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Finding Solutions. Together.

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The Global Economic Symposium

GES Structure

The GES has the following components:



Interactive Knowledge

GES Keynote Addresses

The GES Keynote Addresses give political leaders an opportunity to articulate their understanding of global problems and their visions of the future that will inspire us to work together.

Global Economic Workshop

Promoting Global Cooperation through Compassion Training

Whereas Workshops in previous Symposia have focused on promoting cooperation through the application of reason, this Global Economic Workshop investigates the role of compassion in global problem-solving. It is clear that our proliferating global problems require us to cooperate across national, cultural, religious and professional boundaries. Decentralized, self-interested decisions in economic markets and national political institutions appear to be insufficient to address this challenge. The Workshop explores how compassion training can contribute to global cooperation.

The Virtual GES

The Virtual GES (this website) is the information and communication platform of the Global Economic Symposium. Besides providing general information about the GES, upcoming conferences as well as latest news.

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Solution Proposals


Ideas Fair

The Ideas Fair is meant to generate new ideas on global problem-solving for the GES community. These ideas are not sufficiently researched and developed to be discussed in a panel, but they have the potential of contributing to the solution of global problems in the future. The Ideas Fair is meant to give these nascent inspirations an initial airing. The Ideas Fair is an opportunity for GES participants to communicate potentially important ideas in the service of global problem-solving. Each Idea focuses on a novel, unconventional way of dealing with a well-defined global challenge. It must represent out-of-the-box thinking with a large potential global payoff. Characteristically, the Idea is newly conceived, perhaps not yet fully developed and articulated, controversial, but feasible. As such, it could benefit from further discussion with global leaders. At the Ideas Fair, this discussion takes place in an informal, free-wheeling, open-minded and interactive setting (along the lines of Hyde Park Corner). Each Idea is presented in a 10-minute slot, followed by the discussion. A list of all available Ideas will be made available to all GES participants shortly prior to the Symposium. The participants have the opportunity to attend the discussion of their choice. At the end of each discussion, the attending participants will cast a vote on the potential significance and feasibility of the Idea. Ideas that have received strong positive evaluations will be taken up in future Symposia. Thereby, the GES community mobilizes its wide-ranging expertise and creativity to generate innovative proposals that it can investigate in future symposia. In short, the Ideas Fair helps turning the GES into a self-driving force that identifies the insights for it to work on.


The GES Roundtables provide an opportunity for leaders facing complementary opportunities or difficulties to discuss their strategies. Whereas the GES panels bring together experts from diverse communities (business, policy-making, academia and civil society), the GES Roundtables mobilize expertise in a particular area. The aim of the Roundtables is to articulate the medium- and longer-term challenges faced by the Roundtable leaders with a view to providing input into future global problem-solving efforts.

Thought Labs

Thought Labs include book presentations and short exposes that can change the way we think about finding new avenues towards global cooperation.

Practical Proposals

Panel Sessions

Panel sessions are the core of the GES, each focusing on how to tackle a well-defined global problem, summarized in the session description “the Challenge.” The aim of the panel session is to discuss alternative solutions to this problem, in order to identify the ones that appear most promising. Thereby each panel session contributes to the mission of the Global Economic Symposium, namely, to recommend strategies and policies for tackling global problems, thereby creating shared visions of the future. In short, the GES is action-oriented; it is not merely a discussion forum. Panel sessions are the backbone of the GES. Each panel consists of 4–6 panelists (leading executives, academics, policy-makers and civil society leaders) and a moderator.

Submissions of Solution Proposals
In order for the debate phase to be maximally fruitful, each panelist is required to post short Solution Proposals in the Knowledge Base of the Virtual GES, the web-based information and communication platform of the GES. Moderators as well as experts belonging to the wider GES Community can also submit their solution proposals, so the Knowledge Base contains a broad, balanced portfolio of solution proposals for each panel session, which the moderator will take into account while steering the debate. Every author of a solution proposal may decide whether to make his contribution publicly available. If this is the case, all registered members of the GES Community can comment it and take part in the discussions.

Debate and Open Floor
Each panel session runs for 75 minutes, divided into two phases. The first phase is “Debate”: 50–60 minutes of exchange between the moderator and the panelists. The second phase is “Open Floor”: 20–25 minutes of open participation from the audience. The moderator seeks to find areas of agreement among the panelists and the resulting solution proposals are summarized in the Global Economic Solutions. Panel sessions are off the record.
The Debate phase consists of rapid-fire questions and answers, quick exchanges between panelists and moderator. The moderator leads the debate, asking the panelists questions, to which the panelists respond briefly. Panelists are of course expected to respond to one another, so that a lively debate ensues. (There are to be no introductory or concluding statements of the panelists, just questions and responses.)
In the Open Floor phase, the participants in the audience will be permitted short questions (maximum 30 seconds), followed by short responses from one or more panelists. The moderator determines what sort of questions to ask for and moderates the resulting discussion.
Each panel is meant to generate “solutions” that constitute “practical visions” and guidelines of how well-defined global problems can be overcome. The visions are meant to be innovative, bold, and practical. They are longer-run proposals, meant to help create a better world for the next generation. To generate these visions, the panelists act in their capacity as global citizens, focusing not on national or cultural interests, but on the global public interest.

Plenary Sessions

The Symposium has two plenary sessions.

Opening Plenary
In the Opening Plenary “New Approaches to Economic Challenges,” leading decision makers articulate new ideas and identify novel approaches to guide our global problem solving efforts.

Closing Plenary
In the Closing Plenary “Growth through Education and Innovation,” leading decision makers debating innovative approaches to stimulate growth through the promotion of knowledge and human capital. The Plenaries emphasize holistic thinking (taking account of diverse interconnections among global problems) and the associated “holistic policy-making” (spanning the political silos of government ministries and international organizations).

At the beginning of the Plenary, the moderator summarizes the purpose of the Plenary and introduces the panelists. Each panelist then has the opportunity to deliver a short statement. The moderator then initiates a lively debate among the panelists. The Plenary ends with a short question-and-answer exchange with the audience.





Application Lab

The Application Lab provides opportunities to discuss new problem-solving enterprises, projects and ventures in a hands-on, interactive setting. They consist of short presentations, generally involving interaction with the audience, of pioneering practical applications that have the potential to transform the way we address well-defined global problems.


By mobilizing expertise in a particular area, Roundtables gather ideas and debate proposals for global problem-solving that are in an early stage of development. Their aim is to lead to be a meeting of minds and a call to future action.

The Global Economic Symposium presents concrete measures and projects from its community and beyond that serve as examples that illustrate how GES solution proposals are implemented. These are meant to serve as best practice and insights into practical steps that contribute to tackle challenges addressed in the GES.