Over 40 heads of state and government, as well as 2,500 leaders from business and society will convene at the 46th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, from 20 to 23 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, under the theme, Mastering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Critical current challenges, such as security, climate change and “new normal” global growth and commodity prices, are among the issues on the agenda.
The Co-Chairs of the Annual Meeting 2016 are: Mary Barra, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, General Motors Company; Sharan Burrow, General-Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC); Satya Nadella, Chief Executive Officer, Microsoft Corporation; Hiroaki Nakanishi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Hitachi; Tidjane Thiam, Chief Executive Officer, Credit Suisse; and Amira Yahyaoui, Founder, Al Bawsala and Global Shaper.
"The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the fusion of technologies across the physical, digital and biological worlds which is creating entirely new capabilities and dramatic impacts on political, social and economic systems," said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.
G20 leaders and/or recently inaugurated heads of state/government present include David Cameron, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Ahmet Davutoğlu, Prime Minister of Turkey; Joachim Gauck, President of Germany; Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina; Enrique Peña Nieto, President of Mexico; Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Alexis Tsipras, Prime Minister of Greece; Manuel Valls, Prime Minister of France; and Jacob Zuma, President of South Africa. Other key government representatives present are: Johann Schneider-Ammann, President and Federal Councillor of Economic Affairs, Education and Research of Switzerland; Haidar Al Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq; Habib Essid, Head of Government of Tunisia; Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia; Tammam Saeb Salam, President of the Council of Ministers of Lebanon; Ranil Wickremesinghe, Prime Minister and Minister of Reconciliation of Sri Lanka; and Yury Trutnev, Deputy Prime Minister of Russian Federation.
The US delegation is led by Vice-President Joe Biden and Jill Biden. Also attending are John Kerry, Secretary of State; Ashton Carter, Secretary of Defence; Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Secretary of Health and Human Services; Michael Froman, US Trade Representative; Jacob Lew, Secretary of the Treasury; Penny Pritzker, Secretary of Commerce; Loretta Lynch, US Attorney-General; and Gayle Smith, Adminisration of USAID. Gregory Abbott, Governor of Texas, John Hickenlooper, Governor of Colorado, Gina Raimondo, Governor of Rhode Island as well as five senators and eight congressmen, including Congress Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, will be participating.
Participants include more than 1,500 business leaders from the Forum’s 1,000 Member companies; nearly 300 public figures and Members of the Forum communities, including Social Entrepreneurs, Global Shapers, Young Global Leaders and Technology Pioneers. Representatives from international organizations and civil society (NGOs, labour leaders, religious leaders), cultural leaders, academia and the media will also participate.
"The speed, scale and systemic nature of this transformation has the potential to disrupt all sectors and call into question the essence of human nature and identity. The purpose of our Meeting this year is to build a shared understanding of this change, which is essential if we are to shape our collective future in a way that reflects ultimately that the human being should be at the centre," said Professor Schwab.
The full programme consists of over 300 sessions out of which over 100 sessions will be webcast live. Selected themes and participants include:
Fourth Industrial Revolution
The Fourth Industrial Revolution refers to the ongoing transformation of our society and economy, driven by advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous vehicles, 3-D printing, nanotechnology and other areas of science. The innovation at the intersections of these disciplines promises to change life in new and unforeseen ways and will affect every industry and society. Learning how humankind can benefit from this revolution, while addressing its challenges, is the central aim of this year’s Meeting.
Participants include Jack Ma Yun, Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group; Nathan Blecharczyk, Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer, Airbnb; Ya-qin Zhang, President, Baidu.com; John Chambers, Executive Chairman, Cisco; Michael Dell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Dell; Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer and Member of the Board, Facebook Inc.; Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman, Alphabet, USA; and Meg Whitman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hewlett Packard Enterprise.
“New Normal” Global Growth and Commodity Prices
The world faces another year with lower than 4% global GDP growth. Experts this year will discuss ways of attaining inclusive, sustainable growth in an environment marked by continued low inflation, subdued oil and commodity prices and widespread currency weakness.
Registered participants include Mario Draghi, President, European Central Bank (ECB); Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF); Jin Liqun, President-Designate, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB); and the Governors of the Central Banks of Canada, England, France, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Switzerland.
Paris Agreement and the Global Commons
Success at the COP21 climate talks in Paris offers great hope that challenges facing other global commons can be tackled through new models of public-private cooperation as well as the application of breakthrough science and technology solutions.
Registered participants include Laurent Fabius, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Development of France and President-designate of COP21; Cristiana Figueres, Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC); and Al Gore, Vice-President of the United States (1993-2001); Chairman and Co-Founder, Generation Investment Management, USA.
Addressing Global Security Issues
The unfolding refugee crisis and recent terrorist acts around the world are reminders of how growth in competition among strong states, coupled with the failure of weak states, is eroding global security. How can societies prepare for a rapidly changing security landscape in which emerging technologies also play a key role?
Registered participants include: Haïdar Abadi, Prime Minister of Iraq; Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, President of the Republic of Mali; Habbib Essid, Prime Minister of Tunisia; Mohammad Ashraf Ghani, President of Afghanistan; Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy of the European Union; Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Tammam Saeb Salam, Prime Minister of Lebanon; and Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister of Pakistan
Arts and Culture
The World Economic Forum’s 22nd Annual Crystal Awards will celebrate the achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world. This year’s awardees are: actress Yao Chen; actor and film producer Leonardo DiCaprio; artist Olafur Eliasson; and musician and entrepreneur will.i.am. More than 40 cultural leaders are participating in the Annual Meeting alongside other global leaders to contribute to shaping the cultural and global agendas. Cultural leaders include: Bono (musician); Peter Gabriel (musician); John Green (author and vlogger); Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (film-maker); Platon (photographer); Elif Shafak (author), Kevin Spacey (actor and theatre director); Lynette Wallworth (artist and film-maker); and many others.