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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2017

3,000 people converge on a small town in the Swiss mountains for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2017, running from 17 to 20 January. What are they doing there? Who are they and what do they hope to achieve?


The World Economic Forum, committed to improving the state of the world, is the International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation.

The Forum engages the foremost political, business and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

It was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

Its activities are shaped by a unique institutional culture founded on the stakeholder theory, which asserts that an organization is accountable to all parts of society. The institution carefully blends and balances the best of many kinds of organizations, from both the public and private sectors, international organizations and academic institutions.

The main belief is that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.


Last but not least, 100 leading businesses signed the Compact for Responsive and Responsible Leadership. The Compact was developed with the Forum’s International Business Council which will now develop a framework which will allow the measurement of a long-term approach.

10 achievements from Davos 2017

Our Annual Meeting is often described as a talking shop, but it is also a working meeting for dozens of different communities from all regions of the world, all ages and all sections of society.

“There are 3.6 billion people around the world aspiring to better income, to food on the table twice a day, once a day. To turn our back on globalization, to turn our back on helping development, is exactly the wrong approach. To say that globalization is bad because it destroys jobs is a very short cut for something that needs far more analytical work and understanding.”

The end of globalization? Davos disagrees

In the past few decades, globalization has narrowed the wealth gap between rich and poor countries, but fed into a growing crisis of inequality within Western countries

 ”The only way to get out of this is to remove moral hazard, stop confirming the image that we’re there to make life difficult, that it’s not the member states’ fault what happens in Brussels, that the North is imposing models that don’t work on the South, that the South is lazy. These are all lies, but they lead to a huge lack of trust within nations and between nations.”

‘This double game is destroying us’ – EU strikes back at its critics in Davos

Leaders of the European Union lashed out at the forces that could bring it down in an emotive session at Davos, days after Theresa May revealed that Britain was heading for a clean break

For all the talk of trade wars between the two economic powerhouses, Ma says that’s unthinkable, and thinks they would instead benefit from working together on this more inclusive form of globalization.

Jack Ma: America has wasted its wealth

Jack Ma, one of China’s most successful and richest entrepreneurs, has responded to America’s growing globalization backlash, arguing that the superpower has benefited immensely from the process – but that it has largely squandered its wealth

The forces of liberalism, free trade and globalisation that have had – and continue to have – such an overwhelmingly positive impact on our world, that have harnessed unprecedented levels of wealth and opportunity, that have lifted millions out of poverty around the world, that have brought nations closer together, broken down barriers and improved standards of living and consumer choice, forces that underpin the rules-based international system that is key to our global prosperity and security, are somehow at risk of being undermined.

Theresa May at Davos 2017: Her speech in full

Thank you Professor Schwab for that introduction, and thank you for inviting me to speak here at the World Economic Forum this morning

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“The most important thing is to make the technology inclusive – make the world change. Next, pay attention to those people who are 30 years old, because those are the internet generation. They will change the world, they are the builders of the world.

These 3 trends will define your future, says Jack Ma

By: EBR | Friday, January 20, 2017

In a one-on-one interview on the second day of Davos, Alibaba founder Jack Ma gave his take on a wide range of global issues

Considering the magnitude of the challenge we are facing, it is no less than a transformation of our economic model that is needed. The way we produce and consume raw materials, fossil fuel or gas, water, has to change. By going from a linear to a circular economy, we will be able to decouple economic growth from resources consumption and from greenhouse gases emissions.

How can we avoid a climate change catastrophe? Al Gore and Davos leaders respond

By: EBR | Thursday, January 19, 2017

Every month, it seems, we are confronted with fresh data that shines a light on the perilous state of our natural environment

The future is in clean, green energy. The question is whether we will get there before the world suffers serious climate disruption and what role we as a community will play. We should continue to push for appropriate policy, because history shows that government policy can be a powerful driver of research, development, and innovation, and because appropriate policies will be essential to future cities. We should work with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund to phase out perverse subsidies for fossil fuels, and support carbon pricing so that the external costs of fossil fuels are properly accounted, and oppose expanded fossil fuel infrastructure.

In a post-truth world, the fight against climate change is still winnable

By: EBR | Thursday, January 19, 2017

For anyone concerned about disruptive climate change, 2016 was a tumultuous year

Instead of constantly trying to retain control of the world, the West should learn to share power. Asians should be allowed to run the IMF and World Bank. Equally importantly, Western pundits must drop their traditional condescension when speaking about the rest. Emerging Asian entities, like China, India and ASEAN, should be treated with more respect. India should be immediately given a seat on the UN Security Council, with the UK and France stepping aside.

Yes, this is the Asian Century. But there’s still cause for Western optimism

By: EBR | Thursday, January 19, 2017

The big question of our time is a simple one: should we feel optimistic or pessimistic for the future of humanity, all 7 billion of us?

He’s on several occasions spoken out against the European Union – just a few days ago, he described it as a “vehicle for Germany”, predicting that more countries will follow Britain and leave.

5 things you’ve got wrong about Donald Trump, according to one of his closest aides

By: EBR | Wednesday, January 18, 2017

When Donald Trump was unexpectedly voted in as 45th president of the United States back in November 2016, many commentators predicted it was the beginning of the end for globalization

After 38 years of reform and opening up, China has become the world’s second-largest economy. “China’s development is an opportunity for the world. China has not only benefited from economic globalization but also contributed to it,” he said.

