Bilderberg Conference

Last week, the 63rd annual Bilderberg Conference took place from June 11-14 in Telfs-Buchen, Austria, where some of the most powerful people in the world of business, politics, international relations, finance, and academia met to discuss a wide range of topics behind closed doors.

A total of 140 participants from 22 countries attended, including Lazard Chairman and CEO Kenneth Jacobs, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Zoe Baird, head of the Markle Foundation, journalist and writer Anne Applebaum, and British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne.

Reportedly, this year’s topics included artificial intelligence, cyber security, globalization, terrorism, Greece, and issues in the Middle East.

Founded in 1954, the Bilderberg conference was created to “foster dialogue between Europe and North America,” according to its website. Every year, 120-150 political, financial, and academic leaders meet to discuss a wide range of topics relating to politics and business trends. There is no official agenda, no resolutions, no votes, and no policy statements, according to reports.

Because of its highly secretive nature, the Bilderberg Conference is fraught with controversy. While the organization of the conference allows attendees to discuss tough issues in a relatively safe, enclosed environment, the flip side is that, because the conference proceedings are secret, many outsiders worry that the conference boils down to a conspiracy of the global elite. On the other hand, attendee names and affiliations are available to the public, and some media outlets are actually allowed to attend, assuming they’re willing to agree to conditions of the utmost secrecy.

“[Bilderberg] is one of the key meetings of the year,” wrote Will Hutton in 1998. Hutton is, according to The New American, a “former British newspaper editor, pro-EU extremist, and vehement opponent of American conservatism.” He also commented, “The consensus established is the backdrop against which policy is made worldwide.” This suggests that, while no official policies are decided at the meeting, the mere fact that a large number of influencers get together to discuss issues has a huge impact on what policy is later decided.

What do you think of the annual Bilderberg Conference?

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