Davos speakers: from Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai


Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article titled “Davos speakers: from Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai” was written by Graeme Wearden, for The Guardian on Friday 19th January 2018 21.07 Asia/Kolkata

The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos is attended by thousands of high-powered delegates from the worlds of politics, business and even entertainment. Here are 10 of the most high-profile figures appearing at the Swiss resort next month.

Davos is a Swiss ski resort now more famous for hosting the annual four-day conference for the World Economic Forum. For participants it is a festival of networking. Getting an invitation is a sign you have made it – and the elaborate system of badges reveals your place in the Davos hierarchy.

For critics, “Davos man” is shorthand for the globe-trotting elite, disconnected from their home countries after spending too much time in the club-class lounge. Others just wonder if it is all a big waste of time.

Who is there?

More than 2,500 people – business leaders, politicians such as Donald Trump, diplomats and the odd celebrity, such as Cate Blanchett – will fly in for the 48th annual Davos meeting. As usual most delegates are men: just 17% of are women. Although the forum boasts delegates from more than 100 countries, most hail from western Europe, followed by the US. The smallest number of delegates come from Latin America and Africa.


Donald Trump

Davos encapsulates nearly everything that the US president loves to hate, and the feeling is mutual. So, the first visit by a US president in 18 years could be an uncomfortable experience for all concerned. Trump may use his speech on Friday to push his “America First” agenda, and savage core WEF beliefs such as free trade and globalisation.

Narendra Modi

The first Indian prime minister to address Davos in two decades, Modi will urge international businesses to invest in his country. He will deliver the opening speech on Tuesday morning, after hosting a group of CEOs at a dinner on Monday night. His message: India is an open economy, looking for global investments.

India’s PM Narendra Modi will deliver the opening speech in Davos
India’s PM Narendra Modi will deliver the opening speech in Davos.
Photograph: Danish Siddiqui/Reuters

Theresa May

The British prime minister will deliver a special address on Thursday afternoon, a chance to bang the drum for Britain after Brexit. She will also meet other world leaders behind the scenes, but this may not include Trump, who has reportedly snubbed British attempts to schedule a meeting.

Cate Blanchett

No stranger to prizes, Blanchett will soon have a WEF crystal award to display alongside her two Oscars. The Australian actor is being recognised for raising awareness of the global refugee crisis. She will tell delegates that the world must stand in solidarity with the 65 million people forcibly displaced across the globe.

Cate Blanchett (left) at a humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria
Cate Blanchett (left) at a humanitarian operation for people displaced by the conflict in Syria.
Photograph: UNHCR/Jordi Matas/PA

Emmanuel Macron

France’s new president will be a big draw. He is a WEF favourite, having beaten populist Marine Le Pen to the Élysée Palace last spring. Macron gives a special address on Wednesday evening, a chance to push his vision of a successful European Union based on closer integration, economic reforms and free trade.

Emmerson Mnangagwa

Zimbabwe’s new leader is making a trip to Davos two months after succeeding Robert Mugabe. Mnangagwa hopes to mend Zimbabwe’s difficult relations with the west, and show it is open for business.

Winnie Byanyima

The executive director of Oxfam has a well-earned reputation for harrying the rich and famous at Davos to mend their ways. This year she will be speaking on income inequality, and the battle against sexual harassment and abuse. She will also push for a renewed fight against tax avoidance, in the light of the Paradise Papers revelations.

Al Gore

The last three years have been the hottest on record, Swiss glaciers are melting, and the world is on track to miss its Paris climate agreement targets. So the former US vice-president will be racing around Davos warning world leaders to step up the fight against climate change. He will also screen his new documentary, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power.

Former US vice-president Al Gore at Davos in 2014
Former US vice-president Al Gore at Davos in 2014.
Photograph: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images

Sharan Burrow

For the first time in its 48-year history, Davos will be chaired by an all-female team – including Burrow, the general secretary of the International Trade Union Confederation. She will use the platform to challenge “Davos man” on gender equality. As she told CNBC: “If you ask me whether this rise of the alpha leader has created a wave of misogyny, you know my answer is yes.”

Malala Yousafzai

Five years after being shot by the Taliban, Yousafzai is taking her campaign for educational equality to Davos. The Oxford politics student, and youngest Nobel peace prize laureate, will tell world leaders to ensure equal access to education for girls and boys. She is appearing on a panel alongside the Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau.

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Davos speakers: from Donald Trump to Malala Yousafzai | NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE

Rajesh Ahuja

I am a veteran journalist based in Chandigarh India.I joined the profession in June 1982 and worked as a Staff Reporter with the National Herald at Delhi till June 1986. I joined The Hindu at Delhi in 1986 as a Staff Reporter and was promoted as Special Correspondent in 1993 and transferred to Chandigarh. I left The Hindu in September 2012 and launched my own newspaper ventures including this news portal and a weekly newspaper NORTH INDIA KALEIDOSCOPE (currently temporarily suspended).