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  • January 09 event connecting leaders from business, government, technology, culture and academia to identify and debate next generation of great cities 

ABU DHABI, October 31, 2008 - What qualities are defining the next great cities: places the world will go to do and fund business, to seek the best education, to experience great culture, and to model environmental and social standards? Which cities and countries will emerge as tomorrow's economic powers? Which cities are pointing the way? And what must today's great cities do to maintain leadership?

These questions set the agenda for The Future Capitals World Summit, a first-of-its-kind gathering of leaders to occur in Abu Dhabi - itself a living, sneak-preview future city from January 13-15, 2009. Former President of Mexico Vicente Fox, renowned physicist Professor Stephen Hawking, award-winning musician, composer and producer Peter Buffett, and chairpersons of next-generation corporate leaders like Advanced Micro Devices and Research in Motion, are among a growing roster of innovators, mayors and other government officials confirmed to speak or attend.

“Recent events only underscore how rapidly the global landscape is shifting, and the implications reach far beyond finance. For certain, there is the question of which cities will thrive and lead economically,” said H.E. Eng. Salah Salem bin Amir Al Shamsi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce & Industry. 
“But the challenge is far greater. Being a truly great city means more than having the tallest new buildings. It means leading in educational opportunity, in the arts, philanthropy, environmental responsibility and other aspects of society,” he said. “This summit's agenda is to discover and share the qualities and best practices that are now shaping future capitals and that can help current world-leading cities adapt and remain vital.” 

“The rules for business and finance are quite literally being rewritten, right before us,” said President Fox. “Summits like The Future Capitals World Summit are vital, because if there is one constant, it is the need for strong, central, vital and vibrant places to anchor commerce, culture and innovation. What form cities will take and the roles they must play are critical discussions to engage right now.”

“Abu Dhabi emerged as this Summit's natural venue because of its visible commitment to investing not only in its business climate, but in everything making a city a fine, perfectly balanced place to live, learn and visit,” said Sam Hamdan, CEO of Global Leadership Team, the event's Michigan-based organizer, and the Founder & Chief Strategist of the Summit. 

World-leading institutions like New York University and The Guggenheim Museum, and numerous media organizations are establishing major presences in Abu Dhabi. Other communities under development include the first carbon neutral city, projected to cost about $22 billion, and the $3 billion MGM resort. The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority is thought to be the world's largest institutional investor. 

Produced in partnership with the Abu Dhabi Chamber of Commerce, and with support of the CEOs for Cities, United Nations Culture of Peace program, United Nations Office for Project Services, Women Impacting Public Policy, and Mercociudades, the Summit will join top finance professionals, business leaders, mayors of major and emerging cities and other government leaders from more than 50 nations, to hear and interact with innovators in economics, development, technology, education, city planning and the environment --all toward a goal of creating tomorrow's next great cities: the world's future capitals.

The event's focus is discussion and action. Sessions will be structured to minimize one-way communication, through the format of town hall meetings, interactive panels and collaborative multimedia. Rather than a traditional hotel or convention hall setting, the likes of waterfront gardens, candlelit rooms and other unexpected meeting venues will showcase Abu Dhabi's unusual beauty and breadth, while naturally inspiring interaction. 

“Our goal is to deliver a practical experience with tangible solutions and vital new networks for current and future leaders. We hope this Summit can contribute to building not just successful cities, but to a better world in which to live,” said Hamdan. 

Among major topics: how emerging cities can partner with recovering or maturing capitals to promote financial stability, liquidity and growth, emphasizing sectors, technologies and investment strategies can help fix imbalances and weaknesses in the word economy. A current agenda can be viewed at

Speakers will include Mike Lazaridis, Founder and co-CEO of BlackBerry parent Research in Motion and chancellor of the University of Waterloo; T.H. Gianni Alemanno, Mayor or Rome; Abdullatif Al Sayegh, CEO of Arab Media Group; Sir Peter Cook, renowned architect; Chris Rainier, renowned photojournalist with the National Geographic Foundation. 

A current list of speakers can be viewed at  
For information on registering to attend The Future Capitals World Summit, please visit
Companies interested in sponsorship may visit

Nichole Rhodes
Global Leadership Team
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