One hour at Davos

     Here's a glimpse into why the World Economic Forum is so terrific for a foreign affairs columnist. In one hour, walking up and down the stairways in the compact, underground conference center, I spoke with the following people:

     A former Jordanian deputy prime minister who is a leading voice for social and economic reforms in the Arab world. A South African executive and his wife - he of Sri Lankan origins and she of mixed German-Iraqi background - who talked of the gains their country has recently made in fighting HIV-AIDS. A Chinese journalist who interned last year at The Inquirer and is attending Davos with her husband, the managing editor of a leading Chinese business magazine.  The energy expert Dan Yergin. A leading columnist for a Lebanese newspaper. Two well known economic analysts who predicted the current crisis, Steven Roach and Nouriel Rubini. The head of an Egyptian think tank. And on and on.

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