Europe

Davos forum chief: 'It's important to listen' to populists

  • President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab,  gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

  • President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab,  pauses as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, pauses as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

  • President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

    President and Founder of the World Economic Forum, Klaus Schwab, gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in Davos, Switzerland, Sunday Jan. 15, 2017. Business and world leaders are gathering for the annual meeting in Davos. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)  (The Associated Press)

The head of the Davos economic conference says "it's important to listen to the populists" and hopes to welcome Donald Trump one day to "hear his ideas."

Critics often accuse the yearly World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alps as a snowbound playground for well-heeled business and political elites.

But founder Klaus Schwab said in an interview Sunday with The Associated Press that this year's event, which opens on Monday, is reaching out to populist politicians who have ridden a wave of rising discontent among the masses.

Chinese President Xi Jinping is perhaps the standout among 46 heads of state attending this year.

Schwab said WEF organizers had to be "realistic" that Trump wouldn't attend because his inauguration Friday is on the conference's last day.