Saturday, 12 February 2011

Cairo cleans up after revolution

(-: Respect

China's missing children

In China, a country of more than a billion people, the search for kidnapped children has been described by many as hopeless.

For one family, however, perseverence has paid off.

Al Jazeera's Melissa Chan has more from Southern China.

News & Politics
asia-pacificnews China kidnapping children Al Jazeera aljazeera Melissa Chan

Gourmage of Texas's Photos - Wall Photos Harlech Cheese

Snowdon from Harlech Castle | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

'If you are gay you are just bad' - Features - TES Connect

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'If you are gay you are just bad'

Features | Published in TES Magazine on 11 February, 2011 | By: Meabh Ritchie

While British society as a whole may have become less prejudiced in its attitude to gay people, schools remain a stronghold of homophobia. Pupils are the perpetrators, but are teachers to blame for turning a blind eye?

The closest Stacie has come to a gay man is seeing Syed and Christian, the gay characters in EastEnders, on TV. “In our terms we’d call them a batty man” she says. The Jamaican slang word literally means “bum man”. “My dad’s full Jamaican. He was born over there and he doesn’t believe in gays.”

If someone Stacie knew came out as gay, “I wouldn’t talk to her. I would feel like, maybe she would touch me or have feelings for me,” says Stacie, tensing her shoulders with disgust. “It’s not something you should let everyone know about.”

Her classmate Jonathan agrees: “If you’re gay, you’re just different,” he says. “I’m one of those people who totally hates gays. If my friend turned gay, they wouldn’t be my friend no more.”

For these 15-year-olds from east London and their friends, insulting gay people is perfectly acceptable. “It’s not the same as being racist at all,” says Jonathan. Growing up within a black community, he believes being gay is “about culture”, specifically one that is different from his own. “Only white people are gay. I don’t know any gay people in my life,” he says. “In some cultures, if you’re gay, you’re just bad.”

Jonathan and Stacie’s views seem so dated, it is difficult to believe they were speaking to The TES only last term. However, shocking as they are, they will be no surprise to many teachers: the sentiment is not only common, but it is the default attitude of children and young people in playgrounds and classrooms across the UK.

The sheer scale of homophobic bullying has been brought to the fore in recent months following the suicides of seven US teenagers - who were all gay and victims of homophobic abuse - last September.

The It Gets Better video campaign was launched in reaction to these deaths and has garnered enormous support, from Barack Obama to singer Katy Perry to the employees of Google. Stonewall, the lesbian, gay and bisexual charity, has also launched It Gets Better… today - a UK response to the campaign in the US.

In many respects, British society has come a long way in its acceptance of the LGB community, with more out gay and lesbian figures across the media, politics and entertainment industries than ever before. But despite these advances, many young people in the UK regularly still use homophobic language. About two-thirds of gay or bisexual young people are subjected to homophobic bullying, according to Stonewall.

But anti-gay attitudes have also been absorbed into pupils’ everyday language, even if children do not realise they are being overtly homophobic. The word “gay” is now a commonplace insult for pupils considered to be “different” by their classmates in primary and secondary schools. The studious boy who does not like sport and the girl who is not interested in make-up or fashion are called “gay” or are the subject of other homophobic insults because they do not fit gender stereotypes, regardless of whether they are gay or not.

Society’s increasing tolerance towards homosexuality has not filtered down to schools, says Ian Rivers, professor of human development at Brunel University, in west London, and author of Homophobic Bullying: Research and Theoretical Perspectives, published last month: “I have been conducting research in this area for almost 20 years and I hoped never to have to write this book, but there is still a significant way to go in addressing this issue,” he says.

“It is this attitude of discrimination and use of language that teachers need to address, regardless of their personal belief systems.”

Teachers are aware of homophobia and rated it as one of the most common causes of bullying - second only to weight, according to a 2009 YouGov poll of more than 2,000 teaching and non-teaching staff. This ranked sexuality ahead of race or religion as a factor in bullying.

These findings are backed by the most recent report from the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), which found that schools are one of the last strongholds of homophobia.

There are teachers whose own homophobic views have an impact on how they deal with the issue in school, according to the EHRC report. When interviewed, one grammar school teacher from the east of England said that the “mollycoddling of so-called gays” was wrong. “I have every confidence that as a teacher with over 30 years’ experience, and as a head of year, I could discuss issues with girls who claim to be gay, but I would probably not be very sympathetic,” she said.

