Toward a New Era of Peace and Sustainability: Summary of the 2022 Horasis Global Meeting

By Frank-Jürgen Richter

May 29, 2022

The seventh Horasis Global Meeting has been forced to be a virtual event by the continued disruptions due to the global COVID pandemic.  Restrictions are in place which affect people round the world in various ways. The meeting’s theme was Toward a New Era of Peace and Sustainability and drew 600 delegates from round the world to contribute to the discussions. Discussions often focused on the war in Ukraine, upon the spread and continuing mutations of the COVID virus; and how the world it entering a new turbulent time of economic uncertainty, inflation and energy shortages; and noting we are all at the edge of food and water famine.  And it is the poor of the globe who will suffer the most.

Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia

On February 24th 2002 Russia invaded the Ukraine – calling it a ‘special operation’ of Russian troops to relieve the oppressed peoples of Ukraine.  The invasion has been openly reported and we have seen the results of bombardments: over 6 million Ukrainians have fled their country – but mostly women and children and the elderly: able-bodied men were required to stay and fight within Ukraine.   Many of the displaced people are injured, malnourished and suffering from psychological stress.  In addition, surrounding nations have also become stressed as they cope with the incoming refugees while also supplying aid in many forms to the Ukraine.  Sometimes the refugees have passed onwards to more distant hosts; and nations world-wide are supporting Ukraine with weapons, finance and humanitarian aid.

Lord Simon Woolley of Woodford, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom

There was a rapid response to the invasion by European nations, by NATO nations, and other global democracies.  They have imposed sanctions on Russia, the assets of its rich people with government connections, and against many trading entities.  The agreement across the EU to cease trading in Russian fossil fuels will hinder the EU growth plans; and the UN has warned of a global food shortage.  Some nations in Europe are very dependent on Russian gas, and other nations like Egypt, are hugely dependent on imported wheat.  The price of wheat shot up in mid-May as India imposed a partial export ban – as local high temperatures had badly affected its crop yields.

Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Petra Group, Malaysia

Within the midst of these dire events the delegates have noted optimism and the increasing strength and intent of business leaders to overcome the globe’s many issues – not only of the scourge of war and the continued mutation of the COVID virus, but to address the future of climate change and to meet the agreed SDGs to which we have all agreed.  There is a move to define an enlightened capitalism. Vinod Sekhar, Chairman and Group Chief Executive Officer, Petra Group, Malaysia said that the future needs committed economic leadership to bring society and commercial progress together: true capitalism is sustainable wealth creation in which the poor also become wealthier, circulate their cash, and so grow the totality of the economy.  Capitalism can be redesigned if the whole world agrees, to be more socially oriented and inclusive, added Lord Simon Woolley of Woodford, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom.

These changes come about through changes in the role of leaders in democracies – who are less constrained by government mandates, and who can change their style to one of cooperative leadership.  Not blustering, as Marie Dzanis, Chief Executive Officer, Northern Trust Global Investments, United Kingdom stated, “if the leader does not have answers don’t bluster – rapidly mobilize talent to get answers”. This is an idea emphasized by Bo Inge Andersson, Chief Executive Officer, Uzauto Motors, Uzbekistan who uses skip-level meetings (going directly to lower-level staffs) so as not to lose touch with the people doing the work.  Yet, he stated, leaders must be able to make painful decisions; to clarify the purpose of the organization, and engage with the metrics of success; and above all, give people hope. Augie K Fabela II, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder,, USA found the need to alter management style during the lockdowns of COVID as consumers have moved beyond ‘buy now’ to ‘get now’. 

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As a consequence, the world of small and medium enterprises is more accessible to all buyers. But while Roger King, Founder and Chairman, ODS Holdings Inc., Hong Kong said he was optimistic about the future, he introduced a word of caution relating to family businesses in China that is conservative and micromanaged with leaders who like to pass the business to the next generation, often the first- born son, who might be risk-averse.

Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Council on Competitiveness, USA

Inga Thordar, Executive Editor, CNN Digital International, United Kingdom led the plenary panel on the Global Economic Outlook, noting the past year has seen unprecedented changes in the world, and how economic perturbations have continued through the year, not least in China where its industrial production has plummeted. Deborah L. Wince-Smith, President and Chief Executive Officer, Council on Competitiveness, USA accepted there is a is a China problem with the world becoming more bi-polar with democracy on one side and the autocratic rest on the other, with India muddling in the middle.  Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman, Axilor Ventures, India took a broad view noting how the Chinese contraction is affecting the globe – this is of concern as China is the second largest global economy.  Looking forward, Erik Berglof, Chief Economist, Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, China noted how inflation will be long in duration since it was rising globally before COVID arrived.  Central banks will have some difficulty in controlling it satisfactorily, especially in emerging nations. In the short term the climate crisis will be ignored – eg EUs reliance on Russian fossil fuel. 

Taro Kono, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan

The fall-out from the Ukraine war and the continuing COVID pandemic has meant our global stress on climate change and on meeting our SDG goals have been somewhat forgotten. Yet the realization of decarbonization must be taken up again, once the Ukraine and Russian issues come to some resolution.  Chip Comins, Founder, American Renewable Energy Institute, USA recalled some aspects of COP26, held one year late in Glasgow 2021 due to the COVID pandemic. It was notable that the children of the planet were agitating to get the adults to effect change. Benjamin J. Butler, Independent Futurist, Hong Kong stated we must be cognizant of the levelized costs of energy. All energy sources ought to be regularly listed on a levelized basis to appraise the leaders who make change happen.

Sally Ann Ranney, Co-Founder, Global Choices, USA

Meanwhile, sustainable energy solutions are being developed. Youssef Chahed, Former Prime Minister of Tunisia, Tunisia discussed actions across MENA, noting how it generally lags behind the rest of the world. MENA countries have an energy consumption issue – oil and gas exporters are exposed to global market demands; the other nations have a strong need to increase solar or other renewables. However, while there is high use of digital media there is a low use of business apps and the use of the Internet, added Steven V. Melnik, Founder,, USA. Lina Constantinovici, Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Innovation 4.4, USA talked of the frustrations of not bringing together carbon markets, financing and solutions especially for the poorer countries. Kyriacos Kokkinos, Deputy Minister to the President for Research & Innovation, Cyprus reflected these issues.  His country has financed innovation in digitization, IoT and space communications.  There are data centers but no crypto-mining s they are too energy intensive, and are rejected in common with most of the EU. Igor Luksic, Former Prime Minister of Montenegro, Montenegro also noted the same costing issues.  One government building if fully carbon-neutral but it is the only example. Perhaps these nations ought to follow the lead of Asen Vasilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Bulgaria who stated that while Bulgaria pursued a standard energy model from the 1970s (coal, nuclear, hydro) it has moved now beyond the use of gas to rely on massive battery and hydro storage (for peak in winter at night) to minimize rising external costs. 

Asen Vasilev, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Bulgaria

There has been a global shock and a review of the new geopolitical realities that were based on institutions, rules and mechanisms to reduce the threat of another world war.  These have more or less maintained a stability for 77 years – until Russia invaded Ukraine. Yet the plenary discussions on these new realities were not all centered on Europe as Taro Kono, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Japan noted 50 years of Russian discussions with Japan about its northern islands had very slow progress due to Russian tendency to regress back to old discussion questions. Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia, Latvia contributed several opinions, stating political blindness has always been selective. Proposals for change seems always to lead to protest groups… but it is not impossible to make positive change. Nik Gowing, Founder and Director, Thinking the Unthinkable, United Kingdom chairing this plenary upon the new geopolitical realities, stated his group had observed how global stability had been unravelling long before COVID caused its havoc.

John Harris, Co-founder, Politico, USA led discussions on how we might search for a stable geo-political future – suggested we ought to be long-term optimists even if short-term pessimists. He introduced several speakers: one was Battinto L. Batts, Dean, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, Arizona State University, USA who said journalism, communications and free information flows help keep governments accountable which should aid global cohesiveness. One must be free, be objective, and present solutions though correct critical argumentation, added Sally Ann Ranney, President and Co-Founder, Global Choices, USA Andreas Fibig, Chairman and CEO, International Flavors & Fragrances (IFF), USA noted how argumentation and discussion is more complex now than during the former Cold War – there are more players with global reach.

