Day One in Davos

The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum is still a crowded, noisy place. The people and contacts are like no other place in the world. I spent the day attending the open sessions in the Congress Centre and having side meetings with business and non-profit leaders who, like me, are focused on sustainability. Below are a few of my initial observations. You can also view my YouTube video on the topic of environmental sustainability.

There is a different voice in the discussions this year (see last year’s blog here). Governments are no longer viewed as menacing. In fact, not a single person has said that governments should not be involved in working our way out of the current crisis.

I meant to attend a session on alternative energy this afternoon but I accidentally went to the wrong room so I found myself in a fascinating discussion on the economic situation in Asia. I was pleasantly surprised to hear some pretty high powered people say that their countries will see positive growth in 2009. From the semiconductor perspective, that’s hard to imagine at this point, but the world is more than semiconductors. India, China, and portions of Indonesia all believe they will see positive GDP growth in 2009.

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a special address this evening. Anytime I hear him speak I am profoundly struck with the competence of that government and of him as an individual.

I particularly enjoyed by side conversations with business and non-profit leaders. It is gratifying to see the respect people have for Intel, in no small part a result of our philanthropic efforts in education, but also due to our approach to the use and protection of natural resources. I went to a dinner tonight on the Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World and was happy to see Intel on the list for the fifth year in a row .

Finally, I was invited to the Young Global Leaders (YGL) party last night and, if there is anything that immediately makes one ultra-humble, it’s talking to that group. In my brief time there, I met the president of a large bank and a person who started a 4,000 person non-profit organization while still in college. Intel is proud to have our very own Lila Ibrahim, General Manger of Intel’s Emerging Markets Platform Group, as our YGL.

And this was only day one so stay tuned for more to come …