The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF) marked a year of significant progress in 2023, on the local, regional, and international fronts, through the introduction of new initiatives, enhancements to ongoing programs, and increased momentum in various projects. Aligning with its strategic vision established over 16 years ago, the MBRF has been steadfast in its commitment to fostering human cognitive capital, advancing scientific research, promoting the spread of knowledge, and driving technological innovation.
His Excellency Jamal bin Huwaireb, CEO of the MBRF, said: “With each passing year, the MBRF has demonstrated its vital role in the knowledge landscape through numerous distinguished achievements. The year 2023 has been a testament to our enduring commitment, marked by numerous significant milestones that echo our dedication to fostering knowledge, innovation, and learning. Our endeavors are in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and the directives of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council. Those vision and directives have guided us towards global leadership in knowledge and development. As we welcome a new year, we are excited to continue this journey. Our primary dedication is to empower individuals, enrich communities, and contribute to the achievement of sustainable development goals. In doing so, we aim to shape a future that is abundant in knowledge and opportunities for all.”
Initiatives and events
The MBRF has consistently strengthened its position as a key player in shaping the future of global knowledge economies through a number of innovative events and initiatives. One of the key events held in 2023 was the 8th edition of the Knowledge Summit, in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Aimed at emphasizing the significant role of the Fifth Industrial Revolution in the development of knowledge cities, the event served as a major confluence of diverse minds and ideas, attracting over 11,700 attendees and featuring a distinguished line-up of 106 industry experts, presenting over 37 in-person sessions and five virtual ones that were streamed on the event’s website and social media platforms.
The Summit also witnessed the release of the Global Knowledge Index 2023 (GKI 2023), offering a comprehensive analysis of the cognitive development trends in 133 countries, including 12 Arab countries. The one-of-a-kind index serves as a crucial tool for policymakers and educators, highlighting the strengths and potential areas of improvement in the knowledge-based economy. Switzerland topped the list of 133 countries in the report, in terms of performance in knowledge areas, with Finland coming in second, followed by Sweden and the Netherlands. In the Arab World, the UAE maintained its leading position among Arab countries in the GKI, ranking 26th globally.
Furthermore, the UNDP and the MBRF partnered with Coursera to launch the FutureSkills4All initiative, which aims to provide scholarships for upskilling and reskilling thousands of citizens across nine Arab countries to boost their employability for digital jobs that will drive economic growth in the region.
In a similar vein, the MBRF, in conjunction with the UNDP, organized the KnowTalk 2023 series, which addressed a variety of crucial topics. These dialogues brought together experts, thinkers, and innovators from around the globe, fostering a vibrant exchange of ideas and insights.
Celebrating the Arabic language
In line with World Arabic Language Day, the Foundation further launched the 11th edition of its ‘Bil Arabi’ initiative to enhance the use of the Arabic language through digital media and raise awareness of the language’s aesthetics and values linked to authentic Arab heritage and history.
Through the ‘Bil Arabi’ digital channels, more than 6.5 million people interacted during the World Arabic Language Day celebrations. Furthermore, in support of the Arabic language, and within the My Family Reads initiative, the MBRF also distributed over 50,000 books of its publications to parent councils in the UAE’s schools in collaboration with the Emirates Schools Establishment (ESE).
Another initiative of the MBRF, the Dubai International Program for Writing (DIPW) continued to be a significant contributor to the regional literary and creative landscape, offering young aspiring writers’ valuable skills and expertise through a comprehensive set of training courses and workshops. New training and sessions on writing, narration, translation, children and youth literature, and short stories were held in the UAE and across the region.
The MBRF has also made significant strides with its Knowledge Lounge initiative by organizing activities and programs, both locally and regionally. The ‘Knowledge Lounge’ has been instrumental in promoting a culture of reading among family members, spreading knowledge, and raising awareness about the importance of reading as a key to education and a source of knowledge. The events targeted many segments of society and included sessions with the participation of specialists from various fields, as well as members of the Knowledge Lounge.
International engagement and partnerships
Throughout the year, the MBRF has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to enhancing knowledge and fostering international partnerships. Its active participation in major international book fairs, such as those in Cairo, London, Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and Frankfurt, highlights its role in the global knowledge community. These events were not just platforms for showcasing MBRF’s innovative digital projects, particularly at GITEX 2023, but also opportunities to forge lasting relationships with global partners.
MBRF’s international outreach was further exemplified through its strategic agreements and memoranda of understanding with various countries and entities, including Ukraine and Slovenia. These agreements aim to expand bilateral cooperation in knowledge sharing and development.
On the international front, the MBRF signed a partnership agreement with the Prince Mohammed bin Salman Foundation (Misk), in alignment with the keenness of both parties to support and reinforce their strategic collaborations, streamline efforts to cater to diverse categories of societies, and create a positive influence in the economic and social spheres.
In addition, the Foundation’s collaboration with the Supreme Council for Media Regulation in Egypt and the Arab Council for Childhood and Development signifies its commitment to enhancing media cooperation and supporting childhood development initiatives. Furthemore, a cooperation agreement was concluded with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) to amplify the efforts to substantially improve the performance of ICESCO’s member states on the GKI.
Closer to home, the Foundation forged a strategic alliance with EYouth, a preeminent educational institution renowned for its exceptional services and leadership in the field of education, fostering an enriched information network across diverse domains and advancing knowledge programs for both entities. The MBRF also signed an MoU with the Dubai Judicial Institute to enhance cooperation between the two entities and achieve the strategic objectives of advancing the community through the dissemination of knowledge.
MBRF’s work also found global recognition when, during the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York, the MBRF was recognised for its strong partnership with the UNDP by Dr. Abdallah Al Dardari, Assistant Secretary-General and Director of the UNDP Regional Bureau for Arab States.
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