Good afternoon. Welcome to the Foreign Press Center. Thank you all for coming.
Today we are very pleased to welcome Mr. Attias, Producer of the World Economic Forum, who will be briefing you on the launch of the New York Forum. The first annual New York Forum will bring together hundreds of international business leaders, entrepreneurs, sovereign fund managers, regulatory officials and academics for a series of results-oriented discussions, debates, and dialogues.
He will talk to you a little bit more about the Forum’s distinguished advisory board which includes Nobel Prize winning economists and numerous other notable business leaders.
Without further ado. I would like to welcome Mr. Attias. Thank you very much.Mr. Attias:
Thank you Elia. Thank you
Good afternoon, and thank you for being here. Allow me perhaps a few minutes or a few seconds to introduce myself. Usually I am behind the scene, in the business since more than 25 years. I lived in ten different countries and probably worked in more than 50 countries. When I am known, I am known as the guy who was behind the production of the World Economic Forum for 13 years. I cofounded the Global Clinton Initiative which I think is an event that you know well in New York. And I created also another event which is close to my heart, which is the Nobel Laureates Conference that we have created with my very dear friend, Elie Wiesel, the Peace Nobel Prize. And also when I am in Europe people are asking me a lot what do I think about the euro, because I did the launch of the euro a few years ago in Paris. So it’s interesting to see how things evaluate.
So I was I would say for the past 20 years part of this business community, and I was dealing with top executives all over the world. Always focusing on events with real content, a real message to deliver.
The first time I moved to New York in fact it was just after September 11 when I moved Davos to New York, in January 2002, and I have to say that I was totally fascinated by the DNA of New York which is being, living in New York, not only an amazing city, but the resiliency of New York, the energy of New York, the capacity of rebound of New York, impressed me a lot. From the taxi driver to top executives. I was really really impressed by the fact that “united we stand” was not just a motto, but it was the reality.
So I told to myself already seven years ago, one day I should do something in New York. The time is coming. I will like now to introduce to you my new project, my new baby, which is the New York Forum.
In fact the idea started a year ago, more than a year ago when we were living in Dubai for quite, I would say more or less a year. When the financial crisis started by the way from New York, I was quite sure that this would not be just a financial crisis, that it would be probably followed by an economic crisis. And when I was seeing every day workers from Pakistan, from India, from Philippines, losing their jobs, being obliged to leave the country, and not exactly knowing what to say to their families. How can you tell to your family oh, I lost my job because of the subprime crisis and you don’t even know what subprime means, you know?
I thought that we should do something which is first to try to find solutions because each time I was watching the TV, the debates and the discussions were more about how long do you think this crisis will be? One year, two years, three years? Instead of what do you think we should do to restart the process of creating jobs or to anticipate the growth in a very low growth environment, or these important topics.
So when I moved back to New York with my family more or less 18 months ago, I thought that it would be the time to create a new platform by putting together around the table the real decision-makers, the executives from different corporations, the people who with my broken English I always say, the people who really run the show. And not having just the political leaders who are quite important in the process who helped many corporations to be still alive, but definitely the business leaders--we were not really hearing their voices.
So I thought that it would be the time to put them around the table, and to put them around the table with who? With the other stakeholders who have a great role in the global economy.
Sovereign fund leaders, because these are today the institutions who have cash and who are continuing to invest. And some academics. Some Nobel Prize in Economics, who definitely can come with their expertise.
So the New York Forum is a call for action. If I have to summarize in three words, it’s a call for action. And if I have even to rebrand it, because we launched the New York Forum only five months ago, I would call it the New York Summit, because the ambition is the ambition of a summit, is to put together 300 or 400 people. Not more, because I know based on my experience when you are thousands of people you don’t really deliver a road map, you don’t really deliver an action plan. And to come with, thanks to brainstorming, thanks to what I call task forces. So even the format will be quite unique. We’ll have only a very few plenaries, three plenaries, just to remind the debate and the purpose of the discussions. And then we are asking the CEOs, the top executives, and the other attendees to go to different task forces which will be sessions two hours minimum, moderated by a great consulting strategic firm, Boston Consulting Group, with the senior partners coming from all over the world, to help the discussion and to come with at least, if it’s not miracle solutions, with solutions.
