I amena Award was created in December the 12rd 2012 in Marrakech-Morocco as part of a large promotional program aimed at strengthening relations and partnerships between the East and the West and also to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the good relations between The Mena region and the west. The launching Gala of IAMENA was held December the 12rd 2012 in Marrakech-Morocco which included speeches, mini debates, international music, gala dinner, painting and live auction, I amena Award ceremony and networking.
I amena is an interactive platform which provides its target groups with a favorable and sustainable space for the establishment of strong links between the East and the West. I amena enables these both sides to cooperate in various topics such as: economy, art & culture, politics, innovation, Marketing, new media, the social issues, education, etc.
Indeed, the platform I amena is an opportunity for leaders, entrepreneurs and various actors from the East and the West to benefit from their respective strengths and pool their assets in various areas. It is a great opportunity for leaders to connect their networks in the light of the emergence of diversity and the high proportion of different MENA Diaspora in this category.
The platform I amena provides also its members with an overview about the current affairs concerning the relations between the two sides with a focus in a specific region each year. The next coming years, the focus will be put on other MENA regions and Turkey. The idea is to invite everybody to reflect on the challenges and weaknesses that are nowadays preventing social cohesion and leadership from improving and create a new positive basis to answer these challenges.
The platform I amena is an ambitious project as it is part of a process of progress, reconciliation and openness. Business leaders, academics, bankers, journalists and advertisers are convinced that it is not only useful but necessary to establish a permanent dialogue in which the confrontation of ideas should allow further reflection, to reverse the denial of the other.
Today multi- and bilateral relations between the Mena region and the west are on track. The trade relations between the two sides are on a very positive path. The west has a highly innovative economy and wealth of knowledge and skills to share. Also, the west now show an important involvement in many projects internationally. And with the new context of recession, they tend to expand their business opportunities. In the same vein, the Mena has an open economy that depends heavily on foreign markets.
We are currently witnessing a shared desire to create a partnership between the two worlds in the private and public sectors, to strengthen trade, to enable institutional twinning and to develop investment between the two worlds. Despite this, the economic relations including trade exchanges are still very weak between the Mena region and the west.
The links between the Mena region and the west are not only economic. The social aspect is particularly important in these relationships. The point is that both communities still face problems when it comes to social cohesion. Crimes among the youth, domestic violence, radicalization, extremism, racism, are daily-lived phenomena, which need to be overcome. Dialogue and tolerance still need to be encouraged. Yet, the recent political changes do not help improving the relations between Muslims and Non-Muslims. There are now new trends which are very controversial and which create a real social challenge. In fact, there is a culture of fear, dislike, and mutual distrust growing between Muslims and non-Muslims and very few of the policies, projects or programs to bridge the divide have come anywhere close to success.
In the fields of culture and arts, many efforts have been realized. We can see nowadays many exchanges between the youth of the two communities. There are projects such as exhibitions, which show the desire of sharing cultural references. Yet those exchanges are not enough. In fact, kids have no easy access to the references of their own culture, which is still portrayed through stereotypes and preconceived ideas promoted by the mainstream media. The language is also a big barrier to these exchanges but many things have to be done to share talents and knowledge on the fields of theatre, music, dance, painting, writing etc.
We have set up Iamena because of the history between the Mena region and the west and all the economic, social and cultural challenges we have talked about above. But we are organizing the forum also because of many global issues that concern the East and the West in general and which concern many minorities in The west and need to be discussed such as: sustainability, bridging cultures, peace in the World, intercultural understanding, fighting against extremism, and so on.
Morocco has many assets that make it a highly attractive place for foreign investment: a strategic geographic location with easy access to Europe, the Middle East, and Africa; trade agreements with the US, the European Union, and Middle East and African countries; social and political stability; a skilled labor pool; and rising gross domestic product.
In addition, over several decades, Morocco has become a preferred regional business center by implementing improvements to its economic laws and incentives, including a simplified tax code and customs regulations, and the establishment of regional investment centers to assist companies located in major cities throughout the country.