Tuesday, January 1, 2019

New Year - New Country - Thanks to the Congreso Futuro in Chile

On the first day of the New 2019 Year I thought it appropriate to write about what I am very excited about - and that is my forthcoming trip to a country I have never been to before - Chile!

I have a connection to that country since for two years my room-mate at Brown University during my undergraduate days was a Chilean, Teresa Davila, who was also an Applied Math major and lover of Operations Research. This former ballerina was a member of the Brown women's crew (rowing) team while I ran track and cross country and also double majored.

The invitation to speak in Chile came last April with an email message and an official letter on behalf of Senator Girardi, President of the Senate's Future Challenges, Science, Technology and Innovation Commission in Chile, to participate as a Guest Speaker in the upcoming VIII Futures Congress (Congreso Futuro in Spanish), "a global flagship knowledge engagement event set to take place between the 14th-20th January 2019". Since the establishment of  the Futures Congress in 2011, it has become a major forum in Latin America for addressing the many challenges that humanity is faced with and brings together scientists and humanists to discuss how we can achieve a better future. Our itineraries are planned with great attention to detail with lunches and dinners organized as well as excursions for those interested.

I am so honored and thankful to be representing the Isenberg School of Management and the University of Massachusetts Amherst at the Futures Congress!

The Futures Congress takes place in Santiago, Chile, along with other locations in Chile and the venues are magnificent, as evidenced from past congresses.
I will have the pleasure of speaking in the thematic session: Shaping Our Lives, Discovering Simplicity in a Complex World with renowned scientists that I am very excited about meeting: Dr. Daniel Hurtado of Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, Dr. Geoffrey West of Stanford University, and Dr. Robert Sutor of IBM!  I will give the talk: The Era of Supernetworks.

Subsequently, I will speak in Valparaiso at a full day event and the title of my talk there, which will be followed by a panel discussion, is: Women in Science: A Personal Journey. This event will take place in the Salón de Honor Congreso Nacional. I have thoroughly enjoyed preparing my talks and am in the final stages of polishing them.

Also speaking at the Futures Congress is the Nobel laureate in physics Dr. Michael Kosterlitz, who had an office across the hall from my office in Barus and Holley when I was a PhD student at Brown University! And, as for other serendipitous connections, Dr. Susan Fiske of Princeton University will also be speaking at the Futures Congress. She was formerly a faculty member at UMass Amherst and we have mutual close friends. I am sure that I will come across other speakers with which there are surprising and delightful connections!

It is truly remarkable how wonderful and linked the scientific community is even across disciplines - last year, Dr. Alyssa Goodman of Harvard University was a speaker at the Congreso Futuro. She co-directs the science program at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard where I have been a Science Fellow and have also spent most of my past two summers!

I have been brushing up on my Spanish, even during the holiday festivities during this past week and will be also speaking with my Isenberg School of Management Marketing colleague, Dr. Francisco Villarroel  Ordenes, who is now in Chile (but, sadly our times there will not overlap).

Many thanks to the organizers of the Congreso Futuro for inviting me. I am very much looking forward to what will be an extraordinary intellectual, social as well as cultural experience!