Ask anyone from Europe or the States to name the Emirates that make up the UAE, and most people will get stuck at the two most powerful – Dubai (the subject of my recent blog), and Abu Dhabi – both of which tend to take the lead, internationally. But there are five more, smaller ones, all of which are unique and fascinating places. I was in one – Ras al Khaimah – last week for the Young Global Leaders Summit, speaking on a panel called Leadership, the Youth, and Entrepreneurship, with the remarkable entrepreneur HE Sara Al Madani. She is a true leader, having started her own successful venture Rouge Couture at only 15, and now sitting on a number of boards; I’m honoured that she will be taking part in our own Global Citizen Forum this month.
At its heart, leadership is about having the will and ability to gather people around you, communicate and convince them of your vision, and enable them to drive the change you want to see. This can exist at every level, from the international, to the personal. Abu Dhabi is able to lead the UAE because of its size, and vast oil wealth, which Dubai never had. Yet the latter’s influence is great because of its global brand, and strategic position as a trading post. Having led her company to great success, Sara now inspires women all over the UAE and the world, and provides the leadership and encouragement they need to better themselves, while our own Forum has become a beacon and rallying point for Global Citizens the world over.
Why is this more important than ever? We are living in a hyper-connected and competitive world, where more voices project themselves into the public space than in all human history. This is the Age of Uncertainty, and without the clarity that visionary, measured, and consistent leadership provides, these voices and the individuals, organisations, and groups behind them will never achieve their potential – they will be drowned out in a cacophony of voices. Organisations like the Young Global Leaders, and the Young Presidents Organisation (of which I am a member) seek to amplify voices and crucially empower youth to drive the changes they want to see. They do some great work.
Our forum too – now in its fifth year – will provide not only thought leadership for Global Citizens, but also real change at a grassroots level: this year we will be raising a large sum for the reconstruction of Barbuda. Our programme is wide-ranging and ambitious, with topics ranging from tech revolution to a world without borders, and from global security to the changing nature of international law and diplomacy. We are gathering an extraordinary range of expertise and experience: heads of state, first ladies, scientists, journalists, actors, musicians and diplomats. With just over two weeks to go, I am enormously excited, and very much look forward to welcoming you to Montenegro on 19th October.