Arab-German Women Leaders Forum in Berlin


Olaf Hoffmann at his welcome speech and in discussion with AIWF chairman Mrs. Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani

Economic relationships between Middle East countries and Germany were significantly intensified during the last years. Compared to 2011, an increase in exports on the German side of more than 16% and on the Arab side of more than 22% could be achieved in 2012.


Nevertheless, the female participation in this positive economic development is still improvable. Hence the support of female entrepreneurs is a declared goal of both the Arab International Women Leaders Forum and the Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Both institutions in collaboration with the General Union of Arab Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Agriculture (GUCCIAAC) organized the first Arab-German Women Leaders Forum under the motto “From Partnership to Inclusive Growth: Women in the Arab World, Germany and the International Community“.


The forum took place from the 22nd to the 25th of October, 2013 at Adlon Kempinski Hotel in Berlin, Germany under the patronage of the Mayor of Berlin Klaus Wowereit. Several hundred Arabian and German businesswomen as well as about 200 high-ranking representatives from economy, policy and science attended the event. The purpose of this event was to offer the attendants a platform which provides insights into already existing relations, to intensify these and to smooth the way for long-term and lasting cooperations. In particular, ideas were exchanged on how Germany’s dual vocational training could be applied in the Arab region for supporting female participation and how mutual learning could be improved. Hence all participants agreed that the support of the female success in economic matters can only be realized with a high quality education as well as with the support of the family.


In his opening speech Vice President of Ghorfa Arab-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (, Olaf Hoffmann, welcomed the Arab International Women’s Forum (AIWF) chairman Mrs. Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylanim, appreciating the cooperation with the AIWF. He emphasized positively that an individual forum is inaugurated on this important subject, after the Ghorfa has dedicated a session to businesswomen at the Arab-German Economic Forum already in 2007. He expressed his great pleasure at being able to welcome so many internationally successful businesswomen to the forum who were willing to share their expertise and experience. He was encouraged to note that more than half of the participants came from the MENA states. Furthermore Olaf Hoffmann referred to the fact that also in Germany the success of the German economy would be inconceivable without co-operation of the numerous successful businesswomen.


In response to the warm welcome and opening speech of Mr. Hoffmann, Mrs. Haifa Fahoum Al Kaylani, founder and chairman of the Arab International Women’s Forum with headquarter in London, emphasized that the Ghorfa and the AIWF shared the interest to strengthen the relations with the Arab world in the areas of trade, economy and investment and the impact of the Arab-German Women Leaders Forum. Prof. Dr. med. Ossama bin Abdul Majed Shobokshi, Saudi ambassador in Berlin and Doyen of the Arab Diplomatic Corps in Germany, appreciated the meaning of Arab women in the business world and gave an overview about the actual situation in the Arab world. In her opening speech the Berlin Senator for Economy, Technology and Research Cornelia Yzer welcomed the guests in the name of the Berlin government.


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