Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Star power with a serious message

King Philippe of the Belgians with Oscar winner Matt Damon in Davos
(photo MonarchieBe Twitter)

Oscar winners this way, please. The King and Queen of the Belgians have had a star studded start to their annual visit to the World Economic Forum in Davos. In less than 24 hours they've met up with Forest Whitaker, Matt Damon and Shakira as they continue their regular participation in this major event. 

The royals have a lot in common with the superstar names they've met in the last day. Queen Mathilde is a Special Advocate for UN Sustainable Development Goals - as are Shakira and Forest Whitaker.  They were all named by former UN Secretary General, Kofi Annan, as among seventeen people working towards the goals. Also on the list, announced at the 2016 World Economic Forum are Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden and Sheika Moza bint Nasser of Qatar.

Queen Mathilde and Shakira met on January 17th to discuss the importance of education - the pop star has been an advocate of providing free, quality learning to as many people as possible for a number of years.  The King and Queen of the Belgians met Forest Whitaker to discuss peace and reconciliation - he is also a UNESCO ambassador in that field.  The evening before, Shakira and Forest Whitaker, as well as violinist Anne-Sophie Mutter, were honoured with the Crystal Awards at the Forum in Davos.

In between celebrity meetings, there have been political audiences as well. King Philippe has met the President of China, Xi Jinping, and the President of Ukraine, Petro Poronshenko, as his annual visit to Davos gets under way.

Queen Mathilde discussed the importance of music and education in empowering women and girls in Afghanistan when she met representatives of the country's National Institute of Music.

As January 18th got under way, King Philippe was back chatting with Oscar winners as he held a breakfast meeting with Matt Damon. The Belgian monarch and the Academy Award winner discussed access to clean water and sanitary facilities - Matt Damon is co-founder of The non profit organisation aims to provide clean water and good sanitary facilities to millions of people around the world.

The King and Queen of the Belgians always have a high profile at Davos, with meetings and audiences as well as participation in discussions and seminars. The high profile chats with big names help throw a spotlight on some major issues. And with two days still to go, who knows how Philippe and Mathilde will next make the most of that star power in Davos 2017.

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