More common is teachers neglecting to act on pupils’ anti-gay language, either because they do not know if they would have their manager’s support, or they do not know how to approach the problem.

“I have a handful of six-year-olds who always call each other ‘gay’ and then get upset if their friends call them ‘gay’,” says Josie O’Neill*, a primary teacher in Manchester. “If I say it is wrong, will they think that it’s wrong to be gay?”

Many of her pupils and parents are Muslim, while others are Catholic or Baptist. “I don’t think that they would appreciate me raising the subject, even if the children bring it up by using the word ‘gay’,” she says. “But it would also disrupt the whole class if I tried to have a meaningful conversation about it every time it happened.”

But for half of the secondary teachers polled by YouGov who do not respond to pupils’ homophobic language, the reason is that they see the incident not as harmless banter, but as malicious.

“Describing something as gay is not homophobic bullying - it is similar in level of offence to swearing,” says one secondary teacher in the South West. “One has to pick one’s battles as a teacher, and that means occasionally turning a blind eye to inappropriate language in certain contexts.”

However practical this approach may seem in the short term, it only fosters a whole-school environment of intolerance, says Liam Nolan. When he took on the role of headteacher at Perry Beeches School in Great Barr, north of Birmingham, three years ago, it was common for pupils to call each other gay.

“I was aware of bullying per se: I was aware of racist bullying and of some of our disabled students being treated as second class,” Mr Nolan says.

“I was aware that part of the school’s failing was that it wasn’t cohesively a community. I would say that LGB issues were part of the problem.”

Mr Nolan set about changing the school culture: homophobic comments, along with any insults or bullying, were seriously penalised. At the same time, staff promoted a broader ethos of mutual respect and cultural understanding.

“My job was to turn around a school which had poor behaviour and which was a national challenge school - the bottom of the league in Birmingham,” says Mr Nolan. And turn it around, he did. Over the past three years, GCSE results have gone from 21 per cent A* to C grade including English and maths to 74 per cent last year.

“LGBT issues have for me become an integrated part of that improvement, along with or as part of the ethos of the school,” says Mr Nolan.

It was also easier to tackle homophobia in a school where the headteacher is a gay man. “I have never hidden the fact that I am gay, even when I first started teaching,” says Mr Nolan. Since he arrived at Perry Beeches, eight other members of staff have come out and pupils have strong gay and lesbian role models.

The consensus among a group of Year 11s who remember what the school was like before is that the school’s off timetable days dedicated to PSHE were crucial to understanding homosexuality and the full impact of bullying in general.

“I don’t think we used to know what ‘gay’ meant,” says Ryan, the school’s deputy head boy. “We used it in a silly way. People now know how to use it properly and know how offensive it is.”

In the English national curriculum, children learn about homosexuality through relationships and sexuality in PSHE lessons. However in the 1980s and even the 1990s, it was largely taught in the context of Aids and sexually transmitted diseases, and always with negative connotations.

Stonewall recommends that LGB issues are not only taught through PSHE but are integrated throughout the curriculum: in geography, teachers could discuss migration patterns and why gay communities might choose to live or travel to certain places more than others, while modern languages could casually introduce pupils to gay film-makers or writers, for example, when learning to talk about a country’s culture.

The tabloid press was indignant when it heard of Stonewall’s lesson plans in January. The charity and the Government were accused of wanting to indoctrinate pupils. However, many schools are a long way from casually introducing LGB culture to the curriculum and have yet to tackle their endemic homophobia. At the root of the problem is section 28 - part of the Local Government Act of 1988, which outlawed the discussion of homosexuality in state schools. It is difficult to believe that this law was only repealed in 2003 and as a result, teachers are still unsure of where they stand. Teachers with more than eight years’ experience will have been trained to brush homosexuality under the carpet, and new teachers take the lead from their older colleagues.

Lisa Bowen, a former social worker and attendance support manager at Perry Beeches, says the effects of section 28 are still being felt in schools. “It was still OK to turn away students because they were gay in 2003 - many of our pupils were at school then,” she says. “There was nothing to protect them. If you look at the racism laws, they were brought in in 1976 so have been around a lot longer, so it has been unacceptable for longer. The law came in too late.”

