Today the World Economic Forum unveiled the programme for its Annual Meeting in Davos, including the key participants, themes and goals. The overarching theme of the Meeting, which will take place from 24 to 28 January, is “Shaping the Global Agenda, The Shifting Power Equation.”

Speaking at today’s press conference at the World Economic Forum’s headquarters in Geneva, Founder and Executive Chairman Professor Klaus Schwab said, “We are faced by a world which is increasingly schizophrenic. Our world is rapidly changing and power is shifting geopolitically, in business terms and even in the virtual world. Power, wealth and well-being are spread in ever more complex ways, leading to a world which is harder and harder to understand and which often seems alien to us. It is to make sense of this world, and to tackle its complex problems and opportunities, that leaders from all walks of life will once again meet in Davos at our Annual Meeting. The World Economic Forum Annual Meeting gives all of us a chance to understand and shape the Global Agenda in the year ahead.”

Over the course of the five-day Meeting, 2,400 participants from 90 countries will convene in Davos, including 24 heads of state or government, 85 cabinet ministers, along with religious leaders, media leaders and heads of  non-governmental organizations. Around 50% of the participants are business leaders drawn principally from the Forum’s members – 1,000 of the foremost companies from around the world and across all economic sectors.

The programme will follow four main themes that are high on the global agenda in 2007. These range from “Economics: New Drivers” and “Geopolitics: The Need for Fresh Mandates” to “Business: Leading in a Connected World”, and “Technology and Society: Identity, Community and Networks”.  The opening session of the Annual Meeting will see Angela Merkel lay out her agenda for the year ahead.  The German Chancellor will be chair of the G8 for 2007 and rotating head of the European Council for the first six months of the year.

This year will also see the extension of the workshops held in the Davos WorkSpace. There will be two series under the overarching title “Designing New Solutions to Complex Challenges”. The CEO Series will examine “Leading in a Networked World”, with sessions ranging from “Collaborate to Innovate” to “Finding Future Talent”, and the Future Series will investigate “Living in a Networked World” with a series of six sessions ranging from “Building the Skills of the Future” to “Designing Sustainable Cities”.

Commenting on the Annual Meeting programme, Ged Davis, Managing Director and Head of the Centre for Strategic Insight at the World Economic Forum, said: “The idea that the world is in transition is not new, but in 2007 we can see much more clearly the dimensions of change in technology, society, geopolitics and economics, and the consequences for business. It is our understanding of this change that underscores the theme of the Annual Meeting in Davos: ‘The Shifting Power Equation’. At the Annual Meeting we can explore the implications of these shifts. They are first addressed in update sessions and in the opening plenary, establishing priorities and proposing possible actions. They are further examined in plenary debate and interactive dialogue. Finally, the Forum’s newly expanded Davos WorkSpaces will provide an environment tailored to facilitate peer reflection, collaboration and the identification of solutions."

Business leaders this year come from the top-most levels, with more than 800 CEOs or Chairmen taking part – the highest number ever. Noting the strong business participation this year, Peter Torreele, Managing Director at the World Economic Forum, said, “Business is always strongly represented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos – but in terms of the quality and geographical representation of attendees, this is a particularly good year. If we look at the top 100 companies in the world chosen by the FT, Fortune or Forbes, 73 are represented at the Annual Meeting, the vast majority by the CEO, Chairman or President. In total more than 800 chairmen and CEOs from leading companies will take an active part in the discussions, coming from around the world. As business leaders become more and more engaged with global problems, it’s clear that the Forum is providing the platform for them to work with other sectors of society for the global good.”

The co-chairs are:
John Browne of Madingley, Group Chief Executive, BP, United Kingdom
Michelle Guthrie, Chief Executive Officer, Star Group, Hong Kong SAR
E. Neville Isdell, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Coca-Cola Company, USA
Sunil Bharti Mittal, Chairman and Group Managing Director, Bharti Enterprises, India
James J. Schiro, Group Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Group Management Board, Zurich Financial Services, Switzerland
Eric Schmidt, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Chief Executive Officer, Google, USA

Click here for a list of some of the 1,000 key business leaders participating in this year’s Annual Meeting.  www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/businessleaders, and 200 leading public figures www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/publicfigures

There will also be more than 30 Trade and Agricultural ministers, seven European Commissioners, and five cabinet members from the United States.

Among the other participants are heads of international organizations including Mohamed M. ElBaradei, Director-General, International Atomic Energy Agency, Vienna; Richard Feachem, Executive Director, Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, Geneva; Pascal Lamy, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO), Geneva; Peter Piot, Executive Director, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), Geneva; Ann M. Veneman, Executive Director, United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), New York; Paul D. Wolfowitz, President, World Bank, Washington DC; Koichiro Matsuura, Director-General, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Paris; Achim Steiner, Executive Director, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), Nairobi; Heizo Takenaka, Director, Global Security Research Institute, Keiko University, Japan.

NGOs and labour leaders and academics include:
Irene Khan, Secretary-General, Amnesty International; Kenneth Roth, Executive Director, Human Rights Watch; Barbara Stocking, Director, Oxfam Great Britain; Hany El Banna, President, Islamic Relief; Gerd Leipold, Executive Director, Greenpeace International; Markku Niskala, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies; Guy Ryder, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation; Sharan Burrow, President, Australian Council of Trade Unions; and Philip Jennings, General Secretary, UNI Global Union; Lester R. Brown, Founder and President, Earth Policy Institute; Timothy Garton Ash, Professor of European Studies, University of Oxford; Susan Greenfield, Director, The Royal Institution of Great Britain; Jessica Mathews, President, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace; Michael E. Porter, Bishop William Lawrence University Professor, Harvard Business School; Laura D. Tyson, Dean, London Business School.

Personalities from the cultural world contributing to the debates in Davos will include musicians Bono and Peter Gabriel, author Paulo Coelho, Chess Grandmaster Anatoly Karpov, and painter and sculptor Romero Britto.

Representatives of the world’s media will also be represented at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting, with 15% of participants drawn from media organizations around the world. Media representatives will have access to every session at the Annual Meeting. Additionally, this year the Forum will invite every participant to join its weblog and will podcast key sessions. As in previous years, more than 40 sessions will be webcast. Any person wishing to join the Davos Conversation should tag all contributions as “davos07”.

• Everything about the Annual Meeting 2007 can be found here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting
• In depth Interviews with key business participants are here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/indepth
• The Programme can be downloaded here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/programme
• Follow the discussions and read the Session summaries as of 24 January here: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/summaries2007
• Follow key debates webcast live or download them as vodcasts or podcasts as of 24 January at: www.weforum.org/annualmeeting/webcasts
• Join the Davos Conversation (www.weforum.org/davosconversation) as of 18 January or leave your comments in our Weblog at: www.agenda.weforum.org
• Subscribe to our Press Releases here: www.weforum.org/pressreleases
• Download print-quality high resolution Photographs of the Annual Meeting free of charge here: www.swiss-image.ch/webwef/INDEX.htm (login: world; password: forum)