WASHINGTON, DC – The world is assailed by problems that defy easy answers. Economic shocks are destabilizing countries and regions, and inflicting great social and financial hardships on families and their communities. Environmental damage threatens our food supplies, the air we breathe, and the rich biodiversity that sustains the balance of life. Wars and conflict produce millions of new refugees.
Moreover, new health risks are emerging, with diabetes, obesity, and other non-communicable diseases now stalking low- and middle-income countries – even as many of those countries are still locked in combat with tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, malaria, and other infectious diseases. Hundreds of millions of young people around the world are searching for jobs in a very uncertain labor market. The infrastructure we use to produce our energy, transport our goods, and transact our business is under stress.
This list of worries is not meant to discourage, but to challenge. As the world’s physical resources grow scarcer, we must increasingly rely on the best and most proven renewable resource available – human ingenuity. Just as they confronted problems in the past, our scientists and entrepreneurs have brought us solutions by way of the Green Revolution, new vaccines, communications technology, and cleaner energy.
Scholars and leaders have given us the means to identify and resolve social and economic dilemmas. Rising levels of education have given people more control over their own health, household circumstances, governments, and culture.