Scholars Attend the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference

Published 05/25/2018 in Program Updates
Written 05/25/2018

(05/25/2018) The Milken Institute’s Global Conference is one of the premier business conferences attended by world leaders.  Because it brings together such a unique collection of leaders in the private, public, and nonprofit sectors, it is often referred to as the “Davos of the West.”  Six Milken Scholars applied for and received three-day passes to the 2018 Milken Institute Global Conference: Kaley Zeitouni, MS ’04; Mamta Patel, ’05; Quingan Zhou, MS ’06; Manavjeet Sidhu, MS ’06; Kennedy Agwamba, MS ’12; and Sarah Hsu, MS ’13.  An additional four Scholars received a full single-day pass: Daniel Adomian, MS ’03; Nina Sawhney, MS ’06; Harley Geffner, MS ’13; and Steven Lee, MS ’13.

The theme of this year’s Global Conference was Navigating a World in Transition.  Scholars attended a variety of panels that addressed the theme, including The Future of Health, Investing in Climate Action, Artificial Intelligence: Beyond the Robot Singularity, and Education, Elevate Empower: Investing in Girls and Women, just to name a few.  High profile speakers included the likes of Al Gore, Ashley Judd, Steve Ballmer, Tom Brady, Jane Goodall, Jerry Yang, Tony Blair, David Petraeus, Paul Ryan, Alex Rodriguez, Cory Book, and, of course, Michael Milken.  Even the famous sculpture, Fearless Girl, was in attendance! 

Scholars not only attended sessions and workshops, but had the opportunity to mingle with both guest speakers and other attendees—many whose resumes were nearly as impressive as the speakers themselves.  In the words of Mamta Patel, MS ’05:

From attending sessions such as "Strategy and Leadership in an Age of Disruption" that were geared towards my career as a Talent & Organization Strategy Manager, to Al Gore's presentation on "The Sustainability Revolution" that were geared towards my personal passions, I found that this year's Milken Institute Global Conference not only challenged me to think differently about the global challenges we are facing, but also provided actionable solutions to those problems.  As a professional focused on the "future of work", some of the breakout sessions that focused on the role that higher education will play in the future and the impact that AI and machine learning will have on the future workforce were highly relevant topics for me.  Personally, I am a sustainability advocate and was very ecstatic that the conference had leading experts in this space (Al Gore, Jane Goodall) and had sessions focused on biodiversity, climate action, and alternative proteins. Very rarely (unless you count the Milken Scholars Summit, of course!) do we have the opportunity to be in the presence of leading industry experts, politicians, educators, scientists, celebrities, and so many more all at one conference.  For that, I am truly grateful for the opportunity that the Milken Institute provides for Milken Scholars to attend the Global Conference.

Manav Sidhu, MS ’06, echoed those sentiments:

The Milken Institute's 2018 Global Conference is an experience that I will remember for many years to come. I don't think there is any other conference where leaders in such diverse fields come together to give insights into how the world is changing.  Through the multitude of panels, fireside chats, and interviews it became clear that although there are problems that ail us as a society, many talented individuals are working on ambitious solutions for these problems.  A personal take away from this year’s conference is that we as individuals have the potential and ability to make what may start out as a mere idea into a reality.      

Sarah Hsu, MS ’13, summed up her experience as follows:

As one of the youngest Milken Scholars in attendance, the 2018 Global Conference opened my eyes to whole new industries and fields I had never been exposed to. The plethora of philanthropists, politicians, and leaders introduced me to the abundance of impact opportunities in the works to target the world’s most pressing problems. More specifically, the conference left me with a profound message that through collaboration between academia, business, finance, tech, and government, many of these advances can be accelerated exponentially.

I would be remiss if I did not also underscore the value of having the small group of Milken Scholars and staff at the conference as another source of wisdom and support. Sharing stories about topics from sessions we missed to career trajectories and balancing work, life, and family values left me with a renewed evaluation of my own career and life goals. The conference left me with an immense wealth of knowledge and information, but it also left me with a new network of both Scholars and speakers who have already provided me with new opportunities and ideas I could have never tapped into myself.

Inspired by this year’s Global Conference theme, the Milken Scholars Program has decided to model its upcoming July Milken Scholars Summit after the Global Conference.  The theme for the Summit will also be Navigating a World in Transition.  Scholars from across the country—including undergraduates, graduate students, and working professionals—will come together for four days of workshops and high profile guest speakers.  We are excited to build off of the positive momentum from this year’s Global Conference and help our Milken Scholars navigate a world in transition!


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