Mr. Sam Pitroda is an internationally respected development thinker, policy maker, telecom inventor, and entrepreneur who has spent 48 years in information and communications technology (ICT) and related human and national developments.
Credited with having laid the foundation for and ushered in India's technology and telecommunications revolution in the 1980s, Pitroda has been a leading campaigner to help bridge the global digital divide. During his tenure as adviser to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, Pitroda led six technology missions related to telecommunications, water, literacy, immunization, dairy production, and oil seeds. He was also the founder and first chairman of India's Telecom Commission. In these roles, he helped revolutionize India's development policies and philosophies, with a focus on access to technology as the key to social change.
Pitroda was recently chairman of India's National Knowledge Commission (2005–2009), set up to provide a blueprint for reform of the knowledge-related institutions and infrastructure in the country. The commission has offered a series of recommendations on various aspects of the knowledge paradigm to help India meet the challenges of the twenty-first century.
Currently, Pitroda is adviser to the prime minister of India on public information infrastructure and innovation, with the rank of a cabinet minister. He serves as the chairman of the Smart Grid Task Force Committee to reform public broadcasting, modernize railways, deliver e-governance, and perform other developmental activities. He is also a founding commissioner of the United Nations Broadband Commission for Digital Development.
Pitroda holds close to 100 worldwide patents and has published and lectured widely in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and Asia.
James Fallows is a national correspondent for The Atlantic and has written for the magazine since the late 1970s. He has reported extensively from outside the United States and once worked as President Jimmy Carter's chief speechwriter. He has written 10 books—most recently China Airborne.
In his time with The Atlantic, Fallows and his family have been based in Seattle, Berkeley, Austin, Tokyo, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Beijing; he and his wife now live in Washington, DC. He was raised in Redlands, California, received his undergraduate degree in American history and literature from Harvard, and received a graduate degree in economics from Oxford as a Rhodes scholar. In addition to working for The Atlantic, he has spent two years as chief White House speechwriter for Jimmy Carter, two years as the editor of US News & World Report, and six months as a program designer at Microsoft. He has taught at UC Berkeley; the University of Chicago; the Universities of Beijing, Tokyo, and Sydney; and other schools. He is also an instrument-rated private pilot.
Fallows has been a finalist for the National Magazine Award five times and has won once; he has also won the American Book Award for nonfiction and a New York Emmy Award for the documentary series Doing Business in China. He was the founding chairman of the New America Foundation. He is married to Deborah Fallows, author of the recent book Dreaming in Chinese. They have two married sons.
A landscape architect by training, Jack Dangermond founded Esri in 1969 with a vision that a mapping and analysis framework could provide a deeper understanding of our world and help us design a better future. As founder and president of Esri, Dangermond's leadership and vision stimulate the ongoing innovation of GIS technologies that enable people to make insightful decisions and improve the quality of life everywhere.
Musician, Entrepreneur and Philanthropist
will.i.am, a multi-faceted entertainer and creative innovator, is a seven-time Grammy Award winner. Known for his work with The Black Eyed Peas, who have sold 33 million albums and 58 million singles worldwide, he also works with some of the industry’s biggest names including Michael Jackson, Rihanna, Usher, Nicki Minaj, Britney Spears, Miley Cyrus, David Guetta, and film composer Hans Zimmer.
Earlier this year will.i.am released #willpower, his latest solo effort featuring a bold fusion of hip-hop, R&B, and electronic/dance music to create irresistibly infectious and genre-warping party anthems. The album showcases more than a dozen A-list guest artists, including Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Chris Brown, Nicole Scherzinger and Miley Cyrus. #willpower includes the multi-platinum single, “Scream & Shout” which has sold over 2.5 million copies, “thatPOWER” featuring Justin Bieber and his latest single, “Fall Down” featuring Miley Cyrus. USA Today calls “Fall Down” a tune we will be singing this summer.
