The AEI World Forum is an annual meeting of business and financial executives, heads of government, government officials, and intellectuals. Held every summer in Beaver Creek, Colorado, it is sponsored by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and the Vail Valley Foundation, and it features a number of AEI scholars and fellows.
In 1976, U.S. president Gerald Ford hosted the second G7 summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico. During his presidency, Ford became close friends with three of the other heads of government present at the summit: British prime minister James Callaghan, French president Valéry Giscard d'Estaing, and German chancellor Helmut Schmidt. After his presidency, Ford joined the American Enterprise Institute as its "Distinguished Fellow" and in 1982, he and his wife, Betty Ford, hosted the first AEI World Forum near their home in Beaver Creek. Along with Callaghan, Giscard d'Estaing, and Schmidt, he hoped to enrich discourse among world leaders and explore crucial public policy issues in an intimate setting.
Ford hosted the World Forum until his death in 2006. At the twenty-sixth World Forum in 2007, Vice President Richard Cheney unveiled Gerald R. Ford Hall in the Beaver Creek Park Hyatt Hotel, where the World Forum's sessions are held.
The AEI World Forum is private and off the record. The World Forum consists of plenary sessions, topical small-group discussion sessions, informal conversational time, and recreational activities. According to the Vail Valley Foundation, "Senior U.S. cabinet officers and legislators provide candid briefings on important policy initiatives. Heads of major international corporations discuss business and financial developments. Government officials from Europe, Asia and the Americas debate international strategic and economic issues in a private, informal atmosphere, far removed from the distractions of day-to-day business."