The charismatic Al Habtoor Group Chairman opened his doors to a group of 50 social media followers in the first of a series of candid discussions. Joanna Andrews reports.
Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor has long been a vocal speaker on key issues impacting the Middle East and the world, and you regularly see him commentating on news bulletins, read his articles in the papers or comments on social media platforms.
He invited 50 of his Instagram followers to a televised open discussion on key issues from politics, bushiness and philanthropy.
He hosted his inaugural ‘Open Talk’ session with a group of 50 of his social media followers.
Open Talk is a monthly series of face-to-face discussions on key issues impacting the UAE and wider region.
Al Habtoor said, “Social media is such a powerful platform. I have many followers who I have been interacting with for some time. It was good to get the opportunity to meet some of them face-to-face. I look forward to the next Open Talk session with more of my social media followers.”
The audience was made up of several nationalities including people from around the GCC, North Africa, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Italy, Poland, the United Kingdom and South Korea, The Open Talk session, which lasted one hour, generated a lot of debate on issues ranging from entrepreneurship to the political challenges in the Middle East as well as political changes in the United States and Europe. The Chairman was asked why he has, on occasions, been critical of certain sects.
He answered saying, “I don’t judge a person by their nationality or religious belief, but if you look at the facts, the militia in Lebanon, Iraq and Syria are all Shia. They are destroying the region.
This is what I cannot condone. For a country to prosper you need peace and stability. An environment with a militia presence does not allow for prosperity.”
Al Habtoor said that stability and visionary leadership in the United Arab Emirates has enabled the UAE to prosper. He said others should follow the UAE’s lead. “The rest of the GCC should adopt some of our policies for the benefit of the entire bloc.” He added, “The West should take a leaf out of our book too. We look after each and every one of our citizens. We don’t have homeless people on our streets like in London, Paris or New York. This is unacceptable to us.”
He also discussed the ease of doing business in the UAE, and his endeavours to support the Government’s plan for the Year of Giving in 2017.
“I support many causes around the world, but charity starts at home.
I encourage people to give more to help people in need. A few years ago, I launched a Foundation in my name to support my philanthropic effort.” He added, “We can’t rely on governments to do everything. We have a responsibility as citizens of the world to help wherever possible.”
“Take Palestine for example,” he said. “Governments around the world have given false promises so many times. The Palestinians are worse off than ever. They need to sit down with the Israelis and finalize a deal that works for both parties. Unfortunately, they have been forgotten.”
The event was broadcast live on the Al Habtoor Group’s social media platforms as well as Al Habtoor’s ‘KAH Publications’, a website and application that features all the Chairman’s articles and speeches.