For Dubai, half a century brought change that transformed a tiny fishing village into one of the leading cities across the globe for both business and tourism. Once a quiet coastal settlement, Dubai has reinvented itself, over just a generation, into the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) pioneering destination, with over three million inhabitants. A hub between East and West, it’s only normal international associations turn their attention to it, as did the Institute of Internal Auditors (IIA) when it chose Dubai as its host for its annual conference in May.
Serving today more than 190,000 members from more than 170 countries and territories, the Institute of Internal Auditors held its first annual conference in New York City in November 1942. Since then, this event has been held in more than 50 locations worldwide and attracts over 2,500 attendees annually.
The IIA’s International Conference showcases the best the profession has to offer and provides participants from around the world with an understanding of the latest developments in internal auditing. Today, it is the premier event for internal auditors who want to hear powerful keynote speakers and international presenters representing the global internal audit profession. Attendees are presented with a number of concurrent sessions on today’s current issues and trends, industry best practices seeking to address common challenges, and knowledge-sharing opportunities. The overall experience enhances professional development, provides engaging peer-to-peer networking, and affords access to key service firms and vendors.
“There is nothing like gathering together with your colleagues and peers, to be able to exchange ideas. And our international conference gives us the ability to do that face to face,” argues J Michael Peppers, 2017-18 chairman of the Global Board of Directors for the IIA.“Our members are looking to be challenged, to expand their skillsets, their knowledge bases, so that they can serve their organisations well. And international conferences pull together speakers on so many topics and we’re able to get diverse viewpoints and opinions and learn about technologies that we may not have in the home regions where the members work.”
Connecting the World Through Innovation
Held under the patronage of is His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum,Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – and thus demonstrating government support at the highest level –the four-day 2018 Conference was organised at Dubai International Convention&Exhibition Center under the theme “Connecting the World Through Innovation”, with the participation of some 3,000 experts from over 100 countries from the global internal audit industry – a record-breaking attendance.
The theme was very fitting to Dubai. The Emirate was founded on oil – although the economy has long diversified away from it – and quickly developed into a city known for the tallest buildings and most exclusive hotels, aiming to be the most innovative at any goal it set forward. With the UAE Vision 2021, the country is building a competitive and resilient economy focused on fostering knowledge and innovation, as well as sustainability, honing in on seven main sectors: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.
Dubai Business Events’ bidding strategy is aligned with these sectors and the Emirate’s strongest knowledge economies. Work to get the Institute of Internal Auditors to hold its conference in Dubai started with the involvement of the UAE chapter of IIA, through the Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme. It helped, of course, that the city hosted the IIA Global Council back in 2014.“The Dubai Business Events Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme has been instrumental in bringing this conference to Dubai,” explains Steen Jakobsen, Director of Dubai Business Events. “We’ve worked very closely with UAE-IAA chapter for many years and the leadership is part of our Al Safeer conference ambassador programme. So it’s through the ambassador programme that we identified this conference as an opportunity for Dubai where we engaged with the right local counterparts and jointly worked on submitting and promoting the bid for Dubai.”
The full version of this article, written by Boardroom Chief Editor Rémi Dévé, is available in the September issue of Boardroom available here.