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National Pavilion UAE opens at 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia

posted on 28/05/2016

VENICE, ITALY: The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates la Biennale di Venezia has been officially opened at the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, marking the UAE's second participation at the Exhibition.

The National Pavilion UAE la Biennale di Venezia is commissioned by the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, and supported by the UAE Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Inaugurated by Falah Mohamed Al Ahbabi, Director General of Urban Planning Council, the National Pavilion UAE presents Transformations: The Emirati National House, an exhibition curated by Yasser Elsheshtawy, Associate Professor of Architecture at UAE University, which explores the transformative aspect of the housing model of Emirati national homes, known as ‘Sha'abi' (Folk) houses.

H.H. Sheikha Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, Founder of the Salama bint Hamdan Al Nahyan Foundation, commented that the UAE is known for its rich culture and unique architecture that adapts to its lifestyle and climate, adding that the Foundation's vision is to share the country's vibrant arts and architectural landscape with an international audience.

He added that the National Pavilion UAE aims to shine a light on distinctive elements of the country's history, such as the cultural, architectural and social evolution and transformation of the national housing.

The 15th International Architecture Exhibition of la Biennale di Venezia runs from May 28 –November 27, 2016. The National Pavilion UAE is located in Venice's Arsenale – Sale d'Armi.

Notable guests at the opening ceremony included: Abdulla Al Sahi, Executive Director of Planning and Infrastructure at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council; Noura Mohamed Juma, General Consul, General Consulate of the UAE in Milan, Italy; Afra Al Saberi, Under-Secretary, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Hakam Al Hashemi, Under-Secretary for Culture and Arts Sector, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; Abdallah Harib Al Teneiji, Director of Project Management, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development; and Zainab Saber, Deputy Director of Government Communication, Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

Yasser Elsheshtawy is Associate Professor of Architecture at the United Arab Emirates University, where he has taught since 1997. His scholarship deals with urbanisation in developing societies, urban history and environment-behaviour studies, with a particular focus on Middle Eastern cities, and Elsheshtawy also runs UAE University's Urban Research Lab.

Elsheshtawy has produced more than 70 texts in leading international journals and publishing houses, including his authored book Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle and his edited books, The Evolving Arab City and Planning Middle Eastern Cities, which have become key references on urbanism and architecture in the region.

He has been invited to present his research at international institutions such as Columbia University, Harvard Graduate School of Design, the ETH/Zurich, the Louvre Auditorium/Paris, NYU and the Canadian Center of Architecture/Montreal, and his multimedia work has been exhibited at the Guggenheim Museum and New York University.

The National Pavilion United Arab Emirates la Biennale di Venezia was established to support the UAE's contemporary art and architecture practices on an international platform through participation at la Biennale di Venezia, and to promote a cultural dialogue between the UAE and the international community.

The UAE's participation at la Biennale di Venezia commenced in 2009 with a national pavilion at the 53rd International Art Exhibition, and has continued in subsequent editions of the art exhibition. 2016 will mark its second participation in the International Architecture Exhibition. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Suqia promotes Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award to find solar-powered ways to desalinate and purify water

posted on 28/05/2016

The UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia), under the umbrella of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, is promoting the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award, which is worth USD 1 million and was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The new campaign, which was launched in cooperation with the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has been widely promoted across Holland, India, Frankfurt, London, Milan and China. The move is part of Suqia's efforts to support the UAE's goal to become a knowledge-based economy with a strong focus on technology, Research & Development (R & D) and innovation.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award aims to find sustainable solutions for water scarcity. It encourages leading corporations, research centres, institutions and innovators from across the world to compete to find sustainable and innovative solar-energy solutions to the problem of water scarcity.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award has three categories. The Innovative Projects Award is worth $500,000. The Innovative Research and Development Award is worth $400,000 and has two categories: National institutions and International institutions. The Innovative Youth Award is worth $100,000. The winners will be announced in the fourth quarter of this year.

"Suqia encourages leading corporations, research centres, institutions and innovators from across the world to compete to find sustainable and innovative solar-energy solutions to the problem of water scarcity. This comes in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. The award helps in achieving the National Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness, to make the UAE one of the most innovative nations in the world. The strategy focuses on seven national sectors to stimulate innovation. These include encouraging innovative solutions to the challenge of water scarcity in the world," said Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UAE Water Aid Foundation (Suqia).

According to Mohammed Abdulkareem Al Shamsi, Acting Executive Director of the UAE Water Aid Foundation, the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award's promotion in The Netherlands, India, Frankfurt, London, Milan and China, enhances the Foundation's efforts to encourage related organisations to participate and contribute in achieving the goals of the award.

"The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Water Award has a huge attraction in all campaigns and has so far attracted many companies. This interest is added to the attraction that the award has across all various international events such as COP21 in Paris, activities and meetings that coincided with the 70th session of the UN General Assembly in New York, the Solar Decathlon in California, USA, and the Carbon Ambassadors Programme, in Dubai, UAE," said Al Shamsi.

The evaluation criteria include technology, design, environmental alignment, creativity, innovation, health and safety, and sustainability. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


HAI provides aid for Palestine's agricultural sector

posted on 28/05/2016

BETHLEHEM: UAE's Human International Appeal (HAI), has provided aid for the Palestinian agricultural sector to reclaim uncultivated land and meet the agricultural needs of Palestinians.

A ceremony was held on the occasion of the opening of the road in the presence of Deputy Governor of Bethlehem Muhammad Taha and a number of Palestinian farmers.

Ibrahim Rashid, Commissioner of the Authority in the West Bank, said that the authority established and funded a rural road in the eastern rural area of the city of Bethlehem, allowing the cultivation of large tracts of agricultural lands.

He added that the opening of the rural road in the east of the city of Bethlehem particularly strengthens the resilience of Palestinian farmers and allows them access to their lands.

Taha highlighted the important role played by the UAE to support the multiple Palestinian economic sectors, especially the agricultural sector which provides work for a large number of poor families. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Hedayah report recommendations

posted on 28/05/2016

Efforts to counter violent extremism must include engaging women at all levels, a diplomat has said.

Lana Nusseibeh, the UAE ambassador to the UN, said: "Women are positioned to be effective partners in countering violent extremism efforts against intolerance and extremism, and as positive change agents in their families, communities and public spaces to prevent radicalisation that leads to violent extremism and acts of terrorism.

"Only when women are meaningful participants in shaping comprehensive strategies – through the security sector, criminal justice system, in social programmes, counter-ideology initiatives and within civil society – will societies be able to address the conditions conducive to terrorism."

Some of the Hedayah report recommendations include:

■ Tracking and analysing a gender dimension throughout all existing programmes and policy related to countering violent extremism.

■ Increasing new programmes specifically focused on women.

■ Strengthening local partnerships of women-led organisations.

■ Enhancing capacities of women-led organisations that "opt-in" to countering violent extremism efforts and initiatives.

■ Integrating gender dimension in all UN counterterrorism work.

■ Promoting broadly inclusive dialogue that engages men and youth: Enhancing broad community support, including from men, boys and girls, for women's roles in counterterrorism will be important to their safety. It will also help to ensure that initiatives contribute to shaping broader structural dynamics that support the efficiency and sustainability of strengthening women's rights, development and security.

■ Fostering and funding innovative research to assess how gender dynamics play a role in counterterrorism efforts.

The recommendations were drafted by Naureen Chowdhury Fink, head of research and analysis for the Global Centre on Cooperative Security, Sara Zeiger, senior research analyst at Hedayah, and Rafia Bhulai, programmes officer for the Global Centre on Cooperative Security. – The National -


TRA confirms UAE to host International Telecommunication Union’s Plenipotentiary Conference in 2018

posted on 28/05/2016

A high-level delegation from the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, TRA, is representing the UAE at the 2016 session of the International Telecommunication Union, ITU, which was opened last May 25th, 2016 and will run until June 2nd, 2016 at the ITU's headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The TRA is an elected member of the council, which is composed of 48 member countries out of the ITU's 193 members. This is the countries third time to be elected and its eleventh time to participate in the council sessions demonstrating the UAE's leading position across the international telecommunications industry and a reflection of the global appreciation for its contributions towards development and humanitarian causes.

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, TRA's Director General, who is heading the UAE delegation at the sessions, has announced that the UAE will be hosting the ITU's Plenipotentiary Conference in 2018 in Dubai. The conference is an important gathering wherein participating members will elect the ITU's high management, including the Secretary General, Deputy Secretary General, Directors for Radio Communications, Standardisation, Development, members of the council and 12 members of the Radio Regulations Board.

