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At Davos, Trump will get the final word on navigating ‘a fractured world’

At the annual World Economic Forum, heads of state, celebrities, tycoons and academics are gathered to discuss the most pressing issues of the day, including climate change, migration and gender equality. And for the first time in almost two decades, a U.S. president will join them. Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote offers a peek into the four-day meeting where President Trump will speak.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    A small town in the Swiss Alps becomes a focus of world attention one week a year. Davos hosts the World Economic Forum, with a rarefied guest list of business tycoons, prime ministers, and this year, for the first time in nearly two decades, the president of the United States.

    Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote is there for us and has our look at this most alpine of summits.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The heaviest snowfall in two decades, six feet dropped on the Swiss Alps in less than a week, didn't stop the World Economic Forum from getting under way.

    No, the main challenge for many of the 3,000 movers, shakers, scribes and gawkers, just getting here.

  • Mari Sawai:

    No, I have never seen anything like this before.

    It's a bit of a struggle. I didn't even bring snow boots, so I'm trying not to fall.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    This year's official theme is creating a shared future in a fractured world.

    Klaus Schwab is the forum's founder, now in its 48th year.

  • Klaus Schwab:

    The world is socially fractured. It's environmentally fractured. But it's also politically divided. So, what we want to do here is to analyze, what are the reasons. But what is much more important is to afterwards search for solutions.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The elite annual gathering is being held under tight security. There are some 70 heads of state there, hobnobbing with titans of industry and academia, celebrities and advocates.

    There's really nothing quite like it. In my first hour here, I bumped into the head of one of the world's largest jewelry companies, an entrepreneur starting his own cryptocurrency, and the head of a Brazilian biotech firm.

    Davos is where legacy businesses meet the disrupters, where developing and developed countries come together to network, to learn from one another and, of course, to do deals.

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's opening address called on countries to unite, while ignoring some of his country's own protectionist policies.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi (through interpreter):

    Many societies and countries are becoming more and more focused on themselves. It feels like the opposite of globalization is happening. We will have to accept the fact that globalization is slowly losing its luster.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The four-day meeting aims to tackle a number of pressing geopolitical issues, in addition to globalization, climate change, the migrant crisis, and gender equality.

    Canada's prime minister, Justin Trudeau-

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau:

    We need to have a critical discussion on women's rights, equality and the power dynamics of gender.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    Global inequality is another major topic, said Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the International Monetary Fund.

  • Christine Lagarde:

    There are still too many people who are left out of that recovery and acceleration of growth.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The week's most anticipated speaker is perhaps its unlikeliest, President Trump, who'll be rubbing elbows with the very same folks he berated on the campaign trail.

  • President Donald Trump:

    This wave of globalization has wiped out totally, totally our middle class.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    It's the first time a sitting U.S. president has attended the forum since Bill Clinton in 2000.

    Mr. Trump is bringing much of his team here. Top White House advisers previewed the trip yesterday, and were asked, in essence, why he's going to a forum that goes against his America first agenda.

    Economic adviser Gary Cohn-

  • Gary Cohn:

    America first is not America alone. The president is going to Davos to speak to world leaders about investing in the United States, moving businesses to the United States, hiring American workers.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    President Trump won't be welcomed by everyone. Protesters routinely blast the invitation-only conference, arguing it's an unabashed celebration of capitalism gone awry.

  • Alex Hedinger:

    We have been protesting all the years now against the World Economic Forum, and if Trump comes or not, we don't care. Trump is just — maybe he's the best symbol for this world.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    President Trump gets the final word when he delivers the closing address on Friday.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I'm Ryan Chilcote in Davos.

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