BigwigsWorld Economic Forum Historic Moments (PHOTOS)The Daily Beast01.22.13BigwigsWorld Economic Forum Historic Moments (PHOTOS)The world’s fanciest economic summit kicks off this week, with the theme of ‘resilient dynamism.’ What do they do there? Here, a look back at the forum’s most memorable events. The Daily Beast01.22.13 10:30 PM ETWorld Economic ForumThe First MeetingIn January 1971, 440 European business leaders from more than 30 countries met for the first time in Davos, Switzerland. The Forum was founded the same year by Professor Klaus Schwab, and has met every year in January ever since. Jim Cole/APPolitics and Economics CollideThe collapse of the Bretton Woods Fixed Exchange Rate system in 1971, compounded with the Arab-Israeli War, led the forum to begin focusing on more global sociopolitical issues, and political leaders from around the world were invited to attend for the first time. World Economic ForumChina RecognizedIn 1979, the forum included China for the first time, making them the first nongovernmental institution to partner with China’s economic development commissions. The country has been a crucial presence at Davos ever since—in 1992, then-premier Li Peng gave a historic speech (pictured). Michael Evans/The White House, via GettyReagan Involves the U.S.Despite increased participation from countries around the world like India and China, the United States had not participated in the forum until 1982, when President Ronald Reagan involved the U.S. for the first time, appearing via satellite to promise America’s dedication to “work with our allies.” TASS/APCold War MilestoneAs the Cold War came to a close, eyes were on the forum for insight into Russia’s economic future. West German Foreign Minister Hans-Dietrich significantly urged members to “give Gorbachev a chance.” World Economic ForumThe Davos DeclarationSigned in 1988 by Greece and Turkey, the Davos Declaration was one of the forum’s first forays into diplomacy, and helped the two countries avoid war. Walter Dhladhla/AFP, via GettyNelson Mandela Attends In their first joint appearance, Nelson Mandela and South African President F.W. de Klerk attended the forum together amid the country’s tumultuous political transition. Mandela gave his first speech on South Africa’s economic future at the summit. Jerome Delay/APA Special GuestPresident Bill Clinton became the first sitting U.S. president to actually attend Davos in 2000. That same year, the World Health Organization unveiled the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization at the Forum. Stand Honda/AFP, via GettyDavos RelocatesIn solidarity with the United States, the World Economic Forum relocated to New York City for its summit in 2002, following the Sept. 11 attack on the Twin Towers. Daniel Acker/Bloomberg, via GettyForum Addresses CorruptionAhead of the LIBOR-fixing scandal and the bank bailout of 2008, heads of the world’s main multilateral development banks agreed to make the forum’s Partenering Against Corruption Initiative, include antibribery requirements as part of the bidding process in 2006. Alessandro Della Bella/Keystone, via APEuro SOSPresident of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso unveiled a euro-rescue package in 2009 at Davos, promising to do “anything we can to protect the euro.” Still, Europe’s economic crisis remains a central focus at Davos, with last year’s forum centering around rumors of euro breakup.