Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair spoke yesterday with NYU Abu Dhabi students as part of “The Language of Business,” a special January Term (J-Term) course taught by Frank Luntz, the prominent American political consultant and pollster. Following a far-ranging conversation with Mr. Luntz, Mr. Blair fielded questions from many of the more than 200 students in attendance.
The Language of Business course focuses on how to identify and apply the most effective business language and communication techniques in real-world settings.
“We desperately need the next generation of leaders to understand how interconnected the world is set to become. They have to hold the ability to sit together, to work together, to understand one another and come to common solutions. This 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, and crises into a future that works for people. Here at NYU Abu Dhabi, you have a remarkable opportunity to be part of that future,” said Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“There is no educational institution as international as NYU Abu Dhabi, and 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." Frank Luntz emphasized. Speaking to the students, Mr. Luntz said, “Your commitment to the Middle East is unprecedented. You give me hope that there are solutions, that there are people who will make a difference and who have the courage to stand up for their convictions even when it seems impossible. This commitment has created an environment like no other place.”
Luntz’s course materials focused on fundamentals of public communication in the real world by analyzing videos, articles in current newspapers, magazines and online sources. Students also read Luntz’s book, Win: The Key Principles to Take Your Business from Ordinary to Extraordinary. The syllabus also included former U.S. Secretary of State Donald Rumsfeld’s Rumsfeld’s Rules: Leadership Lessons in Business, Politics, War and Life, and Chip and Dan Heath’s Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Thrive and Others Die.
NYUAD Vice Chancellor Al Bloom said, “It was an immense privilege for our students, faculty, and institution to hear from former British Prime Minister Tony Blair. His own commitment to look beyond our own shores, seek to understand others, and to interact with them with sensitivity and complexity so deeply reinforces our own."