Ana LopezIn 2015, something unexpected happened when a Portuguese-Canadian entrepreneur and philanthropist was visiting Davos at the World Economic Forum.
“I was actually there with my husband,” she said Don TapscottThe famous Canadian author, businessman and blockchain pioneer is the official guest. “But spouses can participate in almost any activity – it’s not like we’re sent out for a basket weaving class or hanging out at the spa.”
Ms. Lopez – Past Chair Foundation Center for Addiction and Mental Health IN TORONTO — That visit brought her to dinner with a small group of global mental health experts, one of her core philanthropic passions. Ms. Lopez was introduced to a young researcher who had recently developed a smartphone app to help patients access care providers and manage their often complex treatment regimens.
“We didn’t really get teenage patients to use cell phones at the time,” she said of mental health services. “They were seen as disruptive.” But Ms. Lopez was impressed with the technology and recognized its potential to digitize treatment options and improve patient outcomes.
“I brought the research back to our team in Toronto,” she said. Within a few years, the Center for Addiction and Mental Health had developed its own patient-care app, modeled after the one Ms. Lopez first encountered in Davos.
“It really shows us a new world of possibilities,” Ms Lopez said. “This is a huge step forward in allowing patients to manage their own disease and treatment.”
As the global elite gather for the first real-life World Economic Forum in more than two years, Davos will once again be lauded for its far-reaching impact, claiming it is nothing more than a alpine meeting place for politicians and the rich. But for people like Lopez — academics, philanthropists, NGO leaders and policymakers — Davos is a rare forum with a key community of intellectual decision-makers for creating change and actually getting work done an unparalleled opportunity.
“Davos provides unparalleled proximity to like-minded thinkers,” said Ms. Lopez, who is intentionally seeking out health-focused groups and events there. “You know who people are, why they’re there and how to find them, which makes the conversation not only easy, but very powerful and effective.”
For senior Davos attendees rare wine — Fidelity’s former VP of Private Wealth Management, Financial Methods and author of the forthcoming book “Invisible Wealth” — these conversations form the basis of what she calls “relationship capital.” Davos is the capital of relational capital – which Ms. Wines defines as “an intangible super-asset that underlies all progress.” It is the value derived from intentional dialogue and connection that anchors the everything that happened.
For Ms. Wines, Davos has historically been a venue for identifying potential philanthropic efforts to implement and activate domestically.Most recently, she helped build 100 Women @Davosa group of female CEOs, leaders and “change-makers” who are leveraging the long-term opportunities and relationship capital built at the Forum to empower women with global visibility and decision-making.
In both cases, the Davos gain may not be immediately apparent and will take time to develop. “It may take a while to peel back the layers and maximise the opportunities that exist at Davos,” Ms Wines said. “But the people you meet there really become part of your own ecosystem.”
This is the case new development bankEstablished by the BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa – to better utilize their economic resources for large-scale infrastructure and sustainable development projects. Although the bank was officially launched in 2015, the bank was first established in Davos in 2011 by Nobel laureate and former World Bank chief economist Joseph E. Stiglitz conceived; Lord Nicholas Stern, Professor at the London School of Economics (another former World Bank Chief Economist); and Meles Zenawi, former President and Prime Minister of Ethiopia.
Mr Stern said the trio had previously collaborated on a range of global development issues and were “frustrated by a really backward system where savings in poor countries flowed into rich countries”.
Together, they have developed a proposal for a new, emerging-markets-focused bank that will directly benefit developing countries. While early working sessions predate the World Economic Forum, “it was in Davos that we really decided to implement it,” Mr. Stern said of the program’s rapid development from concept to reality at the 2011 event.
Mr Stern admits that Davos appears to be a place where the pursuit of profit and private sector deals may feel most important. But Davos is also potentially altruistic, and socially conscious efforts like the NDB have the best chance of promotion.
