From protests in Brazil and Europe over rising costs, to the bankruptcy of Detroit, to sluggish growth in the U.S. and EU, and the potential slowing and rebalancing of the Chinese economy, there remain clear challenges to stimulating and sustaining a new round of economic growth in the Asian-Pacific region and the world. The diverse challenges, like those just mentioned (among many others that could be listed) may appear disconnected, but in fact, are not. Instead, the various economic challenges we face are interconnected symptoms of an underlying economic dynamic.
This year’s APEC Summit will provide critical recommendations regarding how the Asia-Pacific Region will continue to secure sustainable growth, development, and innovation given a growing world population. The focus is on innovation, technology, economic development, and job creation supporting economic prosperity, all of which are central to global development. New jobs need trained workers supported by advanced technology and an increasing focus on low-cost technology requires participation from a workforce with broader skills.
Walking through the corridors of the United Nations, the urgency of achieving the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by their 2015 target date is palpable. Social media campaigns such as #MDGMomentum, which marked the 1,000-day milestone until the end of 2015, have focused attention on a final push toward achievement. At the same time, conversations and consultations about what will come after the MDGs, known as the “post-2015 development agenda,” are increasing in intensity and frequency. When the MDGs were drawn up in 2000 as part of the UN Millennium Declaration, the process was fueled by discussions among world leaders and development professionals, informed by a variety of public consultations. Now, empowered by new technologies and global awareness raised by the MDGs, the UN is able to gather citizen input on a much larger global scale to help shape the post-2015 agenda.
The world’s middle class is growing rapidly, both in size and influence. By 2030, it is expected to reach 5 billion people—2 billion more than today. As a consequence, the needs and expectations of the middle class are an essential part of global conversation everywhere. This is especially true in developing countries, where access to the internet is spreading rapidly.
What standard of living awaits those who will join the middle class between now and 2030? The United States has a big part to play. How America encourages and leverages innovation in the coming years will shape the world’s future in profoundly important ways.
Like the middle class, Big Data is also growing at unprecedented rates. Last year humanity created the data equivalent of a stack of books stretching from the Earth to Pluto—30 times. To be more precise, an IDC study estimated that 1.8 zettabytes of data was created in 2011. This is the equivalent of 200 billion two-hour HD movies. All of this data is amassing from email and social media, audio and video downloads, online shopping, business server logs, industrial, environmental, and surveillance sensors, and more.
What is SAP’s view on current trends in IT?
I think we are at one of the more interesting times in the history of information technology. We are in the midst of three megatrends all coming together – Big Data, mobility and cloud. Throw in the rapidly changing economics of in-memory computing and you have the critical ingredients to radically transform how business and government are done.
The American Middle East Institute, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based organization focused on building business, educational, and cultural ties between the United States and the Middle East, has since its 2008 inception launched a series of highly ambitious cultural exchange programs.
Most recently, the institute successfully launched its first exchange program in Muscat, a dialogue initiative that brought Pittsburgh-area students together with students from across Oman. The nearly six-week long program, spearheaded by AMEI education director, Georges Montillet, sought to provide students with the opportunity to learn Arabic, experience Omani culture while partaking in service programs throughout the country.
Commenting on his organization’s ambitious objective, Montillet stated, "Our goal of building bridges does not mean glossing over complex and deep cultural issues but rather working through them and engaging in dialogue with friends who might dress and think differently but dream and feel passionately about the same universal ideals."
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