Professor Klaus Schwab
2002 Prize awarded to Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and President of the World Economic Forum
Wednesday, September 18, 2002 at 2:30 pm, Swiss Press Club, Geneva
The ceremony took place on September 18, 2002 at La Pastorale. More than 600 guests flocked to the tent set up at La Pastorale to applaud this distinguished personality.
In his capacity as outgoing President of the Fondation pour Genève and current President of the Fondation Genève Place financière, Ivan Pictet began his laudatio with the same humanistic words that characterize Klaus Schwab’s personality: “I am sure that you want another world. But you don’t want it like the classical revolutionaries, because you have taken the measure of the tragic failure of modern revolutions. With the exception of the American Revolution, these revolutions have, in fact, all ignored the most elementary laws of a modern economy (…). These failures of modern revolutions have not led you to resignation. You have kept faith in a transformation of the world, but a transformation that takes into account the requirements of the production of goods and services. Hence the Davos Forum, created in 1971, a formidable initiative that recognizes the legitimacy of the desire to change the world but turns the tables on how to respond to this desire. Indeed, instead of imposing a revolutionary order on the economy, you have considered that it is within the economic world itself that change must be formulated.
Continuing in the same vein, André Hédiger, Mayor of the City of Geneva, and Micheline Calmy-Rey, President of the State Council of the Republic and Canton of Geneva, underlined in their speeches the privilege for Geneva to host the WEF headquarters and recognized its important contribution to the dynamism and reputation of our city in the world. With its 170 employees of thirty different nationalities, its vision of a world where economic growth and social and ecological development go hand in hand, its tireless dynamism, who better than Professor Klaus Schwab and his World Economic Forum to embody the Spirit of Geneva.
Micheline Calmy-Rey is full of praise for this man of conviction and does not fail to recall some of the milestones in his remarkable career: “You created your Foundation – the European Manager Forum – in 1971, when you were a young professor of business management. Fribourg, Zurich and then Harvard were the stages of your training. Geneva welcomed you later and you became a professor at its University at the age of 34. You understood, before your time, the changes in a society in which interdependence would play an increasing role. You want to work with business leaders to develop a coherent strategy to meet the challenges of the international market. The Foundation becomes the catalyst for the world’s largest business network, the first of its kind. As a subtle analyst and inspired strategist, you add the political dimension to your construction following the oil crisis.
In 1987, the Foundation became the World Economic Forum, a name that better reflects the reality of its influence: it is a renowned forum for the circulation of ideas, experiences and skills, an effervescent laboratory at the heart of global change. (…) I am pleased to congratulate the winner most warmly and to salute, on behalf of the Geneva State Council, President Klaus Schwab and his tireless efforts in the service of intelligence and of a demanding, free and fruitful debate for the future of our communities.
In front of an impressive audience of personalities of the international and local Geneva, Klaus Schwab, moved, responded to the honor given to him with an eloquent demonstration of his socio-economic credo and his faith in the WEF’s approach.
African music and exotic buffets allowed everyone to make extremely diverse contacts. A convivial and warm evening such as the Foundation for Geneva likes to organize and which allowed its new President, Guillaume Pictet, to take up the torch to continue an essential, recognized and appreciated task.