The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010
Former President Matsunaga Yukei Attended the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010.
The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2010, held in the Swiss town of Davos from 26–31 January 2010, was attended by former Japan Buddhist Federation President Matsunaga Yukei, the Head Priest of Koyasan Shingon Buddhism (Koyasan Shingon-shu).
The overall theme of the Annual Meeting was, “Improve the State of the World: Rethink, Redesign, Rebuild.” An important subtheme of the meeting was “Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy.” President Matsunaga, along with other selected world religious and faith community leaders and thinkers, was invited to participate in discussions and proceedings related to that theme.
The World Economic Forum was founded in 1971 by Prof. Klaus Schwab of the University of Geneva. It has developed as a platform for nonpartisan and internationally focused talks and discussions on all aspects of economic development and sustainability branching off into numerous important areas, and is attended by many of the world’s most senior political, economic, and business leaders. Over 2,500 participants gathered in Davos to attend the Annual Meeting this year. Half of these were from the business sector, with the rest comprised of representatives of governments, academia, media, and faith leaders.
President Matsunaga was invited to attend the Annual Meeting as the representative of Japanese Buddhism among the faith community leaders. Along with fifteen other faith community leaders, he was asked to prepare a written keynote message outlining his views and suggestions regarding the role of faith and religion, and specifically Japanese Buddhism, in revitalizing ethics and morality in the post-crisis economy. Titled “Some Suggestions Offered from Japanese Buddhism,” his essay was published by the World Economic Forum together with the essays of other selected faith community leaders, and the book distributed to participants during the Annual Meeting 2010 under the title, Faith and the Global Agenda: Values for the Post-Crisis Economy.
At the Annual Meeting this year in Switzerland, President Matsunaga attended and participated in various symposia and panel discussions, and made significant contributions to the talks.
Among the talks President Matsunaga participated in was a panel discussion held on 30 Jan. titled “Japan in Transition” in the company of a group of government and business leaders active in Japan, and academics specialized in the Japanese economy. He spoke at length during this discussion regarding the role of traditional Japanese Buddhism and spirituality in the formation of Japanese ethics and social ideals, and on the deeply rooted influence of Buddhism in Japanese society. He offered these observations and remarks as points of reference relevant to the overall theme of the global revitalization of faith-based values. President Matsunaga commented,
“Many people in the world are now urgently looking to religion and faith for solutions to pressing global issues and problems. This sense of seeking was quite palpable during the conference, and the discussion was lively and informed.”
This was the first time a representative of Japanese Buddhism had attended a World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in an official capacity, and we look forward to the ongoing fruits of President Matsunaga’s experience and efforts.