• Donald Trump, who skipped last year’s Davos meeting, will attend
  • Climate activist Greta Thunberg will be at Davos
  • Iran’s foreign minister Zarif cancelled his appearance

Bankers, executives, politicians, actors and more than 100 billionaires will meet in Davos, Switzerland next week for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting. Among the high rollers will be Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio (net worth $18.6 billion) and Blackstone Group Chairman Steve Schwarzman ($18.3 billion).

This year’s meeting will occur during a period of unusual geopolitical turmoil, fears of a climate emergency and global trade disruptions.

All told, some 2,000 people from about 100 countries will converge on the Alps ski resort.

India, an emerging economic superpower, will send at least 19 billionaires (combined net worth of about $100 billion) to Davos, including Rahul Bajaj, chairman of the conglomerate Bajaj Group who will be making his fortieth appearance at the elite conference.

“I’ve been going since 1979,” he said. “It’s grown a great deal since then but I continue to get a lot out of the meetings, the sessions, the surroundings.”

The U.S. will send 33 billionaires, the highest figure of any country.

Despite the immense wealth of the attendees, the Davos conference will focus on alleviating global inequality and fighting climate change.

“Davos is the only place of its kind where you can simultaneously meet heads of state, captains of global business and public opinion leaders,” said Russian mining magnate Alisher Usmanov. “It is noteworthy that the forum has remained like this for half a century. This is a unique melting pot of ideas and opportunities.”

But the grim realities of the real world will no doubt intrude upon the Alpine paradise retreat.

The former Prime Minister of Finland, Alexander Stubb, an attendee, said: “right now, the U.S. has left power vacuums, on trade, climate, security, world leadership in general. Who’s going to [fill] those vacuums?”

Stubb added: “The U.S. is playing a different power game than what we were used to. I will be looking very closely to the geopolitics at Davos.”

Climate change, which the forum has already cited as a major risk to the global economy, will also be discussed.

″ Even before reading what the theme for Davos was this year, I expected sustainability -- in its multiple permutations -- to be a key theme,” said Tim Adams, president and CEO of the Institute of International Finance, a participant at Davos. “It is increasingly clear that sustainability-related issues will dominate the global policy agenda. There is an urgency to do something -- time is not on our side – and the financial services industry, has a key role to play in helping to fund the transition to a greener, more sustainable future.”

The forum stated in its executive summary that climate change is “striking harder and more rapidly than many expected. The last five years are on track to be the warmest on record, natural disasters are becoming more intense and more frequent, and last year witnessed unprecedented extreme weather throughout the world. Alarmingly, global temperatures are on track to increase by at least 3 degrees Centigrade [37.4 degrees Fahrenheit] towards the end of the century -- twice what climate experts have warned is the limit to avoid the most severe economic, social and environmental consequences. The near-term impacts of climate change add up to a planetary emergency that will include loss of life, social and geopolitical tensions and negative economic impacts.”

President Donald Trump, who is facing an impeachment trial and has long expressed doubts about climate change, is also expected to attend. (Trump skipped last year’s Davos parley due to the U.S. government shutdown).

Trump’s delegation will include his daughter Ivanka, son-in-law Jared Kushner and U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Forum President Borge Brende, who is also a Norwegian lawmaker, said Trump will be challenged on his views on climate change. In June 2017, Trump pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

“On climate change, that will be a topic that will be raised with him I am sure when he is in Davos. We like frank conversations to move the world forward,” said Brende.

It is also possible that Trump may run into teenaged climate activist Greta Thunberg at Davos. The two have criticized each other from a distance, but both attended the United Nations climate change summit in New York last year.

“We demand that at this year’s forum, participants from all companies, banks, institutions and governments immediately halt all investments in fossil fuel exploration and extraction, immediately end all fossil fuel subsidies and immediately and completely divest from fossil fuels. We don’t want these things done by 2050, 2030 or even 2021, we want this done now — as in right now,” Greta wrote in The Guardian newspaper.

Other notable Davos attendees will include Sanna Marin, the 34-year-old prime minister of Finland, Adel bin Ahmed Al Jubeir, the minister for foreign affairs of Saudi Arabia; Ren Zhengfei, CEO of Huawei Technologies, George Soros, chairman of Soros Fund Management, Bollywood actress Deepika Padukone and Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission.

Not surprisingly, Iran’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has canceled his participation in Davos.

“We have to understand the cancellation from Iran foreign minister Zarif against the backdrop of uncertainty in the region and what is unfolding in Iran,” Brende commented.