ABU DHABI / WAM
The National Experts Programme (NEP), launched in 2019 on the directives of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, continues to develop specialist national cadres, promotes their role in shaping the future of the UAE and achieves its development process while creating a strategic shift in future growth sectors.
The NEP was the launchpad for UAE-based specialists who strive to play a leading role in the transformation of future-growth sectors aligned with the UAE’s national priorities. Underpinned by the values of His Highness and built upon five mindsets for lifelong learning, NEP combines academics, immersive work experience, and mentoring by top government and business leaders. NEP cultivates specialised expertise in its participants—a select cohort of ambitious, experienced professionals who will help shape the country’s future.
The NEP supports the UAE’s strategic vision by providing specialist expertise and leadership skills to ensure the readiness of national cadres to effectively contribute to the development of key social and economic sectors.
The eight-month programme brings together academics from leading organisations. It offers comprehensive work experience and individual guidance under the supervision of leaders from the UAE Government and senior officials from various sectors to facilitate knowledge exchange and innovative thinking.
The NEP’s third batch focuses on 15 strategic sectors grouped into three strategic areas, which are economic development, social development and sustainability and infrastructure, to enhance the skills of its participants and enrich their leadership experiences, so they can effectively contribute to strategic projects that ensure that national priorities are met.
Participants of the NEP’s third batch are working within the framework of the “Year of Sustainability” and the UAE’s hosting of COP28 at the end of 2023 by preparing reports that identify the impact of COP28 on their sectors and participating in meetings with executives of sustainable companies, contributing to their empowerment and enhancing their experiences to enable them to become change-makers in sustainability.
The Emirates News Agency (WAM) met with a group of participants of the NEP’s third edition, focusing on 15 vital sectors aligned with the UAE’s national priorities.
Mohamed Tarmoom, Senior Associate, UAE Investments at Mubadala Investment Company, said, “My participation in the third batch of the NEP represents the economic development sector and is under the supervision of Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy. Through the programme, I aim to develop my skills and capabilities and effectively contribute to the country’s economic and social growth.”
“We have completed more than half of the eight-month programme, and through working under the guidance of our mentor and due to the distinguished training modules provided by experienced academic partners, the programme has helped me develop and enhance my skills and enrich my experiences,” he added.
Abdulla Alshehhi, Head of Strategic Research at the UAE Space Agency, said, “The NEP is an exceptional platform for preparing future leaders in various sectors, especially the space sector, which will contribute to the development of the national economy and enhance skills in science and technology in the UAE.”
“The NEP provides many opportunities for developing leadership and technical skills, as well as meeting experts working in different sectors while offering an opportunity to work on strategic projects within the country’s national priorities, including how the space sector can benefit from artificial intelligence, in addition to the participation of Emirati experts in the success of COP28, which the UAE will host at the end of this year,” he added.
He also pointed out that the UAE’s space sector enjoys considerable support from the country’s leadership, which has helped achieve many significant accomplishments and developments through international cooperation, leveraging the private sector, and forming partnerships to continue the economic advancement journey with the space sector.
Waheeda Al Hadhrami, Acting Director of the National Cultural and Creative Industries Promotion Department at the Ministry of Culture and Youth, said that her participation in the NEP is deepening her knowledge, enriching her leadership skills, and contributing to strategic projects of national importance.
She also plans to participate in public platforms where she can share her experiences in the UAE’s creative economy sector while working closely with her mentor at the programme, Mona Al Marri, Director-General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, on major projects being worked on in 2023.
She then explained that the programme provides her with the necessary experiences to become a leader and enables her to acquire knowledge of various leadership tools that can be applied to major sectors of the UAE’s economy represented in the NEP.
The programme also supports her efforts to create new local and international connections and networks, so they can be utilised to build future partnerships and make progress in federal projects, she further added.
Al Hadhrami stressed that the coming years would witness radical changes in technology, especially with the impact of AI technologies, affirming that the NEP allows its participants to continuously learn about emerging technological trends and delve into the field of AI, and how leaders can leverage this modern technology within their institutions.
Fatima Al Ali, Project Manager at Mubadala Health, expressed her pride in participating in the NEP, a golden opportunity for all participants and an integrated platform for exchanging experiences, knowledge and innovative thinking.
“I aim to have a positive impact on society and lead transformative projects in the healthcare sector, such as digital transformation projects, AI-based projects, and those that help prevent chronic and hereditary diseases through accurate diagnosis and personalised treatment using genomics. The UAE has already started its journey in genomics through the Emirati Genome Programme, one of the leading projects that explore the future of healthcare,” Al Ali said.
“In line with the Year of Sustainability and the preparations for hosting COP28 at the end of this year, the focus has been on sustainability in all sectors and meeting the need for participants to be empowered to be change-makers in the field of sustainability. Under this context, we will participate in sustainability projects for the country’s healthcare system, which revolves around three main pillars: infrastructure, processes and waste,” she added.
Saood Al Noori, Head of Diplomatic Engagement at the Office of the UAE Special Envoy for Climate Change, expressed his pride at joining the NEP and working with Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, who was appointed the President of COP28 and whose professional career in the areas of energy, climate and economic development is a source of inspiration.
Al Noori explained that the programme aims to showcase and study the best global practices in developing thinking and working methods and has established a framework that is in line with the UAE’s policies and aspirations to help achieve the country’s strategic vision, identify gaps in working systems, and provide the best solutions to address issues, which will foster the same passion among the next generation of Emiratis and enhance their qualifications.
He also pointed out that the UAE’s journey in climate action began before its establishment by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who built a solid foundation for the concept of sustainability in the country and ensured the protection of the environment and natural resources, making the UAE a leading country in the fields of sustainability, energy transformation, economic development and reducing carbon emissions, as part of its strategic plan to achieve climate neutrality by 2050.
Maitha Al Hameli, Section Manager for Marine Assessment and Conservation at the Environment Agency-Abu Dhabi, said, “Through my participation in the NEP, I aim to enhance my leadership skills and become a more effective member of the decision-making process, helping achieve the UAE’s priorities, especially related to the environment.“
She added that the NEP identifies its members from all sectors over eight months and builds a network of experts with outstanding skills from previous batches, which is one of its most vital elements, especially as the work of multi-disciplinary experts from various sectors and previous batches is of paramount importance to ensuring continuity, harmony and the programme’s effectiveness.
She also noted that the programme is not limited to introducing local experts, as participants are also connected with leaders in academia who talk to them about global issues and introduce them to new mentalities and different schools of thought. Additionally, the programme provides its participants with the necessary tools to enhance their analytical abilities, focus on objectives, levels of flexibility, and effectiveness in utilising emerging technologies.
“Through the programme, we also learnt about how the UAE Government is managed and its dynamic environment, and its efforts to ensure the country’s superiority over other countries in the world. The programme also gives us the opportunity to accompany a government leader, who introduces us to various aspects of high-level decision-making,” Al Hameli said.
“We are proud to see the UAE progressing in the areas of sustainability and the environment, with the declaration of 2023 as the Year of Sustainability and the hosting of COP28 at the end of this year, in addition to the International Union for Conservation of Nature in 2025,” she added.
The third batch of the NEP focuses on 15 strategic sectors, which are considered vital to achieving the UAE’s strategic vision, including economic development, the media and creative economy, space, technology and innovation, advanced science and research, tourism and hospitality, education, culture, community development and social services, government policies and services, health and welfare, renewable energy and energy sources, food and water security, transportation and logistics services, and the environment and climate change. The participants of the programme’s third batch were selected from among 900 applicants through a competitive selection process.