Institute of Future and Innovation Studies Director Francesco Lapenta Speaks at UN Global Summit in Kenya 

The JCU Institute of Future and Innovation Studies’ Director Francesco Lapenta was invited to speak at the first global UN Civil Society Conference ever held in Africa, in Nairobi, Kenya on May 9-10, 2024. The conference was attended by over 3,600 civil society representatives and featured a number of panels and presentations by speakers from all around the world who discussed priorities and expectations ahead of the upcoming UN Summit of the Future that will take place in New York in September. 

Francesco Lapenta
Francesco Lapenta

The Summit was concluded by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and Kenya’s President William Ruto. 

The Institute’s Director Francesco Lapenta was invited to present in the public session titled “The New Global Deal,” in which he presented key concepts of his report recently published by FEPS for the UN summit “A New Global Deal.” In his presentation, Lapenta emphasized the need to decentralize innovation in the digital and AI era for global technological transformation and sustainability. He highlighted the UN’s role in supporting developing nations to embrace sustainable industrialization and local innovation. Global regulation of technology is essential to ensure equal opportunities and reduce inequalities. Diversity in innovation fosters problem-solving and social transformation. A global strategy supporting diverse education patterns can unlock local creativity for tailored solutions. Digital technologies and AI offer unparalleled accessibility and scalability potential but require a shift to decentralized models prioritizing diversity and scalability. Lapenta proposed a concise agenda to reimagine innovation models and foster decentralized innovation around technology, digital, and AI diversity.  

The conference was a milestone in the journey towards the Summit of the Future. It sent a clear message that the voices of civil society, especially from the Global South, must be at the center of efforts to reform global governance and build a more just, peaceful, and sustainable world. 

“I am very grateful for the opportunity to contribute to this UN critical dialogue and to Kenya for the invitation and for hosting this historic and successful summit. A special thank you goes to FEPS for coordinating the publication of the report for the UN summit, and to Maria Joao Rodriguez President of FEPS for leading an incredible group of scholars, politicians and thinkers and editing a uniquely valuable report,” said Lapenta.