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Dear Members & Friends,

Although I’m not a fan of inclement weather, as Storm Gareth, or Hannah depending on when you read this, gathers momentum I am grateful for the welcome diversion it provides to UK politics. Though like you I am really conscious of the sea of uncertainty and tumult it brings to the delivery of business on a daily base at the moment. In planning terms the political storm’s track is unhelpfully not clear – whether it will bring destruction or the worst veer away.

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At home in Grafton Street on Wednesday, The D Group welcomed Charles Gibbons of The Francis Crick Institute to discuss '5G'. Until very recently, Charles was the Chief Domain Architect at BT and was at the forefront of their 5G roll-out. Clearly, the applications of 5G will transform the way society operates as it allows greater penetration and coverage of data. It is not about speed as many of us thought. There was much blue sky thinking of the application of this technology and what future applications will involve. We wish Charles all the best with his new role at The Francis Crick Institute.

In a similar vein I met with Pearson, the UK education giant and new BEI member, this week. We discussed some of the possible implications of an increasingly digital approach in the classroom and what might be some of the challenges related to that. How much technological delivery should we embrace and who makes the judgement on when to draw a line? To this end we will be developing a series of events with this topic in mind and hope that many of you will join us to explore and debate a subject that impacts our own families as well as the communities many of us work with in developing parts of the world. There are potentially some really significant opportunities here as many of you know.

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Due to Parliamentary commitments, the D Group lunch with Chris Grayling, Secretary of State for the Department of Transport, due to take place on Thursday was postponed. An efficient transport system based on a coherent long term plan must be an essential plank of a post- Brexit domestic policy . Whilst we work to get the SoS back we look forward to both the chair of Transport for the North in June and the DEPT of Transport Permanent Sec in September.

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At times of certain uncertainty, it is good to have something positive to look forward to. The 2019 BEI Awards Dinner is next month and certainly one such event. Our President, His Royal Highness The Duke of Gloucester will help us present the winners their awards, assisted by Baroness Fairhead CBE, Minister of Export and Trade Promotion at DIT, who will deliver our keynote speech. Collaboration and positive social impact are just two key themes of the awards showcasing successful projects that straddle neighbouring countries, and overcome cultural, legal and economic differences as well as obstacles such as challenges in security, poor healthcare and immense poverty. Booking is open and we look forward to seeing you all. Last year’s event was fabulous which, we of course, are aiming to repeat and take to the next level.

Best wishes for a weekend of decent rugby and some solid R&R.

With best wishes,

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Tracey Smith
CEO, British Expertise International


Event highlights:

Wednesday 20th March – The D Group
What is AI actually being used for today? – A discussion on real case studies
Adrian Gregory, CEO UK & Ireland, Atos

Thursday 21st March – Strategy International
Networking Reception: Celebrating Nauryz
Strategy International & D-Contemporary – Drinks Reception

Monday 25th March – British Expertise
Turkmenistan: Briefing with British Embassy ahead of TUKTIC
Ronald Nash, Co-Chair, TUKTIC
HE Thorda Abbott-Watt, British Ambassador to Turkmenistan
Arslan Garryyev, Head of International Trade, British Embassy in Ashgabat

Tuesday 26th March – The D Group
UK-Turkey Relations
H.E Ümit Yalçınn Turkish Ambassador, Embassy of Turkey, London

Wednesday 17th April 2019 – BEI Awards
British Expertise International Awards 2019