Former French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, is one of more than 20 local and international speakers in town this weekend for Abu Dhabi Ideas Weekend.
The two-day event is part private conference, part public festival and takes place at New York University Abu Dhabi on Friday and Saturday.
It seeks to tackle the growing challenges facing the world and will feature discussions on social, scientific and technological change.
The weekend event will feature a forum, and topics such as artificial intelligence and cancer research will be covered. It will feature speakers such as Mr Sarkozy, Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and former British prime minister David Cameron.
Mr Sarkozy will reflect on the rise of China, a new silk road and what it means for the world, while Ms Al Kaabi and Mr Cameron will speak about polarisation in politics and society.
Polling guru Lynton Crosby, a political strategist who ran Mr Cameron's successful general election campaign in 2015, will also talk about polarisation.
The forum also features a "special fellows section", which will give ten high-achieving Emiratis the chance to participate in discussions.
The forum runs from 9am on Friday, with a festival with food trucks starting each day at 3pm. For more information visit www.ideasweekend.ae.