Stronger intra-Asia relations in focus at business leaders forum
In his keynote address Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, emphasised the importance of Asia's leaders to come together to ensure sustainable leadership, to express humility, and the need for intra-Asia relationships and partnerships.
Dubai: Speakers at the sixth edition of the Asian Business Leadership Forum, or ABLF, Series 2015 on Sunday highlighted the importance of strong intra-Asia relationships and partnerships to deal with the testing times.
Experts discussed a range of topics such as women's empowerment, the influence of soft power, the global economic opportunities that Asia presents, the prospects in energy and infrastructure, and the future in Asia. The ABLF Series has brought together some of Asia's most influential leaders, proactive private enterprises, policymakers, economists, investors, diplomats, entrepreneurs and global think tanks, drawing global attention to the UAE as a nation which facilitates the best and most secure investments and grow businesses.
In his keynote address Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development, emphasised the importance of Asia's leaders to come together to ensure sustainable leadership, to express humility, and the need for intra-Asia relationships and partnerships. Shaikh Nahyan said that the UAE's men and women have seized the splendid opportunities that were made available to them and that he was particularly proud to note the young women of the UAE whose achievements across all sectors have been nothing short of exemplary.
He said that the UAE is an example of gender balance with more women graduating from institutions of higher learning and more and more women holding important leadership positions in government, business, and non-governmental organisations. Earlier this month, the UAE Federal National Council got the first woman speaker. Dr Amal Abdullah Juma Karam Al Qubaisi is the first Arab woman in the region to hold such a post.
In connection to the ABLF theme of 'Technology and Disruptive Innovation in 21st Century Asia', Shaikh Nahyan said: "I imagine that when your topic is disruptive innovation, the concepts of power, rising courage, trailblazing, and achievement will be prominent. We are all thrilled with the prospect of disruptive innovation and are eager to examine the evidence of its success. Some people undoubtedly view disruptive innovation as not only world changing but also world-saving."
The ABLF Series also recognised some of the region's most powerful and influential leaders. This year, leaders from eight constituencies from Asia were felicitated by Shaikh Nahyan. In the first panel titled: 'Disruptive Innovation - Powering a more liquid world' the experts said that the most innovative companies are embracing new opportunities in a liquid world by creating sustainable and scalable infrastruture that can deal with the four mega-forces of change - cloud, big data, social and mobile. These mega forces are causing tectonic shifts all around, they said. Education is no longer confined to the classroom, work is no longer a physical place, retail is mobile and transactions are happening in virtual space and transportation is being redefined with electric cars and self-driven cars.
Dubai Airports' chief executive officer, Paul Griffiths, during the session mentioned that the pace of innovation is changing. "We are investing a lot in technology," Griffiths said. Another panelist Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson & managing director, Biocon Limited, India, talked about young people engagement and said governments must engage them in smarter way.
Dr Hayat bint Sulaiman bin Hassan Sindi, member of Shura Council, Saudi Arabia, also favoured young population engagement in innovation. "Innovation is just a slogan, but we need to have eco-system of innovation."
Dr Shashi Tharoor, a former Indian government minister and Member of Parliament, talked about the soft power revolution in Asia. He said countries should be a land of positive and better stories. If diplomacy is a nation's first line of defence, then soft power is the sustainable, long-term solution to strengthtening relationships and bilateral ties, and setting the stage for a peaceful environment that facilitates economic development.