During their participation at the sessions, the TRA presented an input contribution that highlights the significance of smart transformation in the election process adopted by the ITU. In its presentation, the TRA urged the ITU to take a more proactive step by shifting its gears from traditional election practices to utilising the latest technological advancements to implement a smart electronic election process that is in compliance with set international smart guidelines and regulations.

The 2016 Session of the ITU Council includes discussions on key topics related to the telecommunications segment, particularly across general policies and strategy. The committee's various working groups is also expected to present their reports on timely issues like the results of the implementation of the outcomes from the previous World Summit on Information Society and Sustainable Development, international internet related public policy issues and their activities, strengthening the role of ITU in building confidence and security in the use of ICTs, child protection online and the official use of six languages for the ITU. Other points to be discussed include the scheduling of future conferences, assemblies and meetings of the union and presentation of other reports for approval by the council.

"The UAE continues in its move to take proactive and innovative steps in the telecommunications industry, which is reflected in our active participation in global industry related events, hosting various forums and show of support for ITU activities and initiatives. We look forward to the next council sessions and affirm our continued commitment to support them in their endeavours, especially in the efforts to achieve sustainable development goals," said Al Mansoori.

Al Mansoori added, the wise leadership of the UAE always encourages to investment in ICT, given that this sector is the backbone of economic development in the post-oil period. For which UAE began to prepare at all levels. In this context, the UAE government is working to strengthen the related strategic initiatives such as smart government and smart cities initiative, including the big data, open data, and Internet of Things. Also, UAE is sparing no effort to lend advice and assistance to other countries as it boasts proactive and advanced experience and can take advantage of them and build on them to serve other countries in terms of human interaction in which we believe in, word and deed. "

Meanwhile, Nasser Bin Hammad, Director – International Affairs, TRA and member of the Radio Regulations Board, explained that the TRA's recommendations to adopt a smart election process is based on the UAE's experiences in the shift towards smart transformation, following the directives of the UAE's wise leadership. The TRA is encouraging ITU to use smart electronic systems for its election process which will drive in key advantages like faster results, efficient scheduling, low cost, reliable, transparent, accurate and reduces the occurrence of human and mechanical errors. The move is considered to be a proactive step among world organisations like ITU and complements the rapid changes being made in today's ITC landscape. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -


Abu Dhabi launches new system for registration of events

posted on 28/05/2016

Abu Dhabi has launched an Events Licensing System, or ELS, a standardised and unified online platform that streamlines the official registration of all events administered, organised and managed in the emirate.

The details of the new system has been detailed in a decree issued by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

The new system, which will be implemented by the Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority, will drive tourism industry growth within the emirate through improving event planning and by developing industry best practice in line with Abu Dhabi Vision 2030.

The ELS will allow for a streamlined process of registration while outlining licensing requirements, connecting to ticketing and other electronic systems and providing insight on industry-wide metrics. The centralised system will also assist host venues identify potential calendar conflicts and identify opportunities for TCA Abu Dhabi to identify clusters of sector specific event promotional opportunities.

The ELS will be applied in the fourth quarter of 2016 and will consolidate relations with TCA Abu Dhabi's strategic partners, as well as enhance the quality of services provided by stakeholders across the emirate's tourism sector.

By supporting event organisers, TCA Abu Dhabi will facilitate coordination between organisers from both the public and private sectors.

The service will be applied to entities that organise and manage events across Abu Dhabi, which include those with dedicated spaces for hosting functions. Its scope also covers events held in tourism investment areas and free zones.

ELS places an emphasis on processing event licences and collecting key information from functions across the emirate, including agendas, participants, speakers, set-up dates and locations, among others. The new service will cover all entertainment, sports, art, culture, education, tourism, health, and any other events relating to these fields.

Mohamed Khalifa Al Mubarak, chairman of TCA Abu Dhabi, will form a committee to oversee the implementation of strategies and policies surrounding the coordination of events in Abu Dhabi between the relevant authorities, by providing support for necessary services and facilities, while enhancing the contribution of government, private sector, and relevant stakeholders when organising events in the emirate.

Saif Saeed Ghobash, director-general of TCA Abu Dhabi, said: "The new online platform will help reduce the time required for registering events and obtaining permits, and will include an expanded database on tourism performance, growth trends, event types, success indicators, and meeting targets. All efforts will be executed in close collaboration with the relevant strategic partners in the emirate."

The service requires event organisers to register all their events on the website, which includes all necessary information about requirements for obtaining licences, in addition to the ticketing systems where tickets can be issued, distributed and marketed, as well as other electronic solutions.

