Sir Ronald Cohen is Chairman of The Portland Trust (2003-) which he co-founded in 2003 with Sir Harry Solomon. The Portland Trust is a British non-profit ‘action tank’ whose mission is to promote peace and stability between Israelis and Palestinians through economic development. The Trust works with a range of partners to help develop the Palestinian private sector and relieve poverty through entrepreneurship in Israel.
The Portland Trust have been, and continues to be, involved in a number of important initiatives, including the development of financial and economic infrastructure, trade and investment and entrepreneurship.
Since its launch in 2003, the Trust has consistently highlighted the important role of economics in resolving the Middle East conflict. It is a critical element alongside improved security and political process to achieve a sustainable and long lasting peace.
The Trust’s approach is supported by evidence from other conflict situations – Northern Ireland, Bosnia Herzegovina and more broadly through research carried out jointly with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London. In Northern Ireland economic discussions became a platform for political settlement. The private sector pushed for moderation, and during difficult periods of the conflict, public sector financial support and employment underpinned the economy.