Dubai – ASWAQ
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), and in the presence of H.E. Hussain Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, and H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai and Chairman of the HBMSU Board of Governors, the 10th annual Innovation Arabia congress began today (Monday, March 6, 2017) at the Address Dubai Marina under the theme ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship: The Engines of Sustainability.’
A series of extensive events and panel sessions have commenced to determine the best practices and emerging trends in order to advance continuous innovation and development across all vital sectors in the Arab World. Among the participants and attendees are various government dignitaries, officials, policy makers, academics, researchers, journalists and representatives of regional and international organizations.
Innovation Arabia 10 is being organized by HBMSU from March 6 to 8, 2017. It focuses on the development of new innovative ideas for driving the transformation of the Middle East into a knowledge-based economy and paving the way for the transition to advanced phases of economic integration as well as community and environmental sustainable development. The interactive platform encourages concerted efforts to improve the influence of innovation within key economic and social sectors, especially smart education, healthcare, entrepreneurship and the environment – all of which form essential pillars for building societies and supporting comprehensive cultural development. Its three main conferences cover ‘Quality and Business Management,’ ‘Smart Learning,’ and ‘Health and Environment.’
For the first time in Innovation Arabia’s history, this year’s edition will be hosting a ‘Virtual Congress’ which will facilitate the participation of experts and specialists in the fields of smart learning, entrepreneurship, health, environment and quality from around the world in events such as conferences, presentations, workshops, seminars and panel sessions through an advanced virtual platform. This quality initiative is in line with the ambitious ‘Smart City’ initiative which aims to make Dubai the smartest city in the world by 2021.
HBMSU Chancellor Dr. Mansoor Al Awar began the opening ceremony with a speech expressing his sincere gratitude and thanks to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his patronage and unlimited support to the premier event. He explained that Innovation Arabia provides an ambitious integrated platform in line with the wise guidance and insights of the UAE leadership which aims to prepare for the future and position the UAE among the most innovative countries in the world. Dr. Al Awar also thanked H.E. Al Hammadi and H.E. Lieutenant General Tamim for their attendance and active participation in several events under the umbrella of HBMSU. He emphasized that since its establishment more than a decade ago, the university has done its best to keep pace with the entrepreneurship and noble goals behind its inception. He said that the greatest credit for the success and achievements of the university goes to the guidance of the University’s President and the support of the Chairman of the Board of Governors.
Dr. Al Awar said: “The Innovation Arabia 10 congress is being held in line with the latest humanitarian and community initiatives launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and to emphasize the pivotal role of the University in supporting the guidance of the wise leadership. One of the most important among these creative initiatives is ‘Reigniting Civilization’ which aims to uphold the Arab World as a leading and creative force again. Based on the directives of His Highness, who said that “reigniting civilization starts with education; and the future of nations starts at their schools,” the university is prepared to take on its role as the first educational institution to adopt the smart learning approach in the Arab World and as a pioneer at the international level in the development of quality curricula based on overall quality and excellence.”
“Moreover, Innovation Arabia 10 significantly advances the ‘10X’ initiative designed to develop government performance and make Dubai number one globally by pioneering the future and thinking beyond traditional frameworks. The University is committed to continuously enhancing its role in advancing creativity to place Dubai at the forefront of the global race, as reflected by ongoing efforts to widen its horizons and maximize its national, regional and international presence in this field. Since its establishment, HBMSU’s plans have focused on inspiring hope across the Arab World, based on its vision of delivering education to every home throughout the region in line with the noble initiative called ‘Arab Hope Makers’ which aims to honor real Arab Stars as well as recognize goodness and those who inspire hope and civilization in Arab countries,” he added.
Ali Jaber, Dean of the Mohammed bin Rashid School for Communication of The American University in Dubai and Group TV Director, Middle East Broadcasting Corporation, MBC, actively participated as a key spokesperson at Innovation Arabia 10. He reviewed the broad prospects of education in the development of a clear roadmap for entering the realm of innovation and orienting minds towards creativity, excellence and proactiveness to keep pace with the growing requirements of the 21st century. The said roadmap will support national and Arab-wide efforts to build integrated and well-educated societies capable of carrying the banner of growth and following-up the transition to knowledge-based economies and smart governments across the Arab World.
In his keynote speech delivered under the theme ‘Media and Its Role in the Development of the Arab World,’ Jaber stated that Smart Learning has become a main pillar for an advanced healthy Arab society equipped with the capabilities and potentials to address the enormous challenges posed by the era of post truth and fake news. He emphasized that providing learners with skills and high competencies in both critical and analytical thinking is vital to enhancing the decision-making process at both the personal and professional levels.
The first day of the conference featured several highly effective activities and meetings resulting in a number of strategic partnerships and solid relationships. These aimed to consolidate constructive collaboration between pioneers and leading sectors to accelerate development in the Arab World. HBMSU entered into two strategic agreements for improving the quality of smart education in Arab countries and taking it to higher levels of efficiency, professionalism, and international competitiveness. The first agreement appointed INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions, the leading national company in events management, as the organizer of Innovation Arabia 11. INDEX provides total event management services and logistical solutions in all fields, in addition to organizing training courses for Innovation Arabia. It has extensive experience in complying with the best international practices and highest world standards in organizing high-level, high-quality events. Such solid cooperation is expected to have a great impact on intensifying the global presence of the conference and bringing together an elite group of scholars, researchers and academicians from around the world to exchange ideas and recommendations within a strategic platform that spurs academic and organizational innovation and scientific research to achieve the ambitious aspiration of Innovation Arabia to become the main reference for Smart Learning.
Dr. Abdulsalam Al Madani, Chairman of INDEX Holding Company, said: “We are very pleased to forge this strategic partnership today with HBMSU which we expect to continue for 10 more years. We look forward to organizing the 11th Innovation Arabia Congress which will once again be a state-of-the-art event in smart learning.”
“INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions has more than 25 years of experience in organizing conferences, exhibitions, local and international events. Through its internal and external offices, INDEX will be able to promote this important event, which will host notable local and international keynote speakers and participants in future sessions to remain not only a locally distinguished conference, but an internationally acclaimed one as well,” added Dr. Abdulsalam.
HBMSU also signed a strategic Memorandum of Understanding with Philips Lighting on the installation and renovation of the lighting systems of the campus. Under the terms of the agreement, Philips will install advanced lighting systems especially designed to improve the university’s power consumption. The systems will also enhance the Smart Learning experience by linking the learning environment with the smart lighting systems, marking a first of its kind international initiative that aims to adopt the Innovation Lighting Technology in the academic institutions. The agreement was signed by Dr. Al Awar and Mr. Rami Hajjar, General Manager, Philips Lighting Rest of Middle East.
Hajjar said: “Our work at HBMSU is our first global project integrating all our latest connected LED lighting systems under one roof, from Power over Ethernet to Indoor Positioning and from Green Parking to Dali Led Lighting. Philips Lighting is committed to supporting a high quality working environment for UAE’s brightest minds through state-of-the-art smart technology, to achieve greater growth and to drive innovation and entrepreneurship.”
Commenting on the two agreements, Dr. Al Awar said: “HBMSU is taking two important steps to maintain the university’s leading position on the world learning map and making significant national and regional impacts. The first is an agreement with an international company with unparalleled experience in international event management to oversee the organization of the conference starting next edition. The second is the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding with Philips Lighting on the development of smart lighting systems that will work in tandem with the smart features of our Smart University.”
The Quality and Business Management Conference was launched under the theme ‘Unleashing Innovation, Empowering Entrepreneurship.’ The agenda started with a keynote speech by Dr. Tarek Abdulfattah, Assistant Professor of HBMSU’s School of Business and Quality Management, followed by a workshop sponsored by TECOM Group on ‘Fueling Innovation through Entrepreneurial Enablement.’
Yousuf Caires, Vice President of Expo Live, presented notable features and developments related to the hosting of Expo 2020 and the event’s importance in supporting the sustainable and comprehensive development of the region. Other sessions and training workshops under the theme ‘Planning by Scenarios- Shaping the Future’ were also held which were developed specifically by HBMSU in response to the directive of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, approving the ‘UAE Future Foresight Strategy.’
The ‘Smart Education Conference’ focuses on the ‘Build Knowledge Based Communities’ began with a speech by Dr. Khadeegha Alzouebi, Assistant Professor of HBMSU’s School of e-Education. The ‘Digital Transformation in Education’ acquired the experts discussions within the panel discussion organized by Microsoft within the conference, which was followed up and discussed in detail during a series of concurrent sessions and training workshops on “Empowering Technology Tools for Education.”
Dr. Moetaz El Sergany, Environmental Studies Department Chair of HBMSU’s School of Health and Environmental Studies, delivered the keynote speech at the ‘Health and Environmental Conference’ which discussed a number of themes and topics related to ‘Changing minds, protecting the Environment’. The first day featured highlights on ‘Emerging Business Model – Integrating Corporate Social Responsibility into Business’ during a panel discussion held under the auspices of Imdaad. Participants also had an excellent opportunity to discuss ‘Innovation in Social Responsibility and Sustainability’ through highly interactive training workshops.
People with skilled and enlightened ideas were honored at the opening of the Innovation Arabia 10 Conference, including Rafia Abdulla Mohammad Saeed Al-Mulla, Founder and CEO of 54 East, Dubai, who received the Feigenbaum Leadership Excellence Award under the Rising Stars Category; Capt. Maryam Darwish Alhashmi, Fujairah Police, UAE, who was bestowed the Feigenbaum Leadership Excellence Award under the Women Leaders Category; Brigadier Mohammed Ahmed bin Ghanim Al-Kaabi, Chief of Fujairah Police General Headquarters, who was awarded the Kano Medal: Excellence Catalyst; Dubai Customs which received the El Baz Award for Excellence in Organizational Sustainability; and Alaa Al Amiry of the University of Strathclyde Business School, UK who was awarded the Conti Research Prize for Systems Thinking and Organizational Capability for her thesis on ‘An Exploratory Study on the Use of Mobile Apps and Their Implications for Internal Business Processes in Healthcare Organizations in the UAE.’
Meera Al-Reyaysa from the British University in Dubai received the Kondo Research Prize: People and Organizational Culture Perspective for her thesis on ‘CSR in a Professional Services Firm,’ while the Parasuraman Service Excellence Award was given to Lakshmi Nair of Middlesex University in Dubai for her thesis on ‘Work Life Integration and Leavism: A Study of Workplace Practices in Business Excellence Award -Winning Organizations in the UAE.’ Finally, the Harrington Best TQM Thesis/Project Award was given to Tamilarassi Rajappa of the Institute of Management Technology, Dubai for the thesis ‘Process Improvement Program at FEAG Middle East LLC.’