The inspiration behind the Next Generation Summit came from a story about a time when a group of young adults discovered that their understandings of the academic word “bottleneck” differed according to disciplinary backgrounds.

“Upon hearing this story, I began to realize that our generation can alleviate many of the burdens we face if we more frequently solved our problems through cross-disciplinary collaboration,” said Kiyan Rajabi, fourth-year UC Santa Barbara student and founder and director of the Next Generation Summit, in an email interview. This weekend Rajabi will see his vision turn in to a reality.

According to its website, the Next Generation Summit is an interdisciplinary conference that offers young adults an opportunity to facilitate peer-to-peer learning and networking in a collaborative environment. The first-ever Summit will take place on Saturday, May 4 and Sunday, May 5 in Corwin Pavilion at UC Santa Barbara.

The Summit will address the latest trends and research in technology, business, health, psychology, science, environmentalism, and entertainment. According to Rajabi, the conference will bring together young innovators from 20 universities across the nation.

“The Next Generation Summit is an environment where young adults can collaborate with each other to share what they are passionate about, meet others that thrive from innovation, and synergize their ideas into concrete actions,” explained Rajabi.

The cross-disciplinary orientation of the Summit will leverage the unique and diverse academic backgrounds of attending students and allow them to take a proactive role in addressing problems concerning academic concentrations other than their own. “The Next Generation Summit is a calling for students and young adults to become more engaged in important problems they will face as they progress through the ‘real world,’” said Rajabi.

Planning for the Summit began in September 2012, when Rajabi began to create contacts with interested students from UCSB and partnering universities. A team of UCSB students met weekly for months after to plan the ins and outs of the event.

Sponsors of the event include UCSB Associated Students, Backbone Capital, and the Technology Management Program. Rajabi noted that though “Associated Students has helped us significantly in covering many of our expenses,” the Summit is still looking for sponsorships from local businesses.

The Summit will feature both student and keynote speakers, with the majority of the keynote speakers hailing from Santa Barbara. “Since we are surrounded by such an amazing pool of brilliant minds, we were thrilled to tap into our local talent,” Rajabi said.

Each keynote speaker will employ a different approach to “innovative entrepreneurship” with an emphasis on the next generation of young leaders, explained Rajabi.

Rajabi went on to say that the Summit team intends on making the Next Generation Summit an annual tradition, since the goal of getting young adults more engaged with important ‘real world’ problems is an ongoing process. The Summit team also intends on keeping the event local in Santa Barbara.

Applications for attendees are still being accepted. Registration takes place online at Tickets are $35 for students with valid student ID and $75 for general admission.


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