(Bloomberg) -- Saudi Arabia’s Future Investment Initiative has seen its fair share of big hitters, with guests including Blackstone Inc. co-founder Stephen Schwarzman and BlackRock Inc. Chairman Larry Fink. None, though, were as big as the American star who opened the forum in Riyadh on Tuesday.
Dressed in a yellow-trimmed black abaya, the cloak women wear in public, Gloria Gaynor weighed in with her iconic song “I Will Survive” after a video presentation of the impact of climate change on the planet.
The event has always had an element of glitz since it started in 2017 and the song fit the “Invest in Humanity” theme. Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman pledged to eliminate planet-warming emissions within Saudi borders by 2060 and the world’s biggest oil exporter will also establish a fund to improve carbon sequestration and back a plan to feed hundreds of millions of people by providing them clean cooking fuels.
But Gaynor’s classic also resonated for other reasons. Prince Mohammed was shunned by global business leaders at the same event in 2018 following the murder of Washington-based columnist Jamal Khashoggi at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He since has been rebuilding his image abroad as a world leader, and what a difference three years make.
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