Abu dhabi - As the "Beirut Institute" Summit Edition II kicked off in Abu Dhabi today, high-level leaders and officials spoke of the importance for Arab countries to work together in order to build a sound future for the region.
Prince Turki Al Faisal, Chairman of the Board at the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, said the summit provided a platform for prominent figures in government and business to convene and discuss the Arab word's affairs.
"The importance of this summit is really based on the fact that the region is witnessing accelerated developments in technical, geopolitical, social and economic aspects," he said during the opening ceremony of the two-day summit, entitled constructing the Arab region's engagement in the emerging global future. "Transformation is a critical word for this summit: we are in constant transformation, not just in this region but globally. So if we manage to bring to light the transformations, their impact and follow-up on the developments, maybe, just maybe, we can do it, because we are in a rapidly-changing world and we may be able to reach a number of solutions to tackle the region's issues and challenges."
Prince Al Faisal mentioned "intersection" as another critical word. He said all the continents of the globe were interacting, using social medial platforms, which represent today a "dictator" that has unparalleled control over the entire world.
"This intersection between those civilizations is what gathers us today," he added. "But it is sometimes the element that drives us away from each other. We witness this in all countries of the Arab world we must do our best to work together to make this intersection a positive one, and not one that drives us away from each other."
Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman of Beirut Institute, spoke of the importance of the summit as a continuous dialogue and conversation. "It is not just about making a few keynote speeches or addresses, it is an ongoing dialogue," she said. "We are no longer viewed as failed states, we are not perceived as a conflict-ridden region. We are leading states and highly-capable states, we have great diversity, which we celebrate. And, among us, there are countries that look forward to a brighter future."
She mentioned the paramount importance of being frank and speaking openly. "I appreciate those who participated in the summit's first edition," she said. "They returned to be part of this family, that persists on speaking a language of building a positive future and collaboration."
On her part, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development for the United Arab Emirates, said the institute had a global role to play. "What is going on in the region and the Arab world impacts the entire world," she said.
"I praise this summit for its pioneering role in discovering the critical dimensions of the Arab world, and in discovering all of the new political, strategic and economic changes to develop a roadmap for the future of the region."
She spoke of the vision and values of tolerance of the late Sheikh Zayed, the founding father of the UAE. "The UAE is a country of tolerance," she said. "Today, the language of hope is the language we should start speaking with. The major challenges we are facing require politicians and decision-makers to set a clear strategy that shapes the future and enables the youth, cultivates society and ends the extremist thinking used by terrorist groups."
Al Kaabi spoke of working on sustainable future strategies, which require economic diversification, and paint a bright future for the generations to come. "This is what we are working on in the UAE," she concluded. "We always hope that in every edition, there should be a clear roadmap into spreading the positive message. Our region deserves the best and it is also the region in which we should create hope."