This year, the World Economic Forum (WEF) marks its 50th anniversary. The summit will begin on January 21 and go on until January 24. Several global political and business leaders will be present during the summit to discourse on various prospects and challenges across the globe. The theme of this year's meeting is ‘Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World'.
Here’s a quick recap of what happened at WEF meet in the past:
In 1971, Professor Klaus Schwab, an engineer and economist, founded the forum. He organised a two-week conference in the Swiss Alps. The first “European Management Forum” was held in Davos, Switzerland. About 450 participants from 31 countries assembled.
In 1973, Aurelio Peccei, the Italian industrialist, delivered a speech on his book “The Limits to Growth”. Also, it was the year when participants took the initiative to draft code of ethics.
In 1976 the forum launched a programme with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) that offered a platform for emerging economies to extant investment projects to Davos participants.
1979 saw beginning of a venerable relationship between the Forum and China. A delegation from China participated in Davos Symposium for the first time.
In 1987, the European Management Forum changed its name to the World Economic Forum.
Further in 1988, personal meetings at Davos between Prime Minister Turgut Özal of Turkey and Andreas Papandreou, Prime Minister of Greece led to a negotiation. They signed a Davos Declaration aimed at normalising relations between both the countries.
It was in 1992 when anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela made a joint appearance – the first outside South Africa – with President F W de Klerk and Chief Minister of KwaZulu, Mangosuthu Buthelezi. The handshake between Mandela and de Klerk symbolised the end of apartheid.
1998 further saw the birth of G20. The idea was to set up a body to include 20 countries-- half-developed economies and other developing ones.
In 1999, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan and Klaus Schwab discussed how to assemble participants to support a global effort.
In 2000, for the first time, a sitting American president, Bill Clinton, came to Davos for the 30th annual meeting.
In 2002, The World Economic Forum held its Annual Meeting in New York to show harmony with the US and the people of the city after the 9/11 terror attacks.
In 2005, The Forum launched its milestone study Woman’s Empowerment: Measuring the Global Gender Gap. The year 2012 saw the arrival of exceptional emerging leaders in their 20s. That underscored the importance of addressing youth concerns.
The World Economic Forum launched the centre for the fourth industrial revolution network in 2016.In 2018, WEF made up the first all-female panel of Davos Co-Chairs. There was political participation too. In 2019, urgency of environmental crisis was on Forum's agenda.