The World Economic Forum announced today that 40 leading international artists will participate in its 48th Annual Meeting. These cultural leaders will join other leaders from business, government, the media and civil society to advance dialogue and drive change under the meeting’s theme, “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World”.
At a time of increasingly volatile cultural wars and identity politics, Cultural Leaders are promoting constructive ways to build a shared future. Among the 40 Cultural Leaders in Davos will be filmmakers Feras Fayyad (Syria) and Wanuri Kahiu (Kenya), science-fiction author Hao Jingfang (China), artists Mehdi Ghadyanloo (Iran) and Trevor Paglen (US), and navigator Nainoa Thompson (Hawaii, US). Also joining are long-time members of the Forum’s Cultural Leaders community, including photographer Platon (US), choreographer Jin Xing (China), and musicians will.i.am and Yo-Yo Ma (US). A full list of Cultural Leaders, including the recipients of the 24th Annual Crystal Awards, will be announced in January 2018.
“Today we see more clearly how culture can also divide as much as it can unite. We must work together to promote dialogue and inclusivity and to create new narratives for a shared future. Artists and cultural institutions play a central role in this process,” said Nico Daswani, Head of Arts and Culture at the World Economic Forum.
Creative approaches to promote shared narratives through arts and culture will include:
– MASTERWORKS: In collaboration with the Smithsonian’s Freer|Sackler museums of Asian art and the Turquoise Mountain charity, this maker-space will feature master artisans from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. The artisans will work in cross-cultural pairs to co-create new works throughout the Annual Meeting. The maker-space anchors the LOFT, a unique venue for more than 30 sessions on understanding how exclusion is embodied in individuals and communities; sharing tools for fostering constructive dialogue on divisive issues; and collaborating on ideas for creating a more equal and inclusive world.
– PORTALS: Developed in collaboration with Science Gallery International, this special exhibition features four immersive digital gateways designed for creating more meaningful human exchange. It includes the world premiere of the second chapter in Lynette Wallworth’s Emmy-Award winning Collisions VR/AR series; and an installation by Shared_Studios for live face-to-face dialogue with people in locations such as a tech hub in Gaza, a refugee camp in Iraq, a university in Nairobi and a park in Colorado.
– Storywall: This eight-metre-high installation by Mike Stilkey is painted on the spine of 8,000 disused books, exploring the tension between cultural identity and the globalization of knowledge.
– Fractures: This projection mapping experience with National Geographic, designed by Zsolt Balogh, highlights the need for international cooperation to nurture wildlife and natural habitats.
The opening ceremony will include a world-premiere ballet performance by La Scala principal dancer étoile Roberto Bolle with the Cameristi della Scala in a unique programme fusing Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons with Astor Piazzolla’s Tango Four Seasons of Buenos Aires, exploring the fine line between chaos and harmony in our relationship with nature. The performance is supported by Intesa Sanpaolo. On 26 January, the Davos Festival Chamber Choir will be featured in a closing performance reflecting on the Annual Meeting theme.
Another 170 migrants disappear in shipwrecks: UN call for an end to Mediterranean tragedy
The United Nations refugee agency, UNHCR, stated on Saturday that “no effort should be spared” in saving lives at sea, following reports of two new shipwrecks on the Mediterranean Sea, in which some 170 people either died or went missing.
“The tragedy of the Mediterranean cannot be allowed to continue,” said Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
According to various NGOs, about 53 people died on the Alborán Sea, in the western part of the Mediterranean. One survivor is understood to have been rescued by a passing fishing boat after being stranded for more than 24 hours at sea and is receiving medical treatment in Morocco.
According to UNHCR, Moroccan and Spanish rescue vessels have been searching for the boat and survivors for several days to no avail.
The Italian Navy are also reporting another shipwreck on the central Mediterranean. Three survivors, who were taken for treatment on the island of Lampedusa, reported that another 117 people, currently dead or missing, had boarded the ship with them in Libya.
UNHCR has been unable to independently verify the death tolls for these two shipwrecks, but in 2018, 2,262 people lost their lives attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean Sea.
Guterres:The best-selling brand today is fear
Warning against the dangers of widespread fear and mistrust in our planet, the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, told journalists on Friday he wants to reaffirm the UN as a “platform for action to repair broken trust in a broken world.”
