The C3 US-Arab Summit has honoured Khalaf Al Habtoor, businessman, philanthropist, Founder and Chairman of the United Arab Emirates' Al Habtoor Group with its first Lifetime Achievement Award at the start of its annual one-day conference at the Union League Club in New York City.
The Lifetime Achievement award was made in recognition of Al Habtoor's long-term contribution to regional peace and prosperity and support to building understanding between east and west. The award was jointly presented by Dr John Duke Anthony, President and CEO, National Council on US Arab Relations and C3 Summit guest speaker and former US Congressman Paul Findley.
Al Habtoor's keynote address enthralled Summit attendees with his distinctive view of an appropriate political partnership model for Eastern and Western nations that respect Arab traditions and celebrate the successes of governance instead of seeking to apply western models as one size fits all solutions.
Drawing a contrast between western models and the governing system that has led to astronomical growth in the U.A.E., Al Habtoor remarked, "Leaders in the democratic countries are locked away in their ivory towers, with thousands of guards keeping them from the people they are supposed to listen to. In my country, I can meet the rulers any time I have a need and they will listen." Expanding on his view of how universal human rights can be better achieved, Al Habtoor went on to say, "The leaders in the U.A.E. are reachable and approachable, and they are interested in what their people have to say. Our rulers care about their people and the residents of the country. The leaders of the U.A.E. care about all humanity, and not just in words, but also in actions." On receiving the award Al Habtoor said in his Keynote Address, "I pride myself on being an ambassador of my country to the World. I have always been conscious about the importance of bridging the East and the West, finding similarities instead of differences between different cultures.
"I realise the project might not be successful first time but we will try and try again. This is too important an issue for us not to try every possible way to see it happen." Ransel Potter, the Founder of C3 International, praised Al Habtoor's insights saying, "It was an honour to host Al Habtoor at this year's C3 Summit. In his business success and unrivalled dedication to giving back, Habtoor exemplifies the best of what C3 imagines business leaders to be and thus it was fitting that he became the first recipient of our Lifetime Achievement Award. His address perfectly framed the discussions for the day drawing out the important themes of cross cultural collaboration and how we can all work towards greater human rights for all." Following Al Habtoor's presentation a variety of speakers on Middle Eastern issues addressed the Summit.