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World Economic Forum (WEF) A Swiss non-profit foundation, based in Cologny, Geneva. Best known for its annual meeting in Davos, The Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos-Klosters is perhaps best known to the world at large simply as "Davos". For more than four decades, the Annual Meeting has provided leaders from industry, government, academia, civil society and the media with a platform to shape the global agenda by discussing the most pressing issues facing the world, including health and the environment. The flagship event of the foundation is the invitation-only annual meeting held every year at the end of January in Davos, bringing together chief executive officers from its 1,000-member companies as well as selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGOs, religious leaders and the media .
Organization Headquartered in Cologny, the foundation opened, in 2006, regional offices in Beijing, China; and New York City, New York, United States. It strives to be impartial, and is not tied to any political, partisan or national interests. The foundation is "committed to improving the State of the World",and has observer status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and is under the supervision of the Swiss Federal Council. The foundation's highest governance body is the Foundation Board consisting of 22 members, including former BritishPrime MinisterTony Blair and Queen Rania of Jordan. Beside meetings, the foundation produces a series of research reports and engages its members in sector specific initiatives. It also organizes the "Annual Meeting of the New Champions" in China and a series of regional meetings throughout the year. In 2008, those regional meetings included meetings on Europe and Central Asia, East Asia, the Russia CEO Roundtable, Africa, the Middle East, and the World Economic Forum on Latin America. In 2008, the foundation also launched the "Summit on the Global Agenda" in Dubai. The 2011 annual meeting in Davos has been held from 26 January to 30 January.
Background The foundation was started in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German-born business professor at the University of Geneva.Originally named the European Management Forum, it changed its name to the World Economic Forum in 1987 and sought to broaden its vision further to include providing a platform for resolving international conflicts. In the summer of 1971 Schwab invited 444 executives from Western European firms to the first European Management Symposium held in the Davos Congress Centre under the patronage of the European Commission and European industrial associations, where Schwab sought to introduce European firms to American management practices. He then founded the WEF as a non-profit organization based in Geneva and drew European business leaders to Davos for the annual meetings each January. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.
Achievements Political leaders began to use the Annual Meeting as a neutral platform to resolve their differences. The Davos Declaration was signed in 1988 by Greece and Turkey, helping them turn back from the brink of war. In 1992, South African PresidentF. W. de Klerk met with Nelson Mandela and Chief Mangosuthu Buthelezi at the annual meeting, their first joint appearance outside South Africa. At the 1994 annual meeting, Israeli Foreign MinisterShimon Peres and PLO ChairmanYasser Arafat reached a draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho. In 2008, Bill Gates gave a keynote speech on creative capitalism, a form of capitalism that works both to generate profits and solve the world's inequities, using market forces to better address the needs of the poor Criticisms American linguist and public intellectual Noam Chomsky thinks that globalization in the sense of investors and privileged elites or some participants of the World Economic Forum is a propaganda term. In January 2000, 1,000 protesters marched through the streets of Davos and smashed the window of the local McDonald'srestaurant therefore, tight security measures around Davos have to be made. The costs of the security measures, which are shared by the foundation and the Swiss cantonal and national authorities have also been frequently criticized in the Swiss national media.Demonstrations are repeatedly held in Davos (Anti-WEF protests in Switzerland, January 2003) to protest against the meeting of "fat cats in the snow“.
The 2011 Annual Meeting in Davos has been held from 26 January to 30 January. The World Economic Forum launched the Risk Response Network on the opening day of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos. Over 2,500 leaders from business, government and civil society were in Davos for the 41st World Economic Forum Annual Meeting. The theme of the five-day meeting is "Shared Norms for the New Reality". Participants focused on defining the new reality facing the globe and discuss which shared norms are needed for improving global cooperation in a new era. Ban-ki Moon, Secretary-General, United Nations called for cooperation to fight chronic disease. DawAung San SuuKyi, General Secretary of the National League for Democracy, addressed participants of the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011. European Leaders called for Greater Eurozone Transparency and Structural Reform. ‘Getting Haiti Back on Its Feet’ was also a theme in 2011 Davos. An Ideas Lab session on Haiti at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2011 focused on measures for Haiti’s recovery. Sustainability for growth in the face of diminishing natural resources and rising temperatures was also a highlight in Davos 2011 and it was recommended that` business and governments work aggressively in new ways to join the dots between water, energy and food, concluded a panel at the Annual Meeting.