Pupils’ use of the word “gay” as an insult is just one of the effects of the failure to tackle homophobia through legislation earlier, but it is one that teachers have to deal with most regularly.

For Gary Phillips, headteacher at Lilian Baylis Technology College in Lambeth, south London, it is a case of challenging insults each time they are made. “You have to ask: ‘Would you say that about somebody’s ethnicity or their gender?’” says Mr Phillips. In a multicultural, multiethnic school, making clear the comparison with racism is crucial.

For the past three years, the school has made homophobic bullying the focus of its anti-bullying week, with drama performances and discussions focusing on the issue. As a result, the number of serious homophobic incidents has fallen, as has the use of homophobic language.

“Teachers talk about challenging it more,” says Mr Phillips. “They feel more confident about doing that - we are raising the bar for what is acceptable behaviour.”

Just this year, Lilian Bayliss has acquired a Mongolian Yurt, sited on the far side of the playground. “It doesn’t need planning permission,” says Mr Phillips, by way of explanation for the eccentric looking circular hut. But the other benefit is that it provides pupils with a comfortable space for circle time, far from the confines and problems they may be experiencing during the school day.

“It’s very difficult to get at low-level stuff,” admits Mr Phillips. “Unless kids tell us that they are being called names, we don’t know. Some kids are worried that talking about it can cause trouble.”

He is realistic about the impact of pupils spending time in the yurt: “I doubt that during circle time, any kid would say: ‘I’m gay’ or ‘I’m being bullied because I’m gay’, but it’s about building a culture that is more open and where they feel they can disclose things,” he says.

“It’s about managing attitudes and ideas, and trying to change them, but you’re not going to do that overnight.”

As Stacie and Jonathan made clear, parents have an enormous influence on children’s attitudes, and many teachers do not want to risk offending parents in their handling of pupils’ homophobic bullying.

In Mr Phillips’s experience, however, parents are not a barrier to addressing homophobic bullying. “It’s an illusion. Parents want their kids to be tolerant,” he says. “You come across parents who don’t want homosexuality to be pushed in school, but when you explain it’s just that you want children to be able to talk about anything and feel comfortable, they understand.”

Perhaps because he has led such a successful school improvement, Mr Nolan has never faced opposition to his zero-tolerance policy on homophobia. At open evenings for prospective parents and pupils, he makes it clear that bullying of gay, lesbian or bisexual pupils, or using homophobic insults will be severely punished. “I use those very words to a hall full of parents,” he says - but the school is still oversubscribed.

Essentially, teachers’ ability to tackle homophobic bullying comes down to an all-embracing school policy that gives teachers the support to confront the issue and start challenging pupils’ behaviour. As with any behaviour policy, this works best when it comes from the senior management team.

The problem with this is that there are already so many things on a headteacher’s agenda, says Mr Nolan. Tackling homophobic bullying is just another thing on the list. “What I would say is that this is me speaking as one of the most improved schools in the UK,” he says. “I think it has been one of the reasons we have improved so rapidly - because we are a very open, honest, forward thinking school on all issues, including lesbian and gay issues.”

Most LGB pupils put up with insults, malicious gossip and even physical abuse on a regular basis. But just under half of teachers say they would not feel confident in providing information or guidance on gay issues, according to a Stonewall survey. If they had a pupil who came out as lesbian, gay or bisexual, 28 per cent of teachers said they would not feel confident in supporting them.

It takes time to turn around the mindset of an entire school, especially in the case of teenagers who feel it is their duty to be contrary. But if they are supported, teachers can set the standard for what is acceptable and do much more to support pupils who are victims of homophobic abuse - as they would try to do for victims of any other form of bullying. Until that happens, when it comes to homophobia, schools will still be lagging behind the rest of society.

* Name has been changed

Straight from Stonewall

Figures from The Teachers’ Report, published by Stonewall in 2009:

- 90 per cent of secondary teachers say pupils in their schools are bullied, harassed or called names for being - or perceived to be - lesbian, gay or bisexual.

- 43 per cent of secondary teachers have heard homophobic language or negative remarks about gay people from other school staff.

- 28 per cent of secondary teachers say they would not feel confident in supporting their LGB pupils.

- 43 per cent of secondary teachers and 55 per cent of primary teachers say their schools do not have a policy that explicitly addresses homophobic bullying.

