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World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013 Opens with Crystal Awards

Adrian Monck, Managing Director, Head of Communications: +41 (0)79 817 0315; adrian.monck7b58b4f@ce27c6a0a6b76cweforum.org

  • World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab today opened the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013
  • Crystal Awards were presented to the artist Vik Muniz, the documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy and the actress Charlize Theron
  • More than 2,500 participants from over 100 countries are taking part in the Meeting
  • The theme of the 43rd World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is Resilient Dynamism. For more information, visit http://wef.ch/Davos

Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, 22 January 2013 – World Economic Forum Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab opened the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013, which is taking place from 23 to 27 January under the theme Resilient Dynamism. He welcomed the more than 2,500 participants from over 100 countries, including nearly 50 heads of state or government, 1,500 business leaders, and representatives from civil society, media, academia and the arts, with a call for “soul, heart, brains and good nerves”.

Schwab told participants, “It is my hope that you come out of this Meeting with a vision that goes beyond crisis management”. The Meeting’s other objectives are to increase passion about global citizenship, raise understanding of the world’s challenges and inspire resilience in the face of complex global problems.

Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, presented the Crystal Award 2013 to three exceptional cultural leaders: the artist Vik Muniz, the documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, and the actress Charlize Theron. Hilde Schwab said that the award is “to celebrate artists who not only excel in their art but also help to improve the world”.

The documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, SOC Films, Pakistan, said that film has the power to change lives. A recent film of hers impacted legislation in Pakistan, causing acid attacks to be treated as terrorism and punished with prison terms. Other films have provided recognition and money for people who are risking their lives for change. “My mission as a filmmaker is not only to expose all the things that are happening around the world, but also to become a voice for those who cannot tell their own message,” she said.

The actress Charlize Theron, founder of the Charlize Theron Africa Outreach Project, said she seeks to use the spotlight she attracts as an entertainer to draw attention to one of the world’s greatest problems, the HIV epidemic in South Africa in particular and sub-Saharan Africa in general. South Africa has the largest HIV positive population in the world, and sub-Saharan Africa is home to three quarters of the world’s HIV positive youth. She called the eradication of mother-to-child HIV transmission an “incredible stride” but said much work remains to ensure that youth has “the resources, skills and lifesaving information to lead an HIV-free life”.

The artist Vik Muniz, Vik Muniz Studio, USA, said that, for him, the artist’s traditional task of combining materials and ideas had proven insufficient. For the past 10 years, he has worked to “use art as an element of inclusion” and “to make art a right, not a privilege”. To achieve these goals, he is taking art out of exclusive exhibition spaces. One such project, his work with Brazilian garbage pickers, became an award-winning documentary film, Waste Land.

The co-chairs of Annual Meeting 2013 are: Frederico Curado, President and Chief Executive Officer, EMBRAER, Brazil; Muhtar A. Kent, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA; Huguette Labelle, Chair, Transparency International, Germany; Global Agenda Council on Responsible Mineral Resources Management; Andrew N. Liveris, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Dow Chemical Company, USA; Atsutoshi Nishida, Chairman of the Board, Toshiba Corporation, Japan; and Axel A. Weber, Chairman of the Board of Directors, UBS, Switzerland

Notes to Editors

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The World Economic Forum is an international institution committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship. It engages with business, political, academic and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

Incorporated as a not-for-profit foundation in 1971 and headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, the Forum is independent, impartial and not tied to any interests. It cooperates closely with all leading international organizations (www.weforum.org).