Davos 2019: The forum that tackles the challenges of the future
The 49th World Economic Forum, known as the Davos Forum, is set to begin on January 22 in the Swiss district of Davos-Klosters. For four days politicians, businessmen, and representatives from social and cultural organizations will gather to discuss global problems and identify solutions. This year, the forum will place special emphasis on international collaboration, giving the world a voice.
The 2019 summit will focus on “Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” With this mantra, the event aims to define new models for the creation of sustainable and inclusive societies in a growing, culturally pluralistic world.
“Globalization, as we know it, may have reached its peak, but global integration will continue. It is sustained by the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the urgent need to address challenges such as climate change and biodiversity, the loss of jobs to automation, and a threat of rupturing global cooperation. These changes specifically impact the coming generations, which is why it is essential to forcefully participate in the construction of a new sustainable and inclusive global architecture,” the founder and executive chairman of the World Economic Forum Klaus Schwab said in a statement.
This “summit of summits” will address the world’s key challenges this year, based on five working principles. The first focuses on dialog, a fundamental theme in this year’s forum. The second focuses on globalization itself as something that must be responsible and responsive to regional and national concerns. The third calls for heightened international cooperation in the absence of multilateral cooperation.
The final two principles that underpin this year’s event are: addressing the biggest global challenges requires the collaborative efforts of companies, governments and civil society; and, global growth must be inclusive and sustainable.
Like previous years, Davos will have several co-chairs, among which there will be six young leaders, each under thirty, who will be accompanied by Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft. The co-chairs play a leading role in directing the discussion.
Davos is the highest town in Europe
Davos is the highest city in Europe. Surrounded by mountains, it houses the largest ski station in Switzerland. However, Davos is not famous for its snow but for the fact that it hosts the World Economic Forum (WEF). This annual meeting is attended by political, business, cultural and media leaders who wish to take part in the international agenda.
Davos is not the only location for the forum’s meetings. The WEF also organizes ten regional assemblies across Africa, Europe and Eurasia, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and Latin America. The agenda also includes sector-centric discussions for various industries, from automotive to finance. Lastly, Davos produces research reports focusing on significant issues of concern for different communities. It is, therefore, an event that consists of many sub-events.
What is being proposed at the Davos Forum?
Its goal is to build a better world. How? By involving people who have the power to change the world (political leaders, CEOs, and other movers and shakers) to define challenges, solutions and measures, always with the best interests of the people in mind.
To achieve this, Davos has created several communities that collaborate on a permanent basis, through high-level meetings, research networks, and digital team work.
Thousands of ideas result from the Davos Forum; not all of them materialize. But some have come far: the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed between Canada, Mexico and the United States, was first proposed at an informal meeting in Davos.
Donald J. Trump, during his speech at the plenary session of 48th World Economic Forum in Davos.
The forum, divided over the course of four long days, will consist of over 400 working sessions. 100 governments and 1,000 companies from the highest levels of leadership will participate. One of the guests who stirred up the most media commotion last year and who will return this year, is the president of the United States, Donald Trump. “America first doesn’t mean America alone,” was one of the most notable phrases of his 15 minute 2018 speech.
Spain’s president, Pedro Sánchez, will also join the forum after having been invited by the Forum’s founder, Klaus Schwab. A year ago, King Philip VI was Spain’s highest level representative at the meeting. BBVA’s Carlos Torres Vila and José Manuel González-Páramo have confirmed their attendance as representatives of Spain’s leading business community.
This year, attendees at Davos will include representatives from more than 100 governments and top executives of the world’s 1,000 most important companies, leaders of international organizations, and relevant non-governmental organizations, the most prominent cultural and social leaders. In total, there will be more than 2,500 participants.
In addition, the conductor Marin Alsop, the film director Haifaa Al-Mansour, and the natural scientist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough will receive the ‘Annual Crystal Award,’ which the forum grants each year to recognize preeminent representatives of the arts and culture.
How can you follow the World Economic Forum in Davos?
So that no detail is missed, the Davos Economic Forum has set up various channels where the event’s discussions and activities can be followed.
For the 2019 Davos event, the World Economic Forum will publish participant articles from chairmen and CEOs in the business community, political leaders, and from the diverse communities of the forum itself: Young Global Leaders, Technology Pioneer, Schwab Foundation and Global Shapers.
What is the Forum’s history?
Davos came about in 1971 in Geneva (Switzerland), as a non-profit organization “independent, impartial and not tied to special interests.” Its founder is Klaus M. Schwab, a professor at the University of Geneva, who more than four decades ago invited 444 executives from European companies to a meeting on corporate governance in the convention center of Davos.
His idea was to introduce the American business management approach to European firms. He never imagined that that meeting would lead to the unparalleled international summit.
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