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March 2009 DH 5

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2 UAE Digest,March 2009
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4 UAE Digest, March 2009
Dubai International
Academic City (DIAC) is
contained within Dubai
Academic City (DAC).
DIAC is the free zone for
tertiary institutes. Primary,
secondary and K-12 schools
are part of DAC but not
Spotting an
Dubai-based journalist and author Peter Cooper - the
success story behind AME Info –recalls his days of
struggle and excitement in the fedgling website, before
selling it off to become a multimillionaire.
Just like onions can make eyes water, trees block a path
and icebergs rip ships apart, cultural misunderstandings
can make life a lot harder than it needs to be. Knowledge
about your own and other cultures can help withstand
some of the challenges in a multicultural environment.
Driving dreams
“These guys never thought they’d experience this. To race
was a dream. It’s life changing for some of them.” They
fnd their way to the racetracks to wrench the kickback
into their lives; the excitement of the extraordinary, the
Where there’s a Will there’s a way
Every adult irrespective of nationality or religion should
make a Will and review it regularly.
On the Cover
Pg 1-6 Content-Staff-fineprint.indd 4 3/10/09 12:39:01‭ ‬PM
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6 UAE Digest, March 2009
By K Raveendran
mbition plays no small part in man’s
quest to better himself. All great
achievers have been highly ambi-
tious and conversely anyone not fred
by ambition can hardly be expected to excel
in anything. Yet unbridled ambition is a man’s
biggest enemy and can cause his undoing.
Because the line that separates ambition and
greed is so thin that one can easily take the
form of the other, unless there is constant vigil.
When that happens, you don’t need to look for
disaster anywhere else.
If you want to be the richest person in the
world, you must at least be rich. A rich man seeking
to become super-rich is understandable, but a person
with no means whatsoever aspiring to achieve that feat
overnight is simply outrageous. The crisis that we are
facing today has been the result of such savage tenden-
As the academics get on with their task of tracing
the genesis of the current global crisis to a problem
with the sub-prime credit market, the penchant for
consuming more than what was being produced and
owned, defcit fnancing and what not, there is a con-
sensus emerging that the crisis is the result of a whole
generation being overcome with greed.
There is no land, country or continent that is above
blame in this abominable attitude; every one of us
is responsible to some extent. We have been living
beyond our means, making money out of nothing,
building up assets that didn’t belong to us and trad-
ing them off, abusing our position to derive maximum
beneft to ourselves, without a moment’s thought on
what it would mean to posterity and fnally creating all
this mess around us.
Take the case of the frenzy in the Dubai prop-
erty sector this time last year. Developers with little
fnancial backing on their own were entering the fray
with grandiose schemes because they could sense
money foating around. Margin traders, masquerading
as investors, were making a killing, trading off paper
that supposedly represented properties waiting to be
built; shopkeepers hiked prices on the most fimsy
grounds, landlords feeced tenants with no concern for
their ability to pay; and service providers, whether in
the private sector or public, had not the least hesitation
to jack up rates because the order of the day was ‘take
The blurring line between
ambition and greed
it or leave it’. The end user seemed to be
nobody’s concern.
Who couldn’t have seen the result of all
this, other than the foolhardy? A roundtable
of local experts in Dubai recently saw full
expression of the disenchantment. It was
quite unlike the usual gatherings, where
one is used to hearing hyperboles and
hoopla more than anything else.
The discussion, centering on how to
maintain Dubai’s pole position in the wake
of the current economic crisis, was led by
Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim,
Chief of Dubai Police. He underlined the need to rede-
fne the concept of luxury and prosperity. Luxury and
prosperity are not about setting high rents and having
individuals suffering to maintain their basic needs, he
was quoted as saying. “It’s about maintaining economic
and social stability for the entire segments.”
Shaikh Khalid Bin Zayed Bin Saqr Al Nahyan,
Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Dubai
Economic Council, highlighted the need for a balance
between services offered and costs and noted that the
most affected people were those with low incomes and
this sector required support and attention.
“Prosperity and luxury have its costs and we have
been affected by greed,” said Sami Al Qamzi, Director-
General of the Department of Economic Development
(DED). He suggested there was need to reduce the
cost of doing business and maintain and stimulate job
Marwan bin Ghalita, CEO of Real Estate Regulatory
Agency, said there was a limit to the extent to which a
market can fourish. “You know if it exceeds this limit
the market will decline. The signifcant variation in
real estate costs is not within the appropriate economic
equations,” he pointed out.
Marwan stressed that the Dubai market was mainly
focused into serving the needs of the rich and business
classes, with more than 59 per cent of hotels in Dubai
classifed as fve stars, having one of the highest proft
rates globally. “The cost of cars, housing, and rents
does not meet the living standards of the different
segments of the society,” he argued, but noted that the
global economic crisis will provide the opportunity to
correct these aberrations.
Pg 1-6 Content-Staff-fineprint.indd 6 3/12/09 10:45:39‭ ‬AM
8 UAE Digest, March 2009
Steps taken to protect
marine environment

ubai Municipality has taken all necessary
measures to protect the emirate’s marine
environment following a collision between
a container vessel and a gasoline tanker,
fve miles off the Jebel Ali coast last month. The tanker
contained light fuels which did not pose major hazards
and the situation was brought under control immediately
by the authorities. This type of fuel evaporates very
fast and the smell and vapour from it was felt only in
the nearby areas or those in the direction of the wind.
It did not cause any notable damage to the marine
A team of marine offcers, inspectors, and monitors
from the Environment Department of the municipality
was dispatched to the site immediately after the
accident to take stock of the situation. Dubai has
formed specialised teams and task forces to deal with
marine accidents, comprising representatives from all
government agencies concerned. Every one of them is
responsible for acting under its own jurisdictions.
Last year’s tariffs this year
Marine terminal operator DP World’s UAE Region will
maintain 2008 tariff rates this year at its fagship Jebel Ali
Port. It also reverts to providing 10 days free storage time
for all local importers with effect from March 1.
Mohammed Al Muallem, Senior Vice President and
Managing Director, DP World’s UAE Region, said: “We
have listened to our customers, who are being impacted
by the global economic slowdown, then made our
decisions. This will give them a measure of relief as they
plan for the year.”
Nasdaq opening times
Nasdaq Dubai has announced amendments to its
opening times, after consultation with its members
and other participants in its
market. Starting on March 22, the
exchange will extend its trading
hours on Sundays by three hours, (from 10am to 5pm).
Starting from March 27, the exchange will no longer trade
on Fridays. As a result, the trading hours of the exchange
will be 10am to 5pm from Sunday to Thursday inclusive.
These changes will enable Nasdaq Dubai to focus on
a full fve-day trading week, like other international
and regional exchanges. The new opening times have
been designed to meet the needs of investors and
other participants in Nasdaq Dubai’s market, as an
exchange located in the Middle East.
RTA rejuvenates Salik portal
The Roads & Transport Authority (RTA) has unveiled an
enhanced version of the Toll Gate Portal (
in a stylish design offering e-services in a smooth manner
with easily accessible information and a roadmap of toll
It has a bilingual Front Page (Arabic and English) and
a box to display the latest and key information, events
and news of the system in the form of links, where
users can toggle between them to access the required
information or surf the news archive.
The website provides a host of modern services
through several commands in the Mead Menu, including
a Roadmap of the Toll Gates. This service enables surfers
to know the locations of the toll gate system (Salik) in
high defnition coloured charts with legends (explanatory
symbols). Visitors can also inquire about infraction
photos; a service enabling users to inquire about
Salik offences, review them and even get
photo printouts.
clients to
have direct
to the system.
Clients holding
a Salik tag
can open a
new account in
the system and
add tags of new
vehicles to the
account through
following few and
easy steps to open
and activate
the account. The
account could also be topped up, upon signing up to the
personal account, through several payment options such
as credit cards, e-dirham or direct debit from the bank
account in coordination with the Dubai e-Government.
The tanker being towed to Jebel Ali port
Pg 7-8 In the News.indd 2 3/10/09 2:36:32‭ ‬PM
or Dr David Norton, cycling
4,500 miles across America
is a great way to unwind.
This monumental effort of
strength, stamina and willpower may
seem a tad energetic for most senior
executives set to attend ‘Balanced
Scorecard’ in Dubai this month. But
for 77-year old top US management
scholar Dr Norton, it’s the perfect
antidote to the stresses and strains of
commercial life.
Hot on the heels of their
successful sold-out show last year,
Dr Norton and his professorial
colleague Dr Robert Kaplan aim
to provide hard-hitting advice and
recommendations to local businesses
anxious about the effects of the
spiralling economy.
Using compelling examples from
local and regional enterprises such as
DEWA, the Abu Dhabi Government,
King Fahad Specialist Hospital and
Qtel, the engaging academics will
show that applying their globally-
respected management tool to
corporate processes and procedures
is the best recipe for galvanising
businesses in the current crisis.
The two respected professors will
argue during their fve-day forum that
satisfying stakeholder expectations
has become critical in a region where
prices for oil, real estate, commodities
and fnancial services have
plummeted and securing meaningful
proft becomes ever more elusive.
Using a combination of
workshops and forums, Balanced
Scorecard Forum 2009 will feature
live presentations from Kaplan
and Norton, pre- and post-forum
sessions, plus invaluable networking
opportunities. The two respected
academics will also unveil their latest
book, The Execution Premium,
which demonstrates how the
Balanced Scorecard is successfully
Norton explains that the current
economic malaise requires a novel
approach to commercial survival.
He says: “Instead of asking: ‘What
strategy do I need to survive?’ you
need to reverse the question. It
should be ‘How do I mobilise people
in the current situation?’”
Norton argues that companies
need a strategy all the time -
irrespective of the current economic
situation - and that strategies must
alter and adapt according to changing
conditions. “You need to tell people
what your strategy is and how to
exceed it. That is defnitely more
important in the current conditions.
Look at the US airline industry after
9/11 - some came out of the crisis
much, much stronger than they were
before it. You need to know what it is
you are trying to do.”
But a strategy is ineffectual unless
it is clearly defned. As Norton
elaborates: “There often is a gap
between where we are and where
we want to be. For instance, the
University of Leeds in UK aspired to
be ‘one of the best’. But what does
this mean? For them it meant being
one of the top 50 universities in the
world in research and educational
experience. They defned a niche.
Qualifed their vision and put a
Middle East frms
the ride of their lives
Regional businesses to get clear steer from
Balanced Scorecard academics
Dr Robert Kaplan and Dr David Norton
UAE Digest, March 2009 9
timeline on it: 2012. These are
achievable and manageable targets.”
The Balanced Scorecard places
signifcant emphasis upon effective
leadership, a skill that is imperative
in today’s tough conditions. “The
leader has to have a sense of where
we’re going. That’s a strategy. And
that has to be communicated and
inspire people. The leader then has
to provide direction and motivate
people and provide a framework for
Kaplan and Norton are set
to address high-level executives
between March 28 and April 2 at the
JW Marriott Hotel, Dubai. They will
be joined by leading executives from
well-established and industry-leading
regional business powerhouses
including AW Rostamani Group,
Emirates Identity Authority, the
Electricity and Water Authority,
Bahrain, Petroleum Development
Oman, Qtel and Tamweel.
International companies featured
include Australia-based management
consultancy Claritas and Addima
Consulting of Lebanon.
Real life stories from the Balanced
Scorecard Hall of Fame will be
showcased along with the critical
role top management has to play
in the successful implementation of
Balanced Scorecard.
The forum, www. is
running in collaboration with
Palladium and is sponsored by
Addima Consulting, Microsoft,
Iycon, QPR and Logic Management
Pg 9-Events-BSC.indd 1 3/12/09 10:47:37‭ ‬AM
10 UAE Digest,March 2009
tarting a new venture is
always a very trying task,
depressing at times and
exhilarating at others, but
never without challenges and
opportunities. In a growing city
like Dubai, there can never
be a single dull moment in a
startup. And so it was with
Peter Cooper, a Dubai-based
journalist who launched
AME Info – a fnancial
news website that focused
on opportunities in the
Gulf market. His book
Opportunity Dubai hit
the UAE bookstores early
last month.
While making no bones
about the fact that
his employers helped
him unintentionally
by fring him, he also
admits he sometimes
was too optimistic
about the success of a
new venture
an opportunity
Dubai-based journalist Peter Cooper - the success story behind AME Info –
while talking to Vanit Sethi, recalls his days of struggle and excitement in
the fedgling website, before selling it off to become a multimillionaire
Cooper has been on his own
since he sold AME Info in 2006 and
is looking for a new business idea to
take shape. With spare time on his
hands amid the market scenario not
too good in Dubai now, Cooper is
surprisingly cheerful but stoic and
unassuming at the same time. He
talks about his book, AME Info, and
Dubai with a strong passion that
saw him through tough times earlier.
Starting off his journalistic career
in Dubai as a launch editor with
Motivate’s Gulf Business after being
made redundant in London by
Emap plc, Cooper returned briefy
to London in 1999 to complete
his frst book, a history of the
Peter Cooper
Pg 10-11Enterprise.indd 2 3/12/09 10:49:08‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 11
Bovis Construction Group. Coming
back to Dubai in 2000 (“the lure of
Dubai was too great”) to become
an internet entrepreneur just as the
dotcom boom at the fag end of last
century collapsed, Peter has had
his fair share of ‘troubled times’.
Ironically, it was the hard times
that led him on to greater success
in his ventures. As he states in the
‘Acknowledgements’: “Of course, I
would never have moved to Dubai
in 1996 without frst being made
redundant by Emap plc and then
hired by that publishing dynamo
Ian Fairservice (Managing Partner of
Motivate Publishing). And I would
not have joined AME Info and
benefted from the sale back to Emap
plc if I had not been fred by Ian.”
While making no bones about
the fact that his employers helped
him unintentionally by fring him, he
also admits he sometimes was too
optimistic about the success of a new
venture. By his own calculations,
AME Info should have been raking
in the moolah after its “frst diffcult
year”, but it actually took four long
years before Peter and his business
partners Klaus Lovgreen and Lars
Nielsen were able to breathe a little
easy. During that time, Peter had
to keep himself strongly motivated
to see his dreams come true. That
meant being up in front of a monitor
at 7.30 in the morning in his pajamas.
Of course, one of the advantages
of the internet was that you did not
have to work from an offce after
spending the good part of the day
Peter recalls the joys as well as
the frustration of the earlier years
of AME Info throughout his book.
When I asked him if there were
times when he felt like giving it all
up and going back to a regular job,
he replied that the question did
not arise, as there was no going
back. He had decided to make a
success of AME Info and he was
not going to quit in losses having
spent so much time and energy on
the fnancial portal. Incidentally,
he had to borrow money from a
bank and invest some of his savings
into the website, as no venture
capitalist came forward to spend on
something few people understood
in those days. But Peter was helped
by Dubai government and the
leadership’s push to encourage
entrepreneurship through the setting
up of free zones. “Actually, it was
good in a way we didn’t get pots of
money from a VC to set up our site,
because most startups squandered
their money in lavish buildups and
very little work was getting done.”
Lack of funds meant they had to
generate their own resources and
look for innovative ideas to sell the
site. But Dubai was growing, its
property market was booming and
people were hungry for information
that would help them ride the tide.
AME Info started special reports
and columns on various topics like
property, fnances, banking, industry
focus and economic outlook of
various Gulf countries.
In 2006, when the time was ripe,
Peter Cooper - along with Klaus
and Lars - sold off AME Info to
Emap for a neat sum of $27 million,
leaving him a multimillionaire. It
was strange irony or sweet revenge
that the wheel had come full circle
from 1996 when Cooper was sacked
from Emap. A roller coaster ten-year
ride that saw AME Info and Cooper’s
dreams bloom along with Dubai’s
boom time.
What did it feel like selling off
something that you’ve given birth to
and grown along with? In his book,
Peter mentions about the emotional
bonding with his ‘baby’, so to say,
but all the same he is quite matter-
of-fact and practical about it. “One
Working in AME Info had not been all
work and no play. Peter did take his
summer vacations in different countries,
especially to Russia and the UK
perhaps has to realise when one’s
time is up. In the sense, this was
time for a bigger player to take over.
We brought it to this stage. Now, it
was time to make an exit.” And who
wouldn’t like to make such an exit –
with wads of cash in your pocket for
the next holiday around the world.
However, working in AME Info
had not been all work and no play.
Peter did take his summer vacations
in different countries, especially to
Russia (his wife Svetlana is from St
Petersburg) and the UK (where he
comes from), while he worked on the
site, fling fresh reports from abroad.
Curiously, the idea of starting a
website too emerged from a holiday
in Australia when he spotted a news
item mentioning a dotcom frm being
sold for $50 million.
From one holiday to another with
plenty of work in between – it has
not been a bad deal for the modest
journalist turned millionaire. After
all, he met his life partner during
those years.
Now, he is busy freelancing and
writing “whenever the opportunity
arises” and offering fnancial
information and advice on his blog Besides,
he is planning another book, which
should be out by the year-end, if all
goes well.
The current recession has
constrained his plans for a new
business venture, but he is certainly
not resting on his oars. His never-
say-die spirit seems to pull him
through any downturn. Whoever said
“tough times never last, tough people
do” could not have been more right!
Pg 10-11Enterprise.indd 3 3/11/09 10:30:23‭ ‬AM
12 UAE Digest,March 2009
And just like onions can make
eyes water, trees block a path and
icebergs rip ships apart, cultural
misunderstandings can make life
a lot harder than it needs to be.
Knowledge about your own and
other cultures can help withstand
some of the challenges in a
multicultural environment.
Most of us live interculturally,
one way or the other. Tourists travel;
expats, emigrants and immigrants
move from one country to another;
corporations go global; and satellite
dishes give us access to far away
places with far-off values. And
every time we encounter something
new, we interpret and evaluate it
according to our worldview flter and
Culture shock is a natural reaction
to a strange environment. There
is culture shock the frst day of
school or on a new job; when
moving between towns in the same
country or when holidaying with
the partner’s family for the frst time.
But the reaction is sharper and may
last longer when moving to a foreign
By Helena Axelson Fisk
There are many ways to describe culture:
as an onion, ever-changing tree or an ice-berg;
its biggest part unseen.
country and a different language.
Culture shock is an identity
crisis. Knowledge, beliefs, opinions,
communication styles and even
emotions are suddenly questioned
or even frowned upon. After the
brief honeymoon period, when
everything seems fresh and new
and exciting, the challenges of
everyday life begin to surface and
comparisons are made with ‘back
home’, where people knew what
they had to do and how to do it.
