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4th Forum on Economic Co-operation: IT and Internet in the Middle East 16th to 20th July 2006

From 16th to 20th July the Wittenberg Center for Global Ethics hosted delegations from Israel and Jordan for the fourth time in a row.

It wasn't politicians that met but representatives from the business world and civil society. They want to promote peaceful change in the Middle East through establishing economic ties. The delegations were headed by the Israeli Peres Center for Pease and the Jordanian Amman Center for Peace and Development. Thanks to the Wittenberg Center and the DaimlerChrysler Group the conference could be hold at such an unusual point in time.

This year, the 4th Forum on Economic Co-operation focussed on information technologies and the Internet. Economic talks highlighted various possibilities of cooperation. Media seem to hold the potential of fostering understanding among the conflicting parties. The declaration presented at the end of the conference not only stressed the significance of economic cooperation but named specific projects that are to be put into practice by the participants. The document will be passed on to the political bodies in both countries.

The overall atmosphere during the Middle East Forum was marked by mutual respect and solidarity. Participants were well aware of the common problem and felt the need to collectively work out solutions for the conflict. These aspects and the neutral setting in Wittenberg created impetus and inspiration for the conference. The dramatic events in the Middle East have had an impact on a number of the participants' families. All members of the delegations were convinced that this initiative alongside similar activities promoted by industry and civil society may bring hope for a peaceful future however long the way might be that remains to be gone. With these thoughts in mind the participants have already returned to the Middle East.

Declaration for the 4th Joint Economic Forum (PDF)