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April 28, 2008
Mayor’s Press Office

Three-day Forum Will Highlight Economic Development, Education, Environment Issues

Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley today welcomed municipal leaders from throughout the United States, Canada and Arab world for the first-ever U.S.-Arab Cities Forum, aimed at sharing information and implementing strategies to build local economies that are competitive in the global society.

The Forum, whose working sessions will be held at the University of Illinois-Chicago’s Conference Center April 28-30, is co-hosted by Mayor Daley and Chicago’s Sister City partners, Mayor Omar Maani of Amman, Jordan, and Mayor Mohamed Sajid of Casablanca, Morocco.

More than 50 municipal leaders from the United States, Canada and the Arab world attended the meeting including leaders from Algeria, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, the Palestinian Authority, Qatar and Yemen. Mayors representing the United States and Canada include: Aurora, IL; Batavia, IL, Chicago, IL; Dearborn, MI; Issaquah, WA; Kansas City, MO; Mobile, AL; Oklahoma City, OK; Wayne, MI; and Windsor, Ontario.

“As mayors and leaders of municipal government, we share the same challenges. And as technology continues to advance, we all are faced with the challenge and opportunity of living and working in a global economy,” said Mayor Daley. “We are also on the front lines when it comes to dealing with issues like transportation, education, crime and the environment on behalf of our residents.”

“That’s why a meeting such as this one is important. The information we exchange here and the relationships we build will pay great benefits to all our cities and our residents in the time to come,” Daley said.

In addition, Mayor Maani pointed out the importance of this forum by saying, “we are looking forward to share experiences and best practices with our colleagues from the U.S. and Arab cities. The municipal challenges are relatively the same among all cities and our gathering during this forum will give us the opportunity to learn and share best practices to better serve our citizens.”

“By organizing this significant event, the City of Chicago is contributing to the strengthening of the relationship between local governments in the United States and Arab countries,” said Mayor Sajid. “The objectives of our meetings are a dialogue and the exchange of good practices, a requirement for the promotion of durable and prosperous cities.”

The conference agenda focuses on three major topics: Economic Development and Improved Quality of Life, Education and Youth and the Environment and Sustainability.

“The Forum will give mayors a chance to hear from the experts and share innovations on these three critical issues,” Daley said.

Topics for the major sessions are:
EDUCATION AND YOUTH – Enhancing the lives of children and youth and preparing them to become successful adults by improving traditional education and expanding out-of-school activities.
These discussions will focus on how mayors and municipal leaders can best help youth acquire a greater range of skills in order to help them become strong, contributing members of society.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND IMPROVED QUALITY OF LIFE – Implementing new strategies to build strong, diverse local economies that improve the quality of life for residents and are competitive in the new global society.
These discussions will center on new strategies that cities are using to prosper at the local level, including diversification of industries, public-private partnerships, improvements to basic infrastructure and capitalization of natural assets.

ENVIRONMENT AND SUSTAINABILITY – Establishing innovative programs and initiatives to improve the environment and ensure long-term sustainability of cities.
These discussions will focus on the latest innovations that protect local environments while enhancing local economies., such as developing green building standards, promoting renewable energy projects, reducing traffic congestion and improving water infrastructure and water conservation practices.
On Tuesday, April 29, those attending the U.S.-Arab Cities Forum will participate in the annual Richard J. Daley Urban Forum being held that day at the University of Illinois-Chicago. The Richard J. Daley Urban Forum of the University of Illinois at Chicago is an annual national symposium that provides opportunities for mayors from around the world, business leaders, key policy-makers, leading scholars, students and commentators to discuss important issues in American urban history and urban studies.


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