The annual World Economic Forum might seem like the last place you’d find LGBT issues being discussed, and for a long time, it was. That all changed this year when the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) partnered with billionaire investors Paul Singer and Dan Loeb, who are committed to broadening the scope of impact at the event.
According to the World Economic Forum, participants of the annual conference are “Committed to improving the state of the world,” something that simply cannot be done without considering basic human rights. This year, perhaps more than ever, LGBT issues, women’s rights, and global access to education have been at the forefront of human rights discussions. During the upcoming 2014 World Economic Forum, many of the world’s leading businesspeople, CEOs, and strategists will address these topics, while simultaneously acknowledging that it is within their power to create critical social change.
A source close to Singer explains, “There is a systematic repression of human rights of gays and lesbians in a number of countries represented at the World Economic Forum. Any gathering of business and political leaders from across the globe should include a spotlight of human rights,” of the importance of addressing such wide-spanning social issues. The source continues, “All of us convening here have an opportunity to move the needle for freedom of LGBT individuals in our countries and around the world,” which is exactly what the HRC, allies like Paul Singer and Dan Loeb, and many others hope to do.
Not only will human rights issues be incorporated into the Forum’s schedule of events, entire panels will be devoted to discussing these issues. “Gay Rights – Progress and Backlash,” and “The LGBT Agenda, US Politics, & US Foreign Policy” are two panel events that are on the program, and both promise to shift the focus of the Forum in years to come. It is a significant sign of progress when our world’s leaders in business and politics are actively carving out time to discuss issues of human rights. This year’s World Economic Forum will signify a landmark achievement for human rights on a global level.
Learn more about the upcoming LGBT forums and HRC’s influence in Maggie Haberman’s report for Politico.