Maryam Forum launched at Davos to promote leadership expertise

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The name Maryam was chosen because of its connotations of inclusiveness across several of the world’s leading religious faiths. (File/AFP)
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The name Maryam was chosen because of its connotations of inclusiveness across several of the world’s leading religious faiths. (File/AFP)
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Updated 21 January 2020

Maryam Forum launched at Davos to promote leadership expertise

  • The Maryam Forum will conduct public policy research, with a fellowship program, online leadership courses and private working groups
  • The Maryam Forum was inaugurated at an event in the Swiss Alpine town with the view to “accelerating the kind of leadership the world needs urgently”

DAVOS: A new organization to develop leadership expertise has been launched under the guidance of Arab businessman Khalid Abdulla Jahani on the eve of the World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos.

The Maryam Forum was inaugurated at an event in the Swiss Alpine town with the view to “accelerating the kind of leadership the world needs urgently.” It is the product of a partnership between Jahani, former vice-chairman of the WEF’s Arab Business Council, and the London School of Economics’ Institute of Global Affairs.

Prominent advisers to the new organization include Eric Berglof, economic professor at the LSE, and Kishore Mahbubani, the outspoken former dean of the LKY School of Public Policy in Singapore. Also present at the event was Lindiwe Mazibuko, former leader of the opposition in the South African Parliament.

The Maryam Forum will conduct public policy research, with a fellowship program, online leadership courses and private working groups. There will be an annual global event staged in London each December.

Jahani told Arab News: “There is an obvious lack of effective leadership all round the world, and not just in politics or international affairs. You see it also in governments, in business, and even in the home.”

The name Maryam was chosen because of its connotations of inclusiveness across several of the world’s leading religious faiths, he explained.

The Maryam Forum said: “The world faces multiple, urgent and complex challenges on an unprecedented scale. From climate change and oceans to global growth, financial architecture, human mobility and disinformation, courageous leadership is needed to navigate our future.

“For transformative leadership to emerge, we need stronger links between research and policy along with an ecosystem that encourages meritocracy, accountability and inclusion,” the Forum added.

Mahbubani said the world was on the cusp of discarding 200 years of “artificial” leadership by the economic power of Europe and North America. “Western leaders have to adapt to a new global environment. Then rest of the world does not want revenge — it wants to be partners with the West.”

In the course of 2020, Maryam Forum will develop a community of 50 founding individuals who will provide their input to the annual December meeting. Media partners to the December event include the New York Times and Caixin Media of China.


Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

Updated 19 February 2020

Kuwait MPs launch probe into Airbus deal

  • The decision came after a debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a deal 6 years ago
  • The parliament also asked the finance ministry to review recent aircraft deals involving state-owned Kuwait Airways

KUWAIT CITY: Kuwait's parliament on Wednesday formed a fact-finding panel to probe alleged kickbacks in a deal between the national carrier and Airbus, which last month paid massive fines to settle bribery scandals.
The parliament's decision came after a special debate on allegations that Airbus paid kickbacks to secure a 25-aircraft deal six years ago.
It also asked the Audit Bureau, the state accounting watchdog, to investigate the deal, which was reportedly worth billions of dollars, although exact figures were never released.
Kuwait Airway Co. in 2014 ordered 15 Airbus 320neo and 10 Airbus 350, with delivery beginning last year and continuing until 2021.
Opposition lawmaker Riyadh al-Adasani told the session that Kuwait was mentioned in a settlement struck by Airbus in a British court on January 31, along with the names of some Kuwaiti officials and citizens.
Under the settlement, Airbus agreed to pay 3.6 billion euros ($3.9 billion) in fines to Britain, France and the United States to settle corruption probes into some of its aircraft sales.
Days after the settlement, Sri Lanka ordered an investigation into a multi-billion dollar aircraft purchase from Airbus after the deal was named in the settlement.
The former chief of Sri Lankan Airlines, Kapila Chandrasena, was arrested on February 6 for allegedly receiving bribes relating to the deal.
Earlier this month, two senior officials of the Malaysia-based AirAsia stepped aside while authorities probe unusual payments at the carrier, as the fallout from the Airbus scandal reverberated across the industry.
Kuwait in recent years also initiated criminal investigations into two large military aircraft deals involving Airbus -- a $9 billion Eurofighter Typhoon warplanes deal and a contract for 30 Caracal military helicopters costing $1.2 billion.