Thomas Friedman highlights challenges in 'hyper-connected world' at first IHT Global Conversation in Dubai
Source: BI-ME , Author: Posted by BI-ME staff
Posted: Thu May 3, 2012 7:13 pm

UAE. The first ‘IHT Global Conversation,’ held in Dubai on Wednesday to kick off the 125th anniversary of The International Herald Tribune (IHT), the premier international source of news, opinion and commentary for the global community, presented compelling viewpoints on the post Arab Spring world, with the panelists discussing the region’s current developmental challenges, the role of the US and Asia, and the significance of the Middle East on the ‘New Silk Road.’

Thomas Friedman, Foreign Affairs Correspondent of The New York Times, who delivered the keynote address, highlighted the challenges in today’s ‘hyper-connected world,’ reminding audiences that the age of ‘average is officially over.’

To be competitive in the new world order, one has to ‘think like an immigrant, create like an artisan, work like a start-up and provide service like a waitress,’ and continuously create a unique value add. 

On the conference’s key topic, ‘ The Middle East’s Role on the New Silk Road,’ Friedman observed that the region is witnessing the end of a 100-year-old order and the lid has been thrown open for the winds of change, reminding policy-makers and governments on the need to enable the region’s youth to realise their full potential.

Tarik Yousef, Chief Executive Officer of Silatech, Qatar; Nader Mousavizadeh, Chief Executive Officer of Oxford Analytica; and Masood Ahmed, Director of the Middle East and Central Asia, in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) joined Friedman in the panel discussion, moderated by Serge Schmemann, Editor of the IHT editorial page.

Introducing the topic, Serge Schmemann said: “There is no question that Asia and the Middle East are facing critical political and social challenges. But that makes it all the more important to discuss the ‘New Silk Road,’ because the shift of economic power from West to East is inexorable. The huge economic opportunities opening along the arc from China to the Middle East and beyond to Africa and South America will require enlightened and creative leadership, and it is important to start talking now about what this means in concrete terms.”

Tarik Yousef said that China's growing geopolitical and economic dynamism have presented new strategic and economic opportunities for the Arab world, while Nader Mousavizadeh presented the importance of energy revolution and its impact on the New Silk Road. Masood Ahmed said that a New Silk Road provides the opportunity for the Middle East and North Africa region to better integrate into global markets but this requires far-reaching reforms in labour and product markets.

Stephen Dunbar-Johnson, Publisher of the IHT, said: “Dubai has recaptured the dynamism that existed prior to the financial crisis, and served as the perfect destination to launch our first IHT Conversation session. As a regional hub for business and trade, the city also plays a strategic role on the New Silk Road. The enthusiastic participation of some of the region’s thought leaders at the event, and the vibrant dialogue it generated among the audience, once again demonstrates the power of The International Herald Tribune to spark intellectual debate of global significance.”

The IHT Conversation in Dubai, held at Armani Hotel Dubai in Burj Khalifa, was sponsored by Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the specialised investment management organisation of the Government of Dubai, and Emaar Properties, the global property developer. Bank Muscat was the supporting sponsor.

The ‘IHT Global Conversation’ will progress on to Hong Kong on June 15, where it will address the topic ‘Can Asia Manage an Asian Century,’ and Paris, on October 4, to discuss ‘Restoring European Competitiveness on the World Stage.’

The IHT Global Conversation events are open to the public and further details, including ticketing information, can be found at  The panels will be livestreamed on the IHT Latitude blog and the IHT Rendezvous community site. 

Viewers are invited to submit questions for the panel and share their views on Twitter with the hashtag #IHT125.

About the International Herald Tribune
The International Herald Tribune (IHT) is the premier international newspaper for opinion leaders and decision-makers around the globe.  It combines the extensive resources of its own correspondents with those of The New York Times, is printed at 40 sites throughout the world and is for sale in more than 160 countries and territories.  Based in Paris since 1887, the IHT is owned by The New York Times Company.

For more information about the IHT, visit,

About The New York Times Company
The New York Times Company (NYSE: NYT), a leading global, multimedia news and information company with 2011 revenues of $2.3 billion, includes The New York Times, the International Herald Tribune, The Boston Globe,,,, and related properties. The Company’s core purpose is to enhance society by creating, collecting and distributing high-quality news, information and entertainment.



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