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Good leadership puts the interests of the community as a whole before those of any specific group. Credibility of leadership can only be established through action and not words.

The Dubai Way. Crystallizing the vision, setting the goals, drawing the plan, setting a reasonable time for implementation, mobilizing resources, giving the signal for implementation of the project.





Focus on all sectors that are key to the development of the economy, be it business events, trade, hospitality, real estate, financial services or SMEs.

Everything built is in ­compliance with the very latest environmental standards. The goal is to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050.

Smart City

Developing Talent

Government Focus

Hub for Minds

Business Intelligence

Dubai seeks to distinguish itself as the global leader delivering Smart Economy and Smart Living ­opportunities for all.

Keep changing. Let us look at things a bit differently. Open discussions. Create a vibrant knowledge ­community

Up to 2021: health care, technology, sustainable energy, water, space, ­education and ­transportation.

Knowledge of the meetings industry is a new kind of function-based cluster, in the space between all branches.

When the business intelligence radar is switched on, you might find yourself going from business intelligent to intelligent business.

LE GA LLY R E SPONSIB LE ED I TO R I N C H I EF Atti Soenarso PU B LISH E R Roger Kellerman INTE R NATIONA L DIR E CTO R O F SALES Graham Jones WRI TERS Tommy Grandell,

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Learn From Dubai Roger Kellerman on the leadership lessons from Dubai.


Development FOR SURVIVAL IN 1994, I visited Dubai for the first time. The stories of the town as a fishing village with 5,000 inhabitants in the 1950s, the vision of the future, the emirs I met, their culture and much more, made an impression on me. Two years later I had the opportunity to return with a TV team in my capacity as editor for a Swedish travel show. It was broadcast during prime viewing time and was watched by over 1.5 million viewers. Since then I’ve followed developments in Dubai, a city and a country now with a population of 2.5 million with over 200 nationalities. The desert oasis has been transformed into one of the world’s fastest growing economies, boasting the world’s largest airport, the largest cargo port in the Middle East and Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. Dubai is the region’s financial hub and a destination that is attracting increasingly more international meetings and events. For three generations, the sheik family, Maktoum, has purposefully governed and built the emirate, one of seven in the United Arab Emirates. All three rulers have recognised the

value of good infrastructure and communications. Slowly but surely, Dubai has evolved from an oil-dependent economy into a fully-fledged knowledge economy in line with the Emirate’s expressed vision. Global organisations are the pulse of a knowledge economy, something that Dubai has embraced. The organisations contribute with education, service standards, accreditation, research and knowledge dissemination. Two years ago after a new law was passed, Dubai Association Centre was established by Dubai Tourism, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Dubai World Trade Center. The law made it possible for the Chamber of Commerce to issue licences to international associations. Once they have received their licences they can employ people, get work visas, residential permits, open offices and start bank accounts. The aim is to reach several hundred members. Dubai Convention Bureau and Dubai Chamber of Commerce offer their services to help the associations to set up. The investment in the Centre is bearing fruit. Today, 25 associations have received licences and the aim is

50 members by the turn of the year. The long-term aim is the development of an association community comparable to those found in Europe and the USA. Dubai is creating a hub for minds to meet. Dubai is doing it its way in more ways than one. Traditionally, governments the world over have appointed ministers for their various sectors, such as transport, environment and industry. Dubai has taken another approach. This February, three ministers were appointed: Minister of Happiness, Minister of Youth and Minister of Tolerance. It is a paradigmatic shift, a new structure where the focus lies on intrinsic value. An interesting choice.

Swedish-Indonesian Atti Soenarso has worked as a journalist for close to 40 years. She has worked for Scandinavia’s largest daily newspaper, was TV4’s first travel editor, has written for many Swedish travel magazines and has had several international clients. She has travelled the length and breadth of the world and written about destinations, people and meetings. photo Magnus Malmberg



Dubai Opera OPENS IN SEPTEMBER The Opera is part of The Opera District within Downtown Dubai. The 2,000-seat performing arts centre can be converted into a traditional theatre, concert hall, convention hall, banquet hall or exhibition space. Using hydraulic technology to relocate 900 of the 2,000 seats, the space can be used for other events while the extra seating is stored in garages beneath the theatre. The building is designed to resemble a dhow, a traditional sailing vessel, in which the ‘bow’ of the structure will house the opera’s main stage, orchestra and seating, while the elon-

gated ‘hull’ will have waiting areas, taxi drop-off areas, and parking. In January 2015, Emaar named Jasper Hope as the Chief Executive of Dubai Opera. Hope was COO of London’s Royal Albert Hall. Consolidated Contractors Company (CCC) is the main contractor for the development, having worked with Emaar in building The Dubai Mall. An earlier proposal to build a 2,500-seat opera house on an island in the Dubai Creek designed by architect Zaha Hadid was announced in 2008 and shelved during the property crash in Dubai. The Emaar develop-

ment is now underway and set to be completed in September. The Opera District was launched by Emaar Properties in Downtown Dubai in 2013. Aside from the Opera, the district, which faces Burj Khalifa and The Dubai Fountain, includes art galleries, museums, design studios, and other cultural venues. The area also includes several hotels, a retail plaza, recreational spaces and residential towers.





Associations: THE VEHICLES OF A ­K NOWLEDGE ­SOCIETY “When Dubai has the aim of becoming the world’s most visited city then we must naturally strive to become the world’s best convention bureau.” These are the words of Steen Jakobsen, CEO for Dubai Business Events (DBE), the emirate’s official convention bureau. Together with his team he strives to further develop and increase Dubai’s share of the international business events market in order to grow economic development, jobs and knowledge creation. The aim, as a division of the Dubai Government Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing, is to establish the emirate as a premier business event destination by helping organisers of international meetings, congresses and exhibitions plan and manage every aspect of their event. The United Arab Emirates have an expressed vision of becoming a fullyfledged knowledge economy. Dubai, one of seven emirates, has come a

long way in fulfilling that vision. Today the emirate is largely free from oil-related industries. Dubai Business Events works according to The Higher Policy of Science and Innovation, which identifies seven key areas for government focus up to 2021. These are health care, technology, sustainable energy, water, space, education and transportation. “With regard to knowledge, we understand the significance of meetings, conferences and congresses in propelling a country and a city towards a knowledge economy. They harmonise very well with the overall vision.” Dubai has attracted attention for its great efforts to invite hosted buyers from all over the world. Last year around 550 people came on various study visits. This year the figure stands at 800. The aim is to attract a hosted buyer to Dubai at least once. “Those who have been here on a study visit generally have a higher education than what Dubai can 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“Everything built is in compliance with the very latest environmental standards”

offer. They know, for example, more about the misconceptions that exist, what you get and what you don’t get, women’s rights, the religion and the culture. And they get a good idea of what to expect with regard to hotels, PCOs, DMCs, etcetera. The entire spectrum is available, and when they visit we can show them that.” The investment has paid off. According to Steen Jakobsen, Dubai Business Events receive more concrete inquiries following study visits. These go mainly to Dubai Business Events, but many also go to the hotels, DMCs, PCOs and congress centre. “We can definitely see a business output, but just how big is difficult to say, we’re not privy to everything. But we hear from our hotels and PCOs that they receive business after study visits. During the study visits we can also show the support we get from our government offices, including Dubai Chamber of Commerce, Emirates Medical Society, Society for Engineers and Dubai Health Care Centre.” Another investment towards achieving the goal of becoming a knowledge economy is the Dubai Association Centre, which was formed two years ago by Dubai Tourism, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Dubai World Trade Center. This took place with the help of a new law giving the Chamber of Commerce the right to issue operating licenses to international associations. Once they have received their licence they can employ people and open offices. The aim is to reach several hundred members. Steen Jakobsen says that international associations have a great influence with regard to, for example, education, service standards, accreditation, research and knowledge dissemination. “Associations are the vehicles of a knowledge society. To help them establish, we and Dubai Chamber of Commerce offer our services. So far 25 international associations have received their licences. The aim is to reach the 50 mark by the turn of the year. We aim to grow and develop into an association community comparable to those found in Europe and the USA. We have already noticed that many European and American international associations see the UAE as the new growth region.” Dubai Business Events has two employees who only work with the Ambassador Programme. Their task

is to train ambassadors and to motivate them to host meetings. Today there are 350 ambassadors. Within the framework of the programme, the convention bureau collaborates with Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Water and Electricity Authority, Dubai Municipality and Zayed University. Steen Jakobsen stresses the importance of a strategic partner with a focus on research, science and developments. He gives a special mention to Dubai Science Park. “They can help us to market Dubai as a meetings destination. They are key players in the Ambassador Programme because their employees are members of international associations where all members have a say in the venue for the association’s global meetings. We can also collaborate over bids.” In the past year the Ambassador Programme has generated 37 bids drawn up together with the local ambassadors. “That’s a good growth rate compared to the previous year’s figure of 25. We really want to see more ambassadors get involved in bidding for international congresses. The more active your bidding is, the greater


“We must strive to become the world’s best convention bureau”

chance there is of winning the meeting.” The many construction cranes on the Dubai skyline bear witness to the infrastructure investments. Roads, hotel complexes, residential properties, apartment complexes and congress centres, to name but a few. The interview leads into sustainability, one of the government’s top priorities. “Everything built is in compliance with the very latest environmental standards. This means reaching for the sky from the outset in order to be as environmental as possible. In cities like Copenhagen and London they convert old buildings to make them energy efficient and sustainable. These are enormous investments.” World Expo 2020 is rapidly approaching. Between October and March 2021, 25 million international visitors are expected. Steen Jakobsen says that hosting it is a monumental milestone for Dubai and the region as a whole. The Expo generates a great deal of attention to Dubai as a business events destination. He compares it with how Shanghai in 2010 enhanced its position as a meetings and congress city.

“We see an enormous interest from international organisations, congresses and conferences. They usually plan very long-term. As well as all the attention, the Expo also attracts a host of inquiries from companies and organisations looking to bring their events during 2020.” Another factor with a key significance for Dubai and the region, according to Steen Jakobsen, is what the World Expo leaves behind it. In four years’ time, the emirate will have 140,000 hotels rooms to offer, a vast improvement on the current 100,000. “More facilities are needed that we could have use for after World Expo 2020. There’s an enormous focus on what the pavilions could be used for post 2020.” The long-term plan is exhibition halls. Today, Dubai is host to several large trade shows that require a greater capacity in order to grow. “But the capacity is also needed to be able to grow as a business events destination. The long-term plan is to move the large shows out of the World Trade Center, WTC, to the new exhibition area. This will enable WTC to be used solely as a congress and conference venue.”

Having the vision of becoming the world’s best convention bureau puts a lot of expectations on Dubai Business Events. “The expectation on my leadership is that I lift my team to the ‘do-it-yourself’ level. From a longterm perspective, those representing Dubai and the United Arab Emirates will be people born and raised here, who know the culture and will represent their city with delight and pride. That’s how it should be and we’re working towards that.”



