January 28th, 2009
10:44 PM GMT
DAVOS, Switzerland - I often ask myself why do I bother to come here? Then I remember, I am here as a journalist covering what the leaders say and do. But why do so many delegates, who have a choice, come here? Surely they would be better off tending to their business back home?
Ordinary delegates say they want to hear what world leaders say about crisis.
This morning I got the official schedule. Some of the sessions are extremely timely and relevant. The "Brainstorm - What happened to the Global Economy?" panel promises to be good. But other sessions, like "What is Good Design?" or "Political Art: What Now?" while interesting in an esoteric way, are hardly vital at this time of crisis.
In the registration hall I asked "ordinary" delegates why they came. Not the high and mighty - just mid-level executives and officials who make up the bulk of Davos.
Some said they wanted to hear world leaders and decision makers talk about the best way out of the financial mess (after all Vladmir Putin, Angela Merkel, Gordon Brown Wen Jiabao are all scheduled to speak). Others come to continue their dialogue with clients and suppliers and discuss what they need to do next.
Representatives from NGOs and aid groups like UNICEF attend, to make sure their causes are not forgotten in this moment of crisis. One lucky businessman is here to talk to investors in medical research - yes, there are still some people with money to invest.
Lots of delegates have been coming to Davos for many years - this event is part of their calendar. Just as you don't stop going to visit relatives at Christmas, so you still come to Davos in a crisis; even more so, they would say.
Perhaps the real reason to be here is summed up by the delegate from Asia who said "opportunity is the opposite of crisis." Quite!
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For more coverage of this year’s World Economic Forum, go to our special Davos page.
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