Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the United Arab Emirates and Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, the International Defence Conference (IDC) kicked off on February 19, in Abu Dhabi, ahead of IDEX and NAVDEX 2023. The Conference, which was organised by the ADNEC Group, in cooperation with the Ministry of Defence and in strategic partnership with Tawazun Council, was attended by more than 1,800 leaders and key officials representing defence, security, academic and corporate entities across the world.
His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs inaugurated the Conference, which was held under the theme ” Adaption, Exploration, Transformation: Reimagining Security, Society, and the Human Experience in an Age of Disruption”. The Conference featured four expertly curated panel sessions with a total of 17 esteemed international speakers, who discussed the potential economic and social consequences resulting from the use of modern technologies, developing talents and managing human capital, the impact of technologies on the future of defence operations, and the latest updates in modern technologies.
The conference was attended by H.E. Omar Sultan Al Olama, UAE’s Minister of State for AI, Digital Economy and Remote Work Applications; H.E Suren Papikyan Armenia’s Minister of Defence; H.E. Muhammad Israr Tareen, Pakistan’s Federal Minister for Defence Production; H.E. Innocent Loga Bashongwa, Tanzania’s Minister of Defence and National Service; H.E. Gürsediin Saikhanbayar, Mongolia’s Minister of Defence; and H.E. Robert Khachatryan, Armenia’s Minister of High-Tech Industry, in addition to several senior officials from governmental, private, local and international entities.
In addition, the conference was attended by H.E. Nasser bin Ali Al-Sikhan Deputy Chief of State Security for Human Resources in KSA; His Excellency Major General Dr Mubarak Saeed Ghafan Al Jabri, Assistant Undersecretary for Support and Defence Industries at the Ministry of Defence and Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organising Committee for IDEX and NAVDEX; H.E. Major General Mohammed bin Saeed Al-Moghedi, Secretary-General of the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition; H.E. Tareq Abdulraheem Al Hosani, Secretary-General of Tawazun Council; and H.E. Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and Group Chief Executive Officer of ADNEC Group, in addition to several senior officials from governmental, private, local and international entities.
Al Bowardi’s speech
His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs, said: “Today we continue our joint cooperation by discussing the concepts of adaptation, exploration and transformation, and looking at reimagining security, society and the human experience in an age of disruption. The conference is an opportunity to discuss various aspects of the challenges related to the impact of modern technologies on the future of humanity, through four sessions addressing these challenges. But, we must remember that the biggest challenge lies in human’s ability to face the dangers of nature, foremost of which are the effects of climate change.
There is no doubt that we live today in an era full of turmoil as a result of rapid development and excessive reliance on advanced technologies such as artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, biotechnology and tangible reality, which has left an impact on social and economic concepts, including achieving security. Action is needed to keep pace with this reality, as well as examine how the increasing integration of technologies in the workplace is changing approaches to talent development and human capital management, as well as examining emerging technologies for modern military operations and the future of warfare.”
“The conference addresses the topic of discovering the following frontier by researching the human instinct to explore beyond the current dimensions of the terrestrial and physical world, and to expand the human footprint in both space and the digital sphere, hoping that these sessions will produce tangible results for the benefit of man. As we seek security in an era of turmoil, we must adapt and meet the realities of the situation in which we live, and on the other hand, we must explore the nature of the challenges and devise the means and methods to take advantage of technological development to manage the transformation process with full awareness,” he added.
“The UAE believes in the need for concerted international and regional efforts to establish security so that together we can instil stability in the countries of the region and the world. Which in turn provides an opportunity to advance the national economy in our countries and contribute to achieving local, regional and global development.
Security comes as a top priority because it allows our societies to live in dignity and an environment of safety. It provides an opportunity for our governments to build fruitful cooperation between our countries. It contributes to conflict resolution through dialogue and understanding, leading to global peace, as well as driving progress and prosperity forward.