- 44 per cent of primary school staff who hear homophobic language such as “you’re so gay” or “that’s so gay” do not always respond.

- 50 per cent secondary teachers who are aware of homophobic bullying in their schools say the vast majority of incidents go unreported.

- Gay children are 60 per cent less likely to be attacked in schools that have a consistent policy of punishing homophobic language.

Man sentenced to 17 years in prison for defrauding hundreds of Haitian-Americans

By Jane Musgrave

Palm Beach Post Staff Writer

Updated: 10:39 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, 2011

Posted: 7:59 p.m. Friday, Feb. 11, 2011

— Franz Menardy put up $400,000 of his own money and persuaded family and friends to kick in another $100,000 with the promise that their investment would double in 90 days.

Jacques Bernard was so sure the investment club was legitimate that he, along with his sisters, cousins and brothers scraped together $350,000 convinced they would soon be rich.

The two men - Menardy from Delray Beach and Bernard from were among roughly 600 Haitian-Americans who lost as much as $14 million in the Delray Beach-based scam.

On Friday, the two joined about a dozen other victims of Homepals Investment Club to watch U.S. District Court Judge Kenneth Marra sentence Ronnie Bass to 17 years in prison for robbing working-class immigrants of their hard-earned money.

But neither the lengthy sentence nor the $3.9 million in restitution the 37-year-old Miramar man was ordered to pay brought relief to victims.

Few hold out hope that they will ever get any of their money back. Most are dealing not only with financial devastation but the acrimony of friends and family.

"This thing has messed up my whole family," Bernard told Marra.

Assistant U.S. Attorney Ryan O'Quinn told of a man who invested $40,000 his father had saved from a lifetime of mowing lawns. Now, the son can't face his father.

Further, many of the victims have family members in Haiti who are still devastated from last year's earthquake. "They have no money to help their families because this defendant stole it from them," O'Quinn said.

Until Friday's hearing, Bass never showed any remorse. Then, in a rare move, he told Marra he wanted to change his no contest plea to guilty and admit responsibility for what he had done. He apologized to the victims. "I know your in hardship and I know the position I put you in," he said. "While they were suffering, I was leading the good life."

The victims scoffed. Facing more than 20 years in prison, the guilty plea helped him win a reduced sentence.

His attorney Robert Stickney argued that Bass should be sent to prison for 10 years. Two others involved in the scheme - Brian Taglieri, of Jupiter, and Abner Alabre, of Miramar - received 5-year sentences. The difference, O'Quinn said, was both cooperated with investigators. Taglieri alerted prosecutors of the scheme and was rewarded with having about 3 1/2 years shaved off his sentence.

Given the numerous frauds that target Haitian-Americans, O'Quinn urged Marra to impose a lengthy sentence.

"Right now, individuals are selling (bogus) notes in the Haitian community," O'Quinn said. "This defendant should be incarcerated for a significant period of time to not only refrain him but also to send a message to others, to let them know how serious this crime is."

World Economic Forum - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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World Economic Forum

Formation  • 1971, as European Management Forum
 • 1987, name changed to World Economic Forum
Type Non-profit organization
Legal status Foundation
Headquarters Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland
Region served Worldwide
Chief Executive Officer Klaus Schwab

The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, best known for its annual meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in Graubünden, in the eastern Alps region of Switzerland.

The meeting brings together top business leaders, international political leaders, selected intellectuals and journalists to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world, including health and the environment.

Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives.[1]

It also organizes the "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in China and a series of regional meetings throughout the year. In 2008, those regional meetings included meetings on Europe and Central Asia, East Asia, the Russia CEO Roundtable, Africa, the Middle East, and the World Economic Forum on Latin America. In 2008, the foundation also launched the "Summit on the Global Agenda" in Dubai.

The 2011 annual meeting in Davos has been held from 26 January to 30 January.



[edit] History

The foundation was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German-born business professor at the University of Geneva.[2] Originally named the European Management Forum, it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision further to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts.

In the summer of 1971 Schwab invited 444 executives from Western European firms to the first European Management Symposium held in the Davos Congress Centre under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations, where Schwab sought to introduce European firms to American management practices. He then founded the WEF as a non-profit organization based in Geneva and drew European business leaders to Davos for the annual meetings each January.[3]

Schwab developed the "stakeholder" management approach which based corporate success on managers taking account of all interests: not merely shareholders, clients and customers, but also employees and the communities within which the firm is situated, including governments.[4] Events in 1973, including the collapse of the Bretton Woods fixed-exchange rate mechanism and the Arab-Israeli War, saw the annual meeting expand its focus from management to economic and social issues, and political leaders were invited for the first time to the annual meeting in January 1974.[5]

Frederik de Klerk and Nelson Mandela shake hands at the Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum held in Davos in January 1992.

