Casa de Campo, Dominican Republic, February 21-22, 2014
The Council on Arab World Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean (CARLAC) is delighted to reveal the victorious conclusion of its introductory assembly which is the first phase in its long-standing project to create a more resilient and communally valuable and advantageous collaboration between the two regions. Almost all founding members of the Council attended the meeting, which was held in the Dominican Republic on February 21-22, 2014. The meeting marked the practical founding of CARLAC, which aims at achieving tangible, measurable, win-win results for the Arab world and Latin America and the Caribbean.
The Council is the outcome of several previous conferences, discussions, assemblies and other necessary bases above several years. Whereas there have been other vital programs to endorse cooperation between South America and the Arab world, CARLAC is distinctive in adding the Caribbean, Central America and Mexico to the regional discussion and moving further than the joint governmental register to engage the private sector and civil society in creating a stronger partnership.
Among the most significant decisions taken at the CARLAC meeting was a conformity by the Council to cultivate a set of four Centers on Arab World Relations with Latin America and the Caribbean, which will be the institutional mechanism for operationalizing and appreciating the Council’s vision and agenda. The Council allowed that two of the centers should be based in Latin America and the Caribbean, with two more in the MENA region.
These Centers will perform as non-governmental, non-partisan institutions that will take on research, programming and strategy analysis so as to involve business, government, civil society, media and academia on main concerns of mutual issue to both regions. They will be accountable for executing the Council’s mission and programs on a proficient and institutional basis. The Council agreed to look for continuing and sustainable subsidy in form of a donation to fund the maneuver of the centers and its other agenda.
At its introductory Council assembly, CARLAC verified that one of its most essential responsibilities is to endorse and make possible trade and commerce between the regions. To that extremity, the Council also conversed about the prospective for creating an Arab-Latin American Investment Bank or other organizations to help and reinforce investment and trade relations between the regions. Specifically, the sectors of agriculture and food security and travel and tourism were identified as main areas for mutual collaboration and benefit. Council working groups were instituted to synchronize work in the following divisions:
- Food security and agriculture
- Investment promotion and finance
- Tourism and travel
- Education and culture
- Infrastructure development
- Innovation and technology
CARLAC agreed to prepare for a convention on endorsing tourism and travel. It settled on to plan for an assembly on food security and agricultural development. And it also divulged proposals for an assembly between the chambers of commerce of the Gulf Cooperation Council states and those of Latin America.
The Council looks forward to assisting to enhance strong regional student trade agenda that cultivate a new generation of Arabs and Latin Americans who are committed to, and prepared for, a lasting advancement of a stronger partnership between the regions.
At this time, CARLAC has 48 members of the Council from the two regions. This really recognized group consists of former heads of state and government, senior diplomats, leading businesspersons, globally recognized scholars, and other most important personalities.
CARLAC is led by its Honorary President, His Excellency HH Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al‐Nahayan, the UAE Minister of Culture, Youth, and Social Development, and its Chairman, Dr. Leonel Fernandez, former President of the Dominican Republic and President of FUNGLODE. Ambassador Hasan Abdel Rahman serves as its Vice-President and Executive Director, and Mustafa Abu Nabaa, as its Secretary General. CARLAC was honored to welcome his Excellency Dr. Abdulla Ghobash, Minister of State of the United Arab Emirates, as the keynote speaker at its inaugural meeting, and Qatar was represented by its Ambassador to the United States Muhammad Al-Kuwari. CARLAC uttered its gratitude to the leadership of the UAE for their adherence and support to creating stronger relations between the Arab world and Latin America and the Caribbean.