EVENT: Annual Gala Dinner Draws Nearly 300 Guests
Date: 27th October, 2016 Time: 07:30 am - 11:30 pm
Our Annual Gala Dinner brought together nearly 300 members of London's Arab banking community on 27 November. The evening included the presentation of the Association's annual award for Distinguished Service to Arab Banking, to HE Saddek el-Kaber, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya and the Chairman of Bank ABC. The Keynote Speech was delivered by Tom Tugendhat, MP, who was preceded by Ambassador Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian representative in London.
Welcoming the guests, the ABA's CEO noted that the Middle East is facing almost unprecedented challenges, both political and economic, but that he was optimistic that the current problems will pass and that work will begin to re-build Arab economies and societies. Closer to home, he spoke about the increasing regulatory burden being placed in Arab banks in London, even though they are small and pose no systemic threat to the UK banking system or economy.
Dr. Farouq El-Okdah, the former Governor of the Central Bank of Egypt, introduced HE Saddek Omar El-Kaber, the Governor of the Central Bank of Libya and the Chairman of Bank ABC. After George Kanaan and ABA Chairman Abdulaziz al-Khereiji had presented Mr. Kaber with his award for Distinguished Service to Arab Banking, Mr. Kaber spoke of his work to maintain the Libyan banking system even during the current civil war, and of the formulation of a new strategy for Bank ABC that has included upgrading many areas of its operations and a re-branding.
Ambassador Manuel Hassassian, the Palestinian representative in London, then spoke about the political situation in the Middle East and in particular the continuing troubles in Palestine. He reminded guests that widespread peace in the Middle East will not be possible without peace in Palestine.
The Keynote Speaker, Mr. Tom Tugendhat, Conservative Member of Parliament for Tonbridge and Malling, spoke about Britain's vote to leave the European Union, and stressed that the British Government will continue to provide an open and welcoming environment for foreign businesses, including banks.
Throughout the evening, guests were entertained at their tables by two magicians, Spencer Wood and Stephen James, who performed a variety of tricks including (appropriately for a banking dinner) making ten pound notes disappear!
'Joy Refill' a jazz duo comprising Lena Margareta (singing and playing the trumpet) and Pietro Dalla Vecchia (guitar) entertained the guests with a variety of traditional and modern songs.
Pictures from the evening can be seen on the Gallery Tab on this website.
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