Optimistic pragmatism: that is what the world demands from each and every one of us at this moment. Optimistic, because it is only with an enthusiastic willingness and openness to work with others in partnership that we will achieve our goals; pragmatism because we must work with the world as it is, with governments and administrations that may not be totally to our liking, with companies or organizations that may not always live up to our expectations.

We are once again at a crossroads; there have been many setbacks in the past year, and the fragility of the global situation is clear for all to see. Now is not a time for irrational exuberance, but it is a time to take advantage of a constellation of events and moments that could help shape a better world.

So let us welcome a number of new starts and fresh opportunities which offer all of us the chance to improve our world: elections that have brought new leadership and fresh optimism; a new European leadership and, of course, a renewed administration in the US; a triumph for democracy in the Ukraine; elections in Iraq. We must grasp the opportunities presented by these new beginnings – forge new partnerships where none exist, re-energize those that have atrophied and work to resolve differences where relationships have broken down. In truth we have no choice but to work with the world we have and fashion any opportunity as a force for good.

Within this context, the Global Agenda magazine brings together a series of world class leaders and world class thinkers from all walks of life – people who really can make a difference. This magazine and the work we do at Davos and in the coming year should help us to shape the global agenda and take advantage of the opportunities there are for improving the state of the world. Let’s work together in 2005 in this spirit of optimistic pragmatism.

It is time to work with the world as it is, to make a world as it should be.

Klaus Schwab,
Executive Chairman,
World Economic Forum