Klaus Schwab says Davos 2014 should focus on human values

Leading international business and political figures should put human values at the center of their discussions during the 44th WEF Annual Meeting, said the forum’s founder. (File photo: Reuters)

Leading international business and political figures who gathered in Davos on Wednesday for the 44th World Economic Forum Annual Meeting should put human values at the center of their discussions, Klaus Schwab, the WEF’s founder and executive chairman, told the forum’s opening session on Tuesday.

“Values are important because we want to live up to the World Economic Forum’s commitment to improving the state of the world,” Schwab said.

More than 2,500 leaders from nearly 100 countries, including 300 public figures, 1,500 business leaders and representatives from civil society, academia, the media and arts will be attending the Annual Meeting 2014 taking place between Jan. 22-25 under the theme The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business.

During the opening session, three artists were granted the 2014 Crystal Awards, which honor artists who use their “creativity to push the limits and show us new ways of living our professional and personal lives,” according to Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.

The three artists recognized this year are: the Academy Award-winning actor and humanitarian Matt Damon, leading opera tenor Juan Diego Flórez and artist and film-maker Shirin Neshat.

“For me, ensuring that every human being has access to safe water and the dignity of a toilet – two incredibly basic and inextricably linked requirements for survival – is one of the most urgent and pressing causes in the world today,” said Damon, an avid campaigner for addressing the global water and sanitation crisis. “The good news is that there are solutions that work. I’m convinced that we can overcome the global water crisis in our lifetime.”

Flórez, who founded the Sinfonía por el Perú foundation, which created a network of orchestras and choirs to help vulnerable youth, said that music is a powerful vehicle for change. “Sinfonia por el Perú reminds me every day of how music has changed not only my life but also the lives of thousands of children, offering them a new future full of hope,” he told participants.

Neshat, a film-maker noted for her work in the fields of gender, power and displacement, said: “My art has stemmed from a desire to bridge deeply personal issues with critical social, political, historical issues that concern the world that I inhabit.”

More than 35 cultural artists will attend this this year World Economic Forum.

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