The attention of the world's media is firmly focused on Davos this week as proceedings get under way at the highly anticipated conference. This invite-only event increasingly attracts a whole host of A-list celebrities, some campaigning on behalf of very serious socio-economic issues, and others, arguably less so. This year is no exception.
In recent times, the World Economic Forum (WEF) has come under considerable scrutiny for inviting high profile celebrities to attend Davos with cynics often pointing out that inviting superstars to it, distracts from the important conversations surrounding poverty and climate change.
From my experience, most celebrities we interview at Bloomberg Television are supporting a good cause or a charity at Davos. As long as it is not a complete side show of PR activity for their own personal benefit, I'm very happy for them to be a part of this unique and impactful event.
The attention they bring themselves just by being there should not be underestimated. I think people love to see what celebrities are up to, so it puts the issues they're representing or campaigning for, front and centre in the mind of the public.
One notable example is the presence of Matt Damon at Davos this year. He is here on behalf of Water.org, the non-profit organisation he helped to establish with the aim of transforming sanitation and water conditions in hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America. We interviewed Matt on Monday night to get his take on the future security of water supplies in the developing world, and it was clear to see that this is an issue, he himself, is very passionate about.
Similarly, Sharon Stone is a fantastic example of a celebrity whose attendance at Davos has been a great success over the years. In 2005, Sharon and her team helped to raise a staggering $1.5 million for the purchase of malaria nets, in the fight against malaria.
So there are a lot of celebrity figures who attend Davos to discuss issues entirely unrelated to their chosen career or background. On Tuesday night, I attended Korea's official party to kick off the WEF, where I met Psy of 'Gangnam Style' fame who was there representing his country. Regardless of your views on his lyric choices and dance style, he proved to be incredibly gracious and back home, he is viewed as one of Korean best exports. He was on hand to act as an Ambassador for Korea at Davos - an important role for anyone to have to fill!
So far, the atmosphere has been great. Thursday and Friday are considered the party days of Davos and it is the technology companies who are leading the way with the best parties in town. May J Blige and Michelin star chef Tom Aikens will be attending the much anticipated Google party on Thursday. And Yahoo! is hosting its own bash on Friday evening where we expect to see Marissa Mayers make an appearance.
Bono, who attends Davos every year on behalf of his charity, the ONE Foundation, is scheduled to speak with David Cameron. In my view, he is a great example of a celebrity that has huge influence at the event - his words carry a lot of sway. The Prime Minister will no doubt welcome the celebrity endorsement that comes with sharing a platform with the Irish superstar.
Francine is reporting live from Davos on Bloomberg Television. Watch coverage via:
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