More than 100 speakers confirmed for Future Investment Initiative 2018 in Riyadh

Updated 28 September 2018

More than 100 speakers confirmed for Future Investment Initiative 2018 in Riyadh

  • Speakers will shed light on the most pertinent trends shaping the global investment landscape
  • FII is a global platform focused on identifying future trends and opportunities

JEDDAH: The Saudi Public Investment Fund (PIF) on Thursday announced more than 100 global investors, CEOs and disruptive innovators who will speak at the Future Investment Initiative (FII) 2018, which begins in Riyadh on Oct. 23.

Focusing on three core themes — investing in transformation, technology as opportunity, and advancing human potential  — the three-day event will explore a number of subjects, including how leaders from business and government can develop a collective vision for the future, how venture capital is changing the future of innovation, and how immersive technology is changing the way we live, work and create.

FII is a global platform focused on identifying future trends and opportunities, defining the future of industries and discussing how investment can contribute to overall global prosperity and development. FII speakers will shed light on the most pertinent trends shaping the global investment landscape.

Speakers announced so far include David Bonderman, Chairman and Founding Partner of TPG Capital; Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase; Larry Fink, Chairman and CEO of BlackRock, Inc.; John M. Flint, Executive Director and Group Chief Executive of HSBC Holdings PLC; Dara Khosrowshahi, CEO of Uber Technologies Inc.; Christine Lagarde, President of the International Monetary Fund; Kai-Fu Lee, Chairman and CEO of Sinovation Ventures; Tong Li, CEO of Bank of China International; Rob Lloyd, CEO of Hyperloop One; Jean Lemierre, Chairman of BNP Paribas; Kanetsugu Mike, President and CEO of MUFG Bank LTD; Zanny Minton-Beddoes, Editor-in-Chief of The Economist; Rajeev Misra, CEO of Softbank Vision Fund, SB Investment Advisers; Steven Mnuchin, United States Secretary of the Treasury; Lubna S. Olayan, CEO and Deputy Chairperson of Olayan Financing Company; General David Petraeus, Chairman of KKR; Jeremy Weir, Executive Chairman and CEO of Trafigura Group Pte Ltd; and Stephen Schwarzman, CEO of Blackstone.

Commenting on the announcement, Jamie Dimon said, “I am looking forward to attending the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh to discuss innovation in technology and what it means to all of us. Overall, technology is the greatest thing that has ever happened to mankind. Artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning are helping JPMorgan Chase reduce risk and fraud, upgrade service, improve underwriting and enhance marketing across the firm. We know technology has been a great force, and for the benefit of all of us, that force should not be left unleashed.”

“Political, economic and technological changes pose individual challenges for all businesses and governments, but the most intractable problems require a truly global response,” said John M. Flint. “The public and private sectors have no choice but to work together to maximize the benefits of human ingenuity while managing its disruptive impacts. Sharing ideas and sharpening our focus on the problems we have in common are essential steps toward building a sustainable economy for all.”

Rajeev Misra said: “FII is a unique event that brings together visionaries across business, government and technology who are collectively shaping the future of global investment. We share a common ambition to create an ecosystem that harnesses the world’s most transformative technologies, to the benefit of humanity. Through the Vision Fund, we are striving to bring many of these businesses to the Middle East, which we believe will support innovation, job creation and unlock new economic opportunities. We look forward to sharing our insights with the FII community.”
Further updates about the 2018 program, partners and speakers are available at www.futureinvestmentinitiative.com.


Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

Updated 08 December 2019

Saudis unite in condemnation of US Navy base attack

  • The attack, in which a Saudi gunman killed three Americans, is viewed as an act that does not represent Saudi people
  • The OIC has said the attacker did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people

From the king and top-level Saudi government officials to everyday Saudi citizens, all are united in condemning the attack on a US Navy base in Pensacola, Florida, calling it as “un-Islamic” and barbaric.

The shooting of three Americans by a Saudi gunman was an individual attack that does not represent the Kingdom’s people, it has been widely  stressed. 

For decades, many Saudis have lived in the US for work or attended universities across many states, becoming their own ambassadors. 

Nedda Akhonbay, a communications professional working in Jeddah, expressed her sadness when she heard the news.

