Complex Made Simple

Boeing to host summit on ‘What’s Next’ in Global Innovation in Abu Dhabi

The Atlantic and Boeing will convene a global summit to forecast the future of innovation in Abu Dhabi next month, gathering leaders from international businesses, universities and students, governments, and research institutions to explore how big ideas are revolutionizing global industries.

‘What’s Next? Navigating Global Challenges with the Innovation Generation,’ November 5 at the Yas Viceroy, will address the most promising emerging ideas and the leadership behind them-from next-generation aerospace engineering and transportation solutions, to education and entrepreneurship, to developments in cybersecurity, renewable energy, and travel. This program is made possible through funding from The Boeing Company.

Abu Dhabi, a center of culture, commerce, tourism, and education in the Middle East, provides a unique campus for “What’s Next?”. Business and thought leaders will convene for a day of conversation on best practices in international innovation, and to explore the ideas and techniques that are advancing industries. University students will participate in the day’s events, and be invited to attend student-only workshops with these experts in various fields.

“‘What’s Next?’ will challenge and inspire those in the room-and the many more watching the live stream around the world-with ideas that will define our future, said Margaret Low Smith, president of AtlanticLIVE and vice president of The Atlantic. “We’re thrilled to be stepping onto the international stage with such an extraordinary event,” Margaret added.

“The catalyst for global business is innovation,” said Shephard Hill, President of Boeing International. “The ‘What’s Next?’ innovation summit brings together thought leaders from the UAE and around the world to share information and ideas that can accelerate innovation development and inspire future generations,” he added.

Jim McNerney, chairman and CEO of The Boeing Company, will be interviewed at the opening of the event. Representatives from the following organizations, among many, are also confirmed to be part of the program: Facebook, DataWind, NYU Abu Dhabi, the government of the Republic of Macedonia, Wamda, Newbury Ventures, Mubadala, edraak,, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and twofour54. Interviews, panels, and case studies will examine technological progress across a range of topic tracks-bridging global connectivity and cyber resilience, bringing more people online, encouraging online learning in the Middle East, sourcing clean energy, innovating through international partnerships, and more.

At the event, Boeing will also display a full-scale mock-up of the Crew Space Transportation (CST)-100 spacecraft. The CST-100 was designed as a part of NASA’s Commercial Crew Program and will transport astronauts and space flight participants to low-Earth orbit destinations such as the International Space Station and the Bigelow planned station. The first crewed flight to the ISS is planned for mid-2017. This is the first time the mock-up has been on display in the Middle East.

Steve Clemons, a Middle East expert and Washington Editor-at-Large of The Atlantic, will lead the day’s conversations. Mohammed Al Otaiba, Editor-in-Chief of The National, John Defterios, Emerging Markets Editor and Anchor of CNN’s Global Exchange and Marketplace Middle East, and Mary Louise Kelly, contributing editor to AtlanticLIVE, will also serve as program moderators. Atlantic Media Chairman and CEO David Bradley will attend the event. Additional speakers and a full agenda will be released in the coming weeks.

“What’s Next?” is made possible through funding by The Boeing Company. This summit builds off of the success of several past domestic Atlantic programs underwritten by Boeing, including The Atlantic’s 2012 Innovation Summit, held at the Ronald Reagan National Airport in Washington, D.C., and The Atlantic’s Big Science Summit in the San Francisco Bay Area. “What’s Next?” will escalate consequential conversations on technological leadership from a domestic to a global scale.