Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Dubai - Arab Today
The American University in Dubai (AUD) hosted a top-level panel discussion on Monday, launching the English-language edition of the latest book by the Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Three of the UAE's most prominent public figures captivated an audience of more than 900 AUD students and faculty with reflections on Sheikh Mohammed's school of thought and leadership style. They shared personal stories about working with Sheikh Mohammed at key moments of Dubai's growth story.
The event marked the publication in English of "Flashes of Thought", a diverse collection of personal reflections inspired by an audience dialogue session at the Government Summit in February 2013. In the book, Sheikh Mohammed explores the ideas, principles and experiences that have defined his leadership role in the development of Dubai and the U.A.E., as well as his personal journey as an Arab statesman on the world stage.
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of Development and International Co-operation spoke about the role of women in the Sheikh Mohammed's teams and about his unique leadership philosophy.
"In my personal journey I believe I was destined to be in the path of Sheikh Mohammed. I believe strongly in his philosophy that we are all agents of change. The best way to lead change is to be an example: you have to drive it through who you are," Sheikha Lubna said.
"There are many examples of leaders, but there are very few who transform a whole society. Mohammed bin Rashid's biggest drive is to create more leaders. As for me, I am a student of leadership at the University of Sheikh Mohammed," Sheikha Lubna said.
Ali Jaber, MBC Group TV Director and Dean of the Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication (MBRSC) of the American University in Dubai, gave his perspective on the topic of positivity. In the book, Sheikh Mohammed writes that optimism is a key to success and that positive energy is contagious.
"The Arab world for the last 200 years has been plagued by all the mayhem and calamities of the world. People of my generation had grown up to believe that this is our fate, without a single light at the end of the tunnel. If it wasn't for Mohammed bin Rashid and Dubai, we would have been doomed to this false feeling," Jaber said.
"With everybody that he sees, with the eye contact that he strikes, he spreads his positive thinking. He brings back this long-lost optimism that, yes, in the Arab world, we have the best people, we have great thinkers, and so we can look forward. Yes - the future is for us and with us," Jaber said.
Cheers and rounds of applause showed that the positive mood had also spread to the audience. AUD students sent more than 400 live comments and questions to the panellists during the event using Twitter and the hashtag #flashesofthought.
Ian Fairservice, Managing Partner at Motivate Publishing, commented on Sheikh Mohammed's appetite for risk. In the book, Sheikh Mohammed stresses that the greatest risk of all is not to take any risk.
"Sometimes people think risk-taking is something that is done without a lot of thought. My experience watching Sheikh Mohammed over the years is that although risks may look as if they may be taken lightly, they certainly are not. There is a huge amount of calculation that goes into this. What we have learnt from watching Sheikh Mohammed's leadership is that risk-taking is very much in the DNA of great leaders and great visionaries," Fairservice said.
"This book shows His Highness for the philosopher that he is. One of his important messages is the value of teamwork and empowerment. This reminds me of wonderful saying of His Highness: "Just imagine how much we could achieve if we didn't care who got the credit." Sheikha Lubna concluded the event with a final reflection, "This the most inspiring book for people to read on a daily basis. This book is a journey for all of us. The change starts within us -- as long as we look at the wisdom and philosophy in this book and try to change our lives by learning from these lessons. The journey starts with ourselves."