THE Global Transformation Forum (GTF) 2017, held at Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre on March 22-23 was a huge success, and attracted a full house audience of 3000 delegates from 17 countries.
Organised by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (PEMANDU), the forum featured many global icons – from world leaders, to policymakers, heads of industries and international experts, in a collective dialogue all under one roof.
Among the international speakers who were present to lead and inspire include: Alibaba Group Founder and Executive Chairman Jack Ma, Olympic sprint champion Usain Bolt, Virgin group founder Richard Branson, author of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ Chris Gardner, and winner of 13 Formula One Grand Prix races David Coulthard, and many others.
Themed “Driving Transformation,” the stellar line-up of speakers showed how they overcome adversity by setting seemingly impossible targets, having a clear end game, and instilling the discipline of action. Participants also got the opportunity to learn first-hand from experiences of the speakers, for a contextually richer and more complete understanding of how transformation can be achieved.
With an allocation of RM15 million from the government, the forum also showcased exhibitions from Tanzania, South Africa, Oman, India and selected corporate bodies.
Pemandu president and CEO Datuk Seri Idris Jala, who was pleased with the outcome said: “GTF is the world’s singular platform for influential, global leaders to engage and share experiences and best practices on how to drive transformation at three distinct levels – governments, businesses and individuals, “It is also an opportunity for participants to engage in open and honest dialogue with business owners, political leaders and iconic celebrities.”
He added open dialogue unleashes creativity and allows participants to discover new possibilities and opportunities in a collaborative environment.
The first instalment of GTF in 2015, featured actor-turned politician Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Administrator of the United Nations Development Programme and Prime Minister of New Zealand Helen Clark, six-time winner of FIFA’s ‘Best Referee of the Year’ Pierluigi Collina, and Starbucks co-founder Zev Siegl.
Judging from feedback, Jala said the second installment of the leadership conference is even more successful than the first, as it brought in more keynote speakers compared to the first, and touches almost every subject from personal development, to entrepreneurship and good governance.
“The increasingly borderless world demanded that change be effected at multiple levels to transform lives, societies, economies, and even in the `Pursuit of Happyness.’ And these secrets were shared by our guest speakers who have been there and done that,” he said during his closing speech.
Having said that, Chris Gardner, 63, whose memoir `The Pursuit of Happyness’ was made into a film starring Will Smith in 2006, was the first speaker at GTF 2017. He was so impressed by the event that he wrote an open letter praising Malaysia, and said:
“At this point in my life, I’ve been blessed to have visited and spoken in 80 countries, and I can say with no hesitation that the warmth, spirit and hospitality of the Malaysian people is beyond anything I’ve ever experienced anywhere on the planet.
“I was particularly impressed with the energy, passion and drive that I saw reflected in the faces of young Malaysians, “It excites me to meet and interact with people who will soon be leaders not just of Malaysia or South-East Asia but the world,” he added.
Going back to the drawing board to plan for GTF 2019, Jala said he wants Kuala Lumpur to be like Davos in Switzerland, which holds the largest conference in the world, with the most iconic speakers to share their thoughts and business stories. “Innovation and change do not just happen overnight.
Transformation is about walking the talk, and learning how to put the best plans into action, “The next forum in 2019 would see GTF bring more women to share their successful stories, including the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series’ J.K. Rowling,” he said, adding that the world would be a far better place if it engages in the process of transformation.
Last but not least, GTF 2017 also provided a networking platform for participants to broaden their perspective by meeting people across industries and leaving the conference with many new friends and contacts in the industry.