Unless and until the traveller learns
to cope, understand and appreciate
his or her new surrounding, s/
he will struggle. For married
employees, the culture shock is
amplifed by the number of family
members. In the volatile Gulf labour
market, companies often have to
take care of employees in different
stages of this shock. A buddy system
can help ease the transition, as well
as intercultural training.
Living interculturally can
also be making the best of all
worlds; picking and choosing and
synthesising from everywhere, to
create a better whole for everyone,
including business.
Here’s a short list of how to go about
1. Learning about yourself:
Culture is like water to a fsh; we’re
so used to it that we don’t refect
on it and can’t describe it. Learning
why you feel and react the way you
do makes it easier to be fexible and
understanding. Read travel guides,
articles, anthropologies and studies
about your country and culture.
You’ll be amazed!
2. Learning about others:
Reading is a good way to start,
asking questions is another, and
mimicking is the most profound.
3. Realising why certain
behaviours make you feel one
way or the other:
You might fnd that you have
a hard time trusting or liking
someone who comes late to your
meetings. Realising that punctuality
equals reliability and respect in
your culture, but not necessarily
in others, you can override your
Culture is:
What we believe in: (world views, values, ethics •
and morals)
The way we do what we do: (how and what we •
eat; how we organise and perform the necessary
tasks in society; when and where we sleep; how,
when and with whom we socialise; how we form
family units; how and where we give birth; how
we pay our fnal respects to someone; how we
view and manage time, and so on)
How we communicate: how our mother-tongue •
has framed our mind and how we speak (volume,
gestures, eye contact, conversational pacing,
degree of directness, markers of distance/respect
and so on.)
Pg 12-13 In Focus-Intercultural.indd 2 3/10/09 11:16:18‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 13
initial reaction (distrust, feeling
disrespected) and judge her on what
s/he does rather on when s/he

4. Learning to be fexible
Few behaviours in the professional
culture will directly confict with
our innermost values, so there is
plenty of room for fexibility. The
more behaviours you have at your
disposal, the more effcient you will
be in an intercultural environment.
5. Finding principles that everyone
can agree on:
Knowing that reliability, trust and
respect, for instance, are equally
important in all cultures but
established and shown in different
ways makes it easier to keep an open
mind and react and behave suitably.
Different values operate at
different levels. A confict will often
illustrate two values that are equally
important, but seem to contradict
each other. The art is to synthesise
these two values, spin them into a
positive spiral and thereby create a
better workplace/company.
6. Recognising and preparing for
different kinds of intercultural
To establish a company in a •
different country demands the
willingness to learn and adapt in
order to sell.
To properly welcome and •
introduce a team member with a
different cultural background into
a majority culture-team demands
knowledge about both.
To move between majority •
cultures requires curiosity,
fexibility and a readiness to
unlearn and learn anew every few
To successfully run a multinational •
corporation takes fnding the
right balance between global
rules and regulation and local
To live and work in the Gulf, •
with its nebulous multicultural
character, demand all of this and
Challenges in the Gulf The golden
rule is: “Do unto others what you’d
have them do unto you,” has long
been discarded by experts and
replaced with the Platinum Rule:
“Treat others as they want to be
treated, regardless of what you
would prefer for yourself.” This is not
easy to do in a place like the UAE
in which representatives from more
than two hundred countries reside,
and no clear majority culture exists.
To further complicate matters,
the common language of English
is neither the Queen’s nor the
President’s. Native English speakers
must learn to speak international
English if they want to be
understood; using less dialect,
humour, expressions and historical/
literary references and an easier
vocabulary. Non-native English
speakers must learn to ask for
Finally, for a little added stress,
people are coming to and leaving
the workplace and the country,
experiencing culture shock or
dealing with detachment, both of
which make it diffcult to concentrate
on the tasks at hand.
What to do: Simply acknowledging
that culture matters can be stressful.
Knowing it and accepting it, you can
deal with it. Observing and asking
questions instead of expecting,
anticipating and interpreting, can
help you avoid disappointments and
Different communication styles
embody different values. The
politeness indicated in discreet
speech (a fowery speech where
a differing opinion is softened by
referring to the other person as
someone worthy of great respect;
and ‘no’ is always introduced as a
‘yes’ with certain qualifcations) is
probably preferred by the individual
speaking that way; and the
straightforwardness indicated by the
direct speech is probably a refection
of the person using it.
According to the Platinum Rule,
we should try to give people what
they want rather than what we
want, meaning, in this instance,
that the straight shooter shoots less
straight and the circumspect makes
fewer circles when addressing each
other, but both values exhibited,
i.e. politeness and honesty, are
Cultures differ with regards to
time-focus; past, present or the
future, deadline-fexibility and
whether it teaches multi- or single-
tasking. People who are time-fexible
are often grounded in cultures
with long memories. They know
that today is just one of the many
possible days for action. Present- and
future oriented, on the other hand,
perceive time as a limited resource,
something that must be used to the
maximum in order to succeed.
Time-fexible people are often
good at multi-tasking; they talk on
the phone, greet friends, answer
co-workers’ queries all at the same
time. Time-stringent people prefer
doing one task at the time: they
greet someone after they properly
concluded the phone call, they ask to
get back to their co-workers with the
correct answer, and they keep very
tight schedules.
In egalitarian societies, the ideal
is to treat everybody the same way,
regardless of name or position.
Generally, the more egalitarian it
is, the less specialised a society is,
i.e. any one person can do many
things and perform many roles,
which saves manpower. Egalitarians
may come across as sloppy dressers
without manners, using frst names
without hesitation and showing little
insight in how to address whom.
In-egalitarians might be perceived
as snobbish and aloof, attaching
great weight to dress, accessories
and titles, talking to some with great
deference and to others with seeming
Reconciliation lies in moderation:
In a team or a workforce, how
people are treated can sometimes be
as important as how much they are
Learning to recognise and
reconcile cultural differences can
give your intercultural living a
positive, profound tinge, and make
your company even more attractive
and effective in the market.
Pg 12-13 In Focus-Intercultural.indd 3 3/10/09 2:38:20‭ ‬PM
14 UAE Digest,March 2009
ost employees will receive a sizable
amount of money simply from company
and government payouts upon death.
Your company will end up holding
onshore up to three times your salary when company
life insurance on your individual name pays out. In
addition your company will hold your end of service
gratuity, your last month’s salary and any unspent
holiday pay.
Finally, if the death was caused by another person
unintentionally, or by accident, he or she has to pay
your estate blood money, known locally as diya. This
blood money is to be paid to the victim’s estate as
compensation and the amount is given in accordance
with Sharia.
When you calculate it all up, this money locked
away often runs into many thousands of dirhams
for the majority of well-paid expats, and a property
Do I need a Will as an expat? The simple
answer is “Yes”. Every adult irrespective of
nationality or religion should make a Will
and review it regularly. If you have no real
estate property or any sizable amount of
money in a local bank here, you should still
make a Will while living in the UAE.
Where there’s a Will
there’s a way
Pg 14-16 In Focus.indd 2 3/10/09 11:18:42‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 15
drafted Will can help the probate process and secure
the fnal issue of a Sharia Court Order, which is the fnal
document required to unfreeze or release funds.
If you have a Will it should be reviewed regularly
particularly if your circumstances have changed; you may
have recently married, had children or divorced. In fact,
it is important to note that marriage invalidates any Will
(unless the Will is made in contemplation of the marriage)
but divorce does not revoke a Will.
If you own real estate in the UAE, the safest way to
ensure it is given to the benefciaries of your choice and
not distributed in accordance with Sharia law is to place
the real estate property, known as immovable property,
into an offshore company. Owners of property in certain
European countries will be very familiar with this method
of asset protection.
For certain nationalities such as Indian citizens, the
Will must include a full list of real estate properties
owned and their postal addresses in addition to other
liquid assets details.
The United Arab Emirates is essentially a civil law
jurisdiction heavily infuenced by French, Roman,
Egyptian and Islamic (Sharia) law. Principles, such as
adopting previous court judgments as legal precedents,
are generally not recognised (although judgments
delivered by higher courts are usually applied by lower
If you die without a valid Will, you are said to
have died “intestate” and instead of your estate being
distributed as you would like, your property (which
includes real estate, possessions and cash) will be subject
to the law of intestacy of the deceased home country.
If you die without a Will this will apply to your estate
outside of the UAE; for your estate within the UAE, Sharia
law may be applied by the local courts. In this case,
your family will probably receive a very different amount
under Sharia law. Sharia law favours the males of your
extended family and lesser shares of your estate are given
to the female members. For example, your wife may only
receive one-eighth of your total estate, while children
receive one-sixth of the share.
Sharia law also requires that for every share received
by a daughter, a son receives twice the amount. In
addition, should Sharia law be applied to your estate, as
the males of your family are favoured more, the females
may fnd that certain males within your extended family
will receive more of your estate than your wife.
Apart from the problems related to which law will be
applied to your estate should you not have a properly
drafted Will, further complications may arise. Members
of your family that you would not have included in
your Will, may have a legally recognised claim against
your estate after your death. If your home country law
is applied, this may include dependant children not of
your own blood or a divorced spouse that still has a
dependence on your income.
If you die in the UAE your local bank accounts will
remain active until a death certifcate is issued. A notice
will be issued from the Ministry of Health should the
death be a natural one, or the Ministry of Interior if
in the opinion of the courts, the death has suspicious
circumstances. At this point in time, all your local
accounts including joint accounts will be frozen.
If the deceased has a partnership in a company, the
account remains closed and inaccessible by any partner
until the deceased is severed from the trade licence and
any partnership contract.
It is important to remember that in the case of joint
accounts (husband and wife), the remaining spouse will
be left with no means of fnancial support unless he/she
has access to offshore accounts. An offshore account held
in both husband and wife’s names can be legally accessed
after death of one of the account holders by the other.
The deceased’s accounts remain frozen until further
notice is received from the courts. The accounts can only
be opened by a Sharia court order allowing the heirs
to withdraw money or a representative with a power
of attorney from the heirs after the deceased person’s
debts are paid. Having a Will prepared before you die
will ensure that the local courts are informed of your
benefciaries and your executors.
Your executors are your appointed representatives
to administer the instructions and wishes of your will.
They are often given power of attorney to administer
your affairs in the UAE, which includes payment of all
outstanding debts prior to the lawful distribution of your
If the person has a partnership in a company the
account remains closed and inaccessible by any partner
until the deceased is severed from the trade licence and
any partnership contract.
Unfreezing of local bank accounts can only be carried
If the deceased has a partnership
in a company, the account remains
closed and inaccessible by any
partner until the deceased is
severed from the trade license and
any partnership contract.
Sharia law requires that for every
share received by a daughter, a
son receives twice the amount.
Pg 14-16 In Focus.indd 3 3/10/09 2:40:06‭ ‬PM
out by order of the Shariah Court once it has made a
decision based on an attested Will or Sharia law. This
process aims to safeguard any payments that need to be
made after an expatriate has died, such as outstanding
loans and any debt payments.
Milind Gokhale, an advocate and member of The
Society of Willwriters, is one of the legal advisors for
Expat Wills, a specialist Will writing company based
in Dubai. Milind says that to help expats overcome
the problem of frozen bank accounts, Expat Wills
are currently giving informative, free of charge, joint
presentations with leading international banks, to the
senior management of expat companies, on the need for
employees to have a properly executed Will and offshore
The most common reason for making a Will is to
ensure your assets are distributed to the family and
friends you want. A properly executed Will can ensure
family members and children are fully protected against
every eventuality should anything happen to you. A Will
should also take due consideration of any inheritance tax
that your estate may be liable to pay after your death.
Executors are appointed who are representatives to
administer your instructions and wishes. They are often
given power of attorney to administer your affairs in the
UAE, which includes
payment of all
outstanding debts
prior to the lawful
distribution of your
If you have
children under 18
years of age then a
Will is the only way
that you can appoint
guardians to take
care of them should
anything happen
to both parents.
You may consider
placing some or all
of the residue of
your estate into a
trust fund for them.
Everyone has heard of millionaire benefciaries of trusts
funds such as Paris Hilton, but in the world of the average
expat, putting money into trust funds for family members
is a very common method of protecting the future of the
family you leave behind.
You may also give specifc gifts in your Will. These
don’t have to be limited to material possessions, as you
can give cash gifts to anyone you want. After gifting
material items and cash you are left with what is known
as the residue of the estate. You must then decide what
you want to do with this residue of money.
Milind explains that expats are usually very good at
planning for retirement, but rarely consider planning for
16 UAE Digest, March 2009
Should you require further information and want
to take advantage of an Expat Wills free review of
your existing Will, contact:
Sue Mason at 04 3397244,
The deceased’s accounts remain
frozen until further notice is
received from the courts. The
accounts can only be opened by
a Sharia court order allowing the
heirs to withdraw money or a
representative with a power of
attorney from the heirs after the
deceased person’s debts are paid
death. “Most people really don’t want to think about
dying, but a professionally drafted Will is just good
fnancial sense and planning, and all expats should have
The company specialises in protecting the families
and fnancial assets of most nationalities and religions
residing in the UAE. They have both non-Muslim and
Muslim clients that use their specialist services to
safeguard their property held in the UAE and other
locations in the
world. It prepares
Wills that are
tailormade to suit
each individual
client’s fnancial
and personal
situation. They
are professionally
drafted to reduce
the amount of tax
your estate may
have to pay. Expats
should be aware
that although they
may reside in a
tax-free country,
their home country
government often
takes into account
their worldwide
assets for the purposes of calculating inheritance tax.”
Milind continues: “If you have an existing Will, we
also offer a free review service to ensure it complies with
any current changes in the law. We will check that it
includes the benefciaries that you still want, the required
guardians for your children and that it does what you
want it to do.”
Pg 14-16 In Focus.indd 4 3/10/09 11:18:42‭ ‬AM
UAE Digest, March 2009 17
n the old days, i.e. last century,
the 1990s and before; families
in the United Arab Emirates
enjoyed a life together – until
the children reached the age of
18. Then it was chucking out time,
leave the nest time, call it what you
will – although most people called
it “University days”. Children of all
nationalities had to leave the family
home, get on a plane and fy off
to countries afar to further their
education in their chosen universites
because there were very few further
education facilities in this country.
For some time, Knowledge
Village acted as a base for branches
of universities from overseas.
Gradually, parents learned to send
their children there, although there
were a few incidents of learning
programmes being abruptly stopped
due to lack of fnance. That brought
to light the question of which
institute was actually accredited to
carry out the teachings for which
money had been collected.
We all gazed in awe as an
aeroplane was constructed out
of bricks and mortars near the
roundabout at Garhoud. Emirates’
Teaching Academy is an in-house
training centre for the airline’s cabin
crew, engineers and other associated
jobs. Unfortunately, the roundabout
gave way to a huge fyover system
and the beauty of the building can
now only be glimpsed between
Distance learning has always
been available at The British
Council. This was often a preferred
method for vocational qualifcations
relating to jobs and companies,
paid for, usually, by multinational
companies here in Dubai and
headquarters in other countries.
The gradually expanding
patchwork of education changed
dramatically in 2005 when the Dubai
Education Council (DEC) was set
up to enhance the education sector
in Dubai at all levels and to bring it
up to international standards while
maintaining cultural and social
DEC was also set up to further
develop educational institutions in
order to create a knowledge-based
society. This it did in 2006 when
it announced that Dubai Academic
City would be built on acres of
sand somewhere off the Dubai-Al
Ain Road. A lot of development
has happened since then and what
used to be a trek out of the city is
now an up-and-coming academic
destination for students at branches
of world renowned universities and
A sizable number of foreign
accredited universities have been
set up in the city over the last
ten years. Some of these include
the American University in Dubai
(AUD), The American College
of Dubai, SP Jain Center Of
Management (part of India’s reputed
Business School SP Jain Institute
of Management & Research), XLRI
Dubai Campus for Management
(in collaboration with Al Abbas
Institute of Technology), Al
Ghurair University, Birla Institute
of Technology and Science,
Heriot-Watt University, Middlesex
University Dubai, SAE Institute
Dubai, the Higher Colleges of
Technology, Dubai Women’s College
and Dubai Men’s College campuses,
University of Wollongong in Dubai,
Dublin’s Dubai Business School,
European University College
Brussels-Dubai, Mahatma Gandhi
University, Manipal University,
Shaheed Zulfqar Ali Bhutto
Institute of Science and Technology,
A city for learning
By Linda Benbow
British University of Dubai, and
Zayed University.
Also, in 2004, the Dubai School
of Government in cooperation with
the Harvard University’s John F.
Kennedy School of Government was
set up. Its long-term objective is to
become a knowledge centre in the
Arab world. The Harvard Medical
School Dubai Center (HMSDC)
Institute for Postgraduate Education
and Research has been established
as well in Dubai Health Care City.
Since autumn 2008, Michigan
State University has been offering
undergrad and graduate degrees in
The number of colleges and
universities in Dubai has grown
signifcantly in the past 20 years, and
every year, the number of their staff
and students increases by about 30
per cent. Most of them are affliating
themselves to prestigious institutions
abroad, and many of them use
English as a tuition language. A
large number of Dubai’s universities
also offer various Master’s and PhD
postgraduate programmes.
National Institute for Vocational
Education (NIVE) was established to
provide students with an opportunity
to gain specifc job related skills to
meet the current market demand. A
DEC initiative, National Institution
Vocational Education was formed
to provide specialised vocational
education for UAE nationals. The
vocational education is benchmarked
according to professional standards
of the industry and takes into
account the growth of UAE and the
Pg 17 Education-Introduction.indd 1 3/12/09 3:07:52‭ ‬PM
18 UAE Digest, March 2009
ou might want to read
up on your prospective
employer’s education and
training policy before
accepting that job offer as research
shows that level of staff training can
determine a company’s long-term
prospects. William Collier, Frances
Green, John Peirson and David
Wilkinson presented a report at the
Royal Economic Society in 2003,
maintaining that a 20 per cent rise in
non-manual worker training reduces
the probability of forced closure
by six per cent. They also said that
small establishments that train a
larger proportion of their workers,
stand a better chance of surviving
the vicissitudes of the market. And
in January 2009, a report claimed
that companies that invest in training
now stand a bigger chance to
survive and recover from the current
Training is an attraction and a
sign of affection. The big companies
already know this; HP, for instance,
takes great pride in its training
programme: “Focus on employee
development and training has been
a tradition with Hewlett Packard.
