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Collaboration: The Fuel Driving The UAE's Diverse, Sustainable, Ever-Ambitious Future "Collaboration, cooperation, and connection are at the heart of the UAE's remarkable story."

By Rania Rostom

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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I'm not an Emirati woman, but I'm a woman who has lived in the UAE since I was four years old. I grew up here. I have spent most of my professional career here, and I raised a family here. I have been a witness to, and a participant in, the enormous change and progress the UAE has achieved and the future vision it is pursuing. The UAE is my home.

I have always admired the country's determination to grow and develop, as well as its ambition to foster diversity in the widest, most inclusive forms- including gender diversity.

So, I was not surprised that the theme for this year's Emirati Women's Day was "we collaborate for tomorrow." Collaboration, cooperation, and connection are at the heart of the UAE's remarkable story, because collaboration is the fuel that drives so much creativity and innovation.

Plus, collaboration, creativity, and innovation will also be crucial to helping the UAE (and world) address climate change. That is why this year's theme of Emirati Women's Day is also a nod to the "Year of Sustainability" in the UAE.

It also speaks to the country's hosting of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change -aka COP28- later this year in November and December– an event that is set to be the most consequential Conference of the Parties since the Paris Agreement.

I am confident of the success of COP28, precisely because of this focus on collaboration. With all stakeholders invited to participate, the gathering will find solutions to deliver the rapid reductions in carbon emissions we need during this "decade of action."

At GE, we know that collaboration is an effective tool to generate creative solutions because this is how we operate as a company. We know that bringing different parties together results in better outcomes and smarter solutions.

Whether we are working for our customers or for our communities, working together creates opportunities. We see this through public private partnerships, and we see this when contributing to the local community through our projects over the years to support entrepreneurship, innovation, climate education, and women in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).

Related: The Critical Role Green Social Entrepreneurs Need To (And Should) Play At Upcoming COP Meetings

As part of one multi-year initiative, we have led a series of youth innovation challenges in the UAE and across the region. The most recent was hosted alongside the UAE Independent Climate Change Accelerators (UICCA), and the youth workforce readiness non-profit, INJAZ UAE. It engaged around 100 university students from the UAE, 70% of whom were women. This powerful example of collaboration challenged the students to use critical thinking skills to come up with innovative solutions to the UAE's energy transition.

We can lead such events, because we are a 130-year-old technology and innovation company. We continue to innovate in aviation with GE Aerospace and energy with GE Vernova– two fields absolutely essential to the sustainable future of the planet. The UAE knows better than most how aviation is a key pillar of economic growth, and that ensuring a livable planet and sustainable future depends on a successful energy transition.

The UAE also knows better than most how important is diversity as well as the full participation of women in all aspects of national life. It is why we are celebrating Emirati Women's Day today, and why the nation regularly highlights its many female leaders in government, business and beyond. It's no accident that two-thirds of the COP28 leadership team is female, reflecting the country's understanding that diverse voices are essential to breaking the gridlock of climate action.

GE shares this commitment, as I do personally. Nearly 20 years ago, when I joined GE, I brought the GE Women's Network -the company's global employee affinity group- to GE's operations in the UAE and wider the Middle East. In the years since, the organization has grown and expanded, serving not only women at GE, but, through collaborations with other companies and government entities, female students and professional women in organizations across the region.

Through our ongoing work to innovate, create, and build a world that works, we are aware that in the UAE, we benefit from an incredible canvas that the country has created, where we can experiment and be innovative, and benefit from an openness to diversity and diverse ways of thinking and doing things.

This environment, alongside a government imperative to achieve more -and improve more- resonates with me, because this is how GE operates as well. We recognize, like the UAE, that there is always so much more to do.

Looking to the future, I can say with confidence that collaboration -locally and globally- will continue the build of an even better, more inclusive, more sustainable future for the country and its people.

Related: Shaping Our Present (And Our Future): Why We Must Celebrate Emirati Women's Day In The UAE

Rania Rostom is the Head of Global Communications and Marketing at GE.

Rania has more than 25 years of industry experience, and currently leads global marketing and communications and talent development for GE, as well as customer education. She is responsible for brand, thought leadership, and reputation across international markets, including strategic positioning on key initiatives such as sustainability, diversity and inclusion, stakeholder partnerships, and others. In her customer education role, she focuses on supporting organizations with transformative journeys, driving innovation and organizational change.

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