When world leaders congregate in the Swiss ski resort town of Davos later this month to discuss a more cohesive and sustainable world, the stigma around mental health will also be a key area of deliberation and one of the persons spearheading this topic would be actress Deepika Padukone.
At the same place, Isha Foundation Founder Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev will hold morning meditation sessions on the art of paying attention in the present moment intentionally and non-judgmentally. On the other hand, more than 100 business and political leaders from India would deliberate on matters of geo-political and economic importance along with hundreds of other leaders from across the globe during the World Economic Forum's 50th Annual Meeting, starting on January 21.
The top global leaders expected at the five-day jamboree of the rich and powerful of the world include US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, as also presidents/PMs from Afghanistan, Ireland, Finland, Brazil, Iraq, Singapore and the host country Switzerland, among several others. From India, two union ministers Piyush Goyal and Mansukh Mandaviya as well as three chief ministers -- Amarinder Singh, Kamal Nath and B S Yeddyurappa -- are expected to participate in the prestigious WEF summit.
There would be a special session on India, as also one on the Indian Ocean Region, among several bilateral and multi-lateral meetings by Indian leaders. While there is no official confirmation about Trump, he as well as his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin are widely expected to visit after skipping the event last year. However, reports have suggested that Chinese premier Xi Jinping and UK's Boris Johnson may give the event a miss.
Those having confirmed their presence include Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani, Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Hong Kong SAR CEO Carrie Lam, Iraq President Barham Salih, Norway's Prime Minister Erna Solberg, Singapore's Prime Minister Lee Hsein Loong and Swiss President Ueli Maurer. There are a number of other heads of state from various countries also who have confirmed their presence for this annual congregation of the rich and powerful from across the world which is expected to be a much bigger affair this time because it would be World Economic Forum's 50th anniversary.
The Geneva-based WEF has selected ''Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World'' as the theme for its 2020 annual meeting, which will bring together 3,000 global leaders. The WEF has said the 2020 meeting aims to give a concrete meaning to "stakeholder capitalism", assist governments and international institutions in tracking progress towards the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals, and facilitate discussions on technology and trade governance.
Those who are registered from India include industry leaders Gautam Adani, Mukesh Ambani, Rahul and Sanjiv Bajaj, Kumar Mangalam Birla, N Chandrasekaran of Tata Group, Sajjan Jindal, Uday Kotak, Rajnish Kumar of SBI, Anand Mahindra, Sunil and Rajan Mittal, Ravi Ruia, Pawan Munjal, Nandan Nilekani and Salil Parekh of Infosys, C Vijayakumar of HCL Tech, Ajay Piramal, Rishad Premji, Ajay Singh and Pirojsha Godrej.
Film star Deepika Padukone is registered as founder of Live Love Laugh Foundation, which aims to reduce the stigma, spread awareness and change the way people look at mental health. She will also get the prestigious Crystal Award on the first day of the summit. The foundation has been instrumental in creating a platform where people seek help for themselves or their loved ones, find comprehensive knowledge, connect with professionals and find comfort knowing that they are not alone in their battle with issues specifically stress, anxiety and depression.
Among others from the Indian film industry, Shahrukh Khan and Karan Johar have been in Davos for the WEF annual meetings in the recent years. Among the public figures from India, Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will visit again and joined by Mansukh Mandaviya, minister of state (independent charge) of shipping and minister of state for chemicals and fertilizers. Among chief ministers, Madhya Pradesh's Kamal Nath would be visiting Davos again, while Punjab's Amarinder Singh and Karnataka's Yeddyurappa are also slated to attend this WEF annual meeting.
Besides, former union minister Suresh Prabhu, Finance Commission Chairman N K Singh and Telangana Minister K T Rama Rao would also be in Davos. Among global business leaders, Michael Dell of Dell, James Dimon of JP Morgan, Deloitte's Punit Renjen, IBM's Ginni Rometty, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, Nokia's Rajiv Suri and UBS' Axel Weber are expected to participate.
WEF Founder and Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab has said people are revolting against the economic ''elites'' they believe have betrayed them, and the efforts to keep global warming limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius are falling dangerously short. "With the world at such critical crossroads, this year we must develop a ''Davos Manifesto 2020'' to reimagine the purpose and scorecards for companies and governments. It is what the World Economic Forum was founded for 50 years ago, and it is what we want to contribute to for the next 50 years," Schwab said.
The forum's first meeting in 1971 was established to further the idea put forward by Professor Schwab that business should serve all stakeholders - customers, employees, communities, as well as shareholders. It was reaffirmed in 1973 in the ''Davos Manifesto'', a document that has shaped the work of the WEF ever since. In a major update, this year's annual meeting will see the publication of a universal ''ESG scorecard'' (for environmental, social and governance parameters) by the WEF's International Business Council, which is currently chaired by Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America.