posted on 22/05/2013
Burj Al Arab, the world's most luxurious hotel, won two esteemed Ultimate Luxury Travel Related Awards (ULTRAs) in the ‘Best Hotel in the World' and ‘Best Hotel in the Middle East' categories at the ULTRA Award Ceremony held at The Dorchester hotel in London on Monday.
The ULTRAs reflect the combined opinions of the readers of Ultratravel - the Daily Telegraph's luxury travel magazine. The awards recognise the best luxury hotels, airlines, cruise companies, spas and destinations from all over the world. This year, the organisers have expanded the number of entry categories and added ‘Best Hotel in the World' classification, crowning Burj Al Arab with the title.
"We are honoured to be named the Best Hotel in the World and delighted to be recognised and voted again the Best Hotel in the Middle East by Ultratravel readers,” said Heinrich Morio, Burj Al Arab's general manager. "This kind of feedback serves as a source of inspiration and shows that - despite the steep competition - we are still the preferred choice and a must-visit destination for discerning travellers worldwide.”
Burj Al Arab has been voted the Best Hotel in the Middle East in Ultratravel readers' survey for the past six years. The list of all ULTRAs winners will be published in the summer edition of Ultratravel magazine on June 1. – Emirates 24|7
posted on 22/05/2013
Dubai is reinforcing its position as a destination of choice for cruise tourism by welcoming newly renovated luxury liner, Mariner of the Seas on its maiden call to the emirate.
The liner, a member of Royal Caribbean International's cruise line fleet, arrived at Port Rashid on Tuesday to a traditional welcome ceremony, organised by Dubai Cruise Tourism, a department of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM).
"Dubai is increasingly consolidating its position as a destination of choice for cruise tourism,” said Ahmad Belhoul, CEO of strategy and tourism sector development at DTCM. "In 2012 we received 105 ship calls carrying almost 408,000 visitors and expect this figure to increase to more than 420,000 from 110 ship calls this year. This will continue to increase in 2014 and 2015 with an annual growth rate that is in line with the projected global cruise tourist growth of 3 per cent and we are looking forward to receiving over 450,000 passengers in 2015.”
Discussing the reasons behind Dubai's steep increase in popularity as a cruise destination, Belhoul accredited the sector's growth to the combination of meticulous planning, judicious infrastructure development and targeted investment, combined with Dubai's global appeal as a tourism destination. Dubai Cruise Tourism currently operates three facilities on a pier stretch of 1900 meters that can accommodate up to six cruise ships simultaneously, making it the most advanced and largest cruise tourism facility in the Middle East.
"Dubai is currently the homeport for four luxury cruise lines and features in the itineraries of no less than 20 of the world's leading cruise lines. Since Royal Caribbean International first started its operations in the Middle East, choosing Dubai as its homeport in the region, we have developed a highly successful working relationship and so are very pleased to be able to welcome the beautiful Mariner of the Seas on its journey to the Far East,” said Belhoul. "We look forward to continuing to work together and foresee many more prosperous cruise seasons in the future.”
Lakshmi Durai, executive director of Royal Caribbean International Middle East, said: "Mariner of the Seas is one of the biggest cruise ships to arrive in Dubai yet from our fleet and belongs to the Voyager class of ships that revolutionised the cruise industry by introducing the active cruise vacation, through debuting innovations such as the first onboard ice-skating rink and rock-climbing wall.”
When asked whether the recent economic downturn had affected Royal Caribbean International's operations, Durai revealed that the company had to cut down on their prices since their yield was down but that the company had recovered fairly quickly.
"We didn't have to compromise much and we are having a fabulous year so far,” Durai told Khaleej Times.
Durai also revealed that the company would be adding two new ships, under the Quantum series, to its fleet in the coming years. – Khaleej Times
posted on 22/05/2013
With a refreshed identity and enhanced entertainment offerings, SummerFest Abu Dhabi - an upgrade of the emirate's annual summer promotion - has been expanded into a 52-day extravaganza spanning mid-summer, the Holy Month of Ramadan, Eid Al Fitr and the destination's traditional EidFest celebrations.
Running June 27 to August 17, SummerFest Abu Dhabi will revolve around a family-friendly hub of edutainment activities, world-class shows and exciting international performances spread over four action-packed halls at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), while an exciting line-up of Arabic concerts, dual-language comedy nights, theatre productions and celebrity-driven sport activations will also roll-out at du Forum on Yas Island.
Having attracted 100,393 guests to ADNEC during last year's festival - a 9.4% increase on 2011 - Abu Dhabi Tourism '&' Culture Authority (TCA Abu Dhabi), the event organiser, predicted the longest-ever ADNEC schedule and diverse bill of du Forums events will woo record crowds.
At ADNEC, a gigantic, three-storey Obstacle Course is the biggest in the festival's history. A perennial favourite with children of all ages, this year's course features rock climbing walls, zip lines, a maze, towers 10 metres in the air and covers a mammoth 40m-by-20m plot. After negotiating the Obstacle Course, kids can make a beeline for the Extreme Tower Bag Jump and fly off a 10-metre board into an inflatable, 10m-by-10m safety mattress.
A live-action Cartoon Network Village will boast life-size, replica sets and interactive games featuring a magical line-up of much-loved characters from the region's most popular cartoon TV network, while a dedicated LEGO Zone will give visitors the chance to recreate the Abu Dhabi skyline.
New this year is the Open Stage, where audiences can sit on beanbags and watch hourly mini-shows featuring the jaw-dropping genius of the Bubble Man, toddler-friendly Balloon Caricaturists and other thrilling stunt-based performances.
Show World kicks off with two consecutive regional premieres. First-up, the Lazy Town live show will get kids out their seats and active during its June 27 to July 3 run, before much-loved Bananas in Pyjamas duo, B1 and B2, take-over for their side-splitting Banana-rific production from July 4 - 9.
At du Forum, a cache of popular English-speaking Arabic comedians will have audiences in stitches in early July, before theatre productions, stage performances and sport-based coaching clinics and tournaments roll out during Ramadan. The region's leading Arabic singers will then usher in Eid Al Fitr celebrations from August 9-10 to round out a Yas Island schedule tailored for regional audiences.
With the stars of SummerFest Abu Dhabi due to make crowd-pulling appearances at malls across the emirate, Abu Dhabi's shopping centres, hotels and attractions are getting in on the act and activating their own seasonal promotions. Al Forsan International Sports Resort, the multi-sport facility behind Abu Dhabi Golf Club, will host a series of summer camps from 10th July to 3rd August.
