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Davos, Switzerland, 24 January 2020

The Misk Global Forum concluded its week of activations at Davos bringing the voices of young people to the World Economic Forum, with an inspirational discussion of new youth- led technologies transforming the world. 

In a conversation with Henri Arslanian, Global Crypto Leader at PWC, Juan Jose Pocaterra of Vikua highlighted the ways his company was using digitisation to provide public services to smaller, less-developed cities around the world, emphasising that, “technology in the places it’s most needed becomes an enabler for improving quality of life.” On the same panel, Chris Sheldrick CEO of what3words highlighted the ways his ground-breaking global mapping company is also improving lives by improving access to accurate transport, logistics and healthcare. “Let’s start where the need is greatest, then people will jump on,” Sheldrick said, adding, “let’s not get it hyped, let’s get it used.” 

That philosophy, getting things used and achieving real impact, united Misk’s various activations at Davos. Every morning a panel discussion featuring emerging and established entrepreneurs and thought-leaders highlighted the ways they are transforming their sectors before a diverse audience of drop-in guests – from WEF delegates to students of Davos’ schools. These sessions covered the skills young people need to lead, the ways business can balance profit with positive impact, and how people can care beyond borders in our shared world. The Pavilion also gave visitors insights into Misk’s various initiatives – from the 100,000 startups from over 180 countries brought together and accelerated through the Entrepreneurship World Cup, to the #ItStartsWithUs campaign’s online drive to engage and activate young people to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Shaima Hamidaddin, Executive Manager at the Misk Global Forum, said: “Our mission was to bring the voice of young people to Davos and I’m proud to say I think we achieved that. Across our panels and activations, we’ve seen young leaders and entrepreneurs show how they’re driving change and in doing so changed some minds. But as well as the voices we brought to Davos, we’ve also been inspired by the new voices that came to us through the Misk pavilion, young people eager to find a home for their ideas or established leaders eager for some insight into where the future might go.” 

Misk also hosted a dinner at the intercontinental, which once again brought the voices of young leaders from the Misk community, the WEF’s global shapers, and Entrepreneurship World Cup finalists, together with political, business, and cultural leaders. Youth-led discussions at every table, over food prepared by Saudi chef Najla Al Otaibi, saw guests discuss ways to up-skill young people, encourage global citizenship, and facilitate entrepreneurship. Across these discussions, emphasis returned repeatedly to the importance of education, of listening to young people, and value-driven approaches in business, insights that will be incorporated into Misk’s initiatives-planning for 2020 and beyond. 

Misk also supported the Saudi Café at Davos alongside Visit Saudi, bringing the flavours of the Arabian peninsula to the Swiss alps. Over the course of the week, over 2,000 visitors sampled Saudi delicacies like Shaatha Cake and Karak tea, again prepared by Najla Al Otaibi, while viewing images of the cultural and historic highlights of the Kingdom. The Misk Global Forum will continue its mission to empower young people throughout 2020 with a number of exciting and impactful initiatives, including the 2 nd phase of the Entrepreneurship World Cup, its hosting of the Y20 within Saudi Arabia’s broader G20 role, and the expansion of the #ItStartsWithUs campaign to empower young people to engage with the Sustainable Development Goals.