Official website of His Majesty King Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein
Speech of His Majesty King Abdullah II
Announcing the Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates
Washington, DC, US
17 March 2005

Today, more than ever, we need creative minds to address the issues of the age. And one of the most urgent is this: How can humanity know so much, achieve so much, and still fail so many people so badly?

Our century has seen tremendous advances. Yet vast numbers of people suffer from humanity's oldest enemies: war, poverty, hunger, epidemic disease, despair. The developing world is home to five of every six people on earth. A quarter of them live in extreme poverty. Eleven million children younger than five die every year – more than half from hunger-related causes.

I believe the problem is not a lack of compassion. Millions of people throughout the world want to help. We saw that, just months ago, in the tremendous global response to the South Asian tsunami.

What our global system needs are new tools to address the world's enduring challenges. And the most important tool, the one that begins it all, is good ideas.

In May, for the first time, many of our era's most prestigious thinkers will come together to share their views and create new insights into global concerns. The Petra Conference of Nobel Laureates will give participants a private, collegial setting to work on urgent issues and forge a new consensus on solutions.

The conference will be held near the ancient city of Petra, Jordan – a historic crossroads for humanity. It will be held on May 18th and 19th, just prior to this year's World Economic Forum at the Dead Sea. This will ensure they have a world-class platform, with global media coverage, to present their conclusions and vision.

The Petra Conference can help the world's best minds to help the world's most vulnerable people. It is a first step to a new partnership for progress. We welcome your interest and support.