Dubai Leadership and Global Progress: Uncover the World Government Summit, where influential minds converge. Delve into sustainability, innovation, and the shaping of future governments. Discover how Dubai’s visionary leadership propels global transformation with optimism and purpose. A powerful gathering igniting progress every year.
Every year since 2013, Dubai has played host to the World Government Summit (WGS), a knowledge exchange with the stated purpose of improving the lives of nearly 8 billion inhabitants of the planet. That’s its stated purpose, but given the subjects discussed, such as future sustainability and innovations in technology, the real number of human beneficiaries is incalculable.
This year, the umbrella theme for the summit was ‘Shaping Future Governments,’ and for three days in the middle of February, 400 speakers and 280 government delegations played a significant role in this theme with the support of 80 international, regional, and intergovernmental organizations. There were various venues allocated for the summit, but the most impressive was the amazing Museum of The Future.
Developing the tools and the policies to secure a greater degree of civil trust, the umbrella theme becomes subdivided into six discussion forums.
This year, these forums comprised of:
- Accelerating Development and Governance
- Future of Societies and Healthcare
- Exploring the Frontiers
- Governing Economic Resilience and Connectivity
- Global City Design and Connectivity
- Prioritizing Learning and Work
For ten years, the knowledge sharing of these forums has been of inestimable value, as each government delegation has reported back to their respective superiors with actionable blueprints for the various versions of Vision 2030 to become reality. As a reminder, Vision 2030 is not a conclusion, but the date when it’s confirmed all the buttons are in place to reset the future of the planet. It’s a beginning, not an end.
Complementing these significant brainstorms were equally substantial key speakers, ranging from renowned British film star Idris Elba to Kristalina Georgieva, head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a measure of how soft skills have become so important in the skillsets required for the future, Idris Elba gave a presentation on the importance and value of storytelling in all the ways we communicate. Ms.Georgieva represents 190 member countries whose job is to identify risks and opportunities for growth and stability. Ray Dalio, founder of the largest hedge fund in the world, Bridgewater Associates, spoke on the subject of Governments and The Changing World Order.
High-ranking ministers of the Dubai Emirate and the UAE were also key speakers.
Through the years, WGS has attracted a high-powered bouquet of speakers including former US President Barack Obama, Virgin Group founder Sir Richard Branson, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, Elon Musk, Deepak Chopra, and the author of The Tipping Point, Malcolm Gladwell. And these are just the dignitaries with celebrity status. The entire list reads like a who’s who of sovereign leaders and globally influential thinkers. When you look at the aggregate of these luminaries, it’s easy to see why Dubai is often called The Capital City of the Future.
When the Dubai Government pitched for the right to host World Expo 2020, the very first statement in their tender was this:
It was a startling fact that pretty much shifted human-centric, global dynamics away from the USA as the epicenter of the modern world, suggesting that future thought leadership rooted in sustainability would, in the future, be coming from a country the size of one of America’s smallest states. This has pretty much given some moral high ground for the UAE to claim responsibility for playing a leading role in steering the destiny of the world, and establishing a new form of Dubai leadership.
The World Government Summit is a natural extension of this thinking.
Whilst the subject matter discussed this year was on a global scale, it says much about the qualities of Dubai’s (and indeed the UAE’s) leadership that an insignificant event caught the attention of the world’s media.
Early one morning during the summit, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stopped by one of the beverage kiosks, presumably for a thimbleful of superior-quality Arabica coffee. But this was not an ordinary kiosk. It was set up by The Bee Café, a coffee shop created and operated entirely by people of determination. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, ‘people of determination’ is a phrase coined by the same aforementioned Leader of Dubai, in recognition of those with special needs who are limited by their handicap, but not by their will. Honestly, it wasn’t an insignificant event nor was it a spontaneous gesture. It was the act of one of the canniest leaders on the planet who understands all too well the power of a great story, as preached by Idris Elba that very same day at the summit.
The official line is that the coffee shop reflects the UAE leadership’s dedication to integrating people of determination into all spheres of life and making them financially independent so that they become equal contributors to the economy and society. In blunter, definitely non-official terms, this is a government putting its money where its mouth is. I’ve heard the coffee there is pretty good, too.
At a certain point in the city of Dubai, you can look at the mighty Burj Khalifa, looking for all the world like it is going to blast off, turn your head slightly to take in the silvery, almost-liquid torus known as the Museum of the Future, whilst overhead a giant A380 seems within reaching distance as it descends – seconds away from landing at the world’s busiest air traffic hub. And if it didn’t make sense before, it certainly does now. It’s got to be here.
The World Government Summit couldn’t really be held anywhere else. For nowhere else on Earth does there exist a society of such eclectic cultural character but without a trace of partisanship. At a time when the world is bogged down in a mire of geopolitical and economic pessimism, the one word that sums up Dubai is the very opposite of that: Optimism. Little wonder that organizations like the United Nations put the full weight of their support behind this annual event. Because nothing gets in the way of the progress it achieves, every year.
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