How was it for you?
- 27 Jan 07, 09:50 AM
I blogged earlier this week about some NGOs feeling left out of some of the big discussions here. Since then others have approached me to say the same thing - "It's returned to a corporate conversation" they claim. One academic, who has moderated and spoken on a number of panels, said he felt he was there solely for the benefit of the corporate delegates rather than for his own benefit.
Certainly this is the most blogged Forum ever - wildly so at times - and the organisers are hoping that will have brought diversity to the conversation. But another academic complained that even the blogging was corporate.
Others, however, say it was ever thus. "Every year people say it's not like it was - and what do people expect? In the end it's the big corporations that pay and make the event possible."
As Gordon Brown said yesterday, the challenge for politicians today is to have an inclusive discussion about the big issues facing the world - no more smoke filled rooms. The WEF, since the sometimes violent protests of the 1990s, has struggled to find the right way to do so while preserving a secure environment for decision makers and leaders. However a degree of scepticism about the conference is inevitable - and it's true that the real discussions here still happen off stage and out of sight.
For my part, the opportunity to bring the debate and views of the world's decision makers to our weekly audience of 200 million people around the world makes it a unique and valuable occasion. Coupled with that, I am able to have discussions with potential editorial partners and sponsors for our commercial services that would otherwise take months to hold. And I leave better informed than when I arrived and, yes I admit it, even inspired by some of what I've heard - particularly from the social entrepreneurs working on practical solutions to the world's problems.
The real test of it, of course, is not what people say in the rarified alpine air - but what they go back and do afterwards.
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