Second Virtual Conclave of the ABLF TALKS LIVE brings together world leaders to rethink globalisation


Dubai, UAE: The ABLF TALKS LIVE, held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance and Coexistence, UAE, concluded the Second Conclave of the 12-part virtual event series on November 5, 2020, at the ABLF City, the permanent virtual venue of the Asian Business Leadership Forum. Designed to bring the world to the UAE virtually, the ABLF City hosted international leaders to talk about globalisation in the wake of the pandemic and the resulting challenges that the world is facing.

“I strongly believe in the power of tolerance and human engagement to shape the future and to help solve many of the world’s great global challenges. Together we will continue to meet the challenges of our times with a spirit of creativity and optimism as we seek to recover, rebuild and rise.” – H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan

The Second Conclave of the ABLF TALKS LIVE convened expert panelists from across the continent and spotlighted the reversal of globalisation as an aftermath of the pandemic and the ways governments, businesses and organisations can help reinstate balance between self-reliance and multilateral cooperation. The leaders discussed the potential metamorphosis of globalisation from the pre-pandemic world to the post-pandemic era and the challenges posed by economic nationalism. Solutions to globalisation ranged from reinforcement through cross-border e-commerce opportunities, off-shoring services and the use of technology to accelerate the long-term movement towards a more interconnected world.

Since 2007, the Asian Business Leadership Forum has hosted global leaders in the UAE,  showcasing the country as a progressive economic hub with the aim to celebrate the nation’s unique and strategic location to be the ‘global business hub’ of the world, with an exemplary narrative as a powerful agent of peace and tolerance.

The ABLF TALKS LIVE Virtual Conclaves comprise plenaries, interactive knowledge-sharing models, roundtables, high-level networking, workshops, and masterclasses, featuring world-renowned policymakers, economists, thinkers, and industry leaders in engaging conversations of consequence.

The Virtual Conclave held on November 5, 2020, commenced with a Keynote Address from the ABLF Patron, H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan. The sessions started with a Fireside Conversation with H.E. Najeeb Mohammed Al-Ali, Executive Director, Expo 2020 Dubai Commissioner General Office, on the subject, ‘Rethinking Globalisation. The New Future’, who discussed the opportunities that the Expo 2020 presents as it brings countries together in a spirit of hope and collaboration for a better future in the midst of the pandemic.

“Humans survive by coming together. Sooner or later we will get over the COVID-19 pandemic and come back to normal ways of living. Hopefully, the Expo 2020 will be a great launching pad for so many businesses, countries and individuals who come together in 2021 to take us to the next level.” – H.E. Najeeb Al-Ali

Following was the session, ‘The UN SDGs: A Greater Urgency with Higher Stakes’, which was a Fireside Conversation with H.E. Mariam AlMheiri, Minister of State for Food and Water Security, UAE, on the national and international efforts and initiatives that the UAE Government implements in order to bolster the country’s food and water security, which is one of the UAE’s top priorities for the post-COVID-19 phase.

“The UN SDGs are interlinked with each other. When one is affected, the others are pulled back too. Therefore, a holistic approach must be taken. It is important to focus and unify. Unity can help us build back better.” – H.E. Mariam AlMheiri

The next session featured Suhel Seth, Managing Partner, Counselage India, and Diana Hamade, Founder and Managing Partner, Diana Hamade Attorneys at Law, in an engaging Fireside Conversation on strengthening globalisation in Asian countries and striking a balance between self-reliance and multilateral cooperation in these unprecedented times.

“Human nature is built on the nature of resilience and the aspiration to achieve; these will save us from failing as a world and as individual economies.”- Suhel Seth

“In terms of globalisation, we use three terms – foreign investments, trade and migration. Luckily, the UAE, despite diversification, is an emerging hub for international trade with over 37 free trade zones and additional zones being created.” – Diana Hamade

In the session focusing on the UN SDGs, Dr Soumya Swaminathan, Chief Scientist, World Health Organization, talked about the emergence of a vaccine against COVID-19 and the mechanism that WHO recommends for the implementation of the vaccine to ensure rapid and equitable access worldwide.

“Health is the driver of the economy – this message needs to go across to people outside the health sector so that there is more investment into health.” – Dr Soumya Swaminathan

Following was the session, ‘Global Storytellers at the ABLF’, where philosophers, historians and literary scholars share their valuable insights and perspectives on today’s ever evolving global narratives. In a Fireside Conversation, William Dalrymple, Historian and Author, discussed his internationally acclaimed book, ‘The Anarchy: The Relentless Rise of the East India Company’.

The Anarchy is the story of how the East India Company rose to power. The East India Company was the first full-fledged global multinational company whose aim was profit. It is with the Indian capital and using Indian troops that the East India Company conquered the mogul empire by the end of the 19th century.” – William Dalrymple

The next session featured Dr Shashi Tharoor, Lok Sabha Member of Parliament, Thiruvananthapuram Constituency; and Chairman, Parliamentary Standing Committee on Information Technology, India, who spoke about the challenges and opportunities as Asian countries redefine internal and external policies to support self-reliance and security across basic essentials. The Fireside Conversation examined the consequent impact on the existing order of geopolitical relationships and sought to understand what globalisation means in a post-COVID-19 world.

“The pandemic confirmed for many people around the world that in times of crisis, people rely on their governments to shield them. And, they saw the global supply chains are vulnerable to disruption and are therefore unsustainable… They’re depending on foreign countries for essential goods such as pharmaceuticals or even the ingredients needed in making them. So nations try aggressively to shield themselves and they say that it’s time to reset the global supply chain and raise trade barriers.” – Dr Shashi Tharoor

Concluding the Second Conclave of the ABLF TALKS LIVE, H.E. N.K. Singh, Chairman, Finance Commission of India, Government of India, shared his perspectives on the modern narratives of the phenomenon of globalisation and its great positives, and the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic caused to the state of trade and relations between India and its neighbouring and partner countries.

“India will be an important player in reviving the value and the relevance of multilateral global institutions which we believe will be the bulwark for sensible globalisation as we move forward.” – H.E. N.K. Singh

Over the next 12 months, the ABLF TALKS LIVE Virtual Conclave will continue to feature the presence and participation of proactive, productive and authentic leaders who are committed to restoring economic balance and supporting the rebuild of the world through the time of the pandemic and beyond. Each Conclave of the 12-part virtual event series, which is accessible on-demand for 365 days at the ABLF City, is architected to stay on the pulse of the global economy and help shape a better, more inclusive future for Asia.

Partners at the ABLF TALKS LIVE include Aster DM Healthcare, Etisalat, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI), MAA & Partners, Cicero & Bernay Public Relations, CNBC Arabia and Entrepreneur Middle East.