ABU DHABI // How can Gulf states shape their workforces to meet their future needs? That is one of the questions to be discussed next month at the Emirates Centre for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR) annual conference in the capital. Dr Jamal al Suwaidi, the centre's director general, said the development of local human capital was "essential to national progress and prosperity". "Modern experiences have proved that knowledge is the motor of development," he said in an e-mail.
"Since knowledge cannot be considered a natural resource, its advancement wholly depends on the development of human resources." The topic is timely, he added, because Gulf countries were starting to emphasise economic diversification as they try to reduce their dependence on oil. The three-day summit, to open on Feb 2, is entitled Human Resources and Development in the Arabian Gulf, and is being held under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and president of the ECSSR.
The meeting will focus on how to develop national workforces to meet the future needs of the region's labour market. It will also look at the impact of regional and international trends on human resource development and the role of women in the workforce, as well as related questions of security, stability and national identities. Sheikh Saif bin Zayed, Minister of the Interior, and Prince Turki Al Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the chairman of the Riyadh-based King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies, will be among the speakers.
Others include Dr Essam Fakhro, chairman of the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and academics such as Fatima al Shamsi, the secretary general of UAE University. Turki al Dakheel, a Saudi journalist who heads the Dubai-based Al Misbar Studies and Research Centre, and Colin Randall, executive editor of The National, will discuss the relationship between the media and development. The ECSSR was established in 1994 to study social, economic and political issues, especially in the Gulf and Middle East. @Email:firstname.lastname@example.org