The emerge85 lab – named for the 85% of the world’s population who live outside North America and Europe – launched on October 4 to a packed house with a discussion and reception attended by senior policy-makers, diplomats, media, members of the business and multilateral development bank community, academics, and the broader community.

Dean of Johns Hopkins SAIS Vali Nasr opened the event, held at the university’s Kenney Auditorium, followed by a discussion among emerge85 co-directors Afshin Molavi of SAIS and Mishaal Al Gergawi of The Delma Institute, and Emerging Market Private Capital Strategies Principal Sarah E Alexander.

“I believe we are living in a fundamentally transformative moment in human history, and emerge85 will serve as a platform and hub for some of the most innovative and dynamic thinking on the key drivers of change across Latin America, Africa, and Asia,” Molavi said. “New hub cities are rising, emerging market multinationals are challenging their Western peers, growing middle classes are fuelling a new wave of consumption and aspiration, and a multiplicity of new commercial and economic actors are reshaping the geo-economic order.”

Al Gergawi of The Delma Institute noted the vast expansion of goods and services in emerging markets in recent years. “Over the last 25 years, we’ve seen a near reversal in global GDP (on PPP basis) contribution by developed and emerging economies from 60% and 40%, respectively,” he said. “The emerge85 lab intends to study the interdisciplinary and complex impacts of this growth and explore what such a geo-economic multiplicity means for our global order.”