Policy Pro: Mei Lin Fung
Mei Lin Fung describes herself as a “numbers person.” But within a few minutes of talking to her, it’s clear that’s an understatement.
Fung has an MBA in finance from MIT where she studied under two future Nobel prize winners. Skilled in synthesizing complex data, Fung helped revolutionize the way tech-giant Oracle uses data to serve its customers—pioneering a customer relationship management (CRM) system in 1989 that became the envy of the industry. She later had a front-row seat to the development of the internet while working for the U.S. Department of Defense.
Today, world leaders consult Fung on some of our most pressing problems—including the climate crisis.
She’s a part of the Think7, a group of experts from around the world who develop research-based policy recommendations for the G7 nations. In March, Fung’s nonprofit, People-Centered Internet, submitted several policy briefs with recommendations on how to deal with the climate crisis—one of which suggests facilitating global “climate clubs” in communities around the world. “Any school, college, or community center can set up a climate club,” Fung explains. “They could have an Olympics of climate solutions, for example, and compete on climate solutions,” she says. “Young people have the energy to help the climate, but we’re not giving them a place. Climate clubs could help harness that energy.”
As chair of People-Centered Internet, which she co-founded with Vint Cerf (one of the “fathers of the internet” who helped design the web’s TCP/IP architecture) Fung also hopes to guide society’s use of the internet as a force for good by promoting connectivity and fighting disinformation in addition to advising policymakers. “We need to get back to an internet of the people, by the people, and for the people,” she says.
Fung also insists that world leaders must tap into local experts to find solutions to the climate crisis and create resilient communities, as no one understands what a community needs like its local population.
“The people who are going to solve this are going to solve it because they care about the future,” Fung says. “It’s up to us to find them and get them together.”