The economic argument for migration, gender and inclusion in finance, and what to call a Davos devotee: Paul Blanchard reports from the third day of the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos
The power of migration
At a panel discussion on migration, German chancellor Angela Merkel (who is here in Davos) was mentioned as an example of how help refugees to integrate into society through sponsorship and business training. I found the economic aspect compelling: every modern economy needs driven, entrepreneurial individuals. Very often, those who have been exposed to the extreme hardships of modern migration are some of the best change-makers in this regard, economically and socially.
There was a perfect example of this among the panelists: Mohamad Al Jounde (pictured above). He opened the session by describing his journey from Syria to Lebanon in 2013. Within six months he had helped to set up a school, which has now helped 7,000 refugees settle and integrate into their new country. He did it all before his 14th birthday. “I think the best way to integrate migrants is to approach and work with both local communities and migrants so that both sides can understand each other and live together,” he told the panel. I couldn’t agree more.
Financiers for change
One of the highlights of my week at Davos has been moderating a panel discussion for the YPO, the international community of chief executives dedicated to fostering learning and development. We looked at how to further gender equality and financial inclusion. I was joined by some stellar speakers: Catherine McGuinness of the City of London, Charlotte Crosswell, CEO of InnovateFinance, Daniel Shakhani, co-founder of Salary Finance, and Salah Goss of Mastercard’s Inclusion Lab.
They all represented different aspects of finance and brought some brilliant insights on how the sector is already innovating for fairness, service and gender. It’s too easy to think of finance as a late responder to the need for change in society but, as our discussion showed, finance really can lead from the front when it comes to inclusion. It’s a sector with great potential – where small adjustments can go a long way. I was honoured to help out, and I look forward to working with the YPO again in the future.
We have all heard the phrase ‘Davos Man’, but it occurs to me that, in these modern times, we need another adjective to describe Davos-goers – particularly the most committed. Some people are on their tenth visit, and Klaus Schwab is celebrating his 50th! So what do we call a serial Davos-er? Does ‘Davotee’ work for anyone?
Paul Blanchard is a ‘PR consiglieri’ for global leaders, CEOs and HNWs. He is the founder and chairman of Right Angles