“The . Number One Rule IN OUR BUSINESS CLIMATE IS TRUST” The United Arab Emirates is home to families from over 200 countries around the world, each with their own distinctive culture. Expatriates and UAE nationals are neighbours; however they can also be strangers. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, saw the need to reach out and educate expatriates in the traditions and customs of the UAE. His vision led to the creation of The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) in 1998. In 2015, the SMCCU was honoured to become a member of The Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives and continues to be a bridge between the many different nationalities living, working and visiting the UAE through its award-winning programmes. Operating under the philosophy and banner of “Open doors. Open minds” the SMCCU strives to remove MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

barriers between people of different nationalities and to raise awareness of the UAE’s local culture, customs and religion. Located in a traditional wind tower house in the heart of Al Fahidi Historic District, the SMCCU regularly conducts various activities that aim to improve cross-cultural understanding and communication between locals and foreigners across the UAE. The most popular offering of the SMCCU is its Cultural Breakfasts and Lunches. Introduced in 2013 is the new Brunch & Dinner events, where guests can also indulge in traditional Emirati meals in a relaxed ambience, while a knowledgeable Emirati host chats to them about the local customs and traditions. The key as we see it is to get to SMCCU, listen to the UAE’s history, learn and discuss. Come with your management, conference or a convention group. Be curious, open and listen. What can we learn about the

Emirati culture, religion, traditions and knowledge? This is a knowledge center where information gives you faster entry into the business culture and increases the ability to understand why it is like it is and how it will develop. Dubai is fast becoming one of the world centers of knowledge. It is obvious that the Centre for Cultural Understanding should have a place on your agenda. We met Nasif Kayed, Managing Director of Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, for a conversation. First we learn about how the Emirati men worked diving for pearls, which the women sold in the market place to merchants travelling along the famous Silk Route. In a country made up of over 200 nationalities, cultural understanding and awareness is crucial for both private and government organisations operating in the UAE. Dubai is trusted by over 150 companies across


the region to provide greater understanding of the UAE culture and to encourage employee integration as well as developing communication channels between employee and client/customer. At SMCCU topics include Arabic culture, Islam and its impact on local culture, cultural values and sensitivities, important Arabic greetings and expressions as well as insightful anecdotes. We talked about Houses and Homes, Arabian Architecture, Trade and Economy, UAE Celebrations, Cultural Meals, Festivals and celebrations of the UAE including National Day, Ramadan and Eid and their rituals. We also talk about the history of the National Dress, a brief history of clothing in the Middle East, from the past to modern day, home life, Islam and the community, the effect and contribution of Muslims and Islam from the 4th to 12th century including the representation of Islam in daily life, multiculturalism, promoting cultural understanding in a multicultural school community, and freedom of choice and respect. We further talked about the different business cultures in the rest of the world and in Dubai and which questions are the most important to remember when doing business in Dubai. “We have been in business for a long time in what we call trading. Trading started when we were herders particularly in this region. Mecca was a very important place and what we today maybe can call the World Expo in the old, old days before it became Saudi Arabia and before it became muslim. People went into ships where they dropped their caravans, mostly camels, all the way to Mecca and there was worship time and also exchanging times. Arabs have always been known as traders. The most famous trader was a woman called

Habiba. She was a very smart, powerful business woman and used to trade with the Roman Empire. She used to bring goods to Damascus,” says Nasif Kayed. “The number one rule in our business climate is trust. Number two is relationships, long-term not shortterm, and number three is honesty.

“Number two is relationships, long-term not short-term” But technically-speaking honesty is number one. We do long-term business so honesty is very important. Number four is making sure we are there for each other. You come to my country and I can introduce you. But it becomes more than a business relationship, it becomes like friendship.” How come you are so passionate? “We show total ignorance with each other’s cultures and when I looked into it I found it fascinating and beautiful – there is so much unity in us. I am providing information and I am doing good, like charity. People enjoy it and sometimes it changes their life. Like people say, “I have a new perspective.” They are more interested in their own way of life. And they look into it a bit deeper.

“To be able to be educated you must want to be educated. I always say to people, to have an open mind you will have to be willing to open your mind. Do not be stubborn. Allow yourself to see. It is like Islam. People believe that Muslims are terrorists. All over the world we are opening Islamic financing. Lots of people around the world are saying that Islam is no good. It is a very radical religion and people are out to kill us. By the way Islam is a good banking system.” Many people claim Dubai is very artificial, which Nasif Kayed disagrees with. “No, Dubai is real. Dubai is a miracle of our time, if you allow yourself to see the beauty. It is the beauty of our time. We are growing faster than anyone could imagine. The people who lived in the 70s with no electricity, no water, no sewage – they are still alive. It used to be flat land and pearl divers. Today we are the number six city in the world. And today it’s a knowledge hub. “My vision with the work we are doing at SMCCU is first of all to bring us closer together with the different cultures of the people who come here. Not long ago they went to America, to Australia. We can begin to franchise. So when I come to Sweden, when I come to The Netherlands, when I come to the UK, when I come to America, I first arrive and there is a centre where I can go to and they tell me, this is how we do it in America. This is our traditional food. So emerge into the country. Especially now with the immigrants. They become a citizen even before they are inducted into the country. This could be an institution that we could franchise and multiply all over the world.”






Bryan Ralph H.E. Hamad Buamim has been President & CEO of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry since November 2006. He also serves as the Deputy Chairman of the World Chambers Federation, a forum uniting a global network of 12,000 chambers of commerce. Established in 1965, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry is a non-profit public entity whose mission is to represent, support and protect the interests of the business community in Dubai. The Chamber provides a range of services to its growing membership, which now stands at over 185,000. Hamad Buamim spoke to Meetings International about the work of the Dubai Chamber, the advantages of membership, ongoing sustainability initiatives, and the role of the recently established Dubai Association Centre (DAC) in consolidating Dubai’s position as an attractive destination for professional associations. What are the main achievements and aims of the Dubai Chamber?

“Ever since its foundation 50 years ago, the Chamber has been the main

engine of trade growth in Dubai, contributing to the development of the emirate’s economy by helping to resolve trade disputes, reviewing local legislation and creating a favourable atmosphere for investment and business. “Dubai Chamber has not swayed away from its fundamental pillars with regard to the current and future strategies. The Chamber is focused on customer service, smart transformation, external expansion and efforts to establish the reputation of Dubai as a major business hub. “We have achieved major breakthroughs in the diversification of services and improvement in the quality of services. We are also developing smart applications to review investment opportunities in our target markets such as CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) and Latin American markets. “Certainly, our overseas expansion is an essential part of our efforts to be at the forefront of outstanding business communities. Our offices cover most of the world markets and foreign commercial missions, high2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


light our global potential and draw the attention of businessmen and investors in Dubai to the promising opportunities in these markets. Our aim is to strengthen the competitiveness of our companies and Dubai’s reputation as a leading investment destination.” Why should a business become a member of the Chamber?

“Our trade missions, organisation of global events, participation

nesses to be aware of the latest regulations and developments. This can be through social media, news channels or being part of organisations, such as the Chamber, which provide you with the latest updates. We also organise workshops and seminars to inform our members about the latest developments and how these will impact their businesses.” What is your approach for serving a huge membership of over 185,000?

“Change, we believe, is the only constant” in international conferences and exhibitions, coupled with our market research makes being a member of the Chamber a very advantageous proposition for any business.” Do you have any preferred sectors, such as associations or NGOs?

“We focus on all sectors that are key to the development of the economy – be it tourism, trade, hospitality, real estate, financial services or SMEs, to name just a few. We have created business groups in Dubai that are divided by industry, and business councils that are divided by country. Through these groups and councils, we aim to boost economic cooperation and enhance commerce between the business communities of Dubai, as well as the bilateral trade relations between countries. As a member of the Chamber, you can join the groups and councils by connecting with the respective organisations that interest you.” How can businesses keep pace with the fast-changing market in Dubai?

“Change, we believe, is the only constant. It‘s very important for busiMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

“Customer satisfaction is the foundation of all our services, and our efforts to enrich the customer experience have helped more than 70 per cent of our customers to perform their transactions in less than six minutes. We are trying to further reduce this time to enhance the experience of the business community. “We stay connected with our members through our events and websites. Through our offices we are always available to meet in person and discuss any concern that a member might have.” How important are education, networking, information, seminars, meetings and events in your work?

“Extremely important I must say – and for that reason we set up the Dubai Association Centre. The Centre was formed in 2014 by Dubai Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Dubai Business Events (DBE, part of the Department for Tourism and Commerce Marketing) and the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) to offer assistance for the establishment of non-profit, apolitical and non-reli-

gious professional associations and trade bodies in the Emirate of Dubai. “The idea behind the establishment of the Centre is part of a longterm plan to attract international associations to set up shop in the region and consequently strengthen Dubai’s role as a knowledge hub across all sectors. Being the region’s unique model, the Centre offers assistance to trade, scientific and business associations to set up office space and develop their activities and membership in Dubai and the wider Middle East region. “We must not forget that Dubai is a world-class destination for hosting global events and we are building on our meetings industry. Being a regional and international business and trade centre, Dubai hosts hundreds of local and international fairs and exhibitions every year, providing an ideal platform for businessmen and investors to exchange ideas and forge new business deals. This sector will get a boost in the lead up to the Expo 2020 and will continue to grow after the event. “We are aware that approximately 50 per cent of the worldwide volume in the meetings industry market, which is estimated at $600 billion, is being generated by association meetings, thus offering a major opportunity. By attracting a number of strategic annual events of leading global professional associations to Dubai, the Centre will be giving organisations in Dubai and the wider region a chance to learn and upgrade their skills in their chosen field and in turn benefit the overall economy. These associations contribute to the sustainable development process of Dubai and the region’s economy, especially professional associations from the logistics, IT, tourism, education, health care, retail and green technology sectors.”


“The Chamber has been the main engine of trade growth in Dubai”

What are the goals of the Chamber over the next few years?

“As part of its strategy under the theme ‘Empowering Vision’, Dubai Chamber is committed to implementing the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of UAE, which it has been working on since its inception. “Promoting innovation is also close to our heart and we have launched various channels through which we intend to achieve this goal. The UAE marked 2015 as the ‘Year of Innovation’, and the Chamber is focusing on innovation as the main pillar of development. “We have also launched incentives and competitions to enhance the performance of business in UAE and beyond in the GCC region such as the Mohammed bin Rashid Business Award (MRM). Our strategic vision and the various initiatives launched by us to promote SMEs and entrepreneurship, such as Tejar Dubai and “RoYa” under the Dubai Businesswomen Council, are milestones we are very proud of and we will continue to work towards this goal. “We have set up three overseas Representative Offices – two in Africa

and one in Azerbaijan, and will be opening two more in Mozambique and Kenya in 2016. This is part of our strategy to explore international markets for our members and simultaneously promote the competitiveness of Dubai and the UAE. Our goal is to build relations with more emerging economies in Latin America, Africa and the CIS Region, and explore trade and investment opportunities.” Where does sustainability fit in your approach?

