By JAMEY KEATEN
DAVOS, Switzerland (AP) — In Davos this week, participants can experience "a day in the life of a refugee." Or hear about ways to uphold the Paris climate accord and promote free trade. Or rub elbows with any number of leaders of African countries.
Enter Donald Trump.
The World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, is meant — pretentiously perhaps — to be a place for the world's decision-makers to put their power to good use. The theme this year is "Creating a Shared Future in Fractured World," an ambition not likely to turn up on the U.S. president's Twitter feed.
Instead, Trump will bring his zero-sum message of "America First," and will speak last among the parade of world leaders — from places like India, France and Canada — who are gathering from Tuesday to Friday in the Swiss snows.
As with most things Trump, there are stark contrasts between how attendees view his visit. Some are happy and hope for dialogue. Others unabashedly say they wish he would stay away and accuse him of a lack of compassion and vision for the world that are out of place in Davos.
"I find it quite sad he's coming to the WEF, but I imagine nothing can be done about it," said Buddhist monk Matthieu Ricard, a longtime disciple of the Dalai Lama.
The U.S. government shutdown cast some doubt on whether Trump might actually make the trip later in the week — the wider U.S. delegation's departure on Monday was delayed due to the shutdown.
While Trump's visit may seem incongruous or unwelcome in Davos, he will be sticking to one key aspect of the WEF's ambition in starting the annual forum 47 years ago: Business. An array of Cabinet officials is due to tag along, suggesting the U.S. is preparing a big economic and diplomatic push.
Some have suggested it's ironic that Trump, a self-styled populist despite his penchant for the penthouse, is attending the elite event. Others speculated he could have felt a need to regain the Davos spotlight for the United States a year after Chinese President Xi Jinping stole the show by casting China as a champion of free trade and stability.
An administration official said Trump is expected to tout the booming U.S. economy and measures like his recent tax overhaul, while again criticizing trade practices that he sees as unfair toward the U.S. The official, who spoke only on condition of anonymity to discuss internal plans, said Trump made the decision to go because he thinks he has a positive economic message.
With Wall Street surging, Trump has some cheerleaders on the economic front, even if they hope he'll be more accommodating.
"I think it's really good that he's going," said Bill Thomas, chairman of business services KPMG International. "The American economy is dependent on global engagement, and I think he's in Davos because he knows that."
Some wonder whether Trump can win over the Davos set, or whether they might succeed in turning his ear — and give him a chance to reboot his administration's image abroad.
"Corporate America, in terms of economic policies, is very pleased with the way the administration is going," said Andy Baldwin, a managing partner for financial services firm EY. But he acknowledged that Trump controversies elsewhere had "overshadowed some of the policies."
The hosts were also upbeat.