Abraaj Week 2016  brought together investors and thought leaders to discuss perspectives, opportunities and challenges affecting growth markets. Throughout the week, attendees explored the issues impacting our markets, engaged directly with various stakeholders to promote and interpret the macro and micro developments on the ground, and how to partner in enabling communities to thrive.

Abraaj Week 2016 at a glance:

bilateral meetings
guests from over 38 countries

Abraaj Week 2016 also included the unveiling of the 8th Abraaj Group Art Prize by winning duo Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, within the context of the 10th Art Dubai fair which welcomed collectors, gallerists, artists, curators and museum groups and guests from around the world.

Videos and Blogs


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Abraaj Growth Markets Forum (07:30 – 14:00) 

07:30 – 08:00

Breakfast and Registration


Setting the Scene

Arif Naqvi, Founder and Group Chief Executive, The Abraaj Group


Financial Markets Overview

Fireside conversation with Anshu Jain, Former CEO, Deutsche Bank
Moderated by Nik Gowing, International Broadcaster and Journalist


Prospects in Growth Markets

Introduced by Ricardo Hausmann, Professor of the Practice of Economic Development and Director of the Center for International Development, Harvard Kennedy School of Government
Followed by a panel discussion with
Dr. Vali Nasr, Dean, Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies
Felipe Larrain, Former Minister of Finance and Vice President of Chile, Director of CLAPES UC (Centro Latinoamericano de Políticas Económicas y Sociales UC)
Dimitris Tsitsiragos, Vice President, Global Client Services, International Finance Corporation
Moderated by Henny Sender, Chief Correspondent for International Finance, Financial Times


Coffee Break


In Conversation with

H.E. Ali Babacan, Member of Parliament and Former Deputy Prime Minister of Turkey
Moderated by Nik Gowing, International Broadcaster and Journalist


Growth Markets Private Equity

Josh Lerner, Chair of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit and Professor at Harvard Business School
Tom Speechley, Partner, The Abraaj Group


Networking Lunch

Investor Conference (14:00 – 19:30) – Private Sessions


Reception and Gala Dinner at Armani Hotel (Dress code: Business attire or National dress)

Partner Company (ParCo) Day (09:00 – 17:00) – Private Sessions

Unveiling of the 9th Abraaj Group Art Prize and VIP Opening of Art Dubai 2016 (18:00)


VIP Opening Night of Art Dubai, including Unveiling of the Abraaj Group Art Prize (AGAP) 2016 and Private Curated Tours of the Fair at Madinat Jumeirah
21:30 onwards

Art Dubai After-Party on Fort Island (Madinat Jumeirah)

Art Dubai and Terrace Talks (08:30 – 19:30)


Optional Art Dubai VIP Program


Private Collection: Dana Farouki
Dana Farouki is a Palestinian-American curator and collector of international contemporary art based between Dubai and New York. Dana was the first member of the Guggenheim Museum Abu Dhabi curatorial staff, and was Assistant Curator until June 2010 and is currently the Chairperson for the Abraaj Group Art Prize. A great advocate of regional cultural initiatives, she has served on the Board of Patrons for Art Dubai since the fair’s inception. Artists in the collection include Ólafur Elíasson, Walid Raad, Walead Beshty, Doug Aitken, Slavs & Tatars, and Yinka Shonibare.


Private Collection: Mohammed Afkhami

Iranian collector and a member of the Middle Eastern Circle at the Guggenheim Museum, Mohammed is Managing Partner of MA Partners DMCC, a commodities derivatives consultancy based in the Middle East. He collects international contemporary art, in particular Middle Eastern art, and is a founding member of the British Museum’s Middle East and North African art acquisition committee. With over 500 works, his collection has been amassed over the past decade with a strong focus on both modern and contemporary Iranian art.


Private Tour of Design Days Dubai

A private tour led by Fair Director Cyril Zammit of the fifth edition of Design Days Dubai, the Middle East and South Asia’s only fair dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. A pillar event under Art Week, the vibrant Design Days Dubai plays host to prominent design galleries from the world over while encouraging the involvement of emerging talent from the region. An international line-up of 44 renowned exhibitors, with works from over 150 designers across 20 countries; for lovers of modern and contemporary craft, design and innovation, this is a fair not to be missed.


Lunch at Toko Restaurant, Vida Hotel


Afternoon Option: Architectural Tour of Dubai

Through the eyes of Dubai-based architects, this exceptional tour presents an introduction to the architectural design and urban planning of Dubai covering past, present and future, as well as major development projects, such as Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah and Business Bay. Stopovers at select pieces of architecture will give insights into relevant buildings such as the Burj Khalifa and the O-14 Tower, and explain the significance of new urban centres like Downtown Dubai and the Dubai International Financial Centre.


Inclusive Growth Brunch

Join us for a talk by Jennifer Blanke, Chief Economist, Member of the Executive Committee, World Economic Forum on the findings from The Inclusive Growth and Development Report 2015. The report presents a new framework for assessing countries’ efforts to foster economic growth that raises the living standards of entire societies and reveals concrete opportunities available to expand social inclusion and benefits of economic growth without undermining incentives to work, save and invest.


The Abraaj Group Art Prize

The Abraaj Group Art Prize Chair Dana Farouki, 2016 Prize curator Nav Haq and jury members Hans Ulrich Obrist and Omar Kholeif discuss the Prize over the years alongside Art Dubai’s tenth anniversary. What are the opportunities and challenges that exist in the region for artists? How are works viewed and understood locally and internationally?


