Janan’s analysis of the Coalition Government and the dynamics behind UK political debate has been described as “forensic” and “incisive”. Previously, Janan was a political correspondent for The Economist for five years, and a research fellow at Policy Exchange, the influential London think tank for two. Regularly appearing on TV and radio, Janan Ganesh has a weekly slot on BBC 1′s Sunday Politics and is a frequent commentator on BBC 4′s Westminster Hour. His book “George Osborne: The Austerity Chancellor” (Biteback Publishing, 2012), was the first published biography of George Osborne, the UK chancellor. Janan also co-authored “Compassionate Conservatism” with Jesse Norman MP (Policy Exchange, 2006). In 2013, Janan was a finalist in the British Journalism Awards “Politics Journalist of the Year”.
  • There has been a lot of talk in Britain about the need for a new centrist political party. This week, Janan Ganesh talked to FT editor Lionel Barber about whether this is something that could happen. ”Ever since Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France in 2017 at the head of a completely new centre party, sympathisers in this country have wondered whether they could pull off the same trick. And the problem is that the French electoral system is completely different. It’s presidential. We have a parliamentary system where you field candidates in 600-plus constituencies. And there’s also a pretty strong partisan tradition in this country. The Labour party dates back to the Industrial Revolution and the emergence of a working class. The Conservative party is one of the oldest in the democratic world. And so you’re trying to break through a lot of cultural, but also structural resistance in the British system.”

2)  Mo Gawdat

  • Mo Gawdat is the former Chief Business Officer for X, previously Google X, and is a leading global expert in technology and innovation with the world’s most advanced organization for breakthrough technology. Mo joined Google in 2007, after many successful years at Microsoft, and managed Google’s business in over 50 countries, focusing on his biggest passion; Emerging Markets and the considerable challenges they face with embracing innovation. Prior to becoming Chief Business Officer at Google X, Mo served as the Vice President of Business Innovation. Remarkably, Mo started close to half of Google’s operations worldwide. The latest being his role on Project Loon; an ambitious attempt to use high altitude balloons to provide affordable internet access to the remaining 5 billion people for whom today’s existing technology has proven too expensive or too complex to reach.

  • With tech development accelerating at an exponential clip, the world’s headed for science fiction to become reality. Speaking at the Credit Suisse Global Megatrends Conference in Singapore, Mo said rapid progress that has been made in a few major areas, including artificial intelligence. Technological fields to watch, he said, are robotics, machine learning, life sciences, blockchain, virtual reality and augmented reality.”Control is an illusion … there is no control, especially if you are trying to control a species that is much smarter than you are.”

3) Jennifer Zhu Scott

  • Jennifer Zhu Scott is the co-founder and principal of Radian Blockchain Ventures and Radian Partners, a private investment firm for family offices and UHNWIs focusing on Artificial Intelligence, the Blockchain, and renewable energy. Prior, she was head of business development and strategy in APAC for Thomson Reuters and led the firm’s speech-to-text, deep search, video-indexing projects. She co-founded one of the first education companies in China and exited before moving to UK as a senior advisor to the education subsidiary of Daily Mail & General Trust. In 2014, Jennifer was appointed as one of the 18 council members of China Council convened by the Global Agenda Council, the World Economic Forum’s think tank. In 2016, WEF re-appointed her to be one of 20 members of the Council of The Future of Blockchain. In 2013, Jennifer Zhu Scott was honoured by WEF as a Young Global Leader. Jennifer studied Applied Mathematics at Sichuan University and holds an MBA in Finance with Manchester Business School, where she was awarded as a Distinguished Alumni. In 2013, she went to Yale University to complete the public policy and leadership program, Harvard Kennedy School in 2016, and Oxford University in 2017. She is a judge for New York Design Awards, London Design Awards, and an Academy Member of Global Teacher Prize. Jennifer is China Fellow of Aspen Institute and a permanent member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network.
  • This week, Jennifer discussed the tech sector and the importance of data ownership. She appears with Matt Miller and Guy Johnson on “Bloomberg Markets: European Open.”Jennifer says,  ‘For Facebook users furious about the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, there are currently two options to protest and protect your data: stay and have little control over your data privacy, or leave and forfeit the convenience and connectivity social media brings. But what if there was a third option? What if the companies profiting from user-generated data had to pay you for it? What if each user got to decide whom to sell their data to, and at what price?It is time to discuss individual data ownership—the most fundamental digital-property right.’

 

 

4)  Janet Mock

  • Janet Mock is a writer, TV host and advocate whose memoir, Redefining Realness, broke ground as the first biography written from the perspective of a trans girl. It debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list in 2014. Her second book, Surpassing Certainty, a memoir about her twenties, was released in June, 2017 with Atria Books. She is a sought-after speaker who gave a rousing speech at the history-making Women’s March on Washington; an advocate for trans women who founded #GirlsLikeUs and #TransBookDrive; the host of the interview podcast, Never Before, with Lenny Letter; and a contributing editor at Allure, where she writes the column, “Beauty Beyond Binaries.”A millennial media powerhouse, Janet began her career at People.com (People magazine’s website), where she worked for five years. She has since worked as a correspondent for Entertainment Tonight (interviewing Queen LatifahJeffrey Tambor), a contributing editor for Marie Claire magazine (for which she wrote the November 2016 cover story on Nicki Minaj), and a host for MSNBC, where she helmed the groundbreaking series — “So POPular!”— interviewing Lena DunhamSalma HayekIssa Rae, and Amber Rose. She also hosted the Global Citizen Festival (2015) and will executive-produce and front the 2017 MSNBC original series, “Beyond My Body.” Janet also produced, conducted all interviews and introduced the HBO documentary, The Trans List, with photographer and director Timothy Greenfield-Sanders.
  •  Janet has been named in TIME’s Magazine as one of the world’s most influential people. TIME said, ”Janet Mock is one of the most visible and important voices in activism—not just for the trans community, but for women, people of color, LGBTQ people and marginalized communities everywhere. From her brilliant books (Redefining Realness and Surpassing Certainty) to her invigorating speeches, she does not placate bigotry or misogyny by approaching it politely, as if there are two sides to equality. She fights for people who have not been fortunate enough to be accepted for who they are. It is a never-ending battle, and she does not waver in the face of it.’

5) Toomas Ilves

  • Toomas Hendrik Ilves served as President of Estonia from 2006 to 2016. In this post, he was key in driving the initiatives in e-government and cyber security for which the country has been acknowledged as a world-leader. Educated in the United States, President Ilves graduated from Columbia University in New York City in 1976 and received his Master’s degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. In 1984 he moved to Europe, to work at the office of Radio Free Europe in Munich, Germany, first as a researcher and foreign policy analyst and later as the Head of the Estonian Desk. From 1993 to 1996, Ilves served in Washington as the Ambassador of the Republic of Estonia to the United States of America and Canada. During this time he initiated with education minister Jaak Aaviksoo the Tiger Leap initiative to computerize and connect all Estonian schools online. From 1996 to 1998, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs. After a brief period as Chairman of the North Atlantic Institute in 1998, he was again appointed Minister of Foreign Affairs, serving until 2002. From 2002 to 2004, Ilves was a Member of the Estonian Parliament; in 2004 he was elected a Member of the European Parliament, where he was vice-president of the Foreign Affairs Committee. As an MEP, he initiated the Baltic Sea Strategy that later was implemented as official regional policy of the European Union.
  • This week, Toomas sat down with Benjamin Wittes and Megan Reiss to talk about the use of social media by the presidents of the United States and Estonia, election interference, cybersecurity cooperation, and the digitisation of Estonia. 
Speakers We Admire