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MEDC Supports Goals of U.S. – Arab Economic Forum; Expects Event to Benefit State Long-Term

Wednesday, September 17, 2003

Jennifer Owens
(517) 335-4590

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation announced today that it is supporting the upcoming U.S.-Arab Economic Forum and expects the event to be an important first step in a process that could ultimately benefit the state.The forum, to be held in Detroit from September 28-30, is designed to foster growth, development and trade between the United States and the Middle East.Southeast Michigan has nearly 200,000 Arab Americans and Arab immigrants—the largest concentration of Arabs outside of the Middle East. 

The forum uses three days of roundtables, plenary sessions, networking meetings, interactive workshops and thematic dinners to build a foundation for increased economic activity between the U.S. and Arab countries.“This event could literally be the first step in a process that greatly improves commerce between our two worlds,” said Sabrina Keeley, acting CEO of the MEDC.“Saudi Arabia is already the 10th biggest export market for Michigan products, and Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Egypt are all in the top forty.When we see improved respect and cooperation between our two cultures, the economic relationship will grow and Michigan is uniquely positioned to contribute to, and benefit from, that growth.” 

The speaker list is an impressive collection of leaders from around the globe, including U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell, Crown Prince of Bahrain Shaikh Salman binHamad Al-Khalifa, as well as the CEOs of Boeing, GM, HP, Intel, Pepsi and many others.Also speaking are U.S. Secretary of Energy Spencer Abraham, OPECSecretary General Alvaro Silva Calderon, the CEOs of Chevron Texaco, ConocoPhillips,ExxonMobil, and Marathon Oil to name a few.More than 150 such leaders from politics, business and foundations/cultural institutions in both the U.S. and Middle East are scheduled to speak.David Hollister, the director of the Michigan Department of Consumerand Industry Services, will help open the conference by welcoming all the guests to Michigan. 

“We’re going to look at human development as a catalyst for growth, technology as a development tool, and economic reform as a driver of free trade,” said Sam Hamdan, Chief Strategist for the Forum, and President of the Global Leadership Team, which is planning the forum.“We’re so pleased that the MEDC is supporting this historic event.” 

More information on the forum is available online at www.usaeForum.org. 

The Michigan Economic Development Corporation, a partnership between the state and local communities, promotes smart economic growth by developing strategies and providing services to create and retain good jobs and a high quality of life.  

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