Passport

A tale of two gift baskets

When I got to my Davos hotel room, I was greeted by two gifts. One was to be expected: greetings from the CEO of Nestle along with boxed chocolates. Thoroughly Swiss and thoroughly appreciated.

The second? The most politically controversial gift I have ever received.

The Heydar Aliyev Foundation, run by Azerbaijan's First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva, supplied guests with a CD set, dubbed the Voices of Garabagh. It wasn't until I opened up the package and read on that I saw what it was driving at. It was a statement regarding the Garabagh region between Azerbaijan and Armenia, delivered from a starkly one-sided point of view:

"Unfortunately the conflict ignited as a result of unfair territorial claims brought against Azerbaijan. The occupation by Armenian invaders of Garabagh… [has] turned the bright representatives of the Mugham art into internally displaced people… grief, sorrow, and melancholy is being felt today in their performance."

The package was giftwrapped in cellophane, so it was sure to be missed by any personnel intent on keeping such subjective perspective out of the hotel rooms. You have to hand it to this Azeri organization for so craftily injecting their thoughts into the summit. The takeaway: Davos truly is the biggest annual global political event -- and you can't underestimate how far actors will go to get their message heard on the global stage.

There are, of course, more technological and readily available avenues for communication that are boosting the reach and immediacy of messages around the world. This is a theme I'll continue to discuss in conjunction with global democratic trends.

Mugham melancholia notwithstanding, I have yet to make time for the CD itself -- Davos has done its best to keep me busy. And I'll do my best to keep you posted.

PHILIPPE WOJAZER/AFP/Getty Images

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