What is Davos? Honestly before I was selected as a Global Shaper, I never paid close attention. It was just a big shot meeting that very important people attended. It was a meeting for the ‘who is who’ in the world that preoccupied CNN with all its activities throughout the event.
Then in January 2012, I got selected to go as the first set of global shapers to attend. The excitement that engulfed me could not be hidden but I still felt that confused feeling. I wondered if this high level ‘meet and greet’ function would have any impact on my life. I’m quite wary of celebrity type events that are filled with lots of glitz and glam but really have no impact at the end of the day.
So from the Lufthansa flight that took off in Abuja to Zurich and the train to Davos, my mind was filled with wonderment and curiosity. The Lagos shaper that was selected to go, Ms. Wana, had reached out to me before we took off so I knew I had a friend to explore and help navigate this unknown but known journey together.
We arrived by train in Davos-Klusters and were given a map to walk from the station to the hostel where they placed the Global Shapers. The Global Shapers arrived 2 days to the Annual meeting to allow for bonding and set the agenda for our community. From local hub activities to regional hub agendas to individual aspirations, we discussed a myriad of issues and worked in groups to come up with sustainable solutions. We also spent time skiing from the most beautiful mountaintop with views that I’ll cherish for life. By the way, I can’t ski so some of us spent the time slipping, sliding and falling but it was so much fun. Plus I had pictures taken in my rented ski gear and there was no one that could tell me I’m not a professional.
What wasn’t so funny was the body pain from all the high-impact global shaper activity that was before the annual meeting. My body was so sore but you had to suck it up and pretend you were perfect because nothing can stop you from attending this meeting of a lifetime. The dress code is strictly professional so you have to wear the sharp looking outfits and walk in those heels. In this instance, pain is gain.
Before the meeting you are flooded with invites to so many events and parties, that your biggest headache is how to attend all the events. But you can’t, it is just not possible. In which case, you’ll have to prioritize, do I go for the Facebook Party or the Google party, or oh yeah the Microsoft party where Bill Gates greets you at the door. As you can tell, the night events are more interesting than the day event but its safe to say that the entire experience is just mind blowing.
Note: There are no VIP’s in Davos. Every one gets on the bus the same way, every one waits in line to hang their coats, every one eats the same canteen food, In layman terms Davos is a leveler. Sitting on the bus next to pioneers and innovators such as the founder of Skype, the chairman of Google and sharing a drink with Bill Gates was definitely overwhelming. The unfortunate thing was that the Kano bombing had gone off as we arrived Davos, so every introduction of Nigeria was greeted with the sympathy of the terror attacks.
Aside from that, the plenary sessions were intellectually charged, intense and thought-provoking. It left you feeling so empowered that it is impossible to leave Davos the same way. For months, I really felt like I could change the world. I made friendships that I still hold so dearly and have been privileged to visit them in different countries. My most impactful session was with the artist J.R who uses street art to challenge society and has used it as a platform to liberate people from hate and injustice.
I was so inspired by the entire experience but I was also challenged about my dear Africa. Read more from my piece I wrote in 2012
Davos 2015 will definitely be another phenomenal meeting as multi-stakeholders leaders convene to set the agenda for a world plagued by much more issues than we had in 2012.
#ShapingDavos January 2015
The Abuja Global Shapers session will focus on “Engaging Youth in Work:Absorbing Youth in Emerging Industries” and “Rethinking Youth Employment“. We will also highlight two of our staple programs – our Employability and Entrepreneurship Program (EEP) and our SHAPE-Up Mentoring Program #AbujaSUM.
Date: Thursday, January 22, 2014
Time: Registration starts at 10:30am the event is from 11am until 4pm.
Venue: Kano Hall, Transcorp Hilton, Maitama