It has been suggested that WEF has become an irrelevance. After all the conventional wisdom at Davos this time last year was that Donald Trump wouldn’t win the Republican presidential nomination, let alone the presidency; that Brexit would be defeated; globalisation was an eternal force for good with free trade spreading wealth across the world; and diplomacy was a noble art that forged cooperation and understanding. Justin Trudeau’s starry-eyed optimism set the tone.
This year, the tides have shifted. It has always been easy to poke fun at Davos for its out of touch elitism with the international glitterati travelling in on their private jets to tackle climate change; feasting on caviar while strategising about tackling world hunger; and debating global inequality in amongst the biggest gathering of billionaires and power the world has seen.
But beyond the jarring contradictions, the annual gathering has always been a force for the like-minded progressive, and pro-globalisation coalition. And perhaps because the assumptions embodied by Davos are under such an existential threat there has never been a more relevant and intriguing WEF to observe.
Will the global elite respond with humility or hostility? Who will make the most eye-catching announcement? And will Jamie Oliver cook up a storm? After all, while Xi Jinping will be rubbing shoulders with Matt Damon and Shakira, Trudeau is skipping this year’s get together.
FleishmanHillard Fishburn will be capturing a snapshot of the best bits. We’re following what the movers and shakers are saying (and doing) as well as the innovative campaigns that brands are launching at WEF to get their message across. So keep an eye out for our Davos Digest every morning wrapping up the day and looking ahead at what to expect.