Global and Regional Business Leaders Gather in Dubai As DIFC Week Begins

Leaders of the business world will spend the next four days debating the key issues faced by businesses in the region, the impact of the current financial turmoil and the ability of the Middle East region to manage the implications and opportunities for the future at DIFC Week, the Dubai International Financial Centre's (DIFC) prestigious annual programme of conferences. Running from 23 to 26 November, DIFC Week consists of a Family Business Summit, a two day Forum and a Conference.

H.E. Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of DIFC and Vice Chairman of the UAE Central Bank said “DIFC Week could not come at a more relevant time. With the current financial crisis, it is crucial that we bring together the top figures in business and finance to share their perspectives on how best to manage the challenges faced by this region and the opportunities that will arise in the future. DIFC Week provides the perfect platform to do this and I am certain it will provide valuable insights for all who attend.” 

Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee of Deutsche Bank, said, “The Middle East has always played an important role on the international economic scene and its influence is set to rise as it emerges as an increasingly influential player on the financial scene as well.  Deutsche Bank is proud to support the DIFC Week, a forum for intellectual engagement and thought leadership that enables leading businesses in the region to debate strategies for dealing with the current crisis and to examine the opportunities that we expect to arise over the next 12 to 18 months. “

H.E. Mohamed Alabbar, Member, Dubai Executive Council and Chairman, Emaar Properties, who will deliver the keynote address on Monday morning, said “Dubai is not immune to the problems caused by the global financial crisis but this region is better placed than most to deal with the issues arising. What is clear is that, for those who can make a strong and speedy recovery, there will be an abundance of opportunities for investment and growth”

Mr. Arif Masood Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive Officer, Abraaj Capital, commented, “DIFC Week is as important for its formal debates as for the inherent value of gathering together key corporate and financial leaders in the region for a free flowing exchange of ideas and expertise. We are proud to support it and believe the discussions will not only address how to handle the challenges of the current financial climate but also provide a valuable chance to examine the growth opportunities that will arise as we emerge from the current turmoil.” 

With over 70 speakers from the world’s major international markets, 21 separate sessions, and a televised debate on how to get confidence back in the global financial markets, DIFC Week will address the most important issues faced by businesses in the region both in the current financial climate and in the future. Topics to be discussed at the four-day event include growth strategies, opportunities and major challenges for family businesses both locally and internationally, the economic outlook for the world and the GCC in 2009, attracting foreign investment and human capital in the Arab world, and the practicalities of establishing operations in Dubai.

DIFC Week opens on 23 November, 2008 with a one-day Summit on family businesses. Key decision makers from leading regional and global family businesses will gather to discuss the issues currently on their minds.  What strategies are critical for growth and prosperity during the current economic downturn?  What are the internal and external challenges facing family businesses now? 

Also part of DIFC Week is the DIFC Forum, to be held from 24 to 25 November. H.E. Mohamed Alabbar will open the Forum in his first major public address as the head of the high-level committee set up to help manage the impact of the global financial turmoil on Dubai.  In addition, highly interactive sessions will look at critical issues like the next generation of Islamic Finance, emerging markets in and after the financial crisis, and energy geopolitics in an era of structural change. One of the highlights of the Forum is a session titled “Get Confidence Back’ moderated by Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC.

Key speakers at DIFC Week include:

  • Dr. Josef Ackermann, Chairman of the Management Board and the Group Executive Committee, Deutsche Bank AG
  • H.E. Mohamed Alabbar, Member, Dubai Executive Council and Chairman, Emaar Properties
  • HRH Prince Mohammed K A Al Faisal, President and CEO of the Al Faisaliah Group Holding
  • Nasser Al Sheikh, Director-General of the Dubai Department of Finance
  • HRH Nazrin Shah, Crown Prince of Perak State Malaysia;
  • Sameer Al Ansari, Executive Chairman and Chief Executive of Dubai International Capital LLC
  • Peter Oppenheimer, Partner and Global Strategist at Goldman Sachs
  • Professor K.C. Chan, Hong Kong Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury
  • Raja Sidawi, Chairman, Energy Intelligence
  • Dr. Kevin W. Lu, Director and Chief Financial Officer, Multilateral Investment Agency, The World Bank Group
  • Maria Bartiromo, Anchor, CNBC
  • Victor Chu, Chairman, First Eastern Investment Bank Limited

Closing DIFC Week will be a Conference on 26 November titled: ‘The Inside Track on Dubai’, which will involve a series of commercial, regulatory and teaching streams that discuss the practicalities of establishing operations in Dubai covering issues such as raising capital and understanding cultural aspects of living and working in the Emirate.

DIFC Week acknowledges with gratitude the enthusiastic support of its two Platinum Sponsors, Deutsche Bank and Abraaj Capital; its Sponsors, Itau Securities and Goldman Sachs; and all the other supporting institutions.


The DIFC Week Conference is sponsored by Alvarez & Marsal, Conyers, Dill & Pearman, Emirates NBD, Grant Thornton, HAYS, International Compliance Training (ICT) Middle East, Kershaw Leonard, Latham and Watkins, M: Communications, Norton Rose and Union Properties while the DIFC Week Gala Networking Reception is sponsored by SungardThe DIFC Summit is run in association with the Tharawat Family Business Forum.  

DIFC Week is also grateful for the active support and involvement of its Knowledge Partners who include Al Tamimi & Company, British Business Group, DIFC Centre of Excellence, Oxford Analytica, Simmons & Simmons, Young Arab Leaders, and DNM connect;  its Media Partners which are, AME Info, Arabian Business,, Al Arabiya News Channel, CNBC, Dow Jones, Dubai Eye, Financial News, The Times, The Sunday Times, SAB Media, The Wall Street Journal, Oxford Business Group and Zawya; as well as DIFC Week's Joint Marketing Partner, Dubai Corporate Counsel Group.. 

The DIFC Week Golf Championships held ahead of the business conferences gave an invaluable opportunity to the delegates at DIFC Week and partners of DIFC week to network and  interact with each other. In addition, DIFC Week also expresses its appreciation to Itau Securities, the Sponsors of the DIFC Week Golf Championships.

To register or find out more information about the Summit, Forum and Conference taking place at DIFC Week, visit www.difcweek.ae

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