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Thu 15 May 2008 11:55 AM

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Kuwait's Alshaya to chair World Economic Forum

WEFME: Franchise king first Kuwaiti national to chair prestigious forum in the Middle East.

Mohammed Alshaya, chairman of leading Kuwaiti franchise retailer M.H. Alshaya Company, is to be the first Kuwaiti national to co-chair this year's World Economic Forum on the Middle East.

The forum, to be held from May 18-20 in Sharm El-Sheikh in Egypt, will be held under the theme "Learning from the Future" and will be attended by 12 heads of state including President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt and US President George W. Bush.

"We have an important agenda that will challenge our region, economically, socially and environmentally," Alshaya said in a statement.

"I hope a clear understanding will emerge of the kind of initiatives needed to address the issues the region must face - employment, the role of the private sector, the rediscovery of entrepreneurship, and how we educate future generations so that they maximize their potential."

M.H. AlShaya, headed by Alshaya, has brought many of the world's leading retail brands to the Middle East including Starbucks, H&M, The Body Shop, Foot Locker, Mothercare, Debenhams, River Island and Boots.

Alshaya will be joined by five other fellow co-chairs including the Duke of York, UK special representative for international trade and investment; Yuriko Koike, member of the House of Representatives, National Diet of Japan; Paul Rice, president and CEO of TransFair, USA; Jimmy Wales, founder and chair emeritus of Wikia, USA; and Khalid Abdulla-Janahi, chairman of Ithmaar Bank of Bahrain.

The forum, to include 1,500 delegates, will include debates and discussions focused on how the business, political and social environment in the region might change between now and 2025.

In addition to his duties as co-chair, Alshaya will be participating as a panelist in a session entitled "Secrets of Success - the making of the Middle Eastern Multinational" and in a discussion on corporate global citizenship entitled "Does Arab Business Care?" will be covering The World Economic Forum on the Middle East from Sharm El-Sheikh, Egypt in an exclusive special report.

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