“The Chamber has always been keen on establishing favourable conditions to inspire the business community to implement global best practices in various fields. The Chamber’s Centre for Responsible Business (CRB), which last year celebrated its 10th anniversary, is moving from strength to strength as a platform to instil a culture of responsible and sustainable business strategies. “In 2015, we organised a sustainability week as part of our 50th anniversary celebrations. Under the theme ‘Ma’an (Together) – Our World, Our Responsibility’, the Sustainability Week was a collaborative initiative by the CRB and its members to bring together people from all

parts of society to engage in sustainability. “We also honour companies that are socially responsible with a CSR Label. The Corporate Social Responsibility Label functions as a concise and voluntary framework for all aspects of business operations, and is a voluntary standard for the workplace, marketplace, community and environment. “In November 2015, H. H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum unveiled the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, as part of our efforts to develop the ‘green economy’ and reduce dependence on fossil fuels. “On our part, we have been focusing on energy-saving methods for the last 15 years through retrofitted green building and are committed to pursuing this in the long run. We are also integrating sustainability across all our operations.”



Look at Things A BIT DIFFERENTLY The story of how Dubai Science Park started and how it evolved in the past ten years is quite interesting. The idea for the Science Park was initiated in 2005 and, at that time, the project was called the Dubai Environment Technology and Research Park. Sheikh Mohammed made the announcement and his vision was to create a biotechnology research park. The idea was to invest heavily in research and create developments and discoveries that would complement the issues of the region, which are in the areas of cardiovascular disease and diabetes, etc. The intention was also to work very closely with universities because they are really the engines of ideas. The aim was also to have home grown technologies. That was the case until 2009, when all the cities and economies around the world had to look MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

into what they were doing and Dubai was no exception. The idea was challenging at that time; can we really do this or not? “I was one of the few people who said, ‘Let us look at things a bit differently’,” says Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi, executive director of Dubai Science Park. “Why? For a couple of reasons. The local universities here produced very little science. The regulatory system is not very developed; the intellectual property laws are very young so why don’t we focus on the established companies. Those who can access the market immediately. Those who can set up immediately. We will go back in the value chain and start with the large companies. So really we are going backwards in integration this time, rather than starting from the development of five years and with a heavy investment.”

Now it has been around eight years since that thinking was tested. It has proven to be a very good strategy because Dubai Science Park was able to attract close to 300 companies doing that, and when you attract large companies the smaller companies will also be around them and provide services. You also have a lot of executives leaving those large companies and starting their own small companies. This is made possible by the fact that Dubai Science Park does a lot of events, networking events, where they have discussions with industry peers, and do a lot of talks with academia, regulators and always asking questions like: How can we do things better? How can we help the local community? A lot of ideas are sparked from those meetings. This is one of the unique things about Dubai Science Park. They did


not only look at the hardware side of things which are the buildings and cities but also at the software which is interacting with people, events, dialogues, ideas that are executed, for instance. “Three or four years ago at an opening event, I said something a bit controversial. There were two universities and two large companies so I told the universities, “You’re always

please come to this fair. And we had 18 companies that showed up. There were 10 to 20 students as an average of the students who actually worked with the companies and out of that half of them were hired by the companies. “So again the mentality of the open door policy, open discussions are something that has helped us a lot. So something I did not highlight was

“What we have done is to focus on creating a vibrant community” complaining that the students cannot find jobs and you’re always complaining you have vacancies and that you cannot find candidates.” What is wrong? There must be something? So then each one defends their own case. The expertise is not there in the universities and we do not know what you want, etc. Then there was an idea from the floor saying why don’t you take senior students who are still studying at the university and they are not a liability to you. You do not have to pay them. They will be happy to come, to get experience, tutorship, a summer job, whatever. This way you can get a taste of their knowledge, skills and what they can do for you. After that you can decide. “So that idea was talked about in January; in April in the same year, we did a kind of career fair or call it a friendship fair, where we invited students from around six universities representing around 350 students, talking to companies who have vacancies or companies who need help. We sent an email to all the companies. If you need help or if you have certain tasks that require university students

how did we actually do this. In order for us to be able to attract companies we need from our side facilities or platforms where companies can come and be part of us. This is where we invested our own 500 million dollars, from infrastructure to buildings to facilities. What we have done is to focus on creating a vibrant community. By that I mean that we wanted to make sure that people can live and work here. So we have created these areas that are for restoration towers and small plots reserved for about 400 villas. In the centre you have the business site, office towers, laboratories and warehouses. So think about it, you’re a start up and you need a desk or you are a company that is doing testing, or you need storage or regional headquarters. It is all doable in one location and at the same time having access to facilities. Hospitals are coming up here, schools, so it is becoming a community. “Dubai Science Park has 7,000 workers under its umbrella but as not all the facilities are ready, not all of them are physically here. Some of them are in other locations that are

owned by the same company, but the idea is that everybody will come here when there are more facilities. “In terms of time span and the planning span, in another four or five years it will look and be ready like the idea. I think it is important to say that we are part of a bigger umbrella which is called The Tecom Group. Tecom Group is part of Dubai Holding and Dubai Holding is a private enterprise of the Dubai government and it has three main verticals, the first is hospitality with Jumeirah, the second one is Dubai properties with credentials and the third vertical is the free zone. “The free zone we started initially in 1999 with Dubai Internet City. That was the first one, followed by the Media City and then Knowledge Village and later in 2005 the Dubai Science Park. Also a part of it is the Dubai Design District which is a new project, only two years old and then we have the Arab Media Group which hold publications and radio stations. Then we have the Global Village. These are the different companies that are under Tecom Group. “It is important that we are in the free zone to attract companies from abroad because they do not need to worry about the ownership structure or how they do business. This is of course a big selling point for us, as is networking opportunities. The products that we have are offices, laboratories, warehouses, retail business centre, and land. That is what we have to offer and this is the future prospective. This is our future.”



Expo 2020 MARKS THE BEGINNING Back in November 2013, celebrations exploded across Dubai as news broke that it had won the privilege of hosting the World Expo 2020, as people understood how much the event would impact the emirate and its economy. Every country bidding for the chance to host the important event knew that winning would come with significant benefits, advantages that Dubai will be able to enjoy during the next five years, after its ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’ concept was chosen as the victor. According to the committee that will organise the Expo, the theme echoes the powerful spirit of partnership and co-operation that has been the driving force behind the UAE’s MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

success in the creation of new paths of development and innovation. It believes that through this winning concept, the event will serve as a catalyst, connecting minds from around the globe and inspiring both Expo attendees and exhibitionists to work together to solve shared challenges. The Expo is considered to be the third-largest global event in terms of economic and cultural impact, coming after the Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup. It attracts millions of visitors during its six-month run, with the 2020 edition expected to lure 25 million between October 2020 and April 2021. In addition, it is likely to attract substantial foreign investment to

Dubai, and the wider UAE, and will build upon the emirate’s core economic sectors, including financial services, construction, tourism, and hospitality. The Expo is expected to add a significant amount of dirhams to the economy of Dubai and the UAE, although a precise figure is difficult to predict. According to Jones Day analysts, the event is likely to generate around $23 billion (£14.8 billion) for the emirate, equating to around 24.4 per cent of Dubai’s current gross domestic product between 2015 and 2021. Furthermore, it is likely to boost the economic growth of the emirate by an average of 6.4 per cent every year from 2014 and 2016 – potentially


rising to an enormous 10.5 per cent by 2020. Jones Day came to these figures by calculating the total estimated spend by the government, participants, visitors and general commercial activity related to the event. For the event to go off without a hitch, the government will invest substantial amounts of money to strengthen the emirate’s infrastructure in a host of development projects. A total of around $8.7 billion has

has long been considered a business and cultural hub of the Middle East. With an economy historically built on the oil industry, Dubai’s main revenues now come from tourism, trade, aviation, real estate and financial services, with income from oil now accounting for less than three per cent of the Emirate’s GDP. On a 438 hectare site, twice as big as Milan was in 2015 in terms of hectares, connected to three inter-

“The Expo is considered to be the thirdlargest global event in terms of economic and cultural impact” reportedly been set aside for investment related to the event – money that will benefit Dubai even after the Expo closes its doors in 2021. The UAE’s government has predicted that revenues of up to $17.7 billion will be generated if the Expo is a success, which organisers feel is a certainty. In addition, some analysts have predicted that between 2014 and 2020, the UAE could attract as much as $150 billion in foreign direct investment across a range of industry sectors, particularly real estate, hospitality and tourism. As mentioned earlier, the Expo is expected to attract 25 million visitors, 17 million of which will be international, during its six-month run, and will obviously provide a huge boost to the tourism and hospitality industries. Dubai is one of the seven emirates that form the Federation of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It has the largest population in the UAE and

national airports and a dedicated transport network, the Expo will provide visitors with the chance to see spectacular architecture, merge with global cultures, examine thoughtful and thought provoking exhibitions, and taste food from every corner of the globe. Above all, visitors to the event will witness the very latest in thinking and technology all in one place and at one time. The Expo will be an unforgettable, once in a lifetime experience. Dubai is preparing for an event that will enthrall and amaze the many millions who visit, providing a sense of wonder at the ability of people, working together, to envisage and achieve a better tomorrow. Each World Expo carries a central theme of “universal concern to all of humanity.” Expo 2020 Dubai’s theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. It recognises that generating sustainable solutions to global problems demands collaboration across cultures, nations and regions.

It is a reflection of the modern world: connected as never before, and changing with great speed. Today, the world’s biggest accommodation provider owns no hotels. The largest software providers do not write the apps they sell. The number one retailer stocks no products and the most popular media organisation in the world creates no content. These companies have each recognised the value of sharing and collaboration, made possible by new technology. They empower people to say and do things differently; to connect with others, and to create something new. This what Expo 2020, its participants and visitors will explore. How, by connecting, collaborating and forming new partnerships, can we develop ideas and innovate in order to create a better future? The event will focus on three aspects of opportunity: developing human capital to stimulate progress; the necessity of financial capital as a resource to support growth; and partnerships as a primary driver of innovation and employment. The Expo will explore a number of facets of Mobility: empowering individuals through physical mobility; facilitating access and distribution of goods and resources; and enhancing virtual connectivity through information technology. And the exhibits will examine the role of natural and built habitats in ensuring human well-being and community resilience; and the need to use resources without compromising the ability of the planet to sustain future generations, as part of the Sustainability sub theme. And at last: Expo 2020 marks the beginning. Not the end.



mci: “It Makes Sense for ORGANISATIONS TO CONNECT HERE” MCI started its operations in Dubai in 2006, and this year they celebrate a decade of being in the Middle East. Since then Dubai has become the regional headquarters for MCI’s IMEA region. The region includes, India, UAE, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Turkey. The business mix is 50:50 between corporate and association meetings. Meetings International spoke to:

Alexander John Regional Director – Business Development (India, Middle East & Africa) MCI Dubai What are the biggest challenges in the region for association meetings and events?

