DAVOS: A new organization to develop leadership expertise has been launched under the guidance of Arab businessman Khalid Abdulla Jahani on the eve of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.
The Maryam Forum was inaugurated at an event in the Swiss Alpine town with the view to “accelerating the kind of leadership the world needs urgently.” It is the product of a partnership between Jahani, former vice-chairman of the WEF’s Arab Business Council, and the London School of Economics’ Institute of Global Affairs.
Prominent advisers to the new organization include Eric Berglof, economic professor at the LSE, and Kishore Mahbubani, the outspoken former dean of the LKY School of Public Policy in Singapore. Also present at the event was Lindiwe Mazibuko, former leader of the opposition in the South African Parliament.
The Maryam Forum will conduct public policy research, with a fellowship program, online leadership courses and private working groups. There will be an annual global event staged in London each December.
Jahani told Arab News: “There is an obvious lack of effective leadership all round the world, and not just in politics or international affairs. You see it also in governments, in business, and even in the home.”
The name Maryam was chosen because of its connotations of inclusiveness across several of the world’s leading religious faiths, he explained.
The Maryam Forum said: “The world faces multiple, urgent and complex challenges on an unprecedented scale. From climate change and oceans to global growth, financial architecture, human mobility and disinformation, courageous leadership is needed to navigate our future.
“For transformative leadership to emerge, we need stronger links between research and policy along with an ecosystem that encourages meritocracy, accountability and inclusion,” the Forum added.
Mahbubani said the world was on the cusp of discarding 200 years of “artificial” leadership by the economic power of Europe and North America. “Western leaders have to adapt to a new global environment. Then rest of the world does not want revenge — it wants to be partners with the West.”
In the course of 2020, Maryam Forum will develop a community of 50 founding individuals who will provide their input to the annual December meeting. Media partners to the December event include the New York Times and Caixin Media of China.