Joi Ito is blogging from Davos. He’s understandably preoccupied with his plenary roles, but I look forward to hearing more of what’s going on when his schedule lightens up.
If anyone knows of other bloggers reporting from Davos (or from the World Social Forum in Porto Alegre), do let me know.
Well, the Canadians at least reckon Davos 2005 will be in Whistler. This is a long-running courtship. I remember some Forum folk visiting Whistler in the late ’90s to evaluate the venue. Regular readers of Davos Newbies may remember Stéphane Perron filling me in on the sentiment in Whistler.
But I’d be very surprised if the Canadian delegation in Davos manage to clinch anything. One of the advantages for the Forum of becoming an itinerant event (on a World Bank/IMF-like pattern of two years in Davos, one year on the road) is setting up a competition between potential hosts. I also think in the current climate there will be a strong push for the Forum to hold its next non-Davos meeting in the developing world. I reckon South Africa has a very good chance if it wants to host Davos.
One of my least favourite world leaders, prime minister Mahathir Mohamad of Malaysia, makes the Davos headlines for his gloomy pronouncements on the US and its stance on Iraq. “We are in the middle of the Third World War. Both sides are convinced that their side is right, that theirs is the fight against evil. It’s going to be a long war because hatred, anger, bitterness rule our hearts.”
The New York Times has the perspective to remind readers that Mahathir isn’t always an impeccable source. “The isolation of the United States seemed starkest during Dr. Mahathir’s remarks. To some extent, he was playing a traditional role of provocateur. In 1999, he raised eyebrows by discussing how a cabal of Jewish financiers, led by George Soros, had ruined Malaysia’s economy.”
Update The BBC follows up its report with a more acerbic look at Mahathir and Davos.
When I was involved in Davos three years ago, we had to cope with an unprecedented crush of participants who wanted to hear then-president Bill Clinton. In retrospect, the problem verged on those horrible incidents at football matches where fans are trampled and crushed.
It looks like Clinton remains a huge draw in Davos. The Wall Street Journal Europe reports that the former president has tentatively agreed to have a private chat with a small group of journalists on Sunday evening. The problem? There’s only room for 15 and Clinton wants to vet the list.
The Journal is way out in front in both the extent and the fun of its Davos coverage. Only real Davos insiders (and readers of Davos Newbies over the years), would pick up on the Russians fanning out from the Sunstar Park. And the paper has the good grace to quote me in one piece reflecting on the changing nature of Davos. All the Journal coverage is collected on one page (as far as I can tell, all the Journal material is for subscribers only).