Published January 25th, 2006 - 11:56 GMT

In a press conference hosted by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry, and Amr Hassan Enany, Chairman of Jeddah Economic Forum 2006, the program and speakers were formally announced today.

In its seventh year, the Jeddah Economic Forum will attract the eyes and ears of the world. It has become one of the most prestigious and highly anticipated events not only in the Kingdom but throughout the Middle East. Held from February 11-13, 2006 at the Jeddah Hilton, the Forum is organized by the Jeddah Marketing Board, that operates under the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.

60 speakers were announced today, representing heads of state and international decision-makers, economists, leading businessmen and women, entrepreneurs, and academics.

Speakers will include: Mary McAleese, President of Ireland, Denis Sassou N’Guesso, President of Congo Brazzaville, Al Hajji Jammah, President of Gambia, Jerry Rawlangs Former President of Ghana, Gerhard Schroeder, Former Chancellor of Germany, Al Gore Former Vice-President of the United States of America , Cherie Blaire, Human Rights Lawyer, Steve Forbes, President and Chief Executive Offer of Forbes Inc. and Editor in Chief of Forbes Magazine, Peter Roberston, Vice Chairman of Chevron Corporation, Abdul-Salam Al Majali, Former Prime Minister of Jordan, Haifa Al-Kaylani, Founder and Chairman of Arab International Woman’s Forum, Mohamed Alabbar, Director General of the Department of Economics in the Government of Dubai and Chairman of Emaar Properties, Bahia Hariri, Member of the Lebanese Parliament and sister of the late Rafik Hariri, Andre Azoulay, Counselor to His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco.  Anwar Ibrahim, Former Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and Thoraya Obaid, Executive Director of the United Nations Population Fund will also speak at Plenary Sessions.

Amr Hassan Enany, Chairman of the Jeddah Economic Forum said, "Our speakers are highly influential figures in the world, and they help to shape the global economy. Jeddah is honored to host them and their participation illustrates the international importance of the Forum and its goals."

Under the patronage of HRH Prince Abdel Majeed bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Governor of Mecca Region, the theme for the three-day forum is 'Seeding Potentials for Economic Growth; Honoring Identity and Celebrating Common Grounds'. While acknowledging the wide variety of national cultures, delegates will address the need to identify common grounds as building blocks for sustainable economic growth.

"A one-size-fits-all approach to globalization is neither acceptable nor workable in a world where people take pride in their cultural heritage and do not want to see it eroded in the name of progress," said Amr Enany. "By accepting that people and their societies differ from country to country and by regarding their customs and cultures as national assets, we can seek to identify the factors that are common to all peoples of the world and utilize them to promote sustainable economic growth with maximum effect. This year's forum will highlight and encourage this critical approach to globalization."

The Forum's program will feature Plenary Sessions in the mornings and late afternoon. Selective Sessions after lunch will give delegates a wide choice of challenging subjects and issues, which will spark great interest and debate.

Session Titles will include the role of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in a Global Economy, Public / Private Sector Partnerships, Diversity, Entrepreneurship, Globalization, Terrorism, Foreign Direct Investment and the United Nations Arab Human Development Report. There will also be one session studying Gender Issues and a debate on the role of American Media in the Middle East.

The Jeddah Economic Forum has always aimed to discuss the latest and most current affairs that are facing the Kingdom and the global economy. This year, a session has been dedicated to discuss the new King Abdullah Economic City, and the Kingdom’s ascension to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The Jeddah Economic Forum is pointing the way to a blueprint for the economic future for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,” Amr Enany said.  “Our vision is to set the process and standards for national, regional and economic development for the Kingdom and beyond.”

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