Push 'reset' button on world, WEF founder says
Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY
8:37 a.m. EST January 15, 2014
WEF's annual meeting in Davos runs Jan. 22-25
Group's core aim is to address pressing global problems
Dozens of heads of state, corporate elite attend
It's time to press the "reset" button on the world, the founder of the World Economic Forum said Wednesday, addressing media ahead of the WEF's much ballyhooed annual meeting in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, that gets underway in a week's time.
"The world is complex, it's fast-moving, it's interconnected, and we in Davos want to provide a mirror to the world as it is. It is not a meeting devoted to one set of issues. It's a meeting that address the complexity of our world," said Klaus Schwab, the WEF's founder and executive chairman.
Schwab was speaking as part of efforts to showcase the upcoming yearly jamboree for the global political and corporate elite that has as its core aim an ambition no less lofty than to foster an environment where the myriad problems and challenges facing the world in 2014 can be tackled head on.
The confab officially kicks off on Jan. 22 and runs through Jan. 25. USA TODAY will publish a more in-depth preview of the event in the days running up to the meeting.
But speaking to journalists Wednesday, Schwab said: "We need to push the reset button. The world is still much too much caught in a crisis-management mode. We should look at our future in a much more constructive and strategic way. That is what Davos is about." He added that Davos is a unique forum because, "There is no place in the world where so many stakeholders of our global future assemble, all united by the mission of improving the state of the world."
Schwab said that confidence appeared to be creeping back into the global economy following the difficult post-financial crises years, but that for many countries, "It's like running with a heavy backpack on your shoulders."
More than 2,500 fellow Davos travelers will convene in the small Swiss mountain town, including dozens of heads of state and hundreds of business leaders. The official theme for this year's meeting is "The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business."
Presidents and prime ministers from the Group of 20 countries who will address the meeting include:
Tony Abbot, prime minister of Australia
Shinzo Abe, prime minister of Japan
David Cameron, prime minister of the United Kingdom
Enrico Letta, prime minister of Italy
Enrique Peña Nieto, president of Mexico
Park Geun-Hye, president of the Republic of Korea
Dilma Rousseff, president of Brazil
The WEF has created a visualization of the participants
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