DAVOS: Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan urged the economic elite to break down barriers of discrimination and sexism against women as they gathered for the Davos forum.
The 52-year-old star appeared at a celebrity gala ahead of the official start of the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) annual meeting on Tuesday.
Shah Rukh received Crystal Award from the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in recognition of his work championing the rights of children and women in India. The actor is a founder of a non-profit foundation, which provides support to female victims of acid attacks and major burn injuries through medical treatment, legal aid, vocational training, rehabilitation and livelihood support
“From them (women), I have learned how courage can catalyse victimhood into heroism,” he told the audience of international business leaders and officials.
Khan also went on to say, “I want to thank my sister, my wife and my little daughter for bringing me up well and teaching me the value of requesting, sometimes imploring and begging a yes from a woman, instead of forcing it upon her.”
Khan brings heavy star power to the agenda, as one of the biggest celebrities in India, where high-profile cases of sexual violence have caused shockwaves in recent years.
“We, the powerful, need to get out of the way, to pick the barriers apart, the ones that give us names and races and colours and hierarchies,” he said.
“That is what I have learned from my beautifully scarred women,” he added, referring to the acid victims.
Previous recipients of the award from Bollywood include Amitabh Bachchan, Shabana Azmi, and A R Rahman.
Australian actor Cate Blanchett also received an award for her work with refugees while British singer Sir Elton John for his campaigning on HIV/AIDS.
Blanchett, who has won two Oscars, was named a goodwill ambassador for United Nations refugee agency UNHCR in May 2016. As part of her role, the actor has traveled to Lebanon and Jordan to meet refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict.
She warned of the consequences if more was not done to help people forced to flee their homes.
“Lost generations of uneducated, disenfranchised and displaced children not only represent a vast loss of potential but also a threat to future global security and prosperity,” she said.
More than a million people have fled parts of Africa and the Middle East to Europe in the last few years.
The Davos meeting brings some 3,000 delegates from business, politics and civil society, to discuss ways to “make the world a better place”, in the words of the WEF.
Among the issues on the agenda this year are gender equality and harassment, after allegations of sexual misconduct by powerful men in Hollywood spawned the #MeToo movement.
The awards were presented at a ceremony in the village of Davos, in the Swiss Alps, where some of the world’s top policymakers and executives have begun gathering for the annual meeting.
And while in Switzerland, the King of Romance did not miss an opportunity to enjoy the cold in picturesque Swiss Alps village of Davos. He shared a picture of himself in his signature pose on social media with the caption, “Switzerland main aake yeh na kiya toh kya kiya?!”
— Shah Rukh Khan (@iamsrk) January 22, 2018