by Satyadeep Rajan
‘Davos moments’ as the regulars call them, are when somethings unexpected and big happen to you – meeting a personal hero, or saving a head of state from slipping on the ice. As Davos week winds down, the ritual is to exchange one’s Davos moments with others over drinks. Just as I thought this year would go by without a Davos moment, the moment came. And it was, literally, the best ever!
As this was not my first Davos experience, I had grown accustomed to the usual noise on the global economy and the need for greater partnerships and the PR announcements to kick off ambitious projects aimed at ‘improving the state of the world’. The usual media frenzy regularly came up with headlines like « Global elite descend on Davos », “Global economy at risk due to climate change” and so on like it was really “news”. Very few of the news media usually show up at the World Economic Forum Open Forum, which is open to public at the local school auditorium. Most don’t know it even exists! Emotionally intense moments that move you to tears are not what I had come to expect at Davos.
My team and I from Swiss Learning Exchange had decided to attend the WEF’s Open Forum session – The Price of Free. The session details said: Join Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Kailash Satyarthi in a special screening of the documentary, The Price of Free, portraying his fight against child slavery in his home country of India and now around the world.
I started Swiss Learning Exchange to do our part in helping people cope with the fast-changing world around us. In that spirit, I was keen to hear Kailash Satyarthi speak, but I sat at the edge of the row unsure of whether I should watch a 90 minute documentary at Davos. I could potentially have watched it later and instead headed out to network at the many private events and parties all around Davos. After the first couple of minutes, I was completely spellbound, as was the rest of the audience, riveted to Satyarthi’s amazing story.
After the screening, as Kailash Satyarthi walked on to the stage, what followed was nothing short of extraordinary. Hands were raised, slogans were shouted and tears were rolling in a packed audience of Swiss people – old and young – as the Indian Nobel Peace Laureate’s story touched not only their minds but the hearts of everyone in the local alpine school auditorium. Regardless of which language the session was followed in, in English, French or German, everybody was inspired by his example and his call to action.
A Swiss teenager from the audience, Jakub, said “I would like to thank you for sharing the love, the power, the ambition.” Jakub got emotional and his voice quivered just a bit as he continued, “So great, what you did, where did you get this power and this ambition from, how did you survive all these bad things you have seen?”, to which Satyarthi responded:
“I draw the power from you. I am not a politician, am not religious leader, am not a monk, am as ordinary as any of you are. I count on the power of you. Be my friend, not my follower!”
But the real ‘Davos moment’ came as Satyarthi was leaving the room, and it was nothing short of a spiritual experience in the mountains. Another Swiss teenager, Jonas did what we all wanted to do – give Kailash Satyarthi a big heartfelt hug and thank him for his amazing work. As he hugged him, Jonas was overcome with emotion, an intense moment that we were lucky enough to capture on our cameras and phones.
Jonas allowed his pent up emotions to overflow in a spontaneous expression of love and compassion for Satyarthi’s cause. Jonas, I do not know who are you and how to reach you but if you watch this and if you are reading this, know that I shared your emotions as you hugged Kailash Satyarthi.
Globalization 4.0 was the theme set by the WEF at Davos in 2019. We at Swiss Learning Exchange watched first-hand how Kailash Satyarthi moved the Swiss youth at Davos towards a globalization of compassion. This is the kind of ‘Davos Men’ I hope Jakub and Jonas will become someday.
Price of Free has been produced by Participant Media and directed by Derek Doneen and is a Youtube Original. Kailash Satyarthi won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014. For the past forty years, the World Economic Forum is best known for its Annual Meeting in Davos-Klosters. Since 2003, its Open Forum convenes in January at the local Swiss Alpine School in the heart of Davos. They want to encourage dialogue and spread awareness on critical issues to the global economy . It is an open-debate format that is publicly accessible to local audiences in Switzerland and to global audiences via their website. Kailash Satyarthi asked us to become part of his 100 Million global movement. #100Miliion #100MilCampaign #compassion #slxlearning