The Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) gathered for its annual meeting in Paris on the 4th and 5th of March 2009 at the invitation of Madame Christine Lagarde, the French Minister for Econ- omy Industry and Employment and was hosted by the Greater Paris Investment Agency led by Chairman Mr Thierry Jacquillat.
The conference was attended by a number of influential women in the fields of business and politics, representing delegations from 25 countries including 16 Arab nations. Among the Guest Speakers were five Arab women ministers: HE MS Fayza Mohamed Aboulnaga, Minister of International Cooperation, The Arab Republic of Egypt; HE Su- hair Al Ali. Minister of Planning & International Cooperation, the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; HE Dr Fatima Al Balooshi, Minister for Social Development, Kingdom of Bahrain; HE Mrs Bahia Hariri, Minister of Education and Higher Education, Lebanon; and HE Dr Diala Al-Haj Aref, Minister of Social Affairs & Labour, Syria. The other eminent Guest Speakers included Sheikha Hanadi Nasser Bin Khaled Al Thani, Founder and Chairperson AMWAL, Qatar; HRH Princess Mashael Bint Faisal Bin Turki Abdul-Aziz, President of the Board of Business Women Forum in the Eastern Province, Saudi Arabia; Mrs Raja Al Gurg, Managing Director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group, United Arab Emirates; Mrs Mona Al Moayyed, Managing Director, Y J Almoayyed & Sons BSC, Bahrain; Mrs Hosna Rachid, Chairperson Rachid Mashreq Group, Egypt and Mrs Neveen El Tahri, Chairperson Delta Holdings and Country Representative of RBS in Egypt.
This was AIWF’s first ever conference in France, providing a unique opportunity to bridge Arab and French business communities and to highlight the success and progress of Arab women in different parts of the world. The delegates were introduced to Paris as a world-class metropolis presenting excellent “business to business” opportunities for trade and investment partnerships. Major players in all sec- tors of business including science, education and property within the Greater Paris area interacted with the delegates arranging private visits for the showcasing of the quality products of well-known family owned businesses such as Hermes, Leon- ard, Mellerio, Daniel Féau Conseiller Immobilier and the Galeries Lafayette. A networking dinner at the Jacquemart André Museum emphasised the innovative concepts that underlined this very special event.
“Never has it been more crucial that we recognize and celebrate the importance of partnership in fostering international trade and with it economic growth, neither has there ever been a better time for the Arab International Women’s Forum to introduce Arab business women to the growing impetus of trade and investment that France is advancing,” concluded Haifa Al Kaylani.
Declared Thierry Jacquillat, Chairman of the Greater Paris Investment Agency: “I am very confident in the future for Greater Paris. The presence here in Paris of such a large number of outstanding businesswomen gathered by the AIWF is the symbol of the confidence they have in the French economy and of the attractiveness of the French Capital Region.”