Peres to attend World Economic Forum in Davos

Peres will be one of 27 heads of state attending the high-profile event.

shimon peres 88 224 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
shimon peres 88 224
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
One of the veterans of the annual World Economic Forum, which opens in Davos this week, is President Shimon Peres, who invariably makes international headlines when he attends the world's most prestigious conference in the Swiss alpine village. Peres will be one of 27 heads of state attending the high-profile event. Before going to Davos, Peres will be one of two keynote speakers at the opening ceremony of Israel's most prestigious annual gathering, the Herzliya Conference. This year its first day will be in the Knesset, in deference to the nation's 60th anniversary celebrations. The Herzliya Conference runs from Sunday to Wednesday. The World Economic Forum will convene from January Wednesday to Sunday. The chronological proximity of the two may not be entirely coincidental. Peres will not be the only Israeli attending both events. Others include Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni, Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Israel Corporation chairman Idan Ofer, Bank Leumi CEO Galia Maor, Africa Israel chairman Lev Leviev and Amdocs CEO Yehuda Bronicki. Leviev, who was exposed to the Davos scene for the first time last year, said in an interview with The Marker that he would ordinarily need at least six months to meet all the people he will meet in Davos in a period of only two days. Next week's gathering in Davos has attracted more than 2,500 participants from 88 countries, including 1,000 CEOs from the world's largest companies. That will give Peres a marvelous opportunity to push forward with his project for upgrading the Palestinian economy through foreign investment and the provision of jobs, which he believes will make the path to peace significantly smoother. Inundated with invitations to visit foreign countries, there is absolutely no way that Peres can accept even half the invitations in his first year of office, nor in his second. But the visit to Davos will at least enable him to meet with a large number of his would-be hosts. Peres met on Wednesday with a delegation from the Jewish Federation of Central New Jersey. The delegation informally delivered an invitation from Governor Jon Corzine, who would like to convene a special session in the State Assembly for Peres when he next visits the US. A formal invitation is on the way. Peres does plan to eventually visit the US, but has several European commitments already scheduled. Some of the topics at the Herzliya conference will also be discussed in Davos - most notably global terrorism and the Middle East peace process. Palestinian leaders will also be in Davos to debate with Peres, Barak and Livni about where negotiations are heading with regard to a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Another subject of concern at Davos, particularly in light of the economic recession that seems to be overtaking many economies around the globe, will be the impact of the US subprime mortgage crisis on America in particular and the rest of the world in general. Other issues will include alternate sources of energy, water management and feeding the hungry.