Tenth Annual Sir Bani Yas Forum Concludes in Abu Dhabi.

Today concluded the tenth annual Sir Bani Yas Forum, organized by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Ministry of Foreign Affairs in collaboration with the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). The annual high-level retreat is the initiative of H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. The forum was convened at the Qasr Al Sarab resort in the Liwa Desert of Abu Dhabi.

The forum brought together leading policy- and opinion-makers to discuss vital issues relevant to peace and security in the Middle East. The event, which ran from 15th to 17th November, featured constructive debates and discussions around critical challenges confronting regional and world states in the Middle East. The setting of this retreat fostered open dialogues about difficult yet essential issues and allowed new ideas to be debated and developed.

The participants were current and former foreign ministers from around the world, as well as a select number of international policy experts. They were convened to share their expertise and understanding of regional issues. The presentations and panel discussions addressed a wide host of pressing matters facing the region, including Yemen, Syria, Iraq, the Middle East Peace Process, Europe’s role in the region, and the United States’ engagement in the Middle East.

It is important to have a forum where experts and senior policymakers can hear solutions to confounding problems. Sir Bani Yas has become that forum.Dr Robin Niblett, Director of Chatham House, said of the forum

Prof Dr Volker Perthes, Executive Chairman and Director of the German Institute for International and Security Affairs, said The important thing about this gathering is that it has become an institute at a time in which institutions are undermined. Here, actually, an institution has been built.

And Lubna Olayan, Chair of the Board of Directors for the Saudi British Bank, remarked As a businessperson, it is important to learn the geopolitics of this area. This is one of the best forums for that. I have learned something new in every session.”

Dr James Zogby, President of the Arab American Institute, also conducted exclusive polling for the forum as well as looked back across the decade of polling he has done for this forum. He surveyed thousands of people across the region from Arab states to Turkey and Iran, gathering their attitudes toward key issues facing the Middle East. This polling allowed the participants to understand how the people of the region are reacting and responding to these issues.

As in past years, all proceedings were conducted under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution; there were no prepared statements, no communiques, and no reporting media.

Source: UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs