Over 30 department managers at Abu Dhabi government entities attended a four-day retreat with Harvard professors
Summit is part of the fifth year of the Emirates Leadership Initiative funded by gift from UAE government
Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi School of Government (ADSG), the recently launched academy responsible for the professional development of all government employees across the emirate, hosted the Leadership and Management Strategy Summit in Abu Dhabi, a four-day program of learning and development sessions for executive leaders.
The summit was organized as part of the fifth year of the Emirates Leadership Initiative, a partnership between the UAE and Harvard Kennedy School (HKS) launched in 2014. The initiative, funded by a gift from the UAE government, offers annual fellowships for up to 10 graduate students from the UAE and other Arab countries to study at Harvard Kennedy School as well as allowing for research fellowships for pre and post-doctoral students in the UAE, and executive education for senior Abu Dhabi government officials.
The Initiative was developed as a research and curricular collaboration between research centers at Harvard Kennedy School including the Center for Public Leadership (CPL) and the Middle East Initiative (MEI). The leadership of Abu Dhabi’s government worked with HKS to create opportunities that provide access to this leading educational establishment.
Whereas the Summit has previously been focused on Abu Dhabi’s government leaders, the 2019 edition targeted over 30 heads of strategy from Abu Dhabi’s various government entities. It is anticipated that the program’s future focus will revolve around public policy and will be adapted to meet the evolving needs of the Abu Dhabi government.
Additional events during the summit featured former Emirates Leadership Initiative fellows and HKS alumni in the UAE, who shared their experiences and talked about how they have developed professionally. The summit took place at the ADSG campus in Abu Dhabi from 16-19 January, with sessions delivered by prominent HKS lecturers and professors such as Jim Honan, Monica Higgins, Hugh O’Doherty, and Tarek Masoud.
Solveig Nicklos, Dean of the ADSG, commented: “The Summit is an early highlight of 2019 for the ADSG and provided a unique platform for us to demonstrate the ambition for our academy. We want to attract a high caliber of speakers to our campus and share their teachings with the thousands of government employees that we are currently engaging with across Abu Dhabi.
“Harvard Kennedy School is one of the leading institutions globally in government education, and is a partner that we aim to continue working closely with to develop the future Arab leaders of the region.”
HKS – formally known as the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University – is a graduate and professional school that brings together students, scholars and practitioners with a focus on the improvement of public policy delivery. The school teaches current and future leaders the skills they need to advance public service programs across a variety of sectors including government, non-profit, and private sectors.
The Emirates Leadership Initiative has deepened Harvard’s engagement with the people and countries of the Arab World, while enriching the educational partnership between United States institutions and the UAE. It has done so through increased cultural understanding, as well as training the next generation of Emirati leaders, and leaders from across the Arab region. Those objectives are part of the shared vision with the ADSG and is one of the reasons why the next summit will be held on their new campus in Abu Dhabi.
Of the senior educational leaders taking part, Professor Jim Honan is a Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and the co-chair of the Institute for Educational Management (IEM). Professor Monica Higgins is the Kathleen McCartney Professor of Education Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education (HGSE), where her research and teaching focusses on areas of leadership development and organizational change. She also served as an appointee for Education Secretary Arne Duncan of the Obama Administration from 2009-2016.
Professor Hugh O’Doherty is a Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, and in addition to his work at HKS, has taught leadership and conflict resolution at the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, University of Maryland. At the University of Maryland, he directed the Ireland-US Public Leadership Program for “emerging” leaders from all the political parties in Ireland. Finally, Professor Tarek Masoud is a Professor of Public Policy and the Sultan of Oman Professor of International Relations at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government, where he is also Faculty Chair of the Middle East Initiative. Each individual will be taking a prominent role in the Abu Dhabi event.
ADSG was formed in 2017 to develop the capabilities of employees across all government entities and accelerate their career progression. Using a combination of online and classroom learning, ADSG is partnering with best-in-class academic institutions, local and international, to bring unparalleled executive training access to its workforce. ADSG is helping to unleash government potential through competency-based learning and by equipping staff across all government entities with world-class managerial, operational and administrative tools.