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Doha Forum to discuss Mideast revolutions Print
QNA - 5/9/2011
Transformations taking place in the Middle East will come up for an intense debate among analysts and experts from all over the world at the Doha Forum that begins at the Doha Sheraton here today.

The key event is being organised here for several years, but this year’s edition assumes immense significance as it is being held after the revolutions rocked the Arab world early this year.

A discussion on the changes rocking the Middle East is slated to be held at the very opening session of the key Forum this morning. A new and expanded view about economic development will, though, be at the nucleus of the 11th Doha Forum.

The Forum for the first time features the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference, say officials.

The Heir Apparent H H Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani will today formally open the three-day forum which will be attended by over 600 delegates comprising government officials, academics, leading figures, and the civil society from more than 80 countries.

“The conference, which is planned to be held annually, will further enrich the Forum, as it projects a different view of development as well as raising people’s awareness on the type of vision which allows the region’s economy to grow,” said the Assistant Foreign Minister for Follow Up Affairs H E Mohammed Abdullah Al Rumaihi, during a press meet yesterday.

Al Rumaihi said this is also the first time that the Doha Forum will hold workshops which focus on economic strategies, the importance of raising awareness on rule of law, media freedom, political and economic reform and peace in the Middle East among others.

“If you talk about reform and advancement, it has to start with human and economic development,” said Prof Steven L Spiegel, Director of the UCLA Center for Middle East Development (CMED), University of California – Los Angeles, who have been working with Doha Forum for the last three years.

Prof Spiegel said apart from fundamental development issues, the conference will centre on other avenues of economic development such as sports, art, and franchising.

“People don’t normally see sports, art and culture as mechanisms for economic development,” he observed, adding in the next years every Qatari will benefit in the coming World Cup 2022.

Another important topic to be discussed in the conference is the huge business of franchising around the world which according to Spiegel is not yet popular in the region.

A separate session on Water Security in the Middle East will be held and a report on water and the importance of water in development will for the first time be unveiled at the forum. In the wake of the recent uprisings in various countries, Al Rumaihi said the Forum will also be discussing new issues on political and social transformations and how to overcome the ongoing crises confronting the region.
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