With around 350 sessions, 180 of which are webcast, the Davos 2019 programme covers a range of topics, from the global economy to the climate crisis, from the Fourth Industrial Revolution and its impact on society through to the importance of meditation and mindfulness. Over the course of the week, threads emerge which provide priceless clues to the agenda for the year ahead. Here we have collected some quotes from participants we think might indicate where things will go:
Legendary broadcaster and naturalist David Attenborough will receive the Forum's Crystal Award on Monday evening, as an exceptional cultural leader who has moved the world forward towards positive change. Recently Sir David was sounding the climate change alarm at the UN climate conference in the Polish coal city of Katowice, and will bring with him to Davo his message that climate change is a critical threat to human civilization.
Antonio Guterres, in a Special Address to the meeting on Thursday morning, will build on Attenborough's message by doubling down on his recent stark climate warnings. The Secretary-General of the United Nations will also sound the alarm on the state of global collaboration - does the global community have the will and the power to address the existential challenges facing humanity?
Each year on the first day of Davos, Oxfam publishes a report on global inequality. This year the organisation focuses on the tension between private wealth and public good, saying that in order to transform our economies to deliver universal health, education and other public services, the richest people and corporations should pay their fair share of tax.
Winnie Byanyima, Oxfam's executive director, says Davos participants must understand that inequality threatens much of the progress countries have made over past decades. Globalization 4.0 will only be effective if it can rectify the economic injustices propagated by earlier waves of globalization. Byanyima will call for a New Social Revolution in a session on Friday morning.
Many of Byanyima's messages are echoed by World Economic Forum founder and executive chairman, Klaus Schwab, in his formulation of the Globalization 4.0 concept. It will demand wider engagement and more imagination from the global community, he says. Professor Schwab will host a panel of the Co-Chairs of Davos, a dynamic cohort of twenty-somethings from around the globe - and CEO of Microsoft, Satya Nadella, on Tuesday ... sure to be a fascinating exploration of future history from the youth perspective.
For too many people around the world, it is not possible to separate their personal identity from their disability, as Susie Rodgers, inspirational paralympian, has been able to do.
According to the WHO, more than one billion people today experience disability. People with disabilities are much more likely to live in poverty, deprived access to education and denied employment, than those living without. In most countries disability is a cultural taboo. People with disabilities are among the most marginalized populations in the world, facing prejudice, discrimination and exclusion.
In Davos this year, participants will experience a groundbreaking exhibition, ACCESS + ABILITY, developed in collaboration with the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt Museum of Design, that presents 20 of the world’s best designs made for and with people with disabilities. Items include an eye tracking device for people with cerebral palsy to write emails. The exhibition will promote thinking and design that includes and benefits everyone.
Rodgers will take part in a panel discussion on inclusive design, which will explore how innovative thinking and design can benefit everyone.