The ambition is not to leave the room without a road map on the major issues that the global economy is facing today. What should we do to restart the process of job creation? What should we do about the regulation? What should we do about also delivering more transparency to restart the process of confidence, of trust, because I think that the public opinion has totally lost trust and confidence on even the business community.
For years when I was in Europe, also I don’t know if it was the case in the United States, but we had the feeling that the European political leaders were losing credibility. So now I think it is the turn of the business leaders, because we don’t really hear their voice.
So the New York Forum has the ambition to give a new opportunity to the business leaders to commit and to express themselves and after two days of brainstorming discussions we want to have a white paper, a white book, with a series of proposals, of suggestions, which will be presented to you, the media, because the commitment I made on day one is that forum will be 100 percent transparent, 100 percent open to the media. And if it’s not physically because we cannot host thousands of journalists in the Grand Hyatt Hotel on June 22nd
, at least it will be through the web and through also different, I would say, press releases and publications. And three days after, this is why we made the decision also to host the New York Forum on June 22nd
, we will send the proposals, the recommendations, to the G20 which is meeting in Canada, and I think it’s important to also reestablish a very good dialogue between the public and the private sectors because today it’s so obvious that they cannot go ahead without the other.
So everybody was very happy to see governments helping the financial sectors and even the automotive industries and other industries where they were in trouble. So today I think it’s important to keep the dialogue and also not to ignore what could be a win/win, I would say, position.
So this is what the New York Forum is about. And because we are talking about reinventing the business models, because I think that one of the solutions is also in different industries to reinvent the business models. I think we are definitely at the end of a cycle and we cannot, just a small anecdote.
A few days ago I was attending the discussion with Carlos Goshn, the CEO of Renault-Nissan. He gave some very basic facts and figures. Today, every day on the planet, we have 600,000 cars on the roads. When China will go to the same ratio of cars per habitant that we have even in Europe which is probably two-thirds of what we have in the United States, we will have two billion cars every day on the roads on the planet. So it’s so obvious that this is not even negotiable. We need to reinvent the automotive industry by integrating new technologies, et cetera, et cetera.
So definitely I hope that the New York Forum, which has the ambition to be every year in New York, because also I think part of the problem started in New York so it’s important to bring the people in New York. Everybody is looking east, east, east, as the new El Dorado. I think we could not ignore the United States and we could not ignore New York. As a non-American I can say that the past decade, if you look at the most important innovation from Google to Facebook to iPad or to the most advanced drugs -- the legal drugs, of course -- fighting against some disease, were born, were created in the United States.
So even if today the iPad was invented just on the market a few weeks ago, and I saw in the media two days ago that a new iPed now was created in China for $150, I think it’s important to have discussions in New York and also my last point will be that we made the decision also to reinvent our own industry. This is why the New York Forum will be the first ever, 100 percent paperless forum, so each participant will have an iPad and on the iPad will be available all the information from the program to the bio of the participants, including the fact that this will be the best way to maintain the follow-up and to have the summaries of all the discussions which will happen during the forum, and helping the community to stay alive after the New York Forum.
So we have of course started with that initiative with great partners. So the day I had the idea to say okay, we need definitely to put around the table great partners -- media partners, strategic partners who are helping us to build the program. So we started with the New York Times. The New York Times because also as a citizen of the world I was always impressed by this amazing brand, three million readers every day, worldwide known. We went also to present our concept to Partnership for New York City, which is a great institution representing a lot of great corporations who are one of our strategic partners. I mentioned the Boston Consulting Group but also Nobel Prize Edmond Phelps, 2006, Economics, who helped us a lot to build the program with his think tank which is a Center for Capitalism and Society from Columbia Business School. These are, I would say, the key partners including a great economist in Europe, Jacques Attali, who was a former advisor of President Mitterrand and advisor to President Sarkozy on how can we restart, I would say, growth in Europe. So these are, I would say, the first partners from day one when we started the New York Forum.
The last point also is that three days after we will present our conclusions to the Prime Minister and the Minister of Economy and Finance of Canada who are hosting the G20.
