Club de Madrid Secretary General Visits Abu Dhabi to Strengthen Engagement with UAE

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, 10 April 2024. Club de Madrid, the independent, non-partisan, non-profit organisation created to promote good governance, global cooperation, dialogue and advocacy on issues of global concern, embarked on a visit to strengthen its relationship with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and chart a path for enhanced collaboration across the Middle East.

Maria Elena Agüero, Secretary General of Club de Madrid, paid a two-day visit to Abu Dhabi, during which she engaged in high-level discussions with government dignitaries, influential business figures, and representatives from diverse civil society entities. Exchanges centred around the Club de Madrid’s ongoing initiatives, including its most recent activities in the UAE and the Middle East, while also exploring avenues for broader and deeper engagement in the region.

A highlight of the visit was a vibrant iftar gathering hosted by Dr Alain Baron, Club de Madrid’s Leading President’s Circle Member for the Middle East, at his residence in Abu Dhabi, and co-hosted by Ms Agüero, HE Arthur Mattli, Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE and Imam Hassen Chalghoumi, head of the French Conference of Imams who also travelled to Abu Dhabi for the event. The iftar brought together nearly 100 guests, including a broad spectrum of leaders and influencers from the region, an exceptional congregation that readily lent itself to nurturing new and existing exchanges within a framework and in a spirit of tolerance and shared objectives.

Reflecting on the UAE’s clear commitment to multilateralism, Ms Aguero emphasised the nation’s growing role on the global stage and Club de Madrid’s interest in exploring greater collaboration in this and other areas. She noted “Club de Madrid’s unique capacity to deploy the individual and collective governance experience of a network of seasoned leaders, former heads of state and government, dedicated to promoting the rule of law, good governance, sustainable and inclusive development, the principles and value of effective multilateralism and peace. By creating spaces for frank and open dialogue, Club de Madrid Members build bridges amongst state and non-state actors, advocating for the adoption of forward-looking public policies to address challenges as diverse as digital transformation, climate change, social inclusion, or the reform of the multilateral system.”

Dr Alain Baron, founder of Numismatica Genevensis SA, a Swiss company that specialises in numismatic excellence, and the curator of the ‘Coins of Islam’ exhibition at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre under the patronage of HH Sheikha Fatima, expressed his enthusiasm and commitment to strengthened ties between Club de Madrid and the UAE. He added, “Club de Madrid has an exceptional ability to not only connect people from different countries, cultures and religions but also build bridges between the past, present and future. There is a lot that we can achieve together, and I look forward to extending our engagement during the year ahead”.

Imam Hassen Chalgoumi welcomed guests at the iftar saying that the UAE stands as a beacon of peace and stability in the Middle East during a difficult period marked by extremist threats. He praised HH Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, for his leadership and drew attention to the UAE’s example of successfully countering extremism with education, tolerant religious speech, and commitment to the rule of law and true Islamic values.

With a membership comprising 124 former presidents and prime ministers from over 70 countries, Club de Madrid stands as the largest assembly of its kind globally. Notable engagements in the UAE, including participation in key events such as COP28, the World Government Summit, and the Abu Dhabi Culture Summit, underscore the organisation’s commitment to fostering positive change in the region and beyond.


From left to right: HE Ali Al-Nuaimi, Dr Alain Baron, HE Saeed Al-Shamsi, HE Maria Aguero, Imam Hassen Chalgoumi, HE Ambassador Marc Sievers, HE Ambassador Arthur Mattli, Marwan Almheiri