An award ceremony was organised today in Abu Dhabi for 30 young UAE talents who graduated as part of the first cohort of the Global Future Trade Leaders programme, a three-month training course developed by the Ministry of Economy in conjunction with Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) to equip participants with the skills necessary to drive forward the nation’s foreign trade agenda.

The graduation ceremony was attended by His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Foreign Trade, the Chair of MC13, His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Director General of the World Trade Organization.

The graduation ceremony was held on the eve of the 13th Ministerial Conference (MC13), the World Trade Organization’s topmost decision-making body, which is taking place in Abu Dhabi from February 26-29. Preparations for the event, which gathers global ministers and government officials from 164 Member States to review, refine and update the rules governing global trade, formed a key part of the Global Future Trade Leaders Program’s curriculum.

During the graduation ceremony, His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Foreign Trade has congratulated the graduates and highlighted the central role of foreign trade in the UAE’s national vision, which seeks to develop an agile, adaptable, and diversified economy built on knowledge and innovation. Additionally, he emphasized the importance of the nation’s next generation in expanding the UAE’s status as a trade hub and champion of open, rules-based trade as a driver of long-term growth and development.

His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi said: “The UAE is a compelling example of trade’s power to elevate economies and provide a pathway to long-term, sustainable prosperity. In a rapidly evolving world, the ability of the global trading system to keep delivering growth and opportunity will depend on the next generation of trade professionals. Their talent, leadership and commitment to open, rules-based trade will ensure every nation around the world will continue to benefit from the free flow of goods, services, and ideas.

“The Global Future Trade Leaders Program is designed to equip our young trade strategists with the skills and knowledge necessary to cultivate a modern, inclusive, and sustainable global trading system, offering them hands-on, real-world experience of global trade issues. I offer my utmost congratulations on their successful completion of the program and look forward to their continued contribution to our national vision.”

His Excellency Ahmed Jasim Al Zaabi, Chairman of ADDED, said: “The graduation of the first cohort of the Global Future Trade Leaders programme is a milestone in our journey to equip our talents with the skills to enhance UAE’s status as a leading trade hub, and in accelerating our transition to a smart, diversified, and sustainable economy”.

“Trade is an integral part of UAE’s development. The free flow of goods, services, and people has shaped our history and continue to drive our progress as we forge ahead with efforts to cement the UAE’s position as a leading global hub for trade, business, and investments. To this end, we believe the right talents and skills are paramount. The graduates of this program will enable UAE representatives to reach innovative solutions to global trade challenges at the upcoming WTO Ministerial Conference in Abu Dhabi”.

Supported by the Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy (AGDA), the UAE’s official Education Partner as host of MC13, the Global Future Trade Leaders programme saw candidates participate in a series of masterclass sessions led by experts from international and national entities including the WTO, World Economic Forum, UNCTAD, OECD and Anwar Gargash Diplomatic Academy. Subjects covered a range of trade-related topics from trade policy and financing to digital and sustainable trade.