May 22, 2014

Georgetown and the World Economic Forum

As part of its global outlook and values of serving others throughout the world, Georgetown is an active participant in the various communities and activities of the World Economic Forum (WEF). Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, this nonprofit international institution is “committed to improving the state of the world through public-private cooperation in the spirit of global citizenship.” WEF engages leaders from the political, business, and civil society sectors through a portfolio of high-level meetings, research networks, task forces, and digital collaboration. By identifying contemporary challenges, solutions, and actions, these mechanisms are designed to shape global, regional, and industry agendas.

Georgetown Faculty Engage with WEF

President John J. DeGioia represents Georgetown at the high-level Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. In addition, many of Georgetown’s faculty and university leaders participate via WEF’s network of over 80 Global Agenda Councils, each of which convenes thought leaders around a key global issue. Georgetown faculty have participated on councils addressing issues such as faith, fragile states, migration, negotiation and conflict resolution, and terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

Thomas Banchoff, vice president for global engagement, notes that, “Participation on the WEF’s Global Agenda Councils is a natural extension of our faculty members’ academic expertise, industry experience, and motivations to serve others through their scholarship. These councils are a great way to take the knowledge and values cultivated on the Hilltop to the global community.” 

Global Agenda Council on Values

Georgetown is particularly involved with the Global Agenda Council on Values, which President DeGioia has served on since 2010. In connection with this work, Georgetown hosted a two-day conference in September 2013 on the topic, “The New Social Covenant: Committing to Human Dignity and Common Values in the Global Economy.” In order to repair the broken trust between citizens, businesses, and governments, the New Social Covenant, authored by the council, proposes that these groups engage in intentional dialogue to identify the core values that should inform decision-making across global issues—values such as human dignity, the common good, and environmental stewardship.

In one conference session, Chelsea Clinton of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative discussed the specific role of philanthropy in a new social covenant. Video of Clinton’s discussion and more information about the conference is available here.

Other examples of Georgetown’s engagement with the council include “Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy,” a collaborative report by WEF and the Berkley Center for Religion, Peace, and World Affairs

University-Wide Engagement 

Georgetown is among the top universities that comprise the Global University Leaders Forum (GULF), which convenes at Davos every year. GULF facilitates dialogue and collaboration among higher education institutions and with other sectors on key global policy issues. This network is expanding and expected to reach 200 universities globally by 2015. The forum, in conjunction with the International Sustainable Campus Network, drafted as Sustainable Campus Charter, which Georgetown has signed onto as a reflection of its commitment to aligning its operations, research, and teaching with the goal of sustainability.

More information on Georgetown’s engagement with the World Economic Forum is available on the Georgetown website.