Matt Damon? Yes. Cherie Blair? Of Course. 8 Must-See Speakers in the Tradeshift Sanctuary at Davos

January 18, 2019 James Niccolai

If you’ve ever been to the Tradeshift Sanctuary at Davos, you’ll know that each year we assemble a world-class line-up of speakers to tackle some of the most pressing issues of our time. This year’s lineup is stronger than ever. We’re hosting a series of panels next week that shine a light in the gaps between contrasting ideas. Conscience and capitalism. Art and truth. Technology and menace. What happens at the intersection of these? We believe the best ideas emerge at the edge where conflicting ideas collide.

Here are eight speakers you won’t want to miss, and there are many more in the full agenda here. Make sure to catch these panels in person or via our livestream.

  1. More than an actor, academy award winner Matt Damon is a screenwriter, producer, and humanitarian. As co-founder of, and one of the world’s experts on water and sanitation issues, he’ll be part of a discussion exploring “opportunity at the edge of crisis.” works to empower millions worldwide who lack access to fresh water and sanitation. Hear why this issue is about education and economic opportunity just as much as it is about survival.
  2. Cherie Blair will discuss what happens when financing on a massive scale comes to a developing region, in a panel on “China at the Edge of Africa.” She created the Cherie Blair Foundation to help women worldwide become financially independent.
  3. Kai-Fu Lee is a venture capitalist and world-renowned expert in artificial intelligence. His panel, “Magic at the Edge of Menace,” explores the line where technology meets humanity and asks if technology is really making the world a better place.
  4.  Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, will talk about “Conscience at the Edge of Capitalism.” With public debate more politicized than ever, brands are taking a stand on issues where they once stood back. Is this authentic activism or just a new form of advertising? This panel dissects that issue and more.
  5. There may be no one better positioned than Andrew Ross Sorkin to tackle the erosion of truth in media and its impact on democracy, markets, and global trade. The New York Times editor, columnist, and author will speak on the panel “Art at the edge of truth: How messages shape markets.”
  6. Caroline Casey, activist and founder of the Aisling Foundation, works to promote the ability of people with disabilities, particularly in relation to employment. Visually impaired, Caroline brings a new perspective to the diversity debate in a panel exploring “same at the edge of different.”
  7. Brian Behlendorf is executive director of the Hyperledger Project, a cross-industry group building open-source tools for the blockchain. He’ll be discussing the rise of new business networks and avoiding fragmentation in our global trading systems.
  8. Mark Foster, Senior Vice President of IBM Global Business Services, sets the direction for IBM’s consulting, systems integration, and other practices worldwide. As distributed models inundate everything from supply chains to software and trade, Mark’s panel explores what’s happening at “the edge of centralization.”


About the Author

James Niccolai

James Niccolai was a technology reporter and editor for 20 years in San Francisco and Paris. He is now a content director with Bateman Group.

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