The new SummerFest Abu Dhabi website (http://www.summerfestabudhabi.ae) goes live in early June, when the full calendar of du Forum and ADNEC events and activities - including the much-anticipated Show World line-up - as well as ticket information and du Forum show prices will be revealed. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
Thousands of young people have been coming forward to recognise their own personal heroes by making nominations for Abu Dhabi Awards 2013.
Abu Dhabi Award is a biennial ceremony that honours and recognises individuals who have contributed in building a greater sense of community and social welfare within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The Government of Abu Dhabi chooses the most compassionate individuals who have selflessly volunteered their time to build and support the community of Abu Dhabi. It was established under the guidance and auspices of Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Now, children as young as six through to university students have been heading to nomination stands and going online to nominate people they feel have really made a difference to Abu Dhabi.
Among them was teenage Emirati figure skater Zahra Lari, who took to the ice to make her nomination along with other members of the Abu Dhabi ice skating team.
"This is all about local heroes who do not usually get recognition being made to feel special and it's great to be involved,” said Zahra, who made history when she became the first ever female Emirati to compete internationally in figure skating.
"It was also fantastic fun to get the nomination drop box onto the ice and have everyone making a nomination.”
The Abu Dhabi Awards fleet has been on the road since April 21 when nominations opened, travelling to schools and universities across the entire emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Volunteers will continue the youth programme until nominations close on May 31 with permanent stands also staying up in busy student locations such as Zayed University.
Youngsters in Al Ain and the Western Region are also getting involved by nominating those who are doing good deeds in the local community.
"I nominated one of my teachers who helped me so much last year,” said nine-year-old Calum Wilson.
"I filled in the form at the shopping mall but some of my family have been doing it online at home and they nominated lots of different people here in Abu Dhabi.”
To nominate and for more information go to http://www.abudhabiawards.ae. – The Gulf Today
posted on 22/05/2013
On May 30, Mohammed Kazem will become the first UAE artist to represent his country at the Venice Biennale in a solo show. He has been developing his contemporary practice since the 1980s when, at the age of 14, he met Hassan Sharif, the nation's first modern artist who was producing experimental installations and performance work – at a time when even the skyscrapers had not been built, let alone the whisperings of a contemporary art scene.
Now, in a leap of generations, Kazem's multimedia work will show in Venice for six months and, closer to home, Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde (IVDE) in Dubai is showing a selection of his work in their latest exhibition, Poetics and Meanings.
Directions of Scale
Walk into Gallery IVDE and the first thing you'll see is Scale. It is a large installation of many industrial devices – used for weighing meat at wholesale butchers – hanging from each other, with all the weight taken by only one.
"This concept is about all these phenomena happening in the Middle East and the Arab world at the moment,” Kazem says. "Everyone wants the power and it is pulling down on a few people.”
But on the gallery's back wall is a collection of photographs of Kazem's steps in the desert. They are part of the Directions series that he has been working on since 1999. Essentially, Kazem takes a GPS reading at every point where his foot falls and he collects various data as well as the actual material (sand or rocks) from where he was standing. He is keeping it for a larger installation yet to be realised.
The two pieces could not be more different, yet they summarise Kazem's work. "I use two aspects in my work, objectivity and subjectivity,” he says. "Sometimes I raise a social or political issue and escalate it to a specific area; on the other hand, I have many pieces that are just related to my thoughts and the way I look at nature.”
Walking on Water in Venice
The show in Venice is presented under the title Walking on Water, which is actually the name of a piece Kazem conceived in Germany. The rest of the details are under wraps until the show opens. Talking about the work, Kazem is continually drawn to the story of his own development.
"In the 1980s, I was a painter and I was very influenced by Impressionism. Then in the 1990s, I was studying music and I started my Scratches series, which was a way of seeing and visualising sound. I was composing on the surface of the paper and I was searching for harmony.
"By 1999, I started with Directions, which is about existentialism about myself and where I am going. It is a continuing project, I will keep going with it until I die.”
In the rear area of the gallery, portioned off by a temporary wall, is a new work called Nurses. It is a pattern of coloured canvas squares, installed at random to form a larger square. He came up with the idea in Philadelphia when, on early morning walks, he used to see nurses dressed in a variety of bright colours.
"It is abstract but it is about the environment I was in and it is about the rhythm of life,” he says.
Kazem's work is displayed in Gallery IVDE with a Belgian artist, Fred Eerdekens, who makes intricate wire sculptures that, when light is cast on them, reveal a reflection or shadow of text. The playful phrases lead the viewer around the gallery and give a poetry to the various mediums within. "Neither myself or Fred have a systematic way of displaying our work, so it works well together,” says Kazem.
• Poetics and Meanings will show at Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde in Alserkal Avenue until June 8. The National- Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/art/the-emirati-artist-mohammed-kazem-to-show-at-the-venice-biennale#ixzz2Tzkw5q7P
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posted on 22/05/2013
As part of its outreach campaign to increase the number and quality of submissions from the African continent, the Zayed Future Energy Prize participated at the Clean Power Africa conference at African Utility Week in Cape Town, South Africa, from 14th - 15th May, 2013.
Submissions for this year's edition are open until 5th August for all five categories of the Prize, including large corporations, small and medium enterprises (SME), non-governmental organisations (NGO), individual lifetime achievement and global high schools.
Last year, the Energy Prize organisers received 54 submissions from Africa, with the Kirya Secondary School in Tanzania emerging as winners of the US$100,000 Global High Schools Prize for the Africa region.
Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, Director of the Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: "Africa represents a large growth potential in the renewable energy sector, and is consequently a key outreach market for the Prize. The continent's estimated population is expected to double by 2050. This would make it imperative for total energy production to grow exponentially in order to meet escalating demand. Renewable energy offers a cost-effective solution especially in remote, off-grid areas and can also be efficiently utilised for extending electrification grids. Through the Zayed Future Energy Prize, we are keen to encourage and reward organisations, schools and individuals seeking renewable energy solutions across the continent. Accelerating sustainable development across the world will enable us to honour the legacy of our late founding father, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, the namesake of the Prize, who prioritised sustainable living across all spheres of life." Represented by its Director, Dr Nawal Al-Hosany, the Zayed Future Energy Prize engagement included a brief address to the conference attendees. Dr Al-Hosany explained the Prize's mandate and objectives - emphasising that the Prize is part of a larger initiative toward diversifying the energy mix by the UAE government. She also chaired a panel discussion entitled Addressing Africa's Energy and Water Needs - Where Do We Begin.' Masdar, Abu Dhabi's renewable energy company that manages the Zayed Future Energy Prize, recently inaugurated a 15-megawatt solar photo-voltaic (PV) power plant in Nouakchott, Mauritania, the largest solar power installation in Africa. The project is the first utility-scale solar power installation in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania, and accounts for 10 percent of Mauritania's grid capacity.
