Invitation Letter to 2050 Volunteers

Dear 2050 volunteers,

This is an exhilarating time, not just because of the arrival of the internet or the possibility of colonizing Mars.

This is the youngest generation in history. 50% of the world’s population is under 30 years old. What could be more exciting?

Many, many years ago, I was working at the university after I had graduated from my PhD program. At that time, I had no particular feelings for young people in general.

Many years ago I was working in Microsoft Research Asia, several colleagues were elected into MIT Technology Review 35. I just passed the qualified age, and sudden had some feeling about "youth".

Several years ago, when I was founding Alibaba Cloud, I was working with a group of young people who held great passion for ACM/ICPC, most of them were only half of my age. The code of Apsara showed me that there would be no Alibaba Cloud without young people.

A few years ago, the team came to Yunqi and I got a chance to observe the footprints of nearly a million youngsters on cnblogs. This allowed me to understand something that everyone already knows:the future belongs to the young.

I believe that chasing youth is the greatest dream of humanity, and chasing the younger generation is our confidence in the future.

This generation also faces the most challenges: urban development, epidemic diseases, environmental degradation, there are so many problems from yesterday that have been handed down to tomorrow. The world has no choice but to leave future challenges to young people. If you give the youngsters a chance, they would choose the Earth to make it a better place, than escaping to Mars to face the more challenging possibilities. For them, going to Mars is just a way to travel but not a way to evade.

Therefore, the 2050 Conference was created. It is a conference aimed at young people. It will allow young people to stand in the spotlight, talk about innovation, look towards the future and face the challenges with a young mind.

It will be a grand gathering of youth, a gathering of ACMers and cnblogs programmers, a gathering of MIT TR 35 and the Davos WEF’s Young Leaders and Global Shapers, a gathering for the next generation scientists from various fields of expertise.

Here, the young generation will show their responsibility to the world and their promise for the future.

Here, challenges will be closer to young people, letting the future they dream about become the world’s future.

For a long time, I have been thinking about bringing together the world’s most innovative young people to exchange ideas. When I discussed, this idea with many people who have different experiences and backgrounds, almost everyone showed their excitement and gave me great encouragement.

In 2018, a group of volunteers gather at Yunqi to kickoff the 2050 Conference as an enthusiastic response to the proposal by the Hangzhou Yunqi Science and Technology Innovation Foundation.

We have a shared vision - to make this gathering where the world’s youth embrace science and technology. 2050 Conference has for this reason become a shared volunteer project for all of us. And this makes 2050 even more welcoming and diverse. While we spare efforts to build a unique event, we are also making the Yunqi the place closest to the youth.

“Volunteership” is one of the most wonderful aspects of 2050 Conference. All contributors are defining “volunteership” in their own way. As a young person before, 2050 is my humble contribution to 50% of the world. I believe that anything I can do for this 50% is a contribution for 100% of the world’s population.

2050 represents our hopes and imagination for the future.

Young people are different. They come from different countries, speak different languages, embrace different technologies, and have different dreams.

But in other ways, young people are all the same. They are children who don’t have umbrellas and like to run in the rain.

At Yunqi, we’ll run in the rain together.

Founder, Hangzhou Yunqi Science and Technology Innovation Foundation
Founder, Alibaba Cloud

January 23rd, 2018, Yunqi