December 14, 2013, Armani Hotel, Burj Khalifa, Dubai, UAE
Commenting on the Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF) Awards 2013, H.E. Dr Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India, in a special note to the Series on December 10, 2013, said, "I extend my best wishes for the success of the third edition of the Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF), being held in Dubai this year. The ABLF Series is an important platform for showcasing and celebrating Asian business excellence and promoting intra-Asia business partnership. It focuses on Industry, Infrastructure and Energy sectors, which are of critical importance to the economic growth of Asian countries. I am sure the Series will in particular inspire young men and women to dream and achieve bigger. I once again commend the ABLF initiative."
From its inception, the ABLF grown at a phenomenal pace, and today, it is dubbed Asia's most powerful business event. The ethos of the ABLF is crafted on three defining narratives: leadership, knowledge and inspiration. The Series amasses its depth and relevance from the information-focused Knowledge Forum, and expands its social power equity with the Asia-centric CSR platform OneAsia2020, but it is the ABLF Awards, with its Grand Awards Ceremony and its celebratory spirit, that captures the business zeitgeist of Asia.
The ABLF Awards 2013
Through its 2013 pre-event communications, the ABLF engaged over 100,000 voters to choose this year's event destination city. After two months of intense social media campaigning and targeted direct mail communication, the UAE's golden hub, Dubai, also the recently declared winner of the Expo2020 bid, emerged the most popular choice. And the chosen venue for the third anniversary of the ABLF was one that epitomises the spirit and ambition of the city, and in turn, Asia, through its soaring 828 meters of unparalleled, contemporary architecture - the Burj Khalifa.
The ABLF heroes
One of the key awards of the ABLF Awards 2013, the ABLF Global Asian, was presented to one of the UAE's biggest business heroes, the unassuming and highly respected H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, CEO and Chairman of the Emirates Group.
Another principal award of the night was the ABLF Statesman Award, and the recipient is described as a master of political statecraft, with unmatched foresight. This eagerly-anticipated award was presented by the longest serving incumbent prime minister in the world, H.R.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, Prime Minister, Kingdom of Bahrain, and was presented to his grandsons H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Rashid Al Khalifa and H.H. Shaikh Khalifa bin Ali Al Khalifa, who flew down to attend the ABLF Awards 2013, and to receive the accolade on behalf of His Royal Highness.
Ace legal eagle Rajiv Luthra, who is a legend in Indian corporate law, specialising in tax, regulatory and compliance laws was also felicitated at the ABLF Awards 2013 with ABLF Business Excellence Award - Legal. Meanwhile, William E. Heinecke, an awardee from South-East Asia, who is the driving force behind the leading global brands under the Minor International (MINT) umbrella, received the ABLF Trailblazer accolade. Minor Hotel Group currently has a portfolio of 100 hotels, resorts and serviced suites across 14 countries from Australia to Africa, operating under the Anantara, AVANI, Oaks, Per AQUUM, Elewana, Four Seasons, Marriott, St. Regis and Minor International brands.
H.E. Khalil Abdullah Al Khonji, Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry (OCCI) and the Federation of the GCC Chambers (FGCCC), was hailed the ABLF Ambassador of Commerce, while SingTel Group's CEO, Chua Sock Koong was the evening's ABLF Woman of Power, a felicitation that was presented by Shobhana Bhartia, Chairperson and Editorial Director, HT Media Ltd, an Indian media mogul and a business icon herself.
Meanwhile, highly reputed Asian leaders who have successfully leveraged the intra-Asia corridor to the great benefit of the Asian economic growth such as Dr Seetharaman, Group CEO, DohaBank, and H.E. Sheikh Fahad Bin Mohammad Bin Jabor Al Thani, Chairman of The Board Of Directors, Doha Bank, were also felicitated at the event.
The ABLF Awards 2013 also turned the spotlight on India's most respected cardiologist and entrepreneur, Dr Prathap C. Reddy, Chairman of Apollo Hospitals Group. International author and columnist, Mr Pranay Gupte, who has held the key positions of Foreign Correspondent at the New York Times and Contributing Editor at Forbes, has authored Dr Reddy's biography, The Healer: Dr. Prathap Chandra Reddy and the Transformation of India's Health Care, which was launched at the ABLF Awards 2013, and copies of the book were gifted to all the guests.
In the spotlight
The 2013 edition of the ABLF Awards also focused on India and its highly respected status as the UAE's most prominent trading partner. The India-UAE Showcase at the ABLF Awards 2013 felicitated, amidst much fanfare, six leading Indian and Emirati business icons with accolades; the dynamic men and women, who have defined and helped architect one of the strongest bilateral relationships in the world.
Leaders who presented keynotes at the ABLF's India-UAE Showcase are among some of Asia's best orators and stalwarts of statecraft, such as H.E. Kamal Nath, Union Cabinet Minister of Urban Development and Parliamentary Affairs, India, who also led the showcase with his rousing address that describes the India-UAE alliance at its best and the potential it holds.
Speaking on the ABLF's stellar achievements thus far, Minister Nath said, "Our actions and decisions today, will dictate tomorrow's global economy, and what today represents our vast youth capital, will tomorrow commandeer the world's outlook. In view of this, cultivating and promoting a progressive, nurturing environment for entrepreneurship in Asia is paramount. And without a sturdily architected, well-rounded knowledge economy, the region will lose the vitality it has worked so hard to develop."
The India-UAE Showcase felicitated stalwart leaders such as H.E. Abdullah Mohammed Saleh, Governor of the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor, Chairman of the Al Habtoor Group, H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Managing Director of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Yusuff Ali M.A., Managing Director of EMKE (Lulu) Group, Dr B.R. Shetty, and Capt. C. P. Krishnan Nair, Founder and Chairman Emeritus of India's Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts.
The presenters, the patrons, the participants
Other notable and important delegates in attendance at the ABLF Awards 2013 included H.E. Kittiratt Na-Ranong, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; H.E. Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE's Minister of Economy; Mr T.K.A. Nair, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India; H.E. Remi Rownhani, Director General, Qatar Chamber; H.E. Mohamed Muhairy, Director General, Abu Dhabi Chamber; Mr Baba Kalyani, Chairman, Bharat Forge, India; and Dr Amer Rawas, CEO, Omantel.
This year also marked the addition of a new, compelling facet to the ABLF Series: the OneAsia2020 initiative, a movement architected by the Former Prime Minister of Thailand, H.E. Thaksin Shinawatra, who noted on the initiative, "The focus of OneAsia is to generate common political will that will better employ the diversity of Asia as well as its cultural and trade assets, and thus overcome the barriers to connectivity and create a support system to achieve the prosperity for all Asia."
The initiative will seek to create a circle of Asia's brightest minds, with the intellectual prowess and information power to engage the public in sustainable conversations across areas of specific interest to Asia. OneAsia2020 will be held annually in cities across Asia, while connecting with followers through multiple communication vehicles, social media, direct mailers, web portals and other technology-aided channels.
Malini N. Menon, Founder and Managing Director of the Middle-East based Indian Expressions Management Consultancy, pioneers and producers of the ABLF Series, stressed on the premise of ABLF Awards, commenting, "The role of platforms like the ABLF is to mentor, inspire, as well as act as a blueprint for ensuring a more enlightened Asian business ethic that can escalate and promote economic growth and development in the region."
Dr B.R. Shetty, an award winner and key attendee at the event, remarked on the heavyweight attendee profile, "Perhaps it is for the first time I have seen Asia represented by so many countries in one broad stream event, which was relevant and deep."
For more information on the ABLF Series please log on to www.ablfawards.com.
© Press Release 2013