Mission of World Economic Forum
Monday، 20 July 2009 12:00 AM
Mission of World Economic Forum:
The forum is committed to improving the conditions of the world through projects which address issues like HIV/AIDS treatment, water supply and fostering dialogue between Islam and the West. the forumgives world leaders the opportunity to draw up solutions to global challenges like terrorism and corporate citizenship. The most pressing issues also place the forum in a unique position to mobilize people and resources to act.
World Economic Forum’s funding:
The forum’s funding comes from three sources:
Membership fees (CHF 30,000) from the 1,000 foremost companies who are the forum’s members and partners
Partnership fees from Strategic Partners (companies that play a leading role in the forum) and from partners in the forum’s events
• Participation fees for the annual meeting and for regional meetings and summits.
Management of World Economic Forum:
The Forum is a non-profit foundation. It has three main governing bodies:
• The Foundation Board, which has overall responsibility for establishing the long term direction and objectives of the Forum, and which is comprised of international public and private sector leaders.
• The International Business Council, which acts as an advisory body providing intellectual sponsorship to the Forum.
• The Managing Board, which is the in-house management team responsible for the executive oversight and management of the activities and resources of the Forum.
Council of 100 Leaders (C-100)
The World Economic Forum’s West-Islamic World Dialogue (C-100) is a community that promotes understanding and cooperation between Western countries and countries with predominantly Muslim populations. It convenes senior political, religious, business, media and opinion leaders in an effort to better understand their differences and act on their commonalities. This community relies in particular on the pragmatic dynamism of the business community as a powerful enabler of positive change.
The Council is chaired by:
Lord Carey of Clifton, Former Archbishop of Canterbury, United Kingdom
H.R.H. Prince Turki Al Faisal Al Saud, Chairman, King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, Saudi Arabia
Vision & objectives:
The C-100 promotes an improved state of Islamic-Western relations focusing on the following goals:
- The identification of key misunderstandings and open discussion of differences.
- The advancement of shared interests.
- A better understanding of distinct cultures.
- All interactions to show respect for shared humanity and dignity.
The C-100 Secretariat created a project submission process and started receiving project proposals along strategic themes. A number of projects have either been approved by the C-100 or designated for further elaboration. A synopsis of each project including its current status is found below:
I. Amplifying Thoughtful Voices
A. Common Ground News Service (CGNews): CGNews is a mechanism for printing editorials and opinion pieces that promote constructive views on conflicts in the Middle East. Distributed weekly in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, CGNews has placed over 1,000 articles in some of the region’s largest-circulation newspapers over the past three years.
CGNews’ success lies in its approach of partnering with editors of major publications to provide articles that meet their readers’ interests while promoting constructive solution-oriented perspectives. Established by the international non-profit Search for Common Ground and funded by the Dutch and Danish Foreign Ministries and the Arca Foundation, CGNews now seeks to expand into a global news service of Islamic-Western understanding. This entails adding editors to increase placement of articles in European and American publications, quadrupling the number of commissioned articles; and adding French, Farsi, Urdu, and Bahasa-language editions. The expanded CGNews will still be demand-driven, responding to the needs of editors of existing papers, rather than establishing a new outlet that competes with them for readers.
B. Media Outreach Training for Reconciliation Activists: At a meeting convened by HRH Prince Hassan bin Talal in 2003, leaders of interfaith and intercultural dialogue centers in the US and in predominantly Muslim countries expressed a desire to learn how to better engage Western mass media so that they could become a resource for commentary on Islamic-Western relations, particularly during times of crisis. Included in the meeting were the Centre for Civilizational Dialogue (Malaysia), Majlis el-Hassan (Jordan), the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding (Washington, DC), the Media and Dialogue Center (Kuwait), the Interfaith Center (New York), the Institute for Interfaith Dialogue (Indonesia), among others. The C-100 seeks to meet this demand by engaging a public relations firm to provide trainings in several hub-cities in the West and in predominantly Muslim countries for advocates of Islamic-Western understanding. Drawing on the C-100 network, European dialogue centers seeking to improve their public outreach capacity would be invited to participate as well. Trainings would include basic media outreach skills, including preparing press releases, writing op-eds, cultivating relations with the media, and interviewing techniques.
