HBMSU organizes three roundtable discussions prior to 14th Edition of Innovation Arabia to support the future of policy making

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Exploring the lessons learned from the UAE’s pioneering experience in handling emergency crises

  • Fahad Al Saadi: ‘We remain committed in facilitating constructive discussion channels with regional and global stakeholders to achieve positive transformation towards a safer and highly sustainable future.’
  • Extensive discussions target to re-imagine the future of economy, education, and healthcare

Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) hosted a series of roundtable meetings, held before the coming 14th Edition of Innovation Arabia, a highly awaited event that is being held under the patronage of HH Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President, HBMSU. Innovation Arabia is being organized under the theme, ‘Innovation Everywhere.’ 

The three roundtables served as interactive platforms for evaluating and re-imagining the future of the economy, in light of the growing trend towards becoming a cashless economy, as well as discussing non-stereotypical learning spaces that would lead the future learning societies. The roundtable sessions also discussed ways on how to create a flexible healthcare system in the UAE, in light of the lessons learned from the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The three roundtable events demonstrated the university’s commitment to discuss key frameworks, enrich knowledge and encourage the exchange of experiences and best practices in the promotion of innovation as part of an established culture and approach towards achieving the goals of sustainable development. 

These meetings featured extensive agendas that tackled several pressing issues in the field of business management, quality, health and environmental studies, and e-learning. The sessions also saw the review of the UAE community’s flexibility in tackling emergencies; its ability to deal with regional and global developments; and bringing together experts, academics and leaders to create a roadmap that will be used in the creation of policies and strategies that will shape the future of education and health.    

Dr. Fahad Al Saadi, Vice Chancellor for University Advancement, Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), explained that the university has taken the initiative of organizing the three round table meetings, aimed at coming up with key recommendations that support the creation of policies and strategies that can create the future features of vital sectors such as education, health care and business amidst the accelerated global changes being faced. 

He pointed out that the university is committed towards facilitating communication channels and initiating meaningful dialogue with all of the concerned parties–be it locally, regionally and internationally–with the goal of bringing in positive change and achieving a more secure, prosperous and highly sustainable future for coming generations. 

Al Saadi said, “The three roundtables, which were held before the 14th edition of Innovation Arabia conference, aimed at further enhancing and motivating creative minds, policymakers and decision makers to evaluate the UAE’s experience. The country has proven to be a role model in front of the world in flexibility, efficiency and the ability to face emergency situations, driven by the wise vision of our leadership, who made innovation a key part of our culture and smart transformation as a constant approach towards achieving first ranking across all fields.” 

He added, “The meetings served as introductory sessions to the discussions scheduled on the sidelines of Innovation Arabia 14, which will serve as a strategic platform to discuss how we can further explore the future of innovation as an engine of progress, growth and leadership.” 

Dr. Fahad concluded, “The roundtable discussions witnessed the participation of prominent researchers and experts from government, international organizations, UN-led agencies, academic institutions, media and advisory institutions, business companies and non-government entities from all over the world–all coming together to discuss the current policy situation and the challenges that the Arab world faces, especially after the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.” 

“The discussions resulted in important outcomes that will help open up horizons for the convergence of global expertise and distinguished minds to constructively share the ideas that we seek to employ for the production, enrichment and dissemination of knowledge; the advancement of research; and the development and innovation to influence, correct and update policies. These discussions helped in developing approaches and visions aimed at effectively and efficiently dealing with all current issues–providing key focus on the most important lessons learned from the UAE’s experiences, which has succeeded in transforming challenges into opportunities to move forward in the development process. This is a feat that culminated recently in our achievement of being the first Arab country to reach the Orbit of Mars.” 

The first roundtable covered the topic, ‘Re-imagining the future of economics: Towards a cashless economy.’ The discussions focused on the path of transition towards electronic payments, e-commerce and the factors that are now driving the acceleration of this shift. The emergence of the COVID-19 virus last year has led to a growing reliance on cashless payments and the creation of digital payment channels as a safe and reliable option. 

