Focused. That is the word I always use to describe my friends in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia these days.
As the tourism and entertainment sectors have continued to expand, there may be a lot more to do in the Kingdom, but somehow, the conversations (however casual) all ultimately gravitate eventually to three words: Key Performance Indicators.
It is apparent to everyone, from the Royal Court down, the people in Saudi Arabia wake up every day to work toward predetermined goals, all serving as individual puzzle pieces in a massive transformation plan — one of the most ambitious such efforts in history.
It does not matter what is happening in the world, and it does not matter which direction the proverbial winds are blowing. Saudi Arabia is focused on its goal.
At its heart, it is going to do what is ultimately best for the Kingdom while recognizing that these decisions will also bring more prosperity, stability, peace, and also joy to the region and to the broader world.
During my visits to Riyadh, Jeddah, AlUla, NEOM, Diriyah, and elsewhere, I have found only absolute confidence, creativity and ambition. It takes such fearlessness and determination to nurture such ambition over the long haul because there are always critics, skeptics, doomsayers, and naysayers.
As a religious Christian, the success of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 ambitions makes perfect sense to me because it reminds me of a few absolutely profound words of ancient wisdom found in the Bible, “write down the vision; make it plain so whoever reads it can run with it!”
That is exactly what is happening from Riyadh to NEOM and everywhere in between.
The Kingdom knows where it is going; it is going to get there, and absolutely nothing can stop it. The Vision has been made plain, and everyone is running with it all towards the same goal. There is no more future-focused movement on the planet, and while the Kingdom is building upon its cultural and religious foundation, it also refuses to be dragged into an unhealthy fixation on what has been.
The World Expo in Riyadh could light a spark of optimism and creativity that could reshape the world for our children throughout the rest of the 21st century.
Like true visionaries before it, Saudi Arabia, as a visionary nation, has discovered that it is a far better choice to invest in the future with optimism, courage, and ingenuity than to look at what-has-been however good or bad the past has been.
A visionary nation does not waste time talking about “what cannot be done” but instead declares “what will be done.” A visionary nation, like the Saudi Arabia never confuses “decision-making” with “problem-solving.”
Make the decision. Then, solve the problems. Do not become so fixated on the challenges that you never decide to do what must be done. “Anything is possible to those who believe,” Jesus once said to his followers (followers who now number in the billions).
Achieving the monumental goal of hosting the World Expo 2030 will set an appropriate finale for the total accomplishment of the Vision 2030 Dream. Or, as the world has come to expect from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, it will prepare a perfect prelude to Vision 2035, Vision 2040, and then Vision 2050.
I predict that other countries will begin to adopt their own plainly stated visionary agendas defined by immovable, nonnegotiable deadlines.
In fact, let me offer my own vision: the World Expo in Riyadh could light a spark of optimism and creativity that could reshape the world for our children throughout the rest of the 21st century. It could help pivot the global peer pressure in the right direction so that we may — to quote a concept shared by all Abrahamic faiths — start to “outdo one another in doing good” … for each other and for the world we have been given by God to care for (and to share with one another).
So, let me offer my own congratulations to King Salman, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and all the good people in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These days, we need an extra dose of vision, optimism, and a reminder that anything is possible for those who believe.
Thank you for continuing to inspire us all. Achieving your vision is an achievement for us all.
• Rev. Johnnie Moore is president of the Congress of Christian Leaders and president of JDA Worldwide.