Headlines from the 2020 Milken Institute Global Conference

“I challenge you to see the world through new eyes,” — Conference founder Michael Milken in his opening remarks.

After twice postponing the conference due to the coronavirus outbreak, the 23rd annual Milken Institute Global Conference took place from October 12th – 21st under the theme “Meeting the Moment.” The conference addressed the dual crises of a global pandemic and social injustice, reflecting on the events reshaping reality and highlighting the need for intersectional thinking and leadership. More than 4,000 participants, including 500 speakers from Fortune 500 CEOs to government officials, Oscar winners, Olympians, journalists, investors, and scientists, came together to solve across numerous sectors and industries. 

During the event, the Prime Minister of Japan, Yoshihide Suga, delivered a video address marking the second time the Prime Minister delivered remarks on an international platform. Additionally, the Milken Institute released the findings of a join research program with The Harris Poll called “The Listening Project,” finding a global void in leadership as the COVID-19 pandemic has killed more than one million people worldwide and has crippled international economies. 

Read our key takeaways of the conference:

Markets can emerge as a force of good in the wake of COVID-19. Recent market fluctuations have exposed just how interconnected ESG factors are with traditional investing and economic indicators. ESG criteria can improve outcomes for both environment and human health and is vital for portfolio returns and economic development.

Corporate leaders are transforming the disruption of this year into an opportunity to adapt, build better, and focus on sustainable growth, prosperity, and equal opportunity for all. 

“As CEOs we have to develop this beginner’s mind…especially now during this pandemic when we have to think of everything anew…what companies do we want to create? How will we best serve society?” – Marc Benioff, Salesforce 

“In the human rights space, we need to hold companies accountable- just as we hold countries accountable” – Kerry Kennedy, President, RFK Human Rights 

Public health and economic growth are more interconnected than ever before. The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted and intensified health and economic disparities in the United States. Overcoming these will require all sectors to take action to identify and address the gaps in social determinants of health.