Reshaping the world.

Author:Donnellon, Brien
Position:Wef special: overview

This month the world's policy makers and wealthiest gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, to debate topics including climate change, global risk management and the world economy. Let's take a look at what we can expect from this year's meeting.

Klaus Schwab founded the European Management Forum in 1971 as a non-profit foundation, following a meeting of business leaders in Davos. It was renamed the World Economic Forum in 1987, reflecting its change from a European to a global organization.

WEF's mission statement is "Committed to improving the state of the world", and it works with small groups of experts in more than 70 subject areas in pursuit of this goal. The forum engages business, political, academic and other leaders to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

From the offset it made an impact by improving political, economic and social awareness, providing a platform for peace in many parts of the world. Following the fall of the Berlin Wall it promoted understanding between East and West as well as introducing China and India to the international community. WEF is involved in many global initiatives, including the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis & Malaria, the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization (GAVI) and the development of the Group of Twenty (G20). It also likes to be seen as a platform promoting public-private partnerships.

The organisation employs over 500 people and is based in Geneva. The forum claims to have no political, partisan or national interests. It has a membership of 1,000 international corporations, most of which have annual turnover exceeding $5 billion, as well as various strategic partnerships.


Professor Klaus Schwab is still executive chairman of the World Economic Forum. Schwab and his wife Hilde created the Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship, in 1998 with the aim of recognising and spreading global initiatives in social entrepreneurship. It currently supports 200 social entrepreneurs.

In 2004, Schwab established the Forum of Young Global Leaders (targeted at leaders below 40 years of age) followed in 2011 by the Global Shapers Community (targeted at potential leaders between the ages of 20 and 30). The aim is to integrate young people into future global decision-making processes, especially those addressing social problems.

Schwab strongly believes the management of a company is not only accountable to its shareholders but should also serve the...

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