What is the World Economic Forum?

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Photo Credit: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

Davos, Switzerland is a small ski resort for 51 weeks of the year, but for one week every year it becomes an important meeting place for some of the most powerful people on this planet! The town hosts a global meeting called The World Economic Forum (WEF). Attendees participate in fascinating discussions on the latest innovations in technology, finance and scientific thinking.

Who attends this big meeting?

Representatives from hundreds of countries attend in order to present the latest developments in their nations and to extend their hands in partnership.The WEF hosts the world’s most powerful politicians, business people, thinkers and leaders from around the world.

What is the purpose of this powerful get-together in the snowy Swiss mountains?

This annual meeting began as a small conference in 1971. Its purpose was to introduce American management techniques to poorly performing European Companies.Since then it has transformed into a large gathering of the world’s most influential and powerful people who discuss globalisation, innovation, technological change, space travel, environment, poverty, social responsibility and many other important topics.

The theme this year was ‘How to create a shared future in a fractured world.’ This is particularly important in today’s times where there is so much military conflict, many economic crises, rampant poverty, and escalating climate change all over the globe.

What were some of the highlights this year?

  • About 3,000 headed to Davos to attend the 4 day event.
  • Davos saw loads of snow!
  • For the first time in 20 years, the Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, gave the opening speech. He outlined 3 fundamental global threats – climate change, terrorism and backlash against global terrorism.
  • Others spoke passionately about global issues, with Macron stressing France’s commitment to greater cooperation between nations.
  • For the first time, Davos was chaired by an all women’s panel. Seven women from across the world who have demonstrated remarkable leadership in areas like business and science brought the issue of the importance of gender equality and women’s rights to everyone’s notice.
  • The meeting also had a special focus on the refugee crisis. War and violence forced millions of people from Afghanistan, Myanmar, Syria and South Sudan to leave their homes in 2017. A session simulated the life of a refugee so that people in the audience could feel the horror and hopelessness of it.
  • The American President Donald Trump gave the closing address. He made a speech reminding his audience. ” I will always put America first.”
  • Still more of the discussions were centred on how to save and better our planet.

Let’s hope that these powerful minds came up with some creative ways to solve these complex problems!

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