Ms Antonia Dimou, head of the Middle East and Persian Gulf Unit of ISDA, attended the Doha Forum which wrapped up ceremonies on the 22nd of May, concluding two days of talks focused on the year’s international economic developments that affected the Middle East and the world. Held at Doha’s Sheraton on the Corniche, the Forum co-sponsored by the Center for Middle East Development of the UCLA attracted 810 high-profile delegates from around the world including a number of heads of state. Qatar’s Emir, Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani, as well as Foreign and Prime Minister Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabor Al Thani opened the event. Officials included HE Yousef Hussein Kamal, Minister of Economy and Finance of Qatar, prof. Klaus Schwab, Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, HE Mourad Medelci, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Algeria, HE Andrew Swiger, Senior Vice President of Exxon Mobil Corporation USA, HE George Mitchell. Former US Special Envoy for Middle East Peace (2009-2011), HE Jose Rodriguez Zapatero, former Prime Minister of Spain, HE Martin Torrijos, former President of Panama, HE Rafiq Abdel Salam, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Tunisia, Emma Bonino, Vice President of the Italian Senate and former EU Commissioner, Marwan Muasher, former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Jordan, Princess Basmah al-Saud of Inseed Holdings, Dr Teuta Arifi, Deputy Prime Minister of FYROM and HE Rodi Kratsa, Vice President of the European Parliament (2007-2012).
True to its original title, the Doha Forum is an established world-class event that celebrated its 12th edition and offered a sweeping overview of issues related to Development, Insights on the Political and Global Economy, Democracy, Development and Free Trade, the Future of Peace in the Middle East with special focus on the Arab and Israeli peace initiatives, Investment Climate in the GCC, Civil Rights, the Impact of the Arab Spring on Political Changes, and Future Trends. More focused, Doha Forum dedicated special sessions on the consequences of the Global Financial Crisis in Reshaping Economic Policy and hosted a workshop on the Greek financial collapse chaired by ISDA’s head of Middle East and Persian Gulf Unit, Ms Antonia Dimou. Speakers of the Workshop on Greece included Prof. Panayiotis Petrakis of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Alexander Moraitakis, President of NUNTIUS Financial Company, Prof. Nikolaos Milonas of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, and Sven Behrendt, Founder and Managing Director of Geo Economica, Switzerland.
The workshop on Greece argued for hours on the likelihood of the rejection of or/and the renegotiation of the troika-imposed “Memorandum of Agreement”, and the significance of the upcoming June 17 where Greeks will vote for a new government. Wrapped up in complicated terms such as Gross Domestic Product, Sovereign Debt, and derivatives the workshop on Greece attempted to explain why Greece has collapsed and why a failure of the Greek economy would have a negative if not chaotic effect not only on Greece itself, but also the EU and the US.
The workshop on Greece addressed some of the most critical questions that dominate the political and economic thinking nowadays both in Greece and in Europe. The workshop also examined the scenario of a Greek exit from the euro-zone and if Greece pulls out of the euro, what will that mean for the single currency, what would that mean for the status of Portugal, Italy, Spain, Ireland as well as the attitude of the markets even towards France. It endeavoured to provide answers on, what would European policymakers do at the moment of a possible Greek exit to persuade investors and depositors that Greece was the exception proving the rule of euro-unity, and if it is utopian to expect member states to default and remain within the euro-zone, and why is that so.
This year the Doha Forum highlighted Greece as a player that impacts not only the world economy but also regional trends. Upon this approach, the Forum dedicated a special workshop on Gas Fields in the Eastern Mediterranean chaired by Jay Footlik and Mac Bernstein of the US. Speakers included Christodoulos Pelaghias, Chairman of ERPIC representing Cyprus, Ilan Mizrahi, President and CEO of TATOOM Consulting representing Israel, and John Nomikos, President of RIEAS representing Greece.
In concluding, the Doha Forum has undoubtedly highlighted Qatar’s emergence as a regional influence with the aim to achieve regional stability through the promotion of democratic and economic reforms.
Members of the Workshop on “Why Did Greece Collapse?” From Right to Left; Alexander Moraitakis, president of NUNTIUS Financial Company, Sven Behrendt, Founder and Managing Director, Geo Economica, Switzerland, Prof. Nikolaos Milonas of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Ms Antonia Dimou, ISDA and CMED of the UCLA, and Prof. Panayiotis Petrakis, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens,