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Global Problems Can be Solved


Ted Turner shares wisdom, humor with Millennials

May 25, 2010


During the 2010 Summit Series in DC, one phrase in particular was making the rounds at the water cooler, posted and reposted on Twitter, and pondered upon by all: “We don’t have a long-term plan for humanity.”

With these simple, yet thought-provoking, and some might say, startling words, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and UN Foundation Founder and Chairman Ted Turner made a mighty impression to kick off the weekend-long Summit Series, hosted in Washington, DC in May of 2010. The UN Foundation proudly introduced Turner to a room full of young entrepreneurs and future leaders and emphasized youth advocacy and participation in global issues. His speech was an engaging mix of anecdotes, business tips, and humor — but he didn’t miss an opportunity to urge people across the country to take action.

Turner’s opening line was fitting coming from the founder of CNN, the first 24-hour news network. Even when the world might not appear to be listening, he told us, you should speak up and use your voice to make a difference. That’s why the UN Foundation has created the Global Entrepreneurs Council, a group of 20 of the world’s most pioneering and groundbreaking young entrepreneurs who will join forces to deliver creative solutions to global problems and act as philanthropists, doing their part to encourage the next generation to always give back.

According to Turner, the list of global issues facing our world includes population, child mortality, global disease, and maternal health. But climate change, says Turner, is the most complex problem humanity has ever faced, and it has been dumped into the laps of the world’s youth. And then the catchphrase: “We don’t have a long-term plan for humanity.”

Yet Turner believes it presents the largest opportunity for entrepreneurship, and he stressed the important role of young executives and business leaders in the future of philanthropy and the value of seeing the bigger picture, as they slowly, or perhaps quickly, are confronted with the issues his generation has pushed through for years.

He encourages young people to not just talk about global issues, but to run for public office and be a part of the change. “The opportunities with clean energy today are the same as cable in the 80’s,” he said.

Mr. Turner isn’t all business, though — he’s known for his sense of humor. His best advice to young people starting out today? “First of all, read my book!”

Watch the video of Mr. Turner's interview: