The Global Elite Just Gathered at a Secretive Mini Davos

Credit: jonobacon

It was past midnight on Friday when the Swiss investor Guy Spier finally left the James Joyce pub in Zurich, after a night of carousing with luminaries of finance, government, and academia. The group had assembled for World.Minds—an under-the-radar fraternity for the global elite—which had just concluded its annual symposium.

The summit fashions itself as “the thinking man’s Davos,” one staff member told The Daily Beast. This year, scientists presented research on nuclear fusion and forensics, former Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert detailed a peace plan for the Middle East, and members discussed the crisis in Ukraine.

“I have three friends that I made at World.Minds,” Spier said after a few glasses of wine. “Two are Fields Medalists.”

With just 1,500 members, World.Minds is a concentrated collective of wealth and power with a roster that includes former Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and retired Gen. David Petraeus, philosophers Peter Singer and Daniel Dennett, and billionaires Bill Ackman, Henry Kravis, and Alex Karp. Under its charter, at least 51 percent of the community must work in the sciences to ensure that it doesn’t “devolve into a business club.”