African Utility Week, which includes a Power and Water Exhibition and the Clean Power Africa Conference, brought together over 5,000 experts from the power and water utilities industry, as well as senior policy makers and government officials, including the Minister of Energy for South Africa, Elizabeth Dipuo Peters, and member of the Zayed Future Energy Prize jury.
Winners of the sixth edition of the Prize will be announced at the Zayed Future Energy Prize awards ceremony scheduled for 20th January, 2014 as part of the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) revealed that it has cited more than 1000 violations in the first three months of 2013.
The EAD is a mandated entity in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi for permitting and inspecting development and industrial projects to ensure their adherence to environmental regulations.
EAD's regulatory enforcement role is aimed at maintaining environmental standards in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi. In defining this regulatory benchmark in the Emirate, not only can EAD minimise environmental impact but also help to improve standards alongside the evolving construction, infrastructure and economic landscapes.
EAD utilises education initiatives, targeted outreach and communications to help permit holders understand how they can work in more environmentally-friendly ways without impacting their business.
In light of this effort, EAD has ramped up its inspection activities to ensure environmental compliance across the Emirate and over the last quarter. It issued 287 environmental permits and conducted 291 inspection visits.
Engineer Faisal Al Hammadi, Permitting '&' Inspection Director of the Environment Quality Sector, EAD said: "We are ramping up our inspection efforts to keep in line with the fast-paced development that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi is witnessing.
We ensure that we are fulfilling our obligation towards the environment not only through permitting, but also by conducting rigorous and random inspections to ensure that the wellbeing of the environment is kept at the heart of operations in both industrial and developmental projects."
The top three most common violations cited by EAD at industrial and developmental projects were: inefficient recordkeeping and staff training; the transfer of hazardous materials and their storage and handling on sites and; safety and emergency response protocols in case of accidents.
The remaining violations observed include the use of combustion units on work sites and the related preparation and processes for their operation; noise pollution as well as; solid waste and waste water management.
To enhance its inspections process, EAD has introduced an innovative system to record and monitor compliance at facilities and projects. It uses the Onsite Assessment, Compliance and Inspection System (OACIS) for the electronic collection, analysis and storage of data. Since its introduction, the system has helped to make the information collation process more time and resource efficient in order to allow EAD to focus on minimising environmental impact across the Emirate.
After EAD's inspectors conduct their inspection visits, recommendations are made on the best mitigation measures a project owner can adopt, which allows the inspection team to work closely with them to assist in making the necessary changes.
To ensure customers are aware of the compliance process, EAD spends time on each compliance visit informing factory owners and developers of their obligations and how to work in more eco-friendly ways.
EAD has published a set of standard operating procedures and guidelines online to help developers, consultants and other stakeholders to stay up-to-date on the environmental permitting requirements and guidelines. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
London: The UAE-British Business Council 4th meeting, co-chaired by Nasser Ahmed Alsuwaidi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Lord Marland, Chairman of UK Trade '&' Investment's Business Ambassadors' Group '&' Minister of the Department of Energy '&' Climate Change of the UK, and Samir Brikho, Chief Executive of AMEC and Head of the British group in the UAE-British Business Council, in presence of Council members from both sides, opened in Manchester yesterday.
The meeting discussed many topics on its agenda, notably the activation of teams from the two sides in fields of energy, education, health, infrastructure, business and finance, and SMEs.
In his opening speech, Nasser Alsuwaidi said: "Our Council is holding its fourth meeting today and addresses with great ambition many common issues which form the essential foundation for the furtherance and development of economic relations between the two friendly countries in various sectors and strategic areas".
Alsuwaidi noted that the Council's 4th meeting in the commercial and industrial city of Manchester enhances efforts to focus on creating more opportunities for investment and joint cooperation between the two sides in many strategic sectors, adding that all this is in line with major goals of the Council to boost bilateral trade volume between the two countries in goods and services from the current level of £ 7.5 billion to £12 billion by 2015.
The Chairman of Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development stressed the keenness of the UAE to create a solid and sustainable partnership with the United Kingdom, and to benefit from UK experience to enhancing the role of SMEs, to which the working groups of the Council attaches great importance, besides the major fields including energy, industry, education, health and defence, which are pivotal to the development of partnership relations between the two countries.
The Council meeting focused on the implementation of the outcomes of the previous meetings of the Joint Economic Committee between the two countries, which emphasised the importance of activating and developing SMEs, strengthening the role of multinational corporations and proposing innovative areas of economic and commercial cooperation to benefit both countries; in addition to opportunities for British and Emirati companies to jointly tap third markets.
The UAE-British Business Council, which operates under the umbrella of the Joint Economic Committee of the two countries, personifies the aspirations of the Governments of the two countries to create real interaction and consolidation between the private sector in the UAE and the UK, through the provision of the appropriate platforms for implementation of investment development projects beneficial to both sides.
The Council meeting was aimed at shaping the outcome of the meetings of the seven joint working groups in areas of education and training, defence and security, energy, financial services, health, infrastructure, and small and medium-sized enterprises and business incubators, which achieved significant progress through ideas and visions suitable for a wide range of practical application, to reflect common objectives and begin implementation of the truly key pillar partnership of the private sector.
Nasser Alsuwaidi said that the fourth meeting of the Council was important, as the Council convened today to explore the visions shared by joint teams, which marked a starting point for solid cooperation between the two countries. He stressed that joint decisions were important to take a new path towards launching a package of joint investment projects in many sectors.
Alsuwaidi noted that the UAE now stands as an important economic centre in the Middle East, and that the IMF expects the growth of real GDP to range between 3.1% and 3.6% by the end of this year, as the Financial Times FDI Report 2012 stated that the UAE attracted the largest number of investment projects in the Middle East and Africa last year.
