Global leaders from the worlds of business, politics and economics are descending on the small Alpine town of Davos in Switzerland for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF).
The key buzzwords in their heads are "resilient dynamism", which is this year's broad theme within the context of the WEF's overall mission: "committed to improving the state of the world".
Klaus Schwab, the Swiss professor who founded the WEF in 1971, says: "We live in the most complex, interdependent and interconnected era in human history. We are increasingly confronted by major adaptive challenges as well as profound transformational opportunities. This new leadership context requires successful organisations to master strategic agility and to build risk resilience."
How to construct institutions that will minimise the risk facing the world will be the subject of debate among political leaders such as Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian prime minister who will formally open the forum this week.
He will be in the company of global heavyweights such as the European Central Bank president Mario Draghi. Also scheduled to be present at the opening debate are Christine Lagarde, the managing director of the IMF, and Axel Weber, the head of the Swiss banking giant UBS. Some 50 heads of government will attend the forum, including the German chancellor Angela Merkel and the British prime minister David Cameron.
Movers and shakers from the world of finance include Lloyd Blankfein, the chief executive of Goldman Sachs, Jamie Dimon, the head of JPMorgan Chase, and Ashu Jain, the joint chief executive of Deutsche Bank.
Veteran WEF-goers such as Bill Gates, the Microsoft billionaire, and Henry Kissinger, the former US state secretary, will also be speaking at the forum.
There will be a strong contingent from the Middle East and Arabian Gulf. A top level delegation from the UAE is believed to be attending, including Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar, the chief executive of the telecoms giant Etisalat.
On the opening day the forum will seek to answer the question: "What challenges and transformations are driving regional dynamics in the Arab World?" while there are later discussions on the economics of the Arab world and the future of Syria.
Lee Howell, the managing director of content at the forum, told The National: "At multiple levels, the Middle East is so important. For its trade and capital flows, of course, but there are always significant global implications from developments in the region. The Middle East punches above its weight in all kinds of sectors that are of keen interest to the WEF, such as energy, food security, geopolitics and communications."
"On societal and social issues, the Middle East really is part of the global conversation. There are a couple of big stories where the region is at the forefront of developments: the evolution of mobile and internet technology, and how this affects society; and the great debate about demography that's taking place all round the world.
"With so many young people in the Middle East, the nexus between education, employment and entrepreneurship is fundamental, and the world will be watching the Middle East to see how it handles that situation."
The Middle East also figures high on the WEF's risk assessments on certain criteria, says Mr Howell.
"If I could just highlight three areas, the first would be the risk of global governance failure affecting the region. In the peace process, in Syria and on the Iranian nuclear situation global institutions, like the United Nations, have underperformed in the Middle East.
"The second concern relating to the Middle East is in the geo-economic sphere, and especially in the growth of income inequality, which is especially troubling for young people," he says.
"And thirdly there is an environmental risk relating to water security and supply that is of vital concern to the region."