Vanderbilt’s David Owens joins Clinton, Tutu for YaLa Mideast peace conference

David Owens (Vanderbilt)

Owen Graduate School of Management Professor David A. Owens is part of a star-studded on-line conference that seeks to continue efforts where peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians have fallen short.

The “YaLa Young Leaders” conference takes place May 25 at its Facebook site. Owens, professor for the practice of management and innovation, is a presenter alongside former President Bill Clinton, actress Sharon Stone, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Desmond Tutu and many others.

The conference is an attempt by Middle East youth to continue to work for peace even as official peace talks have floundered. The group has nearly 500,000 online followers, including youths in Egypt and Muslim countries with no relations with Israel.

Owens, who has taught a class in strategic innovation for the YaLa Academy, plans to address the group about the different ways people view change. He says it’s “innovation” when we like it, and “change” when it’s demanded of us and we’re not so sure.

Owens believes that common ground can be found only through empathizing with other people through honest, vigorous discussion.