Davos, Jan 23: Welcome to the annual four-day-long scintillating event of rich, powerful and famous called, World Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 in Davos, Switzerland, which begins on Tuesday.
Since it is January, it is snowing heavily in Davos and visiting dignitaries--right from world's topmost politicians, economists, business honchos to journalists--all are dressed up from head to toe to avoid the chill.
However, it is their infectious enthusiasm to "create a shared future in a fractured world", according to the WEF's website, which is keeping the atmosphere warm and upbeat in the picturesque town nestled in the Swiss Alps.
WEF 2018 is special for India
These days, it is unlikely that if you have switched on your television set and browsed through your favourite website and newspaper, you have not come across anything about the WEF 2018 or Davos in general.
This year, the WEF 2018 is special for India as Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is the first Indian PM to attend the world summit in over two decades, is hard selling the country at the international forum with the tagline--"India means business".
In 1997, the then PM HD Deve Gowda had attended the Davos summit. Gowda was accompanied by his family members, which many thought was "not the right thing to do".
In fact, the Indian presence in Davos is the largest in the 48-year history of the WEF, this year.
PM Modi will also give the summit's opening address on Tuesday. He is likely to urge international businesses to invest in India, which is on track to becoming the world's fifth-largest economy this year, according to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
During his meeting with top CEOs from across the world at Davos, PM Modi told them that India means business.
Let's do a quick check on what is the WEF, its importance, works and achievements, to name a few:
What is WEF?
According to the organisation's website, the WEF is a Geneva-based non-profit foundation committed to "improving the state of the world".
It aims to shape global, regional and industrial agendas by bringing people together through dialogue.
Established in 1971 by the German economist Klaus Schwab, the WEF was originally known as the European Management Forum, until a name change 16 years later, in 1987.
Why is WEF 2018 special?
It is the 48th edition of the WEF in Davos, this year.
"The annual meeting aims to rededicate leaders from all walks of life to developing a shared narrative to improve the state of the world. The programme, initiatives and projects of the meeting are focused on creating a shared future in a fractured world.
The programme's depth and breadth make it a true summit of summits," stated the website of the WEF.
The organisers and participants of the gala event say the world would be watching the summit because of the debates surrounding globalisation, this time.
Why do critics find faults in the WEF?
If hordes of big names from across the world come together to Davos every January as some sort of a ritual, critics and observers have been regularly finding faults about the aims and agendas surrounding the event.
"The main critique is that it is a manifest failure of imagination," Max Lawson, Oxfam International's head of inequality policy, told Al Jazeera.
WEF attendees "have had many years now of handwringing about the growing gap between rich and poor, and very little to show for it ... This is clearly because business, as usual, is good business for those at the top.
"Ultimately it is public mobilisation and public anger that will lead to progressive change."
In fact, a report unveiled by Oxfam just hours before the Davos summit showed that half of the world's population received no share of all wealth created globally in 2017.
Who are all participating in the WEF 2018?
Along with top political and corporate bosses, a total of 2,500 people will be a part of the four-day event. The participants represent at least 100 countries of the world.
From US President Donald Trump, PM Modi, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu and German Chancellor Angela Merkel will be a part of the summit, said an official of the WEF.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, are also expected to attend the summit. Global industry bosses like Microsoft's Satya Nadella, Reliance's Mukesh Ambani and Airbus CEO Dirk Hoke, to name a few, have already arrived in Davos.
Why do VIPs love to come to Davos?
Davos provides everything, they say. From scenic beauty to scent of rich and powerful coming together to discuss on various issues the world is confronted with--Davos is a splendid place to be in especially during the summit time.
Right from building awareness and co-operation among various countries and communities, shaping mindsets and agendas to driving collective agendas, the WEF is the ultimate platform for anyone who has business in her/his mind.
Achievements of the WEF
While the website of the WEF lists various achievements including the forum's work in the field of climate change, youth and women empowerment, closing the gender gap to spread of technology, experts feel the summit has the potential to change the world.
Celebrities galore at the summit
This year, the WEF has its share of glamour too like in the past. Celebrities Elton John, Cate Blanchett and Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan were honoured at the event for their charity work on Monday.
Various films will be screened for participants during the four-day event to keep them entertained.
#MeToo Campaign echoes at Davos
At Davos too #MeToo campaign is making the right noise.
"While only one-fifth of attendees are women, the organisers are keen to harness discussion about the #MeToo movement with an array of panels looking at gender equality," reported AFP.
Finally, some snow talk
What is the big story so far from Davos? According to Yahoo, it is the snow, followed by US President Trump.
If on the one hand, snow makes pictures of delegates look perfect, on the other hand, the inclement weather makes it hard for visitors to travel and stay in the Swiss resort town.
According to weathermen, this time, Davos is witnessing a record snowfall making the WEF 2018 the snowiest summit in the last 18 years.
Reports added that Davos has received three feet snow from Saturday to Monday.
Because of heavy snowfall, arrival timing of various delegates has been delayed. On Sunday, the snow-ready trains were closed because of an avalanche danger.
However, if you think, snow could prove to be a deterrent, just have a look at the picture of Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan, posted on Twitter.
Like his arms stretched to hug anyone on his way, Davos to is enticing the rich and powerful to be a part of the WEF 2018.
And, for the die-hard fans of Shah Rukh, the actor was in the Swiss town not just to enjoy skiing, but to receive the prestigious Crystal Award for his charity work on Monday.