Right from the time it has been
established, Bill Hewlett & Dave
Packard strongly believed in
employee development through
on-the-job learning, job rotation,
short-term project assignments,
in addition to classroom training.
Continuing on the same tradition,
and in keeping up with technology,
HP today has also added
e-learning and virtual classroom
training as vehicles for employee
development,” writes HP on its
Shell echoes that sentiment: “We
recognise that people are behind
our success, we’re committed to
providing the training they need
to fully optimise their skills and
potential. That’s why we offer
a huge range of training and
development activities. On-the-job
learning; training for recognised
professional qualifcations; personal
development programmes and
direction and support - from
‘buddy’ schemes, mentoring
and regular appraisals with line
Company policy
By Helena Axelson Fisk
When Tecom inaugurated its
training centre in Knowledge
Village in 2007, Abdullatif Al Mulla,
CEO of Tecom Investments, said:
“We consider people as our prime
assets. Our success depends on
how effectively these professionals
comprehend and adopt our core
values. We have established
this facility for their continuous
development as we believe
learning is vital to achieving the
organisations’ objectives.”
According to the British report,
sales, clerical, secretarial and
professional workers should be
trained frst and foremost. Training
can focus on new technology,
required skills and knowledge,
legislation and safety procedures for
instance; or they can be ‘soft skills’
such as communication, decision-
making and risk analysis. Skilled,
knowledgeable staff perform better
and bring in more money per capita
to the company and the employee
gets a heavy dose of personal
development for free.
Almost every new venture
comes with a lesson plan for its
workers attached, but old industries
are being transformed as well.
Phil Grange, Safeguard Risk
Management Safety Engineer at
Boots & Coots, an oil well control
company, explains: “For many of
the physical aspects of our work, a
university degree is not necessary,
but the Petroleum Industry is
changing. Our clients require well
educated personnel.”
Boots & Coots’ world used to
be a physical, hard environment,
where brawns were as important
as brains; on-the-job training was
the only one that mattered, and you
proved your mettle to your peers
before anyone else: “A few decades
ago, a new guy would start right at
the bottom (in the workshop, out
in the feld.... hammering iron and
pulling cables.... hard, hard physical
work), he would move around the
various work and skill aspects of
Pg 17-19 Education.indd 2 3/10/09 11:32:11‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 19
our profession and provided he
learnt well, he would move on. This
process could take 15 years or more,”
says Phil.
In light of an ageing cadre and
fewer employable applicants, ffteen
years is getting too long to wait
for employees to become experts,
and for that reason, Boots & Coots
has developed a proper training
programme. Due to the nature of
the job, Boots & Coots personnel
need to be up to date on a number
of certifcates at all time: Offshore
Sea Survival, Helicopter Escape,
Advanced Fire-fghting and Well
Control and Operations, among
others. Typically, certifcation lasts
for three years and must then be
renewed by completing a refresher
A logical offshoot of Boots &
Coots’ main activities is their client
training programmes, and training
can be a lucrative business: “We
offer training to clients in a wide
variety of subjects/topics. Anything
from Basic Industrial Safety to
Confned Space Rescue to Advanced
Oil Well Drilling Methods. Currently,
one of our major clients has us
providing an across-the-board/all
skill training programme to their
entire workforce, worth around $20
million a year,” says Phil.
For many high tech companies,
every sold product or project is a
potential risk: A client who cannot
get the investment to work properly
will be a grumpy, non-returning
client. That is why hardware
companies have developed their
consultancy departments, and
sales with tags for training are
fast becoming the norm in some
industries. A study conducted by
Expertus and Training Industry,
Inc. in 2008 found that more than a
third of the respondents beneftted
strongly in terms of customer
satisfaction, revenues and customer
retention. A company that lacks a
well developed strategy for training
might not be the one to join if there
are other alternatives out there.
As with customer service, there
will always be a need for training.
New products, new technologies,
new knowledge, new emerging
markets create an incessant demand
on both companies and people to
engage in life-long learning. And,
On-the-job learning
By Linda Benbow
During the initial job interview is the time to ask about
a company’s training opportunities. Some of the bigger
multi-national and government infuenced companies
will willingly train you to do their job properly, from
relevant courses to higher education degrees. Whatever
the industry, ask questions and fnd out what is available.
Show that you are a forward thinker who wants to learn
how to be the most useful – someone they should emply,
in fact.
Shell • doesn’t recruit into a generic graduate scheme.
Instead they match each individual to a particular role
based on their skills, potential and personal skills.
If you’re studying for a BA, MA or advanced degree,
or even if you’ve already graduated, in Shell’s eyes,
you’re a graduate. There are alternative routes into the
international company including visiting on The Shell
Recruitment Day, taking part in a business challenge,
and internship for 8-12 weeks. Visit
com for more information.
DubaiAluminiumCompanyLtd. • (DUBAL) provides
scholarships to eligible students, enabling them to
pursue higher education at university level (with
preference being given to UAE Nationals). After
completing their studies, students are committed to
remain with DUBAL for a period of time equivalent
to the period of the scholarship received. If you are
interested in pursuing a career at DUBAL send your
resume to
Emirates • has post graduate programmes for its
employees, such as MBA (Aviation Management), MBA
(Logistics & Supply Mangement) and MBA (Information
Technology Mangement). It also offers BSc top-up
Aviation Management Programme, along with on-the-
job and classroom training by its own professionals.
Jumeirah • has its own in-house chef and hotel
management courses at its Emirates Academy of
Hospitality Management. In academic association with
the Ecole hôtelière de Lausanne, it offers degrees in
hospitality management and professional development
for the travel, tourism and hospitality service industries.
Emaar • Education has opened its dedicated hospitality
training school at The Raffes Campus School
of Hospitality offering Hospitality Management
programmes in collaboration with Australia’s Box Hill
Institute, one of the premier multipurpose Technical
and Further Education (TAFE) institutes in the world.
All programmes offered here adhere to the guidelines
and standards laid down in The Australian Quality
Training Framework that ensure high quality skills and
competency based education and training.
Banks,PR • companies, retailers,schools, government
and quasi-government bodies offer updated courses
and training. Private companies will give specialised
training to their staff in order to remain competitive
and one step ahead.
just like a prospective employer
would be right to ask how far you
are willing to stretch yourself, you
should ask how far they are willing
to pull you.
Skilled, knowledgeable
staff perform better and
bring in more money per
capita to the company.
Pg 17-19 Education.indd 3 3/10/09 2:41:50‭ ‬PM
Window to the world
Eventually, Dubai Knowledge Village will remain a training centre for corporate
establishments as well as housing some training institutes and academic support
services with city branches of some educational institutions in Dubai Academic City
By Vanit Sethi
ith Dubai’s fast pace of
growth in the realty and
hospitality sectors during
the early 2000s, plus the
infux of a huge number of expatriates
of different nationalities, a strong need
was felt for developing educational
institutions where the children of
expats could study without having
to leave for their home countries. In
addition, the growing ambitions of
UAE nationals to educate themselves in
prestigious world universities without
having to leave their homes was the
driving force behind the setting up of
the Dubai Knowledge Village (DKV)
in 2003.
Since then, DKV has grown in
student strength and number of
institutions to about 450. In 2007,
Tecom Investments – the parent
company of DKV – launched the Dubai
Academic City (DAC). Many institutions
– like BITS Pilani and MAHE Manipal
– have already moved there with their
own campuses, while several others
are in the process of doing so.
Eventually, DKV will remain
a training centre for corporate
establishments and also house some
training institutes and academic
support services with probably
city branches of some educational
institutions in DAC.
As of now, a number of institutions
are still operating out of DKV. The
current recession has slowed down
plans of shifting en masse this year,
as those plans may take some more
time to materialise. At present, 16
universities and 200 other educational
institutions are in various phases of
development and relocation. The
universities are from a number of
countries including UK, US, Canada,
Australia, India, Pakistan, Iran, France,
Russia, Ireland, Belgium etc.
The institutions that have set up
shop in DKV have done so for a
variety of reasons. One important
consideration is to reach out to
their nationals in the emirate who
would like to have education of a
standard that is on par with their
home countries. The presence of
these institutions in a thriving emirate
like Dubai also enhances their
international prestige and reputation.
But most importantly, the conveniences
and facilities offered by the Dubai
government to institutions setting up in
DKV are too attractive to ignore. Since
DKV is part of the TECOM freezone, it
offers 100 per cent foreign ownership,
total exemption from taxes and 100 per
cent repatriation of assets and profts,
besides easy and effortless visa issuing
The one-kilometre long
compact campus has – apart from
interconnected buildings housing
colleges, universities and institutes –
food courts, retail shops, auditorium,
libraries, hotel, clinic, leisure and
recreation facilities along with
beautifully landscaped walkways and
fountains. In the DAC, most institutions
will have their own bigger, well-defned
campuses in several buildings along
the Emirates Road. In DKV, the older
establishments like MAHE Manipal,
British University and the University of
Wollongong have already made a name
for themselves in Dubai and the UAE.
Newer institutions like Herriot-Watt
University, Michigan State University,
Murdoch University and Middlesex
University are already in the DAC in
various stages of development.
20 UAE Digest, March 2009
Pg 20-24 Education- 5 pgs-Coaching etc.indd 2 3/12/09 10:51:41‭ ‬AM
Here is a list of some institutions, including the courses
and degrees offered by them.
1. British University (UK)
Courses: Business, Informatics, Education, Engineering.
2. Islamic Azad University (Iran)
Courses: Engineering, Business Management, Dentistry,
English Language, Law, Psychology.
3. Mahatma Gandhi University (India)
Courses: Business Management, Commerce, Information
Technology, Computer Science, Fashion Technology,
Tourism Studies.
4. Michigan State University (US)
Courses (Bachelors): Child and Youth Development,
Computer Engineering, Construction Project Management,
Early Childhood Education, Media Management and
Courses (Masters): Educational Technology, Retailing,
Advertising, Human Resources & Labour Relations,
Packaging, Supply Chain Management.
5. Middlesex University (UK)
Courses (Honours): Accounting, Finance and Economics,
Biological and Health Sciences, Business and Management
Studies, Communication & Media Studies, Computing and
Courses (Masters): Human Resource Management, Marketing
Communications, Management (MA, MBA, MSc).
6. Russian University (Russia)
Courses: Russian, Arabic, English, French.
7. UAE University (UAE)
Courses: Humanities and Social Sciences, Science,
Education, Business and Economics. Law, Food
and Agriculture, Engineering, Medicine and Health Science,
Information Technology.
8. University of New Brunswick (Canada)
Courses: Representative offce for MBA programme in
9. University of Phoenix (US)
Courses: Only online courses offered in Dubai.
10. University of Wollongong (Australia)
Courses: MBA, Commerce, Computer Science, Information
1. Cambridge College International (Australia)
Courses: English Language, Business, Financial Services,
Information Technology
2. Dublin Business School (Ireland)
Courses: BA (Hons), SAT, GMAT.
3. European University College Brussels (Belgium)
Courses: BBA, MBA, Language and Communication Skills.
4. Manchester Business School (UK)
Courses: MBA and DBA.
5. Zayed International College (UAE)
Courses: Business Sciences and Information Technology.
1. Birla Institute of Technology and Science (India)
Courses: Computer Science, Engineering, Biotechnology
(all BE Hons.).
2. Frankfnn Institute of Air Hostess Training (UK)
Courses: Aviation, Hospitality and Travel Management.
3. International Institute for Technology and
Management (UK)
Courses: BSc in Finance, Banking, Business, Economics,
Management and Mathematics; Diploma in Accounting,
Finance, Banking and Management.
4. Institute of Management Technology (India)
Courses: MBA.
5. Shaheed Zulfkar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and
Technology (Pakistan)
Courses: Business Administration (BBA, MBA), Information
Technology (BSIT, MSIT), Media Sciences (BSMS).
6. Universal Empire Institute of Medical Sciences (India)
Courses: MBBS, BDS.
7. JSS Academy (India)
Courses: Software Engineering, Healthcare Management,
Jewellery Design.
8. K12 International Academy (US)
Courses: Home schooling.
9. Manhattan Film Academy (US)
Courses: 4-month course in flm making.
10. Manipal Academy of Higher Education (India)
Courses: Information Technology, Biotechnology,
Management, Engineering, Media and Communication,
Fashion Design, Interior Design.
* For details regarding fee structures (semester, annual,
coursewise), courses and degrees offered, check the individual
websites of institutions.
March 2009, UAE Digest 21
Pg 20-24 Education- 5 pgs-Coaching etc.indd 3 3/10/09 11:38:35‭ ‬AM
22 UAE Digest, March 2009
By Manju Ramanan
Away from the city buzz, Dubai International Academic City
readies itself to be a premier space for higher education
submarine shaped building
catches your eye as you
enter the precincts of Dubai
International Academic City
from the Emirates Road. The Zayed
University’s striking shape quite marks
the area that devotes itself entirely to
higher education. Sprawled over 25
million square feet, Dubai International
Academic City houses several
educational institutes from all over the
But so do areas like Knowledge
Village near Dubai Internet City, and
Dubai Academic City. How are they
different from each other?
While Dubai Knowledge Village is
the hub for professional training centres
and HR companies, DIAC is positioned
as the regional hub for international
universities. Companies based in DKV
provide executive-level education
and HR services, DIAC houses
international universities that provide
vocational, undergraduate and post-
graduate education. A regional base for
premier international higher education
institutions, DIAC is the world’s frst
dedicated tertiary cluster development
and is spread across an area of 25
million square feet. The benefts for
DIAC partners include 100 per cent
foreign ownership, 100 per cent tax-free,
100 per cent repatriation of profts.
Located in the vicinity of
International City, the DIAC can be
called its backyard and several students
live in the area that is upheld as the
world’s only free zone dedicated to
higher education. Situated away from
the city buzz, the quiet environment
of the Academic City is extremely
conducive to research and study.
There are currently 32 international
The three cities
Dubai Academic City (DAC), was established between the Dubai-Hatta
Road and the Dubai-Al Ain Road after the successful development of
Knowledge Village near Dubai Internet City. The intention is for Academic
City to be a base for schools, colleges and universities, while Knowledge
Village will house training institutes and educational service organisations.
The DAC area is expected to cover 129 million sq ft and will be completed
by 2012.
Just to confuse you, Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) is
contained within the DAC. DIAC is the free zone for tertiary institutes.
However, primary, secondary and K-12 schools are part of DAC but not
DIAC. By 2015, DIAC expects to have almost 40,000 students attending 40
different institutes.
Knowledge Village is near Dubai Marina, between Palm Jumeirah and
Dubai Internet City.
universities of higher learning from
diverse regions including USA,
Australia, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia,
Belgium, UK and France operating
out of DIAC, catering to over 12,000
students. These include Michigan State
University from USA; The University
of Wollongong in Dubai and Murdoch,
both from Australia; Middlesex
University Dubai Campus from UK;
and S.P Jain Centre of Management
from India among others. These
institutions offer programmes that
range in duration from one year to four
years. Major academic programmes on
offer include engineering, computer
science, fashion and design, media
studies, environmental studies, child
development, quality management and
business management programmes.
For enrolment in a university in
DIAC or a certain programme of study,
universities need to be contacted
independently. However, the Student
Hub ( does
guide students in providing contact
information for all universities, but does
not offer expertise or advice in course
The DIAC shall have several
facilities to beneft students and
academics. There are plans to have
a well-developed student union to
facilitate extra-curricular activities
of the student community, the pre-
requisite for a well-rounded education.
This will include facilities like lounges,
wellness centres, dining facilities and
entertainment venues including movie
theatres, gaming centres etc. DIAC will
provide on-campus accommodation
with all the modern conveniences and a
lifestyle comparable to the very best in
the world. The accommodation facility
will provide modern apartments in a
safe environment with a wide variety of
sizes and prices for students to choose
from. Stylish interiors in each of the
apartments will be complemented
by the latest technology. Broadband
internet connection is only part of the
overall facilities offered. There will also
be facilities for indoor and outdoor
Pg 20-24 Education- 5 pgs-Coaching etc.indd 4 3/10/09 11:38:37‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 23
Coaching institutes offer much-needed fuel to
propel students into the top league
For a cutting edge
By Ambily Vijaykumar
Anees Hussain
s a student, one of the toughest decisions to be
made is the direction in which one is heading
with regard to studies. Whether the subject that
has been chosen is in tune with your liking and
aptitude is a constant worry for not just students, but also
their parents. But once that decision is made,
the next big question stares you in the face.
Which is the best institute that can offer you
the course you wish to do? Even after having
overcome that problem, there is the biggest
hurdle to be overcome. How to qualify for the
course in the institute of your choice? This is
where coaching institutes step in.
Apart from your regular studies, these
institutes prepare you for various entrance
examinations for admissions into premier
institutes and universities across the world.
One such institute is Career Launcher. Already
a well-established name in India, the institute
began its Dubai operations in 2004. It began
with a web service programme for students
of standard XI and XII before launching its
full-fedged two-year competitive engineering
programme for students who aspire to take up
engineering as a career.
Career Launcher helps students prepare for the IIT-JEE
(Indian Institute of Technology Joint Entrance Exam), the
AIEEE (All India Engineering Entrance Exam) as well as
Pg 20-24 Education- 5 pgs-Coaching etc.indd 5 3/10/09 11:38:38‭ ‬AM
24 UAE Digest, March 2009
SAT (Scholastic Aptitude
Test) for admission into
various colleges in the US
and BITSAT for admission
into the prestigious Birla
Institute of Technology in
India. Admissions at Career
Launcher are currently on
till the frst week of May.
The two-year engineering
programme begins in April
of a given year. The fee
for the two-year course is Dh16,000.
Coaching goes on even during the
summer break for preparations for
competitive engineering entrance
exams. The courses are held at its
centre in Knowledge Village.
“We have close to 200 students for
this course at the moment and are
expecting to enrol more for the batch
beginning in April,” says Saurabh
Varshney, Academic Head of Career
Launcher India Limited.
The faculty for this programme
are IITians who come from India to
Dubai to teach aspiring engineers.
Though the engineering programme
attracts the maximum number of
candidates, Career Launcher also
offers short Term training for GMAT
(Graduate Management Aptitude
Test) for entrance into various
business schools.
