They have been invited to discuss their perspectives on the future of the region with around 40 attending Nobel Laureates and dozens of international public figures. The conferees have been invited to Jordan by the King Abdullah II Fund for Development and the Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity for the third Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates. Nobel Laureates from the six fields in which the Nobel Prize is awarded each year – peace, economics, literature, physics, chemistry, as well as physiology and medicine – are expected to attend. This year’s event will have a prominent focus on youth that will also extend to a discussion of how to enhance educational opportunities for youth in the Middle East, in particular by overcoming the information deficit.
The focus on youth reflects a broader concern in the region to create systems and structures that can ensure a high quality of life and opportunities for the region’s largest youth cohort in history as it comes of age. Today, more than half the region’s population is below the age of 18.
Other sessions during this year’s conference will address issues in education, health, economy, and the environment. Conferees will explore the possibility of establishing a Middle East science fund to advance regional scientific cooperation. The session on the environment will highlight some of the work sponsored by regional civil society institutions and explore the wider challenges of preserving the environment in the region. The health session will propose developing a primary health care module to dispense supplies to populations in complex emergency situations and conflict.
“We are again convening some of the world’s brightest and most creative minds, Nobel Laureates, to think, talk, and contribute to the advancement of various global issues,” said His Majesty King Abdullah II in a statement issued by the Royal Hashemite Court. “This year, they will also meet with some of the best young minds of our region. From one country to another, from one generation to another, from one culture to another, the Petra message is clear. We can, and will continue to foster hope, innovation, and inspiration, in order to build a better world.”
According to Elie Wiesel, who received the 1986 Nobel Prize for Peace, “Nobel Laureates met in Petra over the past few years to discuss threats to humankind. The world is in danger. This year we will explore practical steps to building a better world through partnerships involving Israelis and Palestinians and via cooperation between stakeholders across the Middle East. And what of today’s youth,” asks Wiesel. “At Petra, we will redouble our efforts to nurture tomorrow’s leaders through education.”
Among confirmed participants this year are Nobel Laureates JM Coetzee (Literature), Kofi Annan (Peace), Richard Axel (Medicine), Johann Deisenhofer (Chemistry), Robert Merton (Economics) and Norman F. Ramsey (Physics). They will be joined this year by world-renowned leaders from the public and private sectors.
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