II. Facilitating Cooperation on Major Issues Of Shared Concern
A. Combating Extremism with Compassion: Concern that charitable giving might be redirected to terrorist organizations has caused a sudden drop in donations from individuals and foundations to charities in Muslim countries worldwide. The largest Muslim charity based in the West, UK-based Islamic Relief, seeks to mobilize non-governmental aid agencies, multi-lateral institutions, and government development and foreign policy bureaus to address this problem. Initially, Islamic-Relief seeks strategic cooperation in building political support for a working meeting, likely to be held in Cairo in May 2005 and, eventually, a UN conference on the subject. If successful, this initiative will generate mechanisms that allow funds to flow again to organizations that improve the lives of needy populations in Muslim countries, while addressing legitimate security and transparency concerns of governments, donors, and partners.
The C-100 Secretariat is preparing a report of this meeting and working with the participants to establish a working group to advance the action points to which they agreed. Updates will be provided to C-100 participants as the project develops.
B. Religious Criteria of Governance: The ASMA Society’s Cordoba Initiative aims to enumerate the societal criteria that the five major world religions require to be fulfilled in a society that is governed according to their respective religious laws. Through five seminars, twelve world renowned religious legal scholars from each of the Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Christian and Muslim faith traditions will enumerate what their religious laws say regarding citizens’ rights for justice, tolerance, treatment of ethnic and religious minorities, education, help to the poor and disadvantaged, etc. This project will help erase popular notions of the differences between the societal obligations of “secular” and “religious” states in how each governs its citizens and challenges the notion that only a humanitarian secular state articulates these rights.
Participants will help determine the extent to which values often attributed to secular traditions of governance are also found in religious traditions, to establish a notion of a global Common Good comprising the common elements from these religious traditions, and to explore how this global Common Good may be utilized in reducing tensions across religious boundaries and across religious and secular communities. The Aspen Institute, the East-West Institute, and the Chautauqua Institute have expressed a desire to co-host the seminar sessions.
III. Connecting Key Communities
A. Religious Leader Study Exchange: The C-100 is working with leaders at Al-Azhar University, the Anglican Communion, and the Roman Catholic Church to assist them in establishing extended Religious Leader Study Exchanges. Promising young scholars and senior clergy would take part in full-term exchanges at one another’s seminaries, during which they would engage in shared study, private and public interfaith dialogues, and joint community outreach. The aim is to foster lasting ties between Christian and Muslim clergy, enhance knowledge of one another’s faith traditions, strengthen the resolve of religious leaders to advance reconciliation and peace making, and facilitate inter-religious cooperation in promoting justice, serving the less fortunate, and promoting social development.
B. Internet-Based University Student Links: The non-profit organization Soliya provides internet-based links between colleges and universities in the Middle East and in the U.S. Students convene together and practice developing short documentaries using simple media-development software. The documentaries cover major events at the root of Islamic-Western conflict, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq, the Madrid train bombing or the September 11 attacks. Students learn how the same events can be presented differently by the media and use the documentary-production process to discuss why they view these events differently.
Students are then invited to co-produce documentaries on issues of shared concern that are marketed to local TV broadcasters in their communities. The project is engaging Al-Quds University, Birzeit University, American University in Cairo, the American University in Beirut, the University of Qatar, the American University in Kuwait, Philadelphia University in Amman, Harvard University, Tufts University, Clark College, Virginia Commonwealth University, University of Maine, and Centre College has been funded by the Compton Foundation through mid-2005. Soliya plans to use lessons learned to refine and expand this program to more universities and religious schools in Europe, the US and additional Arab countries. Students participating in 2004 are being trained to serve as project facilitators and organizers in 2005.
