Economic Security for the Middle East

News | October 13, 2010

On October 13, The EastWest Institute and Zayed University in Abu Dhabi convened an international symposium aimed at defining and promoting economic security in the Middle East. Drawing hundreds of students, “Towards Stable and Prosperous Communities in the Middle East” featured top officials, business leaders and experts from more than ten countries.

His Highness Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, the United Arab Emirates’ Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and President of Zayed University, delivered the keynote address.

In his remarks, His Highness urged symposium participants to make concrete and innovative recommendations for action. “Your success and ours depends on building relationships across boundaries and borders and strengthening cooperation in all regions of the world,” he declared.

Francis Finlay, Co-Chairman of the EastWest Institute, spoke about Abu Dhabi’s “extraordinary” progress, pointing out that its strengths lie in actively seeking innovative ideas and sustainable practices from the rest of the world. 

For guests of Zayed University, one of the most remarkable signs of Abu Dhabi’s progress was the crowd of female students who attended the symposium. At a working lunch, both male and female students joined speakers and guests in discussing a broad range of topics, including women’s empowerment and the push for private-public partnerships to spur innovation. Dr. Louise Richardson, Principal and Vice Chancellor of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, who chaired the first panel, said meeting the students was “the highlight” of her day.

In his concluding remarks, EWI President John Edwin Mroz also expressed his admiration for Abu Dhabi’s accomplishments and the vigorous nature of the discussions. “I don’t dare try to sum up the whole day!” he added. Indeed, the recommendations and conclusions of the panels ranged from a call to educate students as global citizens to appeals for companies to support in-country applied research. But as Mroz pointed out, the day ultimately demonstrated our global interconnectedness – and the importance of conversation as a tool for education and action. A full report on the symposium will follow.