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Power Lunch with H.E. Noura Al Kaabi

Jul 7, 2021
Address Sky View

Under the title, Strategies and Policies to Support the Cultural and Creative Industries (CCI) with the Support of the Private Sector, Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth in the UAE joined a group of Young Arab Leaders on Wednesday 7, 2021 for a dynamic discussion on CCIs in the UAE.

Moderated by Najla Al-Midfa, CEO of Sheraa, the conversation underscored the year 2021 as the International Year of Creative Economy for Sustainable Development, which culminates with the UAE hosting the second World Conference on Creative Economy (WCCE) at Expo 2020 in December.

Young Arab Leader participants from the sector shed some light on the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and how they pivoted to address the needs of new segments with digital and remote work emerging as key trends that are here to stay.

Looking toward the future, Her Excellency and Young Arab Leaders agreed that the public and private sectors should work arm in arm for a sustainable and thriving CCI ecosystem in the UAE. For its part, the Ministry of Culture and Youth is gearing up to announce a 10-year strategy in the next few months. The strategy emphasizes the role of data and indicators in measuring and tracking the contribution of CCI to the economy (e.g., GDP and job creation) and leveraging this information to secure public funding and attract investments into the various CCI sectors.

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About the Speaker

Al Kaabi has been President of Zayed University since 2018 and Chair of the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science. She is the chairperson of the Higher Committee for UAE Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2021.

She is also a member of the Ministerial Development Council, the UAE Soft Power Council and the National Elections Committee. She is on the Board of Trustees of the International Institute for Tolerance, in addition to being the vice chair of the Abu Dhabi Media Company.

Previously, HE held the position of Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development (2017-2020), Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs (2016-2017), and Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi National Exhibitions Council (2016-2019). Other positions she held include the CEO and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of twofour54 Media Free Zone in Abu Dhabi and Chairperson of the Abu Dhabi Media Company.

She was the first Emirati to be chosen by the Foreign Policy magazine as one among the 100 global thinkers in 2013. The Forbes Middle East Council named her among the 30 most influential Arab women in the government sector. In 2015, she was honored by the American Association for Foreign Media (AAM) in recognition of her role in the growth of the UAE media industry.

She holds a BA in Management Information Systems from the United Arab Emirates University. She completed an Executive Leadership Program at London Business School in 2011.


About the Moderator

Najla Ahmed Al-Midfa is Chief Executive Officer of the Sharjah Entrepreneurship Center (Sheraa), a government-supported entity launched in January 2016, with a mandate to build the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Sharjah, and support entrepreneurs as they build and grow innovative startups that will contribute positively to the region’s economy. To date, Sheraa has built a portfolio of over 100 startups, which have raised over $50m in investment, created over 600 jobs, and generated over $35m in cumulative revenue. Sheraa also hosts the annual Sharjah Entrepreneurship Festival (SharjahEF), a gathering of over 3000 entrepreneurs, investors, mentors, and ecosystem supporters.

In her previous role as Senior Manager at Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development, Najla led a team of business counselors through the due diligence process of selecting ventures for financing. She also set up and operated the Northern Emirate branch of Khalifa Fund, covering Ajman, Dubai, and Sharjah. Prior to joining Khalifa Fund, Najla was a senior associate at McKinsey and Company’s New York office, primarily serving clients across the financial institutions sector. Her experience also includes roles within PricewaterhouseCoopers and Shell.

Najla is also founder of Khayarat, a platform that empowers young, high-potential Emiratis to make informed career choices, and enables them to succeed in the private sector. With a community of over one thousand young Emiratis, and over 100 placements in leading international private sector companies, the platform is influencing the next generation of Emiratis to raise their ambitions and fulfill their potential. Najla is a board member of United Arab Bank, where she chairs the Board Audit Committee. She is Vice-Chairperson of Young Arab Leaders, and a board member of Endeavor UAE. She is also a fellow of the Aspen Institute’s Middle East Leadership Initiative. In 2019, she was selected to be an Eisenhower Global Fellow. Najla holds an MBA from Stanford University.