The truism of 2020 is that we are facing significant challenges in our communities, countries, and collectively as a planet. Daily newspaper headlines sound the alarm, a persistent reminder of the ubiquity of our problems. The most evident, and urgent, is the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on health and economic systems around the world. But many of the problems that have demanded our attention this year have much deeper roots. When we take a step back, we see systemic and institutional problems that were spreading below the surface long before this crisis began — outdated infrastructure, financial marginalization, opportunity gaps, lack of diversity, inequality. These challenges aren’t new, but 2020 has exposed them in unprecedented ways.
2020 brings us to a crossroads, a defining moment to navigate the direction we steer next. Do we follow the road of cooperation or the path of retreat? At the Stellar Development Foundation and throughout the Stellar ecosystem, we reject retreat as an answer. Instead, we choose this as a moment to lead, to create change through unity. Now, more than ever, we believe that it is through greater connection and cooperation that we can, and will, tackle the problems we face.
Undeniably, solutions can’t wait. That is why we are devoting this year’s Meridian, Stellar’s 2nd annual conference, to respond to the urgency of now by creating a forum for global collaboration that focuses on ideas and accelerates action.
Research shows that organizations are more innovative when they are composed of a diverse set of perspectives, ideas, and experiences (WEF). Building off what we learned at and accomplished since last year’s event, Meridian 2020 intends to prove this idea applies to a global network like Stellar as well — by bringing together leading thinkers and developers from around the world, we will show that, while we may each live and experience the world and its challenges differently, our varied perspectives bring the strength to create sustainable solutions.
From November 16 to 20, we will bring this strength to bear by dedicating our conversations to greater understanding of our shared challenges, brainstorming sustainable and innovative solutions, and shaping concrete action. We will focus those conversations on the urgent circumstances that have emerged, like how we use technology to bridge the gap between existing financial infrastructure when and where people need it the most. We will brainstorm how we continue to drive innovation for systemic challenges, like the slow and costly cross-border payments system. And, we will renew our call to action to create equitable access to the global financial system, focusing on how we break down the barriers to inclusion today, like lack of financial literacy, lack of necessary documentation, high fees, and lack of physical access to financial institutions.
The path to progress is long. We know our problems won’t be solved over the 4 days of our virtual conference. But the conversations we have, the solutions we discuss, the actions we commit to during Meridian 2020, that sets the foundation for change. It builds and propels us forward every year, as we’ve seen from the progress made since last year’s Meridian. Because change is possible when we rely on the power of a global community, bringing the full value of diversity and experience to bear.
We hope you’ll join us at Meridian 2020 so together, we can choose a future where greater connection solves real world challenges.