Overheard at WEF annual meeting in Davos

Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Speaking at WEF's Public Session on "Belt and Road Impact" in Davos on 24th January, 2018.

DAVOS: After days of heavy snowfall, the World Economic Forum opened for a full day of business in the ritzy ski resort of Davos.

Here is a taste of some crunchy quotes from the global gathering so far:

‘Positive, constructive energy’

“My hope is that we can collectively demonstrate that even without testosterone, we can actually produce a positive, constructive energy to deliver solutions. That’s my goal.” — International Monetary Fund (IMF) chief Christine Lagarde, who co-heads this year’s conference with six other women.

The WEF continues to struggle to get much above 20 percent of female participants.

‘Very aggressive’

“Who knows what he’s going to say. He could be deeply charming. He could be very aggressive, and I suspect aggressively because that’s why he’s coming here.” — Richard Edelman, CEO of major PR firm Edelman, speaking as anticipation grows for the visit by Donald Trump on Thursday.

Don’t ‘bet against the US economy

“I’ve learned over time not to bet against the US economy. It’s not a winning strategy.” — Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, cautioning against pessimism, even amid doubts over the policies of the Trump administration.

‘Such a global appeal’

“No other event has quite such a global appeal,” — Andy Christie, director for executive jets at Air Charter Service, a private plane firm, who said last year’s conference logged more than 1,000 private jet flights over the event’s five days.

Uber rating not ‘for if you are a serial killer’

“We do have to be careful about representing a rating (of an Uber driver) for what it is. It is a rating for how you drove, it’s not a rating for if you are a serial killer or not.” — Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, telling a panel that his company can hardly be expected to anticipate all the unexpected dangers that come with shared riding.

‘Favourite part of a book is the smell’

“My favourite part of a book is the smell of it. There’s something about it. It defines who you are. I hate (technology), social media, all of it. It does nothing for me at all.” — Los Angeles-based artist Mike Stilkey, one of 40 ‘cultural leaders’ invited by the WEF, going against the hi-tech grain that dominates the conference. Exhibited at the main conference centre, his eight-metre-tall installation is painted on the spine of 8,000 disused books.

Won’t ‘accept my feet to be uprooted’

“I want that the winds of cultures of all countries to enter my house with aplomb and go out also. However, I will not accept my feet to be uprooted by these winds.” — Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the forum’s opening day headliner, channelling his country’s founding father, Mohandas Gandhi.


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