It’s a wrap for the official business of this year’s World Economic Forum. Virgin’s Richard Branson posted a picture of himself sitting and looking rather cold, waiting to be interviewed on a balcony, and neatly summed up the whole experience when he tweeted: “Fascinating talks, freezing weather, gallons of hot tea in #Davos.”
Let the parties and winter sports begin.
First though, some highlights from the final day of WEF 2016:
Kevin Spacey has been a highly entertaining, constant presence at this year’s confab, prompting the New York Post to dub him “the King of Davos” and the de facto mayor of the small Swiss town. Spacey sat down and wove in loads of celeb impressions while speaking at length about politics, acting and his acclaimed performance on the Netflix series House of Cards. Spacey was asked how his character on that show, U.S. President Frank Underwood, would do in a debate with presidential candidate Donald Trump. He responded, “He Wouldn’t. We must remember one important distinction: one of these characters is a fictional character, and the other is a fictional character.”
Bono took to the main stage at Congress Centre with Klaus Schwab, founder of the WEF, and his wife. They celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Red charity, which the Irish rocker was inspired to cofound after attending Davos 2005. Product Red has already raised $350 million through licensing on products like Beats by Dre Solo headphones and select items from companies like Apple and Starbucks. Profits are donated to fighting disease in poor countries. Schwab said, “Bono is a role model for Davos and what we want to achieve.”
Photo Credit: HeForShe
Emma Watson came to town to launch a new United Nations initiative called HeforShe. The actress, who is a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, said, “We want to end gender inequality, and to do that we need everyone to be involved.” For the organization’s pilot initiative, IMPACT 10x10x10, Watson interviewed ten CEOs on how they are doing their part to achieve that goal. Elsewhere, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau took part in the panel on gender parity, along with Melinda Gates, and said, “We shouldn’t be afraid of the word feminist. Men and women should use it to describe themselves.” Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg said in a later panel session, “Men still run the world – and I’m not sure it’s going so well.”
Global security has been a key subject of conversation around Davos. The Global Security Outlook panel identified two trends to keep an eye on: the increased fragmentation among societies, causing a loss of trust, cohesion and ability to govern, possibly leading to violent extremism; and increasing competition among key countries for global influence. Secretary General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg and US Secretary of Defense Ash Carter took part in the discussion, with topics ranging from the blurring of lines between zones of war and peace to how technology has become both a disruptor and enabler of global security. Separately, WEF founder Klaus Schwab interviewed Ash Carter, asking him, “What keeps you awake at night?” Carter responded, “I’m afraid it’s not a short list,” and went on to talk about ISIL, North Korea and the nuclear accord with Iran.