Japanese Prime Minister Taro Aso at the World Economic Forum in January 2009

Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.

As the years went by, political leaders began to use the annual meeting as a neutral platform to resolve their differences. The Davos Declaration was signed in 1988 by Greece and Turkey, helping them turn back from the brink of war. In 1992, South African President F. W. de Klerk met with Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the annual meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa. At the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat reached a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho.[6] In 2008, Bill Gates gave a keynote speech on creative capitalism, a form of capitalism that works both to generate profits and solve the world's inequities, using market forces to better address the needs of the poor.[7][8]

[edit] Organization

Headquartered in Cologny, the foundation opened, in 2006, regional offices in Beijing, China; and New York City, New York, United States. It strives to be impartial, and is not tied to any political, partisan or national interests. The foundation is "committed to improving the State of the World",[9] and has observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Council. The foundation's highest governance body is the Foundation Board consisting of 22 members, including former British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Queen Rania of Jordan.[citation needed]

During the five-day annual meeting in 2009, over 2,500 participants from 91 countries gathered in Davos. Around 75 percent (1,170) were business leaders, drawn principally from its members, 1,000 of the world's top companies. Besides these, participants included 219 public figures, including 40 heads of state or government, 64 cabinet ministers, 30 heads or senior officials of international organizations and 10 ambassadors. More than 432 participants were from civil society, including 32 heads or representatives of non-governmental organizations, 225 media leaders, 149 leaders from academic institutions and think tanks, 15 religious leaders of different faiths and 11 union leaders.[10]

[edit] Membership

The foundation is funded by its 1,000-member companies, the typical company being a global enterprise with more than five billion dollars in turnover, although the latter can vary by industry and region. In addition, these enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region. As of 2005, each member company pays a basic annual membership fee of CHF 42,500 and a CHF 18,000 annual-meeting fee which covers the participation of its chief executive officer at the annual meeting. Industry Partners and Strategic Partners pay CHF 250,000 and CHF 500,000, respectively, allowing them to play a greater role in the foundation's initiatives.[11][12]

In addition, these enterprises rank among the top companies within their industry and/or country (generally based on turnover in millions of U.S. dollars; for financial institutions, the criteria is based on assets) and play a leading role in shaping the future of their industry and/or region, as judged by the foundation's selection committee.

Industry Partners come from a broad range of business sectors, including construction; aviation; technology; tourism; food and beverage; engineering; and financial services. These companies are alert to the global issues that most affect their specific industry sector.

[edit] Activities

[edit] Annual Meeting in Davos

Mohammad Khatami, President of Iran (1997–2005) captured during the workspace session 'Rules for a Global Neighbourhood in a Multicultural World' at the Annual Meeting 2007 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, 25 January 2007.

The flagship event of the foundation is the invitation-only annual meeting held every year at the end of January in Davos, bringing together chief executive officers from its 1,000-member companies as well as selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGOs, religious leaders and the media in an alpine environment. The town is small enough to enforce participants to meet anywhere off the sessions and allows them to attend the most possible receptions organized by companies and countries.[13] Informal meetings may have led to as many ideas and solutions as the official sessions.[14] Around 2,200 participants gather for the five-day event and attend some of the 220 sessions in the official programme. The discussions focus around key issues of global concern (such as international conflicts, poverty and environmental problems) and possible solutions.[1] In all, about 500 journalists from online, print, radio and television take part, and are furnished with access to all of the sessions in the official program, some of which are also webcast.[15]

All plenary debates from the annual meeting are also available on YouTube,[16] pictures are available for free at Flickr[17] and key quotes are available on Twitter.[18] In 2007, the foundation opened pages on social-media platforms such as MySpace[19] and Facebook.[20] At the 2009 annual meeting, the foundation invited the general public to participate in the Davos Debates on YouTube[21][22] allowing one user to attend the annual meeting in person. In 2008, the Davos Question on YouTube[23] allowed YouTube users to interact with the world leaders gathered in Davos who were encouraged to reply from a YouTube Video Corner at the congress centre.[24] In 2008 press conferences are live streamed on Qik[25] and Mogulus[26] allowing anyone to put questions to the speakers. In 2006 and 2007, selected participants were interviewed in, and the closing session was streamed into Reuters' auditorium in Second Life.[27]

