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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 12 December 2018

Open-mindedness key to modern geopolitics, Tony Blair tells students at NYU Abu Dhabi 

The former UK prime minister urged students to work together for a better future as the global leaders of tomorrow

Tony Blair spoke to a class at NYUAD, telling students that the leaders of the future needed to be open-minded. Christopher Pike
Tony Blair spoke to a class at NYUAD, telling students that the leaders of the future needed to be open-minded. Christopher Pike

Open-mindedness will be the most significant factor in geopolitics in the 21st century, former British prime minister Tony Blair said at a lecture to New York University (NYU) students in Abu Dhabi yesterday.

Speaking as part of a course called The Language of Business taught by American political consultant and pollster Frank Luntz, Mr Blair urged students to work together for a better future as the global leaders of tomorrow.

He said: “We desperately need the next generation of leaders to understand how interconnected the world is set to become. [Future leaders] have to hold the ability to sit together, to work together, to understand one another and come to common solutions.

Former UK prime minister Tony Blair at New York University Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike for NYUAD
Former UK prime minister Tony Blair at New York University Abu Dhabi on Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi. Christopher Pike for NYUAD

“The political distinction between an open-minded approach and a close-minded approach is the single most significant factor set to define geopolitics in the 21st century. It is open-mindedness that will turn threats into opportunities.”

Mr Lunz commended NYU for its internationalism, adding: “There is no leader more international than Tony Blair. If we are to solve the world's challenges, it will start with Tony Blair and it will happen at NYU Abu Dhabi."

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Alfred Bloom, NYUAD vice chancellor, said it was an “immense privilege” for the university to hear from Mr Blair.

Mr Blair was prime minister of the UK between 1997 and 2007, presiding over the invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Between 2007 and 2015, he was special envoy of the quartet on the Middle East.