Welcoming participants to the 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum, its founder and executive chairman Klaus Schwab on Monday said he is proud to have created a community of some great people, including young leaders, through this platform.
"I wish to extend a very cordial welcome to the annual meeting 2020," he said officially opening the annual congregation of rich and powerful from across the world.
"We are celebrating our 50th anniversary and people are asking me what are my most proud moments. I am most proud of the community that we have built, of you, of politicians who come.
"We are thankful of all governments, of our partners and members, the civil society and of cultural leaders. Also, I want to mention our young leaders," Schwab said.
Schwab recalled that in 1970, he wrote a book on stakeholder theory, disagreeing with Milton Friedman's notion that "the business of business is business." This idea formed the basis of the Forum's approach that endures today, he said.
At the event, Ursula von der Leyen, the new President of the EU Commission, said "Dear Klaus, for 50 years you have brought together the brightest people of our times, and for 50 years your thinking has always been ahead of times. You have always had a vision for how to shape a better future, for Europe and the world".
The welcome message was followed by the annual crystal awards and this year's recipients included celebrity film star Deepika Padukone.
The awards are given to cultural leaders, who are improving the state of the world through their contributions to inclusive and sustainable change.
Hilde Schwab, Chairperson and Co-Founder, Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, presented the awards to artist Theaster Gates, choreographer Jin Xing and artist Lynette Wallworth, besides Padukone.
The award celebrates the achievements of artists and cultural figures whose leadership inspires inclusive and sustainable change.
Padukone has been given the award for her leadership in raising mental health awareness.