Crown Princess Victoria, seen above with Saudi Royal Advisor Prince Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Aziz, was among the luminaries attending the three-day Jeddah Economic Forum
Photo: AFP
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Though marginalised in Saudi Arabia, women played a small but highly significant role in the Jeddah conference. Above, Queen Rania of Jordan gives a keynote address
Photo: AFP

20 JANUARY 2004
Sweden's future monarch and Jordan's current queen were standout attendees at a Saudia Arabia world forum which drew 1,000 business leaders and political heavy hitters to the port city of Jeddah.

Queen Rania of Jordan was among the speakers from more than a dozen countries who presented their views on the pressing issues in Saudia Arabia, the Middle East and worldwide at the Jeddah Economic Forum this weekend. Meanwhile, Rania's fellow royal Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden was also in attendance at the groundbreaking gathering, during which, for the first time, a female leading Saudi Arabian businesswoman Lubna Olayan gave the opening address.

As such luminaries ranging from former US President Bill Clinton to London Business School Dean Professor Laura Tyson gathered at the international event, organisers emphasised that this year's conference was designed to highlight the role of women.

"This event has attracted some of the most influential speakers of our age from around the world," said Chairman of the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry Adel Fakieh, adding: "The forum is greatly enhanced by the contribution of the many distinguished women whose knowledge and experience add an important dimension to the agenda."