Our Institutional Framework

The World Economic Forum engages political, business, academic, civil society and other leaders of society to shape global, regional and industry agendas. It is independent, impartial, not tied to any special interests and upholds the highest standards of governance and moral and intellectual integrity.

The World Economic Forum has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland and offices in New York and San Francisco in the United States, in Beijing, China and in Tokyo, Japan.

Established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation, the Forum received the status of an international organization for public-private cooperation from the Swiss authorities in 2015. It engages organizations and leaders through dialogue, debate and commitments for action in the service of building more future-ready, resilient, inclusive and sustainable economies and societies.


The Forum’s work on facilitating progress on systemic challenges is taken forward through its 10 centres, each applying the institution’s unique combination of impact methods to drive holistic efforts. The centres build communities of purpose that conceptualize the high-level ambition, cooperation and framework needed to address large-scale global challenges. Based on the direction provided by these communities, the Forum’s centre teams support the strategic planning and organizing architecture needed to convert ambition into focused action, through structured multi-year initiatives and insight generation.


The work of the centres is complemented by the Forum’s meetings that provide a platform for trust-based engagement, robust debate and public-facing dialogue. They range from large-scale events, such as the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting that helps coalesce a wide range of stakeholders around common long-term challenges as well as newly emerging issues, to smaller meetings designed to advance specific thematic areas or community activities, such as the Sustainable Development Impact Meetings, the Industry Strategy Meetings or The Growth Summit.


Throughout its 50-year history, the Forum has worked to improve trust through dialogue, support better decision-making through research and insights, and enable the implementation of ambitious initiatives for a more inclusive, resilient and sustainable future. These efforts have included the Davos Declaration signed in 1988 between Greece and Turkey, flagship reports that track the global gender gap, the labour market landscape and the economic outlook, as well as hundreds of public-private collaborative endeavours to improve living standards, support planetary health, provide a channel for diplomacy and dialogue, and progress industry and technology governance.

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