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Friday, April 13, 2018

Closing Plenary

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Session Description

Our proximate future: how will emerging technologies thread us closer, or even rend us deeper? From space travel and next generation storytelling, to reimaginations of education and contextualized data, we’ll look to the horizon for the potential of transformative impact. We round out the Forum with a performance from Lakou Mizik, a multigenerational collective of musicians who survived the devastating Haitian earthquake of 2010 and honor the healing spirit of their cultural roots.

Stephan Chambers, Director, Marshall Institute, London School of Economics
Jess Search, Chief Executive, Doc Society

Dan Ariely, Professor of Psychology and Behavioral Economics, Duke University
Gwynne Shotwell, President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX
Fred Swaniker, Founder & CEO, African Leadership University

Lakou Mizik

Doors open at 9:30am and seating is general admission.

Plenaries are free for Skoll World Forum delegates, and no additional ticket is necessary. Members of the general public can purchase tickets in advance here.

When | Where

10:00 AM - 12:00 PM Friday, April 13 New Theatre



Session leaders

  • Dan Ariely Speaker
    James B. Duke Professor of Behavioral Economics, Duke University
    Despite our intentions, why do we so often fail to act in our own best interest? Why do we promise to skip the chocolate cake, only to find ourselves drooling our way into temptation when the dessert tray rolls around? Why do we overvalue things that we’ve worked to put together? What are the forces that influence our behavior? Dan Ariely, James B. Duke Professor of Psychology & Behavioral Economics at Duke University, is dedicated to answering these questions and others in order to help people live more sensible – if not rational – lives. His interests span a wide range of behaviors, and his sometimes unusual experiments are consistently interesting, amusing and informative, demonstrating profound ideas that fly in the face of common wisdom. He is a founding member of the Center for Advanced Hindsight, co-creator of the film documentary (Dis)Honesty: The Truth About Lies, and a three-time New York Times bestselling author. His books include Predictably Irrational, The Upside of Irrationality, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, Irrationally Yours, Payoff and Dollars and Sense. In 2013 Bloomberg recognized Dan as one of Top 50 Most Influential thinkers. He also has a bi-weekly advice column in the Wall Street Journal called “Ask Ariely.” Dan can be found at
  • Gwynne Shotwell Speaker
    President and Chief Operating Officer, SpaceX
    As President and COO of SpaceX, Gwynne Shotwell is responsible for day-to-day operations and for managing all customer and strategic relations. She joined SpaceX in 2002 as Vice President of Business Development and built the Falcon vehicle family manifest to more than 70 launches, representing more than $10 billion in business. Shotwell is a member of the SpaceX Board of Directors. Prior to joining SpaceX, Shotwell spent more than 10 years at the Aerospace Corporation, holding positions in Space Systems Engineering & Technology and Project Management. Shotwell was subsequently recruited to be Director of Microcosm’s Space Systems Division,managing space system technologies, serving on the executive committee and directing corporate business development. In 2014, Shotwell was appointed to the United States Export Import Bank's Advisory Committee and the Federal Aviation Administration’s Management Advisory Council. Shotwell has been awarded the World Technology Award for Individual Achievement in Space, has been inducted into the Women In Technology International Hall of Fame and was elected to the honorable grade of Fellow with the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. SpaceX supports science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs locally as well as national engineering programs and competitions. Shotwell has helped raise over $1.4 million for STEM education programs reaching thousands of students nationwide. Shotwell received, with honors, her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Northwestern University in Mechanical Engineering and Applied Mathematics, and serves as both a University Trustee and a member of the Advisory Council for Northwestern’s McCormick School of Engineering. She has authored dozens of papers on a variety of space related subjects.
  • Fred Swaniker Speaker
    Founder & CEO, African Leadership Group
    Fred is deeply passionate about Africa and believes that the missing ingredient on the continent is good leadership. In line with this, he has co-founded three organizations that aim to catalyze a new generation of ethical, entrepreneurial African leaders: African Leadership Academy, African Leadership Network, and African Leadership University. Collectively, these institutions aim to groom 3 million leaders for Africa over a 50-year period. A passionate entrepreneur, Fred also served as Founder and CEO of Terra Education, a US-based education company that today provides leadership training to about 4,000 people annually at 46 sites in 20 countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa, and Europe. Prior to his work in education, Swaniker co-founded Synexa Life Sciences, a biotechnology company with operations in Cape Town, Berlin, London, and Dublin. Prior to launching his entrepreneurial pursuits, Swaniker worked as a management consultant at McKinsey & Company in South Africa. Swaniker has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and was listed by Forbes Magazine among the top ten young ‘power men’ in Africa. Fred has an MBA from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, where he was named an Arjay Miller Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 10% of each graduating class. He holds a BA in Economics with a minor in Mathematical Statistics from Macalester College (magna cum laude). He was born in Ghana but has lived and worked in about 10 different African countries.