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Global Affairs

From Davos to the World: UZH's Contributions and Insights to the WEF 2024

The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) 2024, held from 15 to 19 January 2024 under the theme “Rebuilding Trust”, marked a significant milestone for global collaboration and innovation. Known for conversations about global issues, the 54th Annual Meeting saw active participation from UZH, contributing to this year's summit.

This year’s WEF Annual Meeting, an influential platform for shaping sustainable policies and addressing global challenges brought together over 100 governments, major international organizations, 1,000 forum partners, civil society leaders, experts, youth representatives, social entrepreneurs, and international media. Together, they engaged in meaningful conversations aiming to solve pressing global challenges. 

One notable contribution from UZH was the active participation of UZH President Michael Schaepman in this year’s summit, where he also took on the role of a speaker during an event organized by Swissnex in Brazil, in collaboration with ETH Zurich and UZH, titled “Amazônia and beyond: The Role of Nature in Climate Change Mitigation”. 

  • WEF Amazonia and Beyond

    The event "Amazônia and beyond" at the House of Switzerland gathered scientists, policymakers, civil society, and private sector representatives to discuss the important role of conservation, reforestation, and nature-based solutions in achieving our climate goals with insights from the Amazon and beyond. From left to right: Michael Schaepmans (UZH President), Luís Roberto Barroso (The President of Supremo Tribunal Federal), Hosana Silva (climate change activist), Hosana SilvaThomas Elliott (CEO of Restor), Puwe Puyanawa (Puyanawa Tribe, Brazil Amazon). Not shown: Marina Silva (Marina Silva Ministra do Meio Ambiente e Mudança Climática). Image: Swissnex in Brazil

  • WEF Amazonia 2024

    State Secretary, Prof. Dr. Martina Hirayama, from the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation SERI, reaffirmed the importance of Brazilian-Swiss collaboration. Image: Swissnex in Brazil

Towards COP-30: Amazon conservation

This event shed light on the critical importance of the Amazon rainforest as the “lungs of the Earth”. With over 24 million people in Brazil relying on its resources, the Amazon is not just a global asset but also a lifeline for local communities. The event included inputs from experts on various aspects such as „The Amazon From Space“,which explored the role of technology and remote sensing in biodiversity monitoring, and “Protection through People”, discussing the involvement of marginalized and indigenous populations in preserving biodiversity. By connecting opinion-makers, researchers, and governmental delegations, this gathering paved the way for collaborative action towards COP-30 in Belém. 

Prioritizing mental well-being

In addition to UZH's contributions to environmental discussions, Professor Milo Puhan, Director of the UZH Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, and who is also President of the Swiss School of Public Health, participated in an event titled “Building the Mental Wealth of Nations: A 21st Century Approach”, which was held alongside the WEF. This forum, organized by the University of Sydney in cooperation with the BHP Foundation, highlighted the critical importance of mental well-being in times of exacerbating global crises.

  • The panel discussion on mental wealth took place at the Hard Rock Cafe Davos. Group picture of UZH Professor Milo Puhan with mental health experts from around the world. The panel was moderated by Ian Hickie (Co-Director Health and Policy, Brain and Mind Centre, University of Sydney). Image: University of Sydney

  • Professor Milo Puhan, Director of the UZH Epidemiology, Biostatistics and Prevention Institute, and President of the Swiss School of Public Health, during his presentation “Building the Mental Wealth of Nations: A 21st Century Approach”. Image: University of Sydney

Notably, Milo Puhan showcased a significant mental health surveillance program in Ukraine, underlining the importance of collective efforts to ensure the well-being of communities, especially those facing challenges like refugees. The event further brought together luminaries from various fields, including industry, science, health, and technology, to discuss the wider concept of “Mental Wealth”. It underscored that prosperity is not solely based on economic productivity but is contingent upon social cohesion and the mental health and well-being of communities worldwide.

Inclusive and forward-thinking sessions

Furthermore, throughout the year, stakeholders from diverse domains, encompassing both science and business, have actively engaged by contributing valuable inputs and preparatory reports to the WEF Annual Meeting. For instance, Adrian Künzler, Professor of Trade and Business Law at UZH, has been instrumental in shaping discussions in the WEF’s “Global Future Council “Future of the Metaverse”, while Ning Wang, ethicist and political scientist at UZH, has contributed actively to the Council “Future of Technology Policy”. 

  • Image Source: WEF

  • Image Source: WEF

  • Image Source: WEF

  • Image Source: WEF

  • Image Source: WEF

  • Image Source: WEF

The WEF and UZH

Weiterführende Informationen

Promoting Global Dialogue

The WEF, founded on January 24, 1971, by Klaus Schwab, serves as an international non-governmental organization headquartered in the Swiss Canton of Geneva. Central to the WEF's global influence are its annual meetings in Davos, Switzerland, where leaders from diverse sectors gather to engage in discussions on worldwide economic and political matters. Across its history, the WEF has assumed an important role in shaping international economic policies and promoting dialogue among world leaders, business executives, and experts. 

Providing Interdisciplinary Solutions

In this collaborative landscape, UZH stands as a key research institution with both the essential infrastructure and exceptional talent. UZH's dedication to fostering interdisciplinary solutions for urgent global challenges aligns seamlessly with the WEF’s overarching mission of propelling knowledge and innovation to enhance our global community.

Anne Nuria Boekhout