C. Youth Leader Exchange: In 2004, Seeds of Peace launched “Beyond Borders/Bila Hodood: Arabs and Americans in the 21st Century.” Beyond Borders brings together 62 young leaders and 23 education officials from 6 American cities and 6 Arab countries—namely Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, and Yemen—for cultural and political exchange in both the US and the Middle East. In August 2004, this group spent two weeks at the Seeds of Peace International Camp in Maine. Participants engaged in serious, honest, and open discussions on the complex issues facing the US and the Middle East. In March 2005, all participants will reconvene in the Middle East to continue their efforts and deepen their understanding on core issues through site visits, discussions with field experts, and interaction with Arab and American political figures. Having had firsthand experiences in both the US and the Middle East, the group will be uniquely equipped to engage and educate their communities and others, providing a ripple effect that will reach many more. Seeds of Peace seeks to expand Beyond Borders in its second year, dramatically increasing the number of participants and engaging young people in such countries as Lebanon, Syria, Bahrain, and the UAE among others.
D. Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow: The ASMA Society’s Cordoba Initiative proposes to convene young Muslim leaders from the US and the broader Muslim world to expand its network of Muslim Leaders of Tomorrow (MLT). The mission of the MLT is to foster a unified, uniquely American voice of Islam capable of accelerating the development of a healthy Islamic identity that is both Western and closely connected to Muslim communities worldwide. MLT will act as a platform and network of emerging young Muslim leaders who are committed to this mission and have the capacity to act as change agents. With funding from the National Center for Community and Justice, ASMA launched the MLT in December 2004, convening 100 emerging Muslim American leaders, aged twenty-five to forty-five, for a retreat in New York. ASMA now seeks to expand this network by convening two meetings, in New York and Amman, of 100 Muslim American youth leaders and 100 Muslim youth leaders from other countries around the globe. These meetings will build the MLT’s leadership skills in media relations, social justice advocacy, and education; while providing a forum for them to develop action plans around shared concerns and the improvement of Islamic-Western relations. This network would energize intra-Muslim dialogue while building the capacity of Muslim Americans to play a larger role as spokespersons and leaders in American society and in the global Muslim community.
E. Mid-Career Professionals Exchange: The 21st Century Trust proposes to convene four meetings of leaders under the age of 40 in business, government, NGOs, the media and other sectors from the West and from predominantly Muslim countries. Following an initial two-day consultation in Cairo entitled Islam and the West: framing the dialogue, during which participants would identify key issues to address in the coming three sessions, 25 participants would meet for one week to focus on one of the following three themes in each of the locations noted: Religion and modernity: how far is globalization a threat to faith communities? (Ifrane, Morocco); Governance, minorities, and human rights: seeking commonalities, acknowledging differences (Oxfordshire, UK); a week in October 2006; In the face of terror: how can the international community re-build peace? (Amman, Jordan). Participants would be invited to become members of the 21st Century Trust Fellowship, a network of over 1,000 individuals from 100 countries who engage in an ongoing series of conferences, debates and discussions about the pressing questions of the world.
IV. Demonstrating Cooperation Through Pop- and High-Culture
A. Reconciliation Reality Television: Capitalizing on the popularity of “reality” television formats, the C-100 Secretariat is in discussion with television broadcasters for the production of the first reconciliation reality TV program, for broadcast in Europe, the U.S., and in the Arab world. The program will feature Europeans and Americans of diverse socio-economic and religious backgrounds mixed with similarly diverse Muslim participants from five predominantly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Southeast Asia. Participants in the TV show will face challenges that require cooperation for them to prevail, punctuated by dialogue and reflection on the personal and political differences that they confront as they get to know and rely on one another. The program would be developed with sensitivity to diverse cultural norms in order to gain a lot of viewers. The aim would be to produce a TV program that attracts millions of viewers in the US, Europe, and the Muslim world, who would be rooting for (for example) Egyptian, Iranian, Indonesian, Saudi, American, and European contestants to prevail together in the face of obstacles. The program would offer venues for audience interaction through text-messaging and internet-based dialogue around the show.
