Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

C3 Summit Urges Focus on "Commercial Diplomacy"

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

C3 Summit Urges Focus on "Commercial Diplomacy"

Article excerpt

C3 U.S.-Arab Business Summit attendees spent a full day, Oct. 6, choosing between simultaneous panel discussions held on two separate floors of the Union League Club in New York City. The day's underlying theme was the importance of bridging the gap between Middle Eastern and Western cultures. C3 stands for Community, Collaboration and Commerce, and its yearly U.S. event is co-sponsored by numerous businesses, along with the U.S. State Department, U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the U.S. Department of Commerce. Speakers from those organizations, along with business leaders, policymakers, educators and leaders of NGOs, banks and start-ups, emphasized that business relationships and partnerships depend on developing mutual trust, respect and cooperation, and ending prejudices and misinformation.

In a hard-hitting keynote speech addressing some of the most hotly debated misconceptions about Arabs, Khalaf Ahmed Al Habtoor, chairman of UAE's Al Habtoor Group, explained why Western ideals don't always work in his region. "I did not hold sand in my hand and turn it into gold," said Al Habtoor, who was born into a poor family. In fact, he joked about some of his early business failures, detailed in his new book, Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor-The Autobiography. His company's motto is "Growing with the UAE," and he remarked that UAE citizens feel like partners in their country's stellar growth and success.

Despite the UAE's phenomenal story, Dubai in particular has been the target of bad Western press for decades, Al Habtoor noted. Media criticize the Emirates for its "firm laws and low tolerance of corruption, and our handling of people who threaten our safety and national security," Al Habtoor said. "Yes, we are firm with criminals and we are proud of it," he stated, adding that "people from all over the world have decided to make the UAE their home because of what this nation has to offer."

Although Western media find fault with his country's human rights record, according to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights those rights include such economic rights as adequate housing, rights for children, education, food, health and freedom of religion. UAE citizens enjoy high standards of education, free medical care, and financial help to purchase homes or marry. The country is stable, Al Habtoor pointed out, with a strong economy, no unemployment and the best infrastructure in the world. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.