Davos: Why is the World Economic Forum taking place in this small Swiss town?

Davos: Why is the World Economic Forum taking place in this small Swiss town?

The World Economic Forum opens this Monday, January 16, in Davos. But why was this small resort in the Swiss Alps chosen?

Every year, decision makers from around the world gather at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. This 2023 edition promises to be particularly eventful, in the context of several crises, between the war in Ukraine, global warming or the Covid-19 pandemic, which continues to play its part.

But why was this small town of around 10,000 inhabitants in the heart of the Alps chosen for this world gathering? The answer can be found more than thirty years ago, in 1971. In that year, Klaus M. Schwab, a German economics professor at the University of Geneva, decided to organize the first European Management Symposium in the new congress center of the Ski Resort. He invites 444 business leaders from the old continent to this occasion.

Schwab subsequently turned his “symposium” into a “forum” and decided to host his event every January. Gradually, the meeting took on a global dimension and was no longer only interested in management issues, but in general in global crises, with many political personalities being invited from the start, in addition to economists. So much so that the European Management Forum was renamed the World Economic Forum in 1987.

Since then, Davos has become synonymous with an indispensable meeting point for decision-makers from all over the world. For a few days in January, the small town triples its population and the eyes of the whole planet are on it. According to Article 3 of its charter, the forum, which continues to be chaired by Klaus Schwab, 84, now has a mandate to “improve the state of the world” through “public-private collaboration.”

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