In April 2014, 80 students from around the world convened for the CSCLeaders for students programme in Dubai to discuss the challenge for 2014-15: 'What makes a city smart?'
As a participant,I learned about the growing complexities faced in ensuring sustainable ecosystems. I found that the core challenge and solution to the problem was creating efficient innovative cities and explored the smart city movement that was occurring in countries around the world.
As students we discussed, we debated and we innovated different ways for tackling the challenge in creating a smart city. Helped by the mentorship of representatives from 20 companies across Dubai, within just 24 hours we had generated some innovative solutions.
It was then that I asked myself - what would happen if we extended this conversation outside of CSCLeaders? What impact would we have if we turned these conversations into ideas and these ideas into official commitment to actions across Dubai and around the world?
That's when I thought of Smart City Weekend - an initiative that brings together industry leaders, governments and students to incubate ideas that can generate impact.
The collective insight at these weekend events can transform lives and accelerate progress for all global smart city initiatives.
The inaugural Smart City Weekend movement starts 31 May, 2014 in Dubai. For the next 5 years we will initiate two Smart City Weekend events per year across the UAE (10 in total) as we countdown to Dubai Expo2020. After this, we will expand globally to ignite incubation events around the world.
I hope years from now industry leaders, governments and students who join this movement can look back on Smart City Weekend events as moments of inspiration, innovation and impact. This is the vision we have for this initiative and we welcome our world leaders to join our commitment in ensuring smart city futures.