“There is a lack of local leaders representing the region within international associations and boards. This will continue being a challenge till such time the region generates more international leaders who are on association boards.”

And the biggest challenges for corporate meetings and events?

“The MENA market from a global stand point is still relatively small. While there are pockets of large spend in the region, the lack of critical mass makes it impossible for companies to showcase their best MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

meetings in our market place. Political instability, wars and depressed economic climates (low oil prices) dominate the Middle East and North African landscape. Markets that have stable economies, peace and critical mass attract bigger meetings thus leading to large socio-economic impact. Besides a couple of large industries such as oil and gas, shipping and airlines, other industries in the region are not making enough ground to count in the world economic theater. There is an imminent need to scale up to attract large corporate meetings. “On the upside, Dubai is the region’s trading HQ and will continue to be the leader in this segment due to its business friendly policies. This translates into Dubai attracting the largest and best exhibitions in the region and this dominant position will continue for the foreseeable future. Should the exogenous factors stabilize, we should see large meetings coming to the region.” Looking forward at the Expo 2020. Will there be many (extra) meetings thanks to this events?

“There should be a spike in meetings especially from the corporate market. Most participating organisations, and participating countries would want to use the platform to showcase their inventions and innovations. Dubai has always bucked global trends and 2020 should be different from previous Expos. With a comprehensive government endorsed, supported and driven strategy, we should see some very global

conversations and meetings happening here.” Why should associations come to Dubai for meetings and events?

“There are a number of reasons to do business here. It is today the region’s commercial hub. It’s also the most equipped city in all of the Middle East, i.e. when it comes to international connectivity, infrastructure, security and ease of execution of services. “Congruently, the economics of doing business in Dubai is a huge advantage for associations. With the currency pegged to the dollar, a stable economy, clients can future proof their returns. Dubai has created a very favorable economic zone for international and regional associations called the Dubai Association Centre. This centre allows associations to open and operate their business from Dubai with ease. “For associations who seek to build a market presence for their meetings this is an ecosystem that is created specifically for them. Dubai’s proximity to South Asia, Turkey and Africa (an estimated market size of 2.1 billion people), opens a world of opportunity for associations who want to expand and service new or emerging markets.” Why should corporates come to Dubai for meetings and events?

“Most of what has been mentioned above would be applicable for corporates as well, i.e. the infrastructure, security, economic investment free zones, etcetera. There are already a


number of international and regional organisations that have their regional headquarters here. It thus makes sense for organisations to connect in Dubai. The city is seven, eight hours away from Western Europe and similarly seven, eight hours from East Asia. This proximity ensures that people do not have to travel far to connect and conduct their meetings. It saves time and costs for these organisations. As budgets spends get

projects into new markets and Dubai has been a recipient of these in the past and will continue to get more in the future. MCI Dubai also creates and transposes meetings to markets within and outside the region.” Within which Dubai clusters do you see expanding possibilities for meetings and events?

“Almost all relevant economic clusters that need to be addressed in the region are represented here.

“Critical market intelligence is also readily available through our network” tighter, organisations are pressed to deliver superior meeting experiences all the time. “Dubai is a city that offers this very easily. Hospitality products in every category across the city are not only new and fresh, they are also much superior to their counterparts in other markets, giving more value for the dollar spent. The city is also known for its hospitality, and the ability to deliver quality services throughout the year makes it very attractive and lucrative for prospects.” How important is it for MCI Dubai to be a part of the global network of MCI for creating meetings in Dubai and the region?

“The success of MCI Dubai is directly related to us being part of the global network of MCI. The interconnectivity of clients and projects makes us operate as one MCI. Critical market intelligence is also readily available through our network. “What we offer our clients is local expertise, customized project services and international intelligence. Besides this we also migrate

We have a number of regional industry-led meeting products that have housed either their meeting or trade exhibition here. The next step in Dubai’s meetings industry is to permanently house an international event in Dubai.” Do you also offer your clients the DMC part of the meetings and events business?

“Yes we do. Our Ovation brand is well represented in Dubai. The fundamentals of delivering any project is to be a strong DMC first. The local knowledge and local talents are the core of great DMCs, and this is the DNA of our organisation. The essence of what we deliver clients is this local understanding.” How important are the sustainability questions as engines for meetings and events?

“Sustainability is no longer a nice badge to wear. It permeates the very essence of what we deliver. You cannot be a responsible citizen without being sustainable. So as we progress year on year, we are engaging products and services that are sustainable

and return value back to our customers. We encourage all our customers to think sustainability when delivering events with us.” Could the universities become bigger engines for your meetings and events?

“Universities are important for the industry at large. They not only bring an academic perspective to the meeting, they also contribute with knowledge, research and subject matter leaders and experts who play an important role in attracting international/regional meetings to a destination. “There are a few institutions across the country that are playing this role effectively. As the market matures and becomes more active, it will be good to see more participation from academia in the local associations.” How good are the venues for meetings and events?

“The venues are excellent. The options we have here are world class and, in most cases, the benchmark for the rest of the world.” Should there be more or even some bigger venues for meetings and events? What would you prefer to be built?

“While there are many meeting venues here, there is a dearth of large custom meeting spaces. This is being addressed within various projects that are scheduled to come online; however, in the interim the lack of availability of space can sometimes be a challenge. There is still room for more meeting spaces that hotels can add into their growth and expansion strategies. Dubai has the ability to house a convention centre type of hotel with at least 10,000–15,000 square metres of flexible meetings space.”



World’s Greenest ECO RESORT LAUNCHED By 2021, UAE is expected to welcome 45 million people, of which 31 million will be international tourists. A new generation of eco-minded entrepreneurs are looking to transform this rapidly growing sector into a Green Economy. Eco Resort Group, a Dubai-based company, has revealed the world’s greenest eco resort. The newlylaunched Oasis Eco Resort will be located in Liwa, the southern region of UAE, and is scheduled to open in 2020. It is one of several eco resorts the company is planning to launch over the next few years. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

London-based Baharash Architecture, were tasked with the design which features a spring at its heart. Baharash Bagherian, Designer and Founder of Baharash Architecture, explains the inspiration behind the design as rooted in UAE’s heritage. “At the very early stages of the project, we found out that we could extract groundwater using a deep well. This gave us an opportunity to create a story around a spring, which was of critical importance to Bedouins for trade and transportation routes.” The accommodations and functional areas are distributed around

the spring, which will be the tranquil heart of the resort. In total there are 84 interconnecting suites of various types, all of which provide amazing views and an outdoor terrace. Some of the environmental benefits include recycling waste water on-site for irrigation, on-site waste management, the enforcement of a zero emission zone and 157,000 square feet of solar panels.



Baharash Bagherian Founder and Managing Director of Baharash Architecture As we approach Expo 2020, Emiratis will discover what makes a sustainable city, and in particular, how Dubai will become the world’s most sustainable city. First of all, for a city to be sustainable it needs to encompass the three main pillars of sustainability: Environmental, Economic and Social sustainability. Ultimately, the key goal of any sustainable city should be to provide residents and workers with the highest quality of life together with the lowest environmental footprint. A good sustainable city is one where people want to live, work and visit. Masdar City in Abu Dhabi will have all of these qualities once it is eventually complete. Another example is Dubai Sustainable City, which is planned at a more sustainable scale and which will be complete in 2016.

Dubai also recently announced plans for additional sustainable projects such as the Desert Rose, a 14,000 hectare smart city expected to accommodate 20,000 plots for Emiratis and which will cost 20 billion AED to build. There is a pattern in these developments – the United Arab Emirates is already emerging as a global leader in sustainability. This pattern became increasingly apparent after Dubai recently set targets for itself to become one of the most sustainable cities by 2020. It’s natural to feel a cautious optimism after witnessing the sheer influx and scale of projects planned for Dubai, at recent events such as Cityscape Global and the International Property Show. The growing development boom is clearly going to set a challenge for Dubai to achieve its sustainability ambitions by 2020. A key challenge is educating private and public stakeholders about the main principles of building sustainably, without increasing the built cost. Cost is currently the main deterrent factor for most developers, as it is a common belief that building sustainably means more cost, thus reducing profit margins, which for developers is understandably an outright turn-off.

In my experience, being sustainable doesn’t necessarily mean more expensive to build. In fact at the early stages of any sustainable project, basic design decisions such as orientation, density and form provide the biggest environmental gains, yet these require the least financial investments. Therefore at the early stages consultants are able to reduce a large amount of energy demand with little cost. From the beginning of each project it is important for the client and consultant team to develop a series of sustainable initiatives and targets. These targets will help guide the design in the pursuit of the sustainability goals. They can be divided into categories such as: Water, Health and Well-being, Energy, Materials, Pollution, Ecology, and Waste. If we take water as an example, the ultimate design intent for any sustainable project would be to minimise net water use by increasing efficiency and reuse, which can be achieved by: ƒƒ Recycling water and by encouraging the collection and re-use of rainwater to reduce the demand for potable fresh water. ƒƒ Looking at highly efficient and smart irrigation systems and also storm water design. 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


“Designing for a sustainable future has become a necessity”

ƒƒ Installing smart water efficient fittings, water metres and appliances. ƒƒ Maintaining and improving the quality of ground and surface water. ƒƒ Low-water use landscaping. Water consumption can also be reduced by 50 per cent by increasing environmental awareness amongst residents and workers. In Dubai Sustainable City there is an excellence centre which will educate and raise awareness amongst residents, and there is also a green curriculum for students in the school. One hundred per cent of the waste water is also recycled on-site. Designing for a sustainable future is no longer a choice, it has become a necessity. Sustainable design is about reducing our environmental footprint, it is about doing as little as possible to achieve as much as possible, hence the term “passive design”. But let’s not forget that sustainable design is not just about buildings. It should happen at all scales from products and infrastructures to buildings and cities. It’s important that the next generation of architects and designers in Dubai are able to design at all different scales to develop a MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

variation of solutions, which is necessary if we are to provide for a higher quality of life. In 1913, it was estimated that only 10 per cent of the world’s population lived in cities. Today that figure has increased to 50 per cent, and by 2050, it will increase to 75 per cent. For the remainder of this century the rise in population in our cities is going to increase at a dramatic rate, so that coupled with climate change is going to have a great impact on our cities’ resources. Population growth in the United Arab Emirates is among the highest in the world, mostly due to immigration. Therefore for the UAE, the need to start developing more sustainable cities at various scales is no longer a choice if they are going to provide a future with a higher quality of life for their citizens and to protect their environment.


Developing New SECURITY INITIATIVES Dubai is one of the safest hotel and meeting venues in the world and continues to look for and develop new security initiatives and strategies to maintain this position. One of the main reasons for this success is the adoption of security technologies such as live time and networked CCTV monitoring and recording across public and private sector domains – coupled with legal requirements for the hotel security sector to use licences and trained guards to standards set by Dubai Police. In addition, consistent security guard and CCTV requirements are part of each hotels’ businesses operating license requirement, which they must maintain each year. This encourages and ensures hotels continually improve their operational and technical security standards.

