IJO Event Recap: Muriel Devillers says “learn from each other”

Editorial | Republic Underground 

February 14, 2021 

Image of Muriel Devillers retrieved from LinkedIn. 

Continuing from our recap of the International Justice Organization event. Muriel Devilliers, a journalist and businesswoman, with world experience in the Arabic communities of the world since the 1990s. 

“Good afternoon, to our friends on the American continent. I’m very honored to be able to speak to all of you tonight. I started my career as a journalist, and I switched to business. What I want to talk about tonight is the experience I have had by going from continent to continent, from country to country, previous to the Abraham agreement. I started to travel in the 90s. I went to a lot of Arab countries all over the world,” said Devillers.

“I was very astonished to see about 10 years ago, to have an experience at what we call DLD.”

Devillers went on to highlight her experiences at the DLD conference in Tel Aviv organized by Yossi Vardi ( a friend of Devillers, she noted.) Roughly 10 years ago, she had witnessed the establishment of perhaps the first fund by both Israelis and Palestinian Arabs to promote startup businesses. She was fascinated by this arrangement, and studied their development, noting a slow but sure development of investors in Palestinian startups that could cooperate with Israeli startups.

“What I saw was incubators for Palestinian startups who could work with Israeli startups, and so on and so on. So, my aim to tell you is, you have the politics in front of you, but what is happening on the ground, among the youngsters and business populations, has nothing to do (with the politics.) They don’t want war. They want to cooperate. They want to be able to work together, and that’s why business and the internet are so important.”

She then detailed her experience with Arab conferences, especially ArabNet. She noted her experience with early events in Beirut, Lebanon, and recalled how she witnessed Omar Christidis slowly but surely founded the Arab Net networking and witnessed the slow but sure progress in the field of business. She recalled how these events were developed as gems within Lebanon to begin with, but Christidis organized caravans in nations surrounding and build a local core of cooperation.

“You will see that everybody agrees to work together. There’s no war, there’s no hate. We are all humans,” said Devillers.
She then celebrated the event of the Abraham Accords, recalling that she had personally observed a healthy business networking relationship between Israel and Dubai of startups’ cooperation stem from this.

“It’s working, and it’s working really good. A lot of startups went from Israel to Dubai, and from Dubai to Israel. There’s no hate. Everybody is human, and everybody wants to work together. This is why I’m so confident, if I put politics apart and aside, I know that tomorrow I will be able to come to Saudi Arabia to come to Kuwait and talk with you. Of course, there’s the COVID-19, as soon as I get the vaccine.”

She then noted that citizens in the business sector are anticipating the day when this can happen.
“It will be such a pleasure to be able to expand the business with all those startups. They are really dreaming of it. Being able to mingle, being able to work together.”

She then noted a speech she had at Oxford which emphasized how women and men in business should be coupled together in business.

“Well, it is the same in our world. You in Kuwait, you in Saudi Arabia, or Lebanon don’t have the same vision as I might have in Luxembourg. Let’s talk, let’s see, let’s mingle. Let’s create incubators to put people together because they can have excellent ideas. This would be the beginning of a huge world peaceful business. What would you say?” said Devillers.

The moderator then prompted her to elaborate further on the idea of the comparison between the different visions of men and women and nationalities.

“I believe that nationality is just a passport. It’s just a matter of paper. I used to say that I’m global, even though I was born in France, but I was raised in the U.S., in France, in Switzerland. I’ve lived in so many countries, that I am global. The idea to achieve peace all over is to be global. To learn from each other, not to be frightened by each other, but learn. Just raise your hand and say ‘Hi, how are you?’ This is the meaning of business being global. Learn from each other. I’m sure in politics it will be the same. Learn. Do not hate. Do not reject. Learn. Who is your neighbor? Why are they like this? These are the basics of humanity. Learn from each other.”