I attended the first plenary session for the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council meeting this morning, sharing the room with a most distinguished panel of regional and global leaders including the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, the Ruler of Dubai and Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
GAC participation has grown from yesterday to more than 800 attendees and is claiming to be the largest collective brainstorming session ever held. As an end goal, the Summit is charged with developing new models for the "improving the state of the world".
Speakers at the morning session included the Minister of Economy of the UAE, the Chairman and Undersecretary of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Professor Klaus Schwab.
The scope of WEF obviously extends well beyond issues related to technology and related intellectual property (IP).
Schwab outlined a current focus on development of new models in five arenas:
Prime Minister Gordon Brown followed Schwab with a serious tone. His message was that shared problems that became common problems are now global problems.
Historically, a majority of investment, production and consumption was in the West (EU and US). This is changing quickly. There is a precarious balance between producers and consumers. Per Brown, the center of crisis is now in Europe. The Euro will have to be reformed and European banks will need monetary support. He expressed grave concern over very recent trends toward protectionism.
Brown echoed Schwab that WEF GACs are about “developing the models and will get the world back on track”.
Tough assignment indeed.
(1) Opening plenary of the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda 2011 held in Abu Dhabi, 10-11 October 2011. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org/Photo Dana Smillie)
(2) Gordon Brown, Member of Parliament of the United Kingdom speaks during the opening plenary of the World Economic Forum's Summit on the Global Agenda 2011 held in Abu Dhabi, 10-11 October 2011. Copyright (cc-by-sa) © World Economic Forum (www.weforum.org/Photo Norbert Schiller)