“Dubai Police are also welcoming hotels to conduct joint training exercises for security and crisis management scenario exercises, which further re-enforces the partner approach between public and private sectors,” says Andy Williams, Vice President Quality Assurance & Business Development for Safehotels Alliance. Safehotels has a growing presence in Dubai, the UAE and all GCC countries in the region. From a start off point last year there are now over 20 hotels certified. The company’s vision for Dubai and the UAE is to work alongside Tourism and Civil Defence authorities with the same public-private initiative and leverage each others’ strengths. “There are ongoing discussions and dialogue with these authori-

ties which are likely to bear fruit in individual Emirates and across the UAE later this year. In the meantime Safehotels is registered in Dubai and the UAE as His Excellency Sheikh Mohammed’s SME Initiative,” says Andy Williams. He claims working with the Dubai Police is very effective and productive due to DPS’s proactive engagement with information technology, IP based CCTV systems, and intelligence gathering and sharing. “The police are also very approachable and open to communication and security initiatives from and with hotels.”






Bryan Ralph Dr. Hassan Galadari is Chairman of the Scientific Committee of Dubai Derma – the Dubai World Dermatology & Laser Conference & Exhibition. The three-day event, held annually at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre, is dedicated to the field of dermatology, skin care and laser treatment. This year Dubai Derma was held in conjunction with the Continental Congress of Dermatology, organized by the International Society of Dermatology. The 16th Dubai Derma event took place in mid April. Dr. Galadari is Assistant Professor of Dermatology at the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and also has a private practice in Dubai. He gained his medical degree in Dubai and completed his training in the US, where he is also certified by the American Board of Dermatology. We talked to Dr. Galadari, a frequent participant and speaker at international conferences, about his role in organizing Dubai Derma, the second largest dermatology event in the world. How important are conventions to you as a doctor for keeping up with developments and for networking?

“Very important. Being a doctor is a long commitment to learning, because of the continuous developments in medicine. What we know today is different from five years ago

and will be different in 10 years time. So, what I learned 10 years ago is different to what I teach my students today. Medicine is an evolving structure. “I recently returned from the world’s largest congress for dermatologists with about 18,000 participants. There was a lot of science being discussed, but also a lot of receptions where people go to meet each other. At this point in my career there is a lot of networking – we invite people to Dubai and they invite us to go to their countries. You can benefit from this kind of events, both from the scientific aspects and from a social networking point of view.” Can you tell us about this year’s Dubai Derma event?

“Yes, in a few weeks it will be time for our 16th annual World Dermatology & Laser Conference & Exhibition here in Dubai. We are hoping for between 2,000 and 3,000 delegates. Hopefully, it will be the biggest event yet. Previously, the exhibition has been in one hall, but dermatology is a big field, so this year it will be divided into three halls. One for the more general medical aspects of dermatology, one for diseases that affect children, and one for surgical aspects, cosmetics, lasers and so on. This gives options to visitors – it means they can select the hall that interests them most.”

How long have you been on the Derma Dubai Scientific Committee?

“I became a member of the committee in 2008, and Chairman two years later. There are eight committee members and we are responsible for the scientific program at the conference. It is an international committee with dermatologists from Dubai, from the region and from abroad. The conference is becoming more popular internationally. Last year we had about 120 abstracts to choose from. This year I went through about 400. There is a lot of interest from dermatologists across the world in coming to the conference, as it is held in Dubai – people want to visit the city.” How do you prepare for the conference?

“After the conference in April we have a break and then preparations start again in September. By the end of December we have accepted all the abstracts and in January the program is set. Then we put together all the social activities, hotel reservations, etcetera. I don’t travel just before the conference, so I can make sure that all the preparations run smoothly.” What is the biggest challenge in organizing the conference?

“I think the biggest challenge is to trying to make sure people are happy. We have a great PCO, Index, to help us do that. Problems with visas, etc. are 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


to be expected, but you have to make sure everything is streamlined and goes smoothly. Our PCO is very helpful in solving these issues.” How closely do you work with the Dubai Convention Bureau?

“The Convention Bureau is fantastic. I have worked much closer with them in recent years when we were bidding for the Congress of Dermatol-

son to come here. Dubai is a tourist destination and has become popular in that sense. We travel abroad, but even so it is perhaps easier to open up and interact with people when you are in your home element. It is very important for dermatologists here, and doctors in general, to interact with colleagues. So it’s important to bring doctors here and make sure that

“The conference is becoming more popular internationally” ogy, an international event held every four years. “Unfortunately, Dubai did not get it, but we were very close – second out of six competing cities. The Convention Bureau was very important in helping us to promote and present our bid – they put together a phenomenal bid book for us. Even though we did not get the bid, there were positive effects. During the selection process, we attended international meetings to promote the city and the bid, so everybody got to know Dubai and what it has to offer. We are excited by the prospect of bidding again.”

physicians from Dubai get to interact with people from abroad. There is a mutual benefit.”

What events do you have in the evenings?

How many conventions have you been to around the world?

“We have three evening events. For example there is a dinner the night before the conference starts for early arrivals and one evening there will be dinner for delegates at a traditional restaurant in the cultural part of Dubai. We also offer a range of social activities such as a desert safari and a tour of Dubai.” How important is this conference for dermatologists in Dubai?

“It is very important. People want to visit Dubai, and we give them a reaMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

How do you use social media?

“Our conference is very involved in social media, the PCO is very active with a Twitter account, Facebook account and so on. And I also have personal accounts and a lot of followers, including doctors and my patients. I think social media is a very interesting and useful concept. It’s important to make people realize that meetings take place here in Dubai, and that not every major meeting has to take place in the West.”

“Too many to count! I looked at my passport recently, as it was full, and found that I went to more than 20 meetings in one year when we were bidding for the Congress of Dermatology. I have not travelled as much this year, but it’s still a lot. I just came back from the Sudan yesterday, and I am going again to Jakarta in Indonesia in two weeks. I travel at least once a month to conventions. And I usually go to these meetings not just to attend, but to speak.”

As you travel a lot, how often do you see your students?

“More or less every week. I am very much involved in their teaching and with research. And when I am abroad they phone or email me. These days you do not have to be in one place, you can be anywhere in the world and still be in contact.” Why did you choose to specialize in dermatology?

“My father is a dermatologist, so I was exposed to the field of dermatology when I was growing up. But, believe it or not, I have not been influenced by him. When I was at medical school I studied dermatology for six weeks, and I thought, wow, this is a really nice field. I can actually see the effect of treatment on my patients. If a patient comes to me with a skin rash, I can give them a particular cream and the rash goes away in a few days. For me the great thing about being a dermatologist is being able to see the improvement – you get a lot of positive feedback.” Are you a positive person?

“Yes, I am an optimist. I am a realist, but I always look on the optimistic side. I always think something can definitely be done. I believe in good organization and trying your best, so that even if you do not succeed to start with, you can achieve what you want to do.” “I think that a positive attitude is instilled in us here. If you look at the city of Dubai, it started with a vision and a passion to succeed. The city has grown from a very small city to what it is today due to that vision. So, I believe that if you follow the same approach, whatever profession you are in, it really pays off.”


One and a Half Million BOOK LIBRARY TO BE BUILT The Mohammed bin Rashid Library in Al Jaddaf will hold more than 1.5 million volumes, 1 million audio books and 2 million e-books, making it the world’s largest electronic collection and the biggest library in the Arab world. The project is to open at the end of 2017. “We want a dynamic library that will reach you before you reach it and which encourages you to start reading from childhood while supporting you as a scientist, researcher or specialist when older,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “The library will be a compound for books, a community for readers and writers, and an association for content, culture and thinkers.” Overlooking the Dubai Creek, it will preserve Emirati culture, promote the Arabic language, and publish new titles and a contemporary Arabic dictionary, as well as translate 25,000 titles into Arabic. “The human mind is the centre of development and the book is the tool

used to renew the mind. A nation can never grow without a renewed mind and lively, knowledgeable spirit,” said Sheikh Mohammed. Seven storeys tall and covering 1 million square feet, it will have children’s, Arabic, international, business and media sections to make reading accessible to all. It will include a centre for conservation and restoration of historical manuscripts, and a museum section displaying rare artefacts from the Maktoum family collection. Plans were announced to host more than 100 cultural and intellectual events each year in its seminar and conference rooms. In September last year Sheikh Mohammed launched the Arab Reading Challenge, which encourages 2.5 million students from 20,000 schools in the Arab world to read. The library will be the home to this initiative. “The Arab world is facing a learning gap,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The centre will be geared to print and will distribute 10 million books in the next few years. The library will also be the headquarters of a Dh 2.4 million Arabic Language Award launched by Sheikh Mohammed to help people to embrace their Arab identity. The municipality estimates that 9 million visitors from overseas and across the country will visit the library each year. The learning centre is part of sweeping changes planned in the area. Al Jaddaf station was the last of 20 on the Dubai Metro Green Line that opened two years ago. There are also plans for a new ferry service to link terminals in Festival City and Al Jaddaf to draw in visitors.



Clean City Energy STRATEGY 2050 LAUNCHED Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, which aims to make Dubai a global centre of clean energy and green economy. The strategy includes a Dh100 billion investment in Green Fund, and Dh50 billion in the second phase of Solar Park by 2030. Sheikh Mohammed said that the UAE, through its diverse strategies and investments in clean and renewable energy, is now leading global efforts in this area, despite having the second-largest oil reserves in the world. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

“The strategy that we are launching today will shape the energy sector in Dubai over the next three decades. It aims to provide 75 per cent of the emirate’s energy through clean energy sources by 2050, reflecting our commitment to establish a sustainable model in energy conservation, which can be exported to the whole world, and support economic growth without damaging the environment and natural resources. Our goal is to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint in the world by 2050,” Sheikh Mohammed said. He added: “Every investment in the development of clean energy sources is at the same time an invest-

ment to protect the environment for future generations. It is an effort to build our sustainable economic sectors which do not depend on nonrenewable energy resources and are unaffected by volatile energy prices. Through this strategy, which is based on innovation, research and development, we aim to explore the future of the energy sector to unveil initiatives that will make use of the scientific and technological developments in this sector and take the lead in their development and application.” The UAE is keen to become a global reference platform in sustainability practices by transforming concepts into real applications, Sheikh Mo-

