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World Economic Forum Launches the Global Shapers Community in Switzerland

Maxwell Hall, Senior Media Manager: Tel.: +41(0)79 329 3500, E-mail:

  • Fifty per cent of the world’s population is under the age of 27, but the voice of youth has been largely absent from global decision-making platforms and processes
  • The World Economic Forum will bring its 41-year experience of building multistakeholder communities to a global platform for this dynamic generation
  • Global Shapers are 20 to 30 years of age, with great potential for future leadership roles in all sectors of society. For more information about the Global Shapers community:

Switzerland, 8 December 2011 – The World Economic Forum is launching the Global Shapers Community in Switzerland. The aim is to tap into the potential of the youth generation; the community will provide talented 20 to 30 year olds with a global platform to shape the future and develop their leadership potential to serve society.

The Global Shapers Community is a worldwide network of hubs led by 20 to 30 year olds who are exceptional in their achievements and drive to make a positive contribution to their communities. They represent all walks of life and share a spirit of entrepreneurship in the public interest. As individuals they are selected and mentored by the Young Global Leaders, another community of the World Economic Forum, and stand out as people who have already delivered major projects, founded companies or organizations or have contributed to serving society.

“With 50% of the world’s population under the age of 27, the majority of who live in urban areas, a new global dynamic is emerging,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum. “We are becoming increasingly aware that solutions to our global challenges must purposefully engage youth at all levels – locally, regionally, nationally and globally. This generation has the passion, dynamism and entrepreneurial spirit to shape the future.”

There are two hubs in Switzerland: Zurich and Geneva. The Geneva Shapers have been operating for several months and the Zurich Shapers have recently held their inaugural meeting.

The Zurich hub is mentored by Georges Kern, philanthropist and Chief Executive Officer of IWC Schaffhausen, a branch of Richemont International. Alongside his corporate objectives, he supports several charities that help disadvantaged young people and is also a trustee of the London-based organization, The Climate Group. 

The Geneva hub is mentored by Scott Weber, Director-General of Interpeace, a peace-building NGO which aims to address the shortfalls of peace interventions and the challenges that societies face in post-conflict situations.

The Global Shapers in these hubs will be tasked with using their talents to foster fresh ideas and entrepreneurial solutions to some of the most pressing problems within their local communities. They will also collaborate with other hubs worldwide to share ideas on tackling global problems. The community includes:

  • Vanessa Wood, a Zurich Shaper, and Professor in the Department of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering at ETH Zurich and head of the Laboratory for Nanoelectronics. She holds six patents and has been active in several start-up companies in the US.
  • Adrian Locher, a Zurich Shaper, and serial Internet entrepreneur. Earlier this year he sold group buying platform,, to the media company, Ringier. The company has a projected turnover of CHF 50 million and 150 employees.
  • Michael Senn, a Geneva Shaper is the co-founder of Cusmic, a recruitment and staffing agency specialising in recent graduates and young professionals in Switzerland.  The company has a database of 15,000 members and aims to help employers and young talent to connect through new solutions.
  • Florian Irminger, a Geneva Shaper, is a human rights activist and head of International Advocacy of the Human Rights House Foundation. He co-founded Stop Suicide, an NGO aimed at preventing suicide among Swiss youth.

“The Global Shapers Community recognizes the role that young people have in shaping our world,” said Sarah Noble, a Geneva Shaper, and an aspiring leader in the field of peace and security for Interpeace.

“Too often young people are not seen as future decision-makers. But leadership is everywhere, at every level of society and at every age. What is unique about the Global Shapers is that it harnesses the energy, insights and talents across different sectors such as business, entrepreneurship and civil society to work collectively to solve problems,” added Noble.

The thinking behind the creation of the Global Shapers Community is to provide this unique group with access to the Forum’s Members and constituents, including top leaders from politics, business, civil society, media, science, arts and culture, faith and academia, with the objective of providing maximum possibilities for interaction and cross-mentoring.

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 (