Security is not achieved by force and weapons, nor by modern technologies alone. But it is an integrated national system that stems from the way of life, the culture and the achievements of society, based on a set of human values and principles that call for respect for the rights of other societies and their cultures, and aims to build human relations with them,” His Excellency said.
His Excellency added: “I invite you to reflect on the model of tolerance and peaceful coexistence offered by the UAE, as it embraces communities from all countries and cultures, where they live and work in security and peace on its soil. The country also seeks to build bridges of cooperation with nations of the world based on mutual respect.
Despite the conditions of instability and turmoil that have surrounded the region for more than fifty years, the UAE has continued to face challenges effectively and has never stopped making progress and achievements, because its leadership has maintained security and peace in cooperation with its neighbours and the international community.
With the opening of the sixteenth edition of the International Defence Exhibition IDEX 2023 tomorrow, we invite you to take advantage of this opportunity to learn about the latest technologies, weapons and equipment that contribute to establishing security and peace and enhancing opportunities for joint defence cooperation between our countries, by consolidating the concepts of deterrence.”
His Excellency Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi concluded his speech by saying: “I hope that this conference will be a qualitative addition to the march of our joint cooperation to achieve progress and prosperity for our countries.”
Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee’s speech
His Excellency Major General Staff Pilot Faris Khalaf Al Mazrouei, Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee for IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions, and the International Defence Conference said: “The United Arab Emirates, under the leadership of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the President of the UAE, is working towards achieving stability and human security in the UAE and the world. Our country is striving to become a pioneering model in overcoming challenges and achieving civilised progress. We want to be a distinguished destination for peaceful coexistence.”
His Excellency added: “The International Defence Conference provides a strategic platform that brings together elite leaders and decision-makers from across the world to exchange constructive views and ideas on global issues, and come up with proper solutions to achieve stability, peace and international security.”
Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee’s speech
His Excellency Major General Dr Mubarak Saeed bin Ghafan Al Jabri, Deputy Chairman of the Higher Organizing Committee IDEX and NAVDEX exhibitions, and the International Defence Conference said: “The International Defence Conference provides a global platform to discuss effective solutions to the challenges that the world is witnessing at the moment, security and defence strategies for achieving peace at the global level, and the latest scientific and technical developments in the defence sector. The Conference sheds light on the pivotal role that the UAE and Abu Dhabi play in driving the growth of the defence industry by providing a medium for communications between leaders and industry experts that supports them to work together to build defence systems capable of overcoming any future challenges.”
CEO of the ADNEC Group’s speech
Humaid Matar Al Dhaheri, Managing Director and CEO of the ADNEC Group, said: “The International Defence Conference comes in line with the vision and strategy of the ADNEC Group to enhance the position of the capital of the UAE, Abu Dhabi, as a global destination for business and leisure tourism in the region. The Conference also aligns with our objectives to support transferring knowledge and upskilling our national capabilities in key areas by partnering with global experts. The Conference provides a platform for exchanging views and ideas with decision-makers and industry experts, to learn about scientific and technological trends in vital areas.”
The conference featured 4 panel sessions, the first of which was titled “Promise and Peril – the social and economic impacts and risks of widespread adoption of new technologies such as AI, neuro, & biotechnology and extended reality” covered the economic and social implications and risks of widespread adoption of new technologies, such as artificial intelligence, neurotechnology, biotechnology and extended reality.
The second panel session, titled “Keeping Pace –how the increasing incorporation of advanced technologies in the workplace is changing approaches to talent development and human capital management,” highlighted the effect of the adoption of advanced technologies in the workplace on talent development and human capital management.
Furthermore, the third panel session, titled “Tech at the Forefront” covered the impact of emerging technologies on modern operations and the future of military operations.
The fourth panel session, titled “The next Frontiers” covered the human instinct to explore beyond the current dimensions of the terrestrial and physical world and expand the human footprint in both space and digital domain, and marked the conclusion of the Conference.
Coverage by: Razi Ezzedine Al-Hadmi
Photography by: Muhammad Hassan Al-Shaer & Abdullah Al-Suwaidi