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Weighty issues descend on Interlaken

Thomas Wellauer, Winterthur CEO, sees more challenges as the world is changing

(Keystone)

Heavyweights from the worlds of politics, business and the arts are gathering in the Swiss resort of Interlaken to share their views on how the world is changing and the challenges which lie ahead.

Organised by the Winterthur Insurance company, which is a part of the Credit Suisse group, the WINconference 2001 takes place on Thursday and Friday.

Among the speakers are the German foreign minister Joschka Fischer, the Swiss foreign minister Joseph Deiss, the head of the peace negotiations in Northern Ireland Senator George Mitchell, and the president of the International Committee of the Red Cross Jakob Kellenberger.

Winterthur CEO, Thomas Wellauer, said the point of the meeting was to identify how the world is changing and to suggest ways of dealing with the new challenges ahead.

"In times of uncertainty, it is essential to focus on analysing the nature of change itself, to identify creative and innovative forces, and assess and take advantage of opportunities.

"The ability to perceive change as a challenge is an essential condition to managing it successfully," he said.

Wellauer added that clear principles were needed as points of reference for change.

"These are not to be found in material values alone. We must learn to combine ethical principles, responsibility and entrepreneurial thinking in a meaningful way," he said.

Other speakers include the director-general of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation, Mike Moore, the general secretary of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Ali Rodriguez-Araque, the Bulgarian prime minister Ivan Kostov, and the Peruvian writer Mario Vargas Llosa.

swissinfo with agencies

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