With deep snow and temperatures stuck below freezing, the idea of WFP hosting events in a tent at the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos might seem like a bizarre idea. But real estate is a prime commodity when world leaders descend upon the tiny mountain village in the Swiss alps, and WFP has long been used to bringing its own offices and food storage space to locations where infrastructure is lacking (admittedly, usually following natural disasters…) – so one of our easy-to-assemble, sturdy warehouses seemed to be the perfect solution.
Thanks to support from WFP’s corporate partner TNT, Mr Van Zadelhoff (founder of real estate company DTZ Zadelhoff) has let us pitch the tent in his parking lot for several years now. From the outside, it’s a 24m by 10m monster of plastic sheeting and aluminium frames (see photo above right, copyright Rein Skullerud). It has the WFP logo on the outside – same as any wickhall we’ve set up in Haiti, Pakistan or Ghana. On the inside, there’s a meeting room, an entrance hall set up to look like an African schoolroom similar to the ones where WFP distributes meals for hungry children.
By now, the tent has become a regular part of the Davos skyline and world leaders are no longer surprised to receive invitations for events or meetings in “the WFP tent”. Even the WEF organisers have now adopted the unusual venue, designating it an official location for event they organise, usually related to the topic of hunger, agriculture or the environment. Notable figures who have passed through the tent over the years have included Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Clinton, Annie Lennox, and many more – helping us achieve our objective of getting more and more global leaders and influencers on board in the fight against hunger.