His Highness Dr. Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, officially inaugurated the two-day Mena Economic Forum  on Sunday at the American University of Sharjah.
The high-profile event was addressed by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education  and Scientific Research, and Dr. Anwar Mohammad Gargash, UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs. This was followed by two sessions on how the West and the GCC can cooperate and meet future challenges.
Among others, Cherif Rahmani, Minister of Industry, SMI and Investment Promotion, Algeria, Philippe Douste-Blazy, Under-Secretary-General, United Nations; Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, France; Youssef Amrani, Minister-Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Morrocco; Jack Lang, President, Arab World Institute, Former Minister of Culture, France; Riyadh Bettaieb, Minister of Investment and International Cooperation, Tunisia; Fahad Al Attiya, Chairman, Qatar National Food and Security Programme, Qatar; Emmanuel Bonne, Special Advisor to the French President in charge of Mena and UN, French Presidency, France; Bariza Khiari, Vice President, French Senate, France; Miguel Angel Moratinos, former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Spain; Sandro Gozi, Vice President, Partito Democratico, Italy and Shaikh Khalid Bin Jaber Al Thani, Chairman, Qatar National Cancer Society, Qatar, will speak at different sessions.
The event takes place at a time when parts of the Middle East are moving towards democracy and transparent governance while European countries are trying to recover from an unprecedented economic  crisis and the United States is trying to avoid recession.
The high-profile conference also covers issues such as challenges and opportunities in the aftermath of the Arab Spring ; infrastructures and utilities: how to meet the needs; finance: looking for innovative solutions to help the real economy; the role of media in building bridges between the West and Mena countries; green business and smart water: building resources for the future education and healthcare: meeting higher standards, among other issues.