Les Entretiens d'Abu Dhabi

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Concept and Theme

Inspired by Les Entretiens de Royaumont founded in 2003 at the Royaumont Abbey in France, Les Entretiens d’Abu Dhabi promote a free-wheeling dialogue among representatives from sciences, economy, arts and education. Its an open exchange bringing France and UAE together through this dialogue.

Following the success of the first edition in 2016, devoted to the future of energy and the protection of the environment and, the second edition in 2018 dedicated to Artificial Intelligence, the participants and the French and Emirati authorities have shown a willingness to repeat the event which illustrates the bond between the two countries in the context of the UAE-France Strategic Dialogue.

In 2021 UAE had almost 300,000 students in Higher Education.

The share of UAE nationals employed in the private sector was 3.7%. The private sector was given five years (2021-2025) to make 10% of the workforce Emirati.

The UAE government is implementing a variety of adjustments and transformations in both its economic and foreign policies, as well as it understands the importance and value of the Emirati talent pool being a part of the broader private sector. Authorities have set up a number of initiatives aiming at closing the gap in requirements, needs and expectations of both individuals and private sector companies.

Transitioning to a post-oil economy the vision projects of the UAE strive for sustainable development and diversification of economic resources, as well as the use of greener sources of energy. Youth’s role is pivotal as it represents the sustainability leadership of tomorrow.

France is the fourth largest investor in the UAE. More than 600 French companies are based here including CAC 40 companies. The UAE has also the largest French expatriate community in the Middle East : nearly 30,000. In this context and for their third edition, Les Entretiens d’Abu Dhabi will be dedicated to the following theme : « The UAE : Toward an International Hub of Talents ».



Opening Session

  • Welcome note: Geoffroy Bunetel, President - CCI France UAE
  • Opening speech: H.E. Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade  (Video Message)
  • Keynote address: Jean-Baptiste Chauvel, Regional economic counsellor for the Arabian Peninsula, Embassy of France
  • Keynote address: Jean-Yves Le Drian, Former Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France (In French)

Panel 1 - Transition to a Knowledge Economy
Long-term strategies that include the understanding of strengths and weaknesses and the combined work of Governments and Public institutions to develop policies and investments.


  • Elias Kassis, President TotalEnergies EP UAE & TotalEnergies Country Chair in the UAE
  • Ismail Abdulla Director, UAE Clusters, Chief Executive Officer Strata Manufacturing’s - STRATA
  • Moderated by Chavan Bhogaita, Managing Director and Head of Market Insights and Strategy - First Abu Dhabi Bank

Panel 2 - Higher and righteous Education & Digitalization of learning 
Empowering youth and upskilling them to become the sustainability leaders of tomorrow.


  • Professor Silvia Serrano, Vice-Chancellor Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi
  • Marcos Muller Habig, CEO 42 Abu Dhabi
  • Professor Ahmed Murad, Professor & Associate Provost for Research - UAE University
  • Benoit Jeannin, President Learn & Go; Script & Go
  • Moderated by Valerie Hawley, Director Corporate Partnerships Sorbonne Centre for Artificial Intelligence

Panel 3 - Creating an innovation ecosystem 
Attracting and retaining innovative technologies SMEs and entrepreneurs. 


  • Dr. Khadija Al Ameri, Founder Ingfit
  • Dr. Ebtesam Al Mazrouei, Director Artificial Intelligence Cross-Center Unit TII
  • Mona Alhashmi, Acting Division Director – The Authority of Social Contribution- Ma’an
  • Nayef Abdulla, Director of Innovation & Knowledge (COAD) Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development
  • Moderated by Alexis Lecanuet, Regional Managing Director Accenture Middle East


  • Richard Forest, Founder & CEO SEAir

Panel 4 - Corporates, a key to Hiring and Promoting talents
How the private sector is playing a major role in hiring and developing talents  through policies adaptation such as emiratisation, upskilling,  inclusiveness, gender equality, sustainability and more.

  • Felicie De Gonfreville, HR Regional Director - Societe Generale Middle East
  • Florence Bulte, Chief Sustainability Officer - Chalhoub Group
  • Nabil Messabi – Chief Human Resources Officer - TAQA
  • Francois Regnier, Head of Country UAE & CEO Abu  Dhabi & Dubai branches - BNP Paribas UAE
  • Moderated by Marwa Al Mansouri, Board member - Abu Dhabi Business Women Council and CEO Prosper Partners Consultancy

Closing Remarks

  • Jerome Chartier, Founder of “Les Entretiens de Royaumont”

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