The ability to innovate, create new knowledge and build relations across boundaries will be the key to future success and in overcoming the challenges of the financial crisis, said His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology.
He was addressing the Wharton Global Alumni Forum - organized by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the world’s first collegiate business school - being held for the first time in the Middle East in Dubai.
“The United Arab Emirates is very enthusiastic about the possibilities of global and regional economic collaboration and look forward to more economic success in the years ahead,” said Sheikh Nahayan, who urged the participants to “ask the right questions and to focus on the important issues.”
Sheikh Nahayan said that the global economic policies and practices of the past require major structural changes for the future. “These changes must be accompanied by appropriate social policies, greater emphasis on ethical and transparent transactions and wider individual and institutional participation in all economic activities.”
Highlighting the pivotal role played by the UAE in regional and global affairs, Sheikh Nahayan said that the country plays a key role in regional and global security, trade & investment, and is also engaged in the global energy situation. “We are also involved in the economic integration of the Gulf Cooperation Council countries, and a critical component of this includes developing future leaders needed for our country and the region.”
He said that the UAE government and national institutions have taken many necessary steps to deal with the current global economic crisis. “We expect to fare well in the face of these unprecedented challenges and at the same time we are searching for advantages and opportunities in this crisis to emerge stronger.”
Sheikh Nahayan said that the UAE is active in promoting socio-economic development in the larger Middle East. “We are noted for enlightened social and environmental policies, and we are truly a global and tolerant community. We emphasise the importance of maintaining peace and stability so that international cooperation can flourish, free trade and investment can thrive and market confidence and economic activity can be encouraged.”
Wharton School Dean Thomas S. Roberton said that the crisis is an opportunity that has helped Wharton change its point of view on the global economic challenges and emerge from it stronger. “For every economic downturn there is an upturn, and the current shakeout is an opportunity for innovation and to move to new directions.” He said that Wharton plans to disseminate its Knowledge @ Wharton initiative in Arabic too, and also to reach out to younger people. He said that Wharton has great respect for the entrepreneurial ways in which Dubai has built its brand name.
Mr Mohamed Alshaya, Chairman of the Organising Committee, a Wharton graduate and Executive Chairman of M. H. Alshaya & Co, said that by addressing the forum’s key theme of ‘At the Crossroads for Global Economic Change,’ the expectation is to “move towards a new economic order. The global financial crisis has highlighted the need for greater partnerships and collaborations. The Forum covers all aspects of the economy and will enable us to take a holistic view of the effects of the crisis, and of the solutions and opportunities.”
The two-day Wharton Global Alumni Forum is being held in Grand Hyatt, Dubai. Since 1993, The Wharton Global Alumni Forums have been held in the world’s leading cities such as Shanghai, Mumbai, London and Paris.
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