Strengthening its stand as the hub of regional and international associations, Dubai organised the inaugural Dubai Association Conference with over 300 delegates, including associations and industry experts from 32 countries.
The two-day event was hosted by the Dubai Association Centre (DAC), a joint initiative of the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC).
Hazel Jackson, CEO, Biz Group UAE kick-started the event with an interesting dialogue with the founders—His Excellency Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General, DTCM and DWTC, and His Excellency Hamad Buamim, President and Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry. They discussed their vision for growing the association market community in Dubai and the wider Middle East region.
Almarri said, “The inaugural Dubai Association Conference marks an important step in Dubai’s journey to becoming a key hub for associations. The combination of international and local speakers provides a rich programme for all delegates while the strong attendance reflects the enthusiasm for knowledge sharing and professional development in this field. Almost 50 associations have already established a presence here through the Dubai Association Centre. Each of these associations has the potential to work with Dubai Business Events to bring more major business events to the city and, in turn contribute to international visitor growth.”
Buamim opined, “The premier event provided an ideal setting for association representatives to engage with public and private sector stakeholders, and address key issues of the global association community. We look forward to building on this progress by using the conference and the Dubai Association Centre platform to attract more associations and international events to Dubai, and promote associations as an integral part of Dubai’s economy and value proposition.”
Susan Robertson, President, American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) Foundation, USA highlighted the unique opportunities on how associations can contribute towards the growth of their country’s economy, competitiveness and quality of life in her session titled ‘The impact of associations’. “The role we all play is to make the world better, smarter and safer – that is the work of associations around the world. We have the power to affect resources, knowledge and practices around the world.”
The conference provided an excellent platform for networking and knowledge sharing among delegates who attended the sessions as the number of associations steadily grow across the Middle East region. Held on the theme ‘Building a Community’, the Dubai Association Conference brought together association executives, government representatives, university faculties and students, as well as professionals interested in forming associations.
Noah Raford, COO and Futurist-in-Chief, Dubai Future Foundation and Samir Hamrouni, CEO, World Free Zones Organisation, discussed how associations and governments can work together in embracing new technology. “Dubai and the UAE were 100 per cent oilbased economy 30 years ago; today oil contributes to just 30 per cent of the economy. So, the Dubai journey started by seeing what is happening outside and investing heavily to diversify the economy within the UAE,” Hamrouni shared.
The second day of the conference focused on skills development for association executives and sharing of best practices from around the world to provide attendees with the required tools.