Prof Eric Fouache, vice-chancellor of PSUAD Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: A collaborative project between a French think tank and Paris Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi (PSUAD) aims to launch a series of events throughout the year covering areas such as education, entrepreneurship, and smart cities with the goal of developing innovative ideas and solutions.

Based in France, the Thinkers and Doers group has established networks around the world giving a platform for creative people to come and voice their innovative plans for society with like-minded individuals. Joining forces with PSUAD, the think tank has also established a new network in Abu Dhabi.

“Thinkers and Doers is an international network which gathers innovative and creative forces through meetings, conferences, forums, and other events in order to get people from different sectors who are working on inventing new solutions and models in order to create better societies,” said Amandine Lepoutre, CEO and founder of Thinkers and Doers.

“We have now launched our first events in Abu Dhabi in partnership with PSUAD; we are planning several creative sessions throughout the year, with the forums focusing on education and entrepreneurship among other subjects. We will be working with both government and private institutions in Abu Dhabi to get the best ideas,” she added.

Lepoutre explained that it was crucial to give innovative thinkers a voice as they would be the ones responsible for meeting the challenges of the 21st century.

“It’s important to give more visibility to innovative people, they are the ones who are building the future, and will be the people who come up with the important answers to some of our most pressing challenges,” she said.

Lepoutre added that forging international networks were also helpful in creating cross-cultural dialogues.

“What we see at the moment with the French elections [and the rise of the far right] is that we need to create a dialogue between different cultures, and to reach an understanding between one another.

“The UAE is a very special in the region, it is working in promoting education, history, and is attracting people from around the world to come here. Abu Dhabi is a very lively place with a strong culture of entrepreneurship, so it definitely has the right pillars in building a positive future,” she added.

Echoing Lepoutre’s remarks, Prof Eric Fouache, vice-chancellor of PSUAD, said the institution was creating a bridge of civilisations between the Arab world and the West through such initiatives.

“The role of PSUAD is to build bridges between civilisations, between France and Europe on one side and the UAE and the rest of the Arab world on the other.

“We are in the Middle East, and the UAE is presenting itself to the world as a strong society that is proud of its Arabic roots but, at the same time, tolerant and open to western values, and, to that end, it has opened institutions like PSUAD and New York University Abu Dhabi where the next generation can go and learn to respect differences and to work together,” he added.

Prof Fouache also said that creating international networks of experts was in line with the UAE’s vision of transforming itself into a knowledge-based economy.

“The main objective is to make sure people are connected to innovative subjects, and that we mix professionals from France and the UAE. It is important to extend the knowledge of our students which will enrich their academic experience.”