Focus Pakistan: The Inaugural Lahore Biennial

Presentation of the ArtNow Lifetime Achievement Award: The ArtNow Lifetime honors Pakistani individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts. ArtNow founder Fawzia Naqvi presents the 2016 award to one of the most important representatives of Pakistan’s art scene, Imran Qureshi.
Followed by The inaugural Lahore Biennial: Qudsia Rahim, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Lahore Biennial Foundation and Amna Naqvi, Director and Co-Founder of the AAN Collection, announce the curator and programme for the inaugural biennial, followed by a conversation between Hans Ulrich Obrist, Co-Director Exhibitions and Programmes, Serpentine Galleries and the Lahore Biennial curator. The discussion explores the significance of the biennial for Lahore and Pakistan, and the desire for diverse modes of engagement within a distinct curatorial vision.

18:30 – 19:30

The Abraaj Group Art Prize: ‘Syntax and Society’

2016 Prize curator Nav Haq discusses the 2016 exhibition and commissioned work with winning artists Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme, taking in how the diverse group of Abraaj Group Art Prize winners and short-listed artists Dina Danish, Basir Mahmood and Mahmoud Khaled look to dismantle structures of language and systems to question cultural normalism.


Terrace Talks (12:30 – 19:00)


Aman Foundation Talks: An Afternoon of Art & Philanthropy

Join the Aman Foundation for a series of talks on the role of philanthropy in the art world. Through stimulating discussions with socially responsible artists and thought leaders, the afternoon will shed light on the formula for championing dignity and choice for the underserved. By highlighting creativity as a central theme, the sessions will focus on health and skills education as a means of unleashing the human spirit.

Moderators and presenters include: Nada Raza, Assistant Curator at the Tate Modern, Ahsan Jamil, CEO of Aman Networks, Ahmad Jalal, CEO of Aman Foundation, Joanne Bladd, Editor of Philanthropy Age, H.E. Zaki Nusseibeh, Cultural Advisor, Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Imran Qureshi, Artist, and Aisha Khalid, Artist.

16:00 – 17:00

Lawrie Shabibi Book Launch: Nadia Kaabi-Linke, Matter Matters

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President of the Sharjah Art Foundation, in discussion with Nadia Kaabi-Linke for the launch of her first monograph Matter Matters. The book, edited by Timo Kaabi-Linke with texts by Kim Conaty, Lorenzo Fusi, Justine Ludwig, Elaine Ng, Sharmini Pereira, Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi and Falko Schmieder, precedes the inclusion of the artist’s Abraaj Prize work ‘Flying Carpets’ in ‘But A Storm is blowing from Paradise: Contemporary Art of The Middle East and North Africa’ at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in April. Followed by a signing of Matter Matters by the artist.

17:00 – 18:00

Curating Farideh Lashai

Germano Celant, Director of Fondazione Prada and Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, President and Director of the Sharjah Art Foundation, discuss with writer Sohrab Mahdavi the exhibitions they curated, respectively, at Tehran Contemporary Art Museum and at Sharjah Art Foundation, and the work of the late Farideh Lashai, taking in the challenges, opportunities and urgency of making exhibitions.

18:00 – 19:00

BASMOCA: A Virtual Museum for a Global Public

This conversation with patron and BASMOCA founder Basma Al Sulaiman and writer Myrna Ayad discusses the launch of the Basma Al Sulaiman Museum of Contemporary Art – its first show, curated by L’Institut du Monde Arabe, Paris – and how an unlimited global audience is beginning to experience this unique virtual private museum.

Terrace Talks


What Makes or Breaks a Creative Entrepreneur?

As part of the inaugural Abraaj Week, we are hosting an interactive session with a lively panel on what makes or breaks creative entrepreneurs in the MENA region. Is it the business environment, access to funding, the market dynamics or other factors? Join us to hear more from homegrown entrepreneurs taking unconventional paths to grow viable businesses. Panelists include Rula Galayini, Founder and Creative Director of Rula Galayini, Valerie Konde, Co-Founder and CEO of Collectionair and Magnus Olsson, Co-Founder of Careem.

Terrace Talks

13:00 – 16:00

Diplomacy 2020: How Digital Technology Shapes Our World

Join us for a talk by Visiting Professor of International Relations (NYU) and former UK Ambassador Tom Fletcher based on his forthcoming book, Naked Diplomacy: Power and Statecraft in the Digital Century, that looks at how globalization and technology will transform the way in which people and states interact. As smartphones and connectivity spread, the iGeneration has an exceptional opportunity to understand, engage and shape the world. Drawing on discussions with serving and former leaders, top diplomats in the field, and masters of other increasingly relevant disciplines, it will explain the tectonic shifts in global power, and show how diplomacy has always been Darwinian: trade changed when Genghis Khan invented diplomatic immunity, when sea routes opened up, or when the telephone was invented. Diplomacy must again transform itself if it is to survive the Digital Age.


In Conversation: Leveraging Healthcare Best Practice

In Conversation: Leveraging Healthcare Best Practice

Khawar Mann talks with Sir David Nicholson on how increased healthcare performance can be compatible with financial efficiencies.
Technology: Changing Business, Transforming Lives

Technology: Changing Business, Transforming Lives

Smart phone penetration in growth economies is set to increase at an exponential rate. Anshu Jain shares his views on the digital revolution.