Davos WEF
Davos WEF

WEF 2017: Who’s going to Davos?

The Alpine ski resort of Davos
Jeff J Mitchell | Getty Images News | Getty Images

It's that time of year again. Thousands of international leaders from all walks of life are expected to descend on Davos in the snowy Swiss mountains, to discuss the latest global issues.

At the World Economic Forum's annual meeting, the main theme up for discussion will be "Responsive and Responsible Leadership"; which seems fitting, especially as a new U.S. president will be sworn in during the week of the event.

While President-elect Donald Trump is expected to be a key topic among leaders, who will actually be in Davos to discuss such topics?

With around 3,000 leaders from politics, finance, business and science expected to attend, CNBC takes a look at just some of the top names expected to make an appearance.

Christine Lagarde

IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Having been a regular Davos attendee, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde will be weighing in on the state of the global economy at this year's meeting.

According to the WEF program, Lagarde will be participating in at least three panels, covering the world's economic outlook, gender roles and fixing the "middle class crisis." You can also be sure she'll be asked to comment on Brexit, Europe's economy and globalization.

In December, Lagarde was found guilty, convicted on negligence charges over a state payout made during her time as the finance minister of France. Despite the conviction, she was not punished and kept her post at the IMF.

Khalid al-Falih

Khalid Al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy and industry minister, speaks to journalists ahead of the 171st Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016.
Akos Stiller | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After OPEC and non-OPEC producers agreed to cut output at the end of 2016, all eyes will be on leading oil chiefs to see if countries stand by the deal and can fix the current global supply glut.

One energy chief expected to attend is Khalid al-Falih, Saudi Arabia's energy minister. Being one of the world's top oil producers, the country will be a big part of the conservation at Davos. One topic al-Falih is expected to comment on is that of Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, and the country's decision to diversify itself away from its oil dependency.

Sheryl Sandberg

Facebook's Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, one of a handful of women in leading positions in the business world.
Justin Sullivan | Getty Images

The "fourth industrial revolution" may have been last year's theme for Davos, but it doesn't mean that technology's power and its disruptive nature isn't still a big topic for 2017. Fake news, the use of social media and new technological innovations are expected to be part of the discussions at Davos.

One of the leading figures in the tech space is Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook.

Having commented on technology at previous WEF events, this January, Sandberg will be participating in a discussion with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman on "A Positive Narrative for the Global Community". Sandberg will also be sitting down for a conversation entitled "A Leader's Resilience".

Matt Damon

Matt Damon at the 2014 CGI to promote his Water.org initiative.
Adam Jeffery | CNBC

When he's not busy filming, Hollywood star Matt Damon devotes a large part of his spare time doing humanitarian work. Subjects in which the actor is particularly passionate about include the water crisis, fighting hunger, and advocating for global human rights.

In 2014, Damon told an audience at Davos that having traveled in Third World countries he "started to get a real appreciation for the magnitude of the water crisis," a crisis he found shocking.

At Davos 2017, Damon will continue with the discussion of water, participating with fellow Water.org co-founder, Gary White on a panel covering sanitation access and finding solutions for delivering fresh water worldwide.

Joe Biden

US Vice President Joe Biden takes part in a session on the theme 'Cancer Mooshot: A Call to action' during the World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting in Davos, on January 19, 2016.

It may be the week Donald Trump gets sworn in as the next U.S. president, but one event outgoing U.S. vice president Joe Biden isn't going to miss is WEF's annual meeting in Davos.

At Davos in 2016, Biden spoke to audiences about LGBT rights, cancer treatment and employment welfare, according to Reuters. In recent days Biden has spoken out about his future, with the Associated Press reporting that Biden said he intended to pursue his "cancer moonshot" agenda after leaving the White House, which would look at how the U.S. conducts its cancer research and development.

Benoît Coeuré

Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank, Benoit Coeure

Central bank policy could also take center stage in 2017, with many market-watchers focusing on how leading financial institutions will react to events, such as Brexit and Trump's presidency.

The European Central Bank's Benoît Coeuré, a member of the executive board, will be attending the forum. The bank will also be delivering its latest policy decision next week, due out on January 19.

Members from other central banks going to Davos, include those from the financial institutions of France, Brazil, Kenya, Japan and the U.K.

Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping
Getty Images

China's economic condition was on the minds of many at last year's Davos, however this year a key topic is what Trump has planned for future relations between the U.S. and China.

President Xi Jinping will be attending this year's meeting at Davos — the first time a Chinese head of state will attend WEF in Davos. While it is yet to be seen whether the president will talk about globalization, the yuan or Trump; these topics will definitely be up for discussion around Davos this month.


Shakira delivers the #UpForSchool petition
Robin Marchant | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Singer-songwriter Shakira will also be coming to Davos, following in the footsteps of many other musicians who've attended the event, including Will.i.am and Bono.

Shakira will be promoting the work of her "Barefoot Foundation" organization, which helps vulnerable and impoverished children though quality public education.

Theresa May

British Prime Minister Theresa May
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images

One year ago, Davos painted the U.K. in a very different light. One year on, however, the snow has settled and Brexit is happening.

One leader expected to weigh in on this topic is that of British Prime Minister, Theresa May. Aside from May, other U.K. politicians that are attending include Finance Minister Philip Hammond and Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan.

Jeroen Dijsselbloem

Jeroen Dijsselbloem, president of the Eurogroup.
Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

It's not just the U.K. who is expected to have their say on Brexit at the annual event. Eurogroup President, Jeroen Dijsselbloem – like many other European leaders – has in the past stated that the U.K. cannot "cherry pick" profitable parts of the European Union as it negotiates its departure from the political-economic bloc.

Yet Brexit might not be the only topic up for discussion, with Dijsselbloem having previously weighed in on Europe's economic state, Donald Trump and Greece's debt crisis.

The European Commission's Pierre Moscovici and Valdis Dombrovskis will also be in attendance.

Forest Whitaker

Jemal Countess | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images

Like Matt Damon, when Forest Whitaker isn't taking Hollywood by storm, he's spending a great deal of time fighting for important causes.

As a social activist, Whitaker has contributed to a number of projects including founding the "Whitaker Peace & Development Initiative", which looks at helping conflict-hit communities rebuild and prosper into safer societies.

The actor is expected to take this message of peace to Davos this year, with Whitaker participating in a chat on "The New Lead Characters" and "An Insight, An Idea with Forest Whitaker".

Jack Ma

Jack Ma, chairman of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., gestures as he speaks at SoftBank World 2014 in Tokyo, Japan.
Kiyoshi Ota | Bloomberg | Getty Images

E-commerce connoisseur Jack Ma will be in attendance at this year's Davos, having previously taken to various stages to comment on the ever-changing face of online retail and China's economic future.

This year, with Donald Trump's presidency in the limelight, the Alibaba founder is expected to weigh in on the future of online trade and globalization as a whole, in the panel "An Insight, An Idea with Jack Ma".

Bill Gates

J. Countess | WireImage | Getty Images

Microsoft's co-founder, Bill Gates will be one of the big tech names expected to descend on Davos this month. Now the co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates is expected to speak on the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) at the conference, discussing how the initiative fights against disease and epidemics.

Microsoft's current CEO, Satya Nadella will also be in attendance, with the tech boss due to speak on artificial intelligence.

Nico Rosberg

Nico Rosberg
Lars Baron | Getty Images Sports | Getty Images

Formula One world champion, Nico Rosberg, will also be at this year's WEF meeting. The F1 star announced he was retiring in December, yet will be taking his experience in sports to the stage at Davos, speaking with fellow F1 world champion, Mika Häkkinen.

During the panel, entitled "Reaching Peak Performance", the racing stars are expected to talk about how to enhance performance potential.

Other sporting panels expected at Davos include "Sporting for Survival" and "The Transformative Power of Sport".

Joseph Stiglitz

Joseph Stiglitz
David Orrell | CNBC

Nobel Prize-winning economist, Joseph Stiglitz, will grace Davos again and is expected to deliver his latest economic thoughts on the world, as it deals with a raft of uncertainties in 2017.

During the meeting, Stiglitz will participate in four panels according to the program, which will cover corruption, economics, the "European disunion" and the current state of the world.

Larry Summers, former Treasury secretary, will also be attending Davos this month to comment on a panel called "Strategic Update: The Future of Infrastructure Development", among others.