His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan, the UAE Minister of Youth, Culture and Community Development, congratulated the winners of the Pearl Initiative UAE Student Case Study Competition at a ceremony in Abu Dhabi.
Commending the students for their efforts in increasing the knowledge of corporate good practices in accountability and transparency in the region, His Excellency outlined the importance of instilling ethics in students from an early age.
The Pearl Initiative, a leading not-for-profit initiative working across the Gulf Region to influence and improve corporate accountability and transparency, held its inaugural Student Case Study competition last year in Saudi Arabia. By bringing the competition to the UAE this year, Pearl Initiative aims to encourage Gulf-based students to identify and embrace strong ethics as they embark on their future careers. This is a goal that is directly in line with the Pearl initiative’s mission to grow a knowledge base on regional and responsible best corporate practices.
The three winning entries were by student teams from some of the UAE’s top universities. First place went to a team from the American University of Sharjah who profiled Al Fardan Exchange’s anti-money laundering policies and second place went to a team from Zayed University who looked at anti-bribery and anti-corruption policies implemented by Al Habtoor Group. In third place was a case study on Bee’ah’s sustainability report by team from HCT Dubai Men’s College.
Over 300 students from 10 universities in the UAE participated this year, submitting more than 100 case studies. Each team submitted a 1,500 word document describing an example of a fully implemented governance programme. The five best case studies from the UAE competition will be published in a report by the Pearl Initiative to be used for educational material both within universities the Gulf Region as well as internationally.
In a Keyote address as Honorary Chairman of the Pearl Initiative, His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan bin Mabarak Al Nahayan said: “We all know that we will not be able to create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open, and globally competitive economy unless the drivers of that economy cultivate cultures of transparency and accountability. That is why we must all recognise the immense value of Pearl Initiative and understand the importance of the Good Practice Case Study Competition.
“Good practice is more than a good idea recorded in a company handbook. It is the action that creates the corporate culture of transparency and accountability. These actions grandly support the intention of His Highness the President, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al-Nahayan, “create a confident, secure society and to build a sustainable, open, and globally competitive economy.” On this occasion, I am honoured to offer my thanks and gratitude to His Highness the President for his strong commitment to excellent business practices.
“I congratulate the award winners; may your success spur you on to even greater achievements. As you are poised to enter a world filled with challenges, I challenge you now to chart a life of responsibility, integrity and service.”
Badr Jafar, Founder of the Pearl Initiative and Managing Director of the Crescent Group said: “Encouraging the youth of our country to engage with the business community facilitates a greater understanding of the application of integrity, governance and transparency within a real life context. It also contributes to our knowledge of corporate accountability and transparency practices.”
Dr Tayeb Kamali, Vice Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, acknowledged the importance of the Pearl Initiative’s Student Case Study competition saying: “This competition is designed to make students, the future business leaders of our nation, aware of issues such as corporate accountability, good governance and transparency. We therefore congratulate the Pearl Initiative for its endeavours in hosting and promoting this vitally important programme.”
“We are pleased to see such a high-quality entry from our students, which reflects HCT’s emphasis on practical and experiential teaching and learning, where our students learn the core components of their courses by way of exercises and projects such as this case study. This is an example where students have learnt how to utilise the skills and knowledge they gain from their courses in a practical approach to their education.” Dr. Kamali added.
Senior executives from listed companies, public sector and private companies, deans, professors, and other members of academia were also in attendance to show their support in raising awareness among future generations in the Gulf region on the importance of good corporate governance.