“There are two different
programmes for GMAT; a weekend
programme in which we offer classes
on three Fridays and Saturdays of
a month. Students, who are mostly
professionals, are given six-hour
classes during these exhaustive
sessions. The second is the seven-
day intensive programme with seven
hours classes daily. This is coaching
for admissions to MBA courses in
various universities across the globe.
The course is run in association with
Veritas Testprep US,” informs Saurabh
Varshney. The fee for this course is
The institute is also working on
offering full-fedged coaching for
medical entrance exams. However, it
is in the initial stages. All this apart,
they also offer test series for CAT
(Common Aptitude Test) exams for
admissions into various B-schools in
Excellence in Education, Anees
Hussain’s Way, is another coaching
institute operating from Knowledge
Village that offers coaching
for various entrance exams of
universities across the globe. They
offer ‘partly individualised coaching’
for entrance exams like the SAT,
GMAT, GRE (Graduate Record
Exam), TOEFL and IELTS. This
apart they also offer subject-specifc
coaching for high school students
and language courses.
The CEO of the institute, Anees
Hussain, says: “I have always wanted
the highest standards for education
for children. For me, it is not a job,
it is a mission to open their minds,
motivate them, inspire them and
make those who hate the subject
love it, get them self-propelled and
Hussain underlines the need for
personalised coaching because,
“the school environment here is not
good, parents do not pay attention
to their children, and kids are not
guided in the right direction.” He
claims that students who have
studied under him have made it to
the top universities across the globe
like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge
and MIT, among others. “No other
institute in Dubai can boast of an
average of 2,000 for SAT,” claims
The institute has been operating
from Knowledge Village since
2004. The courses offered include
SAT, which is a ten to twelve-week
course with a total teaching time of
about 100 hours. The course fee is
Dh5,500. The GMAT course duration
varies from six weeks to twelve
weeks, depending upon the entrance
test and the college that
the student is targeting for
admission. The course fee
is about Dh5,000. For the
GRE course, the duration
and rate is similar to that
of GMAT.
courses are two months
long and the fee is
Dh4,800. For the rest of
the courses, students need
to shell out Dh200 per hour since
they are offered individual coaching.
Admissions to the institute are open
“twelve months a year, seven days a
week,” says Hussain.
As a part of the institute’s attempt
to gauge the student’s ability, there is
a diagnostic test conducted prior to
admission so that the institute “gets
an idea of the student’s starting band
and weak areas.”
The faculty is led by Anees
Hussain who has twenty years of
teaching experience behind him. He
claims he has, in this period, helped
about 20,000 students get admissions
into various prestigious colleges
across the world. Apart from studying
at Columbia University, he has also
served as a professor there for six
years before moving to Karachi to
start his coaching institutes.
The remaining faculty has
been largely drawn from various
prestigious institutes in Pakistan.
“I have been extremely
disappointed when I tried to recruit
from the Dubai market. I have not
grown as fast, because I am very
demanding as far as teachers are
concerned, because they should be
motivated like me. They must be
dedicated to teaching, and hence it is
not easy to fnd such people. I don’t
want to recruit people who come in
and do their hours of teaching and
go back,” states Hussain.
It is this that Hussain feels
separates his institute from the rest.
The ‘close supervision’ of students
that he offers is lacking in many
schools in Dubai, claims Hussain.
And until schools here fll that
vacuum, Hussain feels coaching
institutes like his will thrive.
Pg 20-24 Education- 5 pgs-Coaching etc.indd 6 3/10/09 11:38:39‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 25
andscaped to perfection,
nestled in a sprawling
campus, away from the din of
cityscape, is the Gulf Medical
University in Ajman. A year ago, the
college-following a decree issued by
the Minister of Higher Education and
Scientifc Research, His Excellency
Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al
Nahyan - was offcially approved
as the Gulf Medical University.
Thumbay Moideen is its Founder-
President and it is promoted by the
Thumbay Group UAE. The group
is involved in various sectors, apart
from healthcare - education, real
estate, turnkey projects, information
technology, consultancy, timber,
shipping, and import-export et al
The focus of the Gulf Medical
University is in three core areas
of Medical Education, Healthcare
and Research. The Gulf Medical
College- as it was called earlier,
began with the MBBS programme
and the Bachelor of Physiotherapy
programme. Today has several new
feathers to its cap. The Ministry
of Higher Education and Scientifc
Research has permitted the university
to foray into newer programmes
in Pharmacy-D, DMD, Masters
Programmes in Clinical Pathology,
Toxicology, Public Health and
Primary Care-the University has
also implemented the fellowship
programmes of the Royal Australian
College of General Practitioners
as well as the McKenzie Institute
Certifcation Programmes in MDT.
The university, that offers
admissions to boys and girls, has
infrastructure and facilities, on par
with some of the established medical
institutions in the world. Apart from
the academic programmes, it is
in the forefront of the Continuing
Medical Education and Continuing
Professional Development
Programmes. It has been organising
well acclaimed international and
regional conferences and symposia
and publishes a quarterly health
magazine - GMC Health Journal.
Its courses range from Bachelor
of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery
(M.B.B.S) to Post Graduate/Diploma
Programmes , Masters Programme
in Clinical Pathology, Doctor of
Pharmacy - Pharm.D, Doctor of
Dental Medicine (DMD),Bachelor of
Physical Therapy (B.P.T).
The University is listed in the
WHO World Directory of Medical
Schools and IMED under the
auspices of Faimer.
The sprawling college campus
has excellent infrastructural
facilities, which include lecture halls,
laboratories and departments that are
well equipped and staffed by highly
qualifed and experienced faculty.
There are adequate facilities for
curricular and extracurricular activities
in the campus. The GMU also has a
health communications division, the
apex body which coordinates all the
CME/CPD programmes at the college
and the hospital. Its quarterly health
magazine is published by students.
The college has links to some of the
leading universities and institutions
across the world for online video
interaction with experts. Additionally,
the university encourages sports and
games with basketball, volleyball
courts, tennis courts, cricket and
football felds which have been
located in the campus. Separate
indoor table tennis facility for male
and female students is provided.
Separate hostel facilities for male
and female students are provided
on request. Resident wardens in the
hostel take care of student needs.
Indoor games and Internet facilities
are available for recreation and study.
GMCA has over 30 transport
vehicles to cater to various transport
requirements of students and faculty
from hostel to college and GMC
Hospital. The transport facilities are
provided for students coming from
Dubai and other northern emirates
Contact : Phone: (+971 6) 7431333
Superior Medicare
Gulf Medical University, Ajman
The Thumbay
group, that owns
The Gulf Medical
University, also
owns the Gulf
Medical Hospital in
Gulf Medical University
Convocation ceremony at Gulf Medical University
Pg 25-27 Education Pune-Gulf-RAK.indd 1 3/12/09 12:57:27‭ ‬PM
26 UAE Digest, March 2009
ne of India’s top-ranked
state universities, the
University of Pune
(awarded fve star
ratings by the independent National
Assessment and Accreditation
Council of India; also honoured by
the University Grants Commission
as a University with Potential for
Excellence, has opened its branch at
Ras Al Khaimah.
Dubai-based Edulink Consultants,
that has been instrumental in roping
in several international universities to
the region, facilitated the venture. “We
met the visionary HH Sheikh Saud,
Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of
Ras Al Khaimah in November and he
agreed to our proposal,” says Misho
Ravic, CEO Edulink Consultants.
Ravic, who has been in Dubai for the
past two decades, has been involved
in establishing and running a number
of educational institutions in Dubai,
Canada and the UK. His most notable
achievement has been The English
College Dubai, and the Middlesex
University campus in Dubai. He is
also CEO of Dubai London Clinic.
Ask him why he chose RAK as
a base for UoP and he states that,
“Educational institutions need not
be in big cities. Even in the UK, the
well-known universities and colleges
Tradition of Excellence
University of Pune, from India, opens a chapter in RAK
aren’t really situated in London. RAK
has an ideal academic climate, is cost
effective and the students can easily
negotiate the traffc.”
As for the UoP, RAK curriculum,
Riaz Bava, MD of Edulink
Consultants states that the RAK
campus will offer undergraduate,
graduate and post-graduate
courses, and is currently accepting
applications and registrations for
their opening in April 2009 for post-
graduate level, and in September
later this year for undergraduate,
post-graduate courses in sciences,
management, engineering,
commerce, pharmacy and other
“UoP’s main advantage is its cost-
effectiveness. The annual cost of an
MBA degree per year amounts to
Dh20,000 which is quite affordable,”
he states. Bava is a seasoned
technology specialist with extensive
links across the UK, Middle East,
Africa and South East Asia with a
track record of mobile computing,
enterprise software and eLearning
markets. As Regional Sales Manager
(Middle East, Africa and India) for
Edinburgh Headquartered Interactive
University, Riaz was responsible for
identifying and winning some of the
company’s major sales opportunities
and is instrumental in setting up
Herriot Watt University Dubai
Campus in 2005.
“The UoP campus will initially
operate from the Al Naeem Building
(Dubai Bank Building) location in
the Nakheel area and will eventually
move to its own buildings situated
close to the George Mason University
Campus. We have requested for
25,000 sq ft of space near the George
Mason university Campus,” states
Ravic. As for the teaching staff, most
readers and professors employed
in Pune University and its affliated
colleges will come to RAK for a
duration of six months. “We also
have plans to invite people from the
local industry,” he adds.
With a vision to create an
educational hub in RAK where
students of the region gather, the
UoP seems to be just the beginning
of new successful stories to come.
UoP currently has around 650,000
students studying on its parent
campus and affliated colleges
and has the highest number of
international students among higher
education institutions in India.
Edulink shall shortly bring to RAK,
a well known school from India.
HH Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah,
at the press launch held to announce the setting up of University of Pune (UoP) campus in RAK
By Manju Ramanan
Pg 25-27 Education Pune-Gulf-RAK.indd 2 3/12/09 1:25:19‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 27
ne of the premier
universities in the
Northern Emirates
devoting itself to medical
health, the RAK Medical and Health
Sciences University (RAK-MHSU) was
established by the Ras Al Khaimah
Human Development Foundation
(RAK – HDF) under the leadership
of His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin
Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and
Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah and
Chancellor of the University. RAK-
HDF is a joint venture of the Ras Al
Khaimah Government, Al Ghurair
Investments and ETA Ascon Group,
Dubai. It is accredited by the Ministry
of Higher Education and Scientifc
Research, Government of UAE.
Its soft-spoken yet dynamic Vice-
Chancellor is Dr Gurumadhava Rao,
who has resolved to create quality
healthcare professionals for the UAE
and the world outside.
“All of us want a doctor who
is caring and compassionate,
understands your problem, diagnoses
your illness and provides you with
suitable medical treatment. At
RAKMHSU, I am aiming to do that,”
he states. With 29 years of experience
behind him in one of India’s premier
institutes-Manipal University - Dr Rao
arrived in RAK to start this job at
The new RAKMHSU building
that he has recently moved into is a
Inspired to Excel
Ras Al Khaimah Medical and Health Sciences University
resolves to improve the quality of healthcare professionals in the region
state-of-the art facility that extends
to an area of 10.2 acres and is well
landscaped. The university building
extends to 60,000 square feet and
the total built up area extends to
250,000 square feet. It is a G + 3
foor structure with all facilities
that include medical, nursing and
pharmacy colleges. It has 10 lecture
halls, around 10 labs including the
clinical skills lab, rooms for small
group discussions, a big library
containing 5,000 books and 1,000
online journals. The University also
has a sprawling auditorium that has a
seating capacity of 650.
“We have a strength of 230
students across 30 nationalities in our
fve programmes that include Medical,
Dental, Pharmacy and Nursing. In
Nursing, we have the BSc programme
as well as the Bridge programme
where diploma holders in Nursing can
upgrade their diplomas to degrees.
Our staff totals 103, out of which 60
are full-time lecturers
and professors. We also
have 35 non-teaching
staff members,” he adds.
The curriculum
encourages problem
solving. There are
sessions where students
are split into groups
of 8-10 and given a
problem to solve. The
teacher is the facilitator
who guides the students. Through
this exercise, students get to discuss,
tolerate other’s mistakes and develop
a good team spirit,” he explains. The
faculty also undergoes teacher training
programmes. The university conducts
Institutional Research Surveys about
performance of the faculty and regular
student assessment too.
RAK MHS University’s Student
Council ensures a speedy
acclimatisation of new students to
RAK MHS University by promoting
healthy friendships. It holds regular
meetings to organise activities
such as orientation, sports, cultural
programmes, competitions and
magazine publication. The university
also organises social, cultural and
entertainment programmes.
Housing facilities-separate for
male and female students - are made
available upon payment .Within each
housing facility, both single and
sharing options are available.
The minimum requirements for applying to the
MBBS programme in RAK MHS
University are an aggregate of 80 per cent in Physics,
Chemistry and Biology in 12th grade/UAE National
General Secondary School Examination (NGSSE) or
its equivalent with minimum of 70 per cent in Physics,
Chemistry and Biology individually. Profciency of
English equivalent to a TOEFL score of 500 in paper
based, 173 in computer-based, or 61 in internet-based
tests/ its equivalent in standardised tests such as IELTS
score of 5.0. (For more details, log on to their offcial
Dr Gurumadhava Rao-Vice
Chancellor of RAKMHSU
RAKMHSU campus
Pg 25-27 Education Pune-Gulf-RAK.indd 3 3/12/09 2:47:59‭ ‬PM
28 UAE Digest,March 2009
Heriot-Watt University
By Linda Benbow
eriot-Watt University-,-
was the frst overseas
university to set up
in Dubai International Academic
City, offering top quality British
education to students and executives
from around the Gulf and further
afeld, explained Professor Brian G.
D. Smart, Deputy Principal of the
University, Executive Dean and Head
of the Dubai campus. The eighth
oldest higher education institution
in the UK, Heriot-Watt was invited
to Dubai in recognition of its global
reputation and international reach
in the felds of engineering and
Its purpose-built Dubai campus
offers an ever-expanding range
of British degrees with courses
ranging from Masters programmes
in disciplines as challenging and
diverse as Petroleum Engineering,
Construction, Management, Energy,
Information Technology (Software
Engineering), and the world-
renowned Edinburgh Business
School MBA, to undergraduate
degrees in Management,
Construction, Quantity Surveying
and Engineering.
The university offers courses
delivered in the evenings, weekends,
and daytime, and provides a
supportive and positive learning
environment. With a range of
support options available, together
with guaranteed fee packages,
opportunities for scholarships,
assistance with visa applications, and
the option to transfer and undertake
a part of your degree at its home
campus in Scotland, Heriot-Watt is an
ideal choice.
With strong links to industry and
business, the university prides itself
on developing and educating future
leaders, managers, and innovators
in every feld in which they excel.
Graduates are sought after by
employers worldwide,
and their more than
60,000 alumni are
working in key
positions around the
All their courses
are taught by
their own faculty,
many of whom
are permanently
located in Dubai,
supplemented by
visiting experts in
key felds. Students
gain a degree that is
taught and examined
to the same exacting
standards as their
campuses in Scotland.
The degrees are also
accredited and approved by Royal
Charter in the UK.
It has an international
perspective in the approach to
built environment education. Its
courses cover the four disciplines of
architectural engineering; civil and
structural engineering; construction
management and surveying; and
urban studies. They hold the
appropriate accreditation from the
relevant professional bodies: the
Chartered Institute of Building
(CIOB), the Royal Institution of
Chartered Surveyors (RICS), and
the British Institute of Facilities
Management (BIFM). In addition,
students completing the MSc in
Quantity Surveying may apply for
RICS membership and can achieve
full chartered status on completion
of the Assessment of Professional
Textile design
Since its beginnings in 1883, the
School of Textiles and Design
at Heriot-Watt University has
specialised in the education of
professionals and practitioners
Open Days
We are but one provider in the
worldwide higher education
marketplace. You have a choice
and we want you to opt for
Heriot-Watt. You are welcome to
visit us prior to making such a
key decision about your future.
The Dubai Campus is located
in Dubai Academic City, 20
minutes from Dubai city centre
and welcomes prospective
students on Friday May 1, June
19 and August 14, 4-8 pm.
in the global textile and fashion
industries and has established a
reputation as one of the world’s
leading design institutions. Two
of the school’s fashion courses are
now available at Dubai, with the
option of transferring to the UK
campus for a part of the degree. The
dynamic Fashion programme allows
students to experience a broad
knowledge of the fashion industry
while undertaking specialist study
in a subject specifc pathway, either
Fashion Design or Fashion Marketing
& Retailing.
Pg 28-29 Edu-Heriot-SP Jain-.indd 2 3/10/09 11:47:09‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 27
P Jain Institute of
Management was started
with an endowment in 1981
by a great humanitarian, Mr
S.P. Jain. It started off in a small
manner, then picked up when Dr
Manish Srikanth, a Harvard graduate
and famed industrialist, became an
honourary Dean for S.P. Jain. There
has been no turning back since then.
In 1993, we became autonomous
after having been afflitated to
Mumbai University before.
In 2000, we started to think
‘global’ and dreamed of spreading
Indian excellence in business
management abroad. In 1993-
2000, we were ranked among the
10 business schools in India (from
the 1,400+ accredited business
programmes in the country).
In 2004, the Dubai government
set up the Knowledge Village and
were looking for partners. We were
looking to move abroad (having
looked at Mauritius, Africa and Asia)
and plumped for Dubai with its large
multi-cultural population. We were
one of the frst partners to move in.
We started the frst MBA programme
here. A residential one – another
frst for the region.
“We believe in the phrase
“breaking mindsets” and like to
think alternatively sometimes.
“We have a very good reputation
in India for placements of our
students, and the same thing
happened here. When we put the
results on our website,
we saw an immediate
response with a
food of enrolments.
People realised that
we were doing the
same good job here,
as we do in India. The Singapore
government recognised us a quality
entity, visited us in Mumbai and
Dubai, and invited us to set up a
campus in its country too, which
we have done. Now, we offer a
one-year Global MBA programme
spending six months in Dubai and
six months in Singapore. This is
followed by 100 per cent placement
in one of the three countries. In
the past few years, we have had
up to 10,000 applications for 250
seats for this programme. We
recently tied up with a university in
Toronto, Canada, to share students
to give them business experience in
different countries.
Our clientele are mainly Indians.
