Industry Leaders Signal Optimism at 1st Dubai Association Conference

11th Dec, 2017

The inaugural Dubai Association Conference has commenced, with the leaders of the Dubai Association Centre expressing optimism about the future for associations in the emirate.

The Dubai Association Conference is being hosted by the Dubai Association Centre (DAC), a joint initiative of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC). It is being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of Dubai Executive Council.

In the opening session on Day One of the event, His Excellency Helal Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Dubai World Trade Centre, and His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President and Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, discussed their vision for growing the association market community in Dubai and the wider Middle East region.

Taking place at Dubai World Trade Centre, the conference’s two-day programme is focusing on building the association community, skills development for association executives and sharing best practices from around the world. Attendees include international association executives, government representatives, university faculties and students, as well as professionals who are interested in forming associations.

His Excellency Helal Al Marri, Director General of Dubai’s Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing and Dubai World Trade Centre, said: “Our vision is for the Dubai Association Centre is to be a gateway for regional and international associations to establish themselves in the emirate and take advantage of opportunities in Dubai and the wider region. As we continue to align associations, government and businesses together through the Dubai Association Centre, we plan for Dubai to become the top destination for associations regionally.Having strong local chapters and regional offices of international associations will contribute to the growth of Dubai as a business hub and the evolution of the city and the UAE as a knowledge hub. They will also play an important role in growing the business events industry here.”

His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President and CEO, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry said: Associations are among the biggest contributors of economic growth and business activity globally, and they are crucial for generating the flow of innovative and creative ideas that can add value to our society.Supporting the growth of Dubai’s association community is one of the main objectives of DAC, as associations have valuable knowledge, expertise and skill sets that can enhance the emirate’s competitiveness and drive its knowledge economy forward.”

Dubai Chamber’s President and CEO noted that the strong participation in the first Dubai Association Conference is a testament to the growing demand from associations that are keen to set up in Dubai and use the emirate as a strategic hub to expand their operations in the Middle East and North Africa, adding that the premier event has established a foundation for building the region’s association community.

In another morning session, Dr. Noah Raford, COO and Futurist-in-Chief at Dubai Future Foundation and Dr Samir Hamrouni, CEO of World Free Zones Organization, discussed how associations and governments can work together and how they are embracing new technology.

With a strong focus on the future, an interactive session saw speakers discuss why embedding the upcoming generation in their long-term strategy is the only way forward. Speakers in this session included His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority, and young Emirati scientist Alia Almansoori. In November, scientists aboard the International Space Station carried out an experiment devised by Almansoori after she won the UAE Genes in Space competition.

Among the other speakers on day one was Greg Bogue, Vice President of Experience Design at Maritz Global Events, who explained how to create engagement through purpose, passion and a picture of the future.

With the number of associations steadily growing across the Middle East region, the conference is aiming to offer a vital platform for networking and knowledge-sharing, in an effort to further boost progression across industries. The Dubai Association Conference, held under the theme Building a Community, is bringing together association executives, government representatives, university faculties and students from around the world, as well as professionals who are interested in forming associations.

The first day of Dubai Association Conference focused on further building the association community and showcasing Dubai’s vision for the future through in-depth sessions featuring some of Dubai’s key leaders and industry experts. One of the key sessions, entitled The Impact of Associations, was led by Susan Robertson, President of the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation, who highlighted how associations have a unique opportunity to make great contributions to their country’s economy, competitiveness, and quality of life.

Sessions on day two will largely focus on skills development and best practices for association executives and provide attendees with the required tools to succeed, through sessions and panel discussions that will see the participation of Vicki Loise, CEO of Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS), Debra Bachman-Zabloudil, President and CEO of The Learning Studio, and MaryLynn Fayoumi, President and CEO of The Management Association.

Supporters and partners of the inaugural Dubai Association Conference include MCI, ASAE, PCMA, ICCA, IAPOC, AfSAE and the Global Association Hubs Partnership.

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