Next week thousands of the world’s richest and most powerful players will gather in the tiny Swiss town of Davos. Each year the town high in the Alps hosts the World Economic Forum, attended by global political and business leaders, philanthropists, celebrities and media. It is a gathering epitomizing and promoting the global elite that President Donald Trump has railed against throughout his presidency so far.
So it took the world by surprise when Trump announced he would be attending the summit this year.
The message for the 2018 forum is “Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World” and strong calls for global cooperation are likely to be focused on issues such as climate change and global instability.
A record 70 heads of state or government are said to be participating in Davos 2018 for the world economic forum with the higher attendance possibly sparked by curiosity over what message Trump will bring to the conference giving the closing speech on the 26th.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is giving the opening address on Tuesday, and France’s Emmanuel Macron will also deliver a speech on the same day.
Britain’s Theresa May, Canada’s Justin Trudeau and Israel’s Benjamin Netanyahu will also attend. Celebrities Cate Blanchett and Elton John are to receive awards in the Davos Arts and Culture award ceremony.
What to look out for
Many will be watching closely for signals from the U.S. president at the forum.
As well as the keynote speeches, there will be bilateral meetings and backdoor diplomacy on the sidelines between world leaders.
Trump is reportedly planning on meeting with Macron. The French leader is increasingly emerging as the stable face of Europe, over German Chancellor Angela Merkel who is struggling to form a government.
Meanwhile, in the U.K., embattled Prime Minister May was snubbed by Trump when he recently canceled plans to open the new American embassy in London. After humiliating reports in the U.K. press that Trump wouldn’t meet her in Davos, the White House today said they would in fact meet next week in Switzerland.