From July 4-9, 2011, the Earth Institute and the School of Continuing Education at Columbia University held "Global Sustainability and Complexity," a training program for the Global Leadership Fellows from the World Economic Forum as part of a "Fellows in Residence" program. The weeklong program aimed to promote innovative thinking about global issues, specifically topics of public health, climate, energy, water, rural economic development and negotiation and conflict resolution. The program took a cross-disciplinary approach to these compelling issues, grounding the fellows with knowledge of theoretical concepts and the basic underlying science while facilitating a larger discussion of the challenges and complexities within these areas.
The fellows, who coordinate the large body of councils and programs of the WEF, came to the program with a diversity of backgrounds, experience, and areas of interest; this program at Columbia University offered an opportunity to broaden their knowledge base as well as give them valuable experience in new fields.
The issues presented over the course of the week are considered among the most important global issues of our time. The fellows were given an overview of important issues in these fields, including an understanding of the status quo and popular beliefs, as well as possible future scenarios that they may encounter in order to allow them to form opinions and be able to make informed decisions.