If you asked someone if they could host a major event that brings together top government sectors, multinationals and 11 SME companies with just 3 weeks of planning, the answer would probably be "no". Yet, Christine Souffrant was driven to make it happen.
Inspired by the learnings of the Common Purpose's CSCLeaders for Students programme where she was a participant, she launched the inaugural event of Smart City Weekend on May 31st, 2014. And because of the connections she made through her Common Purpose programme, she received the support of Tracee White and Shani-Louise Foad from DP World, Henrik Jonson from Hult Corporate Relations, and Yusra Yakub Ibrahim from the University of Wollongong. Speakers for the event hailed from DP World, Dubai Trade, Department of Economic Development, IBM, Mapei, Ernst Young, Smart City Dubai, C3, Al Ahli Holdings, Hult Prize Foundation, The Sustainability Platform, Growing Leaders Foundation, Carian College Advisors, ICanDo52, Impact Hub, and Turn8 Accelerator.
The vast array of speakers gave perspectives from Government, IT, Construction, Real Estate, Education and communities within the startup and social enterprise space. All came together to discuss cross industry initiatives that can ensure Dubai's smart city future.
The keynote speaker, CEO of Dubai Trade, Mahmood Al Bastaki, truly inspired the crowd to be apart of the Smart City movement and challenged them to "question the unquestionable".
Dubai hopes to be a smart city that ensures a "happy living" ecosystem. While movements around the world are focused on infrastructure frameworks and technological connectivity to promote smart city futures, panel speaker Sanjeev Gupta (Ernst Young) reminded participants of the importance of humanity and to remember the people.
The group is moving forward to launch the Smart City Weekend Summit in February 2015. Final dates and speaker profiles will be released this fall. For the next 5 years there will be 4 smart city Weekend events per year (to cover 4 seasonal quarters on rotational themes) across the UAE as we countdown to Dubai Expo2020. After this it will expand globally to ignite incubation Smart City Weekend events around the world. And this time, with several months of planning, this event will be one you won't want to miss.