We have decided to expand this
and offer a full tuition scholarship
for international students who fulfl
our entrance criteria. We currently
have seven nationalities from
various parts of Asia and the Far
East, and hope to attract more.
For the Masters degrees, we
usually do a week of courses
followed by a week off. This helps
to ft in with working professionals.
Last year, AC Nielsen,-the world’s
most respected analysis frm-did
a survey among corporate bodies
asking their opionion about various
business schools and their quality.
S.P. Jain came out on top.
In December 2006, S P Jain
relocated its campus to Dubai
International Academic City. It
S. P. Jain
Prof. Christopher Abraham, Senior
Vice-President of S.P. Jain, talked to
Linda Benbow on campus
comprises a full building covering
60,000 square feet spread over three
foors. On the ground and frst
foors are housed the classrooms
for the long duration programmes,
an auditorium, a recreation hall
with canteen facilities and offces.
On the second foor is the Centre
for Executive Education with a
unique décor and custom designed
classrooms. The entire campus is
wi-f enabled and adopts the latest
technology for classrooms and
audio-video equipment.
S P Jain has unique educational
programmes combining teaching
with practical exercise to provide
students an invaluable real-life
experience of the workplace. The
institute’s learning centres use state-
of-the-art technology, and through
high-speed Internet connection, hold
global classes, encouraging students
to interact across the world.
At S P Jain, what is conventionally
termed as a classroom, morphs into
a Learning Centre. The classrooms
are designed as auditoriums,
with step-up seating to facilitate
discussions, and are equipped
with state-of-the-art facilities like
projectors, cameras and audio/video
equipement. Most sessions are
recorded for review, reference and
refection in the future. The campus
has the best of videoconferencing
technology for conducting interactive
guest lectures with international
faculty and industry heads.
MARCH 2009, UAE Digest 29
Pg 28-29 Edu-Heriot-SP Jain-.indd 3 3/10/09 11:47:15‭ ‬AM
ITS, Pilani - Dubai (BPD) was established in
September 2000 in response to the growing need
for quality engineering education among Middle
East residents.
“It is the only international branch campus of BITS,
Pilani and was setup in association with ETA-Net, a
member of the ETA Ascon Group. Over a period of eight
years, BPD’s student strength has grown to about 1,750,
with the majority of students coming from UAE and GCC;
around 27 per cent of these are girls,” explains Dr. M.
Ramachandran, Director, BITS, Pilani – Dubai, who, before
establishing the school in Dubai, was a Professor and Dean
(R&C) at BITS, Pilani, Rajasthan, of which he is currently a
member of the Board of Governors.
BPD offers engineering programmes at the
undergraduate level in seven different specialisations. The
following were offered for the Academic year 2008 - 2009:
B.E. (Hons.) Computer Science •
B.E. (Hons.) Electrical & Electronics Engineering •
B.E. (Hons.) Electronics & Communication Engineering •
B.E. (Hons.) Electronics & Instrumentation Engineering •
B.E. (Hons.) Mechanical Engineering •
B.E. (Hons.) Chemical Engineering •
B.E. (Hons.) Biotechnology •
30 UAE Digest, March 2009
All the programmes
are of four years duration
and include an internship of
seven and a half months in
reputed industries. There
are nearly274 companies offering
internship to the students currently with many more
companies coming forward each day. Students are also
paid stipend during this internship.
Nearly 110 graduates have obtained admission to
Masters and PhD programmes at reputed institutions in US
and Canada. The remaining students are well placed in
highly reputed companies.
BPD has established academic collaborations with
reputed American universities for the beneft of its
students. The scope of collaboration includes preferential
admission into graduate programmes, joint research
activities, credits transfer etc.
BPD is located at its new permanent campus at Dubai
International Academic City and offers world-class,
state-of-the-art facilities with well-equipped labs and
workshops, separate Library Block, Academic Block,
Sports Complex, Canteen, Clinic, Grocery, Gymnasium,
and Hostel blocks.
BITS, Pilani-Dubai
‘A’ grade
BITS Pilani-Dubai has been awarded grade ‘A’ by the
National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the
autonomous grading body of the University Grants Commission
of India. The NAAC Peer Team visited the sprawling BPD
campus in Dubai International Academic City and initiated its
assessment procedures based on criteria such as curriculum,
teaching-learning and evaluation, infrastructure and learning
resources, student support and progression, governance
and leadership, innovative practices etc. They inspected all
departments, laboratories, the library, sports centre and
student facilities like the clinic and canteen, followed by
extensive interactions with the faculty, staff and students.
An important observation was that BPD graduates are well
placed at various centres of excellence around the globe - be
it corporates like Microsoft, Oracle, Larsen & Toubro, Dell,
Panasonic and Siemens or universities of the stature of
Stanford, Cornell or Purdue for Masters and PhD programmes.
The campus has attached to it the following labs of international
standards: Manufacturing Process, Engineering Graphics & CAD,
Computer Networking, Measurement Techniques in Physics,
Measurement Techniques in Chemistry, Measurement Techniques in
Biology, Measurement Techniques in Electrical & Electronics Engineering,
Measurement Techniques in Chemical & Mechanical Engineering,
Digital & Analog Electronics Lab Communication, Instrumentation,
Electromechanical Energy Conversion, Microprocessor Programming
& Interfacing, Production Techniques, Transport Phenomena, Prime
Movers and Fluid Machinery, Heat Transfer Operations, Selected
Chemical Engineering Operations, and Process Control Lab
Pg 30-33 Edu-BITS Pilani-Murdoch-.indd 2 3/12/09 2:50:07‭ ‬PM
32 UAE Digest, March 2009
Murdoch University
launches new programmes
he Murdoch University International Study Centre Dubai,
established in the UAE since March 2008 and based in
Dubai International Academic City, has launched a number
of new courses to commence in August this year. The new
undergraduate and postgraduate programmes include the Bachelor
of Environmental Management, Bachelor of Science (Information
Technology), Masters in Human Resource Management and Postgraduate
Certifcate and Diploma courses in Journalism, Public Relations and
Media Production.
The Bachelor of Environmental Management course, one of its kind
in the UAE, is set to cater to the growing demand of graduates in the
feld of environmental sustainability in the region in line with the Dubai
Strategic Plan and the UAE government pursuit of concerted efforts with
the private sector to move towards a more sustainable development.
The course is designed to prepare students to become fully trained
environmental managers who will receive a strong grounding in science-
based theories of the total environment, and are able to translate them
into practical management decisions and solutions.
MUISCD Pro-Vice Chancellor Professor John Grainger said: “Graduates
will play a part in fnding solutions to the environmental problems
that are currently facing us, not only in the UAE but on a global level.
Murdoch University, whose Research Institute for Sustainable Energy
(RISE) in Perth is renowned for its efforts in the feld, has a long tradition
in research and teaching in this area, and we believe the expertise
the university is able to offer will be benefcial to the UAE, and also
the Middle East as a whole. By linking management to local, regional
and global sustainability, graduates will be equipped to develop clear
management alternatives for a viable future. With increasing pressure on
all aspects of industry and development to factor environmental costs
into their bottomline - the role of environmental managers will continue
to rise.”
The new postgraduate courses in the felds of Journalism, Public
Relations and Media Production, introduced to complement the
undergraduate programmes in Media and Mass Communication already
offered by MUISCD since August 2008, are designed to further contribute
to and strengthen the skills of media professionals in the region.
MUISCD Campus Open Day
will be on 7th May at MUISCD campus (Dubai
International Academic City, Block 10, fourth foor).
There will be campus tours, information on courses,
and presentations by the academics.
Experience the real life studio conditions by
trying out light-hearted media competitions such as
‘The Best News Anchor’ competition and ‘The Best
Radio Presentation’ competition
There will also be a Digital Fiesta Exhibition
with the best works of students in the felds of
photography, website design and videos, as well as
the best entrants of its up-and-coming high school
camera phone competition.
Is the degree obtained at MUISCD
of equivalent standards to the one
obtained by students studying in
The degree awarded in Dubai is exactly
the same as awarded in Australia. Both
campuses have the same admission
requirements, follow an identical academic
curriculum, use common faculty and
offer the same career service and student
service support.
What are the credentials of MUISCD
lecturers? How qualifed are they?
Lecturers are carefully selected from a
pool of experienced and highly qualifed
professionals. Murdoch Australia approves
all lecturers before they are allowed
to teach in the programme. Usually,
they are academics from local tertiary
institutions or practitioners with extensive
experience from the industry. They must
hold a recognised Master’s Degree and
above in order to undertake any Bachelor
Student Visa
Murdoch University International Study
Centre Dubai sponsors residency visas
through Dubai International Academic
City for all students attending a course on
campus. Residency visas are required for
all international students and residents
over the age of 18 who currently reside in
Pg 30-33 Edu-BITS Pilani-Murdoch-.indd 4 3/12/09 10:54:42‭ ‬AM
March 2009, UAE Digest 33
he University of Phoenix was
introduced in 1976 in Arizona
as a traditional bricks and
mortar campus, explained Raj
Kapoor, University of Phoenix’s Dubai
Student Service Centre Director. “Our
founder, Dr John Spurling, has always
followed a non-traditional model,
believing that there is a niche for those
who had not been able to learn at the
same age as others, mature students
who want to improve themselves, etc.
The online segment took off in 1989.
We do both campus teaching and
online teaching, half and half. There
are currently 200 campuses in US and
Canada and one in Rotterdam, UK.
“Today’s students are typically multi-tasking adults
(with job/business and home, spouse and children) and
they want to get a Bachelors degree now when they have
more time. We provide an online training scheme, which
is tremendously rigorous. More than they think at frst.
But it does enable learning at home, with back-up by the
professional staff that is here in the Knowledge Village
“We offer Masters degrees in various programmes for
those who have passed their Bachelors, and are in middle
“We have always had students in the Middle East and
Asia, but by opening this offce in October 2007 in Dubai,
we are a little closer to our students. We served them
well from Phoenix, but now we can advise face-to-face
as well as online. There are admission counsellors here
as well as academic counsellors, a team of 35. They are
your best friends throughout your course. They keep an
eye on students’ progress, and note whether assignments
are being posted on the web on time. If they think
you may be having a problem, they gently
encourage you to explain/work/discuss. They
even praise. Maybe, there was a technical
fault. The counsellors can report it to the
professors so that there is no hassle about
unfnished homework. We provide support
in all ways for the 1,000 or so students in this
We teach Business programmes and all
its facets–management, marketing, fnance,
accounting, IT, health administration,
education – all following the American
curriculum. We cater for Bachelors, Masters
and Doctoral levels – although we don’t enrol
doctorate students here, we do put them in
touch with our counsellors in Phoenix.
We are not authorised by the Ministry
of Higher Education here in the UAE, as it does not
recognise 100 per cent online programmes. We are
very upfront in providing this information – we are very
comfortable with who we are, and are accredited by one
of the six accrediting authorities in US – Higher Learning
Commission of the North Central Association (who
accredit Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia, among others).
The Knowledge Human Development Authority
(KHDA)will come up with criteria for online learning;
I am confdent that when they do, we will get UAE
Classes are paid for when they are taken. If there is a
need to take a break due to work commitments or similar
problems, then payment can be held over until the next
class is taken.
We recently entered a partnership with the American
College of Dubai (ACD), which may not have happened
if we had remained in Phoenix. They (ACD) train up to
an Associate level, and now their students can take their
Master’s degree with us.
Phoenix University,Dubai
By Linda Benbow
Articulation agreement with American College
of Dubai
University of Phoenix (UOPX) and the American College
of Dubai (ACD) have formed an articulation agreement
that will provide students who have earned their
associate’s degree the opportunity to transfer credits and
pursue a university bachelor’s degree with the University
of Phoenix.
The agreement between the two post-secondary
institutions is effective immediately and allows qualifed
students who have completed transferable credits or an
associate’s degree through American College of Dubai to
transfer degree credits to the University of Phoenix.
Raj Kapoor
Staff and counsellors at the
University of Phoenix
Pg 30-33 Edu-BITS Pilani-Murdoch-.indd 5 3/12/09 10:56:15‭ ‬AM
34 UAE Digest, March 2009
U21Global ( is an online graduate
school backed by an international network of leading
research-intensive universities from around the globe. It
offers fexibility not normally available to those seeking
enhanced educational qualifcations. The course can be
undertaken on a full-time basis but it also provides the
opportunity for those juggling travel, work and personal
commitments to extend their career opportunities through
part-time study – at any time or place. Students are
working professionals, typically in their mid-30s, with an
average of 9 years work experience.
How long have you been accepting students from
We have been accepting students from UAE and all
over the world ever since U21Global frst opened its
virtual doors in 2003. Our Dubai regional headquarters
was established in February 2004 and ever since then,
the interest and student intake numbers have gone
from strength to strength. We anticipate even stronger
enrolments from this market in the next few years as
individuals realise that the strength of their education may
be one of the only factors available to help them sustain a
time of economic crisis. Fear of job loss has led many to
revisit the aspect of their education and education levels.
Do you have an offce/campus in this country?
U21Global is an e-learning institution, so we don’t use
typical physical university infrastructure such as campuses
and classrooms. Our presence here in the UAE is based
on the establishment of our regional headquarters
which is based in Dubai Knowledge Village. Our global
headquarters is located in Singapore.
Which type of students do you have (i.e. young,
mature, professional, etc)?
The vast majority of our students are professionals from
various backgrounds, cultures, industries, and geographic
locations. We offer fexibility not normally available to
those seeking enhanced educational qualifcations. Our
programmes can be undertaken on a full-time basis but
they also provide the opportunity for those juggling
travel, work and personal commitments to extend their
career opportunities through part-time study – at any time
or any place. Our students have on average of nine years
work experience and approximately 70 per cent of them
Bilal B. Sabouni of U21Global replies to questions posed by UAE Digest
Pg 34-35 Education U21.indd 2 3/12/09 2:52:08‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 35
travel frequently for work. They average between 35-40
years of age and presently come from over 65 countries
across Asia, Australasia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East
and the United States.
What type of courses are on offer?
U21Global offers Business and IT Management courses
at the highest quality levels while maintaining the full
fexibility of the online learning environment we operate
in. We also partner with leading institutions of the world
to offer joint programmes, such as our collaboration with
the University of Nottingham to offer a Master of Science
in Tourism and Travel Management. In addition to the
broad range of publicly available masters, postgraduate
diploma and certifcate programmes, we have also
developed a number of highly customised programmes
for select corporate clients. By repackaging existing
materials and adding new ones, we are able to create
a unique customised learning experience for corporate
and institutional clients. To date we have partnered with
many leading private and public sector companies to
deliver customised executive education programmes to
their employees. Some of these organisations include
EmiratesNBD, Acer Middle East, Wipro, IBM, Tata Motors,
Citibank, Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), Indian
Oil Corporation Ltd., and Aditya Birla Group, to name a
Where does the certifcation come from (US, UK,
Australia, Europe, India, UAE, etc)
We beneft from international accreditation by one of
the world’s foremost accrediting bodies, the European
Foundation for Management Development (EFMD). Our
MBA has been awarded their prestigious CEL award
which recognises the high quality of management courses
at U21Global and affrms our school’s benchmark-setting
standards in pedagogy, assessment, student services
and learning outcomes. Till date, only nine technology-
enhanced learning programmes in the world have met
the quality levels to receive this accolade. Furthermore,
U21Global is an international member of the Association
to Advance Colleagiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and
is a founding member of the European-based, Global
Universities in Distance Education (GUIDE).
Last but surely not the least, we also beneft from the
backing and support of our affliate universities from
North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.
Is there a strict timetable for fnishing the courses,
or can they be done at an individual’s own pace?
Our unique study approach enables a student to balance
a busy work schedule, social activities and travel
with serious calibre programmes such as our Degree
programmes. There is an overall deadline to a student’s
tenure with us, for example, a student is not allowed
more than fve years to complete the MBA programme.
However, day-to-day participation and timing of attending
to classes is completely up to the best discretion of the
student and his/her availability. Having said this, it is also
important to note that our programme is not a self-study
programme. All our students are placed in virtual classes
of approximately 25 students that are led by a world-
renowned professor. The class moves together through
various class content, readings, exercises, group work,
and projects. Thus, the pace of the classes is not set by
the student, but rather by the professors and the study
schedules in place.
Do you advise students on what to do and where to
go after they have passed their exams
Due to the fact that the vast majority of our students are
executives and working professionals, we do not get many
requests for advice on what to do or where to go after
their studies. However, a career guidance facility is in place
for our students and alumni should they wish to avail the
services at their disposal.
What differentiates your programmes and
management style from others on offer?
At U21Global, e-learning is student-centered, fexible and
convenient. With the ease of online delivery, the emphasis
in the educational process shifts from teaching to learning.
Our graduate programmes draw upon the best practices
in online learning and focuses on learners and learning so
that each and every course (subject) specifes at the outset
the learning outcomes that are expected and these are
reinforced in each module so that the student continually
knows why they are learning and how each segment fts
into the broader course and programme environment. Our
web-based resources are easy to use and offer dynamic
and innovative learning designs. Students can access
our integrated library links to mine the vast resources of
the Internet. We also make extensive use of online tools
such as blogs, wikis, discussion boards, webinars, and
instant messaging (to name but a few), that allow students
to engage in a more thoughtful, refective and continuing
sharing of ideas.
Our programme offers a global management education,
with students from over 65 countries who are active
managers in those countries, studying together in a vibrant
virtual classroom. It offers a dynamic online learning
environment, facilitated by quality faculty, and ensures
stimulating interaction among students and with faculty
through active discussion of the topics covered. This
environment fosters development of global management
capabilities and management competencies suitable for the
global knowledge economy.
Do you offer help and assistance to those who need
advice with the coursework – i.e. a mentoring role?
U21Global’s Student Care team is on call 24/7 to assist
with students who may require assistance – whether it is
technical support, academic counselling, career guidance,
or general inquiries.
Those who require further mentoring can request for
special support by their professors who are always happy
to offer additional academic aid to students who may
struggle with new concepts or teachings.
Pg 34-35 Education U21.indd 3 3/12/09 10:59:46‭ ‬AM
36 UAE Digest, March 2009
Sunset catwalk

plash’s Spring-Summer
2009 Fashion Show
was a quintessence
of classic-luxe, haute
couture and chic ensembles.
