Global elite descend on Davos to ‘reshape world’

Tuesday, January 21, 2014
By Paul Martin

Kim Hjelmgaard
USA TODAY
January 20, 2014

The ski resort of Davos attracts the global political and business elite each year for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum.

ZURICH — Once a year Switzerland becomes much more than the sum of its chocolate, watches and banking sector.

For several days at the end of January, presidents, prime ministers, monarchs and corporate titans jostle with actors, rock stars and major influencers for top billing at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum. The confab takes place in the Alpine village of Davos, about 90 miles southeast of Zurich, and for a brief spell each year the pristine ski resort half-sheds its Graubünden roots and becomes a ground zero for the political and business elite.

“It’s a fascinating event that occurs on any number of levels,” says Boston-based Nariman Behravesh, a Davos veteran and chief global economist at IHS, a consultancy.

“The top-level political leadership give their speeches, but usually they don’t tell you anything you don’t already know. In the open forums there are a lot of talking heads, and you kind of know what they are going to say. However, the private meetings, often in the hallways and mostly off the record, are much more interesting, with lots of good discussion. There’s also the partying. You have to be careful not to overdo it,” he says.

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