“The best-selling brand in our world today is indeed fear,” stated Mr. Guterres. “It gets ratings. It wins votes. It generates clicks,” he added, during the press conference, held at UN headquarters in New York.
“I believe the biggest challenge that governments and institutions face today is to show that we care – and to mobilize solutions that respond to people’s fears and anxieties with answers, with concrete answers,” he explained.
The Secretary-General was speaking two days after presenting his areas of action for the UN for 2019 to the 193 Member States, who, he said, widely responded to his remarks by highlighting the importance of multilateralism.
“As we look to the challenges we face – from climate change to migration to terrorism to the downsides of globalisation – there is no doubt in my mind that global challenges require global solutions,” he noted. “No country can do it alone. We need multilateralism more than ever.”
The UN chief noted that “dismissing or vilifying the doubters of multilateralism will lead nowhere,” and insisted on the importance of understanding why “many people around the world are not convinced of the power and purpose of international cooperation.”
Citing the fact that, in the process of globalisation and technological progress, many people, sectors, and entire regions were left behind, he explained the UN needs to focus on addressing the root causes of this widespread mistrust, anxiety, anger and fear, over three key areas of work: accelerating sustainable development, strengthening the added value of the United Nations through reform, and engaging societies to put an end to the rise of hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance.
“We hear troubling, hateful echoes of eras long past. Poisonous views are penetrating political debates and polluting the mainstream,” warned Mr. Guterres, as he stressed the need to remember the lessons of the 1930s and the Second World War.
“Hate speech and hate crimes are direct threats to human rights, sustainable development and peace and security,” he said.
Stressing that “words are not enough,” the UN Secretary-General announced he has tasked his Special Adviser for the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, to bring together a team to develop a UN-wide strategy and urgent global plan of action against hate speech and hate crimes.
Mr. Guterres stated that his “absolute priority for 2019” is to make sure the United Nations is a “platform for action to repair broken trust in a broken world and deliver for people”.
Following his opening remarks, the Secretary-General answered questions from members of press on various issues handled by the UN, including the situation in Venezuela, in Syria, and in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the plight of migrants and refugees worldwide, recent uncertainty around the elections in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, as well as UN funding challenges.
Knowledge Exchange Program between World Bank and Parliamentarians of Nepal
Members of the Federal Parliament in Nepal and officials from the World Bank held consultations and development policy dialogue at a knowledge exchange program held today. Over 40 members of the Parliamentary Finance Committee and the Parliamentary Secretariat took part in the program.
“These engagements with the representatives of the people of Nepal are a key part of our role and responsibility as trusted partners in Nepal. They allow us to exchange ideas, and to better understand the vision of the Nepali people in reducing extreme poverty and boosting shared prosperity. It also allows us to share experiences on development narratives from the rest of the world.” said Qimiao Fan, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal, “The country’s path of nation-building and sustainable development relies on sound policies and institutions, and the Parliament is key in ensuring that these are both in place.”
During the program supported by the World Bank and facilitated by the Parliament Secretariat, the Country Manager Faris H. Hadad-Zervos introduced the World Bank Group operations in Nepal, its instruments, country partnership framework and areas of development support. This was followed by a synopsis of the Bank’s analysis of latest macroeconomic and development updates, presented by World Bank Senior Country Economist Kene Ezemenari. Xiaoping Wang and Rabin Shrestha, Senior Energy Specialists from the World Bank then presented on the current scenario of the power sector in Nepal.
“The program was a great opportunity to understand the World Bank Group operations and explore avenues of cooperation and support in the days to come,” said Krishna Prasad Dahal, Chairperson of the Parliamentary Finance Committee, “Extensive sharing of data, information and practical knowledge will help pinpoint the direction of future policies and refine our responsibilities as lawmakers.”
The World Bank is engaging the Nepali Parliament in various ways. Through the Integrated Public Financial Management (PFM) Project supported by the Multi-Donor Trust Fund (financed by Australia, Switzerland, DFID, EU, Norway and USAID), The World Bank is currently supporting the Parliament of Nepal through strengthening of the PFM capacity of technical staff in the Secretariat. Knowledge exchange opportunities will be provided to MPs within this program. Provincial Parliaments will also be progressively targeted since they can benefit from the expertise of the Federal Parliament to build their own.
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