WEF inside track with Greg Beadle, a man with access to every room at the Davos confab

Cape Town-based professional photographer Greg Beadle is one of the ultimate insiders at the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting – a man whose badge gets him into literally every meeting room in the Davos confab. In this fascinating interview, Beadle shares his insights into the event and its true purpose with another long-time WEF attendee, fellow Saffer Alec Hogg of BizNews.com.

Greg Beadle’s work at Davos 

It is always a privilege to be invited back. It’s great to be in the snow. We come from 30 degrees out in Cape Time. And we have power here as well. Besides that, it’s great to be in Davos. I know there’s mixed news around Davos, which I’m sure we’ll get into. But I’m here for work. I’m a commercial contract photographer. 

The importance of being at Davos 

People say, well, there’s technology, there is zoom, the forum puts out live streaming sessions. Why travel all the way here? But I recall you telling me stories about being in sessions of five or having one on ones with very influential innovators in the world. 

Donald Trump at Davos 

We are a team of 13 photographers from around the world. There have been some amazing experiences. When you are in a private session with a group of world leaders from neighbouring countries sitting together in a closed room, no assistants or anybody else sitting in a circle and having it out with each other, trying to reason and work things out; you can’t dream of being a fly on the wall in those kind of moments. Another one is when Donald Trump, president of the United States, arrived here for the first time. I was within a metre from him. It didn’t excite me at the time but to his credit, halfway up the staircase, dead silence, everyone staring at the president of America, walking up the stairs… Somebody shouted out, Mr. Trump, can you see you’re not welcome here? He just puffed out his chest, looked around and went, look around you, I don’t think so. Those are some of the priceless moments at Davos.  

Nothing clandestine around WEF

I haven’t seen anything negative. I haven’t seen anything clandestine around what the World Economic Forum is doing. I’m here to document these events. I’m here to share what happens at the event. There is no brief on what to include, what not to include. It’s a transparent network platform that we work with. So to date since 2017, I haven’t come across anything that I’ve seen to be negative.  And remember we cover the meetings in China, Africa and South America at this stage so we have extensive exposure to the forum through the events side of it.

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