2016 in quotes: the best innovators in sport, business and art

Follow 14 of the most inspirational quotes from Vision.ae from the past 12 months


‘Volunteerism makes me a stronger professional. “We can all make a difference even with the tiniest event. What volunteers deny themselves – because they don’t want to seem selfish – is how they can benefit from this. What better way to grow yourself, while helping others? I encourage all of you to move forward and while creating this idea, set some goals for yourself. You learn gratitude, passion, creativity, efficiency to maximise your resources to get the most funds for charity and become more courageous. Why don’t we make volunteerism a part of professional development?’

Tuan Nguyen, a Vietnamese- Canadian philanthropist and entrepreneur

‘A third of volunteers do not return the following year because they don’t feel like they’re making a difference. At Repair The World we gear work towards having an impact and connect direct service to contextual education and reflection. People don’t just mindlessly help, they learn to understand why their help is needed, and the impacts this has on peoples’ lives. It allows for personal reflection because volunteers then think about what helping means to them personally. We want meaningful service to not only have a social impact, but also a transformative impact on those volunteering.’

David Eisner, CEO and President of NPO Repair The World

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Millennials place social change at the top of what they want to accomplish in life, says David Eisner

Innovation & Learning

‘Basically, what I created was a new way to detect pancreatic, ovarian and lung cancer that costs 3 cents and takes five minutes to run. This makes it 168 times faster, over 26,000 times less expensive and over 400 times more sensitive than our current methods of detection. I honestly just used Google and Wikipedia for basically, all the information that I needed to do this test and research.’

Jack Andraka, researcher at Stanford University

‘From primary care units to radiology centres and labs, it will be very challenging to follow the conventional model of building infrastructure and services in future. The solution? We leapfrog healthcare through innovative models and services including telemedicine, teleradiology and primary-care triage. Who knows, before long Mr Zuckerberg could be making another trip to East Africa – this time for a masterclass in digital health.’

Roland Daher, head of Dubai 100 digital health accelerator

‘The impossible takes time. It’s more than a project; it has become a part of our lives. An adventure, without being scientific, is not interesting for me. I’m not the guy who wants to run up mountains, or run across the desert. I like to fly and for this you need science.’

Pilot Betrand Piccard is the first man to fly 40,000km around the world without fuel in a solar powered aircraft

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Bertrand Piccard completed a historic round-the-world solar flight

‘For many people changing your mind means you’re wishy-washy. They see it as a sign of weakness and stupidity. But not Steve (Jobs). He famously changed his mind in the late 2000s, when he realised that making the iPhone a closed system, impenetrable to standalone applications was a no-go. That was a very public reversal and the right way to go for the product and for consumers overall. When you realise you’re wrong, change your mind and if you need to, change your path.’

Guy Kawasaki, Silicon venture capitalist and former technology ‘evangelist’ at Apple, working with Steve Jobs

‘To have given the audacious goal of putting something around Mars within five years or so: that’s a moon landing for sure. It’s a really hard thing to do, but if you don’t challenge people they won’t rise to the challenge: I think it’s a great idea. It’s not easy, but we’re not exploring the universe because it’s easy. If you don’t give your young people a challenge that is on the edge of the impossible, they’ll go somewhere where one of those exists. The real key is to give yourself an impossible goal.’

Chris Hadfield is a Canadian astronaut who took YouTube by storm with a cover of David Bowie’s Space Oddity filmed in orbit

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Chris Hadfield engaged the audience at the 2016 Emirates Airline Festival of Literature

Art and Culture

‘I’ve been in entertainment for a good 15 years now. I wish it were as overnight for me as it was for everyone else. It’s like when people go skydiving; you don’t see them training on the ground or in the wind tunnels, you just see the person jumping out of the plane and it seems pretty spectacular. I love it, though. The hard work keeps me going.’ 

Trevor Noah is a comedian and hosts The Daily Show

‘A quick browse through Google Maps today will still reveal Greenland to be the same size as South America, even though in reality it is eight times smaller. The maps that we use every day are not accurate. I wanted to question the simple visual element of the line,” says Gamal. “Once it’s put on a map, it transforms into something that has so much value. People believe in its objectivity.’

Yosra Gamal’s project for the Dubai Design Week Global Grad Show uses maps to alter our perceptions of society, history and geography

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As anchor, Trevor Noah has taken The Daily Show in a new direction, engaging younger audiences


‘It’s a state of extreme mental perception that you can only experience with these types of activities. You’re so connected to the present – there is no future, there is no past. It’s about finding that moment when you are close to death, close to the basic part of your being.’

Daniel Hernan-Perez Aguilera works part-time as an instructor for Skydive Dubai and as a fire fighter. He trained as a paratrooper when he was 18

‘I think squash is an unbelievable spectator sport. You’re witnessing something that is so fast-paced and there’s something always happening. It’s so high energy, it keeps you on your toes it keeps you thinking and always looking, you have no idea where the ball is going. I’ve gotten a lot of my friends who don’t know what squash is in college to play and as soon as they did they were hooked and they watch all the time. Hopefully more people when they see squash they will just fall in love with it.’

Harvard graduate Amanda Sobhy's work ethic has propelled the US Number One into the squash pantheon battling in front of the Burj Khalifa at the PSA Dubai World Series Finals

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Daniel Hernan-Perez Aguilera consistently seeks out extreme experiences throughout his life, even working as a firefighter for his day job


‘The answer to unemployment is not attracting foreign investment, or grants. It’s cultivating SMEs. The government’s role is to create an enabling environment for growth. Fix that, and we can fix unemployment. My ultimate dream is to see a self-sustainable continent, where we don’t depend on aid and are a centre of innovation. I’m excited about taking Africa to Silicon Valley, not the other way around.’

Ashish Thakkar rose from teenage entrepreneur to founder of a US$100m multinational conglomerate

‘If you are only thinking about the knowledge you’re gaining today in the short term then you will never stand out. You won’t be a leader in the future. A true leader considers not only the present moment, but also what will happen 10 or 20 years from now. Don’t be too utilitarian, listen to your heart, and never forget your dream.’

Wang Shi, founder and chairman of China Vanke

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Wang Shi is Founder and Chairman of China Vanke, the largest residential real estate enterprise in China