Fidelity Bank has announced the speaker line up for the 10th annual Cayman Business Outlook, which will be held on 24 January at The Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman.
During a news conference to launch the event, Anwer Sunderji, chairman of conference host Fidelity Group, said the gathering occupied a “special niche” in Cayman’s conference calendar.
“We are not appealing to a narrow cross section of hedge fund managers, lawyers, accountants; we are appealing to a broad cross section of the Caymanian public,” Mr. Sunderji said. “The idea is to have this conference address global topics such as geopolitics, economics and technology and to understand how those forces are going to impact our lives and our businesses.”
Under the theme “From Evolution to Revolution” this year’s conference aims to look at the global changes in politics, the economy and education. “We think that if we discuss those topics, people attending the conference will have a view about the forces impacting their lives,” Mr. Sunderji said.
Conference keynote speaker is William Cohen, a former United States congressman and senator who also served as secretary of defense under former President Bill Clinton.
“One of the big issues that we face is that the United States has historically provided an umbrella of stability for the rest of the world, allowing it to prosper – it has been a global policeman, a global bank and a global bastion of democracy and the question is: Can it afford to continue to do so? With a weak US economy and a rising China, what does the future hold?” Mr. Sunderji asked.
Mr. Sunderji said Mr. Cohen will provide conference attendees with a perspective as to how America would position itself in light of its inability to fund the historical role it has played.
Mr. Cohen will be followed by Bill Emmott, the former editor-in-chief of the Economist, who will speak about the global state of the economy.
Salman Khan, founder of the Khan Academy, will be giving this year’s technology presentation.
Mr. Khan, whose work has received a US$2 million Google prize and a US$1.5 million gift from Bill Gates, will share how his company has transformed conventional teaching methodologies through the use of technology and join the conference via video link.
Noting that there was also a revolution taking place with education becoming much cheaper and more accessible through technology, Mr. Sunderji said, “the whole idea of inviting Salman Khan was so that he could speak to us about his online education system”, as it raises a question about Cayman and the Bahamas and whether education standards are adequate to equip students to compete on a global platform.
Mr. Khan has transformed education in California where some schools have adopted his online learning system, which “flips the classroom”. The teaching takes place at the child’s pace online at home and they do their homework and course work in class in front of their peers and their teacher, where they can get support. As a result each child can learn at his or her own pace, Mr. Sunderji explained. “It is amazing and we are hopeful that we can all learn from him.”
The final speaker, economist Dan Mitchell, is going to combine the conference themes of the economy, politics and their global impact.
As in every year the Cayman Business Outlook will feature a panel on local issues. With the general election scheduled for May, organisers are still working on setting up a panel of local political candidates who will respond to questions submitted by the public via the conference website.
Names of the panellists and an independent moderator will be announced shortly, organisers said.
In keeping with the conference’s agenda of previous years, Cayman Islands Premier Juliana O’Conner-Connolly is expected to address the audience at the beginning and she has been invited to speak about the “State of the Nation”.
Governor Duncan Taylor or Deputy Governor Franz Manderson will also give an opening address at this year’s event.
Fidelity Bank is the primary sponsor and organiser of the conference. Fidelity is joined by 10 corporate sponsors that allow to keep entrance fees for the nonprofit conference at $325 per person.
This includes continental breakfast, lunch and a cocktail party at the conclusion of the event. The conference is expected to attract 350 delegates.
Attendees can register by e-mailing [email protected] or contacting Gwenda McLean at Fidelity Bank at 345.949.7822 ext. 2153.