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Brij Kothari Headshot

A Davos Moment

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As tradition dictates, Schwab Social Entrepreneurs at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting huddled in a circle with Hilde Schwab, Chairperson of the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship to debrief each other about our Davos moments.

During the huddle, a Nobel laureate walked in. Not just any Nobel winner, but one of our ilk - Professor Muhammad Yunus. A new Davos moment was being crafted as we rehashed. The effect on me, and I suspect everyone in the room, was of deep emotional and inspirational recharge.

The microphone continued to make its round. Professor Yunus sat quietly and listened patiently, a remarkable contrast to the 30-second sound bites we were desperate to steal from powerful people at Davos.

It was about the same time that I felt a tap on my arm. It was Vivian Gee of the Schwab Foundation, who slipped me a note that read: "Gordon Brown wants to meet you at 16:50. Are you available?"

Davos was supposed to be over, I thought. Was this some kind of Russian doll, a Davos moment in a moment in a moment? I mulled her question, not searching for an answer but thinking momentarily if it might be a cruel joke. Clearly not. With a weighty pretence, I nodded my availability. Yes, I will reschedule my free time to meet Gordon Brown, UN Special Envoy for Global Education.

Wrapping up our Social Entrepreneur meeting, Yunus shared how, during the founding days of the Schwab Foundation, there was an idea to award a Social Entrepreneur every year with a big pot of money, say a million dollars. That quickly gave way to a better idea in his view - access to an unimaginably powerful network that is the World Economic Forum.

I rushed to my next meeting with the former British prime minister, but not without regret - I wasn't able to wait long enough to get my picture with the charismatic professor of wisdom.