Clean Energy Strategy Makes Rooftop Solar Panels Mandatory in Dubai By 2030


“Our goal is to become the city with the smallest carbon footprint”

hammed said. He called on international companies and R&D centres to make Dubai a base for testing and applying the next generation of clean energy technologies and to create a global model that can benefit the world. Sheikh Mohammed launched the strategy during the inauguration of the second phase of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park at the Al Marmoum area in Dubai. The solar park is considered the largest of its kind in the world, and will produce 5,000 megawatts in a single location by 2030, and involves total investments worth Dh50 billion. He also inaugurated the construction works of Dewa Innovation Centre, which includes under its umbrella a group of research and development laboratories in the field of clean energy with a total investment of Dh500 million. The Dubai Clean Energy Strategy aims to provide 7 per cent of Dubai’s energy from clean energy sources by 2020. It will increase this target to 25 per cent by 2030 and 75 per cent by 2050. The strategy consists of five main pillars: Infrastructure, legislation,

funding, building capacities and skills, having an environment-friendly energy mix. The infrastructure pillar includes the establishment of the Dubai Green Fund worth Dh100 billion, which will provide, through its financial resources, easy loans for investors in the clean energy sector in the emirate at reduced interest rates. The Dubai Electricity and Water Authority will ensure the demand management and economic value of the project. The strategy also includes infrastructure initiatives such as the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, which is the largest generator of solar energy in the world from a single location, with a capacity to produce 5,000 megawatts by 2030, and total investment of Dh50 billion. The first phase of this project was operational in 2013. The second phase will begin operations in April 2017, with a capacity of 800 megawatts, the third phase will begin operations in 2020 with a capacity of 1000 megawatts, while the fourth phase will begin operations in 2030, with a capacity of 5000 megawatts, which is estimated to be 25 per cent

of the total energy production in the emirate of Dubai. The infrastructure pillar also includes a comprehensive innovation centre that will be built using 3D printing technology. The innovation centre features research and development centres specialised in the next generation of clean energy technologies such as a solar energy technology test centre, a drones research centre, 3D printing technology, and a solar energy-based desalination test centre. About Dh500 million will be invested in research and development in areas such as integration of smart grids, energy efficiency and electricity generation from solar energy. The infrastructure pillar also includes the establishment of a new free zone under the name ‘Dubai Green Zone’ dedicated to attracting research and development centres and emerging companies in the field of clean energy.





The Way to Develop A SMART CITY The Smart Dubai Platform has been envisioned through a detailed and collaborative scoping process that puts the customer in the centre. Smart Dubai is reshaping the way government services are structured to meet the needs of the customer rather than the other way around. The electronic data sensors will be installed everywhere − from Dubai’s streets and parking lots, to building entrances and public parks − to create a digital mosaic of human activity from which trends can be identified to help plan. The data collected will be analysed and shared with city planners to facilitate planning and optimise public services. The online exchange point will collect data gathered from what is called ‘Internet of Things’. A term used to describe a digital network of sensors installed in physical objects such as roads, curbs, municipal offices, buildings and digital devices such as smartphones. The Smart Dubai initiative, formally undertaken in March 2014, aims to establish Dubai as the smartest city by 2017, driven by four key strategic pillars and spanning six

dimensions classifying initiatives citywide. It also structures its endgoals across a carefully crafted set of strategic pillars. These are Efficient, Seamless, Safe and Impactful. “Smart Cities is an initiative where the traditional networks and services are made more efficient with the use of digital and telecommunication technologies for the benefit of its inhabitants and businesses. But it’s not only about technology. It’s a new terminology used by cities to uplift their management. Dubai has always been known as an entrepreneur city when initiating new projects and Smart Dubai was one of these entrepreneur initiatives. But it came from a legacy. In 1999, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid commissioned a team of young graduates from the US to compile a report on how Dubai could best utilise new technologies coming onto the market, such as ICT, networks, Internet, data centres and frameworks. The report led to a host of projects,” says Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai. “The first one was the e-Government action plan as a new trend and 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


how Dubai could promote this trend by being a thought leader. The second one was an online procurement platform for the city, the third one an internet-free zone to provide a hub for all ICT-players, and the fourth one was a media free zone to attract content developers. The DIFC project also has a financial hub, to which can be connected global financial hubs.

municate. We have smart growth, we have smart metres, smart engineers, but all in closed shops. The same goes for education, social services, retailers and the private sector. “So the mandate was not only to uplift it to become the smartest, but also the happiest. The ultimate goal is an efficient, seamless, safe and tremendous experience, for citizens

“The ultimate goal is an efficient, seamless, safe and tremendous experience” The vision is to become a real global financial hub and the mission is to promote the growth and development of financial services within the UAE by providing world-class infrastructure and business opportunities through integrity, transparency and efficiency. So from there the government initiative was born with the mandate to publish our first platform within 18 months. This is how Sheikh Mohammed Rashid runs the city. Giving a mandate for the city to follow. And we published the platform within 18 months.” Two years ago Sheikh Rashid said: Dubai is already smart, but not smart enough. We want it to be the smartest. “Dubai is like any other city and faces many challenges, the main one of which is the ‘closed shop’ attitude between government agencies and entities. We have a very smart road and transport system. We have a driverless metro. A very intelligent system controlling the traffic lights, CCTV across the city. But this is in closed shops, departments that don’t comMEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

as well as visitors and businesspeople coming to Dubai. From there we took his vision and made sure that we developed a proper strategy that covered all the six dimensions: smart economy, smart living, smart mobility, smart governance, smart people and smart ICT infrastructure. Today smart cities will all have a platform for Internet of Things, but what will they do with all the data? Far more important is the governance of data into Internet of Things, which will bring Big Data. But we need to know how to share it. That is a very important question that has to be solved.” In October 2015 Dubai adopted a new data law that concerned both open and shared data. A lot of cities say they have open data, but they don’t have shared data in between entities. The open data is still in the ‘closed shops’ between entities. And still there is important questions like privacy and data security. Nobody wants to compromise. “I just came from an event, announcing our Smart Platform. It took us over a year to design the platform.

We can now lift Dubai to a new level where individuals can design their own services, not only the government. The Smart Dubai Platform, in partnership with the strategic partner is due to become the new ‘operating system’ for Dubai, uniting city infrastructure; open and shared data; enabling services and citywide smart applications. The Smart Dubai Platform marks Smart Dubai’s next leap forward in becoming the happiest city on earth,” says Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr. “What type of services would the entrepreneurs like to have in our city? We are in the process of developing a Future City report. One important issue is what would an entrepreneur want from us looking at the future? Our goals are: 100 initiatives and 1,000 smart services in Dubai. We won’t wait for the future to come, but will create it. There will be sensors in the road to easily find parking places and we are collaborating with smart entrepreneurs over new ideas for smart intelligent people who think in the same way. Smart cars are also on our agenda. By 2020, we will see electric vehicles from Nissan, Renault, and BMW as some examples. The cars can adapt to our city, to the parking system as an example. We will have to change a lot of policies for insurances, traffic and driving policies. But that is how we develop the Smart city.” With regards to energy, Dubai already has 47 charging stations. Next year there will be 100. This will encourage people to buy electric cars. And looking at the rapidly changing energy issues in Dubai the goals are clear: By 2025, 25 per cent of the energy will come from renewable sources, rising to 75 per cent by 2050. One of the projects is the biggest solar cell project in the world. Another high quality project being implemented in Dubai is the Watson Capability from


“We won’t wait for the future to come, but will create it”

IBM, a new technology system that provides feedback to doctors which has been implemented in Los Angeles hospitals. IBM Watson Health is pioneering a new partnership between humanity and technology with the goal of transforming global health. Cognitive systems that understand, reason and learn are helping people expand their knowledge base, improve their productivity and deepen their expertise. With cognitive computing, we are now able to see health data that was previously hidden, and do more than we ever thought possible. Eighty per cent of health data is invisible to current systems because they are unstructured. Watson Health can see them. Medical data is forecast to double every 73 days by 2020. Watson can read 40 million documents in 15 seconds. Eighty one per cent of health care executives familiar with Watson Health believe it will positively impact their business. “IBM Watson Health technology system gives feedback to doctors in seconds when dealing with a patient. We are setting up a call centre here in Dubai,” says Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr. “One of our other projects is a col-

laboration with Estonia in cyber security, digital identity. The cyber defence of information systems will help to ensure the trust of people in the information society’s ICT solutions. These are vital issues. Another exciting project is with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) on the utilisation of new agricultural methods and vertical farming and to implement this science in Dubai. “This Smart Dubai project is very dear to me. My PhD thesis was on the subject of e-Government and how this new trend can be a tool for the public sector to innovate and to bring the new science into managing cities.” Dubai is today home to almost 2.5 million residents from almost 200 countries. World Expo 2020 will attract 25 million visitors to Dubai. The impact the city can create with their pursuit of happiness goal is immense, and growing exponentially year by year. Dubai is already ranked seventh on the 2014 Happiness Index.



“While Others Try to PREDICT THE FUTURE, WE CREATE IT” “See the future, create the future” is the motto of Dubai’s newly unveiled Museum of the Future. Launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Museum will become a unique incubator for futuristic innovations and design. “The Museum of the Future will be an incubator for ideas, a driver for innovation, and a destination for inventors and entrepreneurs from around the world,” said Sheikh Mohammed. “The world is entering a new era of accelerated knowledge and great MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

technological revolutions. We aim to lead in that era, not to follow and lag behind. The Museum is the first step of many to come, marking the beginning of great achievements.” “The future belongs to those who can imagine it, design it, and execute it. While others try to predict the future, we create it,” he added. The Museum will be an integrated environment empowering creative minds to test, fund and market ideas for futuristic prototypes and services. In addition to becoming a major tourist destination, the Museum will offer advanced courses and special-

ized workshops, as well as public talks and events. It is intended to offer a platform to demonstrate and test the latest inventions and prototypes from up and coming start-ups and the world’s technology giants. It will also host innovation facilities and design studios with universities, companies, and research partners. The building will be built in part using 3D printing technologies, and will change over time to test and reflect the latest advancements in various fields.


