World Economic Forum on the Middle East closes with participants pledging for change and development

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Leaders closed the World Economic Forum on the Middle East with a commitment to show leadership for change and development Morocco will host the 2010 World Economic Forum on the Middle East from 22 to 24 October Follow the meeting on our website, blog, twitter, Facebook and live stream

Dead Sea, Jordan: Leaders from business, government and civil society closed the World Economic Forum on the Middle East with a commitment to show leadership for change and development in the region. Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, praised the hosts of the meeting, Their Majesties King Abdullah II Ibn Al Hussein and Queen Rania Al Abdullah of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan for “their commitment, engagement and dedication” to development in the region. Schwab announced that Morocco will host the next World Economic Forum on the Middle East on 22-24 October 2010 in Marrakech.

As the three-day meeting came to a close, participants – 1,400 leaders from 85 countries – where challenged to implement at least two of the action items that emerged from discussions which included:

Energy – increase conservation; develop alternative energies; and utilize smart grids.
Youth – with 65% of the Arab world’s population under the age of 25, the region must develop this bulge by “providing them with education and developing, retaining and attracting talent,” said Samir Brikho, Chief Executive Officer, Amec, United Kingdom, and Co-Chair of the meeting. He also called on participants to be role models to the youth. “We have a powerful tool and that’s to help the next generation coming through,” agreed Kevin Kelly, Chief Executive Officer, Heidrick & Struggles, USA, and Co-Chair of the meeting. “It’s not just a financial crisis but also a leadership crisis and it’s not just in this part of the world,” he added.

Marwan Jamil Muasher, Senior Vice-President, External Affairs, World Bank, Washington DC, and Chair, Global Agenda Council on the Future of the Middle East, noted that the impediments to growth are not linked to the economic crisis but to “the chronic problem of the Arab-Israeli conflict … and a growing frustration with the development model the region has been pursuing so far … Unless we revisit, education and teaching people how to think critically, question and research, the basic skills needed for innovation, this region will not hope to rise much above current levels,” he said.

The President of Israel, Shimon Peres, gave special remarks where he urged all leaders to “move ahead so that our children will have a better life.”

“The present government of Israel has announced that they’re going to abide by past commitments of the past government, and the previous government adopted the Roadmap which has clear references to a two-state solution [of the Israeli-Palestinian issue],” Peres said.

For more information about the meeting, please visit the Forum’s website at www.weforum.org/middleeast2009

The World Economic Forum is an independent international organization committed to improving the state of the world by engaging leaders in partnerships to shape global, regional and industry agendas.

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