Davos ‘dates’: The power of partnership for global health
The 2012 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland has concluded. Today, I returned to Washington, put away my snow boots, and began the process of sorting through hundreds of business cards. It was an exhausting week, but I landed at Dulles energized by the collaborative ideas and commitments generated at this year’s Forum – particularly with regards to global health.
Davos is a bit like corporate speed dating. As a representative for my global health nonprofit, PSI, I sat down for numerous 30 minute “dates” with corporate leaders from around the world. Like any first date, each was an opportunity to evaluate if/how a partnership would work – Do we have similar or complementary interests? Are our values the same? We both came to the table interested in increasing our bottom lines. For organizations like PSI, that line is measured by health impact and lives saved. For corporations, the bottom line is opening new markets, developing a new consumer base, and being a good global neighbor.
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What’s different at Davos
There were two promising agendas discussed at this year’s World Economic Forum, where global finance and business leaders rub elbows every January, with some social entrepreneurs and NGOs like mine thrown in the mix.
First, the population taboo was broken.
At panel discussions around the planet’s 7 billion population threshold and environmental sustainability questions, participants are slowly but steadily finding ways to talk about an issue that for too long has been considered off-limits in gatherings like this.
Meeting the unmet need for modern contraception on the part of women around the world is understood to be important, vitally important, to the trajectory the world’s population takes during the next several decades.Continue reading this post »
Competing for the future
Few issues will affect the future of the global economy more than the state of U.S. competitiveness. Here in Davos, we’ve been talking about a new and sobering survey of Harvard Business School (HBS) graduates, which found a substantial majority of respondents (66 percent) believed U.S. economic competitiveness was in decline relative to emerging countries.
The United States may be moving along in second gear, but countries like China and India are in fourth or fifth gear. Most of the issues cited as the basis for the United States losing ground should come as no surprise: the complex, burdensome tax code; inadequate K-12 education; regulatory overreach and uncertainty; and unavailability of skilled labor. The HBS survey reinforces similar recommendations made by the President’s Council on Jobs and Competitiveness and other organizations.
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What to expect at the World Economic Forum 2012 annual meeting
On Jan. 25, more than 3,000 leaders from the most powerful companies and organizations around the globe will descend on Davos, Switzerland, to shape the global agenda for 2012 and chart the course of world affairs.
The halls and sessions will be filled with highly respected opinions about how developed nations can reduce debt without falling back into recession, and how emerging economies can curb inflation while avoiding future economic bubbles.
But this year, another very interesting conversation will take shape; one that challenges the traditional lens through which global leaders view opportunity for dramatic gains in economic progress and human development. To kick-start the conversation, a number of public and private sessions will be held to connect the dots between health in developing nations and the global economy.Continue reading this post »