Davos World Economic Forum

What is the Davos World Economic Forum?

The Davos World Economic Forum brings together business leaders, politicians, and journalists once a year to discuss current global economic and social challenges. It is the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum and is usually held in January in the ski town of Davos, Switzerland.

The COVID-19 pandemic limited the 51st annual Davos World Economic Forum in 2021 to virtual events. A special annual meeting planned in Singapore was rescheduled later that year and ultimately cancelled. The 2022 annual meeting, initially scheduled for Davos in January, was postponed amid a new wave of COVID-19 infections and held in Davos in May.

  • The Davos World Economic Forum is a headline-grabbing annual event that draws world leaders, CEOs, and journalists to a small town in Switzerland.
  • The event is sponsored by a not-for-profit organization that aims to use the tools of entrepreneurship in the public interest.
  • Usually held in January, the Davos event was staged entirely online in 2021 and delayed until May in 2022, when it returned to the ski resort for the first time in more than two years.
  • Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the resulting risks to the global economy and food supplies dominated the 2022 discussions.

Understanding the Davos World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum is a not-for-profit organization founded in 1971 to "demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest." Initially called the European Management Forum, the organization changed its name to World Economic Forum in 1987.

The Davos meeting has long been World Economic Forum's highest-profile event. According to the organization, the annual meeting “engages the most experienced and the most promising, all working together in the collaborative and collegial spirit of Davos.”

Davos World Economic Forum 2022

The first in-person Davos World Economic Forum in more than two years was held May 22-26, 2022. Russia's invasion of Ukraine drew the most attention, sharing the spotlight with signs of an economic slowdown amid high inflation and rising interest rates. Among the headline-making events from the latest Davos:

  • President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky called for the tightening of economic sanctions against Russia to include a full embargo on the purchase of Russian crude oil and the complete isolation of Russian banks.
  • Billionaire George Soros warned Russia's invasion of Ukraine could spark a world war, describing it as the flashpoint of a global struggle between open and closed societies.
  • The head of the United Nations World Food Program, David Beasley, said Russia's blockade of Ukrainian ports was causing a global food crisis by keeping Ukrainian exports that feed 400 million people off the market.
  • International Monetary Fund Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva said the war in Ukraine dealt "a major setback for the recovery of the world economy" amid high inflation, leading the IMF to lower its global GDP growth forecast for 2022 to 3.6%, from 4.9% in October 2021.
  • Henry Kissinger, an official in the Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford administrations, said Ukraine should concede territory to Russia as part of a peace settlement.
  • Despite a market slump in the value of many cryptocurrencies, industry representatives turned up in force to promote their companies and views on regulation.

The Davos Manifesto

In 2020 the World Economic Forum published a new "Davos Manifesto" updating its 1973 ethics code for business leaders, both authored by WEF founder and executive chair Klaus Schwab. The document calls on companies to "pay their fair share of taxes, show zero tolerance for corruption, uphold human rights throughout their supply chains, and advocate for a competitive level playing field."

Article Sources
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  1. World Economic Forum. "The Davos Agenda 2021."

  2. World Economic Forum. "Special Annual Meeting in Singapore to Take Place in August 2021."

  3. World Economic Forum. "Media Advisory - Special Annual Meeting."

  4. World Economic Forum. "World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting 2022 Deferred."

  5. World Economic Forum. "World Economic Forum Annual Meeting."

  6. World Economic Forum. "Our Mission."

  7. World Economic Forum. "History."

  8. VOA News. "Ukraine’s President Asks Davos Global Elite to Help Isolate Russia."

  9. Bloomberg. "Soros Warns 'Civilization May Not Survive' Putin's War."

  10. World Economic Forum. "How to Avoid a Global Recession, According to the Head of the IMF."

  11. The New York Times. "Henry Kissinger Suggests Ukraine Give Up Territory to Russia."

  12. CNBC. "Bitcoin Pizza Day and NFTs: Crypto Players Take Over Main Strip in Davos Even After Market Crash."

  13. World Economic Forum. "The Davos Manifesto."

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