Davos 2017: responsive and responsible leadership

Ngaire Woods at WEF 2016

This week sees 3,000 people – including world leaders such as UK’s Prime Minister Theresa May, Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, the new UN Secretary-General António Guterres, as well as 70 government delegations – gather for the 47th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in the small town in the Swiss Mountains.

After a turbulent 2016 which saw the UK vote to leave the European Union, the United States elect Donald Trump as its new president, and a clear rise in populism, this year’s theme is “Responsive and responsible leadership”: how can leaders respond to the growing frustration and lack of trust of those people left behind by globalisation?

The meeting will focus on four key leadership challenges for 2017: strengthening global collaboration, revitalising economic growth, reforming capitalism and preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Our dean, Professor Ngaire Woods, will be attending, moderating and speaking at a number of discussions, including one panel discussion featuring Leonardo Quattrucci, one of our MPP alumni. Check the list below to see topics and timings of the debates. The sessions with a link will be livestreamed and recorded - follow the link to see the livestreaming/recording.

Preparing for the Fourth Industrial RevolutionTuesday 17 January 17:00 GMT

What is needed from the public and private sectors to ensure that the Fourth Industrial Revolution benefits all of humanity? 

Is the Transatlantic Alliance at a Tipping Point? Wednesday 18 January 13:45 GMT

The bonds of trust and common values across the Atlantic are under question. Can the Transatlantic Alliance survive? Professor Woods will be moderating.

New Models for Europe Wednesday 18 January 17:30 GMT

The UK’s decision to leave the EU, prolonged economic crisis and rising anti-immigrant sentiment are challenging the traditional model of European integration. What alternative models to regional integration could mark the beginning of a new Europe? Leonardo Quattrucci (MPP Class of 2013) also in the panel.

Sberbank Business Breakfast Thursday 19 January 16 TBC

Sberbank will conduct a business breakfast at the forum “Riding the wave: Leadership in the age of technological revolution”. How to maintain empathy and employee engagement amid the 9th Wave of Tech? How must the role of leadership change on the level of companies, governments and communities? The change lurking over the 5-10 year horizon is the subject of the discussion. Professor Woods is will speak at the business breakfast.

The Digital Government –  Thursday 19 January TBC

From big data to crowdsourced expertise, technology promises better and more transparent governance. Against a backdrop of bot-driven politics, how can governments use agile tools to reconnect to those with whom they have lost connection? Professor Woods will be moderating.

Britain and the EU: The Way Forward Friday 20 January 8:15 GMT

What is the new vision for the United Kingdom and Europe after the UK leaves the European Union? The EU-UK relationship, growth and investment strategies, managing immigration. Speakers include Philip Hammond, UK Chancellor of the Exchequer. A session developed in partnership with the Wall Street Journal.


Anandi Mani, Professor of Behavioural Science and Public Policy at the School, also led a seminar at Davos' IdeasLab.

Decoding how poverty affects cognitive resources for decision-making 

Is it making bad choices that explains why poor people are poor, or is there something about being poor that makes people more likely to make bad choices? Anandi Mani, Professor of Behavioural Economics and Public Policy at the University of Oxford, presents research suggesting that being preoccupied by low or erratic income reduces people’s mental functioning, and draws lessons for public policy in response.


Above: Professor Ngaire Woods moderating a panel at the 2015 World Economic Forum. Image: World Economic Forum/swiss-image.ch/Photo Michael Buholzer