[edit] Participants

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo of the Philippines at the World Economic Forum in 2009

In 2008, some 250 public figures (head of state or government, cabinet ministers, ambassadors, heads or senior officials of international organization) attended the annual meeting, including: Abdoulaye Wade, Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, Álvaro Uribe Vélez, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, Ban Ki-moon, Condoleezza Rice, Ferenc Gyurcsany, François Fillon, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Gordon Brown, Hamid Karzai, Ilham Aliyev, Jan Peter Balkenende, Lee Bollinger, Lee Hsien Loong, Pervez Musharraf, Queen Rania of Jordan, Ruth Simmons, Salam Fayyad, Sali Berisha, Serzh Sargsyan, Shimon Peres, Tukufu Zuberi, Umaru Musa Yar'adua, Valdas Adamkus, Yasuo Fukuda, Viktor A. Yushchenko and Zeng Peiyan.[28][29]

Al Gore, Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Michael Wolf, Bono, Paulo Coelho and Tony Blair are also regular Davos attendees. Past attendees include Angela Merkel, Dmitry Medvedev, Henry Kissinger, Nelson Mandela, Raymond Barre, Julian Lloyd Webber and Yasser Arafat.

The participants at the annual meeting were collectively described as "Davos Man" by American scholar Samuel Huntington, referring to a global elite whose members view themselves as completely international.[30][31]

[edit] Annual Meeting of the New Champions

In 2007 the foundation established the Annual Meeting of the New Champions (also called Summer Davos), held annually in China and alternating between Dalian and Tianjin, bringing together 1,500 influential stakeholders of what the foundation calls Global Growth Companies, primarily from rapidly growing emerging countries such as China, India, Russia, Mexico, and Brazil, but also including fast movers from developed countries. The meeting also engages with the next generation of global leaders, fast-growing regions, competitive cities and technology pioneers from around the globe.[32][33] Premier Wen Jiabao has delivered a plenary address at each annual meeting.

[edit] Regional meetings

Every year ten regional meetings take place, enabling close contact between corporate business leaders, local government leaders and NGOs. Meetings are held in Africa, East Asia, Latin America and the Middle East The mix of hosting countries varies from year to year, but China and India have hosted consistently over the past decade.[34]

[edit] Young Global Leaders

In 2005 the foundation established the community of Young Global Leaders, the successor to the Global Leaders of Tomorrow, consisting of under-forty-year-old leaders from all around the world and a myriad of disciplines and sectors. The leaders engage in the 2030 Initiative, the creation of an action plan for how to reach the vision of what the world could be like in 2030. Among the Young Global Leaders are:[35] Shai Agassi, Anousheh Ansari, Maria Consuelo Araujo, Lera Auerbach, Fatmir Besimi, Ian Bremmer, Sergey Brin, Tyler Brûlé, Patrick Chappatte, Olafur Eliasson, Roger Federer, Jens Martin Skibsted, Rahul Gandhi, Kenneth Griffin, Kelly Chen, Scott J. Freidheim, Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Abdulsalam Haykal, Silvana Koch-Mehrin, Irshad Manji, Princess Mathilde of Belgium, Aditya Mittal, Euvin Naidoo, Gavin Newsom, Larry Page, Lewis Gordon Pugh, Senator Mar Roxas of the Philippines, Christopher Schläffer, Anoushka Shankar, Premal Shah, Josh Spear, Peter Thiel, Jimmy Wales,Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, Kimmie Weeks and Niklas Zennström. New members are selected on a yearly basis and the Forum of Young Global Leaders will count 1,111 members.[36][37][38]

[edit] Social Entrepreneurs

Since 2000 the foundation has been promoting models developed by the world's leading social entrepreneurs in close collaboration with the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship.[39] The foundation highlights social entrepreneurship as a key element to advance societies and address social problems.[40][41] Selected social entrepreneurs are invited to participate in the foundation's regional meetings and the annual meetings where they have a chance to meet chief executives and senior government officials. At the Annual Meeting 2003, for example, Jeroo Bilimoria met with Roberto Blois, deputy secretary-general of the International Telecommunication Union, an encounter that produced a key partnership for her organization Child Helpline International.[42]

[edit] Research Reports

The foundation also serves as a think tank, and publishes a wide range of reports focusing on issues of concern and importance to Forum communities. In particular, Strategic Insight Teams focus on producing reports of relevance in the fields of competitiveness, global risks and scenario thinking.