I am at your disposal for any questions you should have because I don’t want to take too much of your time.Moderator:
We will now open it up to Q&A. I would just please ask that you please state your name and your media organization when asking your question
Media: Yeah, Hello, Virginie Robert, Les Echos. Is this a one time shot, or do you plan to do it regularly? Mr. Attias:
The ambition is to have a yearly meeting, [yearly] and always starting to have it before the G20 to keep the connection with the G20. So we have already a delegation coming from Korea who have registered because the next G20, as you know, will be in Seoul, so we are already established connections with the G20 team in Korea and the G20 team in France.Media:
And one last question, how many people are you expecting, and who do you want in the audience?Mr. Attias:
For the first, I would say the first edition we are expecting 300 to 350 people. We don’t want to be more than that number every year. Because when you have task forces with more than 50 people it will not be efficient. So we want to keep, I would say, the size of a group who can definitely work together, because each participant will be an active participant.
We have, of course, some people that we call speakers because they have to deliver a speech about okay, what is the future of capitalism, for example. But definitely this is only 20 percent of the program. All the other discussion we are giving a real role to the audience, and the audience, to answer your question, are I would say the C-Suites of corporations, but not only the old guard and the big corporations. We are inviting a lot of young entrepreneurs, people who think out of the box. And not only young entrepreneurs from the Silicon Valley, but also young entrepreneurs coming from different industries and some academic experts, sovereign fund leaders, and very very few political leaders who have a real influence in the economy.Media:
Caroline Talbot, Stratégie.
Why New York when you already at Davos?Mr. Attias:
First of all, New York, your question is about the location or are you comparing the two events?Media:
Ah, comparing. Ok. As I said, Davos is a great forum, but it’s a global forum. As you know when you look at the program of Davos you have 320 sessions, from climate change to religious issues, to, I would say, and this is always about brainstorming discussions about global issues. The New York Forum, I think, and this is the ambition, will be the first real forum with a mission to be solution oriented and to be publishing after the forum a road map with actions, solutions, which will be presented to, as I say, the media, the public opinion, and the political leaders. This is the first question.
The second question, why New York? For a different reason. First, I didn’t want to oblige the participants to take their jets to go to a resort for two or three days. I think we should also build something which is sustainably correct, I would say. I think time has changed and we need to show also the new direction.
Second, New York, as I told you, because after September 11 I really discovered the DNA of New York. And all of you who are, I assume, foreigners like I am, knows how New York is magic and how New York is multicultural, and how it’s not a big deal for a potential participant to come to New York to attend a conference because they have always something to do, so they are planning around the conference different meetings as part of the agenda to be in New York.
And third, as I said, unfortunately two years and a half ago the problem started in New York. I think it’s important to go in the place where really the problem started because this is also where you can find the solutions.Media:
Sylviane Zehil, L’Orient le Jour
How much are you confident -- First of all, you came here after 9/11. Were you there when the Economic Forum took place here in New York?Mr. Attias:
I produced it. Media:
Here in February 2002Mr. Attias:
In At the Waldorf Astoria, in January 2002. So I spent four months, 24x7 at the Waldorf Astoria to produce the event, yes.Media:
Yes, I was there too.
I was wondering also how much confident are you that you will achieve this road map? How much confident? Because your ambitions, you have an ambitious agenda.Mr. Attias:
I am quite confident because I see -- You know, I knew that I was putting myself in a corner by making a decision to organize a forum in less than four months. Especially when you know the very busy agenda and schedule of all the top CEOs. But I’m quite, I was confident because I knew that this is a call for action and the people have to take I think 36 hours from their busy schedule to try not to fix a problem, but at least to discuss about what is I think one of the most important issues today which is to save the economy. We all want to save the planet, we all want to have a green planet, we all want to have a great education system, we all want to talk about social issues, about the woman conditions, which are very important issues. But I think these are mid and long term issues. But the economy is a very short term. When you see people losing jobs, when you see really all over the world. We are quite privileged in New York, to be honest, when we live in New York every day. When you go in Africa, when you go even in Europe.
You know, I was, I remember in January I was saying to my colleagues, this crisis will bring some people who will die. I was not thinking, I was thinking about corporations which will disappear or jobs which will disappear. I was never, never thinking that people would really die like in Greece when you had demonstrators dying after the new measures and what happened in Athens.
