GENEVA — The annual World Economic Forum that begins today in Davos, Switzerland, is likely to be dominated by concerns that the sharp downturn of the U.S. economy, the world's largest, could trigger a global recession.
The gathering of world business and political leaders comes as the Federal Reserve, responding to an international stock sell-off on Monday, took emergency action on Tuesday to reduce the U.S. benchmark interest rate by three-quarters of a percentage point.
"The risks of a significant slowdown, if not a recession, have been increasing," said Richard Samans, WEF managing director and a former economic policy adviser to President Bill Clinton.
Along with concerns over volatility in global financial and energy markets, the declining dollar and China's undervalued yuan, the agenda includes high oil prices and growing apprehension about the rapid growth and clout of sovereign wealth funds.
Climate change and terrorism, as well as corporate social responsibility, food and energy supply shortages, the emergence of economic powers such as China and India, and global trade problems also are on the table for the 2,500 forum participants.
About 27 heads of state and some 113 cabinet ministers from 88 countries, as well as more than 900 chief executives from the top global corporations are slated to take part in the five-day meeting, which has the theme, "The Power of Collaborative Innovation to Benefit Us All."
"The meeting gives us all a chance to understand and shape the global agenda for the year ahead and beyond," said Klaus Schwab, WEF founder and executive chairman.
Top officials from 74 Fortune 100 companies are among the guests.
National leaders include: U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who will deliver a keynote address on "Climate Change and Terrorism;" U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda and Chinese Vice-Premier Zeng Peiyan.
A series of high-level meetings are also expected to take place on the sidelines between the trade ministers of major trading powers such as Brazil, India, the European Union, the U.S., Egypt and Japan, on how to advance the stalled Doha global trade talks.
U.S. Trade Representative Susan Schwab and World Trade Organization director general Pascal Lamy are likely to take active roles on how to advance the problematic global trade negotiations.
As one of the most recognizable models in the world, Christy Turlington Burns has an insider’s view of the fashion industry and the allegations of sexual harassment swirling around it. “I can say that harassment and mistreatment have always been widely known and tolerated in the industry. The industry is surrounded by predators who thrive on the constant rejection and loneliness so many of us have experiences at some point in our careers,” Turlington told WWD, along with her suggestions for how the modeling world should protect younger women and men. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. (📷: Tony Palmieri) #wwdnews
@asics America has tapped a new brand ambassador: famed DJ/record producer @steveaoki. This initiative is intended to set the tone for the new brand identity and philosophy and will include partnerships with influencers and in-store and off-line activations that will continue into next year. This is Asics’ most significant marketing effort in two decades, and is expected to attract younger consumers to the brand. #wwdfashion
24-year-old Jean Prounis is redefining the rules of jewelry. Formerly a studio assistant to Jemima Kirke and a design apprentice at Ghuran, she focuses on handcrafted subtleties and ancient goldsmithing techniques. “There was a really sterile feel in the environment and I wanted to have jewelry with character that shapes how you wear it everyday,” Prounis said. Each piece is hand made in New York, either by Prounis or three other jewelers in the district. #wwdfashion
“These collections continue to build on that vision, empowering differently abled adults to express themselves through fashion,” said @tommyhilfiger of his line of adaptive apparel, which launches today. The line consists of 37 men’s and 34 women’s styles based upon the pieces from the spring Tommy Hilfiger sportswear collection. #wwdnews
“Stranger Things” is getting a new cast member for season 2. Meet @sadiesink_, the 15-year-old who will be joining the Netflix series for its new season. You may recognize her from “The Glass Castle” with Brie Larson and Woody Harrelson, but the Texas native’s next role goes in an entirely different direction. She describes her character, Max, as “a rough and tumble skater girl [who] becomes friends with the boys at school.” The second season debuts on October 27. (📷: @jgreenery) #wwdeye
Amid the Harvey Weinstein controversy, there’s another sector that’s being put under the spotlight for sexual abuse: the modeling industry. While rumors about abuse and sexual harassment of female and male models — and the photographers, agents and others who perpetrated it — have circulated within the fashion world for years, model @cameronrussell started posting stories from models on Instagram last week about abusive situations they’ve encountered — from sexual harassment and molestation to attempted rape. Over 75 have weighed in so far. Read more on WWD.com. Link in bio. #wwdnews
To celebrate its 16th anniversary, @dylanscandybar tapped designers and celebrities to create mosaics out of candy. The mosaics will be auctioned off to support the philanthropic cause of each participant’s choice. Pictured here is the mural created by @aliceandolivia's Stacey Bendet. For a first look at some of the other artwork being unveiled tonight, go to WWD.com. #wwdeye
The annual Veuve Clicquot Polo Classic in Pacific Palisades this weekend drew Kate Hudson, Tracee Ellis Ross, Laura Dern and more. See pictures of the star-studded event on WWD.com. (📷: @chelsealaurenla) #wwdeye
In his new book “Hollywood Royale,” Andy Warhol’s Protégé Matthew Rolston celebrates the Eighties revival of Hollywood glamour. Featuring more than 100 portraits taken by Rolston from 1977 to 1993, the book contains photos of icons like Michael Jackson, Cyndi Lauper, and @drewbarrymore, pictured here in 1991. “Hollywood Royale,” out today, will be accompanied by an exhibition opening at Los Angeles’ Fahey/Klein Gallery on March 1. #wwdeye