By Sunil Lalvani
A YPO member since 2003
By definition, all YPO members are successful, at least by financial measure, but what comes beyond that?
At the YPO EDGE in Dubai last week, we were again honoured to have some outstanding speakers and presentations, of which many were punctuated with a common theme of the challenges we face in our world today. These vary from civil war and the refugee crisis, to rapidly depleting natural resources and our insatiable hunger to consume them at an increasing rate.
It was somewhat encouraging to see people of influence and ability embrace these issues wholeheartedly and be proposing solutions.
From an environment perspective, there were contrarian views. Some like Mina Guli (Thirst) and Andre Borschberg (Solar Impulse) talk about conservation of resource and the necessity to use less power and water, whereas others such as Eric Anderson (Planetary Resources) profess that we can just gather newer and more abundant resources by harvesting low orbiting asteroids, for example.
Outrageous as that may sound, another recurring theme throughout the EDGE was that if we don’t think big, we have no hope to even achieve anything small, and we may even achieve the big goal we aim for.
That was so articulately highlighted by his Highness Sheikh Mohamed, Ruler of Dubai, who shared that his vision for Dubai is nowhere near complete as he continuously dreams bigger and better all the time. “Impossible” is not a word that Dubai has in its vocabulary.
The issues of security were also openly addressed and discussed, again with differing views on what the solution might be. The shocking horrors of war, terrorism and human trafficking were brought home, highlighting that these are issues that must be addressed and not be swept under the carpet. A powerful presentation by Bassam Aramin (Palestinian) and Rami Elhanan (Israeli) of the Parents Circle Families Forum showed us that there can be alternate ways to tackle age-old conflicts. These two gentlemen both lost children due to war and today call each other “brother”. They see beyond political barriers and seek a solution based on love and humanity.
The truth is, that for all these issues, there is no right answer. Listening to all the differing views, there is a lot of sense from every side and solutions will come as a blend of all of them.
We are living in an age of turmoil and are destroying this planet at an alarming rate. As governments sit and debate, there is a real opportunity for the business community and especially those in YPO who comprise the most powerful and influential leaders in the world to drive change through their businesses, networks and connections.
Maybe that is the next stage of our success!
Sunil Lalvani is the founder and CEO of Project Maji, a social enterprise focused on delivering sustainable rural water across Africa. You can follow his blog on www.sunilsworld.com or on Twitter @sunils_world. He joined YPO in 2003 and is a member of the Emirates and Russia Chapters. Project Maji’s website will soon be available at www.projectmaji.org.