Shaikha Lubna Al Qasimi, the UAE Minister of Economy was a keynote speaker at the conference, where she highlighted the successes and challenges facing the Arab world.
Increasing the number of Arab students at Harvard was one of the objectives of the conference that included a three-tier panel on education, entrepreneurship and economy issues.
Addressing the macroeconomic challenges within the region, Shaikha Lubna called for a Reform Act to secure a better standard of living for future generations. She indicated that by 2020, nearly 100 million new jobs would have to be created to cater to the population growth.
Outlining some of the major challenges facing the Arab world, she mentioned low education levels, scarcity of research and development initiatives, and paucity of foreign direct investment in the region.
"For the Arab World to realise the full potential of its success stories, it needs to implement a tax structure that is non-discriminatory, and which does not change frequently if it is to gain investors' confidence."
"The region also needs to reduce the perceived risks through the provision of transparent legislation that espouses open markets and free movement of capital and labour. In addition, tariffs need to be reduced, especially on imported inputs of production. We also need to promote intra-regional investments."
Earlier, in his welcome address, Nabil Alyousuf, Executive President, DSG stressed on the need to involve educated decision-makers in the process of government reform.
Rania Succar, President, HAAA said: "The conference presented a unique opportunity for alumnae from leading universities to network with graduates from across the region.""The Arab world has historically been under-represented in premier universities worldwide, and the Harvard Arab Alumni Association is working to increase the Arab presence within Harvard through such initiatives."
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