03/01/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Davos Holds Refugee Camp Simulation

Davos is usually about rubbing elbows in tight quarters at standing-room only cocktail parties. But just steps from the main conference center is a very different take on rubbing elbows in tight quarters: A simulation of what it is like live in a refugee camp facing rebel attack has been set up for politicians and business people participating in the World Economic Forum. Richard Branson is leading a delegation of executives and NGO leaders in the simulation on Friday.

I participated in the simulation on Wednesday and it was quite an eye-opener. In three different rooms, tents were set up, with chained-link fences and barbed wire surrounding the area to simulate a refugee camp. All participants were assigned roles; I was a 40-year-old farmer with a bad left leg and tuberculosis. Actors dressed in army fatigues played the rebels. The lights would go out, and in the pitch black the rebels would push people around and point guns and lights in their faces. I know it may sound hokey, but it wasn't.