The Evian Group at IMD

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The Evian Group@IMD is an international coalition of corporate, government and opinion leaders, committed to fostering an open, inclusive, equitable and sustainable global market economy in a rules-based multilateral framework.

Agenda & Events

BRICS Conference - Brazil: What Next? - October 7, 2014 - IMD, Lausanne

History and mission[edit]

The Evian Group was founded at an international meeting of trade policy makers and policy thinkers convened at the Hotel Royal in Evian-les-Bains (on the French side of Lake Geneva) – hence the name of the Group – in April 1995.

1995 was the year the WTO was founded and corresponded to the early phases of the current era of globalisation. The participants of the meeting recognised that globalisation is not an irreversible force, that nationalism, populism and protectionism require constant vigilance, and that trade is the most fundamental driving force and barometer of globalisation.

In 1997 the founder of The Evian Group, Jean-Pierre Lehmann, joined the Faculty of IMD as professor of International Political Economy. Though The Evian Group remains a separate legal entity, its close integration with IMD resulted in it adopting the name The Evian Group at IMD.

The Evian Group at IMD has been described as a “birthplace of ideas” and in its diverse activities draws on the collective wisdom and experience of its members, its Brains Trust, and associates to provide greater knowledge, vision and direction in meeting the economic and social challenges of the 21st century. The Evian Group at IMD has also been described as a “bridge between North and South”; in its diverse activities it seeks to reduce the “trust deficit” that has been an increasingly prominent feature of the early 21st century between “developed” and “developing” countries. Greater transparency in trade can foster better understanding and more dynamic relations. In light of its many activities and its extensive network in South and East Asia, The Evian Group at IMD has also been described as a “bridge between East and West”.

The Evian Group at IMD has also become deeply committed to the Arab Region and has in recent years developed more work, networks and institutional alliances in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the next few years The Evian Group at IMD will consolidate its activities and networks in Latin America.

The Evian Group at IMD is deeply concerned about the short-termism that seems to predominate in business and policy circles. It fears that insufficient attention is paid to future generations. Since 2000 it has become very committed to engaging the next generations, both through engagement in mainstream Evian activities and through the creation of OWI – Open World Initiative. Hence it also seeks to act as a bridge between generations! It is strongly engaged in working with the next generation of leaders and with youth, because it is convinced that if youth does not have hope in the 21st century, there will be no hope for the 21st century.

The Evian Group at IMD adheres to the view that poverty, inequality, injustice and intolerance are the key moral issues of the 21st century, as slavery was in the 19th and fascism in the 20th. It believes that a market economy, founded on responsible capitalism, combining the critical role of government in providing public goods, a strong ethical base of good governance, and free enterprise are the best means for generating growth, employment, empowerment and enrichment in terms of both wealth and welfare.

The Evian Group at IMD strongly believes in the benefits that globalisation can provide to humanity. For that to occur, however, globalisation must be inclusive, equitable, sustainable and robust. Globalisation as it has been developing currently is badly off track on all of these key areas. As Kofi Annan stated, “globalisation must be for everyone or it will be for no-one”.


The Evian Group activities are aimed at:

• Confidence building and knowledge creation among its members, stakeholders and constituents;

• Establishing vision and direction by formulating agendas for action;
• Enhancing global business leadership and business statesmanship;
• Influencing policy makers;
• Diffusing Evian Group ideas and intellectual capital as widely as possible;
• Preparing the next generation of industry, government and opinion leaders throughout the world for the challenges and tasks they will need to face.

To achieve these goals, The Evian Group activities are based on three key pillars:

1) Forum for dialogue[edit]

Open dialogue, the exchange of ideas and aspirations, and an agenda for action are facilitated and promoted through The Evian Group plenary meetings and roundtables, regularly and quite frequently convened in Europe, the Arab Region, South Asia and Greater China, and occasionally in Sub-Saharan Africa and both North and South America.

The Evian Group at IMD holds high level meetings, composed of policy makers, international business decision makers and opinion leaders from all continents, with a strong emphasis on the global South. The themes mirror the critical challenges of the international economic community. Participation in The Evian Group meetings is by personal invitation only. Discussions take place according to the Chatham House Rule. Summaries and reports are published and circulated.

Open dialogue is also fostered through the Open World Initiative (OWI) - a movement for the next generation of leaders, with meetings having been held in Switzerland, Slovenia, Turkey, South Africa, Argentina and Egypt and through an active online forum, OWIFOR.

2) Think tank[edit]

The Evian Group’s Brains Trust and extensive network of leading experts and practitioners drawn from industry, academe, think tanks, international organisations, NGOs and the media, from both industrialised and developing countries, and from different generations, throughout the world contribute in compiling policy briefs, reports, and position papers, and especially in building the intellectual capital and in formulating The Evian Group agenda.

The Evian Group also has an extensive network of leading think tanks in both North and South with which it regularly cooperates.

As a Think Tank The Evian Group at IMD influences and informs policy makers on the global economic agenda and seeks to provide them with intellectual “ammunition” in support of open and inclusive trade and investment policies. This is done by inviting policy makers to The Evian Group forums, by direct correspondence, by participating in campaigns, and by active publishing in the global media: in recent years, The Evian Group articles have appeared in English, Arabic, French, Italian, Portuguese, Spanish, Czech, Russian, Chinese, Korean, Japanese and German.

3) Education[edit]

The Evian Group undertakes educational programmes at IMD, but also in other educational institutions worldwide, on the key issues emanating from The Evian Group mission and main areas of concern, focusing on the multiple challenges of globalisation and linking trade to inclusive growth, to climate change and to global governance. The Evian Group at IMD has been an active member of the Garnet (Global Governance, Regionalisation and Regulation: the Role of the EU) Network of excellence, part of the EU Sixth Framework Programme, composed of leading-edge European institutions.

The Open World Initiative[edit]

The Open World Initiative (OWI) is a network and movement of young professionals from diverse constituencies, continents and cultures who are committed to an open world economy, sustainable economic growth and human development.

OWI supports open societies, greater integration and responsible governance on the global, national and corporate and institutional levels as indispensable to achieving these goals. The OWI network aims to generate awareness of development issues and the multilateral system, serve as a forum for dialogue by and for the next generation of leaders, and keep a dialogue with decision-makers at international, national and corporate levels.

The principles OWI stands to defend are:
• Transparent and responsible global governance on a global, national, corporate, financial and individual level;
• Sustainable economic growth generated by open markets in a manner protective of societies, natural resources and the environment;
• The primary role of the private sector in promoting growth under ethical and socially responsible codes;
• Investment in human development, the empowerment of women and youth, and the enhancement of individual freedoms;
• An open world economy that creates a fairer and more tolerant open society, one that promotes cross cultural and intellectual fertilisation.

The OWI community has developed OWIFOR, an online network discussion forum that strengthens the sense of an interlinked global community in addressing and debating contemporary problems and discontinuities.


As of 2010-03-18, this article is derived in whole or in part from The Evian Group. The copyright holder has licensed the content in a manner that permits reuse under CC BY-SA 3.0 and GFDL. All relevant terms must be followed. The original text was at "History of the Evian Group".

External links[edit]

Official Website [1]

BRICS Conference - Brazil: What Next? - October 7, 2014 - IMD, Lausanne

The Evian Group at IMD Brochure [2]

International Institute for Management Development (IMD)