About 300 Gulf ministers, diplomats and senior business people gathered in Dubai on the evening of 13 April for a dinner to celebrate the start of the 40th year of continuous reporting of Middle East affairs by Middle East Economic Digest (MEED). They were joined by the UK’s president of the Board of Trade Ian Lang who sits in the British cabinet as secretary of state for Trade & Industry.

Guest of honour was Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed al-Maktoum, chairman of Emirates airline, the international airline of the UAE.

Other senior guests included Easa al-Gurg, a prominent Dubai businessman and former UAE ambassador to the UK, who in his early career helped produce MEED. Mohieddin Binhendi, director general of the Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Anis al-Jallaf, chief executive of Emirates Bank International, and Obaid al-Tayer, chairman of the Al-Tayer group of companies, were among a distinguished group of leading Dubai businessmen at the event.

In a speech at the dinner, Lang outlined the UK’s continuing commitment to the UAE and its desire to build on its trade and investment connections with the Middle East in general.

He praised MEED’s role as an impartial and responsible source of information about trends in the region. ‘You can do nothing better than to subscribe to MEED,’ he declared.

Editor-in-Chief Edmund O’Sullivan, in his introductory remarks, said the founders of MEED 40 years ago had a vision of rapid economic development in the Middle East. ‘How right they were,’ he said.

‘The future holds many challenges, but mainly promise and opportunity,’ he added.

‘We look forward to reporting on the achievements of the years to come.’ O’Sullivan thanked the founders of MEED and all those who worked for the magazine over the years. ‘Special mention is due to the government and people of Dubai and the UAE where MEED has its regional editorial office,’ he concluded. ‘But most all thanks are due to you, just some of the many thousands of readers of MEED across the world. Without you, MEED would have been impossible.’ All those attending the dinner were given a leather-bound copy of MEED: 40 Unforgettable Years, a compilation of MEED’s reporting of key political and economic developments since 1957. Copies of the book are to be distributed to MEED subscribers in a special report to be published in June.

MEED’s 40th anniversary dinner was held at the Forte Grand in Dubai