The 45th annual meeting of the World Economic Forum kicks off at Davos today in Switzerland. There are 2500 delegates attending the three-day long event from 140 countries from business, non-government organisations and social groups including Chancellor of Germany, President of France and PM of China.
The topic for this year is the “Global Context” and one of the key talking points is the ECB’s future action. The delegates are also discussing several other issues including economic growth, social inclusion and climate change. Last year was the warmest on record, and climate change is going to be high on the agenda during the first full day of events in Davos. Al Gore, the former vice-president of the US, has described climate change as “the biggest challenge our civilisation faces”, and is taking centre stage alongside Pharrell Williams, who is appearing as creative director of Bionic Yarn, a company that turns fibers from recycled plastic into durable textiles. Gore is participating in other events looking at how business may respond to climate change, alongside Lord Stern, president of the British Academy, and speakers from the insurance company Axa. Other events covering this topic include asking how might governments respond to climate change. Another session is looking at how a comprehensive global climate deal might be achieved.
The World Economic Forum marked the opening of its 45th Annual Meeting on Tuesday by awarding three exceptional artist and cultural leaders with a Crystal Award. Shigeru Ban, Principal Architect of Shigeru Ban Architects in Japan. Ban uses paper and cardboard tubes to build reduced-cost, scalable, durable and dignified shelters for natural-events survivors around the world. His works include the Temporary Elementary School (Chengdu, China) and the Container Temporary Housing (Onagawa, Japan).
Andrea Bocelli, World-Famous Singer-Songwriter and Founder of the Andrea Bocelli Foundation. His Foundation works to help people in need due to health challenges, poverty and social challenges by promoting and supporting national and international projects that foster the overcoming those challenges and helping them to realise their full potential. In addition Angélique Kidjo, a Grammy Award winning Musician, UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and Co-founder of the Batonga Foundation. Kidjo has long used her voice to speak up for the world’s most in-need children and their families. In her visits to communities across Africa and Central-America, she promotes girls’ education. “We are very happy to distinguish these three outstanding personalities who are world famous artists and also are wanting to improve humanitarian challenges and committed to using their time and energy to make a difference,” said Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
In addition to the Crystal Awards, the Forum is organising a series of cultural events in Davos, to highlight the importance of culture in achieving inclusion and equality across the world. The Events include “In Search of Balance” a series of digital photographic installations in collaboration with the Victoria and Albert Museum; “The Refuge”, with artist Lynette Wallworth, intimate portraits of 10 female refugees using projection; and “The Studio”, with Daan Roosegaarde’s Dune, an interactive, energy-neutral landscape of LED lights that react to the motion of passing visitors, and are the spark for a series of sessions on creative solutions for sustainability.
This year Davos is going to welcome an extraordinary number of renowned researchers, acclaimed academics and stars in their fields, from autonomous robotics pioneer William Whittaker, to 2015 Breakthrough Prize winner Jennifer Doudna. This increased number is because “Science at the World Economic Forum is about inspiration, solutions and collaboration.” Said, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. Adding, “First and foremost leaders come together in Davos to address global challenges. Science has a critical role to play helping leaders understand why we have these challenges, and increasingly leaders are looking to science for possible solutions. World leaders are also able to learn a lot from scientists in their ability to cooperate and compete constructively.”
How might debating challenges lead to political, economic and social change?