With more than half the world’s people and over 40% of its economy, Brazil, China, India, Russia and other emerging markets in Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas are widely expected to be economic and geo-political powers in the 21st century and beyond. But their future progress, relationships with the rest of the world and each other and prospects for growth, social cohesion and political stability are, in varying degrees, clouded by eroding competitive advantages, environmental degradation, weaknesses in national, local and corporate governance, poverty, inequality and unresolved issues of human welfare.
The Emerging Markets Symposium was created in 2008 to address problems of human welfare in emerging markets. It emphasizes conversations rather than presentations; facilitates conversations by limiting participation to 50 invitees; makes the most of their expertise by requiring all of them to contribute to the agenda and introduce or chair at least one session; promotes reflection by setting each symposium in the seclusion of Egrove Park, Oxford; encourages candour by enforcing the Chatham House Rule and excluding the press and media from all sessions; and promotes implementation of findings and recommendations through comprehensive strategies of dissemination, communications and policy dialogue.
Some of the complex transitions that separate childhood and adulthood are universal but the unprecedented scale and speed of demographic, economic and social changes in emerging markets since the 1980s mean young people (aged 10-24) in these countries face unparalleled challenges and unprecedented opportunities. The symposium considered what is at stake for them and their societies, economies and polities. The agenda was broad rather than narrow, holistic rather than segmented and embraced the fact that more than half the young people in emerging markets today live in Asia.