The Competitiveness Team produces a range of annual economic reports (first published in brackets): the Global Competitiveness Report (1979) measures competitiveness of countries and economies; The Global Information Technology Report (2001) assesses their competitiveness based on their IT readiness; the Global Gender Gap Report (2005) examines critical areas of inequality between men and women; the Global Risks Report (2006) assesses key global risks; the Global Travel and Tourism Report (2007) measures travel and tourism competitiveness and the Global Enabling Trade Report (2008) presents a cross-country analysis of the large number of measures facilitating trade between nations.[43]

The Global Risk Network produces a yearly report assessing those risks which are deemed to be global in scope, have cross-industry relevance, are uncertain, have the potential to cause upwards of US$ 10 billion in economic damage, have the potential to cause major human suffering and which require a multistakeholder approach for mitigation.[44]

The Scenario Planning team develops a range of regional, industry-focused and issue-specific scenario reports designed to challenge readers' assumptions, raise awareness of critical underlying factors and stimulate fresh thinking about the future.[45] Recent reports include a major publication on possible near- and long-term impacts of the global financial crisis of 2008–2009,[46] and scenarios on the impact of demographic shifts on pension and healthcare financing.[47]

[edit] Initiatives

The Global Health Initiative (GHI) was launched by Kofi Annan at the Annual Meeting in 2002. The GHI's mission is to engage businesses in public-private partnerships to tackle HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, malaria and health systems.

Henry Kissinger, at the World Economic Forum's 'India Economic Summit', November, 2008, New Delhi.

The Global Education Initiative (GEI), launched during the Annual Meeting in 2003, has brought together international IT companies and governments in Jordan, Egypt and India which has resulted in new personal computer hardware in the classrooms and more local teachers trained in e-learning. This is having a real impact on the lives of children. The GEI model which is scalable and sustainable is now being used as an educational blueprint in other countries including Rwanda.

The Environmental Initiative covers Climate Change and Water. Under the Gleneagles Dialogue on Climate Change, the U.K. government asked the World Economic Forum at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in 2005 to facilitate a dialogue with the business community to develop recommendations for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This set of recommendations, endorsed by a global group of CEOs, was presented to leaders ahead of the G8 Summit in Toyako/Hokkaido held in July 2008.[48][49]

The Water Initiative brings together different stakeholders like Alcan Inc., the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, USAID India, UNDP India, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Government of Rajasthan and the NEPAD Business Foundation to develop public-private partnerships on water management in South Africa and India.

In an effort to combat corruption, the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative (PACI) was launched by CEOs from the Engineering and Construction, Energy and Metals and Mining industries at the Annual Meeting in Davos in January 2004. PACI is a platform for peer exchange on practical experience and dilemma situations. Some 140 companies have signed.[50]

[edit] Deals

[edit] Rosneft-ExxonMobil and Rosneft-BP

On 27 January 2011, Rosneft and ExxonMobil signed a deal at the forum to establish a joint venture for the purpose of prospecting and extracting oil from the Tuapse Trough deepwater area in the north-eastern continental shelf of the Black Sea, near the coast of the Krasnodar Krai. The value of the deal is unknown, but ExxonMobil is expected to invest $1 billion in the project. The venture will be shared 50-50 between the companies during prospecting phase, and 66-33 in Rosneft's favour during the extraction phase. The Tuapse Trough is estimated to contain 7.2 billion barrels of oil equivalent. The first well could be drilled in 2012.[51] The joint venture will benefit from ExxonMobil's innovative technology and Rosneft's resources and experience in the region, enabling production from the difficult-to-develop offshore area.[51][52] The deal also contains the possibility for additional cooperation, such as extended exploration and production, deliveries to Rosneft's oil refinery in Tuapse as well as development of transport infrastructure and research on offshore oil production technologies.[53]

At the same January 2011 edition of the WEF, Rosneft also signed a deal on the strategic partnership with BP and revealed details of the joint Rosneft-BP project on the development of the Russian continental shelf in the Arctic[54][55] (earlier in the same month, Rosneft and BP exchanged 9.5% and 5% of their shares respectively, and set up a joint venture on the giant East-Prinovozemelsky field development).[56] Currently, there is no active offshore oil industry both on the Russian Arctic shelf and in the Black Sea, and Rosneft-BP and Rosneft-ExxonMobil ventures are among the very largest and pioneering projects in these areas.

