Planned to coincide with, and provide an active contrast to, the World Economic Forum (WEF), which attracted the richest and most powerful corporations to the Davos, Switzerland, during the same period, to discuss strategies to further increase their profits, the World Social Forum sought to create a place in which those involved in the struggle against globalisation could gather to initiate and/or expand dialogues about developing viable alternatives to neo-liberalism. Nearly 10,000 individuals representing social-change organisations from all over the world converged in Porto Alegre for the Forum, and throughout the week they attended workshops and plenaries about creating viable global economic and social structures.
The World Economic Forum, which held its own annual meeting from January 25 to 30 in Davos, Switzerland, barricaded itself against hundreds of anti-globalisation protestors. Founded in 1971 by Swiss-based German entrepreneur Dr. Klaus Schwab, the WEF has grown to become one of the world’s most important conventions of "global leaders" such as corporate executive officers and heads of state. The WEF allows multinational corporations unprecedented access to the government decision-makers who influence their industries, and it grants governments an unparalleled opportunity to co-ordinate their operations with global business. Swiss police vowed not to allow protestors to disrupt the meetings, as activists in Melbourne, Australia certainly did to the September 11th, 2000, WEF meetings there.