So today, back to your question, I am quite confident because I see a very strong response, especially the last few weeks, of people registering. We are now on the trend of 20 to 25 registrations per day, since 10 days. So I am quite confident because the level of these people coming from all over the world -- we have people coming from New Zealand, from Australia, from of course Latin America, from Europe, and from the Middle East. Absolutely. We have people from Saudi Arabia. Today we had four registrations from Saudi Arabia. People coming from Jordan, people coming from Dubai, because they want to be part of the discussion.Media:
From Lebanon, I think we have two or three names. Yes, we have two or three names. We invited, you know, Mr.Hariri, absolutely, because we know that he is not just a political leader, he is also a business leader. But unfortunately his agenda didn’t allow him to join, but I’m quite optimistic for the future that we are now starting to create the community and because we have smart people around the table, very committed, from really expert academics to CEOs and even sovereign funds who are all together, I’m sure that something will come from that forum. Definitely.Media:
Eric Chalmet, La Tribune.
What kind of specific action would you like the foreign participants to discuss?Mr. Attias:
You know, in fact we are proposing a program and an agenda. The task forces will be about, you know, regulation, about risk, about talents, which jobs should we create to be ready for the next generation of corporations, of business models. So we are helping at least the discussion by suggesting some thematics.
But to answer your question, I hope that the participants will come with ideas and solutions to definitely restart the process of innovation, of optimism. We have even sent two days ago to all our participants, speakers, a request which is sorry to ask you that, but you should come with some homework. So think already about what could be the idea in these different areas that you want to see developed, discussed, because I’m sure that everyone has his own ideas about what could be done on different topics, or even on different industries. If I take your industry, the media industry, which is having its own revolution for now two or three years at least, when you see what the impact of technology is, definitely I’m sure that you have an idea even if you are not the publisher or if you’re not the chief editor, et cetera, so each one has his own idea about what could be done, what could be at least tried, what could be improved.
So this is what we are expecting. I expect that these people will come with ideas. We will discuss these ideas. And then when we come to a consensus at the end of the two hours per session, we will summarize these discussions and we will try to be very concrete and very pragmatic to be able to summarize these ideas and to put them, as I said, in a white paper, in a white book.Media:
Sylvain Cypel, Le Monde.
Can you just tell me who are “we”? Who is “we”? Who decides to invite this person, not to invite this person? Who are you?Mr. Attias:
First of all, the “we” is the team who started the initiative. I started the initiative alone with my company and my team. As I said. Then I built the committee with an advisory board. We have 12 or 13 members in the advisory board who are part of the “we”. And by cooptation we are inviting CEOs. We sent an invitation to I would say the 1,000, 2,000 most important corporations in the world representing all industries, plus 500 medium, small sized companies in different industries. And in some continents where unfortunately are not available database like Africa, which is quite difficult continent, I tried to deliver interviews or to contact some I would say institutions, some chambers of commerce and sought to have access to the business community. So this is how we sent the invitation first.
And then thanks to our partners, the strategic partners, BCG, Boston Consulting Group, Partnership for New York City, and some universities, by cooptation or so we have tried to put around the table some experts, some academics, who are definitely very concerned also by what is happening today in the global economy.
About the third category which are the sovereign fund, it is very easy. You have today more or less 25 sovereign funds existing, so we invited them, all of them. It was quite easy. And we get some seven, eight responses as of today from sovereign fund leaders who made themselves available to join.Media:
If I go on the internet and I --Mr. Attias:
If you go on internet --Media:
-- I will find the name of the 12 or 13 people of the board, or --Mr. Attias:
Absolutely. You do NY.Forum.com, sorry, and you will see all the advisory board members, the partners, and you will have also the day you will join us, the list of the participants. Because one thing that I always, this is for me like an ethical attitude, I always refuse to promote a forum to attract people by just making public the names of all the participants, et cetera. We will probably make public the speakers in a few days just to show that the call for action is something important. That’s it.Media:
Alf Ask Aftenposten, Oslo. If you ask business leaders what will create jobs, isn’t that sort of obvious? They will always say cut taxes and red tape. Bureaucracy, regulations.Mr. Attias:
You know, about creating jobs, you’re absolutely right. As an entrepreneur if in some countries where I have some entities because the company is represented, we have offices in New York, in Paris, in Dubai, in Saudi Arabia, and so definitely the question I have every day is I need more staff in Paris but I am not in a position to recruit and to create jobs because the social tax are 60 percent. I am recruiting more people in Dubai and more people in United States than in Europe. So definitely in Europe part of the solution, but this is a huge debate for years about creating jobs, is by reducing taxes. And this discussion has really to happen.
