H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan at the ABLF Image Credit: ABLF


  • H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance, and the ABLF Royal Patron, talks about the lessons in leadership that the UAE offers

The UAE is one of the most progressive, proactive and giving nations of the world. What lessons on leadership values can the nation offer to Asia and the wider world?

Humane, tolerant and innovative leadership in the UAE is a reflection of our Arab and Islamic heritage. Our leadership has enabled us to integrate our unique diversity into a peaceful and prosperous society. This has inspired the people of our nation to shun oppressive and hateful actions, allowing all of us to live in peace, harmony and prosperity.

The concepts of peaceful coexistence that our Founding President, H.H. Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the Father of the Nation, set out for us in the UAE include tolerance, compassion, dialogue, resilience, teamwork, inclusion and respect for others. These are the same concepts that continue to govern all aspects of our lives in the UAE.

The lessons on leadership we offer the world are obvious. Those who lead successfully must have integrity, a sound ethical touchstone, and a genuine concern for those who are affected by the actions they take and the decisions they make. They must have tolerance and the ability to know what is right and the courage to do what is right.

H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Malini N Menon, Meghna Menon, H.E. Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, H.E. Dr Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi and H.E. Hussain Jasim Al Nowais Image Credit: ABLF

Integrity, transparency and inclusion are just as essential in private sector management practices and the production of products as they are in public sector policies and programmes. In both environments it is the responsibility of those in leadership positions to set standards, serve as role models, and insist on accountability.

Attitude and behaviour must be constantly monitored, as a matter of individual self-discipline for the leaders themselves, and as a matter of supervision. There is no substitute for constant vigilance.

Your Excellency, you have been the Royal Patron of ABLF since 2007. How is the ABLF relevant in communicating the values of authentic leadership in Asia?

As you know, authentic leadership is defined as a leadership style that is consistent with a leader’s personality and core values, and that is honest, ethical and practical. From the several programmes and presentations I have seen over the years, these same characteristics are incorporated into ABLF’s mission.

I fully support the premise of the ABLF: that the growing stature of the Asian economies has major global ramifications and holds great potential.

The ABLF celebrates regional and international dialogue and cooperation to promote growth and create a better future for the region.

- H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cabinet Member and Minister of Tolerance, and the ABLF Royal Patron

There is a clear determination in the region to improve the business and economic environments, promote growth and development, and encourage innovation and development at all levels.

The ABLF celebrates regional and international dialogue and cooperation to promote growth and create a better future for the region. The platform embraces change, creativity and vitality and helps advance and strengthen the economic performance of Asian countries. As government officials, and as business men and women, we all look forward to further success and cooperation in trade, investment and economic development.

Over the years, the ABLF has been very effective in communicating the qualities of leadership in Asian countries. Its various activities and functions have demonstrated that effective leaders are self-motivated, but are committed to a cause that is shared by many.

True leaders are dynamic and visionary, but also compassionate and caring when dealing with those for whom they are responsible.

H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, G.M. Rao, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and Paul Griffiths Image Credit: ABLF

Such leaders are not only astute communicators, but also careful listeners. They welcome open discussions of ideas and are willing to understand the views and arguments of others. When leaders make mistakes, they admit them and use them as foundation stones on which to build success.

The ABLF has also demonstrated that leaders are rarely satisfied with the status quo. They recognise and seek opportunities to initiate change and are able to mobilise resources to bring about change. Most importantly, however, leaders are team builders who know how to build relationships on trust and respect. They are able to convince others to share their vision of the future.

Perhaps, the single-most difficult problem for a leader whose actions and decisions have major impact on the lives of others is finding someone who will tell the leader the truth.

H.H. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Cai Chunyan, Suhel Seth, Tsuyoshi Nakai, H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, H.E. Dr Amal Abdullah Al Qubaisi, H.E. Dr Sultan Al Jaber and H.E. Hussain Jasim Al Nowais Image Credit: ABLF

The higher one rises in position and authority, the more he or she will only hear from people who, in effect, become supplicants, and who say only what they believe the leader wants to hear.

I congratulate the leaders of the ABLF and the ABLF Programme participants for their excellent contributions to our economic lives and important input in developing leaders in our region of the world.

What is the impact of a leadership summit like the ABLF both internally within the nation and the region as well as externally across Asia and the world?

International leadership summits and forums  can have a large impact nationally, regionally and globally. They provide opportunities for some of the most thoughtful and progressive leaders in both government and non-government organisations to gather to discuss ideas and experiences, both  those  that were successful and others that were not.

The objective of the ABLF platform is to support and advance knowledge, social responsibility and leadership to build stronger, sustainable and more successful leadership across Asia. It is a mission that is clearly transportable across geographical, national, ethical, economic and social lines. Consequently, these summits and forums open the participants’ mind, which result in better leadership locally, nationally and globally.

In fact, I have always admired the ABLF platforms for their focus on celebrating leadership in all its forms and at all levels of our society:

• Leadership that respects traditions, while society continues to advance

• Leadership that is a positive force for environmental protection and enhancement

• Leadership that has a deep concern for the welfare of people

• Leadership that is focused on joining with others and broadening the cooperation and coalitions beyond natural borders

• Leadership that values the talents and contributions of everyone and is committed to promoting peace and understanding for a better world future

In short, I admire the fact that the ABLF summits have always been an important source of ideas, talents and leadership that help shape economic and policy trends in our region.

In particular, I have always respected the ABLF summits because of their emphasis on leaders and entrepreneurs as people first.

Leaders lead because they care for the people they are leading. Leaders launch enterprises because they want to provide the goods and services that people need. When real leaders succeed, their people succeed.

To view the digital version of the ABLF-Gulf News Magazine, click here