Cultural diversity will be paramount in developing innovation in the UAE, the new dean of Insead graduate business school says.
On his first visit to the country, Dr Dipak Jain said yesterday that business graduates would have an important role in the smooth development of the Arab economy.
The dean emphasised that Insead, which is based in France and has a campus in Singapore, would help in the democratisation of Middle Eastern economies and the creation of innovative business ideas.
"If we think of our purpose as creating leaders for the public, private and government sectors in the Middle East, we will have an influence [in the economic development]," Dr Jain said.
"But I also think the education needs to be on both sides, we will learn how to do business in the Middle East."
Students come to Insead in Abu Dhabi because the school can offer a cross-section of the world in one class, the dean said.
"We don't want a room where 70 per cent of the students are from China because people learn together.
"When people are from different countries and origins, they bring new ideas, so diversity brings innovation" he added.
The new dean's comments come as Abu Dhabi today hosts its second "innovation forum" aiming to strengthen the country as a regional centre for business enterprise and entrepreneurship.
The forum, presented by Abu Dhabi University and Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, will involve workshops and speeches, including comments from Mohammed bin Abdulaziz al Shihi, the UAE Under Secretary for the economy.
Dr Ahmed Khalil al Mutawa, the chief executive of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, will present a paper entitled "connecting innovation to economic development" and Osman Sultan, the chief executive of du, will offer innovative ideas for a digital ecosystem.
The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority will also present a new set of guidelines designed to enable and create a sustainable environment for innovation in the UAE and launch a new fund dedicated to ICT in the region.
"Innovation is a special tool that simply empowers people to do what they want to do," said Mohamed Nasser al Ghanim, the director general of the authority.
"It lets people be creative and be productive. It allows them to learn things they didn't think they could learn before."
Insead's new dean begins his role in March and also aims to put innovation and diversity at the heart of his tenure. The dean, who takes over from J Frank Brown, will build on the school's existing relationships in the UAE while forging new alliances in Africa and South America.
Before his appointment, Dr Jain served for five years as associate dean of academic affairs at Kellogg Graduate School of Management in the US.
Born in Assam, India, Dr Jain took the position at Insead to work in a more culturally varied environment.
"When we say we are a business school, what we mean is that we are in business of attracting the future leaders and diverse leaders who will innovate in the UAE," he added.
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