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Bilderberg Meeting: Who's going and what's on the agenda

Key Points
  • The annual Bilderberg Meeting, designed to foster warmer relations between the United States and Europe, starts Thursday in Switzerland and runs through Sunday.
  • The event's website says about 130 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance this year.
Jared Kushner
Getty Images

Jared Kushner, senior advisor to President Donald Trump, is set to attend this year's Bilderberg Meeting in the Swiss town of Montreux this week.

Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg Meeting was designed to foster warmer relations between the United States and Europe. The annual talk fest is considered secretive because guests are not allowed to reveal who said what at the meeting.

The Bilderberg guest list typically includes top politicians, business leaders, financiers, academics and influential members of the media. The event's website said Tuesday that about 130 participants from 23 countries have confirmed their attendance this year.

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The secretive Bilderberg meeting is coming up

Aside from Kushner, this year's list of attendees features French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire, Credit Suisse CEO Tidjane Thiam, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney and former Google CEO Eric Schmidt.

Total CEO Patrick Pouyanne, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger are also confirmed.

Typically, one-third of participants come from the U.S. with the rest from Europe.

Among other subjects, this year's published agenda includes Brexit, the ethics of artificial intelligence, the importance of space, and climate change and sustainability.

Fabrice Coffrini | AFP | Getty Images

The clandestine nature of the Bilderberg Meeting regularly sparks conspiracy theories and accusations of a "secret world order," but organizers say the restricted gathering with rules on reporting simply allows more freedom within discussions.

The official website for the Bilderberg Meetings said that the cost of meetings "are covered wholly by private subscription."

According to one Swiss daily newspaper, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join the meeting although the State Department chief isn't on the official guest list published Tuesday.

The paper reported that Pompeo is there to discuss Iran with Swiss Finance Minister Ueli Maurer. The U.S. has no formal diplomatic relationship with Iran, and Switzerland represents American interests in the country.