The founder of the World Economic Forum says he hopes that President Donald Trump's visit to Davos this week will "provide an even better global perspective," and says critics of the US leader should hear him.
Klaus Schwab could not confirm whether Trump will attend the WEF event in the alpine snows on Friday, as planned, due to the closure of the United States government. The White House has said earlier that Trump would detail his "America First" stance – which does not always match the globalist mentality of Davos – and that he was assessing day by day if the government's closure could derail his trip.
More than 60 heads of state and government, as well as hundreds of business leaders, academics, civil society advocates and celebrities meet in Davos from Tuesday to Friday, an event that presents approximately 400 debates and panels on topics such as action on the environment, prospects for Africa and ways in which refugees can contribute to their host countries.
In an interview with The Associated Press, Schwab said that now that the economic fortunes around the world are increasing and the financial crisis is fading, companies should take on paper problems.
"What we need is 'qualitative relief' to improve the lives of those who have been left out and to include them in the economic development process," Schw said. ab.
As for Trump, the founder of the WEF said that the emphasis should not fall on him as a person.
"Let's not forget that he is the democratically elected president of the most powerful nation in the world," Schwab said. "Without cooperation, without the positive approach of the United States, we will not achieve much progress in the search for solutions, so your participation is very important."
Some participants and protesters want Trump to stay away, or even apologize for their comments that they perceive as racist, sexist or xenophobic.
"My message to these people would be: it is the spirit of Davos to listen to people, to interact, to show respect," he said. "And we should not look, let's say, be influenced by our emotions, we should see what their message will be, and then we can form our own opinion."
As for Trump himself: Could he leave with a changed mind?
"I think the important thing is that whoever is the leader of a country has not only a national perspective, but an international perspective, a global perspective," Schwab said. "And the presence of the president of the United States here, Donald Trump, will hopefully provide it even better with a global perspective."
Theodora Tongas in Davos contributed to this report.