Davos is a town located on the Landwasser River, in the Swiss Alps, between the Plessur and Albula Range in Switzerland. At 1,560 meters, it is the highest city in Europe. From the middle of the 18th century, Davos became a popular destination for the ailing because the climate in the high valley was proved excellent by doctors and recommended for lung disease patients. Arthur Conan Doyle wrote an article about skiing in Davos in 1899.
In the early 90s, Davos became famous worldwide for hosting the World Economic Forum (WEF), an annual meeting of global political and business elites (often referred to simply as Davos) and the home of one of Switzerland’s biggest ski resorts. Organization is defined as “an independent international organization 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. (World Economic Forum, 2012)
These meetings bring together CEOs from the 1000 member companies as well as selected politicians, representatives from academia, NGOs, religious leaders and the media. Around 2200 participants gather for the five-day event and attend some 220 sessions. The discussions focus around key issues of global concern (such as international conflicts, poverty and environmental problems) and possible solutions.
In all about 500 journalists from online, print, radio and TV take part, and are furnished with access to all of the sessions, some of which are also webcast. (Davos, 2011) The organization also convenes some six to eight regional meetings each year in locations such as Latin America and East Asia, as well as 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 Forum was founded in 1971 by Klaus Schwab, a German-born business professor at the University of Geneva, who is currently an Executive Chairman of WEF. 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. (Davos, 2012)
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. (Davos, 2012)
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