Alsuwaidi added that a law issued by the President, His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, regarding the tax and customs free Abu Dhabi World Market at the Al-Maryah Island Free Zone, is a great opportunity to redirect British investments towards important sectors, where market licensed institutions practice many activities, including financial and banking services.
Nasser Alsuwaidi noted that the recent visit of his Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the United Kingdom at the kind invitation of the Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, yielded historic results that would contribute to the strengthening and development of the historical relations between the two countries.
"This historic visit of his Highness provided the solid ground and the right environment for the UAE-British Business Council meeting yesterday, in particular the President's meeting with British Prime Minister David Cameron, since its agenda was the focus of the two Governments" Alsuwaidi said.
Lord Marland said that political and economic relations between his country and the UAE have become stronger, in view of the development of joint trade and investment relations between the two sides, adding that the United Kingdom applauds the progress of the UAE's achievements at all levels, especially in economy and trade, as the UAE stands as models for development and growth among the states of the Middle East region.
Samir Brikho, Chief Executive of AMEC, Head of the British Group in the UAE-British Business Council, delivered a speech in which he stressed the importance of the seven joint working groups in many different areas and sectors, and hailed their role in promoting economic cooperation and investment between the two countries.
The Council meeting also focused on the importance of activating the role of SMEs and business incubators, where the Emirati side explained the need for British experience to develop this important sector in the UAE, lauding the role of the Khalifa Fund for Enterprise Development and the Mohammed bin Rashid Establishment for Young Entrepreneurs, which both contribute to the growth and development of these projects at the State level.
The UAE participants in the meeting were Abdulrahman Al Ghurair, Chairman of Dubai Chamber and First Deputy chairman of the Council, Ahmed Mohammed Al Madfaa, Chairman of Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Council's Second Vice-Chairman, Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Chamber, Mohamed Hassan Al Qemzi, CEO of the Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones, Fahad Saeed Al Raqbani, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development, Dr. Saif Sultan Al-Nassiri, Business Manager, Director General of the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company ADNOC, Raja Easa Al Gurg, Executive Director of Easa Al Gurg Group, Marwan Faraj bin Hamoodah, member of the Board of Directors of bin Hamoodah Group, and Suhail Aqeel Al-Banna, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs, Dubai World Ports.
During the meeting, the two sides put emphasis on the education and health sectors, and the role of education and joint health teams in strengthening cooperation, benefiting from accumulated experience through the launching of training courses and specialised institutions.
It was agreed to hold the fifth meeting of the Council in the UAE, with the participation of representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises of the two countries, to participate by organising a joint trade mission to a third country.
The Council continued its work agenda within the meetings of the Joint Economic Committee between the United Kingdom and U.A.E, revising past meetings, notably in investment and trade, and the roles and participation in areas of business community, technical cooperation, information exchange and visas, and follow-up mechanisms with focus on the seven priority sectors for the next phase.
The British side served a dinner in honour of visiting UAE delegation, which was attended by Howard Bernstein - Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, who lauded the UAE- British Business Council's role in strengthening bilateral relations between the two countries in the economic field, expressing confidence that the Council would achieve positive results that will benefit the economic relations between the two countries, especially in promoting trade and economic partnerships.
The members of the delegation of the United Arab Emirates and British sides on the sidelines of the fourth meeting, watched the Manchester City vs Norwich City football match at Etihad Stadium in the final round of the Premier League.
Statistics show that trade between the UAE and Britain continued to increase as the total trade between the two countries reached ?10 billion (Dh59.57 billion) in 2011, an increase of 21% compared to 2010. The two nations aim to achieve a target of bilateral trade of ?12 billion (Dh 71.49 billion) by 2015.
The total number of British companies operating in the UAE has now reached 4,000, with 779 commercial agencies and 4762 British brands, investing in the UAE cover areas of Islamic banking services, exhibitions, conferences, energy, electricity, water desalination, air transport of passengers and goods, gas production, hotels, restaurants, travel, tourism, high technology, information technology and management, planning, supervision and wholesale of telecommunication products, logistic services, cargo transportation services, real estate, aircraft structures and components, industry pottery, ceramics, leisure sectors, sports and money exchange, and the retail sector.
The most important UAE companies investing in United Kingdom include ADNOC, ENOC, Abu Dhabi Commercial Bank (ADCB), Dana Gas Wells, Masdar, the Abu Dhabi Investment Company, Abu Dhabi Exhibition Centre (ADNEC), Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), Abu Dhabi National Energy Company (TAQA), Abu Dhabi National Hotels (ADNH), Abu Dhabi National Insurance Company (ADNIC), Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority (ADTA) and many others. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The International Monetary Fund, or IMF, said on Tuesday that it was confident of Dubai's ability to meet all financial obligations given its track record of successfully managing payment rescheduling.
Masood Ahmed, director of the IMF's Middle East and Central Asia Department, said Dubai government-related entities had so far managed debt rescheduling quite successfully since 2009.
Speaking to reporters, Ahmed said debt levels in Dubai remained high with substantial debt roll to be witnessed over the next few years.
Calling for better communication between the emirate and the investors, Ahmed said Dubai was on track to record a four per cent growth in 2013 on the back of a bounce back in construction and logistics industries.
According to IMF estimates, Dubai and its entities spent about US$113 billion to transform the emirate into a sought-after global tourism and commercial hub.
Ahmed also observed that Dubai needed to keep a moderate pace in its property sector to keep at bay a boom-bust scenario.
Launching IMF's Regional Economic Outlook Update for the Middle East North Africa, Afghanistan, and Pakistan region, or Menap, Ahmed said oil producers were expected to scale back the rate of production from an average of 5.7 per cent in 2012 to 3.2 percent this year.
"This is due to modest global oil demand; however, continued strong public spending is expected to support non-oil growth at comfortable levels in many of these countries.”
Ahmed said the GCC states would see growth ease from six per cent in 2012 to four per cent this year and next.
According to the report, last year's subdued growth in Menap oil importers is expected to improve by three per cent in 2013. However this will not be sufficient to make sizeable inroads into the region's large unemployment pool.
The IMF report also highlights the need for Arab countries in transition, still undergoing social unrest, impaired economic conditions, and complex political transition; to undertake difficult economic policy choices implemented in a socially balanced way.
Ahmed said resolute policy action, across the region, would be necessary this year, for both oil exporter and oil importer countries.
