MUSCAT — The Open Minds, the leadership forum, opened yesterday at Al Bustan Palace Hotel with a packed auditorium and inspiring speakers.
Tom Whittaker inaugurated the conference with a journey of perseverance that took him to the top of Mount Everest on his prosthetic foot. Now he has his mind set on the Seventh Summit and that is the Antarctica.
Whittaker spoke about how Open Mind as a platform is important to bring out ideas to encourage the entrepreneurs. He said courage, resilience and persistence are the factors that will take you to success. “People will only invest in big bold ideas and not in little ideas,” pointed out Whittaker. “Quality of people makes Oman a home and not a house,” added the adventurer who is looking forward to explore the deserts of Oman.
Tonny Wheeler, the founder of the Lonely Planet who has been in Oman before in 2006, took the audience from the start of his enterprising trips across the globe that led him and his wife Maureen Wheeler to create a travel identity known as the Lonely Planet.
Speaking to Oman Observer, Wheeler, said just looking out of the Airline window gave him an idea of Oman’s potential in adventure tourism. “Oman is not for someone to sit and watch but to go out and explore,” he added.
Omani speaker Khalfan al Esry urged every successful person or business person to take at least ten young entrepreneurs on board to mentor them. “It is important for the youth to succeed and take the right path,” said Al Esry. He said 70 per cent of Oman’s population is below 30 years of age. And we have to invest in the young minds to avoid unemployment in the future. He urged the youth to dream big and aspire high, unleash one’s own talent, transform the talent into skills and hold on tight to the values because the world is suffering from moral bankruptcy.
In terms of education, he said, “We need to have education that engages the mind and just feeding information is not enough.” To a question from audience on education he answered, “If you want to change the fruits, change the roots.”
Sir Jeffery Archer had the whole auditorium responding to his question, “Are you really entrepreneurs?” He differentiated the scenario of a person with talent and energy compared to a person with no talent and high energy and high talent and no energy. A person with talent and no energy will end up being a pauper he pointed out. “Hard work is the secret of reaching the top,” emphasised Sir Archer.
The speaker who had the audience urging him to sing was Sami Yusuf who spoke on the needs of the youth. “Zeal is what is needed,” he said. “Without believing in oneself it is simply hard to achieve,” he added.
Looking at the speakers they are all individuals who are all in the midst of ongoing projects. Tom Whittaker is looking out for his next adventure, Tony Wheeler is writing his books, Khalfan al Esry with his inspiring words to be recorded into a book soon, Jeffery Archer with his new work a series called Cliffton Chronicles, and Sami Yusuf all set to launch on September 12, his new album called, ‘The Centre.’