This year's tour included Lebanon, Bahrain, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Qatar, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.
The High Tech Road Show delegation kicked off the Road Show with three days in Las Vegas at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), a showcase for cutting edge technology and the latest consumer electronics gizmos and gadgets. More than 20,000 new products were launched at the 2012 CES, making it the most significant launch pad of its kind in the world.
Delegates had an opportunity to meet with select industry leaders, including stars like John Donahoe, President & CEO of eBay. In the consumer electronics space, eBay generated $4.2 billion in domestic transactions last year.
The delegation’s second stop was Silicon Valley in California. The two-day visit focused on the role of technology, innovation, and entrepreneurship as economic drivers in Silicon Valley and their potential applications in the Arab world. The visit to Silicon Valley was divided into three components: 1) A day-long conference that explored ways to promote economic growth and productive job creation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region; 2) A VIP reception at The Tech Museum in San Jose that featured an exclusive tour of the world renowned traveling exhibition, "Ingenious Innovations: Islamic Science Rediscovered"; 3) Site visits to some of Silicon Valley's leading companies, including Intel, Cisco, and Google.
The conference was entitled "Unlocking the Potential of the Arab Spring: Harnessing Technology and Innovation to Create Economic Growth in the Arab World." The gathering attracted more than 200 thought leaders from multinationals, small & medium-sized enterprises, academia, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), government, and the venture capital community. Co-organized by TechWadi, the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce, Plug and Play Tech Center, and IJMA3-USA (the Union of Arab ICT Associations), the event offered outstanding content and speakers.
While in Silicon Valley, High Tech Road Show delegates participated in a VIP reception at The Tech Museum in downtown San Jose. The event drew more than 200 community leaders from around Silicon Valley, including top politicians.
Delegates were treated to an exclusive tour of the world renowned traveling exhibition, "Ingenious Innovations: Islamic Science Rediscovered," which is making its first appearance in California. Also known as "Sultans of Science," the exhibition is designed to unearth the scientific know-how of an Islamic Golden Age, covering Muslim achievements from mathematics to navigation, astronomy, medicine, instrument making, fine utilitarian technology, engineering, optics, architecture and flight.
The High Tech Road Show, co-organized by the National U.S.-Arab Chamber of Commerce (NUSACC) and the Union of Arab ICT Associations (IJMA3-USA), with the partnership of AmCham Lebanon, concluded with a visit to Washington, DC. The nation's capital was the third and final stop on a 10-day tour. The Washington DC portion of the Road Show was organized in association with the Northern Virginia Technology Council and TechAmerica.
While earlier stops on this year's High Tech Road Show focused largely on business-to-business opportunities, the visit to Washington DC concentrated primarily on U.S. Government resources and initiatives available to enhance the role of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in the Arab world, especially through greater broadband access and more effective regulation.
Joining the High Tech Road Show delegates in Washington was a delegation of senior business leaders from the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, who were accompanying H.M. King Abdullah II to Washington DC. Delegates included some of Jordan's leading advocates for economic growth through entrepreneurial innovation, including H.E. Karim Kawar, Chairman of the EDAMA Initiative (www.edama.jo), H.E. Mohammed Bataineh, Chairman of the American Chamber of Commerce in Jordan (www.amcham.jo), and Mr. Usama Fayyad, Chairman of Oasis 500 (www.oasis500.com).
In a visit to the U.S. Department of State, delegates met with a number of senior officials, including Hon. Jeffrey Feltman, Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Hon. Philip Verveer, United States Coordinator for International Communications & Information Policy.
Delegates also participated in a roundtable discussion at the U.S. Trade and Development Agency (USTDA), an agency of the U.S. Government that assists host country economic development through infrastructure projects, market-oriented reform, job creation, training, and the transfer of advanced technology.
The events concluded with a VIP reception at the Guarisco Gallery of fine art and a gala dinner at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Amongst the special guests were Hon. Ray LaHood, U.S. Secretary of Transportation, the Hon. Francisco Sanchez, Under Secretary of Commerce for International Trade, and more than 40 High Tech Road Show delegates from 13 Arab nations.
The final day of the High Tech Road Show revolved around a day-long conference at the Four Seasons Hotel entitled, "The Arab World After the Arab Spring: Opening to IT Freedom and Investment." The morning keynote speech was delivered by Alec Ross, Senior Advisor for Innovation to U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.