The Six CITY DIMENSIONS Dubai seeks to distinguish itself as the global leader delivering Smart Economy and Smart Living opportunities for all. The Smart Dubai strategic pillars define the core areas of unified effort from the city’s leadership towards its vision. The six strategic dimensions reinforce the delivery of the strategy across specific vertical sectors in the city. This layer of abstraction allows for services to be developed with current and future technology, all within the remit of the city’s strategy. Several cities around the world have built a transformative culture around smart governance, mobility, environment and people – four of the six identified dimensions of the city’s strategy. Meanwhile Smart Living and Smart Economy are significant global leadership opportunities for Dubai in the near future. Therefore these two Dimensions have a priority within the Smart Dubai Strategy. Enabling these are the Dimensions of Governance and Mobility. Environment and People are dimensions where Dubai will be selective in its approach in order to enhance the Economy and Living within the specific context of Dubai. Smart Economy. The city’s rise to becoming a key global trading hub during the 80s and 90s has helped build one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Dubai offers its business community unrivalled access to both the West and the East via its infrastructure and reach. Economic infrastructure is exemplified by Smart

Logistics in Dubai’s air and seaports, helping drive global competitiveness. International exposure initiatives for smart tourism and MICE (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) sectors create seamless and impactful experiences for visitors as well as global embeddedness. Other primary objectives include creating the right environment for productivity – indicated by the city’s well-established ICT infrastructure which is mandated to develop considerably to service the demand of an additional 50 million visitors to Dubai by the year 2020. Smart Economic Hubs will continue to be developed, through mandated ICT funding and an unparalleled unified strategy to create and sustain innovation initiatives. Entrepreneurship in the city continues to rise, giving Dubai a clear opportunity to create a blueprint for emerging economies within the Smart Economy dimension. Dubai has a unique opportunity to pave the way and make a global impact within the Smart Living and Smart Economy dimensions. While several cities around the world have built a transformative culture around smart governance, mobility, environment and people – four of the six identified dimensions of the city’s strategy, Smart Living and Smart Economy are significant global leadership opportunities for Dubai in the near future. Smart Living. Dubai continually strives to maintain exceptional quality of life and a culturally vibrant

lifestyle, in a safe and secure environment. The city’s visionary focus towards customer service had been an early indication of Mohammed Bin Rashid’s unique model of government, aiming to delight citizens through its services, rather than simply provide services. The Dubai Government Excellence Program (DGEP) was founded nearly 20 years ago, becoming the first government-wide initiative of its kind anywhere in the world. The initiative continues to prompt excellence in customer service, which is met with equal vigour from the city’s private sector as well – resulting in a culture of unparalleled access to service, globally. Smart homes, offices and connected neighbourhoods are quickly becoming the norm in Dubai. This is principally due to the fact that much of the city’s growing infrastructure and development is a greenfield opportunity for smart city connectedness. City government and private sector developments are therefore ‘baked’ with smart technology natively, rather than as an afterthought. Examples include smart digital signage, interactive municipal furniture, smart parking and fiber to the home. Education as a city priority has already laid the foundation for truly connected schools and universities. The UAE University is a prime example of a national university embracing technology as a backbone of its teaching structure. Initiatives in the city include smart learning apps (UAE 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


Books) that provide digital access via smartphones to the entire primary school curriculum material. E-libraries and other such smart learning initiatives are included within the roadmap of Smart Dubai, to enhance living as a dimension. Connected hospitals within the public and private sector are emerging rapidly as a result of the city’s focus on enhancing healthcare with

Sustainable Mobility initiatives are already being implemented in the form of electric vehicle charging stations and legislative support around renewable transportation. The city’s existing ICT infrastructure, together with future initiatives will enable impactful movement and implementation of ideas. Smart Governance. Already a proven segment for Dubai, smart

“Smart Living and Smart Economy are significant global leadership opportunities” technology. Further services will include significant progress within the smart homecare and m-health arenas. One of Dubai’s most appealing factors has been its peaceful, safe and secure environment. Connected infrastructure and services within public safety, emergency response and health safety domains aim to further enhance safety for Dubai residents and visitors. Smart Mobility. Mobility, within the definition of Smart Dubai, impacts both transport of people as well as transfer of ideas. This requires a level of coordinated innovation in the city’s hard and soft infrastructure that has little precedent globally. Focus areas within Smart Mobility include: transportation, roads infrastructure and traffic management—including Dubai’s taxis, buses, metro network, water taxis or shared cars – each to be serviced by smart touch-points. Enhanced asset management initiatives, such as smart parking will drive true seamlessness and efficiency. MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

governance has been a top city priority for over 20 years. Dubai established its e-government initiative back in 1999, and has continued to lead with unparalleled unification of government services. Services can be consumed by end-customers via web, mobile and social media driven channels, empowering a connected class of e-citizens and e-residents. A key opportunity and area of focus within the strategy is Open Data, its governance, deployment, and eventual impact on city decisionmaking. Other objectives within the governance dimension include the active promotion of public education, as well as the active inclusion of remote communities not directly connected to the central city infrastructure. Smart Environment. Modernday planning for securing the city’s resources requires innovation across the board – in managing assets, as well as ensuring sustainability from the use of resources. Focal areas of the strategy include energy, waste

management and environmental conditions for better quality of life. The spectrum of smart services includes a combination of smart grids, smart meters, urban infrastructure, emissions reduction, water and waste efficiency as well as balancing pollution of all forms. Smart People. Happiness of the city’s people – its citizens, residents, business community and visitors – is the overarching goal of Smart Dubai. An integral part of it’s realisation lies with empowering people to participate actively, while developing human capital with various forms of education. The strategy lists public involvement and education via e-community centres, digital and social communication channels and alternative skills development as primary focus areas. The end goal remains creating a native culture of continual learning, participating and innovating within society. Smart ICT Infrastructure. The Smart Dubai’s strategy defines Smart ICT Infrastructure and its related services as key enablers underlying all smart city services. Smart ICT Infrastructure is thus a transversal dimension, spanning all six smart city dimensions. Focal areas include citywide connectivity and access, sensing and actuation to drive efficiency, data orchestration and analysis for real-time intelligence, smart service delivery apps, and a centralised monitoring and management layer.


World’s First 3D PRINTED OFFICE Plans have been revealed in Dubai for the world’s first fully functional 3D printed building, an ambitious move that will establish the UAE’s position as the global center of technology in architecture, construction and design. Speaking on the occasion, His Excellency Mohamed Al Gergawi, Chairman, UAE National Innovation Committee, said that the UAE aims to deploy the latest technologies to improve people’s lives and to develop its economy in line with the country’s National Innovation Strategy and the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid. “This project reflects the vision of our leadership here in Dubai,” His Excellency Al Gergawi said. “We are keen to use the latest technologies to simplify people’s lives and to serve them better. This project is part of our overall innovation strategy to create new designs and new solutions in education, healthcare and cities. Our goal is to increase the happiness and well-being of our residents and to pioneer new solutions for the world.” “The idea of 3D printing buildings was once a dream, but today it has

become a reality,” he added. “This building will be a testimony to the efficiency and creativity of 3D printing technology, which we believe will play a major role in reshaping the construction and design sectors. We aim to take advantage of this growth by becoming a global hub for innovation and 3D printing. This is the first step of many more to come.” The ‘Office’ will be approximately 2,000 square feet in size and will be printed layer-by-layer using a 20foot tall 3D printer, then assembled on site in Dubai in just a few weeks. All interior furniture, detailing, and structural components will also be built using 3D printing technology, combining a mixture of Special Reinforced Concrete (SRC), Glass Fiber Reinforced Gypsum (GRG) and Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP). This combination will make it the most advanced 3D printed structure ever built at this scale and the first to be put into actual use. The building is the result of a partnership between Dubai and WinSun Global along with leading global architecture and engineering firms

Gensler, Thornton Tomasetti, and Syska Hennessy. In addition to prototyping new technology, the ‘Office’ reflects the latest input from experts and researchers in workplace design and the future of work. Located at a busy intersection in the heart of Dubai, the ‘Office’ is designed to bring together different professionals, community members, and experts through a mix of public events. The space is open and flexible, allowing for a range of uses and team sizes. It will also feature a small digital fabrication facility and a 3D printing exhibition space. The project is the first major initiative of the ‘Museum of the Future’, launched earlier this year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed. It highlights the Museum’s model of industry–government–designer collaboration, which is intended to develop and deploy cutting-edge prototypes across the city of Dubai. It will act as the temporary headquarters for the staff of the ‘Museum of the Future’ while the permanent Museum is being built.



Universities Have to MOVE WITH THE MARKET Zayed University will be recognized globally for its participation in educational and cultural achievements and the enrichment of economic and social development, says the vision of the university. Zayed University is the newest of the three government-sponsored higher education institutions in the United Arab Emirates. The University has six colleges: College of Arts and Creative Enterprises, College of Business, College of Communication and Media Sciences, College of Sustainability Sciences and Humanities, College of Education, College of Technology Innovation, and University College. Zayed University was established in 1998 by the federal government of the United Arab Emirates. Until 2008 Zayed University accepted only UAE national women, but then after the opening of Sweihan campus, which is a collaboration between Zayed University and the UAE Armed Forces, MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

approximately 200 male students were admitted. The university is currently engaged in cooperative relationships with a number of institutions throughout the world such as: AlMaktoum Institute for Arabic and Islamic Studies in Scotland, Australian National University, School of Business Management and Organization of the Foundation Antonio Genovesi Salerno in Italy, Universidad Complutense de Madrid in Spain and Waseda University in Japan. “The university has two campuses with a total of 9,200 students. One in Dubai and one in Abu Dhabi. The Abu Dhabi campus is much, much bigger than the Dubai one,” says Bryan Gilroy, Assistant Provost and Abu Dhabi and Dubai Campus Director. And the students are 95 per cent female?

“In the Emirates males have had more opportunities of different types of education. It is much easier for the


Maria Holmén male students to go abroad without family. A lot of them leave high school and get a job or they will join the military or they will join the police. They have many more options than most females on the undergraduate level and won’t get a scholarship to go abroad.” By having your own convention centre on the campus, there are big possibilities for meetings and events, which is very good for the university as well as for students, who will have an ample inflow of researchers and ideas.

“This campus was built with a design perspective and we wanted a convention centre. We have a capacity of 500 seats, and we have what we call the overflow room. And it also brings a lot of interest and expertise into the university from our side. Three weeks ago we had Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF ), here as a guest speaker as she was participating at the IMF meeting in Dubai. She gave


a speech for about an hour and a half. She had an audience of 600 people. And it is normally very hard to meet 600 nationals all in one, especially the young ones that we have in the university. This of course makes this university very special. Everyone wants to come here, partly because of the open part of the programs. “Zayed University Convention Center is the region’s first purpose-

What are the plans for the university in terms of development?

“We will expand because we are the only federal university in Dubai. The thing is that all universities have to move with the market. You can’t keep offering the same programs and you have to develop new programs depending on the big changes in the world. Look at my own 16-yearold daughter. When she goes to the

“We will change with the changes”

built facility within a university that is open to companies in the region for their conferences and events. Located in Dubai Academic City, ZUCC is only 20 minutes away from the city centre. “The Center is situated on two levels. The ground floor features a registration desk and a large prefunction area giving access to the Auditorium and Multi-Purpose room. The second floor features 7 breakout rooms in close proximity engulfed with natural daylight and wonderful views over the courtyard. The venue is Wi-Fi enabled. The auditorium of 513 static seats, with in-built simultaneous translation booths for two languages, is a stunning room and is acoustically-lined to ensure enhanced and balanced sound quality throughout. Two access points to the venue allow for smooth transitions of delegates both in and out. “There is an in-house convention team at the campus as well. Five people taking care of a lot of meetings and events, many of them international meetings. But it’s more than one international meeting a month at the convention centre.”

university she will be doing a program that doesn’t even exist yet. We can’t be doing just the traditional programs the universities always have done. We have to keep changing. Twenty years ago having a degree from a university was sufficient but now we know that programs will close and new ones will open. And that’s why I said that Dubai is a very dynamic place because you don’t do the same thing year after year. It changes. And we will change with the changes.” How important is it working with Dubai Business Events?

