The Board of Trustees of the World Economic Forum elected German Ursula von der Leyen, Federal Minister of Defence of Germany, Venezuelan-born American L. Rafael Reif, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and American Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, Cellist, as its new members.
Their diverse backgrounds are a reflection of the multistakeholder governance approach to which the World Economic Forum is committed.
The Board of Trustees is the highest-level governance body of the World Economic Forum, the recognized international organization for public private cooperation.
Ursula von der Leyen brings extensive knowledge in public health and in politics. She is a doctor by profession and has held various key ministerial positions in Germany since 2005, including Minister of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, and Minister of Labour and Social Affairs. She is the Federal Minister of Defence and the first woman in German history to hold this position.
L. Rafael Reif, is a Venezuelan-born electrical engineer who serves as MIT’s 17th President. He leads a cutting-edge agenda to advance discovery science, stimulate innovation and entrepreneurship, reshape higher education and focus the talents of the MIT community on making a better world. He brings to the board a strategic vision and practical track record that demonstrate how the research university can fuel the global economy and improve lives everywhere.
Yo-Yo Ma, an American cellist born in France to Chinese parents, brings a cultural perspective to the board. In a career that spans five decades, he has worked with a wide circle of collaborators, exploring cultures and musical forms both inside and outside the Western classical tradition. Much of his work focuses on the transformative power of music and art on individuals’ lives and society as a whole. He is a United Nations Messenger of Peace and the Founder and Artistic Director of Silkroad, a non-profit organization that seeks to create meaningful change at the intersections of the arts, education and business. He received the World Economic Forum’s Crystal Award in 2008.
“The Board of Trustees now comprises an optimal combination of academic, business, cultural and political expertise. In a world which is becoming more multipolar and more multidimensional this will ensure the World Economic Forum’s relevance in shaping global, regional and industry agendas,” said Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum.