The spectacular two-day ‘Festival of ideas’, that explored an array of inspiring ideas concluded on Monday at the India pavilion at EXPO2020 Dubai. The event – witnessed an array of remarkable speakers address the spellbinding sessions that provoked questions, encouraged new concepts, and crystal gaze into the future.
The first session on the second day of the festival- ‘The World of Our Oyster: The Future of business for India and UAE’, witnessed the panel deliberate on pillars of India-UAE partnership including – banking, investments, startups, and the contribution of Indian expatriates in the UAE.
Consul General of India to UAE, Dr. Aman Puri, addressing the first session said, “It is true, India UAE relationship is at a historic inflection point. While the two countries already share a close relationship, now with CEPA, we will see exponential growth where the agreement will take the trade of USD 60 bn to USD 100 bn in next five years.”
He added, “2021 was a landmark year for India’s innovation story, with the emergence of close to 44 unicorns.” Talking about the significance of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues, Dr. Puri said, “In present times, for a corporate’s sustainability, making ESG an integral part of the way they do things, is very critical.”
Presenting her views at the event, Dr. Elena Primkiro, Head, Environment, Social & Governance, VFS Global said, “There has been an emphasis on ESG even in the CEPA, and am very happy about it. ESG showcases the quality that any company brings in by creating value for its stakeholders and generating positive impacts for society, stakeholders, and government.’
Mr. Saeed Rashed Alsaeed, Science and Technology Advisor at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Sunil Veetil, Regional Head of Global Trade & Receivables Finance (Middle East, North Africa &Turkey), HSBC, Mr. Bobby Bedi, Indian Film Producer & Founder of Contentflow Studios, and Mr. Sreedhar Bavera, CEO – BMR Innovations (Management & Tech Consulting firm) also presented their perspectives on the multi-faceted and successful Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and its role in strengthening India- UAE ties.
The second session – ‘The Women Who Lead Us: Fuelling entrepreneurship’ observed reflections by the women leaders from India and the UAE who have been working tirelessly, thinking out-of-the-box, blending pragmatism with dreaming big, and inspiring many in various streams of work.
Sharing her experience during the second session, Ms. Shada El Borno, Managing Director, Standard Chartered Bank Dubai, said, “It took twenty-five years of patience, perseverance, self-learning, and courage to reach where I am. The underlying trait of emotional intelligence and vulnerability are most compelling qualities to gain the confidence of oneself and others.” She added, “More and more organizations are pro-actively embracing and fostering gender equality and women are not settling for anything less.”
The audience during the second session also got the opportunity to listen to the inspiring journeys of Dr. Bubbles Kandhari, Vice Chairman of AI Dobowi Group, and Dr. Sapna Poti, Director, Strategic Alliances Division, Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to Government of India.
As part of the third session – ‘Can Fashion make a Statement in Sustainability’, the eclectic panelists shared their perspectives on the amalgamation of sustainability and high fashion as more and more fashion houses are waking up to innovation and ideas that help do so. The discussion witnessed, Professor Joanne Hayek, Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation, Ms. Nandita Abraham – CEO, Pearl Academy, and Ms. Ingrid Sahu – Partner – Technoavia Middle East & Africa, discuss the emerging technologies, and their views on the future of sustainable fashion.