The third Festival of Thinkers (FoT) convened today. The opening address was given by H.E. Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, Minister for Higher Education and Scientific Research in the UAE and Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) to an audience of over 2,000.
"The Festival of Thinkers is based upon the premise that the bringing together of promising students with some of the world's recognized leaders in innovation and creativity will enrich both groups and lead to an even brighter future for our global society" stated Sheikh Nahayan in his opening address.
Nobel laureate Dr. Shirin Ebadi gave the keynote address. Dr Ebadi, an Iranian lawyer and Iran's first female Judge, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her pioneering efforts in human rights for women and children. She is the first Muslim woman and the first Iranian to receive the Nobel prize.
Eleven Nobel Laureates, nearly 200 world thinkers from 40 countries and 400 students from the region are attending the Festival. Nobel Laureates attending include Prof. John Nash, Dr. Robin Warren, and Prof. Richard Ernst. Also attending are HM Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden, Cherie Blair, Mike Moore -Former Prime Minister of New Zealand, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - US Basketball Star, Lady Barbara Judge - Chairman of UK Atomic Energy Authority and Dr. Fidel Castro Diaz-Balart of Cuba.
Liz Mohn of Bertelsmann and philosopher Swami Parthasarathy gave special addresses. Gavin Esler, BBC served as emcee. The opening ceremony included a panel discussion with Nobel Laureates and world thinkers on Future Capital: Moving Beyond the Economic Crisis.
Organized by HCT, the largest higher education institution in the UAE, FoT is a unique forum for young scholars from the Middle East and global leaders to think together using constructive and lateral thinking while designing possible solutions for the world's challenges. The format is interactive - thinkers and laureates participate in round-table discussions with young scholars. Themes to be discussed include sustainable development, the effect of globalization on culture and language and resolving non-traditional threats among others. "HCT seeks to establish a global imprint. We want to welcome the world to our shores. This Festival is a part of that process of sharing and welcoming", added Dr. Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of HCT and Chair of FoT Organizing Committee.
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