At sundown, as the lights
came on, attention moved
to the catwalk built on the
pool at Old Town Palace
Hotel. The glittering fashion
fnish witnessed 26 male and
female models sashaying the
runway donning Splash’s
SS09 collection which are
available until June 2009.
Super-trendy, cool and
sexy; the pop favour of the ‘80s was reignited to suit
the fancy of bad girls and geeky boys. Bold and loud
style statements personifed the Trash-Glam-Punkette
look in mini-skirts, neon tights, cropped jackets and
shiny leggings. This fnally gave way to stunning party
wear with bold prints, graphic tees, and colour printed
distressed denim.
Exclusive timepieces on the wrists
of sports celebrities
Perrelet, a most distinguished brand of exclusive
timepieces founded by master watchmaker
Abraham-Louis Perrelet, has charmed top
sportsmen of the world such as international
footballer Christian Karembeu and tennis
stars the Bryan brothers. Flagship of the
Perrelet collections, this complication
is equipped with the exclusive Perrelet
P-181 movement. It has two perfectly
synchronised twin rotors, of which one
is placed on the dial, thus allowing an
unimpeded view of the winding mechanism
at all times for the wearer, resulting in a more
effcient supply of energy. Available at Saks Fifth
Avenue - BurJuman Centre, Dubai Mall, Mall
of the Emirates and select Damas Les Exclusives
Boutiques in Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain and Riyadh, Saudi
Worldly sensitivity and
masculine strength
Z Zegna, the younger and more
adventurous line of Ermenegildo
Zegna, the men’s luxury fashion
brand has launched its Spring/
Summer 2009 collection. Z
Zegna is the urban reality of the
modern man; it is a balance of
worldly sensitivity and masculine
strength. Soft structured tailoring
is blended with poetic elegance, divergent matte and
gloss fnishes, presenting a contrast in light and texture.
A subtle sheen is emanated with ‘rubberised silk jersey’
and ‘waxed baby lamb patina’ outerwear, while ‘linen
voile’ shirts and washed silk’ tailoring soften senses for
spring. Handmade paint prints, embellish ‘cotton linen
canvas’ waistcoats and ‘jersey’ t-shirts. Madra check
tailoring in ‘cotton silk poplin’ is paired with ‘washed
silk’ bow ties, evoking an eccentric modernity. Available
at the store in Mall of the Emirates, Emirates Towers
Boulevard, and Harvey Nichols store in Dubai. In Abu
Dhabi, it is available in Rodeo Drive store on Khalifa
Street and Marina Mall.
Chic Chic pearls and diamonds
Stefan Hafner, the Italian jewellery
house of extraordinary calibre, unveils
Chic Chic which combines the timeless
elegance of pearls with the dazzling
mystique of diamonds in white gold
settings, offering earrings, necklaces,
pendants and rings. Its riveting drop
earrings feature a very interesting
foral design where round, pear
and marquise shaped diamonds
cluster together to form a six-
petalled blossom, sprouting
amidst a rich foliage of leaves,
from which drops a sequence of four pearls
in gradually increasing sizes. Available at the
Stefan Hafner Boutique in BurJuman Centre
and at select Damas Les Exclusives Boutiques in
e- site for superior shopping
Damas has recently launched an e-commerce site, which is expected to provide
superior internet shopping experience to its customers
and showcase its international and in-house watch and
jewellery brands. Customers can select these items from a
range of options and pay safely online
through the
the site
will allow
only within
the UAE, but
is expected
to provide
Fashion .indd 2 3/9/09 5:38:04‭ ‬PM
UAE Digest, March 2009 37
ulling the thick voile curtains away
from the foor to ceiling windows,
I looked down onto a view of
modern designs in Old Town. A
lake (recently flled with water) sparkled
under a bridge, joining buildings of many
heights, walkways and Mediterranean colours. Hot weather
colours. The sandy yellows, browns, creams, oranges
and terracotta reds that is fourishing in Dubai. I was in
the relaxation lounge at The Spa at The Address hotel at
Downtown Dubai, about midway up the building.
Having turned left when exiting the lift and walked
down a darkish corridor with low lighting to the
receptionist desk, I asked for the lighting to be raised so
that I could read the medical form which had to be flled in
prior to treatment.
After changing into the big, chunky dressing gown that
was provided, I inspected the steam room and then the
relaxation area with its leather loungers, magazines and
buffet table carrying an assortment of healthy drinks, cereal
bar nibbles, fresh and dried fruit.
The Australian masseuse who led me to a darkened
The Spa
treatment room with heated bench/table to lie on;
explained about aromatherapy massages and the Espa
range of products that is used here. Knowing the quality
and prices of these products, sold in Harvey Nichols
and other premier outlets, helps you to relax even more,
anticipating the luxurious oils, lotions and potions that will
soon be making you feel like something special. And yes,
after an hour of gentle massage into muscles and joints, you
do feel more energetic - or relaxed – depending on the oils
you chose in the pre-treatment consultation.
The Spa has separate rooms, and differing treatments for
men and women. Men can have a Thai massage, Swedish,
refexology, sports and ftness; and regenerating and frming
eye treatment. There is also a purifying facial, shoulder and
scalp massage – all for under Dh500. Pay some more for
stress buster treatment or Executive Grooming.
By Linda Benbow
Pg 37 Wellness.indd 1 3/10/09 12:07:17‭ ‬PM
he sight of black and white balloons festooned
around a doorway on the third foor of The Dubai
Mall caught my attenition. Armani colours. Sure
enough, I had walked into the offcial opening
of Armani/Casa (the Armani Group’s Home Furnishings
division) which was opening its frst dedicated store in
The store has an area of 330 square metres with a long
curved window that gives total visibility of the interior. But
why window shop when friendly salesmen encourage you
to enter and feel and touch the many items on display. So
I stepped in, looked around the kitchen display and sat on
the leather chair. A jiggle around on the ‘Otto’ seat had my
aching body comfortably positioned against the bendable
chair back. Yes, it really does move backwards with you.
The various displays create a distinctive atmosphere
through a combination of products that range from furniture
and furnishings to accessories, décor and fabrics – for
both day and night zones – carefully selected for their
compatibility in terms of shape, material and colour, all
within a bright but softly lit environment. It also offers
an exclusive
interior design
service in each
store providing
solutions for
private clients
and property
In Dubai,
is presenting
two ‘jewels for the
home’ created in
limited editions of
only 50 pieces, each
one a unique item
of furniture bearing
the unmistakable
signature of Giorgio
Armani. Antoinette
is the highly original
dressing table,
intended for a sensual
and sophisticated
woman who loves to
pamper herself. This piece is defned by its cylindrical form
clad in a precious fabric in a pale shade of champagne.
When open, it reveals its function as a dressing table with
a mirror and surface, and has a drawer created in a special
material that resembles mother of pearl, while the seat with
its curved back is in the same fabric as the dressing table
and integrates into the main unit.
Adelchi, restrained and charismatic, is a desk in
the modern style featuring a wealth of highly prized
craftsmanship: the satin-fnish glossy metal tiles selected for
the surface are applied one by one to deliver an impact that
is both visually satisfying and opulent. Adelchi, intended for
a man who prioritises minimalism and purity of style, is a
desk ft for a study, and is itself a showpiece of beauty that
forcefully evokes a mood of modern luxury.
The accessories are worth browsing through; cushions,
bathroom accessories, kitchen things and home knick
knacks – all with that distinctive Armani look and
atmosphere. In case you are interested, yes, I did buy
Mall furniture
By Linda Benbow
Interior of the Armani/Casa store
‘Otto’ chair with bendable back
38 UAE Digest, March 2009
Pg 38-39 Home & Garden.indd 2 3/10/09 2:54:40‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 39
something – as a birthday gift for a friend.
Just a few days later, the sight of blue and white balloons
caught my eye on the third foor, near the waterfall end of
The Dubai Mall. This time I had walked into the opening
of a new Bose
outlet, the others being at the Mall of the
Emirates, Waf, Mercato, Deira, Dubai Festival City and
Marina Mall in Abu Dhabi.
This latest outlet in Dubai Mall is typical of Bose
retail design and décor and stocks its full range of home
entertainment systems and products. Friendly assistants
walked and talked me through the range of eye-opening
electronics. There was no need for the men in the family
to persuade me to buy, I was hooked from the moment I
saw the small speakers that can be plugged into your own
television to recreate a surround-sound atmosphere in your
And what was that stepping stool doing there? Actually it
is a weather-proofed outdoor speaker in garden green, that
can be placed on the lawn, among the plants, etc so that it
is not conspicuous.
The sign said ‘noise cancelling headphones’ which meant
that I immediately wanted to test them out for myself. They
have been designed to cancel out droning and background
noise so the assistant kindly put on a tape of the droning
engine noise on a plane as I put the headphones on. Quiet.
Peace. That would help me to fall asleep quickly on long
fights. The headphones fold up and fat for easier storage
in their carry bag too.
The store has a separate
room in which the Bose
True to Life audio visual
presentation has been
installed for customers to
experience the features
of Lifestyle Home
Entertainment systems.
Bose Corporation was
founded in 1964 by Dr.
Amar G Bose, professor at
the Massachusetts Institute
of Technology. Today the
company is primarily known
for its research in acoustics,
which has produced
inventions that have improved the performance of:
Loudspeakers •
Home entertainment systems •
Automotive sound systems designed for the interior •
acoustics of each car model (frst introduced by Bose)
Noise reducing headsets for pilots and the public (frst •
introduced by Bose)
Sound in public spaces •
A new approach for the production of sound for •
musicians requiring electronic amplifcation of their
Have you been to the Better Life store in Mall of the
Emirates to see the range of quality, and slightly different
appliances they sell? Dishwashers in drawers, jumbo sized
fridges and an assortment of cookers are among the white
goods, and stainless steel goods, that are on display. The
company – part of the Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group – is
a distributor of high-quality home appliances with an
exclusive portfolio of world-class brands including Siemens,
Electrolux, Fisher & Paykel, Forbes, Terim, Ufesa, Vestfrost,
Wolf Power and Zanussi. It also offers an extensive range of
personalised luxury kitchens from Siematic.
And now, Better Life is showcasing Grundig products
once again, having been associated with the innovative
German designers since 1962. After a six year gap of
relations during which Grundig reorganised its company,
sorted out its fnancial diffculties and re-emerged
successfully in European markets during the past three
years, the two businesses are happy to once again be
working together.
Innovation is what keeps driving the consumer
electronics market forward, and Grundig has always been at
the forefront of this movement. It was the frst company to
develop the 100hz technology for television and continues
to innovate. The latest range features superior imaging
with forward technology pictures and Grundig’s legendary
sound. A range of premium LCD televisions will make up
the majority of
Grundig products
available in Better
Life stores. The
televisions have
motion picture
technology which
prevents motion
blur and ensures
a striking, high-
resolution picture.
The ‘24p Movie
Mode’ provides for
the ultimate in flm
viewing with a replay
of 24 images per second.
The televisions range from the entry-level Vision 6 series
to the top-of-the-line Vision 9 series. The Vision 6 model is
high-defnition (HD) ready while series 7 to 9 offer full HD
resolution. A separate home theatre system is unnecessary
as the televisions have top-quality sound thanks to 16
inbuilt conical speakers with three-dimensional sound
projection. The high-performance Konus speakers generate
sound waves which reverberate off the walls of the room to
create a true home-cinema feel.
The televisions are supported by a variety of stylish
accessories including digital video broadcasting (DVB)
receivers, Blu-ray players and DVD players. And for
consumers that want to make their sound a fashionable
feature, the retro-style Audiorama spherical speakers have
made a comeback and can be set up as foor standing or
suspended from the ceiling.
Pg 38-39 Home & Garden.indd 3 3/12/09 2:53:57‭ ‬PM
40 UAE Digest, March 2009
aving enjoyed ambling
among the tents and
stands at last year’s
events, this year I am
determined to allow more time to
chat and discuss culinary matters
with everyone I can. Sales people,
visitors, fellow diners, chefs and
celebrity chefs – yes, they really do
attend the event and don’t mind
chatting to you. Gary Rhodes is both
knowledgeable and amusing. James
Martin has a shy look but talks ten
to the dozen. Vineet Bhatia enjoys a
good joke.
Taste of Dubai is a celebration of
the best cuisine the city has to offer.
Visitors can mingle with celebrity
chefs and like-minded foodies to
sample over 60 signature dishes
from 20 award winning restaurants,
try and buy delicious food and
beverages in the marketplace, and
watch chefs demonstrating their
culinary skills in the Chefs’ Theatre.
Evening sessions 11-14th March 2009,
afternoon sessions 13-14th March.
International celebrity chefs such
as Gary Rhodes, James Martin,
Vineet Bhatia, Osama El Sayed,
Richard Sandoval and Phillipe
Gavreau will be mingling with the
Gourmet sampling
at Taste of Dubai
By E.T. Outt
mousse with coffee soil served in
a swirling mist. It is a food lover’s
paradise, where they can plan their
Dubai dining for the next 12 months
in just one evening.
The Marketplace is expanded
and visitors can try and buy even
more gourmet food, beverages
and see the latest must-have
culinary equipment. Plus the MMI
Beverage Theatre offers visitors
the opportunity to enhance their
knowledge of beverages with a
wide-ranging programme of tutored
tastings from leading connoisseurs.
Live music from the Bandstand adds
to the festival atmosphere featuring
artistes and bands from Dubai’s best
Commenting on Taste of Dubai
2008, Gary Rhodes said: “I think
Taste of Dubai is absolutely fantastic.
It’s a great thing – a culinary
Victoria Crick, Taste of Dubai
Event Director, said: “We have
focused on giving our visitors an
even better experience in 2009, for
example we have 50 per cent more
restaurants than last year. Our Chefs
Theatre programme is revamped
adding new chef challenges, and
crowds and sharing their expertise
in the Chefs Theatre and, new for
this year’s festival, the Spinneys
Cookery School where visitors
can learn how to cook a dish, or
learn a new culinary technique.
Each student will have his or her
own cooking station, utensils and
ingredients, giving everyone a real
‘hands on’ experience under close
professional guidance.
The event is held on the lawns
of Dubai Media City’s amphitheatre
and park. Entrance tickets, varying
from Dh50-300, include Dellas,
which are the offcial currency of
Taste of Dubai, and are used to
buy dishes from the restaurants and
beverages at the festival instead
of money. All food is served in
sample-sized containers to enable
tastings of many gourmet dishes.
Visitors are spoilt for choice
with starters ranging from Rhodes
Mezzanine’s famous white tomato
soup or China Club’s dim sum
followed by Verre’s braised beef
or Legends’ Turf and Surf with a
difference – kangaroo meat! For
dessert there is Indego’s chocolate
samosa, Le Classique’s delicious
crepes suzette or Tang’s chocolate
Pg 40-41 Food.indd 2 3/12/09 2:56:56‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 41
200 grams fresh strawberries
(washed, hulled, and quartered)
Crème Chantilly: In a small
electric mixing bowl, mix together
the icing sugar and cream. Split the
vanilla pod and scrape the beans
into the bowl. Whip to soft peaks
on medium to high speed.
Strawberry Sauce: Place the
berries and sugar in a small
saucepan on medium-low heat.
Bring to boil and simmer gently
until the berries are soft. Mix with a
hand blender until it turns smooth
and cool.
Dried Meringue Pieces: Whip
the egg whites until foamy and add
the icing sugar. Continue whipping
until the meringue has doubled
in size and reached the stiff peak
stage. Spoon the meringue into
a piping bag. Keep a baking tray
ready, lined with baking paper. Pipe
the meringue into stripes on the
length of the paper. Bake at 100
for approximately 40-60 minutes. To
test for dryness, remove a piece of
meringue from the tray and leave
at room temperature. The meringue
should crumble in your fngers.
To Serve: Place 50g of the
strawberries, two large spoonfuls
of the crème chantilly and two
large spoonfuls of strawberry sauce
in a small bowl. Add a handful
of crushed dried meringue. Mix
slightly and spoon onto the centre
of your plate. Drizzle strawberry
sauce over the top and garnish with
strawberries and large pieces of
dried meringue.
Entrecote Café de Paris
It’s not only the steaks you go for at
this inimitable franchise restaurant
from Geneva, Switzerland – it’s the
sauce that accompanies it. A buttery,
light and favourful, delicate taste
that has something more-ish in it. It
defnitely has that ‘je ne sais quoi’
element to it, and so it should, as it
contains a secret ingredient that only
one person knows.
The sauce ‘café de Paris’
developed by Madame Boubier in
1930 to accompany the faux fllet
steak (entrecote) at her restaurant
in Geneva, Switzerland, enabled her
to launch an astonishing concept
offering a single menu formula that
gained immediate worldwide fame
and success. The ingredients of
this amazing sauce are still a secret
till today. Mr Francois Vouillamoz,
the current owner of the original
Entrecote Café De Paris restaurant
in Geneva, is the only person in the
world who holds the secrets of this
sauce, as originated in 1930.
You can now taste the original
sauce fown specially from Geneva
at a franchise restaurant in Dubai
located at Dubai Mall (The Waterfall
– LG). The restaurant is trendy and
inviting, and has prime location
at the base of the mall’s indoor
waterfall, complete with transparent
splashproof protectors for nearby
diners. Open from 10am until 11pm.
the Marketplace is more than double
the size of last year with many new
companies keen to get involved.
We’re currently developing a special
area for children, a sushi lounge and
even more features. In overall terms
we are offering visitors a unique
afternoon or evening’s entertainment
with a focus on great value for
Tickets available via •
Taste Timings: •
Wednesday 11th March - •
7.00 -11.30pm
Thursday 12th March - •
7.00 -11.30pm
Friday 13th March Noon - •
5pm* 7.00–11.30pm
Saturday 14th March Noon - •
5pm 7.00-11.30pm
*Only soft beverages served at the
Friday afternoon session
Taste Restaurants include
Almaz by Momo London; The Harvey
Nichols Restaurant; Benjarong,
Dusit Thani Dubai; Café Chic; Le
Meridien Dubai; Certo; Radisson
SAS Hotel, Dubai Media City; Elia;
Majestic Hotel Tower, Dubai; Empire,
Monarch Hotel; Indego, Grosvenor
House; Le Classique, Emirates Golf
Club Dubai; Legends, Creek Golf
Club; Magnolia, Madinat Jumeirah;
Maya, Le Royal Meridien; Minato,
Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai Deira
Creek; Ottoman’s, Grosvenor House;
Pisces, Madinat Jumeirah; Rhodes
Mezzanine, Grosvenor House;
Sukhothai, Le Meridien Dubai; and
Sumibaya, Radisson SAS Hotel, Dubai
Deira Creek.
