Representing Wharton at the 2016 World Government Summit

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This year, our classmate, Ahmed Fikri, WG 16, co-organized a visit of MBA students from prestigious business schools like Wharton, Harvard, LBS and IESE to attend the World Government Summit in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This trip was generously sponsored by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai. The summit is part of the Sheikh Mohammed’s vision to set the agenda for the next generation of innovative governments. Having the chance to experience an incredible event and being hosted by our classmates and their local friends at their home country with our Wharton friends providing company was definitely one of the highlights of our MBA.

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The Summit brought together thought leaders and innovators from all around the world. They presented the latest breakthroughs in such areas as internet of things, shared economy, CleanTech, 3D printing, and aerospace travel among many others. We had a unique opportunity to listen to presentations delivered by Professor Klaus Schwab, Founder and Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum; Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President of The World Bank Group; and Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda. Discussion panels were moderated by accomplished CNN journalists such as Richard Quest and John Defterios.

The 2016 World Government Summit was a testament to how collaboration between private and public sectors can be a key driver behind economic growth and prosperity. However, this event was not simply a showcase of recent achievements in science and technology but rather a summary of the UAE’s vision for the future. Today’s latest breakthroughs will be implemented to become a widely spread reality in tomorrow’s UAE.

In addition to learning about the latest developments in science, technology, and effective governance, we had an opportunity to mingle with our MBA colleagues from the US and Europe. Just fifteen minutes following initial introductions, it felt like we were reunited with our classmates, as we started exchanging tips on how to prepare for an upcoming Advanced Corporate Finance exam or tactics to negotiate job offers. Our contact list grew longer by a dozen or more names as we made new friends from London, Barcelona, and Boston.

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The highlight of our stay in Dubai outside of the official Summit agenda was a visit to our classmate’s home. On the last day of the Summit, Faisal Falaknaz, WG 16, kindly arranged for a generous feast at his family’s house. We were served delicious traditional Emirati food and had a chance to meet Faisal’s family. Exchanging impressions of the Summit in the circle of friends while enjoying local delicacies in a warm and welcoming atmosphere of Faisal’s home provided a wonderful closing to our eventful visit to Dubai.

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Each of us focused on different areas covered at the Summit depending on our personal interests and professional aspirations. However, what united all of us is that three days at the Summit became the time of discovery filled with multiple “aha moments”. You can see it for yourself:

“Attending the World Government Summit has been one of the most formative parts of my experience at Wharton so far. I’ve learned a great deal through speeches about our future to being able to experience it myself at the Museum of the Future.” – Amira Valliani, WG17.

“I think I have two main buckets of highlights. The first bucket is the content of the conference. The quality of the speakers was amazing and being able to watch them back to back was fantastic.

The second major bucket of highlights was Dubai itself. After this trip, I definitely want to live in Dubai sometime. I was incredibly impressed with the commitment of the government to providing quality services to everyone, something that is incredibly obvious to every visitor”- Eamon Nolan, WG 16

“The Summit was an eye-opener for me in a number of ways. I was impressed by the UAE’s commitment to take the lead in innovation not only in the MENA region but globally. I view the UAE as being analogous to that of the United Nations when it comes to uniting people around ideas and projects that push the frontiers of science and technology. Moreover, I appreciated an opportunity to observe the results of a highly efficient collaboration between the private and public sectors. The UAE is truly a standard setter in the area of public-private partnerships.

This experience enriched my perspective as one of the organizers of the 2016 Wharton MENA Conference that will be held at our campus on April 9, 2016. The conference will bring together prominent business leaders from the MENA region and students from top US universities”. – Valentina Ryabova, WG’16.

“The World Government Summit has been one of the most enriching conferences I’ve ever attended with its inspiring speakers with bold intentions for the future of technology, government, and society; I met astrophysicists trying to galvanize a new generation of scientific exploration; and saw some of the coolest sci-fi-is-now concepts in the Museum of the Future; with my peers who feel as grateful as I do to be a part of the incredible conversations of this week”. – Daphne Chen, WG’16.

“I’ve been overwhelmed by the caliber of attendees, intense hospitality and multitude of learning opportunities in everything from space travel to regenerative science. More importantly I’ve learned that to be challenged is a privilege (thank you Neil Degrasse Tyson!) and is something that I must continue pushing myself towards”. – Crystal Nwokorie, WG’16.

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