World Economic Forum

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

World Economic Forum

World Economic Forum, independent international organization that seeks to improve the state of the world by encouraging partnerships between the public and private sectors, est. 1971 by the German-born Swiss business professor Klaus Schwab. Originally known as the European Management Forum, it was renamed (1987) when its focus broadened to cover international areas of concern. The WEF has its headquarters in Geneva.

The WEF provides arenas in which individuals from the highest echelons of global business, politics, academia, and civil society can meet to define a wide range of problem areas, discuss them, and create initiatives aimed at rectifying them. It sponsors an influential annual forum at Davos, Switzerland, as well as various regional summits and smaller meetings and conferences. Participants at Davos include representatives of the world's leading corporations (who also fund the WEF), heads of states and other politicians and diplomats, leaders of nongovernmental organizations, economists and labor leaders, religious leaders, and journalists.

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