I know that some political leaders made some commitments about reducing taxes, but it didn’t happen because each time you wanted to do reforms in some countries, it’s the beginning of a revolution. But now I think we are all against the walls. And, you know, I don’t think that we will come with magical ideas. I think all the ideas are in the air.
The problem is to for two days focus on issues and to really have commitment from the business community saying okay, if we do A, B, C, D, this is what us as at least commitment we will do, because who will create jobs? It’s not just governments who will create jobs. The corporations have to make a decision to create jobs. But if they have some requests, at least let’s put the requests on the table and be very practical and what will be the answer?
The same for regulation. The regulation I don’t think could be imposed by the governments because already today, and you know that better than me, some people from corporations are already hiring lawyers to see if the regulation is what we think, how can we navigate around. Then at the end of the day nothing is solved. So we want to have this discussion happening and to have a real dialogue between the communities because this dialogue is not happening at all. And this is one of the ambitions of the New York Forum, is really to have the beginning of a real dialogue.Media:
Christine Mattauch from [inaudible].
I asked myself, I don’t quite understand what is the relationship between the World Economic Forum and the New York Forum? Is this an official event of the Economic Forum? And will Mr. Schwab attend?Mr. Attias:
It’s a very good question. No. In fact everybody is asking me questions about the World Economic Forum because for 13 years I was the producer of the World Economic Forum meetings. Davos, annual meeting, plus the ten regional meetings of the World Economic Forum every year, a different part of the world.
But in 2008 I sold my company, which was in charge of the production of these forums. So I have nothing to do any more with the World Economic Forum, but everybody is always making a link between the World Economic Forum and myself. But the New York Forum has nothing to do with the World Economic Forum, and I didn’t invite Professor Schwab to attend.Media:
Alexey Osipov, Novosty Nedeli. Kind of a pessimistic question.
Nobody even the New York Economic Forum, can make now night, for example, the winter. I mean now, at the present time. So maybe the baby, the problem of the financial crisis that’s already two and a half years old, is forever, and no one needs a forum, no one needs brainstorms and recommendations to the governments. Maybe it’s forever.Mr. Attias:
What is forever?Media:
The crisis.Mr. Attias:
The crisis is forever? You are very pessimistic. [Laughter]. No. I think the financial crisis, this is my personal, I think the financial crisis is quite over. But the economic crisis, we are really now in the middle of an economic crisis. So the real question is what do we do to face the main challenges and the main issues that the global economy is facing today? Because definitely it’s not just by looking at all these financial institutions that you will solve the problem. The problem is more deep. We are now in the planet where in the next years we will have more than in the next decade five more billions more people coming. Africa is a continent with one billion, very soon two billion people. The Middle East is more than growing. Latin America, you know, et cetera. So we cannot say okay, the financial crisis is forever. The real problem is not the financial crisis. The real problem is how do we in this global environment change our ways, change the way we were acting every day to have a sustainable economy. I think this is really important.
Today after what happened in Greece, suddenly all the governments in Europe wake up and say oh, now we have to reduce our costs. But this is a discussion which is happening for years. For years each political leader was committed to reduce the cost of the administration. Now it’s a non-choice, but see how everybody is reacting when we have to cut.
So we have definitely I think now to be all very realistic and to see what we could do. But, you know, I’m quite optimistic on the fact that we should also look behind us.
