The World Economic Forum (WEF) is a Swiss nonprofit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva, Switzerland with its best known annual meeting held in DAVOS. Recognized by the Swiss authorities as an international body, its mission is cited as “committed to improving the state of the world by engaging business, political, academic, and other leaders of society to shape global, regional, and industry agendas“.
The meeting brings together some 2,500 top business leaders, international political leaders, economists, and journalists for up to four days to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world. The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations across Africa, East Asia, and Latin America, and holds two further annual meetings in China and the United Arab Emirates. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector-specific initiatives. 
The origins of this famous meeting began in January 1971 as the first European Management Symposium. In 1972, the meeting as held in DAVOS and welcomed heads of government. Many famous and infamous persons have attended previous meetings including: Nelson Mandela, Michael Jackson, John Kerry, Rupert Murdoch, Michael Bloomberg, Henry Kissinger, John McCain, Bill Clinton, Lionel Ritchie, Joe Biden, Angelina Jolie, Sir Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Michael Douglas, Eric Schmidt (google), Chad Hurley (youtube), Mark Zuckerberg (facebook), Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Al Gore and even a remote address via satellite in 1982 by Ronald Reagan signaled the the beginning of the US participation in the synposium. In 1987, to reflect its global membership and the fact that economic policy was at the forefront of its activities, the European Management Forum changed its name to the World Economic Forum. This year’s meeting is scheduled for January 23-26, 2018 and the theme is Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World. 
This year’s hottest topics for the approximate 2,500 delegates from the realms of business, politics, academia, the charity sector and the arts, plus the usual smattering of celebrities are expected to be:
The rise of the robots
The increasing use of artificial intelligence, robotics and the automation of jobs has been a repeating theme at Davos, and this year is no different. The impact of AI will be one of the forum’s major events, with a one-to-one interview to be held between Schwab and the chief executive of Google, Sundar Pichai.
The “fourth industrial revolution” will be a key theme once more, with a focus on how the loss of millions of jobs could undermine social cohesion. The way states respond to governing and taxing technologies and borderless business will be high on the agenda. 
Climate-change risks to the fore
Trump moved quickly to pull the US out of the Paris climate accords in one of his first acts as president last year. At Davos, where the environment is always among the most important issues up for debate, this won’t have gone down well.
The former US vice-president Al Gore is attending and will speak on several panels, including one about how extreme weather events are proving more devastating and expensive. 
Gender, Power and Stemming Sexual Harassment: The Vice-President of Microsoft joins Canada’s Minister of Women and other leaders to discuss bullying and harassment in the workplace at Davos this year. 
Other topics also scheduled to be discussed are:
Helping the developing world
More than a third of participants come from developing or emerging economies, while the Indian prime minister, Narendra Modi, will address the opening plenary.
Humanitarian crises are on the agenda, with the displacement of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees out of Myanmar likely to feature prominently, as the forum considers the outlook for 2018.
The actor Cate Blanchett, who alongside Elton John has won a prize designated for artists who best represent the “spirit of Davos”, will speak to raise awareness about the refugee crisis. 
The booming world economy
Almost 10 years on from the financial crisis, and the global economy has got its mojo back. The International Monetary Fund will deliver its latest world economic outlook update on Monday from Davos, where there are sure to be questions about the sustainability of the current upswing. 
In 2018, the forum said that “geostrategic fractures have reemerged on multiple fronts with wide-ranging political, economic and social consequences.”
Summing these fractures up in three main areas will be the focus for this year’s meeting, the forum said. In its own words:
– “Politically, governance is being transformed by new and contending strategic narratives.”
– “Economically, policies are being formulated to preserve the singular benefits of global integration while limiting its shared obligations.”
– “Socially, citizens yearn for responsive leadership that addresses local and national concerns; yet, a shared identity and collective purpose remain elusive despite living in an age of social networks.” 
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The Who’s Who scheduled to attend Davos this year:
The World Economic Forum focuses on the ‘fractured world’ this year: but the biggest star at the gala will be Donald Trump
Davos encapsulates nearly everything that the our president loves to hate, and the feeling is mutual but the United States President will take his populist ‘America First’ message to the globalist Davos summit this week.
“The President welcomes opportunities to advance his America First agenda with world leaders,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement. “At this year’s World Economic Forum, the President looks forward to promoting his policies to strengthen American businesses, American industries, and American workers.”
“The United States will forever be a great friend to the world, and especially to its allies. But we can no longer be taken advantage of, or enter into a one-sided deal where the United States gets nothing in return,” he said in September. “As long as I hold this office, I will defend America’s interests above all else.” 
Klaus Schwab, the founder and executive chairman of the WEF, gave a thinly veiled warning to Trump at his pre-meeting press conference, arguing “no individual alone can solve the issues on the global agenda”. He said the world was at an inflection point where there was a “real danger of a collapse of our global systems”. 
The first Indian prime minister to address Davos in two decades, Modi will urge international businesses to invest in his country. He will deliver the opening speech on Tuesday morning
The British prime minister will deliver a special address on Thursday afternoon, a chance to bang the drum for Britain after Brexit.
The Australian Oscar-award winning actress is being recognized for raising awareness of the global refugee crisis.
France’s new president will be a big draw. He is a WEF favourite, having beaten populist Marine Le Pen to the Élysée Palace last spring. Macron gives a special address on Wednesday evening, a chance to push his vision of a successful European Union based on closer integration, economic reforms and free trade.
Zimbabwe’s new leader is making a trip to Davos two months after succeeding Robert Mugabe.
The executive director of Oxfam has a well-earned reputation for harrying the rich and famous at Davos to mend their ways. This year she will be speaking on income inequality, and the battle against sexual harassment and abuse. She will also push for a renewed fight against tax avoidance, in the light of the Paradise Papers revelations.
The last three years have been the hottest on record, Swiss glaciers are melting, and the world is on track to miss its Paris climate agreement targets. So the former US vice-president will be racing around Davos warning world leaders to step up the fight against climate change. He will also screen his new documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.
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Note: Images except those with * are courtesy of WEF history section.