"For Menap oil exporters, further strengthening of fiscal and external positions will be important to reduce their vulnerability to potential material oil price decline.”
The IMF's baseline scenario for oil prices in 2013 is US$100 a barrel, lower than the levels at which Iran, Bahrain and Algeria can balance their budget.
"For Arab countries in transition, decisive policy action will be essential, given diminished fiscal and foreign exchange buffers. Recent subsidy reforms in some countries, paired with measures to implement more targeted social protection, have begun to reduce fiscal and international reserve pressures,” Ahmed said.
Jeff Singer, CEO of DIFC Authority, pointed out that the IMF report indicated the need for job creation in the region and for policymakers to design and implement a bold agenda of structural reforms. – Khaleej Times
posted on 22/05/2013
Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is planning to recruit more than 50 pilots from one of its partner airlines, airberlin.
The move comes as airberlin, Germany's second largest carrier, continues to work through its Turbine business turnaround programme, and as Etihad Airways prepares for significant international expansion.
The recruitment transfers began in April when the first batch of six Boeing 737-rated First Officers arrived in Abu Dhabi to start type-conversion training on to the Boeing 777 at Etihad Airways' Flight Training Centre.
Upon successful completion, the six pilots will undertake line training on the airline's global network, before being fully licensed as type-rated Boeing 777 First Officers.
Further pilot transfers will take place in the coming months, comprising Airbus A320 Captains, Airbus A320 First Officers, Airbus A330 First Officers and Boeing 777 non-rated First Officers.
First Officer Peter Reimers, previously based in Koln for six years with airberlin, and who flew Boeing 737s, said: "It's been a great experience coming to Abu Dhabi. Etihad Airways' fellow staff have been hugely supportive, and I believe this move will help in our career progression. I'm looking forward to eventually flying Boeing 777s." Nils Korte, a fellow former Boeing 737 First Officer at airberlin, said: "This is a great opportunity for us, and we really feel that we are part of the ever expanding Etihad Airways team. The welcome, support, and training in Abu Dhabi have all been superb and we are proof of the benefits of both carriers working together." Etihad Airways' current fleet of 77 Boeing and Airbus aircraft is expected to grow significantly this decade, with more than 90 firm orders for aircraft scheduled for delivery.
James Hogan, Etihad Airways' President and Chief Executive Officer, said: "This development is part of the broader process to strengthen our alliance with equity group partners. With airberlin we are already sharing resources, integrating our fleet programs, aligning our well-experienced personnel, and developing careers." Etihad Airways currently employs over 1,400 pilots, and plans to recruit 1,000 more by 2020. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology yesterday announced that five major Japanese corporations are offering eight-week summer internships in Japan to UAE national students for the second successive year.
The internships are being coordinated by the Japan International Cooperation Centre (JICE), and supported by Japan's Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI).
Sachiko Yamano, President of JICE, said: "The second annual internships offered at five Japanese corporations will enable the students to understand the latest technologies in their respective fields. We hope the students will find the language classes, business etiquette, practices and cultural field-trips encouraging for better interaction with company officials during the internship. We welcome the UAE national students from Masdar Institute to Japan, and hope they will have a productive learning experience throughout their eight-week stay." Dr Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: "The students will intern with major Japanese companies to learn the latest technology in their areas of study, acting as instruments of knowledge transfer. With the support of the UAE's leadership, Masdar Institute continues to create additional learning opportunities overseas for students through the JICE internship. We hope the students will gain fresh insights during their stay in Japan and bring back clean technology expertise that will further contribute to the country's economic growth." – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
Tecom Investments, a subsidiary of Dubai Holding, announced on Tuesday a new operational structure to enable the company to further focus on its core business of developing and operating business parks.
According to Tecom, the implementation of a new structure comes at a time when the region's macroeconomic fundamentals are increasingly positive, offering an opportunity for it to ensure it is strongly positioned to capitalise on Dubai's future growth prospects.
In 2010, Tecom, a diversified conglomerate, realigned its 11 business parks into five industry cluster groups to streamline its operations and to prepare for further business growth.
The five industry cluster groups include Information and Communication Technology; Media; Education; Sciences; and Manufacturing and Logistics. Additionally, a new entity, the Tecom Business Parks Operations has been created.
Under the new structure, Tecom's real estate business will be segmented into three verticals. These will be: Tecom Development & Planning (land, infrastructure and building development); Tecom Freezone Business Parks; and Dubai Industrial City.
Dr Amina Al Rustamani, Group CEO of Tecom Investments, said Tecom is preparing for the next phase of Dubai's impressive growth. "We need to be prepared for this opportunity and with this new company structure we will have clear ownership of each of the key success factors and processes to drive business stability and growth.”
Badr Al Gargawi is now CEO of Tecom Development & Planning where he will manage matters relating to land, infrastructure and building development. Gargawi will be responsible for all master planning, construction, infrastructure, and engineering development in Tecom Investments.
Malek Sultan Al Malek is now CEO of Tecom Freezone Business Parks. Al Malek will be responsible for all Tecom Investments' free zone assets comprising Dubai Internet City, Dubai Outsource Zone, Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, International Media Production Zone, Dubai International Academic City, Dubai Knowledge Village, DuBiotech and Enpark.
Abdulla Belhoul is now CEO of Dubai Industrial City. Belhoul will continue to be responsible for Tecom Investments' onshore assets comprising of offices, logistics facilities, labour accommodation, and industrial land in Dubai Industrial City.
Tecom's business parks are currently providing a home in the Gulf to over 4,500 companies, which range from major multinationals to local start-ups and small firms.
In 2012, Tecom Investments continued to enhance its service offerings resulting in yet another strong year across its business parks. Tecom's performance in 2012 was driven by stable revenues and improved occupancy rates. During 2012, Tecom enjoyed high occupancy rates averaging 95 per cent in Dubai Internet City, Dubai Knowledge Village and Dubai Media City, compared to 88 per cent in 2011. This is significantly higher than Dubai's average occupancy rate of 69 per cent. – Khaleej Times
posted on 22/05/2013
Etisalat Group yesterday launched its first major global Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainability report in a bid to highlight and coordinate philanthropic and community-based activities across its 15 operating countries.
The document, "Etisalat CSR '&' Sustainability Report 2012", was released at the Institute for International Research (IIR) tenth CSR Summit, which is currently running at The Address, Dubai Marina.