B. Arabic Literary Heritage Trust: Amsterdam-based DecoType seeks to disseminate, in hard copy and through the internet, a corpus of classical Arabic literature in the West and in predominantly Muslim countries, in accurate Arabic text and in parallel editions in selected languages. This project addresses the lack of an Arabic-language equivalent to, e.g., the British Penguin/Pelican publications – affordable, high-quality selections from the English Literary Heritage, made affordable and available to a vast public. An Academic Committee consisting of senior academics in Arabic Literature and Culture will identify key texts, locate original manuscripts and define the method for editing the texts. A Digitization Committee will develop a system for the electronic reproduction of the original document and production in both internet and hard-copy versions. The Trust will then issue tenders for each title, inviting bids from academic institutions capable of returning the text to the Trust in a form ready for electronic publication. The Trust shall also issue tenders for a library edition of each title to be produced and distributed from the standard exclusive electronic layout. Finally, for each title that passes through this process, the Trust shall issue tenders for translation into the main European languages, Bahasa Indonesia and Urdu.
C. Multi-Media Educational Materials On Islam Past and Present:
Working with distinguished academic advisers, ORTV, an independent British documentary production company, plans to produce On Islam Past and Present, one word multmedia project consisting of a series of thirteen half-hour videos, interactive website and accompanying print material, exploring the history, philosophy, arts, core beliefs, and rich diversity of Islamic cultures and civilizations, past and present. The materials would be used as an educational tool at university and senior high school levels and as a resource for a general audience seeking a better understanding of Islam and its place in history and today’s world. The project is to provide an accurate, informative and artistic inquiry into the nature of the Islamic faith and the expressions of the faithful and to encourage authentic discourse over rhetoric and misconception. ORTV plans to partner with American University’s Centre for Global Peace, Keybridge Films, AMIDEAST, and Open University Worldwide, in addition to individual web and documentary producers.
Project Feedback Process
Following the presentation of the new projects during the C-100 deliberations at the Annual Meeting 2005,have been recieved feedback forms the assembled participants, with all projects receiving overwhelming support. Constructive feedback and requests by participants to be directly involved in some projects were also collected and are being forwarded to the organizations that submitted the proposals. The C-100 Secretariat is now seeking funds for these projects and connecting organizations to prospective donors as opportunities arise.
As a model for the future, the process of inviting project proposals, gathering feedback from C-100 participants, and then making final decisions within the C-100 Core Group seems efficient and productive. At the same time, the C-100 Secretariat will not have the capacity to advance the volume of projects that will accumulate if ten or more new projects are accepted at every C-100 meeting. Therefore, in the future, a system will be instituted system for C-100 participants and the Core Group to give priority to projects rather than simply vote “for” or “against” them.
The C-100 pursues its objectives through two tracks.
Track one: Discourse - sustaining in-depth dialogue
The C-100 facilitates dialogue between its members at its Annual Meetings. These discussions help bond C-100 members into a community and provide the analytical basis upon which they choose projects to pursue together.
Track two: Projects - catalyzing cooperative action
Recognizing that many organizations are engaged in building Islamic-Western cooperation, the C-100 supports existing and new projects that could benefit from exposure to the Forum’s unique network and involve genuine cooperation between those institutions based in the West and those in Muslim countries.
The C-100 has identified four strategic themes along which it seeks to support Islamic-Western cooperation:
• Amplifying Thoughtful Voices
• Demonstrating Cooperation Through Pop and High Culture
• Connecting Key Communities
• Facilitating Cooperation on Major Issues of Shared Concern