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Nahyan bin Mubarak wins OLC MENA's 'Personality of the Year' award

posted on 31/10/2013: 1615 views

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development has said the UAE was well on course to achieving its goal for a society that is responsive to the needs of individuals and the community at large.

Speaking after receiving the International Prize for Organisational Learning for the 'Personality of the Year 2013' category yesterday, Sheikh Nahyan said: "The United Arab Emirates is a country that is committed to organisational and life-long learning. His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahyan surely spoke for his expectations of our government and our institutions when he expressed his intention [and I quote] "to continue to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open and globally competitive economy." With the strong leadership and support of the Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, our goal is a society that is responsive to the needs of individuals and the community at large. We want our citizens to be confident that they have high quality professional services, and we equally want our citizens to be well-informed and able to make excellent decisions." He added: "But our leaders can fulfil their vision only if we the people who support them do our job. And I maintain that we will never rise to the necessary level of excellence if we are not always seeking to learn and enhance our competence. That quest takes time. It threatens the status quo. It invites conflicting opinions and argument. But whatever its risks, organisational learning is an imperative that we cannot ignore. As the honoured recipient of your prize, I shall redouble my efforts to bring the very best organisational learning to the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Community Development. Emulating the wise ancients, we shall move into the future "ever learning many things." The award is part of the Organisational Learning Conference - MENA 2013, currently held in Dubai and being organised by the Emirates Identity Authority.

Sheikh Nahyan said communities composed of people who are dedicated learners are vibrant communities with a bright future.

"We are fortunate to have the opportunity to turn to the professionals who have formed the International Performance Excellence company. The agenda for this conference exhibits their mastery of the complexities of Organisational Learning. I welcome the participants from the United Arab Emirates, from the MENA region, and from countries abroad and I commend you for seeking professional guidance from the impressive faculty assembled for this conference. I strongly endorse your premise that ignorance has no place in the modern organisation and that learning should never end, Sheikh Nahyan said.

"Because the academic study of Organisational Learning is a relatively recent undertaking, we naturally approach the subject with some caution. Few leaders in organisations are well-schooled in the matter. On the other hand, the concept of lifelong learning is familiar to us all. It has an ancient history. In the early sixth-century BCE, one of the Seven Wise Men of Greece, who lived into his seventies said that he grows old "ever learning many things." About 300 years later another Greek philosopher was asked late in his life why he was studying geometry. He replied: "If I should not be learning now, when should I be?" Since ancient times, wise individuals have recognised the value of lifelong learning.

Whether or not we personally engage in lifelong learning, we expect certain other people to be fully committed to the practice. Take the medical profession for example. As potential patients, we want our doctors to know the latest techniques. We want them to be knowledgeable about the most advanced and successful medical protocols and the most effective drug therapies. We do not want to be treated by ignorant physicians who last acquired knowledge in medical school. We want our doctors to be active scholars." Sheikh Nahyan went on to say: "I find it curious that we seldom hold government workers, for example, to the same standard. And I find it sad that those workers themselves, too often do not recognise the value of lifelong learning. That phenomenon results from at least three beliefs.

First, people outside of government tend to assume that people in government must know what they are doing. Otherwise, they would not be in government. As long as we are receiving what we expect from government, we conclude that the people in government must be adequate. They must have already learned enough.

Second, people who constitute governments tend to assume that the very fact of their employment verifies their competence. Their credentials qualified them for the job. Therefore, they assume that they must have already learned enough.

Third, the people both outside of government and within government tend to support the status quo. Stability and predictability are supremely important to them. In particular, the people in government usually wish to remain in government. They do not wish to be fired, or to lose their appointment. They do not aim to make waves." Sheikh Nahyan noted that vast majority of people in government actually wish to be life-long learners. But they also recognise the risk in desiring to learn. In governments around the world, we face a challenge of how to transform ministries, departments and agencies into truly learning organisations.

"These observations also apply to varying degrees to workers in other segments of society, including education and business. That is why your initiatives in this conference are so important. The people in government, in education and in business, around the world must take risks if learning within their organisation is to blossom. Good organisations must possess the unity and administrative ability to keep the organisation functioning in an orderly and economically feasible manner. Good organisations must routinely prepare themselves to handle crises successfully. Good organisations must expect the unexpected and be always ready to enable their people to live in safety and happiness." – Emirates News Agency, WAM


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