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Sharjah Leadership Program Participants in Italy to Learn Strategy and Innovation from Top Academic and Business Entities











The 11th edition of the Sharjah Leadership Program (SLP) took its 30 participants for field training and intensive study to Italy’s largest metropolis, Milan, to offer them a global perspective on best practices in leadership and business management. Special emphasis was laid on understanding international leadership and organisational behaviour requirements within intercultural contexts. Having this expertise is key to the success of next generation Emirati leaders, given the UAE’s multicultural population represented by over 200 nationalities. 

The five-month professional programme organised by Sharjah for Capability Development (SCD), commenced in January 2019. 

This year, SCD appointed the prestigious SDA Bocconi School of Management as their international academic partner for SLP. An intensive five-day course in leadership and management at the school, with special emphasis on the workings of both in an intercultural context, made up the first leg of the Italy visit for SLP participants.   

The school ranks seventh, globally, in executive education. The university’s curriculum in business management and leadership is shaped by the university’s 170+ partnerships and exchange programmes with colleges from 48 countries wordwide.

The second leg of the visit played out in the busy Italian metropolis of Milan. It encompassed visits to major Italian companies like world-class luxury car company, Lamborghini - leading manufacturer of sports and racing cars; designer Federico Sangalli’s haute couture store ‘Sangalli’ in the heart of the city; Talent Garden; Milan State Archives, Italy’s public record office built in 1608 and holds prized state treasures; Turismo Milano; Building Energy and Design Group Italia.

Participants also spent time with city branding and development experts, discussing Milan’s efforts in establishing itself as a hub of heritage, creativity and design. One of the highlights of their trip was a meeting with senior officials from Expo Milano 2015, during which they gained valuable insights into how the cultural and economic landscape of Milan and Italy have been changing since they hosted the prestigious global event. 

Continuing its efforts to develop the capabilities of the current generation of Emirati leaders in the UAE, SLP 2019 running under the theme, ‘Leading with Knowledge and Imagination’, has participants from both the nation’s public and private sectors. The programme is a key component of SCD’s overarching strategy to fuel Sharjah and UAE’s efforts to equip and empower national human capital. 

Her Excellency Reem bin Karam, Member of the Board of Trustees of Rubu Qarn Foundation for Creating Leaders and Innovators said: “The partnership with SDA Bocconi aims to develop the leadership skills of these Emirati employees and nurture their experience in their respective fields of specialisation. It seeks to foster creativity in organisations, enhance the innovation environment in Sharjah, and raise the capabilities of future leaders. 

“Therfeore, we wanted to offer to the SLP participants, a unique platform to learn about some of the most successful experiences in leadership, management and organisational behaviour – showing them how these details function within an intercultural dynamic. This would help us achieve one of the objectives of the programme, which is to enhance the expertise of young human capital in Sharjah and prepare them to play a key role in driving the development process of UAE,” BinKaram added. 

Professor Grando, SDA Professor, Operations & Technology Management noted: “One of our school’s strategic goals is to grow, strengthen and diversify our programmes through international collaborations. The partnership with SCD follows from this strategy. The result of this partnership is the birth of an international programme co-designed to offer leading expertise to a team of young leaders in the UAE, who are already bringing excellence and innovation to their respective fields.”

Thanos Papadimitriou, Program Director and Professor at the Operations and Technology Management Unit at SDA Bocconi, set the tone for the week of training with his topic, ‘innovation’. According to Professor Papadimitriou, innovation is the most necessary, value-adding activity, he says, “individuals and organisations need to internalise innovation. It’s no longer a desirable skill, but a prerequisite for long-term survival and growth.”

The five-day programme created for SLP participants by the SDA Bocconi School faculty also included modules onhigh-performance team management, resilience gaining, building creative confidence and design-thinking methodology.

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