Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Crown Price of Bahrain

Yesterday evening the Crown Prince of Bahrain spoke at INSEAD. It seems as though he happened to be in town to meet with Singapore officials, and one of the students at INSEAD had some sort of connection and was able to get him to come to school. He and his HUGE entourage. There were tons of cars...and vans...and motorcycles.

He gave a speech that loosely talked about Bahrain's development compared to Singapore's. It was a really interesting perspective. He talked about corrupt development/leadership vs. responsible leadership. He talked about Bahrain in terms of the Middle East as well as where the Middle East is standing with the current financial crisis (the answer is that they're nearly unaffected).

His speech was interesting, but then he had time to answer questions, and he was excellent! (not just because he's an "Excellency"). He talked about ethical behaviors and policies with regard to foreign workers and their naturalization. He talked about his country's sustainable development - and training local talent for local leadership positions in the future. His responses were really realistic and really responsible. I was impressed.

I couldn't help but think about what it would have looked like if Mr. W. were the one speaking in that auditorium. I think the speech part would have been fine (other than a few mispronunciations and the fact that I wouldn't agree with anything he said), but I just couldn't imagine what it would look like if he were answering questions from INSEAD students. Oy - I would feel bad for him...which I can't believe. He just couldn't do it. Now - look at the influence and power of Bahrain compared to the US. So sad.

One more fact - this man is so young. His birthday is literally one day before Jer's. (21 Oct 1974).

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