The preliminary sessions of the First Alghad International Forum focused on the effects of sectarian and political conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen in shaping the future of the region.
Lebanese media presenter, Giselle Khoury, moderated the session’s discussions, which included speakers Eric Trager, a fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and an expert on Egyptian politics; Francis Ricciardoni, director of Rafik Hariri Centre in the Middle East and former US ambassador to Egypt and Turkey, Peter Harling, project director at International Crisis Group; and Shibley Telhami, professor of the Anwar Sadat Centre for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, non-resident researcher at the Brookings Institution and an expert on US policy in the Middle East.
The theme of the session was the focus of great attention, not only in the Arab world but also on a global level. The escalation in the region after 2010 intensified sectarian and political conflicts and carried many changes that affected all Arab and neighbouring countries. These conflicts also had a direct impact on international countries as well, and one of the most prominent issues is the phenomenon of refugees and migrants, whose numbers have reached millions.
Among the other dossiers raised during the session was the question of US-Russian policies in the Arab world and prospects of a new Cold War. This issue is mainly related, if not a source, to everything that is happening in the Middle East, especially after Russia's clear and significant intervention in the Syrian crisis and its transformation into a major regional player.
The forum presented an analysis of the causes of the worsening refugee crisis in the Mediterranean region, their movement from the Arab world to Europe, in search of economic investment opportunities, and whether it is possible for extremism to defeat investment in the region. The issue of reconstruction efforts in these countries affected by wars and conflicts was also discussed.