Wednesday, 16 January 2008
By Adel Al-Malki
JEDDAH - Former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan will be one of several eminent speakers in the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF) 2008 to be held between Feb. 23-26.
The JEF 2008 is under the patronage of Khaled Al-Faisal, the Emir of Makkah region. The theme this year is "Value Creation through Alliances and Partnerships."
However, for the first time since its inception in 1999, the forum, the premium business event on the Gulf conference calendar, will not be held at the Jeddah Hilton.
Instead, JEF will be held at the Jeddah Center for Exhibitions and Conferences (JIEC), the venue of expos such as annual motor shows and household appliances showcase. Preparations at the 8,000 sq. m. JIEC will start 23 days prior to the event.
"The open space and the many facilities in the venue are more conducive in terms of organization," said Sami Bahrawi, President of JEF 2008.
He added that keynote speeches will be followed by discussion and debate to encourage interaction among the delegates. Six main issues and 18 working papers will be studied.
"We carefully chose the politicians, economists and Saudi businesswomen we invited so they would effectively contribute to, and at the same time, benefit from each other's expertise and experience," said Bahrawi.
Greenspan was the leading authority on American domestic economic and monetary policy during his nearly 20-year tenure. He was lauded for his handling of the Black Monday stock market crash and the Internet-driven, "dot-com" economic boom in the 90s.
The other well-known speakers in the forum are Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, Emir of Makkah; Prince Charles, Prince of Wales; Dr. Hashim Bin Abdullah, Saudi Minister of Commerce and Industry; Dr. Ghazi Abdul Rahman Al-Gosaibi, Minister of Labor; George Soros, global financier and philanthropist; Dr. Salam Fayyad, Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority; Lee Kuan Yew, Minister Mentor Singapore; Eric Stark Maskin, economist and co-winner of the 2007 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences; Prof. Muhammad Yunus, Noble Laureate and founder of Grameen Bank; Dr. Abdallah E. Dabbagh, president and chief executive officer of Ma'aden, Muhammad Al-Jasser, Vice Governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA); Dr. Khalid Al-Anqari, Minister of Higher Education; Jim O'Neill, head of Global Economic Research; Goldman Sachs, Silajdžic, The Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency member; Suresh Vaswani, president of Global IT Service Lines Wipro Technologies and president of Wipro Infotech; Gen. Barry McCaffrey, Atif Abdulmalik, CEO Arcapita; Mark Morial, president and chief executive officer National Urban League; Sheppard, Chair of the Duke CE board of directors and the Dean of the Fuqua School of Business, Duke University; and Peter Lange, The Provost, chief academic officer of Duke University .
Select university students will also attend the forum.
Bahrawi said that past participants of JEF laud its contribution to the development of economic thought, commercial, industrial, and tourism industry and trade sectors.
"They said that the forum brought information for business development, and deepened economic opportunity in response to the practical reality with the new regulations of free
market economics," he said.