TCA Abu Dhabi will produce an event and statistics guide for events organised in the emirate. It will also organise extensive workshops with stakeholders and event organisers from government and private sectors to introduce the new electronic system, the registration mechanism for various events and the application process for event licensing. – Khaleej Times -


Mansour bin Zayed Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival delegation visits Vatican

posted on 28/05/2016

ROME: A delegation of the H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival visited the Vatican as part of its visit to Italy which is hosting this year's Festival and the 7th edition of the three-day World Arabian Horse Racing Conference (WAHRC) in Rome, Italy, from May 26, 2016.

This is the first time a high-profile, large Arab delegation of more than 300 Emirati and Arab sportsmen is visiting the Vatican, which has prepared a special programme for the visit.

Jose Bettencourt, the Holy See's Head of Protocol, welcomed the delegation which included Sulaiman Hamid Al Mazroui, UAE Ambassador to the Kingdom of Belgium and the European Union, Dr. Hisa Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to Spain and Non-resident Ambassador to the State of Vatican, Saqr Al Raisi, UAE Ambassador to Italy, Dr. Abdulla Elreyes, Director-General of the UAE National Archives, Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Abdul Rahman Al Sidairi of Saudi Arabia, Ms Lara Sawaya, Executive Director of the HH Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan Global Arabian Horse Flat Racing Festival, a number of representatives of the UAE's national companies, breeders, owners and trainers as well as media persons.

Holy See's Head of Protocol took the delegation on a more than two hours long tour of the Vatican Museums and Galleries where they learned about manuscripts and historical symbols dating back to more than 2500 years.

Ambassador Al Otaiba and Ms Lara Sawaya presented to Jose Bettencourt a painting called 'Mercy,' an Arabic calligraphy manuscript inspired by the dome of the Grand Mosque of Sheikh Zayed in Abu Dhabi which affirms that all divine religions are united by God's mercy.

Addressing the event, Al Otaiba said, 'Sports is today a universal language and the UAE is proud of its international role in sports in general and the Arab equestrian sports in particular. The UAE is today one of the leaders in the world horse racing championships, thanks to the rich legacy of the forefathers which cherishes the values imbibed by the UAE people, namely, honour, pride, strength, loyalty and tolerance.' "From here, I would like to extend our greetings to Pope Francis and his government for the assistance and support they provided across the world to find solutions to many international crises which caused much pain and suffering to many peoples. We are working together to counter violence, promote tolerance, fight poverty and ignorance and to reach solutions to world crises so that nations can live in peace and welfare,' she added.

'The UAE is a model before the world for its rapid progress and its openness towards the world and its vision for as well as its firm commitment to move forward and its readiness to extend a hand of cooperation to the Vatican to spread peace in the world," she said.

Dr. Abdulla Elreyes, Director-General of the UAE National Archives, Ministry of Presidential Affairs said, "The Festival presence at the Vatican reflects the UAE's pursuit of peace and we are doing this through the Arabian horse racing fraternity of the world."

For his part, Jose Bettencourt, the Holy See's Head of Protocol, said Vatican values the noble principles the UAE is promoting so as the world can live in love, peace and tolerance. He said the visit reflected these noble values that bind peoples together and bolsters broader, viable co-operation.

The Vatican hosted a grand dinner banquet in honour of the guests which was attended by Jose Bettencourt.

Over 500 guests from 81 countries representing the six continents are participating in the WAHRC at the Rome Cavalieri Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

The Conference will be followed by the ‘Emirates Race Day' at the Capanelle race course during which the Festival will stage three of its main races- the Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan Cup (Listed) race, the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies World Championship race and the HH Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak Apprentice World Championship race.

The WAHRC is an important event as it deals with various aspects of Arabian racing and different challenges it faces. It also attempts to find solutions to the problems and we are looking forward to this event.

The WAHRC 2016 will focus on three sessions – Breeding; Racing and Training; and Weight Loss Control (jockeys).

In his welcoming remarks, Saqr Ahmed Al Raisi, the UAE Ambassador to Italy, said,' "Arabian horse racing is now competing with all major sport and we hope this conference adds to the growth and progress all over the globe."

"We have to hail the support of the leadership of the UAE who have led from the front in helping the heritage sport of the country grow and with this Arabian racing has gained tremendously," he said. – Emirates News Agency, WAM -