The ceremony, at the Palazzo Versace Dubai, was held under the patronage of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, and the Royal Patron of the Awards Ceremony since 2007.
Winners included Khaldoon Al Mubarak, Group CEO and Managing Director of Mubadala who received the "Global Asian Award", and Dr. Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, was awarded the "Social Influencer Award".
Other winners from the UAE included Fahad Al Gergawi, Chief Executive Officer, Dubai Investment Development Agency, who received the "Ambassador Of Commerce Award", Mona Al Marri, Director-General at the Government of Dubai Media Office, who took the "Trailblazer Award", and Mohamed Al Shihhi, Under-Secretary at the Ministry of Economy, who was given the "Rising Star Award."
International winners included Tun Abdullah Badawi, Former Prime Minister of Malaysia, who received the "Statesman Award", and Lord Meghnad Desai, Emeritus Professor of Economics at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who was awarded with the "Business Economist Award".
The opening address was given by Kamal Nath, Former Union Cabinet Minister, Government of India, who introduced the theme for ABLF 2016, "Heroes of the Innovation Economy", and spoke about how the real heroes are the "disruptors" in the industry.
"Disruptors constantly create new economic realities. A start-up with a supporting venture capitalist and a great idea can potentially bring a giant corporation to its knees, to make its business model obsolete in a matter of weeks," he said.
Addressing the winners during his keynote address, Sheikh Nahyan said, "The Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, knows full well the heroic qualities that distinguish you. They are precisely the qualities that he has promoted in the spectacular development of Dubai."
"This seventh edition of ABLF Awards is respectfully dedicated to Sheikh Mohammed, who himself is an exemplary hero of the innovation economy. And although you may not know Sheikh Mohammed, you certainly know Dubai, a global crossroads where the world does business. Sheikh Mohammed has made Dubai a perfect setting for you heroes of the innovation economy."
Also speaking was former Indonesian President, Dr. Susilo Yudhoyono, who said, "ABLF is a very relevant platform in an important region of the world. It brings together Asia’s leaders to exchange knowledge and collaborate with the intent of developing intra-Asia partnerships that support overall economic and social development. I extend hearty congratulations to this year’s award recipients and hope to be able to join in at the prestigious platform next year in Dubai."
In her acceptance speech, Mona Al Marri said, "I am honoured to receive the ABLF Trailblazer Award. This recognition is a testament to Arab media’s high level of professional competency. In the UAE, we are on point with the latest international media trends, innovating constantly, both strategically and sustainably, to stay ahead."
Khaldoon Al Mubarak said, "I would like to thank the ABLF for this great honour and for carrying out extremely important work by celebrating dialogue and cooperation to deliver growth for the region."