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KU News Release

Jan. 21, 2005
Contact: Todd Cohen, University Relations, (785) 864-8858.

KU chancellor to participate in World Economic Forum in Europe

LAWRENCE -- University of Kansas Chancellor Robert Hemenway will join a select group of world leaders in politics, business, academia, religion, labor and the media attending the World Economic Forum's annual meeting in Switzerland next week.

The meeting agenda focuses on seeking solutions to global challenges including climate change, equitable globalization, global economy, global governance, turmoil in the Middle East, poverty, U.S. leadership, weapons of mass destruction and world trade. The chancellor will attend the four-day summit Jan. 26 through 29 in Davos as part of a weeklong trip to London starting Jan. 23 to meet with KU alumni and prospective donors.

"This is an extraordinary opportunity to give Kansas and KU a seat at the table and to take part in a dialogue with world leaders on how to solve some of our toughest global problems," said Hemenway. "This underscores our emphasis on giving students an international experience while at KU. The issues we face today are global in nature and students need to develop understanding of critical world issues and an appreciation of other cultures.

"I look forward to sharing the experience and my observations at the forum with students and to continue the discussion when I return to campus."

This year's meeting will draw 500 chairs and CEOs from the world's leading companies, including 120 Fortune 500 companies. There will be 23 heads of state or government, 72 cabinet ministers, 35 ambassadors, 24 heads or senior officials of international organizations, 300 media and opinion leaders, 55 heads of nongovernmental organizations, 15 union leaders, 26 religious leaders of different faiths, and 172 from academic institutions and think tanks. The meeting is being co-chaired by Microsoft Corp. CEO Bill Gates and four other CEOs, including the leaders of Infosys Technologies Citigroup, the New York Stock Exchange and Novartis.

Last year's annual meeting, which drew 2,000 attendees, included former President Bill Clinton, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan, Vice President Dick Cheney, King Abdullah II of Jordan, and the presidents or prime ministers of Canada, Iran, Turkey, Argentina, Pakistan, Nigeria, Mozambique and Peru. Academic leaders attending the 2004 meeting included Harvard University President Lawrence Summers and leaders from universities in Britain, China, the Netherlands, Japan, Israel, Russia, France, Iran, Peru and the United States.

The annual meeting, begun in 1971, is the World Economic Forum's flagship event for a larger set of activities that include regional meetings and initiatives. Participants take part in an intensive schedule of workshops and interview-style panel discussions that focus on crucial global, regional and industry issues.

The World Economic Forum, based in Geneva, is an independent organization committed to improving the state of the world. Funded by the contributions of thousands of the world's foremost corporations, the forum seeks to create partnerships between and among business, political, intellectual and other leaders of society to define, discuss and advance key issues on the global agenda. In 1995 the Forum received NGO consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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The University of Kansas is a major comprehensive research and teaching university. University Relations is the central public relations office for KU's Lawrence campus.

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