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Davos: Resilience In the Midst of Global Uncertainty

By Ideas Lab Staff January 23, 2013

As world leaders from government, business and technology converge on the Swiss town, focus is on maintaining resilience while economic and political uncertainties persist.

Resilience is the theme at this year’s World Economic Forum, in the face of continued economic uncertainty, political turbulence and violent conflicts sweeping various parts of the world.

Speaking to Bloomberg News before the summit got underway, founder and chairman Klaus Schwab called Iran and Syria political “black swans” while sounding optimistic about the recovering global economy.

“We have certain signs that at least we have stabilized the situation,” Schwab said of Europe’s economic crisis. He dismissed talk of the common currency breaking up. “There might again be a crisis mode, but there will not be a breakup, because we have seen in Europe sufficient political will to make sure that Europe remains as a unity,” he said.

As many as 50 heads of government are attending Davos, alongside leaders in business and global technology. Most head into the conference cautiously optimistic the global economy is finally turning around. The Independent reports Europe’s Central Bank is predicting the eurozone in particular will start growing again. Mario Draghi, ECB president, is quoted saying Europe was in a “back-to-normal situation”.

The New York Times reports that among the biggest subjects likely to press the agenda are trends that promote the global rise of women and education.

Disruptive universities are the topic of several sessions, says Rich Lesser, the new chief executive of the Boston Consulting Group.

“We need government to recognize the need to build the next-gen work force,” Lesser is quoted as saying, calling it “fundamental to staying competitive in the future.”

The atmosphere is less gloomy than a year before, given the widely improved economic situation, yet still filled with concern over growing conflicts in northern Africa and the challenges nationalism perpetuate in liberalizing markets in countries like China.