In 2012, Etisalat's sustainability and social responsibility strategy evolved as it undertook several commitments to ensure better coordination across its global operations, including a pledge of support to the United Nations Global Compact. It has also published environmental and procurement policies within the report as concrete steps to support UNGC Principles.
The Group has supported more than 40 development, humanitarian and charity projects across its footprint during the said period.
Etisalat has been active in Egypt through many initiatives such as "Origin", a project to help meet the challenges of water security that has been implemented in 19 governorates to date. Other African countries, such as Togo, have had aid contributions split between education and health.
Etisalat has also pursued social development with an emphasis on educational initiatives in countries such as Nigeria.
Aid to Afghanistan for projects of a charitable, social and religious nature includes the distribution of more than 3,000 food packages containing basic food items to needy families in Kabul during the holy month of Ramadan. The company also provided assistance to both Sri Lanka and Pakistan for water projects, sanitation aid, education, as well as aid to orphans. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The Nigerian operation of the UAE telecommunication services operator, Etisalat, has signed a US$1.2 billion (Dh4.4 billion) equivalent medium-term syndicated loan facility, Etisalat said on Monday.
In a mandatory filing to the Abu Dhabi Securities Exchange, Etisalat said the Nigeria operation planned to use the proceeds to "refinance the existing commercial medium-term debt of US$650 million and continue its network rollout across Nigeria.
It added: "The facility has both Naira and US dollar tranches from a consortium of 13 Nigerian banks.
Etisalat has a 40 per cent stake in Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Ltd, which operates in the African country under the name of Etisalat Nigeria
Etisalat's fiscal first quarter net profit post-federal royalty increased one per cent year-on-year to Dh1.83 billion, while revenue increased during the same period 17 per cent to Dh9.60 billion
Analysts say Etisalat's local operations are facing intense competition from rival du and any major profit increase will come only from the foreign operations of Etisalat
Etisalat has operations in 15 countries in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company's international acquisition programme began in earnest in 2004 when it won a second mobile licence in Saudi Arabia. Since then, the company has witnessed rapid expansion that has positioned it as one of the world's fastest growing operators, with subscribers rocketing from four million in 2004 to 141 million in 2013.
Etisalat is in the process of launching fourth-generation long-term evolution (4G LTE) networks in the UAE and Saudi Arabia and it currently owns the Middle East's fastest fixed-line broadband network with speeds of up to 30 mega-bits per second (Mbps). – Gulf News
posted on 22/05/2013
Drydocks World, one of the most renowned and prolific maritime service providers operating from the Middle East, received the "Best Repair Yard" Award at the 6th Marine BizTV International Maritime Awards, organised in conjunction with ShipTek 2013.
The award was received on behalf of the company by Ali bin Towaih, Vice President, Commercial '&' Business Development.
ShipTek, in its 6th year, has set the benchmark for marine sector awards and is the largest so far. The event is comprised of a two-day International Conference on topical issues, an International Maritime Expo, and the Awards Ceremony. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces yesterday hailed the Absher initiative which was conceived and launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan in 2012 to support Emiratisation and create new jobs for skilled Emiratis in the UAE labour market.
He noted that the unique and valuable initiative serves the interests of the nation and nationals as His Highness the President is interested in fulfilling the requirements and aspirations of the national youth and in providing them with all means of stability and dignified life.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed made his remarks at launching of the second phase of the initiative. His Highness the Crown Prince said the initiative of His Highness the President reflects the interest of the wise leadership in bolstering development plans so as to include all economic and social sectors in line with an all-encompassing and integrated strategy.
He noted that the UAE harnessed all its resources in service of Emirati nationals.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed called on all stakeholders of the Absher Initiative to establish real partnerships that contributes to economic development and to reinforce it by national human resources in line with the envisioned progress of the country.
His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed witnessed the signing ceremonies of agreements between the Ministry of Presidential Affairs, which oversees the implementation of the initiative, and a group of sixteen companies and establishments who recently joined the initiative.
The agreements provide for creating 3768 new jobs for Emiratis, out of a total of more than 20000 jobs planned for the next five years.
Sheikh Mohamed met with the representatives of the new stakeholders and wished them success in the move which he hailed as an action that serves the interest of all involved parties.
The ministry will ensure that the graduates have a sufficient period of training and will pay for the cost of training.
Sheikh Mohammed also met with the representatives of the top-performing stakeholders who contributed to the success of the first phase of the Absher Initiative. These include Emirates Airline, Ministry of Education, Etihad Airways, Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC), AL Futtaim Company, Etisalat and Abu Dhabi Sewerage Services Company.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed expressed appreciation of the institutions which cooperated in, and contributed to the implementation of the pioneering initiative. He also hailed the efforts of national institutions and private companies in driving and diversifying the national economy as creating quality jobs for the Emirati youth.
He emphasised that the Initiative will eventually be implemented, with the efforts of all stakeholders. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister and Chairman of the National Media Council (NMC) received the President of the China News Agency (Xinhua), Li Congjun.
During the meeting, Sheikh Abdullah and Congjun discussed media cooperation, mutual visits, and the exchange of news between Emirates News Agency (WAM) and Xinhua, especially in the economy, social and culture areas.
The UAE Foreign Minister stressed the importance of the existing relations between the UAE and China, which witnessed remarkable growth over the last years in the areas of politics, economy, culture and energy.
He noted that the cooperation between the two national news agencies through the exchange of news would further boost tourism and strengthen cooperation ties and friendship between the two countries, as the two peoples would be introduced to each other's culture. "The visit of the President of Xinhua to the UAE will definitely bolster the relations between the two countries", Sheikh Abdullah said, expressing his satisfaction with the cooperation between the two news agencies, especially after the signing of a news cooperation agreement between WAM and Xinhua in 2001
The President of Xinhua thanked the UAE Foreign Minister for his hospitality, noting that Sheikh Abdullah was exerting huge efforts to enhance bilateral relations. He added that the UAE is the biggest market for China's exports.
The Chinese delegation members visited various WAM sections, where they were briefed about work at the editorial, TV news and photo transmission, information and WAM archive sections, as well as new technologies introduced by WAM.
The UAE and China signed the five-year renewable media and cultural agreement in 2001 during the visit of Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed to Beijing. The agreement also covers cooperation in the areas of arts, education and sports. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The Federal National Council (FNC) held today its 13th session of the 2nd term of its 15th legislative chapter under the chairmanship of its Speaker Mohamed Ahmed Al Murr.
