Foresight provides insight

Not only has Praful Mathur’s entrepreneurial spirit helped him flourish at Northeastern University, but it also recently provided him with an opportunity to attend a dynamic international conference that brought together world leaders, visionary minds and ambitious students.

Mathur, a senior computer science major, was selected as one of a handful of U.S. students to attend the inaugural World Foresight Forum last month at The Hague in the Netherlands, a summit on the greatest global challenges of the 21st century. The aim was to develop sustainable solutions that address those challenges from a variety of perspectives, including politics, business and academia.

Mathur described the event as a transformative moment for him, as he met and interacted with prominent international figures and other accomplished, forward-thinking students. He said the message he took away from the conference was to explore projects and causes that he is passionate about. The experience energized him to continue pursuing his personal goal to end world poverty.

“This was the most powerful experience I’ve had in a long time,” Mathur said.

Throughout the three-day summit in mid-April, attendees participated in a range of discussions and seminars on issues such as energy, hunger, raw materials, climate change, technology, terrorism and the global financial crisis. Mathur was chosen to help moderate a panel discussion on Islamic fundamentalism and how Europe is dealing with the issue.

Of the roughly 200 students participating, Mathur said he was one of only a handful from the United States.

The opportunity arose through contacts Mathur made earlier at a conference in New York City sponsored by the Kairos Society, an international network of student and world leaders aiming to solve global challenges through entrepreneurship and innovation.

“Northeastern really encourages students to take advantage of these kinds of global opportunities,” said Mathur, who is a member of the Entrepreneurs Club on campus. He also has served as a coach for the Inter-Disciplinary Entrepreneurship Accelerator, a student-founded and student-run organization that helps students propel their entrepreneurial ideas into real, successful businesses.