Strawberry Eton Mess
Receipe provided by chefs at
Rivington Grill
Crème Chantilly:
400 grams whipping cream
40 grams icing sugar
1 EA vanilla pod
Strawberry Sauce:
200 grams frozen strawberries
30 grams caster sugar
Dried Meringue Pieces:
100 grams fresh egg whites
150 grams icing sugar
His Excellency Wolfgang Amadeus Bruelhart,
Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE cuts the
ribbon which Badr Farha holds helpfully
Pg 40-41 Food.indd 3 3/10/09 2:59:30‭ ‬PM
42 UAE Digest, March 2009
Mother’s Day Special
t is Mother’s Day on the 21st of this month. Apart
from regular gifts, you could also look at surprising
your beloved mother by taking advantage of some of
the special packages on offer at various hotels. The
Burj Al Arab is offering a special package for this special
occasion. For all the mums who have been going through
the grind day in and day out for their families, the
Assawan Spa at the Burj is offering an Around the World
massage. You get to chose from a variety of massages,
followed by a facial, manicure and pedicure. If that is not
what you are looking at, then there is also a 55-minute
Wellbeing Massage followed by an oil and salt scrub on
offer. What’s more, all through this day, the packages
include complimentary use of the spa facilities including
sauna, steam, cold plunge pool and also the infnity pools
overlooking the Arabian Gulf. The Radisson at Media City
too wants you to make the day special for your mother.
They feel that the best way to thank her is to pamper her
with their ‘Senso Touch’ package. It comes with a body
polish followed by a Swedish massage and a facial. But if
the tummy is the way to please mummy, then Holiday Inn
in Dubai will appeal to you. Five lucky mums will also
get a chance for a luxury makeover by an internationally
renowned beauty expert. Gift certifcates are available at
Atlantis, The Palm for mothers to create their own special
day of favourites. Families can be transported into a
dazzling, imaginative world exploring the 17 hectares
of water themed amusement at AQUAVENTURE, with
unlimited complimentary access. Or they can uncover
The Lost Chambers, bringing the myth of Atlantis to
life through a maze of underground tunnels offering
underwater views into the boulevards of the ruins of
The Dubai Creek Golf and Yacht Club is offering a fshing
or cruising experience on the creek on their deep-sea
fshing yacht and their sports boat. So you can either get
on to Sneak Away which is a fully equipped 32ft deep-
sea fshing yacht which can carry up to six passengers
comfortably with the rates including tackle, bait, fuel and
crew. Alternatively there is the 33ft sports boat Creek
Breeze which can take you cruising either up and down
the creek or up and down Dubai’s coastline. The rates on
this boat also include crew and fuel and it can include six
Pg 42-44 Hospitality.indd 2 3/12/09 2:58:39‭ ‬PM
Norooz celebrations
The Iranian New year Norooz is being celebrated in the
last week of this month, and hotels in the UAE have
made arrangements to mark the occasion. The Iranian
restaurant Shahrzad at the Hyatt Regency in Dubai is
offering a special Norooz menu from the 20th of this
month to April 1. To top it all, there is also live Iranian
music to recreate the ambience of the rebirth of nature
all across the world along with a variety of dishes to
choose from including fsh kebab, rice cake with chicken,
egg and saffron and beef kebab marinated in olive oil
and yogurt. Even the Radisson SAS Hotel at the Dubai
Creek is marking the spirit of the Iranian New Year from
the 21st to 31st. On offer at Shabestan is a set menu of
traditional Iranian cuisine for lunch and dinner. This
apart, an illusionist especially fown in from Tehran will
keep guests entertained. There is also Suf music with
performance by Dervishes to soothe the ambience.
Golfng around
The Coral Beach Resort at Sharjah is offering a package
with what they call an ‘in-built’ value. Guests can head
for a round of golf at the 18-hole course after a night at
the resort. The package includes a buffet breakfast after
the golf session. Then there is also the Bull’s Eye option
on offer for those willing to try out their shooting skills.
Paintball is available. This apart there is a fast-catching
target game also available. A two-hour ‘hunting’ will have
you shooting at static and moving targets. But if your idea
of relaxing is spending time with the family, then you can
use the Day Use Package where your family can spend
the afternoon in a four-bedroom villa while having lunch.
Talking about Golf, how about a chance for all you
golf-lovers to try out the latest equipment in the game?
Because the Dubai Creek Golf Academy is offering an
opportunity to come and try their equipment as part of its
Demo Evenings programme. There is one on March 4 and
another on March 25.
March 2009, UAE Digest 43
Pg 42-44 Hospitality.indd 3 3/10/09 12:10:10‭ ‬PM
A foodie’s delight
Food lovers you sure don’t want to
miss all the special promotions for
this month. The Dubai Creek and
Yacht Club will be at the Taste of
Dubai being held at Dubai Media
City’s amphitheatre from 11-14
March, showcasing three signature
dishes from Legends Steakhouse menu
as sample sized tasters for all to try.
Le Classique, the French restaurant
at Emirates Golf Club is open
again after being shut for extensive
renovation for six months. A cause
for celebration is that, considering the
recession, a four-course meal here
now comes at a lower price.
Enjoy weekends at Hyatt Regency
Dubai with the new weekend brunch
package for couples. This special
deal includes an overnight stay for
two, Friday brunch, including house
beverages for two, and three hours of
babysitting for your little one.
For beef-lovers, J W Marriot’s
Steakhouse is hosting a promotion
all through the month. You can choose from a variety of preparations,
including 7oz of fllet wagyu beef marinated in Arabica coffee, and pan
fried in cocoa butter with white asparagus sautéed.
International favours come together at the Views restaurant at Le
Meridien Al Aqah in Fujairah. Diners can choose from the Italian festival
on Saturdays, Asian Breeze on Sundays, Tour de France on Mondays,
Locavores on Tuesdays, Mexicana on Wednesdays and Sea View on Fridays.
The Healthy Juice menu at the Radisson SAS in Dubai Media City
is for those busy
professionals who
need a mid-day
energy boost. There
is a wide variety
to choose from,
including guava
mania, fruit salad
daiquiri, passion
sensation, fuzzy
grape and grapefruit
There’s something
fshy at the
Radisson Creek.
Till the 20th of this
month, the hotel is
celebrating the 20th
birthday of its Fish
Market. There is a set menu, especially prepared for the occasion, and also
the chance to win a round trip to Hong Kong.
... On the other hand
Crowne Plaza has launched a brand new service, Personal Hotelier,
throughout Middle East and Africa. Guests staying in club rooms or on
the Crowne Club foor can now enjoy the undivided attention of a hotelier
dedicated to catering to their every need. This initiative provides guests
with one point of contact, one face, one name and one telephone number
to call prior to and during their stay at the hotel.
Premier Inn, that launched in Dubai in April 2008 with a hotel at
Dubai Investments Park, has responded to market trends by reducing their
daily room rate from Dh495 to Dh350. The price is guaranteed until the end
of September.
44 UAE Digest, March 2009
Pg 42-44 Hospitality.indd 4 3/10/09 12:10:13‭ ‬PM
elhi 6 is to Old Delhi what Slumdog Millionaire
is to Dharavi in Mumbai – a glimpse into the
soul of the
walled city,
warts and all. It’s about
the return of a second-
generation native settled
abroad. His homecoming is
chaotic and cathartic at the
same time. The constant
melee of people on the
streets, the community
performances of Hindu
epics, kite fying on
terraces, surreptitious
chatter across gaps in walls
of divided families, the easy
intermingling of Hindus
and Muslims in cramped
spaces, the encroachment
of technology, the
stronghold of tradition,
the lure of Bollywood
music contests, the menace
of a ‘black monkey’ – a
metaphor for the evil
within, sowing seeds of
suspicion, and the outbreak
of communal violence.
It is a constant parade of
images and an “assault on
the senses” (as one traveller
described India).
American-born Indian,
Roshan (Abhishek Bachchan) returns to India with his
grandmother (Waheeda Rehman) as she wants to spend
the remaining days of her life in her beloved country and
among her people. At frst, India – especially walled Delhi
– is a culture shock to him, but he begins liking the easy
warmth and camaraderie despite a host of problems. He
keeps bumping into Bittu (Sonam Kapoor), the daughter
of his neighbour Om Puri. Both get drawn to each other
without realising it.
The frst half of the movie is more like a documentary
showcasing Old Delhi and Chandni Chowk with all the
crazy life that goes on inside its walls and cramped spaces.
It is in the second half that the flm picks up steam through
a ‘black monkey’ – somebody dressed as a primate with
electronic gadgets strapped to his black furry suit, emitting
blinking lights and creating havoc. In the flm, it stands
for a metaphor – the darkness within. When the evil
within comes out, all love and understanding, reason and
peace fies out of the window, while hatred, violence and
suspicion take over the city.
Roshan decides to go back to America along with his
grandmother, but suddenly
realises he cannot live
without Bittu, and so he
stays back, trying to reason
with all his neighbours to
live in peace and get rid of
Abhishek and Sonam play
their parts well, but there is
nothing outstanding about
both of them in this flm.
Rishi Kapoor as Ali Baig,
who loses the love of his
life to Roshan’s father, did
a creditable job. Waheeda
Rehman too is good, but
Om Puri and Atul Kulkarni
(as Gobar, the dimwit) were
perhaps the best. Music by
A.R. Rahman is nothing
Delhi 6 held out a lot of
promise as the ‘homecoming’
theme usually does, but the
flm lacks a strong storyline.
While the frst half is more
of a docu-drama, the second
half goes into an overdrive of
unravelling hidden hatreds
beneath the show of love and
compassion. It shows us a
mirror where we see our ugly
realities. But the message seems to be somehow lost despite
the lead actor Roshan stating it in no unambiguous terms.
Compared to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra’s earlier flm
Rang de Basanti (2006) which became a cult movie of sorts,
Delhi 6 pales out. Though the theme is rich in possibilities,
the flm loses out because it has too many characters,
with none of them – including the lead actors – being
clearly etched out. Though it is diffcult to live up to earlier
successes, Rakeysh could have added more punch to this
movie without diluting the message. There is an ‘x factor’
missing in this movie that RdB defnitely had.
But the best scene of the movie is a montage sequence
over a song which merges New York and Old Delhi –
the Statue of Liberty within walled Delhi, NY cabs and
rickshaws of Old Delhi hitting the same streets, and NY
glamour rubbing shoulders with the raw energy of Old
Delhi or Delhi 6. Worth one watch at least for the curious
and crazy mix of characters, plus the ‘innocent, impish
beauty’ of Sonam Kapoor.
The journey within
By Vanit Sethi
UAE Digest,March 2009 45
Film Review.indd 1 3/10/09 9:56:37‭ ‬AM
n overwhelming sense of
reality pervades Archie
Sharma’s paintings, she
who has quietly dedicated
the past decade to her art – away
from the limelight, despite her busy
schedule. Her frst major exhibition
will open at Coral Deira – Dubai on
46 UAE Digest, March 2009
March 1st and run until the 15th.
The show is titled Expressions and
will include over 30 paintings in a
range of styles-from expressionist
narratives to portraits, abstracts,
landscapes and animals.
Archie Sharma’s works have a
raw personal intimacy which is
rare in modern times. From her
drawings, she appears as a fearless
explorer of styles and techniques.
Rather, her
paintings portray
the versatility
of an illustrator
or artist who is
driven to fnd
new forms for
new feelings.
Art lovers in
the UAE will
discover a
unique artist
who enjoys
varied challenges
and experiences.
Archie is
a precocious
talent having
had no formal
training in art, yet she paints with
precision and conviction and has
enjoyed considerable success. Born
in Delhi, she began painting at the
age of seven. She moved to Dubai
in 1980 and has been a senior
executive with various organisations.
Her work commitments did not
allow her enough time to pursue
her hobby. However, in 2001, she
embarked on a daring exploration of
what was then thought irretrievably
retrograde: realist paintings. She
rejected modernism and chose
instead to embrace realism and the
depiction of everyday life.
Archie is not just a dedicated
realist painter but also a disciple
of abstraction – sometimes, both
at once. Recently, she began
experimenting with big strokes
too. Her broad brush strokes
and their sudden shifts function
independently of her subjects. All of
which fgure almost obsessively in
her new paintings. At times, colours
are applied with brazen abandon.
From earthy palettes of reds, browns
and yellows to more cheerful hues,
there is a lot of contrast.
Arqam – an exhibition in Dubai – will showcase
Iraqi artist Sina Ata’s representation of escalating
deaths and human suffering in conficts.
Numbers have always been used to discover and refect
the truth. And when numbers are statistical records of deaths
in various conficts, the human sufferings and devastation
associated with them, the effects are far more
profound! Sina Ata has put together a series
of paintings that goes beyond statistical
records and confronts the audience with a
banal repetition of deaths through numbers,
evoking a deep emotional response.
Sina’s exhibition, Arqam (which means
numbers in Arabic), will be held at
B_ASEMENT Gallery in Al Quoz until March
8, 2009.
The exhibition - including paintings,
video art and other objects - takes a closer
look at the statistics of deaths in Iraq,
Palestine and other parts of the globe.
The conceptual artworks incorporate the
numbers as small individual squares, each
marked with an ‘X’. In the artworks, Sina
randomly cuts the squares and tosses them
in irregular grid rows, some squares falling
off the lines, and off the canvas.
Also on show is Sina’s video ‘Arqam
in Candles’ – a telling tale of 200 candles
slowly blown out by an unidentifed force,
against a soundtrack of names of men,
women and children.
When numbers recount tragic tales
Themes of reality
Pg 46-47 Art.indd 2 3/12/09 3:00:14‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 47
It is not often that the art world is sent into a frenzy with an
up and coming artist, but since having her work exclusively
available at Art Sawa, Zena Assi is the current name on buyers
and collectors lips with her inimitable style proving to be
extremely popular among Dubai’s art lovers.
Assi chooses to completely fll her canvasses with
interwoven lines set against bold felds of colour abstractions.
It is this unique style that has proven so popular among the
region’s art lovers, not only in her solo exhibition in Beirut,
but also as a resident artist at Dubai’s Art Sawa, where she
has been regularly featured during the gallery’s collective
Born in Tripoli, Assi now lives and works in Beirut where
she creates her nonpareil works of art. As a relatively new
artist, she held her frst solo exhibition, Cité et Citadins (City
and Citizens) in Beirut last year. The show featured various
paintings in mixed media on canvas and introduced her
distinctive style of elongated melancholic fgures and cluttered
The exhibition, open until March 10, is held at Art Sawa in
Al Quoz. A converted warehouse of some 12,000 square feet,
it promises to provide the perfect backdrop for Zena Assi’s
latest creations.
Lebanon’s young artist brings her latest collection to Dubai
Timeless magical jewels
Van Cleef & Arpels unveils for the frst time in the region its
patrimony exhibition titled The Art of Magical Jewels at Art
Dubai, between March 19 - 21 2009 at the Madinat Jumeirah
Convention Centre.
The legacy of this company began in 1906 when the founder
couple of the house, Alfred Van Cleef and Estelle Arpels, plus her
brother Charles, joined to open a boutique in the most elegant
area in Paris, Place Vendôme. It is the beginning of a family saga
and a lifelong obsession for beauty and quality.
Precious stones in a piece of jewellery with no visible setting is
a remarkable technique created by the company in 1933, patented
in 1934 and perfected ever since (the most recent patent, using
diamonds, was obtained in 1990). A masterpiece of virtuosity, a
piece of jewellery involving the Mystery Setting requires months
of work by the House’s most accomplished jewellers, known in
the Van Cleef & Arpels ateliers as the “Grandes Mains” (great
The exhibition will reveal every aspect of this sparkling
journey through seven different themes: History, Nature, Couture,
Celebrities, Eclectism, Workshop & Mystery setting and the World
of Ballet, revealing one of its latest high-jewellery collection
Ballet Précieux.
The jewelled story is also that of the many unique women, be
they famous or not, who have worn its creations. The house has
often been associated with historic events such as coronations, or
famous love stories such as engagements or weddings. The most
celebrated actresses of the stage or screen, the most adored divas
have all coveted Van Cleef & Arpels.
This exhibition unveils some of the workshop’s best kept
secrets of creativity, thanks to the exceptional presence of a
jeweller and a designer from the original workshop in Paris who
will perform live and will be at the disposition of exclusive clients
who would like to place special orders.
The Art of Magical Jewels displays photographs featuring
glamorous divas from the stage and the screen such as
Princess Grace Kelly
Pg 46-47 Art.indd 3 3/10/09 3:01:04‭ ‬PM
48 UAE Digest,March 2009
on’t get me wrong, I’m not an activist or
feminist or anything like that, but when I was
asked to drive through the desert sand my frst
thoughts were “but that’s what the men in the
family do. I’m usually just a passenger.” Well this was
a chance to put all that back-seat driving advice into use
so I hopped into the front seat of the nice looking Pajero
Sport SUV, slipped the gear lever into ‘D’ for Drive, and
set off along the purpose built adventurous track that Al
Habtoor Motors had constructed in Jebel Ali.
What an exciting roller-coaster ride! Over the
scrubland, tight turn to the left through the soft sand
which was made easy as the car has a turning circle of
5.6 metres.
A sharp turn on the gravel wasteland and head
towards the steel enforced hill built to resemble a very
high dune. Put my foot on the pedal and kept it there
while the spacious and comfortable SUV easily climbed
the approx. 280 gradient. The view from the top was
enlightening, especially when I saw the equally steep
slope that had to be descended. The car handled it
easily, and so did I.
Whooping with delight I steered towards the artifcial
pool and wadi terrain imaging myself taking passengers
through the Hajjar mountains. The high suspension and
large wheels would ensure that no rocks or boulders
would stop me!
After producing one of the world’s most sought after
sports utility vehicle that has been a long standing
winner in some of the world’s most gruelling rallies like
the Dakar and the Italian Baja, Mitsubishi has added the
sleek Pajero Sport to its list of SUVs. This one promises
a rugged, no-nonsense driving enjoyment on all kinds of
paved and unpaved terrain.
