The World Economic Forum’s 48th Annual Meeting will take place on 23-26 January 2018 in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland, bringing together a record number of heads of state, government and international organizations alongside leaders from business, civil society, academia, the arts and media.
Convening participants under the theme, Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World, the meeting will focus on finding ways to reaffirm international cooperation on crucial shared interests, such as international security, the environment and the global economy. The meeting comes at a time when geostrategic competition between states is generally seen to be on the rise.
Alongside international cooperation, an additional priority of the meeting will be to overcome divisions within countries. These have often been caused by breakdowns in the social contract as a result of failure to protect societies from the transformational impacts of a succession of shocks, from globalization to the proliferation of social media and the birth of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Collectively, these shocks have caused a loss of trust in institutions and damaged the relationship between business and society.
“Our world has become fractured by increasing competition between nations and deep divides within societies. Yet the sheer scale of the challenges our world faces makes concerted, collaborative and integrated action more essential than ever. Our Annual Meeting aims to overcome these fault lines by reasserting shared interests among nations and securing multistakeholder commitment to renewing social contracts through inclusive growth,” said Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman, World Economic Forum.
This year’s opening address will be delivered by Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India. Donald Trump, President of the United States of America, will deliver a keynote address before the close of the meeting. This year a record number of leaders from G7 economies will participate, including Angela Merkel, Federal Chancellor, Germany; Paolo Gentiloni, Prime Minister of Italy; Emmanuel Macron, President of France; Theresa May, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom; Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada; Jean-Claude Juncker, President of the European Commission, in addition to President Trump. As well as Prime Minister Modi, other leaders from the G20 include Liu He, Member, Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee; General Office Director, Central Leading Group for Financial and Economic Affairs, People's Republic of China; Mauricio Macri, President of Argentina, Cyril Ramaphosa, Deputy President of South Africa; His Majesty King Felipe VI, King of Spain, and Michel Temer, President of Brazil. From the host country, Alain Berset, President of the Swiss Confederation, will also participate.
Overall, the Annual Meeting will feature over 340 top political leaders with 10 heads of state and government from Africa, nine from the Middle East and North Africa and six from Latin America. These include Hailemariam Desalegn, Prime Minister of Ethiopia; Emmerson Mnangagwa, President of Zimbabwe; Yemi Osinbajo, Vice-President of Nigeria; Saad Al Hariri, President of the Council of Ministers, Lebanon; His Majesty King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein, King of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel; and Juan Manuel Santos, President of Colombia.
Leaders from international organizations include Antonio Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations; Roberto Azevêdo, Director-General, World Trade Organization (WTO); Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO); Angel Gurría, Secretary-General, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD); Zeid Ra'ad Hussein, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights; Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank; Miroslav Lajcák, President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, United Nations; Peter Maurer, President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC); Guy Ryder, Director-General, International Labour Organization (ILO).
Representing the pinnacle of accomplishment across government, business, civil society and academia, the Co-Chairs of the Annual Meeting 2018 are: Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Belgium; Fabiola Gianotti, Director-General, European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), Geneva; Isabelle Kocher, Chief Executive Officer, ENGIE, France; Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC; Ginni Rometty, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, IBM Corporation, USA; Chetna Sinha, Founder and Chair, Mann Deshi Foundation, India; and Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway.
In addition to record participation from the public sector, the private sector will be represented by over 1,900 leaders. Civil society is represented by almost 900 leaders from NGOs, social entrepreneurs, academia, the arts, labour organizations, faith-based and religious groups and media. The Annual Meeting is also the foremost global summit representing younger generations, with 50 members of the Forum’s Global Shaper community, aged between 20 and 30, and 80 Young Global Leaders under the age of 40, participating. Find out more about participants, including gender, sector, region, nationality and age here.
Over 21% of participants at this year’s meeting will be women, a higher proportion than at any previous meeting. The Forum works throughout the year to highlight the gender gap and develop strategies to help women achieve positions of senior leadership.
Featuring over 400 sessions, nearly half of which are webcast, the meeting programme has been designed around four tracks:
Driving sustained economic progress
If technological change and environmental degradation have fundamentally changed how the global economy works, then what new economic models could put us on a path to shared prosperity?
Navigating a multipolar and multiconceptual world
If economic uncertainty and geopolitical competition have driven efforts to reclaim national power and sovereignty, then what balance between global cooperation and local autonomy could prevent the disintegration of the world order?
Overcoming divisions in society
If outrage cycles in media and political rhetoric are widening societal fault lines and undermining tolerance, then what solutions can be jointly developed to restore the social compact?
Shaping the agile governance of technology
If recent technological advances have the potential to fundamentally redefine modern life, then what ethical foundations and adaptive policies could ensure that society benefits from equal access and equal protection in the future?
The recipients of the World Economic Forum’s 24th Annual Crystal Awards are Cate Blanchett, Elton John, and Shah Rukh Khan. The awards celebrate achievements of leading artists who have shown exemplary commitment to improving the state of the world and will be presented in a ceremony on the evening of 22 January.