My second morning at Davos was a blast -- literally -- as a small explosion broke a few windows at the 4-star Posthotel Morosani, a heavily guarded (as is everything here) 19th century hotel in town. I didn't hear or feel the blast, which the authorities described as "a firecracker," but the conversational shockwave that rolled across the Congress Centre was potent. An Italian activist going by the online handle "Revolutionary Perspective" claimed responsibility, posting a message online: "We have attacked the Hotels Morosani with pyrotechnics and sugar." Terrorists with a sweet tooth? Anti-globalists who dig a nice fireworks display? Fittingly, the Morosani was later the scene of a session entitled "Criminals Without Borders."
Before the sugary firecracker made headlines, I co-hosted an early morning breakfast at the Hotel Seehof, along with Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, in honor of Somaly Mam, a truly remarkable Cambodian woman who was sold into a brothel as a child, was a sex slave for 10 years, endured daily rapes and abuse, watched her best friend be killed, then finally escaped and now runs a foundation committed to saving others from sexual slavery. Despite this wrenching life history, Somaly radiates a sense of joy and vibrancy that fills any room she's in. As Sheryl Sandberg pointed out, Davos is a late-night gathering and you often hear people proclaiming that they "never do breakfast." But even the never-up-early crowd was there at 7:30 a.m. to pay tribute to Somaly's indomitable spirit, to hear her speak, and to support her efforts. Somaly's talk was inspiring. So, of course, I asked her to blog for us. She agreed and, thanks to the late night HuffPost team, burning the post-midnight oil, within an hour her post was featured on our home page (check it out here).
Later, at a lunch hosted by Goldman Sachs for its 10,000 Women program for female entrepreneurs run by Dina Powell, I sat next to Harvard Business School professor Michael Porter, who has written extensively on the need for companies to look beyond boosting their bottom lines and find ways to help address the pressing social issues of our time. Seated on my other side was Melanne Verveer, President Obama's Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues. She's also Hillary Clinton's former chief of staff, which reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Davos, said by Bill Clinton and tweeted by @Bill_Gross: "'I want to be a Grandfather. Hillary wants to be a Grandmother... More than she wanted to be President.' Bill Clinton #WEF." I'll have to start following Chelsea to see if she tweeted: "Thnx, Dad. Next time why don't u bring it up in speech at UN??? No pressure, right?" Melanne had just come from Istanbul, where she kicked off a conference on fostering female entrepreneurship in that region.
Then it was off to the Hotel Europe for the International Media Council Winter Meeting, where Tim Geithner took questions from a group of about thirty journalists from around the world. The talk was off the record, but Charlie Rose's interview with Geithner on the main stage Friday was not.
After stopping by dueling parties hosted by Time/Fortune and the University of Chicago, I made it over to the Morosani hotel (where there was no evidence of that morning's explosion) for the Coca-Cola cocktail reception, hosted by its CEO, Muhtar Kent. And I do mean hosted. His ebullience was all-embracing, constantly introducing his guests to one another: "Arianna, you must meet my great Greek friend... Charlie [Rose], did you see Tim Geithner?"
After the Coke party, I made my way to a dinner hosted by Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund, Rev. Sally Grover Bingham, Kathryn Murdoch, and Doug Shorenstein that focused on innovative ways to protect our oceans against overfishing. During the meal, David Gergen and I moderated a discussion that touched on many concepts I knew little about, including "catch shares" (which work by allotting a percentage of a catch to fishermen, while meeting conservation goals). It's a very "beyond left and right solution" to the problem that has garnered investments from the Carlyle Group and support from the Murdoch family. Worth noting: fish was served at dinner.
Day Three included the annual lunch hosted by Lally Weymouth. It used to be the Newsweek lunch, co-hosted by Fareed Zakaria, but in our ever-changing media universe it was transformed into the Washington Post lunch, with Fareed now one of the guests. In the comments made during the lunch (as you've probably gathered by now, no one eats here without short speeches being made all around), the mood about the economy was unmistakably exuberant. Maybe we should have started the lunch by showing the CNBC video about the global unemployment crisis I wrote about earlier. In fact, it was Tim Geithner and Larry Summers who talked about the need to avoid complacency.
At a great Emerging Microtrends dinner, moderated by The Economist's Matthew Bishop, the most fascinating microtrend that emerged was moving from knowledge to wisdom and insightfulness. In a Google-fueled world, knowing things is no longer as important as problem-solving. This led to a discussion of the iPhone mood app, technologies that tracks our circadian rhythms and state of flow, and my ultimate dream -- a GPS for the soul. In the meantime, Davos participants are discovering old-fashioned ways to deal with the onslaught of information, data, and connectedness. Mine is complete abstinence from alcohol. With so little sleep, even half a glass of wine would make Davos unsurvivable.
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