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4 young global leaders at Davos on what's needed to build a more resilient world

The World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders (YGLs) offer their perspectives on how to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world at a Davos 2023 session.

The World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders (YGLs) offer their perspectives on how to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world at a Davos 2023 session. Image: World Economic Forum/Valeriano Di Domenico.

Kulé Galma
Community Engagement Specialist, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum
Celia Becherel
Coordinator, Young Global Leaders, World Economic Forum
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Davos Agenda

This article is part of: World Economic Forum Annual Meeting

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  • In a fragmented world, strong, diverse leadership is essential to find solutions to the biggest challenges of our time.
  • The World Economic Forum's Young Global Leaders offer their perspectives on how to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world.
  • Speaking at the Annual Meeting in Davos, these four leaders highlight the key areas we should prioritise to achieve a better future.

With unprecedented challenges like economic stagnation, soaring energy prices, the COVID-19 pandemic, and rising geopolitical tensions, it is clear that the world has reached a critical turning point. As these challenges grow in complexity, the public and private sectors must work together to address them and build a more resilient future – a sentiment echoed by the theme of the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting 2023 – "Cooperation in a Fragmented World."

With 176 Young Global Leaders (YGLs) from around the world in attendance, this year's meeting offers a unique opportunity to hear and learn from diverse perspectives on how to create a more equitable, inclusive, and sustainable world. Besides offering their ideas, YGLs are ready to be challenged to take decisive action and develop innovative solutions to navigate these turbulent times and build a better future for everyone.

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What is a YGL?

Our community is joining forces with leaders in business, government, civil society, and beyond to foster cooperation and collaboration – in hopes of navigating these challenging times.

Here’s what four YGLs think we should prioritize to achieve this:

The meaning of work

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally changed the way we view work, forcing us to rethink its purpose and value in our lives. As we move forward post-pandemic, it is imperative that we challenge the status quo and strive for a more fulfilling understanding of work.

In a session on addressing Quiet Quitting and the Meaning of Work, YGLs Adam Grant, Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and Psychology, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, and Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo, shared their thoughts on the changing relationship between workers and employers and shared their experiences on how they, as leaders, have been managing the transition.

Quiet quitting is the natural sequel to the Great Resignation

Adam Grant, Saul P. Steinberg Professor of Management and Psychology, The Wharton School
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Sud also stressed the importance of considering mission and workplace as two sides of the same coin. She highlighted that taking appropriate care of employees is crucial but engaging with them at heart should be almost as important.

Mission and workplace culture are two sides of the same coin. We have to pay people and treat them well, but you’ve also got to engage them at heart.

Anjali Sud.
YGL Anjali Sud, Chief Executive Officer, Vimeo, in a Davos 2023 session on addressing Quiet Quitting and the Meaning of Work.
YGL Anjali Sud, Chief Executive Officer, Vimeo, in a Davos 2023 session on addressing Quiet Quitting and the Meaning of Work. Image: World Economic Forum/Jakob Polacsek.

Philanthropy as a catalyst for protecting our planet

The role of philanthropy in protecting our planet has been in the spotlight in recent years, with experts emphasizing the crucial role that it can play in filling gaps left by government inaction. This was the argument made by YGL Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, in a session that examined how philanthropy can be tapped into by both public and private sector players to bridge the $100 trillion gap by 2050 for equitable climate and nature solutions.

YGL Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, in a Davos 2023 session that examined how philanthropy can be tapped into by both public and private sector players for equitable climate and nature solutions.
YGL Badr Jafar, CEO of Crescent Enterprises, in a Davos 2023 session that examined how philanthropy can be tapped into by both public and private sector players for equitable climate and nature solutions. Image: World Economic Forum/Valeriano Di Domenico.

Jafar emphasized the importance of the quality of philanthropy in achieving this goal, noting its potential for being nimbler, more patient, more risk tolerant, and more equitable. The session also saw the launch of the Giving to Amplify Earth Action’s (GAEA) Call to Action, a new global effort from the World Economic Forum to raise additional, smarter and catalytic giving to unlock and de-risk private finance and government-procured funds for climate and nature at speed, scale and impact.

The quality of philanthropy matters. Its nature of being nimbler, more patient, more risk tolerant, and more equitable

Badr Jafar, Chief Executive Officer, Crescent Enterprises

Relaunch trade, growth, and investment

For the past three decades, international trade has contributed significantly to productivity and rising living standards. However, anti-trade sentiments have gained traction in recent years. YGL Alexander De Croo, Prime Minister of Belgium, spoke out in a panel discussion alongside other leaders, including Dr. Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization, Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of Blackrock, and German Minister Robert Habeck, stating that "the answer is not less trade and less investment – it is more trade and more investment – but better."

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The panel proposed potential solutions for reshaping the current system of trade and investment, with De Croo emphasizing that trade is not the problem but rather that the need to address the issues and improve the current system is. With a lot of debate around the US' recent Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), one thing is clear: free and fair trade is a proven way to lift people out of poverty – it has already done so for over 1 billion people.

Data collaboration: lessons from the field

YGL Shamina Singh, President of the Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth and Executive Vice-President of Sustainability at Mastercard, shared her insights on how data collaboration for public good can be scaled internationally and applied across domains to help unlock the value of data for society.

YGL Shamina Singh, President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; Executive Vice-President, Sustainability, Mastercard, USA.
YGL Shamina Singh, President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; Executive Vice-President, Sustainability, Mastercard, USA. Image: World Economic Forum / Benedikt von Loebell.

We invest in building the field of data science for social impact, which means to build capacity of social sector organizations to realise the power of their own data. This is what is going to unlock all the potential

Shamina Singh, President, Mastercard Center for Inclusive Growth; Executive Vice-President, Sustainability, Mastercard, USA

Shamina, who became a YGL in 2011, has long been working on closing the information inequality gap through a number of investments in the field of data science for social impact, notably by providing social sector organizations with the capacity to realise the power of their own data. For Shamina, it is not about sharing data but about helping organizations in their ability to do the analytics and make sense of the data.

Catch up on all Annual Meeting sessions and content here.

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