“It is very important because DBE helps us providing sponsorships and lots of business contacts. They are aware of what could come into the city that we would not be aware of. It works very well between us. “I know I have an issue with conferences and meetings anyway because most universities and faculties get their profile raised by research. They don’t get their profile raised by conferences. Therefore colleges are willing to do one or two conferences a year, but not much more. Because if you do it properly it is really hard

work. And of course while you are doing all of this you don’t have the opportunity to do your own research. I see it as a system problem. So there has to be an agreement where everybody is willing to contribute and contribute to a certain amount. For example all faculty would be very interested in being key speakers or speakers at events and usually one or two in each of the colleges would be interested in helping out with the organization. But not everybody wants to participate in the planning of a conference.” What are some of the reactions of conference attendees?

“They wanted to come to the event and they also wanted to come to Dubai because they heard so much about Dubai as a location and so on. They were all incredibly happy with what they have done or what we did. For me any event we hold, especially internationals, has to be a successful academic event but it also has to have a side plan to it as well because people are investing a lot of money and time when their employees are coming.” “They also want to have a good time and I think that is very important, because it helps make any event successful. So it’s not a dry academic event where you come in, you speak, listen to everybody else, then you go back home and forget where you had the conference. In Dubai there are a lot of things to do and opportunities. Experiences you can only find in Dubai. And I think it’s a good destination for new knowledge and that works very well for the university.”






Tommy Grandell Dubai Airport Freezone (DAFZA) is a gateway connecting the emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa. One of the goals is to accelerate growth based on the solid foundations of innovation in Dubai and to maintain sustained economic growth and anticipation over global prospects related to the upcoming 2020 Dubai World Expo. In 2014, DAFZA stood for 4.6 per cent of Dubai’s gross national product while oil accounted for 3 per cent. Today there are 1,600 companies and 60,000 employees. Dubai City Airport is developing its Strategic Plan 2017­–2021 which will bring added value to its accomplishments that have placed it amongst the most innovative and competitive free zones in the world. It is currently studying macroeconomic and environmental factors to arrive at a dynamic yet sustainable strategy for 2017–­2021 aligned with the Dubai 2021 Plan aiming at making Dubai “A Pivotal Hub in the Global Economy.”

The mission is clear: Adding value to the UAE economy by providing integrated business solutions, to attract regional and international investors looking for a unique business platform, through service excellence in a customer centric business environment, by dedicated, competent and loyal people. “We are planning to add new sectors in order to attract leading companies from the Islamic economic sectors in support of the ‘Dubai Capital of Islamic Economy’ initiative. This comes in line with DAFZA’s efforts to contribute to the ‘UAE Beyond Oil Strategy’ and the positive impact in building a knowledge-based economy driven by technology and innovations,” says Dr. Mohammed AlZarooni, Director General, Dubai Airport Freezone. “DAFZA is conducting extensive Sales Forecasting and Market Intelligence Studies to ensure it sustains the growth it has achieved over the past years. Based on its strategic plan, the Freezone 2016 No. 03 MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL


looks forward to adding value to the UAE economy by contributing to the GDP of Dubai and boosting economic growth at the local and regional levels. This will be done through its world­class infrastructure, investment incentives, tax exemptions, and exceptional facilitates. These are all the main pillars for creating an ideal environment for investments that can attract global

inaugural UAE Innovation Week held in November 2015, in line with H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President’s declaration of 2015 as the ‘Year of Innovation’ for the UAE. It draws inspiration from the National Innovation Strategy directed by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which upholds innovation as a

“We encourage a culture of investment pioneers” companies and foreign capital, generate new jobs, support economic diversification, and promote openness to international markets. DAFZA is keen to manage its operations in accordance with Dubai’s vision in several areas such as sustainability, innovation, smart transformation and ease of doing business. In line with its vision of ‘Raising Standards’, the Freezone sets high targets that align with the vision of placing Dubai among the top leading business hubs in the world.” The values of Dubai Airport Freezone says that it should delight customers, with examples like competitive advantages, especially its strategic location, tax exemptions, advanced infrastructure, investment incentives, integrated portfolio of logistic services  and smart solutions. And facts are that customer satisfaction levels rose to 77.6 per cent in 2015. Examples on how DAFZA is encouraging creativity and delivering innovatively? “The DAFZA Innovation Strategy that we launched in 2015 during the MEETINGS INTERNATIONAL No. 03 2016

primary means to achieve UAE Vision 2021’s goals,” says Dr. Mohammed AlZarooni. This innovation strategy is an important step towards strengthening Dubai Airport Freezone’s position as one of the most innovative free zones in the world, through its three key roles within the National Innovation Ecosystem as an Innovator, a Capital Provider and a Promoter of the UAE’s national innovation efforts in line with UAE Vision 2021. As part of the strategy, the Freezone will set up a dedicated DAFZA Innovation Unit (DIU), embedding and stimulating an innovative work style to adopt development and implementation plans that ensure the provision of creative services, achieve the objectives of expansion plans, and cultivate a culture of innovation within DAFZA’s operations. The Freezone has launched initiatives such as Innovation Challenge as part of EXPO Milan 2015. It prepared a real-life case study related to innovation within the food industry value chain in line with its goal of adding value to its expansion project in Al

Qusais. The winning team developed an effective solution to create smart and interactive designs that improve warehouse management and efficiency. “We have also organised an Accelerated Innovation for Global Growth (AIGG) seminar in collaboration with IBM and Microsoft. The program featured skill sessions focused on increasing productivity, advancing leadership skills, enhancing creativity, and creating innovation and growth within the SME sector.” On the sidelines of Dubai Airshow 2015, DAFZA organised an innovation forum in cooperation with Injaz­UAE, a member of Junior Achievement (JA) Worldwide, which included the launching of a series of awareness and education activities aimed at stimulating creative thinking among secondary school children and enhancing their creative skills to enable them to have a positive impact on the aviation industry. DAFZA’s ideas of Social Responsibility is of course very important among questions like honesty and integrity. Dubai Aiport Freezone is known for its commitment to CSR and extended its support to “Earth Hour”, “Clean World”, “Thank you Khalifa”, the “UAE Suqia” initiative, and blood donation and anti­smoking campaigns. It also funded free Umrah trips for blind people and the underprivileged. It also launched health, safety and environmental awareness initiatives and sports competitions and we work ethically. “DAFZA is committed to being honest and doing the right things at all times, which is so important for the Freezone’s work environment that in turn reflects in the high confidence given by the hosted local and international companies. Safeguarding labor rights is among our top strategic priorities and an ethical,


“These are all the main pillars for creating an ideal environment for investments”

civilized and humanitarian commitment. For this we have launched the labor award “Re’ayah”, an initiative honoring hosted companies that have shown remarkable dedication to protecting the rights of their workers and offering a secure, fair and motivational work environment. The move is aiming at providing an integrated framework aimed at safeguarding the rights, safety and well­being of workers in hosted companies.” Dubai Airport Freezone operates according to corporate values stemming from the company’s heritage throughout its years of operation. “We encourage a culture of investment pioneers to actively seek new opportunities for growth, engaging all our stakeholders to contribute to our success. More than 1,600 companies engaged in over 20 major industries ranging from IT, aviation and logistics to pharmaceuticals, engineering, and food and beverages presently operate within the free zone. Our prestigious client directory includes several Fortune 500 companies and some of the most respected business names in the world. Industry leaders with a presence in DAFZA include i.e Rolls Royce,

Roche, GE aviation, Airbus, Estee Lauder, Toyota, Audi VW, Sennheiser, Johnson & Johnson, Tata Motors, and Panasonic. A number of ongoing and planned projects will further cement DAFZA’s global stature as a leading free zone. DAFZA Square, a multi­ purpose complex with contemporary architecture which is a two-structure, one-stop-shop for all business needs includes modern offices, dining areas, a health club, and an auditorium. Additional Light Industrial Units (LIUs) are also being built some 5 kilometers away in close proximity to DAFZA to provide an advanced extended distribution platform for investors and will be completed by Q1 2017,” says Dr. Mohammed AlZarooni. Dubai Airport Freezone strives for excellence across its operations and is dedicated to achieving its goals and objectives as one holistic group. “We focus on creating integrated solutions and innovative initiatives that contribute to the achievement of the objectives and national priorities. And we have won awards,” says Dr. Mohammed AlZarooni. Dubai Freezone Airport received Hamdan Bin Mohammed for Smart

Government’s “Best Innovation Team” and “Best Innovation Leader” Awards – shortlisted by Executive Council; “Free Zone Authorities Customer Care Excellence Award” – Middle East Excellence Award Institution; “Finance Team of the Year” Excellence Award – Middle East CFO Alliance. “IMA Finance Team of the Year 2015” – IMA, The Association of Accountants and Financial Professionals in Business, among others.



Roger Kellerman Publisher, business intelligence analyst, trend creator, educator and networker. Has over 30 years’ experience of the global meeting industry. Founder of Mötesindustriveckan. photo Sara Appelgren

Change Should Start

WITH THE LEADERSHIP OF POLITICIANS “There is a world of difference between a leadership that is based on love and respect, and one that is based on fear.” “Good leadership puts the interests of the community as a whole before those of any specific group. Credibility of leadership can only be established through action and not words.” “Change or you will be changed: leaders who neglect the good of their people will be forsaken. Leadership is a service, not a gateway to privilege.” “Our job is to provide an environment that unlocks women’s potential, one that protects their dignity and femininity, helps them create the necessary balance in their lives, and values their talents and potential. Given this environment, I am confident that women will perform nothing short of miracles.”


These are four quotes from Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, and from my point of view I must say that today a lot of political leaders should come to Dubai to start to learn the content of these quotes. Coming to the Dubai of today gives you hope for the future of the world. Of course, the world has still got a lot of troubled countries, a lot of troubled people and even rather close to Dubai – as in Syria. Dr. Tommy Weir holds a doctorate in strategic leadership from Regent University in London, and is a professor at Hult International Business School. In addition to writing a number of books he is the editor-in-chief of the Emerging Markets Business Review. He writes about his book, Leadership Dubai Style: “To learn how to lead Dubai style, we need to walk the desert paths of the past to the superhighways of the future. The book retraces the city’s journey and draws out the leadership habits that emerged over time. For decades Dubai brought in – imported – leading minds from every field to learn from them. Now it’s time for Dubai to teach us – to teach us how to lead.”

Looking at our field, Meetings & Events Dubai is way ahead of almost every so-called ICCA-top destination. They understand why meetings and events are necessary to develop individuals, organisations, universities, corporate businesses and the whole society. Countries like the US, UK, the Nordic countries, and, of course, many more, have a lot to learn from this point of view. They should all come to Dubai, meet the people, listen to what they have to say, look at what they have done, and understand what will come. Then go back home and just do it.

Meetings International | Business Intelligence Report #03, Apr 2016 (English)  
Meetings International | Business Intelligence Report #03, Apr 2016 (English)