Abu Dhabi: An individual's powerful intellect cannot be learnt in schools or universities, it is an individual choice that helps lead to worldwide development, said a philosopher at the third Festival of Thinkers ceremony.

Stress is nothing but mental agitation produced by a human being, and it is worry and anxiety that holds an individual back.

Those were the words of Swami Parthasarathy, an Indian philosopher and founder of Vedanta Academy, who focused on the importance of developing what you learn into what you apply in your day to day life, during the opening ceremony speech.

"No amount of intellect will help you unless you develop your intellect. All the knowledge that you get from universities helps you make a living, but you must use that knowledge wisely. People like Shakespeare didn't go to a university. I'm not against education ... it's only the human mind that destroys peace and development across the world," he said.

He said he is 82 years old and is still working and contributing to society.

"I'm not trying to impress you, I'm just trying to explain that a person's uncontrollable desires are exactly what lead to poverty and selfishness. We aren't conscious of other people and animals around us who are suffering, we only tend to focus on me and myself. You have to develop your own intellect yourself through daily trial and error and knowledge; no school or university can help you do that," he said.

The presence of thinkers, according to Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT), plays an important role in building bridges of cooperation and understanding between people, that in return leads to a better future.

Dr Shirin Ebadi, 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate from Iran, spoke about the importance of women alongside men, who must work and serve the economy as well as men, which she called a religious duty.

"A Muslim woman must fulfill her religious duty and not stay at home after finishing university. According to the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH), we must all use our knowledge, regardless of our gender."

She added that no country can progress economically if women are left out of the development process.