Opening address by His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President, Dubai Department of Civil Aviation & Chairman of Emirates Group.
On behalf on the Patron of this Congress, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, it is my great pleasure to welcome you to our beautiful city. This is truly an auspicious day for Dubai, as it marks the beginning of a conversation between you, the global communications experts, and us, a people and a land that want to engage with the world. As I look around me this morning, I realise how timely and relevant the theme of this Congress is. There could hardly be a better time or place to address the “Challenges of Change” other than right here in Dubai. From a street level to a regional level, everything is changing rapidly around us. The skyline of Dubai is changing, with new infrastructure and better facilities on offer, and the geo-political map is also changing. As Thomas Friedman, the famous New York Times columnist, says – The world is flat. Today we are establishing our credentials in international trade and business, tourism and healthcare, finance and leisure. Ironically, it seems the more we develop as an international city, the more we become part of the global village. Advances in technology and the proliferation of media channels today makes it possible for us to reach out to people thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds, and for people around the world to know our business before we fully know it ourselves.
We are certainly more connected than ever before but the challenge that faces us now is to use those connections to the best of our ability and for the good of us all. As recent events show, we can no longer afford to presume the world knows who we are and what we stand for.
We have to develop our image, one that accurately reflects who we truly are and what we do here. We have to channel that image, to ensure it reaches as many people as possible. And then we have to listen. Dubai has invested a great deal already in industry initiatives like the Dubai Internet City and Dubai Media City to ensure that we are on par with the rest of the world when it comes to technology and media.
I can assure you today that is only the beginning of our investment in this indusrty. We will not stop building ourselves a truly worldclass communications capability to encompass advertising, marketing, branding, public relations and all the other related disciplines. Excellence in communications is one of the key components of the future of Dubai, and the future of this region. Here in Dubai, we have access to some of the best and brightest minds in the region, and from around the world. The time is right for us to tap into this creativity, and take up the challenge of growth to crea e a city tha is truly unique in the world: no just a city made of glass, steel and concrete, but a city made of ideas, creativity and opportunity.
That challenge begins now, today, right there in this Congress. I hope that you will share your considerable expertise with us, and in so doing perhaps learn more about who we are and take a small measure of that back with you.
I would like to express my thanks to each and every one of you for coming so far; for taking the time to share and engage with us. I would also like to thank the IAA-UAE chapter for creating such a beautiful opportunity for us all, and last but certainly not least, I would like to offer my congratulations to the new IAA Chairman World President, our very own Joseph Ghossoub.