I came to Davos meeting again this year. Surprisingly, I have been participating in this meeting for nine consecutive years. This year, I have been asked to join three panels – very busy.
Center of topics is of course the collapse of the financial market and serious depression of the economy. The first day’s highlight was the Opening Plenary by Putin of Russia. Seats were full by 30 minutes before it started. His message was aggressive from the beginning to the end. Putin must have given people impression that working with him would be tough. His strong attitude continued through even to the questions and answers session. Check it on the web site.
Prior to Putin’s Plenary was a lecture by Premier Wen Jiabao of China. Lectures were great, but also they handled questions and answers with wits and tacts. It is an important factor in occasions like this.
At the 2nd day breakfast meeting I was invited to, former President Clinton showed up and gave a speech for about 10 minutes. I happened to be seated at a table beside him, so he shook my hands – to my delight.
Plenary of the morning ended with Tony Blair, Ms. Nooyi of Pepsi (who graduated from IIT, a prestigious University in India. ref 1, 2 ), President Simon Perez of Israel, etc. Very impressive.
Photo4: Mr. Blair (to his left is Ms. Nooyi)
I spent four hours of that afternoon with the board members of chemical industries, attending as Advisors with people like Dr. David King, Science Advisor to Prime Minister of England until 2007. Other attendants from Japan were Mr. Yonekura, President of Sumitomo Chemical, and Mr. Kobayashi, President of Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation.
Photo6: From right, President Anzai of Keio U., Professor Ito of U. of Tokyo, Professor Mori of Harvard, Dr. Mahbubani, Dean of National University of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy and his wife, President Dr. Simmons of Brown U., and myself.
The evening event was "Japan Night" hosted by U. of Tokyo and Keio U., same as last year. I had an opportunity to see two female presidents, as President Allison Richard of Cambridge U. and President Ruth Simmons of Brown U.. I am wondering whether it is time for me to be excused from Davos. I would like to see more new people, young leaders participating from Japan also.