“My condolences go out to the families of the victims as I hope they find peace in their lives after facing such a tragedy. As a Saudi-American and having spent many formative years in the US and made friends who became like family, I thought this attack was very close to home and I hope both people work together to get past it.”

“As a student who lived in the States, I never faced any problems for being a Muslim,” said Alaa Sendi, an American-Saudi lecturer working in Jeddah University.

Having obtained a PhD in electrical engineering, Dr. Nazih Al-Othmani lived between the states of Michigan and Pennsylvania for ten years in the late 1990s and was in the US during the 9/11 attacks. He recalled how Americans understood that such atrocious attacks never represented a community, and this one was no exception.

“The tragic event that took place yesterday does not represent us, this attack is unacceptable regardless of any reason and no sane person can ever accept it,” he said. “I lived in the States for many years, I was also there on 9/11, and made many American friends throughout my time there. They stood by us, they helped us, protected us and our relationship was very civil and courteous. We need to stand together to combat this dangerous tendency that can be found in every community.”

The attack at the US naval station in Pensacola, Florida, was the second incident at an American military base in this week, following another shooting at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii on Wednesday. (
Josh Brasted / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Many Saudis are angered over the actions of this one individual. Dr. Al-Othmani expressed his concerns about those who would take advantage of the situation and try to point a finger at Saudis.

“Though right-wingers will take advantage of the event and attack Saudi Arabia, I don’t believe many Americans will see it that way. Americans are aware enough to differentiate between the nationality of an individual and his actions,” he said.

Al-Othmani recommends that Saudi students communicate, cooperate and extend a hand of friendship to their respective communities.

In the decades of friendship and cooperation between the US and Saudi Arabia, many Americans have come to work in the Kingdom and some have made it their home. 

Dr. Alia Mitchell, vice dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the Prince Sultan University in Riyadh, is an American citizen who has been a Muslim for more than 30 years and has lived in the Kingdom for more than 20 years. She has chosen to live in the Kingdom as she sees the beauty of the religion interwoven into society, one that she believes is not represented by the shooter. 

“When something tragic that happens like this, it’s on the individual,” she said. “it doesn’t go back to the community or the society.

“I’m still sickened and mostly very, very saddened with this tragedy,” said Melanie H. “I’ve a son the same age as the shooter and can’t imagine what the pain and grief his actions would do to me as a parent. To learn that your son has caused so much hell… that he has taken others’ lives.”

She said: “I lived in Saudi Arabia for over 10 years and I have experienced Saudi’s hospitality, warmth — nothing like what I imagined or expected before arriving. It isn’t perfect but then what country or nation is?” 

“Now that the country has opened its doors to the world, people really shouldn’t judge the book by its cover especially when criminals like this shooter make such a false, misleading cover.” 

Melanie H continued: “Do not judge a people by an individual — that’s what we Americans are all about. No judging.”


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• King Salman leads Saudi official condemnations of Florida attack

He doesn’t represent us’: Saudis tweet in solidarity with Americans over Florida Navy base shooting

 Florida shooting ‘nothing to do with gunman’s family, tribe’


“This crime does not represent us as Saudis,” said Sheikh Abdullatif Al-Sheikh, minister of Islamic Affairs, on his personal Twitter account. “We reject such criminal acts and we sympathize with the injured and the families of the victims. It is a horrible crime and a dishonest act.

“We condemn crimes anywhere and anytime, and we stress our complete rejection of such horrible criminal acts which Islam forbids.”

Saudi scholar and Imam of Quba Mosque in Madinah Saleh Al-Maghamsi shared the same notion. He said: “This incident should be stripped away from religion and from the country to which whoever committed this criminal act is affiliated. The Shariah does not approve of this act for it violates the texts of the Holy Qur’an and the teachings of the Prophet, which is based on the principle of no bloodshed. Logic also does not approve of this action.” 

The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) said the aggressor did not represent the tolerant Islamic values that distinguish the Saudi people and all Muslims who believe in tolerance, moderation and coexistence.

The General Secretariat of the Council of Senior Scholars in Saudi Arabia also condemned the shooting incident in Florida and called it a heinous crime. 

Describing it as a crime against humanity, the senior scholars stressed that such actions were against the true teachings of Islam. They said that the Saudi people will continue to uphold their noble values and contribute to the progress and prosperity of the world and humanity.