When I was in Dubai, and when Dubai a year ago announced that they were not able to pay their loans and their mortgage, everybody thought that oh, Dubai is over. Dubai is dead. Dubai will disappear from the map. And when you know really, when you live in Dubai and you see the infrastructures of Dubai -- the hospitals, the airports, et cetera, you know that this could not disappear. So something has to be tuned, something has to be changed. We should stop some even megalomania sometimes. Sorry to say the true. Instead of building five theme parks you should only build perhaps one or even none. But you have definitely to make a real change in your strategy. And this is I think what also the New York Forum will be about, is to adapt the strategy to the need and the reality of the world where we live today.Media:
I’m from Sustainable Development Media, and I’m trying to find my way on how to present this to our readers. Can I start by saying that you came to New York because you realized that the problems actually started out of New York, and your first approach is to do something about the transparency because indeed things started in the financial sector because of lack of transparency. But today the issue is really not a financial crisis but an economic crisis, and here we go into jobs.
In addition to that, you also look at the environment and you find that we cannot continue to live the way how we did. And here we cannot just have two billion cars on the road at the same time. That means we have to now to look what this oil spill in the Gulf has done to us, and how we change to a new world.
Am I correct?Mr. Attias:
I think you did a great summary. Media:
I try to give some logic of coming right here where the problems were created, where we watched people cheating in unbelievable amounts and --Moderator:
Your question?Mr. Attias:
It’s not a question. It’s trying to summarize what we said, correct?Media:
My question is really, if you agree that this is the reason for the meeting. And from now on, having a meeting like this every year right here.Mr. Attias:
I think what you said is absolutely right. I would just complete with two things. First, the New York Forum is the first also I think 100 percent, 100 percent dedicated business forum and economy. As I said before, each time a new forum is born or each time, even the existing forums, we have a tendency to put in the program all the issues that the world is facing. Also because it’s, sorry, to be, to say what I really think, it’s because perhaps the media are putting more attention about the green issue, et cetera, et cetera. So people say okay, we should be politically correct, so now we should absolutely have 50 percent of our program talking about climate change and environment, et cetera, et cetera.
No. Definitely I think we need to also talk about the economy and the business, so the forum is 100 percent about economy and business. And then if I have to write the story, it’s part of what you said. I would just add that to achieve that it was important not only to be in New York but to bring to New York, to the place we have chosen, the right people to discuss. And we have great people who respond. We have great CEOs. We have names who are definitely today on the program, so we can, when you have the CEO of UBS joining the CEO of CitiBank joining -- When you have Nobel Prize on Economy like Edmund Phelps joining. When we have the sovereign fund from Kuwait, from Oman, from Dubai joining. I think this is important. And today we just got the confirmation that the French Minister of Economy and Finance, Mrs. Lagarde will come to attend the closing session which for us is very important because it’s important to have the voice of Europe. We know how she fighted a lot to maintain the euro during the Greece crisis, so it will be very interesting to hear her voice and also to have her helping us to make a bridge with the G20 which is happening just three days after the New York Forum, and she will be just after the New York Forum going to Canada.
So definitely I think we are now really in the process of achieving already something. Now the ball will be in the camp of all the participants, and I hope that they will produce something and they will come with something and they will not be shy and they will discuss in total transparency, even if the media are here.Media:
Jean-Yves Dastain, La Lettre de l’Internet
What is the budget of the organized event, and where does the money come from?Mr. Attias:
As I said, I want the forum to be totally transparent, so I will be transparent also with the question even if sometimes we avoid. The cost of an event like this is around $3 million. Because you have, because first you are in New York which is quite expensive city also. And my company’s financing it. We have, of course, some revenue coming from registration fees, people who paid. But we started by accepting to take this financial risk. So as you can see, it’s not a profitable business. This is something which we have decided to do with my team, with my wife. It was a very important decision to make because we really think that we need to do something to help the economy. I was quite lucky for 25 years being all over the place, and each time we have produced great events it was with a mission behind it, from the Nobel Laureates to the Peace Summit in the Arab World, or even to the Global Clinton Initiative. When we canned the concept, I founded the concept great to have the Clinton Foundation to create something about corporate social responsibility.
