ABU DHABI / WAM
Driven by its dedication to elevate the influence of Emirati thinkers and researchers and to foster their intellectual contributions across various strategic domains, the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research «ECSSR» hosted the ‘Mufakiru Al Emarat (Emirates Thinkers)… 2071 through Emirati Eyes’ Forum on Wednesday at the
St Regis Hotel in Abu Dhabi.
The forum deliberated on strategic issues of national priority for the UAE through more than 20 dialogue sessions within 8 interactive platforms. The discussions revolved around four key themes: Education, National Identity and Emirati Personality, Artificial Intelligence and Future Technology, and Sustainability and Future Economy.
Inaugurating the event, Dr Sultan Mohammed Al-Nuaimi, Director-General of the ECSSR, underscored the significance of the ‘Mufakiru Al Emarat’ project, initiated in January 2022 with the endorsement of HH Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs. Dr Al-Nuaimi expressed gratitude to the project’s collaborators and emphasised the collective effort for the common good.
Delivering an insightful speech titled “Features of the UAE Economy in the Future”, Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, stated that the UAE’s economic landscape. He revealed that the nation has ratified 13 comprehensive economic partnership agreements, with 5 already in effect.
These agreements are poised to accelerate foreign investments, playing a pivotal role in combating inflation. Dr Al Zeyoudi emphasised the ministry’s strong ties with academic institutions and national think tanks, leveraging their expertise to inform decision-making processes.
“Emirati Youth and the UAE of the Future”, Dr Sultan bin Saif Al Neyadi, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, underscored the leadership’s commitment to providing abundant opportunities for the younger generation. Encouraging youth to actively seize these opportunities, he highlighted the challenges faced by the youth sector, particularly concerning national identity and fostering partnerships and engagement. Dr. Al Neyadi emphasised the importance of ongoing dialogue with youth and the need to acknowledge their distinguished contributions, a practice championed by our visionary leadership.
Moderating a session titled “Features of the Emirati Personality for the Future of the UAE”, Dr. Sultan Mohammed Al-Nuaimi moderated discussions featuring prominent speakers such as Mohamed Jalal Alrayssi, Director-General of the Emirates News Agency (WAM), Nasser Al Sheikh, Economic Expert, Dr. Ebtisam Al Ketbi, President of the Emirates Policy Centre, and Dr. Abdul Khaleq Abdullah, Professor of Political Science.
The session concluded that the characteristics of the Emirati personality are inherently intertwined with the essence of the UAE, a forward-looking country nation. Emirati citizens must equip themselves with forward-thinking tools to navigate forthcoming challenges and opportunities, emphasising the importance of education and skill acquisition. Additionally, the Emirati personality is characterised by moderation in thought, behavior, and approach, openness to the world, humility, and a rejection of racism and arrogance.
The speakers highlighted the paramount importance of the Arabic language as the fundamental pillar of national identity. They reiterated that the hallmark of Emirati citizens lies in their unwavering confidence in the leadership and government, stressing the need for citizens to embody the distinguished personality of their nation in media representations. Furthermore, they underscored that national identity is deeply rooted and revolves around the symbolism of the founding leader, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and the allegiance to President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
In the session titled “The UAE and Space Ambitions”, Salem Butti Salem Al Qubaisi, Director-General of the UAE Space Agency, and Salem Humaid Al Marri, Director-General of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, illuminated the achievements of the space sector. They reiterated that nurturing Emirati talent has been a primary goal of the UAE Space Agency since its establishment in 2014. Emphasising the country’s foray into space exploration to harness satellite benefits and develop technological prowess, the speakers highlighted the indispensable role of the private sector in advancing the space industry and its significant contribution to the national economy.
The session on “UAE Investments in Artificial Intelligence: Opportunities and Challenges” featured Dr. Hoda Al Khzaimi, Director of the Centre of Cyber Security at New York University, and Dr. Abdullah Al Shimmari, Senior Programme Manager- Core42. They affirmed the UAE’s ambition to actively engage in artificial intelligence, aiming not only to be a consumer but also a contributor in the field. Mentioning local entities such as G42 and the establishment of both local and global partnerships, the speakers also highlighted the significance of “Hub71”, Abu Dhabi’s global tech ecosystem, which hosts offices for over 200 global companies.
The speakers elaborated on the integration of artificial intelligence into various sectors, such as healthcare, space, and infrastructure by major companies. They highlighted the significant presence of Emirati talents contributing to the development of artificial intelligence languages capable of competing with global industry leaders. Moreover, they emphasised the advanced educational environment in the country, with prestigious universities offering specialised programmes in artificial intelligence.
During the fourth session, titled “The Objectives of Education After Launching the 2071 Agenda”, participants included Dr. Arif Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University of Science Technology, Professor Dr. Ghaleb AlHadrami, Vice Chancellor of United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), Dr. Kareema Al-Mazroui, Advisor to the Chancellor of Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities, and Mansoor Janahi, CEO of the “Sand” group affiliated with Mubadala Investment Company.
The speakers agreed that academic programmes and scientific degrees in the UAE adhere to the highest international standards. They highlighted the challenges faced by universities worldwide in keeping pace with the rapid development outside their walls, particularly in the era of artificial intelligence and the scientific revolution. To address these challenges and align higher education outputs with the labour market and the ambitious goals of the UAE Centenary 2071, they emphasised the need for a radical transformation in the country’s higher education system.
While acknowledging the significance of applied sciences, the speakers emphasised the vital role of humanities in societal balance. They stressed that knowledge acquisition extends beyond applied sciences alone and that fostering well-rounded individuals takes precedence over knowledge production, a contribution in which humanities play a significant role.
Reflecting on the forum’s proceedings, the ECSSR Director-General noted that the convening of the forum aligns with the mission of the “Mufakiru Al Emarat” project. This project aims to activate the contribution of national academic and intellectual competencies and expertise in the ongoing renaissance process witnessed by the state. It seeks to enhance sources of soft power by supporting Emirati scientific research initiatives and encouraging intellectual efforts dedicated to sustainable comprehensive development.