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27 janvier 2007

Davos: Elite Meet or Delete?

Photo: Alorie Gilbert

Peter Gabriel talks about his human rights work at the Piano Bar.

DAVOS, Switzerland -- Wired News may have blown a last-minute attempt to score a press pass for the World Economic Forum's exclusive conference, but it wasn't too late to squeak into a soiree Friday at the elegant Piano Bar of the Europe Hotel.

Word had trickled in from one quarter that Davos, with its air of privileged self-congratulation, has become "boring" and not worth the trip. But that message apparently hadn't been received by the packed house of reveling celebrities here, which included Dell CEO Michael Dell, rock star Peter Gabriel, chief Marc Benioff and a few hundred other Davos elite.

The forum, which started on Wednesday and ends Sunday, attracts the world's most powerful people in business and politics to this ski resort in the Alps. Major figures rubbing elbows at this year's elite schmooze-fest are German Chancellor Angela Merkel, British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, Google chief Eric Schmidt and media mogul Rupert Murdoch.

Celebrities on tap include rockers Bono and Gabriel, and supermodel Claudia Schiffer. All told, some 2,400 conference-goers have congregated in Davos, among them 800 CEOs and chairmen, 24 heads of state and 85 cabinet ministers. Benioff was holding court at the Piano Bar. He has a new book out about corporate good deeds called "The Business of Changing the World." Gabriel and Dell each contributed a chapter. Gabriel said his human rights work brings him to Davos. He'd like his nonprofit Witness to become "the YouTube for human rights," he said...

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