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Klaus Schwab

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Klaus Schwab
Klaus Schwab WEF 2008 (cropped).jpg
Klaus Schwab at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January 2008.
Born (1938-03-30) 30 March 1938 (age 82)
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 best known as the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum.[1] His wife and first collaborator,[2][3] Hilde, co-founded the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship with him. He was born in 1938, in Ravensburg, Germany.


In 1971, Schwab founded the European Management Forum,[4] 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[5] (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 "international body"[6]. Under Schwab's management, the WEF has been 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.

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[7] aims to create a dynamic global community of exceptional people (under 40) with the vision, courage and influence to drive positive change in the world.

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 9 June 2020, there are 421 Hubs with 9,731 Shapers.[8]


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]. He obtained his "Abitur" or high school diploma from the Humanistisches Gymnasium in Ravensburg, Germany. Before pursuing his doctorates, he graduated as an engineer from the ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology), and as an economist from the University of Fribourg (summa cum laude). Additionally, he has been the recipient of over a dozen honorary doctorates, and is an honorary professor of the Ben-Gurion University of Israel[9] and the China Foreign Affairs University.[10]

Professional life[edit]

Schwab was professor of business policy at the University of Geneva from 1972 to 2003, and since then, has been an Honorary Professor there.[11] 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.[12] The report is based on a methodology developed by Schwab, measuring competitiveness not only in terms of productivity but also based on sustainability criteria.[13]

He is listed as the author of several books, including The Fourth Industrial Revolution (2016)[14] and Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution (2018),[15] both of which were ghost written by WEF employee Nicholas Davis.

Other activities[edit]

From 1993-1995, Schwab was a member of the UN High-Level Advisory Board on Sustainable Development.[16] From 1996-1998, he was Vice-Chairman of the UN Committee for Development Planning.[17] He also exercised a number of other functions, such as being a member of the Peres Centre for Peace[18] and a member of the board of the Lucerne Festival.[19] 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.[20]

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
  • 2018 Global Economy Prize, Kiel Institute for the World Economy

Academic awards and honorary doctorates[edit]

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. ^ "Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship - Our Story". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  3. ^ Nast, Condé. "Getting to Know Klaus Schwab, the Man Behind Davos". Vanity Fair. Retrieved 11 June 2019.
  4. ^ "History". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 21 September 2019.
  5. ^ Schwab, Klaus (1971). Moderne Unternehmensführung im Maschinenbau (PDF).
  6. ^ "Agreement signed with the WEF". The portal of the Swiss government. Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  7. ^ "Forum of Young Global Leaders – Home". Retrieved 21 January 2020.
  8. ^ "Global Shapers – Home". Retrieved 9 June 2020.
  9. ^ "University Units - Honorary Awards". 31 May 2011. Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  10. ^ "China Foreign Affaire University". Archived from the original on 13 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Faculty Université de Genève". Retrieved 5 June 2020.
  12. ^ "Global Competitiveness | World Economic Forum-Global Competitiveness". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  13. ^ "Global Competitiveness | World Economic Forum-Global Competitiveness". Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  14. ^ Schwab, Klaus (2016). The Fourth Industrial Revolution. Crown Business. ISBN 978-1-5247-5886-8.
  15. ^ Schwab, Klaus (2018). Shaping the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Portfolio Penguin. ISBN 978-0-2413-6637-0.
  16. ^[permanent dead link]
  17. ^ "Committee for Development Planning (A/AC.54)". 26 February 2002. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  18. ^ [1] Archived March 31, 2009, at the Wayback Machine
  19. ^ "Lucerne Festival > Articles > Stiftungsrat". Archived from the original on 6 January 2012. Retrieved 25 January 2012.
  20. ^ "Former Steering Committee Members". Bilderberg Group. Archived from the original on 2 February 2014. Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  21. ^ "10 foreigners given medals for roles in reform, opening-up". China Daily. Retrieved 5 June 2020.

External links[edit]