Yale President Richard Levin and four members of the Yale administration and faculty are among the more than 2,300 business, political, and academic leaders from 89 countries participating in the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum, running from Wednesday through Sunday in Davos, Switzerland.
Discussions at the forum will focus on this year’s theme, “The Creative Imperative,” and will address the rise of the Chinese and Indian economies, among other topics. Joining Levin at the conference are University Secretary Linda Lorimer, Yale professor and former Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo, and professors Daniel Esty and Robert Shiller. Levin said he will participate in four sessions at the conference — discussing health care, innovation, intellectual property, and common issues in higher education — and will chair a fifth session examining the demands that globalization places on educational institutions.
Shiller, an economics professor, said he will participate in three forum sessions, including one titled “After the Bubble” on the real estate market, and a press conference for the United Nations Development Program publicizing the organization’s latest book, “The New Public Finance.”
Shiller, who is attending the annual meeting for the fourth time, said he thinks the forums are important because they provide an opportunity for world leaders to analyze economic problems the world faces today.
“This is a conference which brings people together to examine the problems of the world,” Shiller said. “I think there are a lot of problems in the world and it really is good that leaders come together and think about them.”
Zedillo, a World Economic Forum trustee, flew to Davos on Monday from St. Petersburg, where he chaired the annual conference of the Global Development Network. Zedillo said in an e-mail that he will participate in three sessions at the WEF, of which he will chair two — “A New Mindset for the UN” and “The Informal Gathering of World Economic Leaders.”
Environmental law professor Esty said he will participate in a press conference discussing the new Environmental Performance Index, created by a team of Yale and Columbia researchers to assess the relative environmental status of 133 nations across the world. He said he will also participate in three sessions discussing topics including climate change, China’s potential as a “green lab” for sustainable development, and global challenges facing leaders today.
The annual Davos gathering is valuable because it compels leaders to think about global problems outside of their traditional environments, Esty said.
“One of the things that the Davos event does is to take people out of their usual workload and their usual context for thinking about problems,” he said.
In addition to participating in sessions, attendees will be involved in a line of private meetings with global leaders in business, government, journalism and education, Levin said.