Present during the session were H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister, Suhail bin Mohammed Faraj Faris Al Mazrouei, Minister of Energy and Dr Anwar Mohamed Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and for FNC Affairs.
Asked about the national strategy for saving water and energy, the Energy minister, who is also chairman of the Federal Electricity and Water Authority (FEWA), said the authority's strategic plan addresses future needs until 2020. He added that the plan defines a 3-phase project to raise capacity.
"The first phase was completed at a total cost of AED 2.7 billion and resulted in a 52 percent increase in water network and 49 percent increase in water storage capacity. The second phase will be completed by 2014," he said.
Foreign Minister H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan fielded a question about violation of international laws and norms by some embassies in the country by holding direct meetings with private sector organisations and oblige them to obey their instructions and orders.
"The embassies operations are governed by the international law and the Geneva convention which regulates activities of diplomatic missions. The UAE is a signatory of the convention and therefore, any activities (by such embassies) should be carried out in coordination with the ministry of foreign affairs. Otherwise, the ministry will summon the ambassador or charge d'affaires to warn them." Sheikh Abdullah said the Embassy of the Philippines contacted some of the labour supply companies in the country.
"They have the right to make some rules but in the Philippines. They have absolutely no right to infringe the UAE government's regulations." Sheikh Abdullah went on to say that any illegal contacts made by the embassies under and pretext are considered as violations and are not acceptable by the ministry of foreign affairs.
"The ministry of foreign affairs is the key point of contact for the embassies wishing to establish communications with any sector in the country." He urged government and private entities to report any violation by any embassy or foreign diplomats to the ministry.
"The Philippines is not the only country that we can bring workers from. However, the task of any country's mission is to protect interests of its citizens. I can see no harm in what the embassy of Philippines is doing if any labour-related matter is supported by contracts." Asked about the steps taken by the ministry of foreign affairs to secure reciprocal exemption of visa requirement for UAE citizens in 34 countries, Sheikh Abdullah said the UAE was getting positive signals on this. He added that following the recent visit of President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the UK, the government there pledged to consider the issue this year, while contacts with some EU countries were progressing.
In his capacity as Chairman of the National media Council (NMC), Sheikh Abdullah answered a question about misleading advertisements and the steps taken to regulate advertisement.
Sheikh Abdullah said the media in the UAE is governed by the publications law. He added that the NMC has been playing a pivotal role in reflecting the true picture.
"I agree with several points and remarks made by the FNC about the NMC strategy, its role in developing the media sector and in Emiratisation. The development of NMC has already begun with the an approval by the ministerial commission for services in February of a draft resolution to amend the organisation structure of the council. An advisory board for the council was formed in March." Sheikh Abdullah said the rate of Emiratisation at the NMC is expected to increase this year to 71 percent from 61 in 2012. He added that future plans may include creation of a high level media training academy for as part of the Emiratisation efforts in the media sector.
The plans also include improving performance of the Emirates News Agency. He praised the authorities initiative of inviting local press to cover the sessions of the national security trial.
"This is an unprecedented step that reflects transparency and freedom granted to the local media. You can read the uncensored reports about court proceedings, some of which are even sensitive." - Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of International Cooperation and Development, has held extensive talks with the Singaporean Minister for Foreign Affairs, K. Shanmugam and his delegation, on ways to support efforts in international development, stimulating the response to crises and providing emergency humanitarian support to those affected, in cooperation with international humanitarian organisations.
Sheikha Lubna said that the UAE is always looking to strengthen its partnerships with countries in order to alleviate the suffering of people affected by humanitarian crises, and building on the directives of its wise leadership, of the importance of global partnerships in resolving humanitarian issues.
She noted that the UAE is one of the most active countries in the world in terms of its response to the need for provision of support and assistance to those affected by such crises, as well as its efforts to provide development support and improving livelihoods in many poor countries in the world.
Sheikha Lubna highlighted the UAE delivery mechanisms for development and support through humanitarian infrastructures in poor countries, providing a capacity for building and development of road networks, building schools and hospitals, and creating job opportunities through development projects.
She also highlighted the efforts of the UAE in alleviating the suffering of refugees in various countries around the world through the establishment of camps, providing the displaced with all the means for a dignified life, through the adoption of a qualitative and holistic approach to providing humanitarian services, citing as an example the Noor Dubai Foundation, which is treating people with blindness in poor countries.
Sheikha Lubna also praised the work of the Abu Dhabi Fund for Development and the Red Crescent Authority, who are also contributing to the construction of housing units in urban areas in many countries. The "Dubai Cares" philanthropic organisation is creating educational opportunities in many countries of the world, which reflect the position of the UAE on the world map.
Meanwhile, the Singaporean Foreign Minister praised the UAE's efforts in international development and drew attention to global recognition of its contributions, stressing his own country's aspiration to take advantage of the UAE's experiences, highlighting the strategies and mechanisms to provide support from Singapore, which is focused on technical capacity building in poor countries and providing missions and study programs for the people of those countries. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, has visited Syrian refugees in Lebanon on her first humanitarian visit following her designation as Eminent Advocate for refugee children by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).
The humanitarian trip comes against the backdrop of a continued influx of refugees fleeing the two-year conflict in Syria, with the UNHCR projecting that one million refugees will have crossed into Lebanon by 31st December, 2013. To date, 463,000 refugees have been assisted by the UNHCR and its partners, although 102,000 of these are still awaiting registration to become documented refugees in Lebanon.
H.H. Sheikha Jawaher's humanitarian efforts throughout the Arab world and beyond have earned her the affectionate title The Big Heart - by her beneficiaries. This is not the first time Her Highness is undertaking humanitarian initiatives in Lebanon, having previously spearheaded initiatives such as B'hibak ya Libnan (I Love Lebanon), which raised over Dh23 million (US$6.3 million); and Ta'yirja' Bahrak Azraq (Bring back our blue sea), in which more than Dh1 million (US$274,000) was raised. Lebanon has also provided sanctuary for a significant number of Palestinian refugees, and Her Highness helped to raise Dh83 million (US$22.7 million) in the 'Salam Ya Seghar' (Peace for Children) campaign to aid children in the war-torn Gaza Strip.
