Welcome to the Festival of Thinkers
he 2013 edition of the Festival of Thinkers conference in the United Arab Emirates is truly a festival – an opportunity to celebrate innovative ideas and thought processes that inspire collaborative actions for the betterment of humankind.
For the duration of Festival of Thinkers 2013, the conference delegates – students, academics and world leaders – will dedicate themselves to the adherence to the power, influence and importance of positive thinking. The conference will focus on the role of scientists, academics, leaders and thinkers in the improvement and progress of human societies. We will all see a focus on these people’s roles in generating ideas, solving problems, sustaining the environment, promoting education and health in the world’s communities and nurturing the values of global peace and understanding.
It is heartening to see that this Festival continues to be dedicated to the indomitable belief that people, such as the conference delegates, can, through thought, ultimately transform and improve the world. The discussions, proposals and initiatives that take place during this conference will be essential to the success and prosperity of local and global communities.
I am certain that the 5th edition of this renowned international conference will result in great ideas coming forth for the improvement of the world, particularly with the help and guidance of the esteemed Nobel Laureates who will attend the conference.
The Nobel Foundation has recognized the achievements of some of our greatest thinkers with the naming of many Nobel Laureates over the years. This process has in turn inspired many others in their work and careers. It is a beacon for others to see and emulate – inspiring greater thinking to help change society for the better. We are very pleased to warmly welcome the Nobel Laureates to this conference and to the United Arab Emirates.
As with past Festivals of Thinkers, the 2013 edition will be a strong platform for great experiences, impressive knowledge, superior intellect, and a commitment to global progress. It will reflect the philosophy that thinkers, together with students from around the world, have the capacity and the responsibility to effect necessary progress and change.
Such sentiments resonate strongly with the words of the late Nobel Peace Prize recipient Wangari Maathai, who said at the 2007 Festival of Thinkers conference: “I hope that by the time we finish this conference we shall be inspired by each other and sometimes we never know where that inspiration will lead. Just allow yourself to think freely and let your mind create.”
The unpredictability of thinking freely and with vision and creativity is worth the risk if it can possibly lead to such wondrous results. This conference will encourage attendees to think outside the box; to think laterally and creatively when considering how to approach and solve some of the pressing issues that face society today, or as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said: “Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
We continue to experience, and are immersed in, the information revolution and its various stages. Communities across the globe are able to access information and knowledge virtually everywhere from many difference sources. It is so accessible in our lives today that learning can be achieved on an “anywhere, anytime” basis. This is a wonderful enhancement to our lives, but we must also be wise and act accordingly to truly succeed in our endeavours. From ancient Greek philosophers to modern thinkers, all cultures have venerated wisdom which is made up of many aspects such as virtue, knowledge, reasoning ability, learning from ideas and the environment, judgment, expeditious use of information, and keen understanding. Put simply, wise people tend to be well-informed and receptive to new ideas and concepts. By having such exemplary leaders and thinkers attend the Festival of Thinkers conferences will motivate all the delegates to excel and to be wise.
Through the auspices of the Festival of Thinkers I believe we can all learn better how to think and how to use our power of thought so that we are essential contributors to the future – creative thinkers who can imagine how things can be, and show the way. This is why we are celebrating thinking at this conference, where great things can come from this process.
I look forward to a continuing process of contemplation at this Festival of Thinkers, which offers a wonderful opportunity to shape the future of this region through the creative minds of young thinkers and innovators.
Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan
Chancellor, Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates