Winners of Hamdan Bin Rashid Academic Award announced

DUBAI, A total of 114 distinguished winners from the education sector, with 95 winning the local competitions and 19 winning the GCC competitions, have been named in the 22nd cycle of the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance award.

The winners were announced by the Board of Trustees of the Foundation chaired by Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education. The winners will be honoured at the end of April 2020 at the closing awards ceremony to be held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The 22nd cycle of the award received 420 entries, which were evaluated by 53 judging committees during the period between December 2019 and February 2020. The committees comprised six committee chairs for the following categories: Distinguished Student, Distinguished Teacher, Highly Distinguished Teacher, Distinguished School, Distinguished Family, Distinguished Educator, Best Scientific Innovation, Best Implemented Project, and Education Supporting Institutions.

Dr. Jamal Mohammed Al Mehairi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Secretary-General of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance, said, “With the support of the leadership and the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and Minister of Finance, the award continues its pursuit to establish innovation as a key pillar for a robust national foundation that will define a bright future for the coming generations.”

Dr. Sulaiman Al Ansari, CEO of the Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance, said, “Through the years, the Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance has witnessed several developments on all fronts including opening the door for participation, presentation and judgement, and has also expanded its footprint with participation from a number of international organisations concerned with education, foremost of which is the UNESCO.”

Dr. Ali Saeed Al-Kaabi, President of Judging Committees, said, “The current cycle witnessed the participation of prominent experts from the region and the world in the judgement committees, who worked as per the highest international standards in assessing entries and selecting the best ones to contribute to a positive change in the educational systems locally, regionally and internationally.”

The current cycle saw the adoption of electronic systems for all the local categories, two winners in the category of “Institutions Supporting Education”, including Abu Dhabi Police for tackling the crime scene management and the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority. In the GCC categories, electronic systems were applied for the first time and interviews for the “Distinguished Student” category were conducted via Skype. About the level of participation, the Board of Trustees indicated that the 22nd cycle witnessed the participation of 336 participants in the local awards, 84 in the GCC awards, and 113 in the Arab awards.

As for the Hamdan-UNESCO Award for Rewarding Distinguished Practices and Efforts to Improve Teachers’ Performance, Dr. Khalifa Ali Al Suwaidi, Member of the Board of Trustees of Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Distinguished Academic Performance and Technical Consultant at the Award, indicated a 27 percent increase in the number of participants in the current cycle.

The entries recorded this year were 193 and the winners will be honoured next October at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris, France.

On a separate note, Al-Suwaidi explained that the first session of this year’s Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum – ISESCO Prize saw the participation of 44 participants from 18 different countries, with three winning institutions, which will be honoured next April at the headquarters of the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation in Rabat, Morocco.

The award was judged in Dubai by an international three-member panel. It is given to three winners every two years, and each individual award is valued at US$100,000.

The current cycle of the award was won by the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud International Foundation for Charity and Humanitarian Deeds for building 172 multi-purpose model schools by the Islamic Development Bank in Bangladesh, the schools’ project in the Emirati-Jordanian camp, in addition to the inception of 495 schools around the world by the Emirates Red Crescent Authority. Other winners included the Faculty of Information Technology at Birzeit University and Munib R. Masri Development Foundation for educational projects developed in Palestine and other countries.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Dubai Culture to launch ‘Films In A Box’ at ‘Al Marmoom:Film in The Desert’

DUBAI, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, Dubai Culture, has partnered with the region’s first pop-up cinema concept Films In A Box to bring films to a wider audience at the forthcoming Al Marmoom: Film In The Desert.

The event, which is a platform to support and showcase emerging and established filmmakers both locally and regionally will take place between March 4th and 7th in Al Marmoom desert as part of the seventh edition of Dubai Art Season.

During the four-day event, Dubai Culture will present Films In A Box pop-up cinema concept where transportable, 28-seat box-shaped movie theatres will be constructed on site to show non-dialogue short films running at between 10 and 15 minutes. This creative collaboration is an example of the cross-pollination between the public and private sector, which underlines Dubai Culture’s mandate to work together with all creative entities to enhance synergies and explore new opportunities for productive cooperation.

Films In A Box will present a series of non-dialogue films across genres, which encourage cross-cultural understanding without a need for translation or subtitles. The medium of non-dialogue films allows filmmakers, cinematographers and actors to focus on creativity and diverse storytelling whilst being freed from language boundaries. The presence of such an accessible art form in the region underlines Dubai Culture’s community-focused drive and emphasis on inclusivity. A full programme of workshops talks and interactive discussions has also been designed for young people, children, enthusiasts and all in the family.

The partnership provides the hearing impaired and deaf community with the opportunity to participate in the event and to enjoy the storytelling experience of the event.

Shaima Al Suwaidi, Director of Marketing and Corporate Communication at Dubai Culture, said, The partnership with Films in A Box for Al Marmoom: Film in The Desert is a vital part of the overall philosophy of the event: to be accessible and suitable for everyone. It allows audiences to get beyond language and therefore overcome cultural barriers, which will ultimately result in people uniting and coming together through the medium of film.

Terry Miranda, Managing Director of LHP Lighthouse Productions, said, Films In A Box is inspired by the UAE’s and Dubai’s diverse cultural landscape and is aimed at bringing films to wider audiences and to increase participation in films in general. We want to bring the magic of film to the full spectrum of society in the UAE and the region.

Source: Emirates News Agency

‘GIRLGAMER eSports Festival’ opens in Dubai

DUBAI, The GIRLGAMER Esports Festival, opened today at the Meydan Grandstand. Being held under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Dubai Media Council, from 19-22 February, the Festival is the biggest eSports and entertainment festival to be held in Dubai.

The world’s leading event to celebrate and promote women’s competitiveness in esports, the Festival will host the GIRLGAMER World Finals, apart from gaming, cosplay, concerts, activities and an industry conference. Organised by Galaxy Racer Esports, the Festival is supported by Dubai 10X Media, a subsidiary of the Government of Dubai Media Office, GDMO, as part of its strategy to drive the development of the region’s eSports industry and establish Dubai as a regional and global hub for competitive eSports events.

Abdulla Al Mansoori, Team Leader of Dubai 10X Media, said, “The hosting of the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival is aligned with the goal of the 10X Media project to transform Dubai’s media industry with future-oriented projects. Esports represents the convergence of future streams in various sectors including media, content, sports and technology. The growth and increasing popularity of eSports has been pushing the boundaries of what is possible in all these sectors, which makes it a perfect fit for GDMO’s 10X media strategy.”

“Hosting events like the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival not only further positions Dubai as a hub for the global eSports industry, but also engages the youth of the region to develop their capabilities in a sector that is being shaped by their innovation and enterprise. We see eSports creating a host of new opportunities for the development of talent, creativity, next-generation skills and entrepreneurship, all of which will be on show at this event,” he added.

The opening day of the Festival saw the start of a two-day GIRLGAMER Industry Conference, featuring some of the most prominent personalities from the worlds of eSports, gaming, media, and entertainment.

Lamia Khan, Director of Dubai Ladies Club, spoke to the audience at the conference on women leadership. “The Girl Gamer Dubai Festival is a prime example of taking action and showing leadership to influence positive change in the area of gender balance and women’s leadership, as well as challenging stereotypes and showing the world that girls can do anything,” she said.

Participants at the Festival have challenged stereotypes and transformed an industry to be more inclusive of girls and women, she pointed out. Addressing girl gamers at the event, she said, “You have undoubtedly inspired young people to believe in themselves and the idea that they can pursue their goals. You girls are showing other young women around the world that anything is possible no career is out of reach, no challenge is too difficult, and no goal is too unattainable.”

From 20th to 22nd February, the GIRLGAMER World Finals will offer Esports enthusiasts an opportunity to catch the world’s best CS:GO and League of Legends gaming action. The Festival also features the Interschool Esports Tournament, taking place on 21st February. Scholarships totalling AED255,000 will be given out to winners of the tournament.

GIRLGAMER will welcome an incredible line-up of special guests, including Illustrator Naruse Chisato, Comic Book Illustrator Des Taylor, Voice Actress Kari Wahlgren, and Illustrator Shimadoriru, who will be meeting, greeting and interacting with fans on February 21st and 22nd.

The GIRLGAMER Esports Festival features a range of exciting live events and activities. Global rap superstar Gucci Mane will headline the Main Stage with a live performance on the final day of the GIRLGAMER Esports Festival World Finals.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue not just formulaic rhetoric, it will decisively raise cultural exchanges: Korean minister

ABU DHABI, Park Yang-woo, Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Republic of Korea has said that his country and the UAE have a “firm intention of decisively” raising the level of cultural exchanges through ‘UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue’.

“This is not just formulaic rhetoric,” he noted in an interview with Emirates News Agency, WAM, adding that the UAE has become the first country in the Middle East to hold a ‘Cultural Dialogue’ with South Korea.

“Exchanges in culture and arts are based on the inspiration from people-to-people exchanges,” the Minister said, adding that they also stimulate creativity and are “win-win” for both sides.

“I believe that the more active exchanges facilitated by the MoU signed between Korea and the UAE to celebrate the 40th anniversary of bilateral ties will further strengthen our shared bonds, helping to expand exchanges in other areas like politics and economy as well,” he emphasised.

The Minister was speaking on the occasion of ‘UAE-Korea Cultural Dialogue,’ launched officially at the Abu Dhabi National Theatre on Monday to mark 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

The inauguration was attended by Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, Park Yang-woo, Korean Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism, Kwon Yongwoo, Korean Ambassador to the UAE, and a number of senior officials from both countries.

In his interview Park Yang-woo spoke about cultural, art, educational, media, sports and tourism ties between the two countries, saying that music, media and language have helped strengthen people-to-people ties between Korea and the UAE.

This has also helped “people understand each other’s respective ways of life and traditions, while also helping us discover the things we share in common, and have been crucial in strengthening the bilateral ties.”

Park Yang-woo hoped that the ‘Cultural Dialogue’ will serve as an opportunity for the Korea Arts and Culture Education Service or the National Museum of Korea to create partnerships and exchange programmes with education experts at cultural and artistic institutions like the Louvre Abu Dhabi.

The Minister said that there is a word in Korean for the way people look after people they have known for a long time: “Jeong.”

“I understand that the Emirati people have a lot of ‘Jeong’ as well, they are kind to strangers, and treat people they are close to like family,” he said.

Park Yang-woo also commented on hosting Pope Francis, Head of the Catholic Church, in the UAE in February 2019, saying, “It left a deep impression of a country and leader sending a message of tolerance and peaceful coexistence to the world.”

“I think that ‘tolerance’ is a core value in Emirati history.

“The culture of tolerance that the Emirati state has succeeded in forging should be shared and emulated not just across Asia, but across the world,” he went on to say.

He said that Korean TV shows (like ‘Grandpas over Flowers’, ‘My Little Old Boy’), which have been shot in the UAE, have contributed in increasing the number of Koreans visiting the UAE, while K-pop, Korean drama and medical technology led to rising numbers of tourists from the UAE to Korea.

The Dubai Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing even opened an office in Seoul in 2015, he noted.

“K-pop, Korean dramas and medical technology have led to an almost 90 percent rise in the number of Emiratis visiting Korea over the last 5 years, and 11427 Emiratis visited Korea in 2018,” he said.

“If we add the number of foreigners living in the UAE, it is estimated that around 17,000 people from the UAE visited Korea.

“Over the last few years, the number of Korean tourists to the UAE has jumped to approximately 169,000 people (2018 numbers).”

On diplomacy, the Minister said he believes that President Moon Jae-in’s visit to the UAE in March 2018 marked the beginning of a special strategic partnership between the UAE and Korea, while His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed’s visit to Korea in February 2019 “laid the basis for the construction of real cooperative relations.”

“This has created a virtuous circle of more active cultural exchanges,” he said.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE centre of literature and the environment in India

CALICUT, India, India’s second biggest cultural gathering got off to a celebratory start here tonight with the UAE Minister for Climate Change and Environment, Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, setting it rolling as the Chief Guest.

The Kerala Literature Festival has ‘Environment and Climate Change’ as the focus theme for its 2020 edition, the raison d’etre for Dr. Al Zeyoudi’s attendance as Chief Guest. He is set to address the Festival again today as a solo speaker on the subject of his ministerial charge, namely, Environment and Climate Change.

On the stage, sharing a place of honour beside the UAE Minister, was the UAE Ambassador to India, Dr. Ahmed Al Banna. Prominently in attendance was a delegation of UAE officials and leading Indian businessmen from Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

The Festival was inaugurated by the Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, who recalled centuries-old relations between the UAE and Kerala, Calicut in particular. Kerala ministers and the state’s leading literary figures praised relations between the UAE and India, which have made big strides in the last five years.

Reputed writers from 14 nations are attending the Festival which began as an annual event in 2016 under the auspices of the DC Kizhakemuri Foundation, named after Kerala’s first newspaper columnist in Malayalam and a doyen of publishing in India.

The Kerala Literature Festival is known as “festival on the beach” because its sessions are held on five stages on the sandy beaches of Calicut and 275,000 people are expected to attend the events during its four-day duration.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Team Abu Dhabi’s F2 world champion lines up home victory as series reaches grand finale in UAE capital

ABU DHABI, Rashed Al Qemzi underlined his dominance of the 2019 UIM F2 World Championship today with another sparkling display to claim pole position for tomorrow’s Grand Prix of Abu Dhabi.

The Team Abu Dhabi driver, who wrapped up his second F2 world title in three years at the penultimate round of the series in Portugal, maintained his 100% qualifying record to move within reach of a fourth Grand Prix victory of the season.

Saving his best until last, Al Qemzi produced a brilliant second lap in the qualifying shoot-out to set a fastest time of 45.13 secs and deny Portugal’s Duarte Benavente (45.59) who had edged out Britain’s Owen Jelf (46.09) moments earlier.

A home triumph on the championship’s first ever visit to the UAE capital will be the crowning glory for Al Qemzi, who has led the way from his opening round success in Lithuania, and also won the Grand Prix of Italy.

He clinched a fifth successive pole succession on the day a new academy was officially opened adjacent to Abu Dhabi’s Grand Prix race venue to teach and train the next generation of water sports enthusiasts and world champions in the UAE capital.

Immediately following the qualifying action, Thomas Kurth, Secretary General of the UIM, the international governing body of powerboating, officially inaugurated the new Abu Dhabi Marine Academy.

The academy has been set up by Abu Dhabi International Marine Sports Club to build on the outstanding powerboat racing success of Team Abu Dhabi who have won nine world titles since Guido Cappellini arrived as team manager in February, 2015.

Using a team of internationally and nationally qualified academy course instructors, it offers expert tuition in a range of water based sports from swimming and flyboard to waterski, aquabike, and powerboat racing as well as rescue, recovery and safety.

Source: Emirates News Agency