[edit] Awards

[edit] Technology Pioneers Programme

The Technology Pioneers Programme recognizes companies all over the world designing and developing new technologies. The award is given to 30–50 companies each year. As of 2008, 391 companies have been so recognized. The award was first given in 2003.

In line with the foundation's commitment to improving the state of the world, the Tech Pioneers are integrated into its activities with the objective to identify and address future-oriented issues on the global agenda, in proactive, innovative and entrepreneurial ways. By bringing these executives together with scientists, academics, NGOs, and foundation members and partners, the foundation's goal is to shed new light on how technologies can be used to, for example, find new vaccines, create economic growth and enhance global communication.[57]

[edit] Public Eye Awards

The Public Eye Awards have been held every year since 2000. It is a counter-event to the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. Public Eye Awards is public competition of the world's worst corporation. In 2011 more than 50,000 voted for companies acted irresponsibly. At a ceremony at a Davos hotel the "winners" in 2011 were named as Indonesian palm oil diesel maker Neste Oil in Finland and mining company AngloGold Ashanti in South Africa.[58]

[edit] Criticism

In the late 1990s the foundation, along with the G7, World Bank, World Trade Organization and International Monetary Fund, came under heavy criticism by anti-globalisation activists who claimed that capitalism and globalization were increasing poverty and destroying the environment. 1,500 demonstrators disrupted the World Economic Forum in Melbourne, Australia, obstructing the passage of 200 delegates to the meeting.[59] Demonstrations are repeatedly held in Davos (see Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland, January 2003) to protest against the meeting of "fat cats in the snow", as rock singer Bono tongue-in-cheek termed it.[60]

American linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky thinks that globalization in the sense of investors and privileged elites or some participants of the World Economic Forum is a propaganda term.

Chomsky said in an interview,

"The dominant propaganda systems have appropriated the term 'globalization' to refer to the specific version of international economic integration that they favor, which privileges the rights of investors and lenders, those of people being incidental. In accord with this usage, those who favor a different form of international integration, which privileges the rights of human beings, become 'anti-globalist.' This is simply vulgar propaganda, like the term 'anti-Soviet' used by the most disgusting commissars to refer to dissidents. It is not only vulgar, but idiotic. Take the World Social Forum, called 'anti-globalization' in the propaganda system—which happens to include the media, the educated classes, etc., with rare exceptions. The WSF is a paradigm example of globalization. It is a gathering of huge numbers of people from all over the world, from just about every corner of life one can think of, apart from the extremely narrow highly privileged elites who meet at the competing World Economic Forum, and are called 'pro-globalization' by the propaganda system. An observer watching this farce from Mars would collapse in hysterical laughter at the antics of the educated classes."

[citation needed]

In January 2000, 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Davos and smashed the window of the local McDonald's restaurant.[61] The tight security measures around Davos have kept demonstrators from the Alpine resort, and most demonstrations are now held in Zürich, Bern or Basel.[62] The costs of the security measures, which are shared by the foundation and the Swiss cantonal and national authorities have also been frequently criticised in the Swiss national media.[63]

Starting at the annual meeting in January 2003 in Davos, an Open Forum Davos,[64] co-organized by the Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches, was held in parallel, opening up the debate about globalisation to the general public. The Open Forum has been held in the local high school every year, featuring top politicians and business leaders, and is open to all members of the public free of charge.[65][66]

The annual meeting has also been decried as a "mix of pomp and platitude", and criticized for moving away from serious economics and accomplishing little of substance, particularly with the increasing involvement of NGOs that have little or no expertise in economics. Instead of a discussion on the world economy with knowledgeable experts alongside key business and political players, the annual meeting now features the top media political causes of the day, such as global climate change and AIDS in Africa.[67]

[edit] See also

Public Eye Awards

[edit] References

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[edit] Reference books

[edit] External links

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