Abdallah Al-Dardari, former Syrian deputy prime minister, and Haifa Zangana, founding member of the International Association of Contemporary Iraqi Studies, presented the key findings of the Arab integration report. Carnegie’s Maha Yahya moderated the session.
- Weak Arab Integration: Arab integration faces several obstacles, said Al-Dardari, including foreign hegemony, occupation, and a cultural crisis. Furthermore, there has not been true security and stability at the local and regional levels to permit prosperity. He pointed out that trade within the Arab world is lower than trade with sub-Saharan Africa.
- Arab Economy: Food security and water scarcity are key economic issues in the region, said Al-Dardari. Al-Dardari proposed that by dismantling protectionist policies and replacing foreign labor with Arab labor, the regional GDP could be doubled within five years and unemployment decreased by 4.3 percent.
- Arab Culture and Language: The Arab integration report also discusses the intellectual, philosophical, and religious challenges faced by the Arabic culture and language, said Zangana. Arab states have a shared culture, including a common language, and it is vital to take advantage of this. Aside from the important of popular movements and youth participation, the report questions whether the Arab world is open to intellectual perspectives and principles, added Zangana.