Millennials & young leaders to take top billing at WEF
Cape Town - A group of more than 200 millennials, social entrepreneurs and young leaders will form part of the annual World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, later this month.
The annual meeting, this year themed "Responsive and Responsible Leadership", hopes the community of young people will help give a voice to the 50 percent of the world's population that is still under-represented in global affairs.
In a statement issued on Thursday, WEF said the grouping of social entrepreneurs and young global leaders, all under the age of 40, would also highlight the need for social innovation to correct the shortcomings of capitalism.
They are all members of three foundations operating under the World Economic Forum's umbrella - the Young Global Leaders, the Global Shapers and the Schwab Foundations for Social Entrepreneurship.
Zamantungwa Khumalo, from Tshwane in South Africa is one of the Global Shapers and will also be in Davos-Klosters after submitting the winning essay in the 2016 Global Shaper essay competition on this year's Responsive and Responsible Leadership theme. The Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship has invited 26 leading social entrepreneurs to Davos-Klosters to highlight the need to "better service and support communities that are on the margin of society".
WEF said social entrepreneurs were advancing new models of sustainable social innovation. "With capitalism in its current form under scrutiny, social entrepreneurs' use of cutting-edge market analysis and management to achieve social good can provide a much-needed impulse for long-term thinking and business practices."
The Forum said the social entrepreneurship community would be represented, for example, by Yasmina Filali, whose Fondation Orient-Occident provides job training and social support to refugees in Morocco, or Jordan Kassalow of Vision Spring, who has provided 2,750,000 pairs of eyeglasses to the poorest populations in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
"As business and government leaders seek innovative solutions to many of the systemic issues they face, social entrepreneurs are called upon to contribute to these solutions. These entrepreneurs are role models that bring to the Annual Meeting the passion, vision, boldness and experience that are essential in a world that is undergoing a leadership crisis," said Katherine Milligan, Head of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.
The Global Shapers Community is a network of more than 450 city-based hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribution to their communities.
Read also: WEF: Informing Africa, educating the world
Currently, the Global Shapers community has over 6 000 members. Shaping Davos, a series of sessions that feature local solutions to global issues, connects citizens in 20 cities on every continent to conversations taking place at the Annual Meeting. These interactions are led by Global Shapers in Abuja, Baku, Bangalore, Beirut, Belfast, Bhopal, Budapest, Chennai, Gaborone, Kyiv, London, Monterrey, Muscat, Paris, Portland, Quito, Seattle, Tunis, Vancouver and Yaroslavl, thereby enabling youth and others active in their communities to join the conversation with leaders from business, the public sector, international organisations and academia.
Discussion topics cover education, unemployment, social inclusion, innovations in cities and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. In "Meet the Leader" sessions, Global Shapers will discuss pressing issues with heads of state or government, global business and civil society leaders. In the run-up to the Annual Meeting 2017, millennials will share their expectations of the meeting through a social media campaign under the #WorldWeShape.
"Young people have an essential role to play in shaping the future. Global Shapers in Davos-Klosters bring the voice of youth, as well as that of the communities and cities in which they are active," said Adeyemi Babington Asaye, head of the Global Shapers community.
The Young Global Leaders, a community of more than 800 leaders from over 100 countries, will be represented by 173 members at the Annual WEF Meeting. This group includes human rights lawyer Amal Clooney, the mayor of Quito, Peru, Mauricio Rodas and the Pakistani documentary filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy, the first artist to serve as co-chair of the Annual Meeting.
"Young Global Leaders are entrepreneurial and inspiring leaders who arrive in Davos at this pivotal moment to accelerate the impact of their organisations and YGL collaborations, and use the Forum's platform to join their diverse talents to achieve more together than they could separately," said John Dutton, Head of Foundations Team and Head of Young Global Leaders.
The 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum takes place between 17-20 January in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, and will see more than 3 000 participants from over 100 countries meet and take part in over 400 sessions.
AFRICAN NEWS AGENCY
Read Business Report and www.busrep.co.za for ongoing coverage of WEF.