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Sharjah Students Develop A Growth Mindset And Global Orientation At Knowledge Bridges Programme


Sharjah for Capability Development’s 7-day programme facilitated by Singapore’s Center for Asia Leadership










Fifteen Emirati university students participated in the third edition of Sharjah for Capability Development (SCD)’s ‘Knowledge Bridges’ youth leadership programme, which concluded recently in Singapore.

The Knowledge Bridges series has been designed by SCD, a subsidiary of the Rubu’ Qarn Foundation for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators, to use education as the link between Emirati youth and the world, and the foundation upon which future leaders are shaped and their skills developed.

The 15 participating students were chosen from the emirate’s top universities and institutions based on their leadership qualities, enthusiasm, and initiative and communication skills. The third edition featured a leadership development course and research trip led by the Center for Asia Leadership researchers and teaching fellows from world-leading institutions.

First leg – leadership program

This in-classroom leadership learning phase was led by mentors and practitioners from world-leading institutions who employed leadership frameworks taught at Harvard University to help participants develop a foundational capacity for the practice of personal and organisational leadership. The sessions helped participants gain a better understanding of the region, and elevated their skill level through discussions, simulations and skill-building workshops. Enabling students to develop a growth mindset and global orientation were among this phase’s key objectives.  

Bilahari Kausikan, Chairman of the Middle East Institute, National University of Singapore and former Ambassador-at-Large and Policy Advisor at Singapore’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, spoke about the future of Singapore and imparted valuable leadership lessons.

Over the next few days, students undertook a number of workshops like ‘Adaptive Leadership: Leading and Negotiating in a Rapidly Changing World’, ‘Personal Leadership: Overcoming Your Immunity to Change’, ‘Creating Value Through Design Thinking’, and ‘How to think Like a Futurist’.


Participants also visited the Government Technology Agency (GovTech) and listened to a presentation by Rahul Daswni, Head of People and Culture, GovTech Singapore, who highlighted the basic leadership qualities required in public sector organisations.

Second leg – Singapore research trip ‘Asia Leadership Trek’

The second phase entailed first-hand experiential learning, taking participants on site visits to prestigious companies such as McKinsey Singapore; IT company ServiceNow; Artistic Strategies Academy; online shopping platform Shopee; and Circles.Life, a telecom company. Themed ‘leading a society that thrives in the future of work’, these visits were followed by discussions with key thought leaders and decision-makers like Tan Lee Chew, Managing Director, ASEAN Worldwide Public Sector, AWS Amazon; Claudine Fernandez, founder of Artistic Strategies Academy; Nishith Jain, Strategy Head at ServiceNow; Teck Yong Lim, Regional Head of Operations, Shopee; and Abhishek Gupta, founder of Circles.Life, who spoke about the practical aspects of leadership, and the scientific and professional aspects of the leader. 

On other stops, the delegates met with Dr. Tan Wu Meng, Member of Parliament and Parliament Secretary to Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of Trade and Industry, who gave them an insight into leadership in government departments.

Following their seven-day stay at Singapore, the students put what they had learnt into action and conducted self-assessment tests that enabled them to identify their individual choices and their personality types, and the need for team members to understand each other.

Effective leadership training: An integrated approach

Khalid Al Nakhi, Acting Director, SCD, said: “The training of leaders involves an integrated and comprehensive approach, combining theory, success in global experiences, local needs assessments and practical experience in the field. At SCD, we seek to build a generation of empowered Emirati leaders, upskilling them to become active partners in the nation building process. Programmes like Knowledge Bridges focus on the psychological, moral and intellectual development of the participants, which is essential for leaders who aspire to stay ahead of the rapid changes and challenges of the future.”

He added: “Singapore is one of the world’s biggest success stories. It has proved the effectiveness of the transformational leadership theory and was the right fit for the third edition of the programme.”

Knowledge Bridges is a result of the keenness of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, and his wife, Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Chairperson of Rubu Qarn Foundation for Creating Future Leaders and Innovators, to support all capability development programmes aimed at attaining Sharjah’s sustainable development objectives.   

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