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2021 Annual Summit Report

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There’s much being said about global convenings in a post-COVID world: What do they look like? When can we return to “normal”? Will we ever return to normal? At Concordia, we understand that the need to come together is more pressing than ever before, so we embarked on something completely new this year by adopting a hybrid model for our 2021 Annual Summit. 

For many of us around the world, going digital over the past 18 months has provided huge opportunities to come together across geographies, time zones, and sectors, which is why we continued to offer a digital experience for our attendees. But, we also appreciate that no technology will ever be a complete substitute for the human-to-human encounter. That’s why we introduced a stringent set of in-person COVID-19 requirements—including mandatory daily onsite testing, temperature checks, vaccination card checks, and masks—for those members of our community who could join us in person. As a result, we’re proud to say that we were able to bring together over 650 people safely in person in New York City across three days, alongside the many others who joined us from their living rooms, home offices, and dining room tables around the world. 

With nearly 80 Main Stage sessions, numerous Strategic Dialogues, roundtables, lunches, and private receptions, this year’s Annual Summit marked four days of engagement, discussion, and collaboration. As always, we couldn’t have pulled it off without the support of our community. Thank you to our Sponsors, Partners, Members, and Speakers, and of course our Leadership Council and Advisors & Senior Advisors for their dedication, insight, and expertise. 

We hope you find our 2021 Annual Summit Report to be a useful, action-oriented resource to guide your work, conversations, and next steps. We look forward to working with you all over the coming months as we prepare for an exciting agenda over the remainder of 2021 and beyond.  

MAS Signature Black e1635533242114 - 2021 Annual Summit ReportMatthew A. Swift

Co-Founder & CEO

NML Signature Black e1635533278508 - 2021 Annual Summit ReportNicholas  M. Logothetis

Co-Founder & Chairman of the Board

Programming Themes


satellite - 2021 Annual Summit ReportDependency on technology has surged amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. A sudden change in how we connect with others highlighted the need for a tech-savvy economy and a digital transformation that meets social needs. It also called attention to a socioeconomic divide, which could threaten the ability to grow wealth in a digitized economy, in addition to a deepening gender divide, particularly in developing countries. What doubts remain about the role of technology in society, especially in terms of data privacy, closing social gaps with connectivity, and the need for a solid digital infrastructure in workforce development?


state building white - 2021 Annual Summit ReportThroughout the world, but especially in the U.S., the fragility of democracy has been a highly-discussed topic in recent months. From one of the most competitive elections in America’s history to the growing refugee crisis around the world, strengthening democracy and maintaining national security are top of mind for governments and citizens alike. A focus on redefining foreign policy and collaboration between countries, as well as a sense of domestic peace and security, will be high on governmental agendas throughout the world. How can political parties in divided countries come together to work towards a successful future? How can initiatives designed to situate women as key actors in preventing conflict, promoting peace, and countering violent extremism effect change? What role does technology like artificial intelligence play in navigating geopolitical risk and policymaking? And, how can sectors and multilateral organizations work together to strengthen democracy and national security in a time that seems so fraught with threat and conflict?


ANN20 Icons SVG BLUE 03 - 2021 Annual Summit ReportIn addition to a profound global health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic brought about an economic crisis of great magnitude from which it will take time to recover. This economic and social crisis exacerbated existing needs within society, such as those for greater financial inclusion among women and minorities and for strengthening small- and medium-sized enterprises, which represent close to 90% of businesses and more than 50% of employment globally. How can we best navigate this global recession to avoid the continuing fall in GDP of different countries? How will emerging economies be impacted in the long term? And, how can opportunity zones create more socially-minded investors and generate wealth for diverse communities?


apple white 2 - 2021 Annual Summit ReportThe pandemic has exposed weaknesses in public health systems around the world and deep health disparities along divides of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and gender. Both the palpable strain on physical health systems and structures, and the more subtle effects on social relations and mental health, must be considered in measuring the health impact of this time. Research on past epidemics reveals a wide range of psychosocial consequences at the individual and population level but also emphasizes the importance of psychological resilience in recovery. As we think about how to foster an equitable pandemic recovery, how do we design our public health systems, incentivize preparedness and prevention, and create partnerships in the service of a healthier, more resilient society?


water drop - 2021 Annual Summit ReportAcross the globe, investors and companies are waking up to the real physical and regulatory risks—and potential opportunities—posed by a warming climate. Accelerating this shift in recognition is the coronavirus pandemic. With many of the root causes of climate change increasing the risk of pandemics, the outbreak of COVID-19 has caused individuals to become acutely aware of the intricate relationship between pandemics and planetary health, amplifying the importance of environmental sustainability in guaranteeing a healthy future. While increasingly acknowledged that those organizations that employ sustainable practices stand to be the most profitable in the long run, implementation of bold climate commitments is another story. Widespread adoption of climate-positive business practices will require an urgent need to adapt and to continue to innovate across all sectors in order to mitigate the environmental impacts already in motion, while at the same time ensuring that environment-related inequalities pertaining to race, gender, and socioeconomic status are addressed. What common misconceptions exist? And what challenges must be overcome to gain support?


sport white - 2021 Annual Summit ReportStable, prosperous, and resilient communities are built through engaged and connected citizens who can actively participate in shaping their social, economic, and political future. In this digital era, access to education is key to ensuring young citizens—especially disempowered young women—are included and engaged in civic society, local and national economies, and global development strategies. Furthermore, cultural diplomacy is essential to bringing people together as well as sustaining and improving relations across different cultures. How can governments, NGOs, and businesses engage with a diverse set of youth leaders to develop solutions and promote sustainable impact?


ANN20 Icons SVG BLUE 10 - 2021 Annual Summit ReportThe COVID-19 pandemic has shifted global dynamics, not only in terms of how we connect with others, but also in how we exchange and produce goods. Ongoing trade wars between nations and regions, supply chains, and the economic stability of the manufacturing sector are constantly evolving with the political and social landscape. The distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine will put innovation in the manufacturing sector to the test and shine light on further applications and improvements that will ripple throughout industries. How will the global desire for connectivity and innovation in trade prompt the dynamic movement of supply chains? How can we tackle human rights issues across global supply chains? And, what new trends are on the horizon?


scales white - 2021 Annual Summit ReportIntegral to truly sustainable global development and positive social impact is a need for fundamental human rights to be universally protected. Today, we’re increasingly witnessing a tension between the rapid economic and technological growth of the 21st century and the rising levels of socioeconomic inequality and public distrust around the world. Without freedom of expression, movement, public discourse, and the fair and free rule of law, global prosperity is untenable. How can cross-sector collaboration help resolve social tensions and advance racial and gender equality and equity around the world?


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