Building an International Organization for Public-Private Cooperation

Davos in New York

The World Economic Forum held its Annual Meeting in New York to show solidarity with the United States and the people of the city after the 9/11 terror attacks.


“Davos in New York” took place in the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in midtown Manhattan, with more than 2,700 participants from 102 countries under very tight security.

Former New York Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani told participants of the significance of the Forum’s decision to bring the Spirit of Davos to the Hudson River:

“We can’t think of a more appropriate, courageous and optimistic milieu for the Davos Meeting to be held than in the most diverse city in the world, which also happens to be the financial capital of and a global economic partner to the world. This is a tremendous vote of confidence in our city. It sends a message that New York is back in business, and that New York is the place to be for world leaders and decision-makers.”1

Maurice Strong, former Undersecretary-General of the United Nations, Chairman of the Rio Summit and a former member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, wrote to Klaus Schwab after the meeting had ended:

“The decision to move the Annual Meeting to New York as a dramatic affirmation of the confidence of the international community in New York as a world centre proved to be a brilliant one, both in its timing and its implementation. You and your team did a remarkable job in reorienting the programme and the practical arrangements for the meeting in an almost impossibly short time and were successful in obtaining the full cooperation of the authorities in New York. The result was clearly the most uniquely successful meeting of all time for the Forum accompanied by an unprecedented level of high quality publicity, most of it positive, and particularly in the North American media. At the same time the actions you took to include in the programme issues which responded to the concerns of many protestors and invited as participants an impressive group of civil society leaders demonstrated the degree to which the Forum is really committed to ‘improving the state of the world’ and not merely to advancing the special interests of business.”2

The Forum established the International Business Council (IBC), a community of concerned and committed business leaders. Made up of 100 highly respected and influential chief executives from all industries, the IBC identifies and addresses globally relevant business issues. It acts as an advisory body providing intellectual stewardship to the World Economic Forum and makes active contributions to the Annual Meeting agenda.

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan launched the Global Health Initiative (GHI) of the World Economic Forum. The purpose: to engage businesses across industries, together with governments, international and non-governmental organizations, in systematically fighting infectious diseases. In 2002 the Global Fund was created as a multistakeholder organization to fight in particular, HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

  1. Annual Report 2001-2002, World Economic Forum
  2. Memorandum from Maurice F. Strong, “Some thoughts concerning the future of the World Economic Forum”, 20 February 2002