The Arab Thought Foundation will launch its annual conference in Cairo on Sunday at the Arab League to discuss the significance of Arab integration in the current socio-economic circumstances.
The foundation’s Director General, Henri Awit, and the Secretary General of the Arab League, Nabil Elaraby, will participate in the launching.
The Arab Thought Foundation is an Arab cultural organisation that includes the Arab elite of intellectuals, politicians and businessmen. The foundation was established in 2000, and is headquartered in Beirut. It launches a conference every year in an Arab country.
The foundation’s members include Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris, Lebanese politician Bahia Al-Hariri, and Chairman of Dallah Al Baraka Group Saleh Kamel. It also includes Saudi Prince Bandar bin Khalid Al-Faisal, Prince Khaled bin Sultan, Prince Nayef bin Saud and the Kuwaiti businessman and poet Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Babtain. Moreover, Saudi businessmen Hamza Alkholi and Abdul Rahman Sharbatly are also members in the foundation.
This year, the conference will be held in Cairo to discuss Arab integration and its significance, in light of current exceptional circumstances witnessed by the Arab region, said Awit. He added that these circumstances make Arab integration an imperative necessity rather than simply a dream.
“Due to regional circumstances such as internal divisions or general fragmentation in the region and the possibility of their aggravation, it may be a reason to think of an alternative to contain these divisions and fragmentation. Hence, we chose to raise the issue of Arab integration to be discussed in the conference this year. Integration is a more realistic idea than the unification idea. We have benefited from previous experiences in raising the concept of unification and integration,” said Awit.
Awit highlighted that the conference will be attended by all joint Arab work institutions to discuss integration, and present their visions.
Six workshops were held to prepare for the conference, focusing on the issues of Arab integration in terms of economy, security, military, culture, and identity. They also discussed developing and reforming the Arab League, which this year celebrates its 70th anniversary since its establishment as an entity supporting joint Arab work, according to Awit.
He further noted that the conference will be held around the same time as the eighth Arab report conference, which includes visions, projects and plans for Arab integration.
Awit added that the foundation’s role is to present visions and insights related to Arab realities in various sectors; the foundation adopts the promotion of dialogue and openness to others.
Throughout its history, conferences and goals, the foundation promotes the significance of renewing Arab religious and cultural discourse, to confront extremist ideologies, which led to the spread of terrorism, in Arab countries in particular, and the world in general.