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The World Economic Forum (WEF), based in Geneva, Switzerland, is a nonprofit, international organization made up of prominent political, business, societal and academic leaders. Every year, the organization hosts the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos, a mountain resort in the Swiss Alps. Although Davos is the location for the annual World Economic Forum meeting, most people also refer to the meeting itself simply as “Davos.”
If you are even a little bit familiar with the World Economic Forum, you probably also know that it is notoriously difficult to get into its conference. So, who actually gets to attend Davos? In this article, that question, and everything else you need to know about the conference will be addressed.
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What is Davos, exactly?
The annual meeting in Davos brings world leaders together to discuss a variety of global issues and potential solutions for those issues. Participants address critical concerns including wealth management, climate change, gender equality, mental health, venture capital and much, much more. These global issues are discussed via sessions, speeches, lectures, special addresses and impact panels. According to the official World Economic Forum website, the main purpose for Davos is for leaders to collaborate as they “share insights, gain fresh perspectives, and build problem-solving communities and initiatives.”
The theme for the upcoming Davos 2022 is “Working Together, Restoring Trust.” This year’s Davos agenda consists of crucial topics, including “building a better future for work, accelerating stakeholder capitalism and harnessing the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.” Although the conference is usually held in January, this year’s event was rescheduled and will take place from May 22 to May 26.
Can anyone attend Davos?
No, not just anyone can attend the conference. Davos is an invitation-only event. The World Economic Forum itself is funded by the (approximately) 1,000 members of the organization. The list of members is made up of the biggest global companies, and the CEOs of those companies are among those who are invited to Davos.
Other than the organization’s members, invitations to Davos are also given to notable politicians, civil society representatives, world leaders, business leaders, religious leaders, academic leaders, journalists, investors and celebrities. Typically, the event draws about 3,000 attendees each year. Davos is free for all WEF members, but individuals invited as a company representative reportedly pay around $28,000 USD to attend. Past non-member Davos attendees include former United States President Donald Trump, Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg, singer Elton John and actress Cate Blanchett.
Although Davos is a highly exclusive event, the World Economic Forum insists the annual meeting is not secretive. More than 1,000 media representatives will attend the conference to cover it, and the World Economic Forum’s website also confirms that more 150 sessions will be live-streamed online. A dedicated website is also in place to report the biggest highlights from the event. The WEF will also be posting much of the action from Davos on Twitter (@wef and @davos). You can also follow the action using the official meeting hashtag, #wef22, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn. Additionally, WEF’s official YouTube channel will post the live-streamed sessions and videos.
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Why is Davos so important?
The importance of Davos primarily lies in the fact that the conference provides a platform for leaders all over the world to address urgent global problems and work together to generate ideas and solutions for how to improve the state of the world at large.
The World Economic Forum declares in its mission statement, “We believe that progress happens by bringing together people from all walks of life who have the drive and the influence to make positive change.” Davos is an opportunity for thousands of voices and perspectives to come together to dissect how progress can actually be made every year. Davos is also an opportunity for participants and attendees to get the attention of global leaders. Furthermore, the issues and topics highlighted at Davos are incredibly diverse, having sparked conversations about everything from capitalism, the environment and mental health to arts, culture and so much more.
Past Davos meetings have shown proof of this progress and the importance of the conference, too. For example, after 2019’s conference, the WEF, World Bank and Red Cross partnered to invest in fragile economies using private-sector capital secured at the conference. Following another previous Davos meeting, a charitable organization known as The Wellcome Trust pledged $260 million over five years for mental health research — specifically, research going towards a better understanding of depression and anxiety.
Besides the focus on “building a better future for work,” this year’s Davos will also address pandemic recovery and climate change. So although it’s not possible for just anyone to attend Davos, the public still has plenty of opportunities to keep up with the discussion on these important topics listed above via social media highlights. And although Davos is only held once a year, its impact is extraordinary as it brings the world’s most pressing issues to light as leaders collaborate for solutions. Keep your eyes and ears open from May 22 to May 26 to see what all comes out of Davos 2022.
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