There are 2,693 names of attendees at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland which ends today.
There are probably a few omissions from and additions to this list. What Indonesians might worry about is that it contains the names of 21 Indonesians which, at 0.78% of the total, seems to be disproportionate.
SBY has not gone, it says here, in order to ensure that the natural disasters affecting several regions in Indonesia were handled efficiently. So he decided to send Finance Minister Chatib Basri to represent him at the meeting.
Apparently, “Professor Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of WEF, planned to present the Global Statesman Award to SBY for various achievements he has made over the past 10 years in leading Indonesia in the international arena, especially with regard to the economy and the concepts of humanity and democracy.”
That’s nice and heart warming, but one person you might have expected to be there is Djoko Susilo, no not the corrupt policeman behind bars for the next 17+ years, but Djoko Susilo Drs., M.A., the recent Indonesia ambassador to Switzerland. He has written an article in the Post headlined ‘The irrelevance of the WEF in Davos‘.
“Because of my job as an ambassador, every year I had to go up to the mountainous city of Davos, driving almost six hours from Bern, braving the snow covering the road. Every time I arrived in Davos I asked myself, why did these important people need to go to Davos?
“It is no secret that participating in Davos costs a lot, so only the rich or companies with big budgets can afford to take part.
“Take the cost of an executive arriving from Jakarta. To fly first class to Zurich will cost that individual about US$10,000, with a hotel room about $3,000 per night, the WEF annual membership fee $50,000 and other expenses that reach no less than $10,000. A WEF participant will spend a total of $100,000.”
So that’s c.$2 million for the Indonesian delegates. at least seven of whom, all government appointees, will be there at tax payer expense.
Dr. Constantin Gurdgiev is someone else who believes that the WEF is an irrelevance, “a vacuous undertaking”.
He says that according to the #WEF survey. the top 5 risks to be discussed are the water crisis, climate change, high unemployment, fiscal crises and fiscal disparity.
“All (except for fiscal disparity) have been at the core of Davos discussions in previous years. Apparently, the Greats of this World still can’t resolve any of them.”
Perhaps that’s because the wealth gap is exemplified by those who can afford to attend WEF meetings.
So, how come the CEO of the YCAB Foundation, Veronica Colondam, is there? The Foundation purports to “enable youth to be independent through educational provisions and welfare creation for a better and sustainable future.”
According to the Foundation’s 2011 Annual Report, the latest available online, of the Rp 28.25 billion expenditure some 14% (= c.Rp.3.95 billion/US$330,000) went on admin. I can’t see how a week in Davos will help the clientele Veronica purports to help, so is she beholden to the interests of the foundation’s major commercial sponsors?
The Global Shapers Community is a network of hubs developed and led by young people who are exceptional in their potential, their achievements and their drive to make a contribution to their communities.
After James Riady, a ‘contributor’ to WEF. was, in 2001, found guilty of “a crime involving moral turpitude‘ (and yet-to-be president Bill Clinton), he was barred from entry into the USA. However, in May 2009 he managed to enter the States to watch his son, John, graduate from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and his daughter, Stephanie, graduate from Wheaton College, a Christian school in Illinois.
Ah, yes, James, the dedicated student of the Bible who has a reputation in Indonesia for showing scant forgiveness to those who cross him [and] a generous philanthropist whose Lippo Group (a WEF regional partner) is notorious in Jakarta business circles for its raw pursuit of profit.
And for building SuperBlocks with posh names such as St.Moritz on Jakarta’s flood plain next to an area which experienced its first floods this past week.
View from the top
According to a report in the Post (which I’ll give a link to once its online), on Thursday all the Indonesian government representatives, “top business leaders” and presumably, although it’s not said, all the youngsters, attended the Indonesia Night at the Morosani Schweizerhoff Hotel. The event, under the banner Remarkable Indonesia, was part of a programme of “cultural diplomacy” being used, according to Mahendra Siregar, chairman of the Investment Coordinating Board, to “supplement the message that Indonesia is an attractive destination for trade, investment and tourism, backed by its strong economic performance and natural beauty.”
Amid the winter chill of the snow-covered mountain resort town, the guests were warmed by Indonesian food. such as nasi goreng. Wow. how original to serve an “iconic culinary dish” which Indonesians commonly cook from yesterday’s leftovers!
So, is the WEF worth demonstrating against? Last year’s shindig was noteable for a topless trio of Ukrainians demanding more female representatives.
The Forum does have a newsworthy function and value. Pope Francis urged leaders to fight inequality and Matt Damon called for clean water. And, according to the Guardian, sixty or so Davos movers and shakers [were] learning the art of meditation (from Goldie Hawn) even as President Hussan Rouhani, the Iranian president [was] pledging in the main hall not to use his nuclear power to create weapons.
Yet, at last year’s do Nadya Saib, one of Indonesia’s ‘global shapers’, met Sheryl Sandberg. “Yes, the COO of Facebook, the super smart woman who has been speaking on our behalf about gender equality,” she cooed. She also thanked “the super kind James Riady for introducing me to each of the [Indonesian delegates] and taking all photos.”
I can’t help worrying about the young and impressionable global shapers of the future taking their inspiration from the global shapers of the present who’ve been at Davos because of their political and financial clout rather than their personal moral integrity.