China’s Xi Jinping defends globalization from the Davos stage

By: EBR | Wednesday, January 18, 2017

China’s President Xi Jinping defended economic globalization in his first speech to the World Economic Forum at Davos

A “glass ceiling” is really a set of stereotypes that are in contradiction with one another. That is, the stereotype of the profession “computer scientist” is at odds with the stereotype of the gender “woman” and so some people may vacillate between thinking that women aren’t tough enough to make it as computer scientists . . . and thinking that tough female computer scientists aren’t feminine enough to be acceptable women. We all use stereotypes to make processing the world easier – rather than seeing things anew, we can just group what we see into types that we already have.

Smashing the glass ceiling: 6 Davos leaders explain how they did it

By: EBR | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

When it comes to closing the gender gap, we’ve made an immense amount of progress in a relatively short space of time. But we’re nowhere near where we need to be

The World Economic Forum’s Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2017 lays out strategies for cutting the current vicious cycle of stagnation and polarisation of income and opportunities.

These are the most inclusive economies in the world

By: EBR | Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Slow growth and rising inequality have reached a tipping point in many of the world’s advanced economies

The meeting will focus on four key leadership challenges for 2017: strengthening global collaboration, revitalizing economic growth, reforming capitalism and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – a huge leap powered by the digital age, which is transforming the way we live and work. It will do this through a programme where more than half of the 400 sessions focus on social inclusion and development.

Everything you need to know about Davos 2017

By: EBR | Monday, January 16, 2017

Next week, 3,000 people will converge on a small town in the Swiss mountains for the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2017, running from 17 to 20 January. What are they doing there? Who are they and what do they hope to achieve?

This current premium on speed will continue, even as new organizational challenges arise, such as the destabilization of the way people work, reports McKinsey Quarterly. To achieve fast growth in a human/robot hybrid environment, companies need to pay attention to the stability of their workforce and stay in tune with the needs of the people within the enterprise. It’s only natural that as this trend progresses, companies will need a different scale and mix of workers than today. A different mix of work locations and work environments will also be needed to support these next-generation “digital” talent requirements.

The future is automated. Here’s how we can prepare for it

By: EBR | Monday, January 16, 2017

A good receptionist should have certain characteristics: helpful, friendly, organized. But do they need to be human? Perhaps not anymore

Here the good news is that while conventional political engagement has eroded, democratic expression and unconventional political involvement have expanded. Citizens are not losing interest in public affairs. Quite the contrary. The challenge for leaders is therefore to channel this growing interest in the democratic process through the creation of new avenues of participation, co-creation of policies and oversight of leaders’ actions. In our re-politicised societies, successful political representatives will be those capable of transforming mounting distrust into civic virtue.

A 10-point guide to responsible leadership in the age of populism

By: EBR | Sunday, January 15, 2017

In a world characterized by epic political, social and technological transformations, there has never been a greater need for responsive and responsible leaders

Responsible leaders must develop empathy and solidarity with all people they serve, so that they will forge collective benefits that enlarge the pie for everyone. Again, volunteerism and community engagement are crucial. Unfortunately, with social media and an overabundance of choice, people are easily conditioned to only seek out interactions with people they “like” or to “friend” people of similar views or backgrounds. This is the exact opposite of the desired outcome, and can lead to irresponsible leaders with low social capital, and low empathy, who see the world as a fixed pie that must be divided up with the largest slice going to themselves and people like them. The future of the world, particularly the one that the young will inherit, must be defined by what we share, not our superficial differences.

What does leadership really mean?

By: EBR | Tuesday, January 10, 2017

A young person could almost be forgiven for feeling despair and hopelessness today. Everywhere they look, there is escalating inequality and a lack of opportunity

The coming year will be a critical test for all stakeholders in global society. More than ever, we will need responsive and responsible leadership to address our collective challenges, and to restore people’s trust in institutions and in one another. We do not lack the means to make the world a better place. But to do so, we must look past our own narrow interests and attend to the interests of our global society.

Five leadership priorities for 2017

By: EBR | Wednesday, January 4, 2017

As the past year has demonstrated, leaders must be responsive to the demands of the people who have entrusted them to lead, while also providing a vision and a way forward, so that people can imagine a better future.

The mechanism that is most often offered for this state of events is the existence of echo chambers or filter bubbles. The argument goes that first social media platforms feed people the news that is closest to their own ideological standpoint (estimated from their previous patterns of consumption) and second, that people create their own personalized information environments through their online behaviour, selecting friends and news sources that back up their world view.

Can social media transform politics?

By: EBR | Thursday, December 29, 2016

Of course social media is transforming politics. But it’s not to blame for Brexit and Trump

Many factors are being blamed for the election of Donald Trump. There was a similar outcry months earlier when Britain voted to remove itself from the European Union. A common theory involves a failure of the media to understand why these events happened – a failure to do its job.

The most defining moments of 2016, according to 6 global leaders

By: EBR | Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Most people will be glad to see the back of 2016. It was a year of shock elections, record-breaking global temperatures, devastating terrorist attacks, ongoing civil wars and high-profile celebrity deaths

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