The UNHCR and its partners - UNICEF, DRC, CLMC, Makhzoumi Foundation, SHIELD and World Vision - are collectively assisting 50,000 Syrian refugees with blankets, clothing vouchers, quilts, kitchen sets, mattresses, and recreation kits for younger refugees. In addition, the World Food Programme and DRC distributed 9,300 food vouchers that will alleviate the nutritional deficiencies of approximately 10,000 refugees in the short-term.
Speaking with refugee women at a community centre just outside Beirut, H.H. Sheikha Jawaher expressed her appreciation for the various partners who are collaborating with the UNHCR, and emphasised that there is still a critical need for further action: "The fact that some refugees are willing to navigate their way through deadly areas of landmines and mortar shelling to reach Lebanon, illustrates just how determined they are to create better lives for their children. However, a tragic pattern that keeps emerging is that some children are arriving here unaccompanied - with no idea of whether their families are still alive or dead. This makes it even more crucial to register each refugee, so that they can eventually be reunited with any surviving family members. This will also allow them freedom of movement and access to essential services. The UNHCR is facilitating enrolment of refugee children in schools so they can sit for examinations, because it is every child's right to receive education." Her Highness added that another major challenge for refugee children is access to medical treatment. Some NGO's do offer primary health care (PHC) services to registered and unregistered refugees - who constitute 88% and 12% of the refugee population respectively. However, these services are only accessible to some refugees and secondary health care access for refugees is a real challenge.
Underlining the need for urgent funding, the UNHCR estimates that with only 75% funding, the number of refugees who benefit from community empowerment interventions will be drastically reduced from 750,000 to 200,000 refugees.
H.H. Sheikha Jawaher concluded by saying: "This is not a Syrian problem or a Lebanese problem, or even an Arab problem - although the Arab world should take the lead in helping our neighbours. Instead, the enormity of the problems we are witnessing first-hand can only be resolved through the collective efforts of the entire international community. It is time to show that we are one world and our heart is big enough to comfort every refugee child. These innocent children might be homeless or motherless, but with our combined contributions they will not be hopeless." – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The State Security Department of the Supreme Federal Court, presided over by Chief Justice Falah Al Hajiri, resumed its sessions this morning to hear the defence of the accused individuals in the secret illegal organisation case.
Yesterday's session at the headquarters of the court in Abu Dhabi was attended by seventy three male defendants and twelve female defendants, one hundred and thirty four relatives of the defendants, sixteen representatives of the media, five members of civil society organisations, including three from the Emirates Human Rights Association, one from the UAE Jurists Association and one from the UAE Sociological Association. Six defence lawyers and five public prosecutors also attended the session yesterday.
The court decided to announce its verdict in the case in its session, scheduled for the 2nd of July. – Emirates News Agency, WAM
posted on 22/05/2013
The Ministry of Education yesterday honoured teachers, schools and educational districts who contributed to developing education in the UAE at the first cycle of the Emirates Award for Educational Excellence ceremony yesterday.
The Minister of Education Humaid Al Qattami honoured the winners at the ceremony which aims to devise a clear criteria for measuring managerial and occupational excellence as well as encourage continuous development and improvement in education.
"When we decided to launch the award the ministry was confident that there will be many competent and experienced people in the educational field that deserve to be honoured and encouraged to increase their contribution in developing their performance. The award will also help in documenting their performance,” added Al Qattami.
The minister also announced the launch of two new categories in its next cycle for the next academic year — Outstanding Customer Service and Educational Studies and Research.
The chairman of the Higher Committee for Quality at the ministry Marwan Ahmad Al Sawaleh said that the award received many applicants in its first cycle.
"We have launched the award in order to achieve the highest degree of excellence and leadership in providing educational services. There was a strong demand as over 180 applicants applied for the award's thirteen categories,” said Al Sawaleh.
In total the award honoured a total of 33 winners.
One of the winners, Maria Mahmoud Al Ansari, who won in the educational category, commented on the win saying, "I am very happy that I won because I did not apply myself but was nominated by others. Winning this award and being honoured by the ministry itself acts as a testimonial to my hard work.”
Noora Al Dhanahani, who is a teacher in Al Raheeb School for Primary and Secondary Education in Fujairah, won the Khalifa Award. She said that she expected to win, "We had a workshop in our school that defined what the award was about and I have already won many awards and I did well in the evaluation and interview. Winning this award means a lot because it is by the UAE ministry of education and it is a nation-wide award.”
Other winners include the Dubai Education District which won in the best education district category and Umm Al Qaiwain district which won in the best educational service category. – Gulf News
posted on 22/05/2013
The final six European nations have booked their tickets to the FIFA Under 17 World Cup UAE 2013, after the UEFA European Under-17 Championships came to a dramatic finish in Slovakia last week, it was announced yesterday.
The qualifying teams are: Italy, Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Austria and Croatia.
The FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 takes place every two years and is one of the biggest international football events in the world.
UEFA European Under-17 Championship hosts Slovakia, alongside Russia, will make their first appearance at the FIFA U-17 World Cup as an independent nation, while Sweden makes history with its first appearance in the tournament, according to a press release issued by FIFA.
Italy booked its place after defeating Ukraine 2 - 1, finishing four points behind Russia in Group B. The Italians will be making their seventh appearance in this year's tournament in the UAE.
The last two places were clinched by Austria and Croatia after the end of the group stage of this year's Championship. Switzerland and Ukraine missed out on the opportunity to compete in the UAE after failing to make it to the finals.
In the final episode of European rivalry that took place in Slovakia last Friday, the Russian team was crowned U-17 European Champions after a hard-fought win over Italy. Both teams were fiercely defending their goals and working their best to score throughout the game, but the match ended with a clean sheet, so the winners were determined by penalty shoot-outs, where the Italians eventually lost out.
With the conclusion of the UEFA Championship, the full line-up of the 24 teams from six confederations is now complete for the FIFA U-17 World Cup UAE 2013 Official Draw, to be held in Abu Dhabi on 26th August, which will then determine the groupings and initial match-ups.
This year's competition is expected to be the largest football event ever held in the UAE. Running from 17th October - 8th November, a total of 52 matches will be played over a three week period in six of the UAE's top stadiums - Mohamed bin Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi, Emirates Stadium in Ras Al Khaimah, Fujairah Stadium in Fujairah, Sharjah Stadium in Sharjah, Rashid Stadium in Dubai and Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium, Al Ain. – Emirates News Agency, WAM