For more than four decades, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has pitched its annual shindig in Davos as a chance for powerful leaders in business, politics, media and academia to convene in one spot to trade ideas on how to solve the pressing global problems of the day.
And for about as long, critics have dismissed the invitation-only event as nothing more than a glorified networking get-together for elites, or, as U2 singer Bono once called it, a meeting of “fat cats in the snow”.
But are critics right to so quickly trash the Davos meeting? Haven’t there been at least a few tangible achievements along the way?
The WEF itself thinks so. It claims some notable successes over the years, particularly on the diplomatic front. A draft agreement on Gaza and Jericho was hammered out by Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yasser Arafat at the 1994 meeting, according to the WEF’s website.
Davos may have even helped stop a war. At 1988′s meeting, Greece and Turkey turned back from the brink of war over a naval incident in the Mediterranean, producing the so-called “Davos Declaration”. The talks marked the beginning of a rapproachment between the countries.