What’s the WEF?

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The World Economic Forum is a non-profit organization that aims to improve the world by shaping the global, regional, and industry agendas. Founded by Klaus Martin Schwab in 1971, it includes over 1,000 leading companies and small businesses, as well as government, education, religion, arts, and NGOs. The forum proposes initiatives such as sustainable agriculture, global health systems, and increased access to modern energy services. It is independent and not aligned with any political party.

The World Economic Forum is a not-for-profit foundation comprised of international leaders whose stated purpose is to improve the world by shaping the agenda at the global, regional and industry levels. Members are also involved in research programs that seek to develop strategies for sustaining economic progress, assessing global risk factors, and predicting scenarios that may shape significant events in the future. Headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, with regional offices in North America and Asia, the World Economic Forum seeks to be a catalyst for change.

Klaus Martin Schwab, professor of management at the University of Geneva, founded the World Economic Forum in 1971 as a Swiss foundation. Initially, Schwab brought Western European business executives to a meeting in Davos, Switzerland, to encourage greater corporate responsibility rather than mere loyalty to shareholders and profits. Davos became the site of the forum’s regular annual meeting. The foundation’s mission has expanded to include a wide range of critical issues such as health, water and terrorism.

Three groups govern the forum, a founding council, an international business council and a board of directors. World leaders from the public and private sectors serve on the foundation’s board for three-year terms and set the long-term goals of the organization as a whole. The International Business Council serves as the brain trust and is comprised of 100 high-level executives and CEOs. Day-to-day management and financial oversight are provided by the board of directors.

Unlike the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Economic Forum does not provide money to nations. However, it shares the common ideology that global economic development creates better lives for the world’s citizens. The World Economic Forum is independent and is not aligned with any political party, with respect to the issues they may address.

Membership in the World Economic Forum includes more than 1,000 leading companies and small businesses in industrialized and developing countries. Many members play important roles in their respective regions, industries and nations. Government, education, religion, arts and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) also work closely with forum members to address global concerns.

Some of the initiatives proposed by the World Economic Forum include sustainable agriculture through public and private partnerships, using market-based solutions. The forum also works towards global health systems to combat HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. It has also joined the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the World Energy Council to advocate for increased access to modern energy services in rural and impoverished regions, leveraging private sector investment.

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