A regular participant for some twenty years at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, President Shimon Peres, who is scheduled to leave for Davos this morning, will be honored at a special plenary session on Friday. Peres will receive the Spirit of Davos Award from WEF founder and Chairman Klaus Schwab in recognition of his contribution to the cause of peace, to economics and technology and to the spirit of Davos.
One of the most high powered gatherings in the world, the WEF founded in 1971, brings together some 2,500 heads of state and government along with business leaders, entrepreneurs, reporters for financial publications plus a few celebrities who want to rub shoulders with people who effect change in the world. That’s what the spirit of Davos is all about – change.
Peres is invariably included in the WEF program, and this year is no exception – especially because the plenary session that he will address will be convened in his honor.
The subject of his address will be familiar to any of the participants who have met with him over the past year or so. In fact Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, when he met with him in Jerusalem on Tuesday, reminded him of their meetings and discussions in Davos.
Peres will talk about the urgency of a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians and the ongoing need to prevent Iran from realizing its nuclear ambitions. He will also present some of Israel’s technological achievements, all of which have been incorporated into products and equipment used in countries around the globe including those that are hostile to Israel because importers and consumers in those countries are not necessarily aware of the Israeli components in finished products produced in other countries.
Peres always uses Davos as a springboard for meetings with Presidents and Prime Ministers of other countries as well as top executives of global companies. He is particularly keen to meet CEOs of companies that are active in Israel or those that he hopes to attract to Israel. Meetings that he already as lined up for this week include inter alia the President of Azerbaijan, the President of CISCO the Chairperson of Yandex, the President of Philips, the President of the European for Reconstruction and Development, the Chairperson of Huawei, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, the Chairperson of JP Morgan, the President of Harvard, Chairperson of Bloomberg, CEO and Chairperson of Salesforce, as well as heads of start-ups. As a prelude to his meetings with major figures from the world of business, Peres met in Jerusalem on Tuesday with NASDAQ CEO Bob Greifeld, who was one of the star participants at last year’s WEF. The two discussed the success of Israeli companies listed with NASDEQ and the Israeli edge in high tech.
When Greifeld asked Peres to what he ascribed the secret of Israel’s high-tech success, Peres replied that Israel is a start up nation with hutzpa, the will to change and the desire to improve the quality of life.
Meetings, plenaries and other Davos events aside, Peres will as always find time to hold a pres conference which he will do on Thursday morning with the focus on progress made to date in the peace talks and changes in the Middle East. Iranian President Hasan Rouhani is scheduled to give an address earlier in the morning and Peres will also comment on Rouhani’s remarks.
Israel will be well represented at Davos,
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu will address the WEF on Israel a Nation of Innovation, in which he will not limit himself to high tech alone, but will discuss other issues as well.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni will also be there as will a delegation of some 100 Israeli business leaders. Several prominent figures from the Palestinian Authority will also be in attendance and among the speakers.