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Klaus Schwab

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Klaus Schwab
Klaus Schwab WEF 2008 (cropped).jpg
Klaus Schwab at the World Eonomic Forum in Davos in January 2008.
Born (1938-03-30) 30 March 1938 (age 81)
Ravensburg, Germany
Alma materETH Zürich (PhD)
University of Fribourg (PhD)
Harvard University (MPA)
OccupationFounder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum
Hilde Schwab (m. 1971)
Klaus Schwab speaking at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2008.
Acceptance speech by Klaus Schwab at the Reinhard Mohn Prize award ceremony in 2016

Klaus Martin Schwab (born 30 March 1938) is a German engineer and economist[citation needed], best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.[1] His wife and former secretary[2], Hilde, co-founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship with him.[3] He was born in 1938, in Ravensburg, Germany.


In 1971, Schwab founded the European Management Forum[citation needed], which in 1987 became the World Economic Forum, as a not-for-profit foundation committed to improving the state of the world. He founded the WEF in 1971, the same year in which he published Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau (Modern Enterprise Management in Mechanical Engineering). In that book, he argued that the management of a modern enterprise must serve not only shareholders but all stakeholders (die Interessenten), to achieve long-term growth and prosperity. Schwab has championed the multistakeholder concept since the WEF’s inception. In 2015, the WEF was formally recognised by the Swiss Government as an NGO with an international character, but not - as the WEF often claims - an international organization, which is a status reserved for intergovernmental organizations.. Under Schwab's management, the WEF has been a keen to promote its image as a driver for reconciliation efforts in different parts of the world, acting as a catalyst of numerous collaborations and international initiatives, some of which are at odds with the WEF's purported purpose (e.g. 1MBD).

In 1998, Schwab and his wife founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, another NGO based in Geneva, Switzerland.

In 2004, Schwab created a new foundation using the US$1 million prize money from the Dan David Prize he received that year from Israel. The Forum of Young Global Leaders[4] aims to bring together over 500 people under 40 from all walks (areas) of life who have demonstrated their commitment to improving the state of the world, and encourage them to work together over the span of five years to identify and realise global pro-social and pro-capitalist change.

In 2011, he founded the Global Shapers Community, a global network of local communities, or "hubs", of young people aged 20 to 30 who are exceptional in their potential, achievements and drive to make a contribute to their communities. As of 26 June 2016, there are 459 Hubs with more than 6,216 Shapers.[citation needed]


Schwab holds a doctorate in Economics (summa cum laude) from the University of Fribourg[citation needed], a doctorate in Engineering from the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology)[citation needed] and a Master of Public Administration from the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University[citation needed]. Additionally, he has been the recipient of over a dozen honorary doctorates, and is an honorary professor of the Ben-Gurion University of Israel[5] and the China Foreign Affairs University.[6]

Professional life[edit]

Schwab was professor of business policy at the University of Geneva from 1972 to 2002. Since 1979, he has published the Global Competitiveness Report, an annual report assessing the potential for increasing productivity and economic growth of countries around the world, written by a team of economists.[7] The report is based on a methodology developed by Schwab, measuring competitiveness not only in terms of productivity but also based on sustainability criteria.[8]

He is the author of several books, including The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016)[9] and Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018)[10], though it is generally accepted that these were ghost written.

Other activities[edit]

From 1993-1995, Schwab was a member of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development.[11] From 1996-1998, he was Vice-Chairman of the UN Committee for Development Planning.[12] He also exercised a number of other functions, such as being a member of The Peres Centre for Peace[13] and a member of the board of the Lucerne Festival.[14] During the earlier years of his career, he was on a number of company boards, such as The Swatch Group, The Daily Mail Group, and Vontobel Holding. He is a former member of the steering committee of the Bilderberg Group.[15]

European migrant crisis[edit]

Schwab warned the refugee crisis could be a precursor to something much bigger, saying "As the crash in commodities prices spreads economic woe across the developing world, Europe could face a wave of migration that will eclipse today’s refugee crisis." "Look how many countries in Africa, for example, depend on the income from oil exports," Schwab said in an interview ahead of the WEF’s 46th annual meeting, in the Swiss resort of Davos. "Now imagine 1 billion inhabitants, imagine they all move north."[16]

National distinctions[edit]


Awards (Since 2000)[edit]

  • 2000 Annual Award of the International Institute of Education
  • 2000 Annual Award and Fellow of the Foreign Policy Association, US
  • 2001 Candlelight Award presented by UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan
  • 2002 Annual Award of the Fondation pour Geneve
  • 2002 Guggenheim Humanitarian Award
  • 2002 ICCJ - International Council of Christians and Jews Award
  • 2004 Dan David Prize, Tel Aviv University
  • 2005 Transatlantic Bridge Award
  • 2006 Freedom of the City of London
  • 2006 UCD Ulysses Medal, University College Dublin, Ireland
  • 2007 Nominated one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by Time Magazine
  • 2007 Admission into the German Business Hall of Fame
  • 2009 Nominated as one of the 100 Most Influential people in the World by Forbes Magazine
  • 2010 Atlantic Council Global Citizen Award
  • 2016 Reinhard Mohn Prize for Responsible Entrepreneurship
  • 2016 Progress Medal, Society for Progress, INSEAD
  • 2017 HKS Dean’s Medal, Harvard Kennedy School

Academic awards and honorary doctorates[edit]

  • 1991 Honorary Doctorate, Bishop's University, Lennoxville, Quebec
  • 1992 Honorary Doctorate, Universidad Autonoma de Guadalajara, Mexico
  • 1996 Honorary Doctorate of Economics, University Bratislava, Slovak Republic
  • 1999 Honorary Doctorate, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 1999 Honorary Doctorate, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Beersheva, Israel
  • 2002 Honorary Doctorate, London School of Economics and Political Science, London, United Kingdom
  • 2008 Honorary Doctorate of Humanities, Kazan State University, Tatarstan
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate, EBS Universität, Germany
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate, University of Latvia
  • 2009 Honorary Doctorate, Nankai University, Tianjin, People's Republic of China
  • 2010 Honorary Doctorate of Economics, Vietnam National University, Ho Chi Minh City
  • 2011 Honorary Doctorate of Economics, University of Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 2012 Honorary Doctorate of Business Administration, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand
  • 2015 Honorary Doctorate of Science, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), South Korea
  • 2017 Honorary Doctorate of Philosophy, Haifa University, Israel
  • 2017 Honorary Doctorate of Letters, National University of Singapore, Singapore

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ "Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman | World Economic Forum-Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  2. ^ Nast, Condé. "Getting to Know Klaus Schwab, the Man Behind Davos". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  3. ^ "Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship - Home". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  4. ^ "The Forum of Young Global Leaders | World Economic Forum-The Forum of Young Global Leaders". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  5. ^ "University Units - Honorary Awards". 31 May 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  6. ^ "China Foreign Affaire University". Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  7. ^ "Global Competitiveness | World Economic Forum-Global Competitiveness". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  8. ^ "Global Competitiveness | World Economic Forum-Global Competitiveness". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  9. ^ Schwab, Klaus (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Crown Business. ISBN 978-1-5247-5886-8.
  10. ^ Schwab, Klaus (2018). Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Portfolio Penguin. ISBN 978-0-2413-6637-0.
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Committee for Development Planning (A/AC.54)". 26 February 2002. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  13. ^ [1] Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  14. ^ "Lucerne Festival > Articles > Stiftungsrat". Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  15. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  16. ^

External links[edit]