The Future Belongs to Bridge Builders

Thursday, October 5, 2023 – Thursday, October 5, 2023
17:15 – 18:45
Centre International de Conférences Genève - Room A

At the heart of the discussion is the recognition that our future belongs to strong bridge building as we can no longer afford a fractured world as polarization is increasing resulting in our planet and our people falling behind. With a dramatic course correction, we can steer a bright future by harnessing our enormous opportunities and our limitless potential.

The ingredients of success are available to drive positive change if technology, science, and finance are properly leveraged. It is time to rethink the way we tackle our pressing challenges and to reassess our decision-making to focus on swift action with stronger partnerships that foster cooperation. Bridge builders who are bold and courageous are needed to tackle the challenges of our time and work together from all sectors of society to create a more inclusive society with sustainable living. This will not be easy and requires partnership humility which allow for open-mindedness and bold leadership which drives positive impact and systemic change.


Daniela Stoffel

State Secretary for International Finance - Federal Department of Finance

Daniela Stoffel took up her role as State Secretary for International Finance at the Federal Department of Finance (FDF) in March 2019. Ms. Stoffel entered the diplomatic service of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) in 1998 where she held several roles including Head of Public Relations and Culture at the Swiss Embassy in Washington D.C., Head of Economic and Financial Affairs, and Deputy Head of Mission at the Swiss Embassy in Berlin. In 2015, she assumed a staff function in the General Secretariat of the OECD in Paris. From 2015, Ms. Stoffel was on detachment to SIF with the title of Ambassador, latterly as Head of Political Staff. From 2016, she was also the Diplomatic Advisor to the Head of the Federal Department of Finance (FDF). In these functions, she was involved in safeguarding and dealing with current financial policy issues and challenges and in the corresponding international negotiations and contacts. Ms. Stoffel graduated from the University of Zurich with a degree in Philosophy, Economics and German Linguistics.

Paul Polman

Business Leader, Climate and Equality Campaigner - Net Positive

Paul Polman works to accelerate action by business to tackle climate change and inequality. He believes, above all, that humanity will only overcome our greatest shared challenges through far-reaching systems change and bold new partnerships to deliver the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which he helped develop. As CEO of Unilever (2009-2019), Mr. Polman demonstrated that business can profit through purpose, marrying a long-term, multi-stakeholder model with excellent financial performance. Today, he works across a range of organisations and initiatives to help speed the global action needed to regenerate our planet, renew our economies and unite our societies. He helps business move further and faster on these ambitions, including through his work with Systemiq and through mobilizing private equity. He helps drive bold new coalitions within industries such as fashion and food, as well as between the private sector, government and civil society, including through his work leading the UN Global Compact and as an Ambassador for the Race to Zero and Race to Resilience. Mr. Polman is also passionate about developing our next generation of leaders, which he does as chair of the Oxford University Saïd Business Schooland through his work with INSEAD, IESE and the Boards of PRME and One Young World. Mr. Polman published his book with sustainability expert Andrew Winston, “Net Positive”, which sets out how to build companies which succeed by fixing the world’s problems, rather than creating them. He actively campaigns on a range of human rights issues, including promoting disability inclusion through the Valuable 500 and the Kilimanjaro Blind Trust, which he set up with his wife Kim.

Sandrine Dixson-Declève

Co-President - The Club of Rome

Sandrine Dixson-Declève is Co-President of The Club of Rome and divides her time between leading The Club of Rome, advising, lecturing, and facilitating conversations. Mrs. Dixon-Declève currently Chairs the European Commission, Expert Group on Economic and Societal Impact of Research & Innovation (ESIR) and sits on the European Commission's Mission on Climate Change & Adaptation. She also sits on several Non-Executives & Advisory Boards including EDP, BMW, UCB Climate KIC, Leonardo Centre, Imperial College London and is a Senior Associate and faculty member of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL), an Ambassador for the Energy Transition Commission (ETC) and the Well Being Alliance (WeAll) and a Fellow of the World Academy of Science & Art. Mrs. Dixon-Declève is a TED global speaker and recently published “Quel Monde Pour Demain” lucpire editions and Earth for All: A Survival Guide for Humanity. She was recognised most recently by Reuters as one of 25 global female trailblazers and by GreenBiz as one of the 30 most influential women across the globe driving change in the low carbon economy and promoting green business.

Sebastião Salgado

Photographer & Activist

Sebastião Salgado is a renowned Brazilian documentary photographer and photojournalist with a deep love and respect for nature while also sensitive to the socio-economic conditions that impact human beings. He has traveled to over 120 countries for his projects. He is perhaps most known for his long-term social documentary projects. Among them: Workers (1993) documenting the vanishing way of life of manual laborers across the world, Migrations (2000), a tribute to mass migration driven by hunger, natural disasters, environmental disaster and population explosion, and GENESIS (2013), an eight-year expedition to more than 30 countries to rediscover the mountains, deserts, oceans, animals, and peoples visioned as they must have been at the dawn of creation. Salgado has been the recipient of numerous awards and has been a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador since 2001. 

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