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Davos Digest 2023 – Issue One

January 16, 2023
Mountain view of Switzerland

Welcome to Issue One of FleishmanHillard’s Davos Digest 2023. 

In the highest town in Europe, a rare winter heatwave has resulted in dwindling snow atop the craggy Swiss mountain peaks. A telling backdrop for this year’s Davos, where the climate crisis will inevitably be high on the agenda. As arguably the most highly anticipated event in the global economic calendar, it’s being seen as the first proper summit since 2020, which took place just days before the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a global health emergency.  

Who’ll be there? 

The great and the good of the political, business and academic worlds will come together in person once again, and this 52nd edition is set to attract the largest gathering in its history. To give you a few stats, a record number of 2,700 leaders from 130 countries, including 52 heads of state and government. Not to mention the hundreds of journalists from around the world, interviewing attendees and reporting on all the headline news. 

Public figures planning to attend include the heads of at least 40 nations including German Chancellor Olaf Scholz; former UK prime minister Tony Blair; Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko; and U.S. climate change envoy John Kerry. More than 600 of the attendees (nearly one in four) are CEOs. For some celebrity and royal sparkle, attendees also include actor and UN goodwill ambassador Idris Elba, who was speaking on day one; Black Eyed Peas member and CEO of i.am/Angel Foundation, will.i.am; Máxima, Queen of the Netherlands; and Prince Albert II of Monaco. 

What’s on the agenda? 

Immediate, critical issues to be addressed will include the war in Ukraine, economic uncertainty, the rising cost of living, as well as the future of our planet. The mammoth conference will feature a plethora of wide-ranging discussions, speeches and panels, plus the all-important networking that often goes long into the night. 

The theme of the 53rd Annual Meeting is ‘Cooperation in a Fragmented World’, and within that sit five main sub-themes, including the energy and food crises, inflation, technology for innovation, social vulnerabilities and geopolitical risks. There’s a lot to talk about. 

The mood of the conference is certain to be more doom than boom. But to add a bit of light to the proceedings, Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum (WEF), has stated that the aim of this year’s Davos is to do away with the “crisis mindset.”  

The vibe 

According to our FleishmanHillard team on the ground at Davos, Mike Kelly and Alex Eyre from our International Affairs team, opening Mondays are typically the least formal days of each annual Davos week, and this year is no exception.

World Economic Forum on a glass wall with the reflection of people walking by
“The town is buzzing, with small groups hopping from pavilion to pavilion to network, exchange ideas and, more often than not, gauge exactly what the competition is up to.” – Mike Kelly, FleishmanHillard International Affairs

Despite recent predictions that this year would be a ‘lower-key’ affair, the exhibition houses of Meta, Capgemini, Audi, Salesforce and a whole range of nation states would beg to differ. The majority of political delegations, and the most senior government figures, will arrive tomorrow and converge on the congress site. 

A relaxed start to the week’s proceedings before the real business kicks off tomorrow. 

Fingers on the pulse

And from tomorrow, our team of avid WEF watchers will be sharing daily updates of the news and views that caught their eye in business, politics, tech, culture and healthcare. On Friday, we’ll bring you the perspectives of some of our FleishmanHillard experts from around the globe. Next week, we’ll bring you more insights of the event from our colleagues on the ground.

Once Davos has drawn to a close for another year, we’ll share our guidance and key recommendations on what you should do to start preparing your media strategy for next year’s event. Because it’s never too soon to plan for the annual meeting of the world’s elite, as they come together to build a hopefully more resilient, sustainable future.

We hope our Davos Digest updates and insights over the course of this week and next will be of interest, so watch this space.