Dubai – MENA Herald: Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation (MBRF), the Foundation held a press conference today (September 19, 2016), at the Grand Hyatt Dubai hotel to disclose the details surrounding its third annual Knowledge Summit – set to take place on December 5-7 at the same hotel.

The Knowledge Summit 2016 will dive deep into the concept of foreseeing the future, media representatives attending the conference learned, while a body of high-ranking decision makers, ministers, senior officials, academics, and specialists from around the world share their insights, expertise, and success stories in that regard. It will also highlight Dubai’s singular experience in the process of shaping the future, as well as the efforts and initiatives that have been put forward in this area. The summit will also discuss the future of sectors deemed vital to the development of countries – most notably, reading, which forms the cornerstone for knowledge; besides other industries such as medicine, technology, and education.

His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, Managing Director of MBRF, gave a speech during the conference, in which he said: “Knowledge is a true cornerstone when it comes to building societies, and the main pillar that supports a nation’s progress, its sustainable development, and the welfare of its people. It is the only true wealth that we need to invest in if we want to establish the UAE’s stature among the advanced nations in the world. It is the sector we need to be paying most attention to if we want to develop our societies, and eventually turn them into productive, intelligent, and creative communities, able to achieve comprehensive development.”

HE added: “The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation carries on with its tradition of launching creative initiatives and projects; initiatives that serve as platforms, gathering experts and pioneers in the field of sharing knowledge to not only discuss pressing issues in this area, but to also propose solutions to face the challenges. The Foundation brings yet another edition of the Knowledge Summit to shed light on the latest developments and methodologies in knowledge production and dissemination in the Arab region.”

The Knowledge Summit 2016 will witness the announcement of the “Reading Index” results in collaboration with United Nations Development Program (UNDP), HE announced, revealing that it is an effective tool that tracks knowledge-related initiatives and measures their impact on communities in the Arab region.

The Index embodies MBRF’s belief in the “unequivocal role” that reading plays in the process of acquiring knowledge, HE assured, and adheres to the ambitions and initiatives of the UAE’s wise leadership, most notable of which were the “Year of Reading 2016” initiative – announced by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE – and the “National Strategy for Reading” and all the projects it entailed.

Furthermore, the summit will explore the current status of reading in the Arab world as measured against international indices, and, in a dedicated session, provide an analytical overview of the results of the “Arab Reading Index”. Meanwhile, another session will examine the potential of current initiatives to develop the state of reading in the Arab region and to spread a reading culture among the youth and the rest of society – a special focus will be placed on the “Arab Reading Challenge” initiative and the role it plays in reconciling the young generations with reading.

The conference will, in addition, work to underline the role that future-focused policies could play in spreading tolerance and open-mindedness, and in building bridges between cultures. The sessions will also look into the concept of the “media of the future” and the role it can play in forming an individual’s personality, and into the influence that social media can wield on its traditional counterparts. Another session will examine the media’s potential to shape public opinion and change a society’s customs.

HE bin Huwaireb pointed out that the Knowledge Summit 2016 comes at a time when the most developed of nations set their sights on the future, formulating strategies to predict that future and, even, have a hand in shaping it. In the meantime, the UAE is making tremendous strides in that regard, and to a great extent, leading the global charge to achieve that goal.

“This resonates with the Foundation’s mandate to achieve the strategies of the ‘Government of the Future’, launched by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,” HE asserted, “and to work under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to implement a number of revolutionary initiatives. With that in mind, we have chosen ‘Knowledge … Present and Future’ as a theme for this year’s summit.”

HE bin Huwaireb explained that “shaping the future is no small undertaking. To achieve it, we must first understand it and then dedicate all present and future resources to it. We must embrace innovation as a path towards success, and invest in the development of creative minds. We must also learn from other nations’ experiences and achievements in this regard and develop a clear, concise, and forward-looking vision;” concluding that “all of this, undoubtedly, can only be achieved when we have sufficient knowledge about the essentials of development and progress for our communities and nations.”

Meanwhile, HE Khaled Abdel Shafi, Director of the Regional hub of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), underlined the importance of the partnership with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, lauding the numerous initiatives of the “Arab Knowledge Project”, as well as the “Arab Reading Index” – the results of which, Abdel Shafi hopes, will pave the way for a visionary strategy that promotes reading and uses it as keystone in building a knowledge-based Arab society.

“Reading is an important criterion that helps evaluate a society’s progress, intellectual openness, and cultural development,” Abdel Shafi said. “We will spare no effort in our mission to make reading a habit rooted in every individual in our society. A ‘reading society’ is better prepared to address the risks of extremism. It is a society that is culturally aware and equipped to find solutions for its social, economic, political, and environmental problems.”

As with all previous editions, the 2016 summit will feature the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, which honours individuals and institutions who’ve made notable contributions to the dissemination and production of knowledge around the world. A spectrum of events and workshops will also be organised on the side-lines of the summit – most important of which will be the University Fair and a group of specialised workshops.