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The Astana Global Challenges Summit 2018


As it has every year since 2008, the Astana Economic Forum (AEF) is about to take place in Astana, Kazakhstan. AEF, now also known as the Global Challenges Summit (GCS), is an international and regional non-profit platform for public discourse on topics such as economics, globalization, security, global risks, energy efficiency, innovation, and, more generally, matters concerning the future of our world and society. It was jointly created by the Eurasian Economic Club of Scientists Association and the Kazakhstan government back in 2008, and over the years, it has hosted innumerable talks and presentations by scientists, economists, world leaders, entrepreneurs, Nobel laureates, and other key people.

In our rapidly changing world, where we sometimes struggle to keep up the pace with progress, initiatives like this are greatly needed and welcome. In order to address the global issues we will face in the coming decades, cooperation, dialogue, information sharing, and networking will be pivotal, and events like the GCS are instrumental in achieving success. The themes of the 2018 event, which will be held on May 17-19, will include global strategy, sustainability, the future of money, clean energy, a unified economy, and many others. Around 500 speakers from all over the world will be on stage to discuss these important topics, sharing visions and insights to build a brighter and safer future together. Among the speakers are theoretical physicist Michio Kaku, former President of France François Hollande, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, Ambassador of Singularity University in Russia Evgeny Kuznetsov, Kazakhstan Prime Minister Bakhytzhan Sagintayev, and former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

One of the challenges awaiting us is population aging accompanied by growing life expectancy; these demographic changes will result in roughly one-third of the world population being over 60 relatively soon, which will require not only the adjustment of our healthcare and welfare systems but also a serious rethinking of how they function. It is particularly important to discuss how this will be affected by the development and implementation of regenerative medicine against aging; therefore, longevity is also a GCS theme this year. It is very encouraging to see that this crucial matter is now taken seriously and discussed publicly in events like this.

You can find the whole GCS program here; the longevity sessions, all taking place on the very first day, will have many distinguished speakers discussing the prerequisites and consequences of the forthcoming era of extended healthy lifespan.

The first longevity session, a panel by the provocative title “Immortality begins now”, features Dr. Aubrey de Grey, CSO of SENS Research Foundation; Dr. Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine; Mikhail Batin, CEO of Open Longevity; Ilia Slutsky, a managing partner of digital health strategic investor Medme; and Vladimir Yakovlev, a science journalist and the author of the project “Age of Happiness”, a study of how old people use their additional years of life to be happy and productive. LEAF Board Member and Outreach Director Elena Milova will be chairing this panel and introducing the audience to the world of rejuvenation. It’s a great honor for LEAF that Elena was invited to this important event.

Together with Dr. Atala and International Longevity Alliance Board Member Daria Khaltourina, Elena will also participate in the second session, “Longevity as the new branch of the economy. The legal framework”, which will be chaired by Vladimir Yakovlev. The third session, “Birth of a superhuman. era of posthumanism”, will be chaired by Mikhail Batin and will be focused on how science and technology may shape the future of the human race.

As longevity and rejuvenation are featured in more and more public events and media outlets, we draw ever closer to the tipping point when mentioning the medical conquering of aging will no longer raise any eyebrows or cause any skepticism or contempt; rather, it’ll cause enthusiastic support and anticipation—some of which we’re already seeing blossom today. If you have the chance to attend this event, we highly recommend it!

About the author
Nicola Bagalà

Nicola Bagalà

Nicola is a bit of a jack of all trades—a holder of an M.Sc. in mathematics; an amateur programmer; a hobbyist at novel writing, piano and art; and, of course, a passionate life extensionist. Nicola produced the YouTube show - LifeXtenShow until 2021. He is no longer part of the team having left in 2021 to seek new opportunities and challenges.
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