Dubai, UAE October 26th 2017- The Global Women in Leadership Economic Forum concluded its 19th session on the evening of Thursday October 26th reaffirming its role as a torch-bearer for championing diversity as the cornerstone of sustainable economic development. Organized by Naseba and held under the patronage of His Excellency Sultan Bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the forum acknowledged the gender gap in the region as an obstacle hindering female leadership now holding 2 percent of board seats in the GCC[1].

At the heart of the discussions was also the inclusion of people with disabilities which still constitutes a challenge for many organizations. Therefore, Roche Diagnostics Middle East teamed up with Naseba and the SEDRA Foundation to launch an Inclusive Internship Program, which aims to dispel misconceptions about the contributions of persons with intellectual, cognitive or mental health-related disabilities, provide a tangible example for other organizations to follow and ignite critical conversations around inclusion.

As one of the very few companies who moved the needle, Roche Diagnostics Middle East was recognized by the forum for its “Outstanding Contribution to Inclusion” after launching an internship program for determined youth with Down syndrome. “Bringing together all kinds of talents and ideas under one roof is at the heart of what we do at Roche. That is how we are able to learn together, from each other, and remain at the forefront of innovation. With a culture of positive reinforcement and skill development, we unlock the true potential of our employees and bring out the best in each one”, said Harald Wolf, General Manager at Roche Diagnostics Middle East.

“It has been a great experience working with Roche Diagnostics Middle East on the Inclusive Internship Program. We applaud them for being the very first organisation in this region to come on-board. It is vital that businesses such as Roche continue to support diversity and inclusion by putting the structure in place to empower all citizens to reach their full economic potential.” Sophie Le Ray, CEO, Naseba and founder of the Global WIL Economic Forum.

“This commitment requires dedication and is best when diversity is not bound to gender, but also encompasses different capabilities, age groups, backgrounds, skill sets, and beyond. We are proud to provide a platform for determined talents and hope others are inspired to broaden their definitions to include all colors of the spectrum”, he concluded.

Inclusion in the workplace touches a company at the very core level, which is why finding the right partner to guide the organization is critical. “We see, that changing economies entail greater challenges in particular for young adults with disabilities. SEDRA believes in a participative process to develop and monitor our programs for an inclusive workplace. Tripartite partnerships are an evidence-proven concept to involve equally companies, people of determination with their families, as well as SEDRA as the inclusion facilitator. Once started, the navigation of an inclusive project needs all hands on deck and ongoing communication among all parties”, comments Renate Baur-Richter, Program Manager at SEDRA.

Wolf also highlighted the company’s commitment to endorse women in leadership within the organization: “Over 30 percent of our leadership team and over 20 percent of our overall team across the region are women”.

Throughout the year and over these two days, the Global Women in Leadership Forum celebrates the big and small steps taken by large corporations, governments and individuals to promote diversity & inclusion and shares the stories of every day heroes, storytellers and game changers.

A vocal champion of diversity & inclusion and leading this inclusive internship at Roche Diagnostics Middle East is Maysoun Ramadan, Head of Communications and Public Affairs, who commented: “For Diversity & Inclusion initiatives to be successful and sustainable, it must start with a clear commitment from senior leadership but also embedded in the fabric of the organization’s culture and lived through every single employee.  This is where the role of communications plays a crucial role in sharing our learnings. We hope to lead by example in this space and inspire other businesses to embrace these values and enrich their operations by creating more diverse and inclusive work environments.” 

Roche have taken the unprecedented move of being the first IVD company to have a Management Centre and a logistics hub in the Middle East. Roche has extended its ownership of the entire supply chain, quality control and customer support all the way into the centre of the region. This base of operations reinforces the commitment to global Roche standards and is driven by a full team of vastly experienced specialists offering a complete portfolio of services.

With this regional empowerment, Roche has moved its leadership and decision-making closer to its customers and distributors. These investments allow Roche Diagnostics Middle East to develop from being a supplier into becoming the preferred IVD partner for its customers.

Roche Diagnostics Middle East offers a complete portfolio of services in 16 countries: UAE, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya and Maldives.

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Endorsed by the UAE Ministry of Economy for the past four years, the 19th Global WIL Economic Forum is bringing together over 500 global business leaders, policy-makers, entrepreneurs, NGOs, artists and youth to champion diversity as the cornerstone of sustainable economic development.

Held under the theme “The Butterfly Effect – From Intent to Impact”, this edition places a particular focus on enacting social change through collective action. Designed to drive action, the program leverages the experience of regional and international leaders to give attendees a roadmap to further their personal development, and equip organisations with the tools to make a difference.

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SEDRA Foundation for inclusion is the Abu Dhabi hub for the most current inclusive research and best practices within a global perspective based on the Human Rights Framework of the Convention on the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) assisting the local community emerge by 2030 as a world class sustainable model for an inclusive society removing socio-cultural, economic or political barriers to full and equal participation in all aspects of community life.

SEDRA facilitates inclusion through 5 key program areas: Education, Research, Awareness & Community Support, Family Support and Employment. SEDRA, a non-profit organization act as management consultants for public & private institutions and enablers empowering children, teenagers and adults with disabilities and their families.

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  1. According to Deloitte’sreport issued in July 2017

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