This is Davos, Switzerland.
For 51weeks of the year, it’s a traditional resort town in the Alps.
But for one week,
it turns into the meeting place of some of the world’s most powerful leaders
Every January, some of the biggest names in business and government
come here for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.
Think presidents and prime ministers.
And business heavyweights.
It’s popular among celebrities, too.
So why do all of these people come to the snowy Alps
for a conference about the economy?
Let me take you back nearly five decades to understand.
It was 1971,
when 450 participants from 31 countries
gathered in Davos for the inaugural European Management Symposium.
The meeting was called by this guy, a German professor named Klaus Schwab.
Schwab wanted business leaders to brainstorm how Europe’s major firms
could be more competitive with their American counterparts.
He said, Davos,
which was already a top holiday destination for Europe’s elite,
had “all of the elements for hosting a productive working retreat for top CEOs.”
the world was facing an oil crisis, the collapse of a fixed exchange rate system,
and fallout from the Arab-Israeli War.
The line between economics and politics was getting blurrier.
So, political leaders were invited to Davos for the first time.
And by 1987, the institution had become so global
that it changed its name to the World Economic Forum.
Today, the World Economic Forum is an international non-profit organization
with about 600 employees.
It’s funded by some of biggest companies in the world.
And the price for membership isn’t cheap,
ranging from roughly $60,000 to $600,000.
On top of that,
some company CEOs have to pay an additional fee to participate in Davos.
So it’s not surprising the gathering has gotten a reputation
因此 毫不奇怪 该论坛被誉为
as a place where rich, middle-aged, mostly, men hang out.
Among Davos’ 3,000 participants in 2017,
only a fifth were women.
99 countries were represented,
but two-thirds of participants came from Western Europe and North America.
Every year’s meeting has a theme,
highlighting topics like technological change,
globalization, or economic prosperity.
Badges are different colors, and since security is super tight,
each color gives you access to a different part of the conference.
But what everyone really wants is the white badge,
which is your ticket to some of the most exclusive panels and events.
And for many at Davos, the action doesn’t happen on stage.
It’s about meetings behind closed doors and invite-only parties away from the main event.
The World Economic Forum says it aims to address global challenges
by bringing together the influential people who have the ability to make change.
Davos has been a frequent target of populist anger on the left and right.
Critics say Davos is all about champagne and cocktails.
They say the Davos elites put on a show about fixing inequality,
when it’s really all talk and no action.
So maybe it’s no surprise the World Economic Forum made its 2018 theme,
“Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.”
Hey everyone it’s Elizabeth.
Thanks so much for watching our video from snowy Davos here.
You can check out more of our videos over here,
and be sure to leave any of your ideas for future CNBC Explains in our comments section.
See you later!
This is Davos, Switzerland.