World leaders, ambassadors, diplomats, entrepreneurs, lawmakers, academics, and clergy from over thirty countries converged on Rome on Thursday for the first Annual Abraham Accords Global Leadership Summit, an exclusive invitation-only event focused on new ways to increase peace and tolerance in the spirit of the Abraham Accords.
Attendees included Houda Nonoo, Former Bahraini Ambassador to the United States, Danny Danon, Israel’s former UN Ambassador, Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, Vice President of The Global Imams Council, Alojz Peterle, Former Prime Minister of Slovenia, Lord Stuart Polak, UK Abraham Accords Group, Timo Soini, the former Finnish Foreign Minister, Akuei Bona Malwal, Republic of South Sudan UN Ambassador, Katharina Von Schnurbein, European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, Senior Rabbi of the UAE, Reverend Philip Larrey, Dean of the Philosophy Department of the Pontifical Lateran University at the Vatican.
Ambassador Danny Danon presented an optimistic view of Israel’s recently elected government: “I bring good news from Jerusalem. The new Israeli government’s first priority will be to increase the number of signatories to the Abraham Accords. Prime Minister Netanyahu’s first state visit will be to Abu Dhabi, and we hope that Riyadh will follow. The Abraham Accords were not built in a day. The hardest part was going public. We have been in contact with the Saudis for years - I worked personally with them at the United Nations on matters of regional stability and security. It’s just a matter of time before courageous leaders step out of the shadows and full peace is achieved between all the descendants of Abraham. I expect to see an agreement between Israel and Saudi Arabia this year.”
Danon went on to stress the potential historical impact of the summit: “At the Abraham Accords Global Leadership Summit, dozens of nations came together to work towards peace - with practical measures taken to bring additional countries into the fold - while simultaneously creating bonds across six continents. We pray that the seeds we are planting here today will grow into unprecedented global peace and coexistence for generations to come.”
The event celebrated the seismic change that the Abraham Accords have already brought to the Middle East and North Africa in two short years with an emphasis on how to glean and export the secrets that turned bitter adversaries into indispensable allies and friends in such a short time. To this end, delegates from the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Morocco, and Israel shared their insights with policy shapers from around the world.
Rabbi Dr. Elie Abadie, a senior rabbi in the United Arab Emirates, also focused on his personal story: “As a young Jewish boy, fleeing my hometown of Beirut, I would never have dreamed that one day I would be serving as a rabbi in an Arab country, nevermind an Arab country with a rapidly growing Jewish community that has signed a peace accord with the State of Israel. We are living in profound times and must seize the opportunities that lie before us.”
Imam Mohammad Tawhidi, an Iranian-born Shi’a Muslim scholar and Vice President of the Global Imams Council, insisted that there is reason for optimism regarding peace beyond the Arab world: “It is hard for some people to imagine that Israel and Iran were close allies just 43 years ago. I come here today as a free Iranian to tell you that peace between Israel, Iran, and even between the Shi’a and the Sunni world is closer than ever before. The people of Iran have seen the fruits of the Abraham Accords, they have witnessed how fast peace can be built, and many remember the days of Israeli tourists visiting Tehran and long for those days to return.”
The summit concluded with the presentation of the Abrahamic Values Pledge, a joint declaration where delegates declared their support of shared Abrahamic values and respect for tradition and family. They also confirmed their commitment to further educating their communities about the traditional values that have sustained religions and cultures and allowed them to impact the world positively, particularly emphasising tolerance, co-existence and economic peace.