Event description

The N7 Initiative convened a Conference on Agriculture, Water, and Food Security from March 14-16 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

The conference, organized with the support of the government of the United Arab Emirates, brought together 50-60 leaders and subject matter experts from government, academia, and the private sector, together with governmental and non-governmental funding entities, from Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Jordan, Morocco, Bahrain, Egypt, the United States, and other select Arab and Muslim countries without formal diplomatic relations with Israel. Together they examined shared regional challenges and developed practical programs designed to address food insecurity, water availability and conservation, escalating food prices, and related regional technology applications.

The conference was held under the Chatham House Rule of non-attribution but included public plenary sessions available to view below, and private, off-the-record breakout sessions among participants.

Public Agenda

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

7:00 – 10:00 P.M. GST

Opening reception & dinner

Welcome remarks

Oren Eisner, President, Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation 

William Wechsler, Senior Director, N7 Initiative 

Opening keynote speakers

H.E. Nawal Al-Hosany, Permanent Representative of the United Arab Emirates to the International Renewable Energy Agency

Tzachi Hanegbi, National Security Advisor, National Security Council of Israel

Accompanying remarks

Yael Lempert, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, United States Department of State

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

08:45 9:50 A.M. GST

Plenary session Challenges and opportunities for regional cooperation


Ahmed Baqer, Associate Director, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company

Shira Efron, Head of Research, Israel Policy Forum; Special Advisor, Climate Change, Ministry of Defense of Israel

H.E. Hakima El Haite, President, Liberal International; Former Minister of Environment, Kingdom of Morocco 

Ahmed Kheder, Assistant Professor, Plant Pathology Research Institute, Agricultural Research Center 

Shamal Abdulkhaliq Mohammed, Director, AgriTech and R&D, Silal  

Khalid Saeed, Director, Agricultural Production and Exports, CTC Group

MODERATOR: Susan Saxton, Nonresident Senior Fellow, N7 Initiative

Additional speakers to be announced

Accompanying remarks

The Honorable Congressman Michael McCaul, Representative (R-TX); Chairman, House Foreign Relations Committee, United States Congress

9:50 10:20 A.M. GST

Plenary session – Reflections from the Negev Forum


Galit A. Harari, Director, International Training and Cooperation MENA Region, Center for Foreign Trade and International Cooperation, Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel  

MODERATOR: William Wechsler, Senior Director, N7 Initiative

Accompanying remarks

Ambassador Cindy McCain, United States Ambassador to the United Nations Agencies for Food and Agriculture

10:20 10:45 A.M. GST


Ambassadorial remarks

H.E. Amir Hayek, Ambassador of Israel to the United Arab Emirates 

INTRODUCTION: Oren Eisner, President, Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation

1:00 P.M. 1:30 P.M. GST

Lunch: Keynote remarks

The Right Honorable Tony Blair, Executive Chairman, Institute for Global Change

MODERATOR: Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Director, N7 Initiative

Accompanying remarks

The Honorable Senator Cory Booker, Senator (D-NJ), United States Congress; Co-Chairman, Abraham Accords Congressional Caucus, United States Congress

8:00 P.M. 10:00 P.M. GST


Dinner: Keynote remarks

Nasredeen AbdulbariNonresident Senior FellowN7 Initiative; Former Minister of Justice, Republic of Sudan

Kristofer Hamel, Head, Food System Initiative, COP28

MODERATOR: Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Director, N7 Initiative

Thursday, March 16, 2023

8:30 9:30 A.M. GST

Plenary session – Advancing regional food and water security solutions 


Tareq Abu Hamad, Executive Director, The Arava Institute for Environmental Studies 

Faouzi Bekkaoui, Director, Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique

Diana Francis, Assistant Professor and Head of ENGEOS Lab, Khalifa University 

Ambassador Dore Gold, President, Jerusalem Center of Public Affairs 

Lee Recht, Vice President, Sustainability, Aleph Farms 

MODERATOR: Ariel Ezrahi, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Middle East Programs, Atlantic Council 

Additional speakers to be announced.

Accompanying remarks

The Honorable Congressman Bradley Schneider, Representative (D-IL); Co-Chairman, Abraham Accords Congressional Caucus, United States Congress

1:00 P.M. 1:30 P.M. GST


Lunch: Keynote remarks

Abdulrahman Al Neyadi, Director, Policy Planning Department, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates

MODERATOR: William Wechsler, Senior Director, N7 Initiative

4:30 4:50 P.M. GST

Ambassadorial remarks

H.E. Thomas R. Nides, Ambassador of the United States to Israel

MODERATOR: Ambassador Daniel B. Shapiro, Director, N7 Initiative

Congressional support

The N7 Conference on Agriculture, Water & Food Security will be addressed by several members of the United States Congress, including the co-chairs of the Congressional Abraham Accords Caucus and the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, to reinforce sustained, bipartisan Congressional support for the Abraham Accords and the N7 as a vital regional forum for bringing the benefits of normalization to their citizens.

In the news

N7 Initiative Director Amb. Daniel Shapiro joined Connect the World with Becky Anderson to discuss the N7 Conference on Agriculture, Water, and Food Security.

N7 Initiative Director Amb. Daniel Shapiro and conference participant Abdelhadi A.W., a professor at Gulf University in Manama, joined i24News English to discuss potential projects for future collaboration between Israel and its Arab and Muslim neighbors.

Daily Kickoff: “Israeli and Arab government and non-government representatives are set to convene today for the start of a three-day N7 summit focused on cooperation in agriculture, water and food security.”

Conference facilitators

N7 Initiative

The N7 Initiative, a partnership between the Atlantic Council and Jeffrey M. Talpins Foundation, seeks to broaden and deepen normalization between Israel and Arab and Muslim countries. It works with governments to produce actionable recommendations to deliver tangible benefits to their peoples.