HKUST President Prof. Nancy IP at "Winter Davos" 2024: Longevity is about Adding Life to Years, Not Just Years to Life

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Sharing Insights with Global Leaders on Healthy Aging, Sustainability, Climate Change and AI

HONG KONG, Jan. 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ — President of the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST), Prof. Nancy IP was among the esteemed global leaders and personalities attending the 2024 World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland to address some of the most substantive issues facing our world today. Prof. Ip added her unique perspective to vibrant discussions on healthy aging, climate change, the integral role of universities in fostering advancements in sustainability, and AI research and education. 

Under the theme of “Rebuilding Trust”, this year’s Annual Meeting convened over 3,000 distinguished global leaders from government, business, and civil society from more than 125 countries, including members from the G7, G20 and heads of international organizations, to rebuild a basis of trust amidst complex challenges, foster global cooperation, and address pressing issues such as climate change, economic growth, artificial intelligence among others.

As the sole university president from Hong Kong at the Forum, Prof. Ip was invited to participate in a number of important exchanges, including a panel discussion on global demographic shifts entitled, “Navigating Longer Lifespans”. Prof. Ip shared insights with prominent leaders from multinational corporations and government entities including European Commission, Manulife Financial and Mercer (Marsh McLennan). She underscored the importance of maintaining brain health and enriching quality of life as we age. 

“It’s not just about adding more years to our life, but adding life to our years,” Prof. Ip said. “We need to ensure that our extended lifespans are marked by vitality, cognitive clarity, and the ability to make meaningful contributions to society.” While technological advancements have greatly improved overall health conditions, the elderly population remains vulnerable to age-related diseases. For instance, projections indicate that the global number of individuals afflicted by Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) is expected to surpass 100 million by 2050.

In light of the circumstances, Prof. Ip calls for the prioritization of “brain health for all”. She urges the public and private sectors to invest in research, and allocate additional resources towards understanding the intricacies of aging brains, with the aim of mitigating the risk of neurodegenerative diseases among the elderly population. As a higher education leader, Prof. Ip champions the importance of universities in promoting lifelong learning and implementing flexible curricula to empower the elderly to re-engage with the workforce.

As an internationally acclaimed neuroscientist, Prof. Ip has garnered global recognition for her exceptional contributions to the development of diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic tools for AD. Notably, her research team’s groundbreaking development of a simple yet robust blood test for early detection and screening of AD stands as testament to her commitment to combating this global health challenge. 

Beyond the panel discussion, Prof. Ip hosted a table at a gala dinner, where she facilitated dialogues with luminaries. Their conversations explored the synergies between science, culture, and business in addressing the pressing challenges posed by climate change and the environment. 

At the thought-provoking meetings of the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), an exclusive platform consisting of 29 presidents of the world’s top universities, Prof. Ip stated that by harnessing the collective power of our intellectual capital through open innovation, we could unleash infinite possibilities for a sustainable and resilient future. In another GULF meeting on AI governance, Prof. Ip underscored the importance for universities to holistically integrate ethics, social impact, and governance into AI-related curriculum.  

Reflecting on the forum, Prof. Ip expressed her deep appreciation for being a part of the significant event, “In a world full of uncertainties and challenges, universities play a pivotal role in driving collaboration for the betterment of society. The Forum provides a crucial platform for leaders around the world to deep-dive into critical issues that shape the future. Through these fruitful and insightful exchanges, I am delighted to contribute to shaping ideas and generating insights for building a better planet.”

Download photos of the forum here: http://udz039.ust.hk/~meu/2024_WinterDavos

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