Tuesday, March 07, 2017

6 Big Ideas from the WGS. #6) The need for wise leadership: Can Dubai be the Florence of the 21st Century?

"Until philosophers rule as kings in their cities or those who are nowadays called kings and leading men become genuine and adequate philosophers ... cities will have no rest from evils." Plato The Republic





In the USA, instead of a philosopher king,  we have a president who as Josef Stiglitz  pointed out,  is questioning science  and has  chosen to appoint no economists whatsoever into his cabinet.



Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who brought all these thought leaders to Dubai for the WGS and in 2016 appointed the World’s first Minister of Happiness, provides a contrasting positive role model of leadership.  

Yet he  makes no claim to be a philosopher king. In his book,  Flashes of Thought, he says


“I would like to point out that I am no scientist. Nor do I claim to be a wise philosopher. This is simply a collection of concise messages, experiences, ideas and thoughts, whose sole aim is to serve our nation and to bring some happiness to our fellow citizens.”




Nevertheless in a 2015 article journalist Faisal J. Abbas in 2015 compares Dubai to Renaissance Florence. “Both cities”, wrote Abbas,  “managed to overcome their limitations, exceed their natural boundaries and achieve a ‘global status;’ mostly owing to the visionary ruling families, namely the Medicis of Florence and the al-Maktoums of Dubai”

The World Government Summit, Global Dialogues on Happiness,  Museum of the Future and the Emirates  Mars Mission are all examples of Dubai’s role in trying to build a better world future.  


 I do not know exactly what form future World Government Summits or Global Dialogues on Happiness will take, but I hope that what we saw in Dubai this month is just the beginning. 

The world may be at an inflexion point. We face either unprecedented wealth, happiness and technological advance – or a return to the dark times of the 1930s or worse -  technological Eden or Destruction. 

In these most interesting of times, the world urgently needs wise leadership.









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