by Ariella Young
The World Economic Forum in Davos was held from 23-26 January 2018 and lasted for very intense four days. I could not believe when I heard that the first WEF which is held in 1970 continued for two weeks. I cannot imagine anyone being able to clear their schedule for two weeks for WEF. Huge commitment!
70 heads of state or government, as well as academics and media personalities, travelled to Davos from Indian Prime Minister Modi, Justin Trudeau, Donald Trump, Emmanuel Macron, Theresa May and authors like Yuval Noah Harari, Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai and celebrities such as Cate Blanchett and Elton John.
It’s busy – the day usually starts with a breakfast invite for 7 am. I was not invited to any, but I still woke up at 6 am and started my day as if I were!
There are many parallel sessions at the same time, so it is hard to decide which one to go. But again, I was deciding on a new coffee machine to buy; I spent 4 hours reading Amazon reviews and watching YouTube videos to make my decision. You may not struggle as much as I did.
Then there are the evening drinks parties, known as nightcaps! That is parties where companies such as Mckinsey, Goldman Sach who are attending the conference put on dinners and drinks to provide a networking opportunity for their clients. The parties are pretty random where a lot of middle-aged men in suits dancing around.
There are also other private parties in chalets 15-20 minute limousine drive away. These are host by very powerful families and business owners.
And If you were not invited to any party, default venue is Piona Bar in Hotel Europe where everyone goes at some point to check it out. It is a place you have to be at some point during WEF.
Davos is pretty cold so don’t feel embarrassed to wear your ski boots. When you get into the Congress Center, you can leave your boots in the cloakroom and wear your heels or regular shoes. Almost everyone was carrying a shoe bag. I did not bring my ski boots.
I also wish I had done better research and memorised the picture of people I wanted to meet. You may be passing by someone you want to meet, but you just don’t know how he/she look. Study people’s face before the event because there will be many random opportunities to meet and talk to people.
A Day in the Life of a Refugee session was one of the most ordinary sessions of the forum. Obviously, you would not bump into Donald Trump there, but some celebrities were trying to raise awareness of refugee issues.
I’m someone who multitasks and is usually torn between regretting what I did an hour ago and fearing what’s going to happen next month, so being in the moment is not my strong point but I think If I go back to Davos again, I would plan it well and try to be more at the moment and sink the whole experience that way.