Maha Akeel, Arab News
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2006-01-18 03:00

JEDDAH, 18 January 2006 — The Jeddah Economic Forum, one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated events in the Kingdom and the Middle East, is expected to exceed expectations this year as preparations are well under way.

Scheduled to take place Feb. 11-13, this year’s forum will explore the theme “Seeding Potentials for Economic Growth: Honoring Identity and Celebrating Common Grounds,” which will address the intricacies of diversity and culture that shape economic growth around the world.

The forum will be especially significant in light of Saudi Arabia’s accession to the WTO.

Forum delegates will present their views on how best to cultivate sustainable economic and social growth while respecting the cultural diversity.

This year’s forum calls for the honor and recognition of culture, identity and diversity as the building blocks for a world of “common grounds” rather than a global economy of “one size fits all.” The forum will further seek to underscore stories of success and actionable solutions both within and outside the context of Saudi Arabia. Whether locally, regionally or globally, the forum will highlight and celebrate achievements that are special and inspirational about the human quest for inclusion and participation in the building of one world and a prosperous tomorrow. It is only by honoring identity and celebrating common grounds that this quest is attainable.

Amr Enany, chairman of the Jeddah Economic Forum, announced that the forum’s Academic Committee has been organized consisting of the dean of Effat College, Haifa Jamal Al-Lail; Ghazi Binzagr, deputy chairman of the Arabian Stores Company, Binzagr Group; and Muhammad Ikhwan, vice president of Group Finance, Savola Group. The committee has almost completed developing the program that will focus on local issues on the first day, regional on the second and international on the third. The forum will also include several highly interactive breakout sessions and themed luncheons.

The annual event is expected to draw participants from among the most reputable and influential figures in the world, including heads of state and international decision-makers, renowned economists and media personalities, leading businessmen and women, entrepreneurs and academics.

Among the speakers this year is the former Prime Minister of Jordan, Abdul Salam Al-Majali; the vice president of Multimedia University in Malaysia, Mohammed Ismail Sayed Ahmed; founder and chairman of Arab International Women’s Forum in the UK, Haifa Al-Kaylani; US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near East Affairs Elizabeth Cheney; New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman; president of the Invest in France Agency, Clara Gaymard; president of Ireland, Mary McAleese; professor at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at University of Exeter in the UK, Tim Niblock; and the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund, Thoraya Obaid.

Enany said that the forum would be held under the patronage of Makkah Governor Prince Abdul Majeed.

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