Powell says world is ripe for innovation at GW Global Forum

Colin Powell, a retired four-star general in the U.S. army, headlined the third annual GW Global Forum in Seoul, South Korea. Hatchet File Photo

One of the University’s most prominent alumni said Saturday a more secure world has opened up pathways to innovation and prosperity at the GW Global Forum in Seoul, South Korea.

About 300 alumni and friends of the University attended the third annual event aimed at developing the GW’s ties with graduates living abroad, the largest contingent of which are based in South Korea.

“More nations are living in a democracy than ever before. There are fewer wars than ever before. It is a different world,” Colin Powell, who earned his master of business administration from GW in 1971, said.

The forum, with a theme of international growth and innovation, included about a dozen speeches and panels on global topics like public health, diplomacy and interconnected financial markets.

Chris Anderson, an alumnus and editor in chief of Wired Magazine, spoke of the potential for a third industrial revolution pushed by technology and manufacturing.

“We have the capacity to be manufacturers,” he said in the forum’s closing speech. “This is a big deal. It’s a combination of desktop prototyping and global access to manufacturing for anybody of any scale. It allows us to replicate the web model with physical goods.”

Several administrators including University President Steven Knapp, Provost Steven Lerman and School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno traveled about 7,000 miles to attend the forum.

Nobel laureate and professor of biochemistry and molecular biology Ferid Murad also discussed his research of nitric oxide and the discovery of its role in the cardiovascular system.

Knapp said the forum was an opportunity for the University to gauge its place in a world that is seeing rapid innovation.

“There is no higher duty that we as a university community have than to come together to reflect on and to shed whatever light we can on those events, issues and trends that are shaping the destiny of our shared world,” Knapp said.

Previous global forums were held in Hong Kong and New York City.

The University has looked to expand its reach around the globe. Last month Lerman pitched globalization as a signature theme for the upcoming academic strategic plan. International students make up about 7 percent of the Class of 2015 and about 225,000 alumni live abroad.

School of Business Dean Doug Guthrie and Columbian College of Arts and Sciences Dean Peg Barratt are also working to make GW a degree-granting institution in China by the fall of 2013.

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