Singularity University Blog | First international executive program: a successful week in Brazil
November 23, 2010
Singularity University Blog — Nov 23, 2010 | Singularity University staff
As our alumni will tell you, the experience of Singularity University programs is unique and powerful. And, bringing the experience to students outside of Silicon Valley has been an important goal since our founding (and a frequent request from our international community). So, we’re excited to share the success of the first 6-day Executive Program earlier this month hosted by our international education partner FIAP in Sao Paulo, Brazil!
The nearly 200 executive, graduate students, and FIAP faculty gathered Monday-Friday from 7-11pm, and then again all day Saturday — illustrating why SU is sometimes called “Sleepless University.” Dan Barry, Andrew Hessel, Salim Ismail, and Neil Jacobstein led the students through discussions on AI/robotics, biotech, nanotech, medicine, networks/computing systems, and energy. Participants were treated to special video presentations from co-founders Ray Kurzweil and Peter Diamandis developed exclusively for the Brazilian program. The hands-on Marshmallow Challenge once again proved the collaboration and innovation power of dried spaghetti, tape, string and marshmallows — and why “fail fast and fail often” can lead to success.
On the final day, the students were asked how they would use technology to positively impact at least 100 million people in Brazil. Water purification, education, and biotech were among the most discussed technologies. The students also discussed the need to transform their economy from a manufacturing and agricultural-driven economy, to one that is more information technology-driven. By the end of the program, many had formed groups and began developing project ideas focused on addressing regional and national challenges — a sign of success.
Why Brazil for the first international program? As the largest country in South America, Brazil is quickly developing into a hub of innovation — particularly in agri-industry and energy. A few key facts about Brazil and why it’s a nation to watch:
- Brazil ranks fifth overall in Internet and mobile phone usage – behind China, US and India. It was recently reported that Brazil’s active phone lines now outnumber its more than 200 million residents.
- Brazil is the world’s first sustainable biofuel economy, and is the world’s second largest producer of ethanol fuel. Considered the world leader in biofuel technology, many countries look to Brazil as a model for setting public energy policy.
- Brazil is one of the world’s fastest growing economies, leading all South American countries, and ranked eighth globally just behind Italy and the UK.
Many thanks again to FIAP for hosting the program. Visit our Facebook page for more photos from the event!