What to know about the inaugural Globe Summit conference

"More than 50 thought leaders will join Boston Globe journalists and editors for forward-thinking, actionable conversations."

John Blanding / The Boston Globe

If your newspaper could come to life and jump off the page, this is what it would probably look like.

The Boston Globe‘s inaugural, three-day conference, Globe Summit, is bringing together regional and national leaders to focus on the intersections where the Hub particularly excels: economy, health, innovation, and sustainability.

“The virtual Globe Summit will convene the conversation around our region’s future,” organizers say. “More than 50 thought leaders will join Boston Globe journalists and editors for forward-thinking, actionable conversations.”

There is no charge for admission. Attendees just have to RSVP.

On the schedule are over two dozen sessions with a slate of newsmakers, including headlining speakers: Leading COVID-19 expert Dr. Anthony Fauci; CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky; Ibram X. Kendi, founding director of the Boston University Center for Antiracist Research; actress and comedian Jenny Slate; U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren; and Special Envoy for Climate John Kerry.


Also on the agenda as a featured segment: A celebration of the newspaper’s renowned investigative arm, Spotlight, (which turns 50 years old this year) as the oldest local news investigative unit still operating today.

Here’s what else to know about Globe Summit:

(The Boston Globe and are both owned by Boston Globe Media Partners.)

Headlining speakers

Dr. Anthony Fauci

Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Fauci, also an unexpected icon of the COVID-19 pandemic, will chat on Wednesday with the Globe‘s editorial page editor, Bina Venkataraman, in a segment titled, “Can We Prevent the Next Pandemic?”

The two will discuss “what to expect from COVID-19 now and what lessons we can take to better prepare for the next global health crisis,” according to an event listing.

Ibram X. Kendi

A leading voice in antiracism, Kendi’s work and its focus came sharper into the mainstream in 2020 amid the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on communities of color and the nationwide racial justice movement that followed the murder of George Floyd.

On Thursday, Kendi, who is also co-founder of The Emancipator, will sit down with his colleague, The Emancipator‘s co-editor-in-chief, Amber Payne, to discuss what must happen to create a “more equitable, anti-racist society.”


Dr. Rochelle Walensky

Americans have turned to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for medical guidance amid the still-evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Walensky, the former chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Massachusetts General Hospital, sits down for a chat on Friday with Globe Spotlight Team Editor Patty Wen about how the nation’s pandemic response is changing and what the CDC is watching for next in the coming years, according to summit organizers.

Jenny Slate

A Massachusetts native, Slate has carved out a name for herself in Hollywood in more ways than one.

As the Globe Summit listing describes, the comedian, author, and actress “has dabbled in all manners of art, masterfully experimenting with language and expression to offer a window into her characters’ hearts and minds.”

On Friday, she appears one-on-one with Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein to talk how “empathy and art intertwine.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Even before she made it to the U.S. Senate and launched a bid for the presidency, Warren long questioned the nation’s corporate halls of power and influence.

But perhaps not quite like this: On Wednesday, Warren will sit down with Matthew McCarthy, CEO of ice cream giant Ben & Jerry’s, in a session rightly dubbed, “The Rocky Road to Corporate Activism.”


“Vermont ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s is known not only for its creative flavors, but also for its willingness to speak out in the name of social justice — long before it was typical for large corporations to do so,” the event listing reads. “In this one-on-one conversation, CEO of Ben & Jerry’s Matthew McCarthy and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren will question one another about corporate activism from the perspectives of the private and public sectors.”

John Kerry

Kerry, the former secretary of state and U.S. senator from Massachusetts, has a new job: the first presidential special envoy for climate — a position that’s instrumental in seeing through President Joe Biden’s agenda for fighting climate change.

In a fireside chat on Thursday, “climate reporter Sabrina Shankman asks Kerry how we can avert catastrophe through bold climate policy at home and by collaborating with our foreign counterparts,” according to the Globe Summit schedule.

The Spotlight Team

With the Globe‘s Spotlight Team marking its 50th anniversary this year, a live panel discussion moderated by GBH’s Jim Braude on Friday will track the evolution of investigative journalism in a program titled, “From Watergate to Spotlight: How investigative journalism has changed and why it’s more important than ever.”

On the agenda is a look at journalism history “as well as the current age of disinformation through the lens of the country’s oldest investigative team, and one of its most distinguished.”

What else is happening

“Tackling Global Challenges with a Culture of Innovation”


Boston’s educational bedrock gives the region a unique position in raising the innovation economy and, by extension, in solving some of our most pressing problems.

“In a conversation with the president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Rafael Reif, CEO of The Boston Globe Linda Henry will moderate a discussion around the importance of nurturing an innovation economy,” a listing for the Wednesday morning fireside chat reads. “Reif will illuminate how a culture of innovation will aid the region in tackling the climate crisis and other global challenges.”

“A Greener, More Equitable Economy”

U.S. Sen. Ed Markey is the original Senate sponsor of the Green New Deal, the proposed Congressional resolution that’s driven green policy and economy discussions since he filed it with New York Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in 2019.

On Wednesday, Markey talks with Globe reporter Sabrina Shankman about “his legislative efforts to ​​mitigate climate emissions and build climate resiliency while counteracting systemic injustices furthered by our fossil fuel economy.”

“The Future of Transportation”

Commuting in Boston just isn’t the same during the coronavirus pandemic — and the changes could be long lasting.

“Fewer people are taking public transit now, reducing the MBTA’s revenue even as huge investments are necessary to ensure the viability and sustainability of the system,” a listing for this session on Thursday morning reads. “Can regional transportation and infrastructure become greener and more accessible to all in the post-COVID era?”

Panelists U.S. Rep. Seth Moulton and Maria Belen Power, associate executive director of environmental justice organization GreenRoots, will try to answer that alongside moderator Brian Bergstein, editor of the Globe‘s Ideas section.


“Inside the Local Vaccine Effort and What’s Ahead for Massachusetts”

Massachusetts’ leading biotech and life sciences industries have played a crucial role in developing a COVID-19 vaccine.

On Friday, several experts will explain what goes into making a vaccine and a whole lot more: “Experts involved in the efforts from Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer will share an inside look at the process, while the Secretary of Health and Human Services for the Commonwealth will provide insight into the state’s vaccine rollout. The group will share what the public needs to know as we face variants and the return to public life.”

“Meat Me Halfway”

Each day, summit attendees will have all-day access to a screening of “Meat Me Halfway” — a film by Brian Kateman exploring the benefits and challenges of adapting to a plant-based diet — presented by GlobeDocs, and a discussion with Kateman and the Globe‘s Kara Baskin. Cocktail Club toast

Every night at 5 p.m., attendees can cap off the day with a DIY toast with bartending guidance and conversation from’s Cocktail Club host Jackson Cannon and a rotating special guest.

Check out the full Globe Summit program here.


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