June 14, 2011

7th World Islamic Economic Forum (a post mortem)

I am now back in the office after more than a week in Kazakhstan for the 7th World Islamic Economic Forum. Imagine my surprise when most of my social media friends are interested whether the Prime Minister was really marrying off her daughter than anything about his presence at the Forum or any of the bilateral meets he was in. That's politics I guess, which I am not a part of at all unlike those few personalities like Khairy Jamaludin whom I hung out with as we were attending events at the Palace of Independence, the venue for the Forum.

As a delegate of the 7th WIEF, what did I managed to garner? Some will say attending forums like this are a waste of time and will cost you a bomb. Some forums could be said to have caused me a dent but this one is considered the lesser of all those other forums. My real cost was the flight tickets I had to forked out. It would have been cheaper if not for the late confirmation by other Malaysian delegates which would have gotten us a cheaper deal for the flight tickets from Air Astana (the only Kazakhstan's national carrier). As for my accommodation, let just say I knew a few persons who allowed me to bunk-in with them. The fee of USD500 which are charged on any delegates

The 7th WIEF consisted of 3 days. On Day 1, it was the Young Leaders Network Forum and the Women Entrepreneurs Forum together with the Marketplace. The Young Leaders Network Forum targets those who wants to connect and meet with all those Muslims who have made it as CEOs and have been contributing to Muslims growth worldwide. We have speakers from Malaysia, Kazakhstan, banks, corporations, individuals, artistes, coordinators and NGOs. The Women Entrepreneurs Forum did the same but the issues are skewed towards women. These two forums finished in the afternoon at 5pm but most of the delegates stayed for the whole 3 days.

As for the Marketplace, showcase by visual artistes and performance are shown. Here are some of those performance :

Day 2 : Grand Opening by President of Kazakhstan, keynote speeches by Prime Minister of Malaysia, Vice President of Indonesia, President of Djibouti, Prime Minister of Azerbaijan and President of Islamic Development Bank. It was chaired by Tun Musa Hitam, the Chairman of World Islamic Economic Forum. Then the forums started in the afternoon and you had to make a choice of either going to two plenary sessions with regards to various topics or go to see more performances and talks about arts.

Day 3 : There were only plenary sessions which included one topic close to my heart as an Islamic finance practitioner entitled 'Islamic Banking : Raising the Bar'. They also had some scientific discussion about food safety, food security, halal industry and a few others. 

What I managed to gain :

1) Contacts from those who travel from Malaysia with me as we are stuck in the same airplanes, airports, hotels and conference halls;

2) Meet and greet with personalities I can only imagine trying to meet in Malaysia like ex-Prime Ministers, Ministers, television personalities, singers and such;

3) Meeting foreign delegates whom I either managed to garner businesses from or connect with clients of mine who were also there at the same time;

4) Promoting my books either among delegates or dignitaries;
5) To a lesser extent, manage to get to know new culture (and food);

6) Actually had a mini-reunion with a few of my schoolmates who have now become Malaysia foreign service officers;

Was it worth? Short answer : Yes. Long answer : Depends on what I do with all the contacts I have found there.

Here's the link to my book fanpage to see whom I have given my book to :

Malaysian personalities and my book

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