Leadership Conference Program

About the Leadership Conference

The Leadership Conference program is an initiative of the United Arab Emirates Ministry of Defence (MOD) to contribute to national and international debate and discourse on contemporary national and international security challenges. It seeks to establish and promote relationships with the MOD’s partner organisations across the whole UAE Government, other nations and the private sector.

The next conference in the series takes a new direction to consider how the UAE might prepare itself for future national security crises. This event will take the form of the first ever digital event to be held by the MOD on 16 November 2020 under the title “Defence in Resilient Nations, Beyond 2020”

You can watch the live event

About the 2020 Event

Defence in Resilient Nations, Beyond 2020

16 November, 11AM GST

It’s almost impossible to discuss any aspect of life today without referring to COVID-19. The pandemic has disrupted and reshaped society in countless ways from healthcare systems to the way work is done. It highlighted the fact that modern threats don’t discriminate or stay within neatly defined boundaries or national borders.


The question that remains is: against this backdrop, how can nations (and the world at large) develop the capability to protect their citizens against future threats?


The 2020 Leadership Conference (16 November 2020) will explore how the United Arab Emirates and other nations might prepare for future national security crises, and will consider what the COVID-19 experience can teach us about national resilience.


Join current and future leaders of the UAE national security community and prominent international, regional and local experts to:

  • Discuss how contemporary threats pose lasting challenges to ‘Normal’ ways of life, and do not stay within clear boundaries or national borders.
  • Explore what national resilience means in the context of contemporary threats, and how it can be built and strengthened.
  • Consider the role that Defence can play to build national resilience, and to support national response to non-military threats
  • Learn how the UAE Armed Forces contributed to the national COVID-19 response

Message from the Minister

H.E Mohammed Al Bowardi

Minister of State for Defence Affairs

The spread of pandemics was not among the scenarios or topics we discussed in previous conferences. In practice, we have learned that their consequences are very serious, posing real threats to human life, as well as disrupting various vital functions in nations. Therefore, joint international efforts are required to confront and contain this common danger.

As we conduct the fifth round of the Ministry of Defence’s annual Leadership Conference, the entire world is confronting a real threat to humanity: a threat that goes beyond the consequences of conventional wars and battles. It is the spread of the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), which has become a common enemy for mankind.

The challenge faced by the nations of the world in the past eight months as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic is complex in its effects and repercussions. The crisis has called upon us to reflect deeply on ways to fight the pandemic and adapt to the challenging conditions it has imposed, to search for ways to restore a suitable national life with the least detriment; and, most importantly, to prepare for future challenges that could be more complex in nature than the current one.

Our real goal should be preparing nations to face such challenges in the future and remain highly resilient. We must protect our countries’ existence and find ways to recover from such crises rapidly. The paper published by the Ministry of Defence in November 2020 highlights the nature of the current crisis and the complexities it has produced. It also invites us to learn the lessons from this crisis and think ahead to face future, similar but more complex crises. I invite you to read the paper, available here. I look forward to hearing your contributions to this important discussion in the Ministry’s conference in November.


Concept Paper




المرونة الوطنية ودور الدفاع

المرونة الوطنية ودور الدفاع