'Beirut Institute' Summit Edition II Second Day Sessions in Abu Dhabi
Source: Soap-box ME for "Beirut Institute" , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Mon May 14, 2018 12:45 pm

UAE. The second day of Beirut Institute Summit Edition II started off Sunday morning to continue discussions looking into problems and solutions facing the Arab region, while focusing on local and international efforts being made.

The National Editor-in-Chief Mina Al Oraibi moderated Sunday’s first session, entitled “Beyond Fear: Toward a Pragmatic Embrace of Tomorrow.”

David Ignatius, Columnist for the Washington Post, spoke of the “decline in superpowers and rise of regional powers.”

But for Dr. Srgjan Kerim, former President of the 62nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the new approach based on “the digitalized world is to find ways to become a driving force in good governance.”

Politician and Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization's Executive Committee, Yasser Abed Rabbo, believes the younger generation has learned from previous mistakes, which will benefit Palestine moving forward. “I believe our youth have learned so many lessons better than we did, while insisting on a peaceful way but at the same time, maintaining our national rights with pride and insistence,” Abed Rabbo noted.

However, Andrew J. Tabler, a Martin J. Gross fellow at Washington Institute, said there needs to be greater contact and coordination, not just between Arab countries but various countries in the world. “We should look more narrowly of what’s possible between two countries and then move on [understanding] between more.”

Meanwhile, HE Ambassador Hossam Zaki told the audience and the Arab region that “you need to be firm and have a vision of where you want to see your country.”

In the following session, entitled “The Future We Want: Voices of the Cloud Generation”, eight young men and women gave their perspective on how technology can reshape the regional future.

Ahmed el-Ghaili, Managing Partner at Vinson & Elkins LLP, and Advisory Board Member at Beirut Institute, said: “Irrespective of our age, our interaction and practice of law is being fundamentally changed by technology, its democratizing and our access to constitutions, laws and contracts, such that they are now literally in the palm of our hands.”

He said the implications are profound, with citizens who know their rights demanding their enforcement, whether it is against government institutions, officials, other corporations and individuals. “In the long-run, such enhanced legal literacy for the average Arab citizen will be an asset in the fight against corruption and economic exploitation,” el-Ghaili said. “We as lawyers will be challenged by computing, legal AI machines, and it’s already happening for routine legal tasks. It’s disruptive for the legal industry but, for consumers of legal services, these advancements mean faster and cheaper access to justice, and far more expeditious resolution of legal disputers, without more legal costs.”

For her part, Chama Mechtaly, Visual Artist, Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Moors & Saints in Morocco, said holistic progress cannot be expected should half of society be keep back. “Social entrepreneurs can leverage technology to ensure women from all backgrounds rise beyond issues that restrict them, and contribute equally to social and economic welfare.”

Thalia Dergham, Senior Insight Specialist at Net A Porter in the United Kingdom and Co-Founder of Beirut Institute, spoke of her conversations with women globally, and her lessons about the power of technology and e-commerce to equip women with unity. “Technology in the fashion market allows us to see women in all parts of the world both share ideologies and are distinctive from each other,” she noted. “With a common ground and digital platform, they will find a way to self-express and share their views.”

During his session, Zak Dychtwald, Author, Founder and CEO, Young China Group, USA, mentioned the impact and influence of youth’s resentment or pride on politics, economics and stability. “The young generation in China, who many of us think of as being oppressed, have much pride in their country,” he said. “They are proud of what China has accomplished, they recognize that, while their government is flawed, one in three people studying abroad in the United States right now are from China, two-thirds of passport holders there are under 35, this generation has interacted with the world and their government is effective.”

In this region, China is building its relationship in steel and concrete to last over generations. “Good relationships are based on understanding,” he concluded. “It’s my hope that by understanding who this generation is, that we can start to build good relationships in this region and around the world

Another session was moderated by Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman, Beirut Institute, “The New American – Russian Dynamics in the Middle East: A Condominium or A Contested Sphere?”

Vance Serchuk, Executive Director at KKR Global Institute, pointed out that there are common values between the U.S. and Russia, but also different at the same time. “The essence of U.S. national security is that we don’t want spheres of influences in Eurasia, while the essence of Russia is to create a protective sphere,” he said.

Dr. Elliott Abrams, Senior Fellow at Council on Foreign Relations, voiced a his belief that Iran and Russia have different interests meaning that Iranians have a much larger project such as a “Shiite crescent in the region.”

Andrey Bystritsky, Chairman, Board of the Foundation for Development and Support, Valdai Discussion Club, does not expect “something positive in Russian-American relations until transitional elections in Congress take place in November.”

Prof. Dr. Malik R. Dahlan, Senior Research Fellow, RAND and Professor of International Law and Public Policy at Queen Mary, University of London, noted that “Russia has taken advantage in some gaps [in the region] and used those opportunities [to its benefit].

For his part, Ambassador Ramzy Ezzeldin Ramzy, Deputy Special Envoy of the Secretary-General of the United Nations for Syria and Egypt, Syria is an arena for escalation. “We are trying to limit escalation,” he said. “There is no serious political dialogue without the Syrian government involved.”

Dr. Andrei Fedorov, Chairman of the Fund for Political Research and Consulting in Russia, noted that, it is obvious that “we are improving our relationship with Saudi Arabia and others. Our task is to find a gap where Russia can be present on a long-term process, and we need our own long-term strategy in the region.”

At the final panel prior to the lunch break, the following experts and officials spoke of expectations for the region in the next 5-10 years. The following took part in the panel:
•             MP Alistair Burt, Minister of State, HM Government, UK
•             HE Nabil Fahmy, Dean of School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, American University in Cairo, Egypt
•             HE Mohamed Dayri, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Libya
•             Dr. Khaled Mahamid, Founder – Member, Syrian Emirates Business Council, UAE-Poland
•             Shady Qubaty, President, Yale Arab Students Association, Yemen
•             Dr. Robert Danin, Senior Fellow, Council on Foreign Relation and Harvard Belfer Center, USA
The summit’s second edition will conclude later tonight with the Beirut Institute Abu Dhabi Declaration.

Photo Captions:
1. (above)  'Beirut Institute' Summit Edition II Second Day Sessions in Abu Dhabi
2. (inset)    Raghida Dergham, Founder and Executive Chairman, Beirut Institute (File photo)
About Beirut Institute Summit:
Beirut Institute Summit is a collaborative initiative impacting the Region, proactively. Our focus is on designing actionable policies and innovative solutions to turn back the forces of destruction and advance the construction of the Arab Region’s engagement in the emerging global future. 
Join us on twitter with #BISummit2018 to share your thoughts on the topics we discuss.



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