S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Otherwise engaged - Davos Digest

The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008
The Power of Collaborative Innovation
23-27 January, Davos, Switzerland

(image of leaders of the Millenium Development Goals -fight against poverty - is from the Forum)

Innovation is about change and the Forum is seeing some changes this year. But Davos was the still the place to be this weekend. Former President Bill Clinton, a perennial attendee at Davos, however is otherwise engaged. Today is the Democratic Primary in South Carolina.

Head of the DNC, Howard Dean came to Switzerland, however as did Henry Kissinger and Governor Jon Corzine of New Jersey. There was a wonderful discussion between Bono and Al Gore on Thursday that was carried on C-SPAN. Bill Gates, another perennial mainstay, spoke Thursday on "Creative Capitalism" and also about his upcoming career change. To quote:

As you all may know, in July I'll make a big career change. I'm not worried; I believe I'm still marketable. (Laughter.) I'm a self-starter, I'm proficient in Microsoft Office. (Laughter.) I guess that's it. (Laughter.) Also I'm learning how to give money away.

So, this is the last time I'll attend Davos as a full-time employee of Microsoft.

Some of us are lucky enough to arrive at moments in life when we can pause, reflect on our work, and say: "This is great. It's fun, exciting, and useful; I could do this forever."

But the passing of time forces each of us to take stock and ask: What have I accomplished so far? What do I still want to accomplish?

This meeting brings some of the world's most influential leaders together. That is why I have been a fan of the Forum at Davos for years. And I have posted about it along the way. Last year I wrote about our current president's lost opportunities there.

This year representatives of the Bush administration included Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who gave the opening address on the first day. Among other's from the administration were U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, Secretary of Energy Samuel Bodman, Secretary of Security Michael Chertoff, and CDC Director Dr. Julie Gerberding. Christopher Cox, Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission was there, and Steve Forbes and Robert Zoellick, President of the World Bank, came as well.

The Middle East Region was very well represented by many of its most important leaders such as Queen Rania of Jordan. The panel discussing "Quest for Peace and Stability," included Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, Deputy Prime Minister of Iraq Barham Salih, and Afhanistan's President Hamid Karzai. Others from the region who spoke included , Israeli PM Ehud Barak, PM of the Palestinian National Authority Salam Fayad, Saeb Erekat of the PLO. Several of these leaders, under other circumstances, could be looking to kill each other.

Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-Moon played a pivotal role in the conference. On the 24th he talked about how the world is running out of water. Many leaders from East Asia attended; today focuses on the Far East, as a matter of fact. Russians and Ukranians sat down together -- the President of Ukraine, Viktor Yuschenko came. U.K. PM Gordon Brown presented yesterday, and Tony Blair, one of the co-chairs, spoke on the first day, highlighting the power of collaborative innovation.

Finally, Congress sent a hefty size delegation that included my Senator, Kay Bailey Hutchison - R-Texas. Others were Senators Robert Bennett, R-Utah; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt. as well as Representatives Tom Davis, R-Virginia and Ed Markey, D-Mass. This is a great opportunity for legislators to rub shoulders with their counterparts from countries all around the world.

Forum website references :

  • Co-Chairs:
    Tony Blair, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (1997-2007); Member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum
    James Dimon, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase & Co., USA
    K.V. Kamath, Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, ICICI Bank, India
    Henry Kissinger, Chairman, Kissinger Associates, USA
    Indra K. Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, PepsiCo, USA
    David J. O'Reilly, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Chevron Corporation, USA
    Wang Jianzhou, Chief Executive, China Mobile Communications Corporation, People's Republic of China
  • List of Public Figures (6 p. pdf)
  • Business leaders (5 p. pdf)
  • YouTube playlist: Leaders and CEO's answer the Davos Question.

View my current slide show about the Bush years, "Millennium," at the bottom of this column.

My links:

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays is about life's themes.

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