So now we have made the decision to take the financial risk, and on year one, we even refused to have any sponsor because we want the message to be totally independent. Because as you know better than me, if we had after two weeks or three weeks of launching the forum, sponsors like a great financial institution which I will not designate, and how the message could be totally independent, seen by the media totally independent if you saw that the financial sponsors will be great banks or I don’t know who. So we wanted the first at least event to be totally independent and to see how it will happen. So it’s a startup.Media:
Yes, the ambition is to keep it in New York and to have it, we didn’t yet decide when will be the date for 2011 because this also will be a discussion that we want to have with the participants, because we have to take into consideration that the end of June could be sometimes a good date and sometimes you have a lot of board meetings happening the end of June so we need to adjust the next, the date for the next forum. But definitely it will happen in New York.Media:
Stephanie Fontenoy from La Libre Belgique
So from what I heard, is it your own crusade, or do you think you’re going to make something of it because your firm is a public relations firm? So is it going to help with your business as well, or is it a personal crusade?Mr. Attias:
No, you know, the business, the day to day business continues. We have different events that we continue to produce. Just after the New York Forum I will go to Bahrain to start a process of an education forum that we are doing for the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are working on the World Festival of Black Arts and Culture in Senegal which is happening in December. So we have different projects going on.
The next day after my forum I am producing another event for my wife’s foundation which is Dialogue for Action about women’s issues, so, you know, I don’t have enough time to rest. But this is our core business.
Then we have something totally independent. As I said, it’s like a separate startup which is the New York Forum because we think that there is a need for that platform and this will be a proprietary event, something that we will own, and we will keep, I hope, for a long time.Media:
Maybe not I hope so long because it’s dealing with a crisis, so do you hope that --Mr. Attias:
No, it’s dealing with the economy. But unfortunately in 2010 it’s about the crisis. And I am not so pessimistic as your colleague, so I hope that in 2011 we will have more time to talk about overt challenges that the global economy is anyway facing, and as you know better than me the economy is always facing different challenges, from also how to help emerging countries or how to -- So we have always great things to talk about when we talk about economy. Unfortunately this year we are focusing on the crisis because we need to.Moderator:
One last questionMedia:
Martin Huang from China’s Xinhua News Agency.
Can you tell us the names of some famous economists and business leaders who have agreed to participate?Mr. Attias:
I can. I can definitely. I will try, I don’t know, I will try, I have a list of some participants by alphabetical order, so you will pick the one you know or you want.
But we have the Chairman of Dunn & Bradstreet, Mr. Alesio, coming; we have the former Minister of Economy, Finance, Trade of Jordan who is now having his own private bank, Dr. Basim Awadallah who is very known in the Middle East.
We have Jacques Attali, as I said. We have Cathie Black who is the President of Hearst Corporation. We have Pierre Blayau who is a French CEO of SNCF, the railway, big company, and logistic geodis. We have Thierry Breton, another French, who is a former Minister of Economy and Finance. We have Lou D’Ambrosio from Avaya. We have Helene Desmarais from Canada, from Power Corporation. We have the Ambassador Fraker from KKR. We have Glenn Hubbard, of course, the Dean of Columbia Business School. We have Richard Lesser from Boston Consulting Group. We have Jonathan Miller from the News Corp Digital, the CEO of News Corp Digital. We have Ms. Olayan, who is the famous CEO from Saudi Arabia, one of the very few CEOs in Saudi Arabia. We have Vikram Pandit, the CEO of, Citi Corp, of Citi Group, sorry. We have Luis Plata, the Minister of Trade, Industry and Tourism of Colombia. Very talented young minister, former MacKenzie and former private sector CEO. We have Mr. Theodore Roosevelt IV, who is from Barclays Capital. We have William Rudin from Rudin Management, big real estate company in New York. We have Jerry Speyer from Tishman Speyer Properties, also. We have of course Arthur Sulzberger from the New York Times. Gary Winnick, a big private equity firm from Pacific Capital. Bob Wall from UBS. James Wolfenson, the former World Bank Managing Director who has now his own management company. We have also Tim Zagat from [inaudible]. So people are very diverse, from different industries because we really wanted to have a community exchanging the best practices from their different industries.
This is not a forum of the financial sectors. We really wanted to have a global economy topics to be discussed.Moderator:
With that, thank you very much for coming.Mr. Attias:
Thank you very much for your hospitality and thank you for your questions.
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