“We use our Davos contacts and international contacts to provide our ideas with the necessary oxygen levels,” Mr Stern continued. “In Davos, you can make key decisions within 24 to 48 hours; everything in Davos can move very, very quickly.” Four years later, at the BRICS summit in Shanghai, the bank welcomed Here comes the long-awaited debut.
The NDB is one of many large global initiatives to debut at Davos, maximizing its ability to immediately communicate why to key stakeholders and end users around the world.the other is Gavi, Vaccine Alliancelaunched on the forum in 2000.
Similar to the mission of the World Health Organization, Gavi is a far-reaching partnership between vaccine manufacturers, governments, donor agencies, philanthropists and researchers to develop and implement mass immunization programmes in developing countries . With all these partners already present at Davos, launching Gavi made immediate logistical and logical sense.
Since its inception, “Gavi has protected over 900 million children and prevented over 15 million future deaths,” says Dr. Seth Berkeley, Gavi’s CEO, in an email. In the years since Gavi’s initial launch, Davos has also served as the backdrop for other Gavi-related milestones, including the establishment of Covax, a global initiative to provide equitable access to a Covid-19 vaccine, which Dr Berkeley said. 2020 was conceived at Davos.
The push for “good things” may have obscured Davos’ public image, but it can encourage radical thinking and even challenge notions of wealth itself.take the organization patriotic millionairea group of wealthy people seeking to reduce economic inequality.
Earlier this year, in sync with a smaller “Virtual Davos” in January, the group released a letter signed by more than 100 global millionaires and billionaires Ask the super-rich to pay more in taxes.
Patriotic Millionaires, its international director Rebecca Gowland explained, aims to ensure that wealth is more equitably taxed around the world, so that all countries develop truly fair tax systems.
“We want to have a global minimum standard for taxing wealth, as we do for corporations,” explained Ms. Golan, whose organization includes heiress Abigail Disney, a An outspoken critic of extreme wealth accumulation.
While many Davos attendees may be hesitant about the group’s “tax the rich” mantra, Ms Golan said launching the event at the World Economic Forum was an intentional, if not an obvious choice .
“The wealthy at the top are often very isolated and therefore have very limited access to them,” she said. “But we know there’s a community of other wealthy people out there — those are the people we want to target.”
Since the Davos 2022 call to action (a similar call was made during Davos 2020), Ms Golan said the membership of Patriotic Millionaire has expanded. There are over 200 members in the US and a growing number in the UK. Globally, she credits the “Davos Network” in part. Crucially, while global tax reform remains a long-term prospect, the partnership with Davos “moves the agenda into the future and keeps it hot,” Ms Golan said.
Ultimately, as Davos observers such as Ms Wiens and Ms Golan have suggested, the World Economic Forum offers the greatest opportunity for organisations and initiatives with big ideas, the impact of which will be felt for decades to come.
It’s not that “Davos Men” and “Davos Women” lack short-term processing power. Conversely, no global gathering can compete with Davos, as influential and particularly close power brokers are able to translate “eureka” moments into practical, long-term policies that actually affect everyday life.
“Davos is probably the most interesting global institution in the world,” said Mr. Tapscott, Ms. Lopez’s husband, Canadian author, entrepreneur and blockchain pioneer. He said the forum was “far ahead of its time” when it came to elevating cryptocurrency issues. “Davos represents the forefront of a whole new paradigm of how we solve global problems.”
Mr Tapscott, Co-founder and Executive Chairman of Blockchain Research Institute, witnessed this paradigm shift firsthand. In 2020, he was a member of the World Economic Forum Working Group, which launched the “The Presidio Principle,” which is often described as a “blockchain bill of rights.”
The principles, Mr. Tapscott said, started as a working group in Davos and morphed into a call to action aimed at standardizing safeguards for businesses and individual blockchain users.
“Davos is where people from all over the world come together to draft, redraft and debate the language of the bill and finally get it published,” Mr Tapscott said. “Because Davos is about multi-stakeholder collaboration.”
“Of course, there are a lot of rich and famous people out there,” Mr Tapscott continued, “but what actually happens in Davos may be very different from what many people imagine.”