Jane Wurwand, Founder, Dermalogica, USA

This was a conclusion reached by Murat Seitnepesov, Chairman, Caspian Week, Switzerland who agreed there are too many new unstable players in the New Cold War.  The Caspian nations are reviewing carefully how to quickly overcome new pandemics. But too many leaders look short-term – initially about COVID, now it’s about Ukraine.  No one will gain by short-termism, we will push back the process of globalization, concluded Jane Wurwand, Founder, Dermalogica, USA.

Vaira Vike-Freiberga, Former President of Latvia, Latvia

Finally, let us return to the Ukraine.  Alexander Gordin, Co-Founder, Rebuilding Ukraine International Agency, Ukraine has worked in Ukraine over the past 30 years and is now, more than ever, confident that Ukraine will prevail through the mobilization of global investors who will help to rebuild critical sectors of Ukraine. Andrey Kolodyuk, Chairman, Ukrainian Venture Capital and Private Equity Association, Ukraine echoed these words, adding that businesses can jump directly into a new sustainability, working with the help of the diaspora. Sergiy Tsivkach, Chief Executive Officer, UkraineInvest, Ukraine stated his agency will work with global partners and with global public and private investors which is not easy as all have different aims.  Henry Shterenberg, Ambassador of Horasis to Ukraine, Ukraine opined that within the nation’s rebuilding there is an enormous opportunity to install the latest and best equipment letting ideas develop rapidly. 

Lord Karan Bilimoria, President, Confederation of British Industry, United Kingdom thought that history is repeating dangerously as it has done since the beginning of industrialization; added to which there is COVID and now the Russian invasion of Ukraine.  HRH Prince Adnan El-Hashemite, Chairman, Royal Academy of Science International Trust, USA

Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations

agreed, suggesting there is mistrust everywhere, promoted through convoluted conspiration theorists and policy makers who push agenda with inadequate information using false logics.  And Preeti Sinha, Executive Secretary, United Nations Capital Development Fund, United Nations speaking with full iinsider knowledge of the workings of the UN, said policy tools must work pre-, during- and post-conflict which is a big ask for global cooperation.

Indeed, these were some of the ideas expressed by Eve Bazaiba Masudi, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment and sustainable Development, Democratic Republic of Congo who said across Africa there is generally a problem of financial accessibility that limits access by the population to the advanced technologies that exist.  Gerd Müller, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Austria reminded us that the negative consequences of climate change are being felt by the poorest among us. We must give them a priority through the SDGs to reach to a better life via a greater global solidarity and multi-national cooperation.  Thomas Wu, Director International Affairs, Senate of Economy International, Germany agreed on these points stating the EU has to improve its operations even if potential African partners are skeptical of its aims. 

Gerd Müller, Director General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization, Austria

Eve Bazaiba Masudi, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Environment and Sustainable Development, Democratic Republic of Congo

Indonesia will hold the Presidency the G20 and of ASEAN this year and notes the shock effects of both the COVID pandemic (on tourism) and the Russian war on Ukraine increasing inflation through fuel and food shortages.  Emil Elestianto Dardak, Vice Governor, East Java, Indonesia was very anxious about the wide-ranging economic impacts of the Russian invasion whose extent is presently unknown. And Sandiaga Salahuddin Uno, Minister of Tourism and Creative Economy, Indonesia was hoping that while global tourism is increasing, we must engage in diplomacy to support a tourism that educates, and which might better boost global growth.

In conclusion, the delegates said we can envisage a world moving towards peace and sustainability, though in some lands it is difficult to see this on a daily basis. There is however an opening sense of global cooperation and the perception of green shoots showing.

Finally, let me add that the Horasis Global Community believes that by embracing new technologies geared to spur social change, leaders today can begin to solve global climatic issues, redefine the future of work through compassionate leadership, and address geopolitical conflict swiftly in order to pull things back under control.