The discussions threw the spotlight on the emergence of a cashless economy, in light of the growing demand for cryptocurrencies from both the private and public sectors globally. The meeting also highlighted the efficient digital response of the UAE, taking into account the high safety levels followed in the implementation of remote transactions and based on the smart transformation approach and well-established digital culture that it pioneered to adapt. Development of the digital infrastructure is seen to help pave the way for the country to enhance and improve its competitiveness as one of the world’s leading cashless countries. 

The first roundtable brought together a group of well-known dignitaries that include Ghinwa Baradhi, Regional Chief Information Officer, HSBC MENA, Sunil Kaushal, Regional CEO of Standard Chartered Africa and Middle East, Walid Alnaqbi, Chair of the Ministry of Economy Youth Council, Jeremy Srouji, International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) of Erasmus University Rotterdam, The Hague, The Netherlands; Kaiser Shahzad, Emirates Digital Wallet, Dubai, UAE, among others.

Meanwhile, the topic for the second roundtable meeting is titled, ‘Disruptive Learning Spaces Leading the Future of knowledge Societies: Rethinking the Higher Education.’ The meeting highlighted the challenges and the available opportunities in the enhancement of the quality of online learning and the reimaging of the higher education systems of the future. The event also tackled how higher education institutions are prepared in following standards to enable creative education environments while monitoring and considering the effectiveness of academic and professional services. Participants talked about the possible creation of a new distance and online learning policy designed to accelerate the digital transformation process. The HBMSU’s experience has helped in the development of effective policies that create a balance between digital transformation and the development of strategic procedures and policies aimed at elevating smart learning, including the optimal investment placed in human resource.

The second meeting featured the participation of known personalities in the Academic sector, such as H.E. Dr. Mohammad Al Mualla, Undersecretary for Higher Education Academic Affairs, Ministry of Economy; Prof. Mohammad Bin Ibrahim Al Zakari, President, Arab Open University; Dr. Ali Abdul Khaliq Al Karni, Director, Arab Bureau of Education for the Gulf States (ABEGS); Ibrahim Youssry, Regional General Manager for MEA Multi-Country Region, Microsoft; Prof. Melinda Bandalaria, Chancellor, University of the Philippines Open University (UPOU) and member and former head, Asian Association of Open Universities (AAOU); Prof. Dato Ansary Ahmed, President and CEO, Asia e-University, Malaysia; Prof. Tim Blackman, Vice-Chancellor, The Open University, UK; Borhene Chakroun, Director, UNESCO HQ Division for Education Policies and Lifelong Learning Systems, and Dr. Rhonda D. Blackburn, President, United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). 

Lastly, the third roundtable meeting centered its discussions on the topic, ‘Creating a resilient health system in the UAE: Lessons from the COVID-19 pandemic.’ Talks included the assessment of the effectiveness of the policies and laws that helped create a resilient and integrated health system for the UAE, and a  review on the UAE healthcare system’s readiness to address the pandemic, particularly in terms of the availability and quality of medical equipment, facilities and healthcare providers. Also discussed the use of optimal methods in adopting advanced technology and healthcare innovations to control COVID-19 and the availability of new resources to meet current and future healthcare needs.  

The meeting saw the participation of key dignitaries that included Prof. Sami Shaban, Professor, Faculty of Medicine, United Arab Emirates University; Prof. Awoniyi Awofeso, Professor, School of Health and Environmental Studies, HBMSU; Prof. Samer Hamidi, Dean, School of Health and Environmental Studies, HBMSU; Dr Ziad Khatib, Associate Professor in Global Health at Karolinska Institute, Sweden; Dr. Muna Adan, Department of Health Sciences, University of Leicester, UK; Dr. Basema Sadik, Specialist in epidemiology, the University of Sharjah; Dr. Amal Hussein, a lecturer at the College of Medicine at the University of Sharjah; Dr. Aisha Al-Khumairi, Specialist Internist at Tawam Hospital; Dr. Ali Artaman, Assistant Professor, the University of Manitoba, Canada; Dr. Al-Dhu Suleiman, Advisor, Dubai Health Authority; Dr. Hamda Khansaheb, Consultant Family Medicine and Head of the Medical Research Department at the Dubai Health Authority; and Dr. Eva Medina, Lecturer and Researcher in Health Law, Letters, Gender and Communication.