(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal, who is also chairman of the Arab Thought Foundation (ATF), opened on Thursday a workshop to mark the Foundationâ€™s 10th anniversary in Beirut.
Prince Khaled told the workshop he lamented the lack of unity and progress in the Arab world, claiming countries in the region were becoming almost isolated islands with feeble bridges to connect them, while their rate of development was at the bottom of the international scale.
"Like any Arab, I find the distance between our Arab world and the world of advanced knowledge and technology growing," Prince Khaled said.
"While attempts to bring the Arabs closer are still hitting obstacles in various spheres, the sphere of thought is the greatest common area that is bringing them together."
Prince Muhammad Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal and Prince Bandar bin Khaled Al-Faisal also attended the two-day event.
The 18th session of the Arab Economic Forum currently being held in Beirut honored Prince Khaled for his achievements since establishing the Foundation. Lebanese Premier Saad Hariri opened the forum on Thursday.
Saudi participation in the forum also included Chairman of the King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies Prince Turki Al-Faisal and Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency Gov. Muhammed Al-Jasser.
Other notable participants also included Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou, Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait for Economic Affairs Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahd Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and Secretary-General of the Arab League Amr Moussa.
The ATF is an international and independent non-profit and non-governmental organization. Founded by Prince Khaled in 2001, it is an initiative developed collaboratively by intellectuals and businessmen to help advance the economic, social and cultural development of the Arab region.
Among other important goals, the Foundation aims to initiate cultural and media programs that contribute to a better understanding of the Arab civilization on an international level.
The Foundation also believes that open and constructive dialogue between the business community, academia and civil society is imperative for the future development of the region. It is an institution interested in the fields of science, medicine, economics, administration, media and literature and also calls for solidarity and the promotion and preservation of identity in the Arab world.