The annual meeting of the World Economic Forum began yesterday amidst unprecedented security in the Swiss ski resortof Davos. Founded in 1971 by an entrepreneur, the WEF has grown to become one of the world’s most importantconventions of corporate executive officers and heads of state. The WEF allows multinational corporations directaccess to the government decision-makers who influence their industries, and grants governments an unparalleledopportunity to coordinate their operations with global business.
But the business leaders are not alone: social justice leaders from around the world have also converged on Davos.”The Public Eye on Davos,” an independent conference organized by an international coalition of NGOs to bringattention to the WEF and challenge its agenda-setting role, convened yesterday. And activists plan to take to thestreets, despite a police ban on the protest.
Across the globe in Porto Alegre, Brazil, thousands have converged for the first World Social Forum. In aconstructive spirit, the Forum is holding a series of workshops aimed at developing viable alternatives tocorporate-led, neo-liberal globalization.
Finally, the WTO announced this week that its next meeting will most likely be held in Qatar, a country which doesnot protect the right to free assembly.
- David Boehner, member of the Anti-WTO Coordination in Switzerland.
- Mario Murillo, Professor of Communications at Hofstra University; WBAI Pacifica Radio Producer of “OurAmericas” daily national radio program.
- Maria Louisa Mandosa, coordinator of the World Social Forum and member of the Global Justice Center
- Ariel Dorfman, Chilean novelist who survived the coup in Chile in 1973 in which President Salvador Allendedied and Augusto Pinochet rose to power. His most recent book is, ??Heading South, Looking North: A BilingualJourney.
- Charles Maclean, Director of Communications and Public Affairs, World Economic Forum.
- Keith Rockwell, Director of Information and Media Relations and assistant to Mike Moore, Director-Generalof the WTO.