Last week, 7Dnews met with Horasis Chairman, Dr Frank-Jurgen Richter to discuss the upcoming Horasis Global Meeting, which will take place from 5th-8th May in Cascais, Portugal. Horasis, founded in 2005, is an independent thinktank that carries out research into political and economic topics and hosts several summits each year.
Richter, a former Director at the World Economic Forum, explained that every year Horasis holds five large scale summits for entrepreneurs and members of government, with the Global Meeting being their flagship event.
There will be around 600 participants attending the summit this week, including CEOs and members of government from around the world. The Portuguese prime minister, the head of state of Malawi, the prime minister of Cape Verde and the president of Armenia are among those who will be present this year.
As well as the Horasis Global meeting, the organisation holds annual meetings on China, India and South East Asia. This year, the 10th edition of the India meeting will take place at the end of June in Spain, the 14th edition of the China meeting will take place in October in Odessa, Ukraine, and the South East Asia meeting will take place in Ho Chi Minh city, Vietnam.
Richter explained, “We also used to hold a meeting on the Middle East, in the UAE. It was held three times in Ras al-Khaimah in 2010, 2011 and 2012…We stopped because the Arab spring happened…we might start it again because we feel that the region is so important especially now with the opening of Saudi Arabia and the things happening there. I think the UAE is as strong as ever so it’s time to go back”.
The fifth and most exclusive summit that Horasis organises is the Horasis Visionary Circle meeting. This private gathering, held under the Chatham House Rule, will take place in Berlin this year. The participants consist of 15 billionaires, from different backgrounds, who discuss topics such as the sustainability of their companies and personal matters, such as their legacies and next steps.
When asked about how far Horasis has come since its inception, Richter explained how the thinktank had expanded over the years from focusing only on China to now holding five meetings on an annual basis focusing on other countries and regions.
“We are growing in terms of numbers but also in terms of the profile of people attending. Now it is getting fairly easy to invite prime ministers and CEOs of large companies”, said Richter.
Horasis’ motto, “Inspiring our future”, is the focus for the 2018 Global Meeting. Richter explained, “We would want to make a contribution to the world, providing long term visions, long term contributions and cutting this kind of Machiavellian mindset, where there are always tit for tat short term solutions, and things like the winner takes all. We want to work on the long term and I think we’re achieving this because we bring together people of different upbringings… We try to have very diverse panels where we have people from different backgrounds and different industries. It’s almost a laboratory of ideas. When people go there they usually go back enriched by the knowledge”.
Talking about the concrete impact as seen by Horasis, Richter explained that it is definitely something he is aware of when working with countries like China. He visited China last month and engaged with members of government. This was around the time when Trump started the trade war. Richter said, “I advised some people there, saying ‘be very cautious, because it’s very easy now to fight back and say, you know, tit for tat’. But the Chinese had a very wise approach, adding a bit of tariff on soya beans and whisky and things on the margin but not the most important products. They could have said, ‘let’s close down American companies and factories in China’, but they were very cautious”.
Horasis, as Richter says, is not a consultancy. “We believe what we do is important and that we can really make a contribution to the world by doing so”, he concluded.