Jeffrey Gedmin, President and CEO of the Legatum Institute began by introducing HRH Prince El Hassan bin Talal, Chairman of the WANA Forum and the Arab Thought Forum. Both organisations are dedicated to ending the poor governance, widespread graft and economic inefficiency which causes poverty and feeds violence in the WANA region.

Prince El Hassan explained that in light of the conflict in Syria, the region should now consider re-designing its institutional architecture with the aim of building more equitable and balanced economies. In particular, he wants leaders to consider creating a regional bank for reconstruction and development which could eventually fund the reconstruction of Syria, and provide investment strategy and guidance for the entire region. Read the WANA Forum concept paper.

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Further remarks were made by His Excellency Sheikh Hamad bin Jassim bin Jaber Al-Thani, former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Qatar, Anne Applebaum, Director of the Global Transitions programme at the Legatum Institute, and Erik Berglöf, Chief Economist and Special Adviser to the President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).

Anne Applebaum presented a Transitions Forum memo, published in partnership with the Institute for State Effectiveness (ISE), on Fostering Regional Cooperation in West-Asia - North Africa: Building on Lessons Learned. Written by Clare Lockhart, Co-founder and CEO of ISE, the memo examined regional integration initiatives around the world to compare the ways that communities had mobilised across boundaries and to identify lessons applicable to the WANA region.

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The Transitions Forum is a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.