Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva was honored this morning at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland, with the forum’s first-ever Global Statesman award. The president was absent from the ceremony after he cancelled his European trip due to a blood-pressure spike that left him hospitalized earlier this week in Recife, Brazil. Brazilian Minister of Foreign Relations Celso Amorim received the award on the president’s behalf.
In a speech prepared by Lula and read by Mr. Amorin, the president said the, “award increases my responsibility as a leader, and my country’s responsibility as an increasingly active player on the global scene.” On the domestic front, it highlighted achievements in economic growth and poverty relief programs. On the international side, it stressed the need to tackle the global economic crisis and climate change, and called for “the need to establish a new international economic order, one that is more just and democratic.”
Early this week President Lula attended the World Social Forum (WSF), a counter-globalization event that meets annually in Brazil on the same dates as the WEF. There, in front of over 10,000 activists, the president criticized the global financial system saying it “triggered the greatest global crisis in recent history through mere irresponsibility.” In front of cheering crowds Lula declared, “I’m going to Davos just as I did in 2003 proud of what I have to say and demonstrate” and “with the mission of telling the developed world that if they had (taken their own economic advice to heart) we wouldn’t have had the crisis.”