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Frequently asked questions about WEF

Updated: 2013-01-22 10:44

What is the World Economic Forum?

The World Economic Forum is an independent, not-for-profit foundation which is supported by membership, drawn from leading global companies. It is not tied to any political, partisan or national interest.

What is the World Economic Forum's mission?

The Forum is "committed to improving the state of the world" and we go about achieving this through projects, initiatives and reports, and also through fostering dialogue on economic, geo-political and global issues.

Where is the World Economic Forum based?

The Forum’s headquarters are in Cologny, on the outskirts of Geneva, Switzerland. The Forum also has an affiliate in New York, World Economic Forum USA, a representative office in Beijing, and opened the Japan office in Tokyo in September 2009.

How did the World Economic Forum begin?

In 1971, Professor Klaus Schwab, then a professor of Business Administration at the University of Geneva, gathered European business leaders in Davos, Switzerland, for a discussion on global management practices. The success of this first conference led to the creation of the European Management Forum, which in 1987 became the World Economic Forum.

How is the World Economic Forum governed?

The Forum is a not-for-profit foundation, subject to Swiss law. It has three main governing bodies:

the Foundation Board, which has overall responsibility for establishing the long term direction and objectives of the Forum, and which is comprised of international leaders from the public and private sectors.

the International Business Council, which acts as an advisory body providing intellectual stewardship to the Forum.

the Managing Board, which is the executive team responsible for the oversight and management of the activities and resources of the Forum.

Is the World Economic Forum like the UN, IMF or World Bank?

The Forum shares the goal of these organizations which is to make our world a better place. Where the Forum differs from the World Bank or the IMF is that we do not provide capital to nations in need. While the UN’s members are state governments, ours come chiefly, but not entirely, from business. Our members, in turn, meet leaders from other walks of life during Forum activities and events.

Is the World Economic Forum just a private club for the rich and the powerful?

The Forum was founded on the precept that business cannot operate in a vacuum, and that the great challenges facing humankind need to be addressed by all stakeholders of society. The Forum also believes that economic development has created a better life for millions of people and offers hope to millions more. For these reasons the Forum regularly convenes business leaders and leaders from other key sectors of society to discuss, debate and address the major issues confronting humanity. Far from being a “rich man’s club,” the World Economic Forum is a unique platform for progress on some of the most difficult problems facing the world today.

Does the World Economic Forum have any political affiliations?

The Forum is an independent and neutral organization that does not take political positions on the issues it addresses. Rather, the Forum gives leaders of opposing political beliefs a unique opportunity to discuss their differences and discover common ground.

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