will.i.am is the first recording artist to send a song to Mars in conjunction with NASA’s Curiosity Mars Space Lab. Space and music industry firsts were achieved on August 28, 2012 when “Reach For The Stars (Mars Edition)” was played back from Mars during an i.am.angel Foundation youth education event hosted by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
His songs and imagery have entertained and inspired millions, and the power of his words resonated deeply in his song “Yes We Can” that mobilized an entire generation to action during the 2008 presidential campaign. Demonstrating that music, brands and causes can be intertwined to entertain and inform, “Yes We Can” garnered an Emmy Award for “Best New Approaches in Daytime Entertainment” as well as a CLIO award in the Interactive category.
In addition to his music career, will.i.am is very active in front of, and behind the camera. His educational TV special “i.am.mars: Reach For The Stars”, a behind-the-scene look at the artistic and scientific elements involved in sending a song to Mars aired on Discovery’s SCIENCE Channel in August, 2012. In 2011, will.i.am executive produced and starred in his first prime time TV special “i.am FIRST: Science is Rock and Roll” to get young people excited about math and science education, as well as technology and science-related careers. In front of the camera, will.i.am just completed his second year as a Coach on reality TV hit show “The Voice” UK on BBC One.
will.i.am is a founding shareholder in Beats Electronics, the creators of Beats by Dre™ headphones. Leveraging his experience in the consumer electronics industry, will.i.am hosted the world premiere introduction of his i.am+ foto.sosho camera accessory for iPhone4 and iPhone 5 in London in November, 2012. Fusing the worlds of fashion, photography and mobile lifestyle, the i.am+ foto.sosho camera accessory line debuted in December, 2012 at retail, available exclusively at Selfridges & Co. department store in the UK.
In collaboration with The Coca-Cola Company, will.i.am is on a mission to elevate the importance of recycling and to turn waste into a valued commodity through his EKOCYCLE brand. Launched in July, 2012, EKOCYCLE gives consumers an array of stylish options when shopping for co-branded fashion apparel, accessories and sporting goods that incorporate recycled plastic bottles.
As a musician, producer, director and advocate for education, he is an enthusiastic user of technologies in both his professional and personal lives. In recognition of his ability to harness technology to enhance entertainment, creativity and communication, Intel Corporation appointed will as Director of Creative Innovation in 2011.
With a commitment to inspire kids to stay in school and go to college to become the leaders of tomorrow, will.i.am advocates regarding the importance and power of a good education through his i.am angel foundation. The i.am scholarship provides future leaders and innovators with comprehensive financial assistance to complete post-secondary education. The i.am.angel Foundation has also created i.am.STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math), an elementary and middle school initiative to provide underserved students with learning and interaction opportunities beyond the classroom in collaboration with Discovery Education. In addition, the i.am angel foundation is also active in the U.K. through a STEM education and computer skills joint initiative with The Prince’s Trust.
As part of will.i.am’s philanthropic commitment, he hosts his annual TRANS4M Conference and Benefit Concert during Grammy Week. “TRANS4M 2013: TRANS4Ming America” Conference featured keynote speaker President Bill Clinton and the evening concert was headlined by Alicia Keys and will.i.am who were joined on stage by featured performers apl.de.ap, Taboo, Coco Lee, Estelle and Bobby Brown.
Public Speaking & Awards
will.i.am has addressed audiences at BSR, Fortune Brainstorm Green, Cannes Golden Lion Festival, CES, US FIRST, IBC, MacWorld, PTTOW, Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal College of Art, Royal Television Society, UK Trade & Investment Summit and many others.
Recognized and honored by numerous industry organizations, will.i.am was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum in March, 2013, in recognition for his role as a STEM education advocate. He is the recipient of multiple Grammy Awards, a Latin Grammy Award, an Emmy Award, two CLIO Awards, two NAACP Image Awards, a VH1 Do Something Award, the BMI President’s Award and a Webby Award.