Davos Unites World Leaders


Remy Steinegger

Bill Clinton, Bill Gates, Thabo Mbeki, Tony Blair, Bono, and Olusegun Obasanjo convene at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Leaders in business, politics, and research discussed topics such as climate change and the refugee camp crisis at the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland from Tuesday, January 22 to Friday, January 25.

Established as a non-profit in 1971, the forum has a rich history of bringing together world leaders to generate solutions to global issues. Several monumental agreements between different countries have occurred at the meeting, such as the 1988 Davos Declaration, which helped prevent war between Greece and Turkey. Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the forum, said, “The world is caught up in a rapid, comprehensive transformation: technologically, economically, socially, and politically. Being able to help shape this transformation, and to do it in a positive way, is an incredibly motivating challenge that pushes me and the World Economic Forum forward.”

The event attracted business leaders from 1,000 member companies, government officials from countries such as the United States, Germany, China, and South Africa, and representatives from religious, academic, and other non-governmental organizations.

Mohammed Hassan Mohamud, a Somalian refugee, called for the Davos attendees to recognize needs of the thousands of displaced people living in refugee camps around the world. “We are not animals, and we are not criminals. It is not a crime to flee from your country,” Mohamud said. “We are human beings. Get a chance to know us. We’re not that different from you. It could happen to anyone.”

Sir David Attenborough, a British broadcaster, delivered an urgent message about the destruction of the natural world caused by climate change. “The Garden of Eden is no more,” Attenborough said. “We have changed the world so much that scientists say we are now in a new geological age.”

While only select individuals were invited to attend the forum in person, its social media presence allowed people everywhere to follow the meeting. Over the course of the event, Nick Romero ’21 followed events through the forum’s Instagram. Romero said, “It’s easier for the younger generations to read about [the forum] and watch about it [on social media] than going on the TV or reading the newspaper. With a touch of a button, you can learn about things that are going on around the world.”

For Mr. Adam Lang, instructor in economics, the forum is an example of collaboration on a global stage. Mr. Lang said, “It’s really important for passionate people who care about the well-being of the world to come together and share ideas. Any time you’re around people with similar interests and passions is an opportunity to learn, connect, and grow. That’s one of the powers of the forum.”