Pope Francis' message from the Vatican and Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's participation will be among the major draws as the action-packed seventh edition of the World Government Summit (WGS) kicks off in Dubai on February 10. The pope, who recently made a historic three-day visit to the UAE, will deliver a speech from the Vatican during the WGS that will run till February 12.

Khan will speak about his vision for the future of Pakistan and what he sees as its pivotal socio-economic role in the region and the wider world. He will share his views on the development of human resources, the government's influential work at home and abroad, and boosting dynamic sectors, all of which contribute to building a better future for the Pakistani youth. Khan will also present the direction that his government is taking: one that is focused on making the most of its wealth in human capital.

The summit will see the attendance of almost 100 ministers from around the world, with more than 120 presidents and officials from leading international companies all joining forces to address the issues of today and tomorrow on the global platform of WGS 2019.

More than 4,000 dignitaries from 140 countries and some of the world's movers and shakers are expected to attend the seventh edition of the summit, held every year under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

The event will also be hosting 600 world-famous speakers in more than 200 interactive sessions, which will tackle topics that are bound to shape the future - from climate change and fiscal policy to government service innovations and post-conflict social reconciliation.

Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future and Chairman of the WGS, had earlier said that this year's summit aims to provide all governments with a blueprint for national success, which would ensure a better future for the world's seven billion people.

Discussions will revolve around seven key areas: the future of technology and its impact on future governments; health and quality of life; environment and climate change; education and the labour market; trade and international cooperation; societies and politics; and the future of information and communication between government and society.

What to look forward to in the 7th WGS:

High-level UAE participation

>Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, will speak about seven key changes that will impact the future of cities

>Lt-General Sheikh Saif bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Interior will address a session called "March of Wisdom"

>Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, will address a session called "Pope Francis in the Emirates: A New Dawn for the Middle East"

>Sheikha Maryam bint Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan will address a session called "Choosing a Future for the Next Generation".

Special sessions

>Professor Klaus Schwab, founder and CEO of the World Economic Forum, will deliver a speech on the main challenges facing the world in 2019

>Christine Lagarde, Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund: Special dialogue

>Ángel Gurría, Secretary-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), will speak about the future of the economy in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution

>Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), will feature in a session entitled 'Working for a Better Future'

>Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of Unesco, will participate in a key session during the summit

>Francis Gurry, Director General of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), will speak about the future of intellectual property in the age of artificial intelligence.

>David Beasley, the Executive Director of the United Nation's World Food Programme (WFP), will also deliver a key speech at one of the event's main sessions on what food we will be consuming and how it food will affect human health in the future.

>Wang Zhigang, Special Envoy of President Xi Jinping and Minister of Science and Technology of the People's Republic of China, will highlight his country's vision that has led it to become a world pioneer in the field of technology

Heads of state and government

>Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon

>Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda

>Epsy Campbell Barr, Vice-President of Costa Rica

>Jüri Ratas, Prime Minister of Estonia

Nobel laureates

For the first time, the WGS will witness the participation of Nobel Laureates:

>Juan Manuel Santos, Colombia's 32nd president, will talk about leading nations from conflict to reconciliation

>Daniel Kahneman, professor of Economics at Princeton University and Nobel Prize for Economics Laureate, will offer insights into the art and science of decision making

>Paul Krugman, professor of Economics and International Affairs at Princeton University and winner of Nobel Prize for Economics, will participate in a session on the future prospects of free trade

>Amina Mohammed, deputy secretary-general of the United Nations, and Leymah Gbowee, Liberian peace activist who played a key role in ending the second civil war in Liberia and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, will speak at a session on the role of women in building post-war societies.
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