The World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) has announced Dr Lawrence H Summers as a keynote speaker for its 2016 Summit.

Dr Summers is the Charles W Eliot University Professor and President Emeritus at Harvard University. Dr Summers has served as Secretary of the Treasury, Director of the White House National Economic Council, President of Harvard University, and Chief Economist of the World Bank.

Dr Summers will discuss the future of aid with a particular focus on investing in global health. He will draw on the key lessons from other sectors, including education and food aid. Dr Summers will consider the ongoing, dangerous neglect of global functions and examine the implications this has for research and development of new medicines, vaccines, and diagnostics; and also policy and implementation research for flu pandemic preparedness and antimicrobial resistance. Most of the world’s poor now live in ‘pockets of poverty’ in middle-income countries, and Dr Summers will make the case for supporting global functions as a way to reach these impoverished populations.

Dr Summers is a passionate advocate for innovation in healthcare. During his presidency at Harvard, he launched a major effort to make Boston, and Cambridge in particular, the global leader in life sciences research, with the formation of major programmes for stem cell research and genomics. He also recently chaired the Commission on Global Health, lauded by the UN Secretary General said:

It will bring more than health – it will bring equity, and contribute to a life of dignity for all.’

Dr Summers will deliver his keynote address on 30 November, the second day of the WISH Summit. He said:

In a few short years, WISH has established itself as a forum that brings health policymakers from around the world together with leaders in the academic community for frank discussions on emerging issues. I particularly welcome and look forward to participating in the WISH 2016 agenda with its substantial emphasis on the economic issues that will play an increasing role in health policy discussions.’

Egbert Schillings, CEO of WISH, said:

Dr Summers has a distinctive voice in global policy and we are delighted that his thoughts will add to the rich discussion at WISH. Now more than ever, his measured tone and optimistic outlook are needed to provide a counter narrative to today’s dominant discourse of doom and gloom. He has said recently that the world is actually coming together, not falling apart, which perfectly encapsulates the purpose and spirit of WISH.’

WISH, a global initiative of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), is a meeting point for thousands of high-level policymakers, academics, and professionals. It has also evolved into a key platform for the dissemination of healthcare innovation and best practices.

The WISH Summit, which takes place from 29th to 30th November, will feature innovation showcases from around the world that are shaping the design, delivery, and financing of care, as well as a cohort of young innovators – emerging healthcare leaders under the age of 30 – whose contributions to global health deserve wider recognition.

The WISH 2016 Summit will feature reports and nine panels that highlight and address some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges, including Autism, Accountable Care, Behavioral Insights, Cardiovascular Disease, Health Professional Education, Healthy Populations, Investing in Health, Genomics in the Gulf Region and Islamic Ethics, and Precision Medicine. Internationally-renowned experts will chair the discussions. WISH will also report on its impact, locally and globally, on issues previously highlighted at the conference, such as diabetes and patient safety.

For further information about WISH, visit

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