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It’s a special moment in UITP when a new President is elected to serve their mandate, and since becoming President in 2021, Khalid ALHOGAIL has been working to advance our association.
With a record-breaking number of members, the President plays a key role in advocating for the public transport sector around the world.
These past twelve months have been another busy period for UITP, as we begin to bring our members together once more for physical events, produce more publications, lead more projects, and continue to advance sustainable urban mobility across the globe.
As the conversation turns to what lies ahead for public transport, the 2022 editions of the MENA Transport Congress and Exhibition and IT-TRANS brought record numbers together, with the President leading the UITP delegations to discuss and debate the future of our sector.
Now, as UITP hosts the 2022 General Assembly, we’re spending some time with the President to gather his thoughts on the past year, and what’s next for UITP and urban mobility…
Q: As we acknowledge your one year anniversary as President, do you have any stand-out moments you can share with us?
It was a great honour for me to be voted in as President of UITP. It’s an association I have a long history of involvement with, and becoming its President was a task I was pleased to take on with dedication and drive. I know how many wonderful, hard-working people there are within the public transport sector and as UITP is a member-led association, I knew that I would get many opportunities to meet with them. I think these moments are likely the stand-out occasions from the past twelve months – getting to interact and engage with the members. I have met many interesting people, and listened to their ideas and thoughts on what the future of our sector can be. It will be these collective approaches that move UITP and public transport forward in the coming months and years.
Q: How important has it been for UITP to be able to bring our members together once again for physical gatherings?
When the pandemic began, UITP was very quick to react to solving the issue of how best to bring our members together to discuss the necessary issues. This involved, for the vast majority of the first two years of the pandemic, virtual gatherings. These exchanges, in the form of both digital events and webinars, were very successful in fostering an environment of open debate. However, something is always missing when the conversation is not a face-to-face exchange. Our sector is driven by its sense of community, and it is the people in public transport who make it what it is. When circumstances allowed, and we could bring people back together again, first at the MENA Congress in Dubai, then IT-TRANS just last month in Europe, you could feel a change in the exchanges: our colleagues had missed being together in person. What resulted from those gatherings, was like-minded people, with a vision to advance the sector they are committed to, excitedly exchanging ideas and talking points to make sure public transport comes out the other side stronger, better, bigger. So much of this just cannot be done in the same way online, therefore leading the UITP delegations at two major events where the global membership could reunite was a great honour for me.
Across the next twelve months I will be taking forward UITP’s objectives and aims to deliver what will hopefully be another banner year of achievements…
Q: What do you think you will be focusing on in the next twelve months in your role as President?
The next twelve months are not only an important time for the public transport sector, but for UITP as an association. We have grown the membership during the pandemic to record numbers, and this development comes with both a sense of accomplishment, and expectation. It’s an impressive achievement, and it means that we have even more members who now look to UITP to lead the next steps in the sector. Continuing to build back better is more important than ever before, and public transport needs to be front and centre in the conversation on developing our cities for everyone. I will be meeting with more members, in more places around the world in the coming year, and will be ready and willing to hear their ideas for their association and the sector. After all, UITP belongs to the members. Their input is of great value to me as President. Across the next twelve months I will be taking forward UITP’s objectives and aims to deliver what will hopefully be a banner year of achievements. A year that will see the sector gather for the UITP Global Summit, the largest event of its kind dedicated to urban mobility, next year in Barcelona. From now, up until then, I will be working hard to make sure UITP is in the very best position to answer all of the crucial questions on the table next year.
Q: And finally, as the UITP global team celebrate with our members at the General Assembly and Annual Reception, do you have a special message you would like to share with them?
I am fortunate in my role as President that I get to exchange with both association members and colleagues alike. I get to regularly meet members, whether as part of UITP Boards or at events, and their dedication to the sector, and to UITP, is always clear. As an association, UITP is blessed to have many hard working colleagues around the world, moving sustainable urban mobility forward each and every day. It brings me a great sense of joy when I get to interact with the UITP team, and to see their hard work up close. I want to thank them for their warm welcome of me as their President, and for their dedication during this past year, and beyond. I hope the celebration at the Annual Reception is a sign of things to come – and to successful times ahead!
Thank you to the President for his time and words, and we’ll hear more in the months to come.
Stay connected to our channels for a very special ‘On the Spot‘ video interview with the President!