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Inaugural Globe Summit convenes top thinkers

Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci will talk in separate sessions about the nation’s response to COVID and what lies ahead.
Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci will talk in separate sessions about the nation’s response to COVID and what lies ahead.Pool/Getty

The inaugural Globe Summit — The Boston Globe’s festival of national thinkers, speakers, and local leaders in business, health, and technology — tackles some of the most pressing issues of our time: a world ravaged by a pandemic. A planet threatened by climate change. Inequalities laid bare.

The three-day virtual gathering kicks off Wednesday and is free to attend. The focus is the economy, health, innovation, and sustainability.

In separate sessions, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s top infectious disease doctor, and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will talk about the nation’s response to COVID and what lies ahead.

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Former senator John Kerry will discuss how to confront climate change through “bold policy.” Author and professor Ibram X. Kendi will address building an anti-racist society.

Attendees can register at Globe.com/summit for access to every panel, and the ability to watch recorded events for at least one year.

Events and conversations with journalists and community leaders have been a key way to amplify the Globe’s journalism, said Linda Pizzuti Henry, chief executive of Boston Globe Media Partners.

“Despite the challenges of COVID, we have continued to grow and expand, making investments across our entire organization to broaden and deepen our coverage, adding new beats and more talented journalists to cover the most important issues facing our communities,” Pizzuti Henry said in an e-mail on Tuesday.

“An important part of this investment includes exploring new ways of delivering our content and creating opportunities for our readers to engage with our journalism beyond our print and digital pages,” Henry added. “Globe Summit is an exciting opportunity for us to invite new readers in to experience all that is happening in our region and to showcase our great journalism with a national audience.”

As of Tuesday, about 9,000 people had registered for the summit. Boston Consulting Group is the presenting sponsor.

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Other sessions include a discussion on the future of transportation, featuring Representative Seth Moulton and Maria Belen Power of GreenRoots. There will also be local leaders, including the CEOs of Beth Israel Lahey Health, Mass General Brigham, and Boston Medical Center, discussing worker burnout in health care.

A discussion of the future of small businesses features Donna Levin, chief executive of Babson’s School for Entrepreneurial Leadership; Daniel Enriquèz Vidaña, president of Innovation Studio; and Nia Grace, proprietor of Darryl’s Corner Bar & Kitchen.

A growing threat facing companies and ordinary people — cyber attacks — will be at the center of a discussion by Greg Dracon, a partner at .406 Ventures; Christopher Ahlberg, CEO of Recorded Future; and Sam King, CEO of Veracode.

Closing the summit Friday will be a panel celebrating 50 years of the Globe Spotlight team, the organization’s Pulitzer-winning investigative arm. GBH host Jim Braude will speak with former members Stephen A. Kurkjian, Dick Lehr, and Michael Rezendes, and current editor Patricia Wen.

The panel will have an introduction from Tom McCarthy, who directed the Oscar-winning movie “Spotlight” about the team’s investigation into sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

“I think our region, like so many places, has been through a lot this year,” said Shira T. Center, general manager of newsroom initiatives for Boston Globe Media Partners. “But we’ve also shown a lot. And I think New England and Boston in particular are in a unique place to convene these conversations about our experience and, hopefully, how we can move forward in a more equitable way.”

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Center said the summit will seek to entertain as well as inform. There will be a documentary called “Meat Me Halfway,” about Reducetarian Foundation cofounder Brian Kateman’s decision to eat fewer animal products.

On Friday, actress and comedian Jenny Slate, who grew up in Milton, will talk to Love Letters columnist Meredith Goldstein about exploring empathy through art; and Boston.com will host a nightly Cocktail Club, with bar director Jackson Cannon and rotating guests.

“I think that these kinds of events are an extension of our journalism,” Center said. “And in many ways we lead the conversations among sources and voices, both prominent and underserved. We do that in our paper” and online, she said, “and now we do it on stage, too, the virtual stage.”


Gal Tziperman Lotan can be reached at gal.lotan@globe.com or at 617-929-2043.