If the Pajero can be thought of as the lion, king of
the jungle, then the Pajero Sport holds the position of
the speedy and effcient cheetah. The high suspension
and large wheels give it an edge when covering rough
off-road terrain, while the attractive form, seamless
styling and
make it
stand out
when driving
downtown as
Pajero’s sporty drive in the sand
By Linda Benbow
Prices start from Dh90,000.
Pg 48-51 Autos.indd 2 3/10/09 12:17:35‭ ‬PM
UAE Digest, March 2009 49
New Sequoia
Toyota’s biggest SUV
By Raymond Seeng
he tinkling sound of water
cascading into the lower
ground foor outside the
windows of the Toyota showroom
at Dubai Festival City (follow the
signs towards Khor Al Marsa and
then follow the road round into the
Auto Showrooms area) mellows
your senses and slows your step. A
relaxing sound like that requires a
slower pace and restful mind.
Then came the shock of a very
large vehicle hidden by a very large
silky cover, pulled the covers off
the vehicle to much clapping and
wonder. Both men work at the
nearby Intercontinental Hotel at
Festival City.
At the launch was Motoharu
Araya, the Chief Engineer from
the Toyota Vehicle Development
Centre in Japan, who led the team
responsible for the development of
the New Sequoia. Motoharu Araya
explained that he and his team had
conducted extensive research in the
large US and Middle East markets
on the needs of SUV owners. This
consumer research showed that
there is a large and growing group
of SUV owners with larger families,
who use their vehicle predominantly
for on-road journeys in the city, and
between cities. These families want
a full-size City SUV that is spacious
and comfortable, with a versatile
and useful interior, responsive
performance and handling, and
superior occupant safety. The car has
been designed to meet and exceed
these expectations.
The New Sequoia is named after
one of the largest trees in the world,
refecting it’s size, strength, durability
and imposing presence.
The Chief Engineer explained
that the key words underlying the
SUV’s development concept were
Strong and Comfortable. To meet
the key requirement of space for
up to eight people, it has both the
longest and widest interior space in
its class, providing an exceptionally
comfortable and relaxing space for
all passengers. Effcient packaging
and design ensure ample seating,
knee, leg and head-room so that
even 190cm tall passengers can sit
comfortably in every seat. It also has
the largest cargo-carrying capacity
in its class, with an exceptionally
versatile interior that can be easily re-
organised to meet different travelling
The Sequoia also has a powered
tailgate window to allow easy access
to the luggage space without having
to open the tailgate in confned
spaces. A boon to mothers doing the
school run, coping with a number
of assorted bags and class projects,
stopping at the shops to buy fresh
groceries and having to cart all that
– plus the children – to a variety
of homes. No more trying to lift
the boot (or opening it wide) when
parked too near to another vehicle.
The functional interior has a
wealth of storage compartments
for cups and bottles, and the front
console can store and charge a lap-
top computer.
Despite its large body size and
long wheelbase, the Sequoia is very
responsive and easy to handle.
It has a class-leading minimum
turning radius of 5.9 metres, for easy
manoeuvrability and parking.
Consideration for the environment
was an important priority in the
Sequoia’s development. Lead-free and
easily recyclable materials have been
used throughout. And although it has
a large engine, it delivers high fuel
effciency and low emissions.
The well–equipped Sequoia is
available in three models - the SR5,
Limited and Platinum, with 8 and 7
seat models, with prices starting at
Simon Frith, the Managing Director
of Al-Futtaim Motors commented:
“While the global economic downturn
has had a signifcant impact on the
automotive sector in the UAE, there
is still consumer demand for new
vehicles. Although the last three
months have been challenging, I
am very pleased to report that our
Toyota sales in 2008 were 23 per cent
higher than in 2007. The introduction
of the New Sequoia will enable us
to provide even more choice to UAE
motorists. It is the frst of several
new vehicles that we will launch this
Pg 48-51 Autos.indd 3 3/12/09 3:02:11‭ ‬PM
50 UAE Digest, March 2009
VW Tiguan fnds its own parking spot
By Raymond Seeng
parking spot, I had to fnd
a parking spot soon, the
meeting was due to start in a
few minutes time. Wait, there was
one, but it looked a bit small, maybe
I should just drive around and fnd
another gap? But wait, what was
I doing? I was driving a Tiguan,
Volkswagen’s frst compact Sports
Utility Vehicle (SUV) which has a
Park Assist facility. Press the button
and let the car work out whether it
can safely ft into a parking space.
The screen built into the dashboard
will keep you informed.
Drive slowly past a space; let
the car and all its radars, cameras
and computer do its calculations;
keep your foot hovering over the
brake pedal and take your hands
off the wheel while the car reverses
itself, backwards and forwards into
the space and parks itself neatly
without touching kerbs or bumpers.
Marvellous. Just the thing for those
that fnd reversing a little tricky and
not as easy as it should be.
Volkswagen Middle East recently
launched the Tiguan, which had
previously been introduced as a
concept car in Los Angeles. This
‘small brother’ of the Touareg can be
recommended to all those who enjoy
the individual visual appearance
and versatility of an SUV, but also
expect a premium level of comfort
and agility. The Tiguan is the frst
SUV in the world to be offered
exclusively with charged engines.
Forget buying tom-toms, pom-
poms and suchlike – this car has
an inbuilt navigation system for the
UAE. Streets are shown clearly on
the big screen and when off-road,
this latest radio-navigation system
(RNS 510) leads its occupants back
to civilisation using its off-road
The touch screen also acts as a
mini processor with information
available on tourist landmarks,
weather and other helpful
information such as the view from
the various cameras built into the
Looking at the front end of the
car, this is a typical, trusted, friendly
Volkswagen. However, everything
is new, everything is different. The
headlights are distinctive; they form
an integral unit with the grille and
bumper. The engine hood is cut
into the contour of the headlamps.
Shaped to be broad and powerful is
the bumper beneath the headlamps,
and on the sides the fog lamps in
their distinctive frame complete
this image. For the frst time in the
SUV segment, buyers can choose
from two different front ends. The
equipment version Sport & Style
was designed specifcally for mostly
on-road duty. It refects precisely
this goal in its classic front-end
with maximum entry angle of 18
They leave tough off-road duty to
the Tiguan Track & Field which was
designed especially for life outside
the paved trails. This adventure-
friendly version has a more extreme
entry angle of 28 degrees in front.
The lower bumper area and engine
underbody protection therefore
exhibit a very steep angular
profle. This is precisely why the
vehicle can climb a ramp or level
embankment up to the specifed 28
degrees without the front end of the
Tiguan contacting this ramp when
approaching from the horizontal.
At all fve seating positions
on board the Tiguan occupants
are equally comfortable in the
contoured seats. The rear bench
can be adjusted in the longitudinal
direction and has an asymmetrically
split folding section which can
allow objects up to 2.5 metres in
length to ft inside the Tiguan.
The two-litre direct injection
turbocharged engine accelerates
the vehicle to 100 km/h in just 8.2
seconds. Its top speed is 200 km/h.
On average, it consumes 9.1 litres of
fuel per 100 kilometres.
Tiguan is a combination of
German words Tiger (‘tiger’)
and Leguan (‘iguana’).
Pg 48-51 Autos.indd 4 3/10/09 3:02:34‭ ‬PM
UAE Digest, March 2009 51
Responsible competitiveness
people inside Nissan.
Another lesson was the strategic
logic of globalisation. By this, I
am referring to the competitive
strength we gained through the
Renault-Nissan Alliance, which will
recognise its 10th anniversary in
March. In a global marketplace,
the alliance serves as a strategic
tool to improve the performance
and competitiveness of both
companies. We gain capital
effciency by sharing development
and investment costs. For example,
Renault takes the lead in developing
diesel engines, Nissan leads on
gasoline engines; and each has
access to the others’ technology and
products. Our alliance provides
a global framework for sharing
components… for sharing know-
how… for increasing the scale and
scope of our purchasing power.
I believe the basis of every
commercial interaction can be
summed up in one word: trust. For
companies, a good reputation is
both a source of tangible value and
a reservoir of goodwill that could
be tapped if a company ever faces
a time of trouble. When corporate
reputation is damaged or the trust
of stakeholders is lost – through
unsafe products or shady business
dealings or fscal irresponsibility or
unethical behaviour – it can push a
company on a downward spiral to
Reputation is important. Actions
have consequences. If a company
is serious about building trust and
a sustainable future, it will not
only follow the current rules and
requirements – it may go beyond
what is expected.
Sustainable business means
embracing diversity – not just to
follow regulations, but to ref ect the
diversity of your customer base. It
means communicating with your
stakeholders with transparency
– or serving as an advocate for
Carlos Ghosn, CEO/Director/President of Nissan Motor Company Limited
and Renault SA, recently gave a speech at the Global Competitiveness
Forum explaining Nissan’s views on responsible competitiveness in a
rapidly changing world.
‘ ‘
r Ghosn explained: ‘‘I think we
all agree that the environment
in which we operate – the global
economy – is rapidly changing. We
are in the midst of a fnancial and
economic crisis, and, unfortunately,
have no guide book to help us
through it.
The contraction in consumer
spending and slower growth
is ref ected in drops in real
gross domestic product growth.
Developed countries are dragging
the emerging economies with them
as trade fnance dries up. We may
not like this new reality, but we have
no choice but to manage through
it with a high level of caution and
lucidity. In practical terms, that
means optimising proft and free
cash f ow as much as we can in a
recessive market while, at the same
time, maintaining an adequate level
of investments to fund our core
History has shown that in times
of fnancial crisis, the likelihood for
industry consolidations increases.
We have already seen this occur in
other industries, and the same will
happen in the auto industry. For
Nissan, the current crisis scenario
brings a sense of déjà vu. Though
the circumstances are dramatically
different, Nissan was in turmoil
during the 1990s. Back then, the
crisis was largely based on problems
within our scope of control. Today,
however, it is mainly due to external
issues beyond anyone’s control.
Even so – speaking from my own
experience – managing through the
crisis of the 1990s reinforced some
lessons that are still valid today.
Times of crisis require clarity of
vision. In the early days of Nissan’s
revival, I recall that one of my
colleagues made a very insightful
comment. He said my biggest task
was not to restructure Nissan. It
was to restructure the minds of the
your industry, if necessary. As
the president of ACEA (European
Automobile Manufacturers’
Association), part of my current
responsibility is to collaborate with
competitors to clarify, in good
faith, the effects of the crisis on our
It means protecting the
environment – not just because it’s
the right thing to do, but because
customers expect companies to
practice good stewardship and to
advance ‘greener’ technologies. The
Renault-Nissan Alliance is committed
to the development of zero-emission
vehicles. Electric cars can help to
address the balance between the
demand for more mobility and the
need for a cleaner planet. We will
deliver our frst all-electric cars in
2010, and will mass market them
globally in 2012.
Currently, automotive
transportation is 99 per cent
dependent on petroleum-derived
fuel, and 53 per cent of the world’s
annual oil consumption is used for
transportation. By fnding other
options for powering vehicles,
we could reserve petroleum to be
used for important products, from
medicines to plastics to synthetic
We know crises always come
to an end. If we use this time to
become leaner, more focused and
innovative, we may emerge stronger
on the other side. The future will
belong to those who fght for it.
Carlos Ghosn
Pg 48-51 Autos.indd 5 3/10/09 12:17:39‭ ‬PM
52 UAE Digest,March 2009
By Helena Axelson Fisk
Driving dreams
arry Hope is a silver haired
Santa Claus specialising in
delivering dreams to grown
men with lots of money.
His North Pole is Dubai Autodrome,
his sleigh is a monster truck that
takes six Radical cars to and from
racetracks; his wife and kids plus
fve other British motor heads are his
elfs, and they’re all in the business of
making dreams come true:
“These guys never thought they’d
experience this. To race was a
dream. It is life changing for some of
The ‘guys’ are what Barry calls
gentleman drivers; accomplished
businessmen in their 30s, 40s and
50s (though some are younger –
teenagers), successful but no longer
thrilled; moneyed but left unchal-
lenged. They come through the
has-been desert, on pre-crises road
projects, heading towards Arabian
Ranches and the suspended-until-lat-
er Dubailiand; meandering through
a building site that obscures every-
thing except the apartment buildings,
whose future tenants will complain
bitterly at the furious engine roars
from the ‘drome.
They fnd their way to the tracks
to wrench the kickback into their
lives; the excitement of the extraor-
dinary, the gut-wrenching; and they
are doing it: UAE Digest is invited
to ride with Carl Rolaston, a 40+
businessman with his own logistics
company who’s been driving for
about a year. “I’m slow!” he cau-
tions before he hits the frst curve,
hard. The ride is a near-death expe-
rience, enhanced by the realisation
that if one throws up, the helmet’s
visor will throw it right back down.
“The Radical does 3Gs in the
curves,” says Barry, as means of
explanation, “An ordinary fast car
does 1G.”
It’s exhilarating and liberat-
ing, and that’s just riding shotgun,
staying out of Carl’s way. To drive;
to wait as long as possible before
braking for the curve, stand the
car right and then accelerate, using
every metre of blacktop and every
inch of rubber to get ahead; must
be like kicking death where it really
hurts - while scoring. Barry main-
tains that the racetrack is the safest
road in Dubai, though. Here, he
says, drivers develop skill, focus,
concentration, precision, smooth-
ness, awareness and discipline,
especially the young ones:
“Kids who learn how to race are
better drivers,” he says, “It’s the best
family thing anyone can do!”
The cars are ftted with cameras
for instant, accurate feedback and
Barry or any of his crew will sit
down with the drivers after the prac-
tice drives and discuss: “We hold
their hands and train them,” says
Barry with a smile.
A Radical sports racing car, which
only FIA licenced drivers can race,
costs anywhere from Dh300,000 -
600,000. Another Dh150,000 covers
the costs to do a full race season.
Barry and his team organise the
Gulf Radical Cup - a race series
with separate classes for the 252bhp
Radical SR3 and the 380bhp V8 en-
gined Radical SR8 with an invitation
class for Caterham sports cars.
”There’s a race on every other
Pg 52-53 Sports.indd 2 3/10/09 12:18:50‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 53
week from October through April;
two-day events.”
An ambulance and a fre truck
are on standby, for any worst case
scenario. Barry is meticulous about
safety: “They’re putting their lives in
my hands!”
Barry’s company, Gulf Sport Rac-
ing, LLC, does
anything and everything race related.
Check them out! Come cheer for the
boys at the Dubai Autodrome! Cough
up some money and you too can
kick death hard.
Ryan Copeland is
Canadian by birth,
Dubaian by life and
car fanatic by genetic
composition: “I’ve
been a dyed-in-
the-wool rabid
car nut since I
was about six
years old,” says
Ryan, “but it
took a while to
get into proper
‘A while’
included twelve
years to get a
driving licence,
another six to
get a proper car
(at age 24 – he’s
30 now), fool
around danger-
ously for a while
and then fnding Dubai Autodrome
Motorsport Club (DAMC) four years
ago, for some real, rewarding – and
responsible - action: “Only in a truly
safe environment can you begin to
test and develop your skills. Playing
on the streets is reckless, dangerous
and basically doesn’t count,” says
Ryan, and since he no longer plays
on the streets, he double-checks his
racing calendar before he commits
to doing anything. He’s track-bound
and loving it.
“I started out doing
some EMSF Auto-
cross races and I’ve
been doing autocross
ever since; now I’m
often around the top
5. I race in the DAMC
Redline Challenge
regularly; have done the Dubai
Autodrome Race School about eight
times; do track days quite frequently
and go-karting now and then. I did
the DAMC Sprint Challenge this past
summer as well - some pretty good
results there.”
Racing gives Ryan an opportunity
to spend quality time with his car,
a 2006 Mitsubishi Evolution 9 with
lots of bells and whistles on it, and
meet some nice people at the same
time. But it’s the racing that makes
him tick.
“It’s not only the speed but also
the controlling and mastering the car;
as well as pushing your own limits.
There’s nothing like competing, re-
ally - huge adrenaline rush. At the
same time it’s relaxing - just you, the
track and the car.
When Ryan’s not on the track,
he’s in front of his screen, managing
web projects for Du, or in a sheesha
bar, enjoying a mu’assal. And that’s
pretty much it; the hobby eats the
rest, time- and money wise.
“I spend far too much really! I’d
bet that all racers would say the
same thing. The investment depends
on what type of competition you’re
in and what your goals are: Some
guys spend hundreds of thousands, I
spent tens of thousands last year.”
Ryan isn’t looking to leave his day
job or join the big races; he’s happy
doing what he’s doing - Autocross,
Karting and Trackdays: “It’s a great
crowd, great fun and relatively easy
on the wallet.”
Pg 52-53 Sports.indd 3 3/10/09 12:18:52‭ ‬PM
54 UAE Digest,March 2009
By Peter Potter
Sporting activities
he frst weekend in March
sees the Rugby World Cup
Sevens in Dubai for the
frst time with 24 men’s and
16 women’s teams battling it out for
the glory of being crowned world
champions, a prize that is only avail-
able once every four years. Dubai
won the right to host the event by
staving off some tough competition
from Australia, The Netherlands,
Russia and the USA and proved in
November last year that it is a city
for the big occasion – with world
record crowds packing into Emirates’
purpose-built venue, The Sevens, for
the annual Emirates Airline Dubai
Rugby Sevens.
Fans will enjoy watching Sevens
powerhouses New Zealand, defend-
ing men’s champions Fiji, England
and the current
IRB Sevens World
Series leaders
South Africa going
head to head with
teams from afar
afeld as Uruguay,
Tonga and Japan.
Among the
women’s teams
will be tourna-
ment favourites
England, New
Zealand, Australia
and Canada, while
aiming to make
their mark on the
world stage at the
inaugural Rugby
World Cup Sevens
for women will be
the likes of Uganda,
Brazil and Thailand.
The frst week in March sees
the 17th edition of the Dubai
International Boat Show at the
Dubai International Marine Club,
Mina Seyahi from March 3-7th. The
Dubai Boat Show sets the momen-
tum for a week
of excitement
as the leisure
boating frater-
nity focuses on
the unveiling
of at least fve
major global
launches and
22 regional
premiers of the
most spec-
tacular boats
and yachts from around the world.
Despite the widespread slowdown
across many industries, the show
will debut four superyachts and
over ten exclusive regional pre-
mieres from world-class companies
such as AMELS, Burger Boats, Emir-
ates Yachting, Gulf Craft, Platinum
Yachts, Sunseeker, and Western
As the consumer buying behav-
iour adjusts in response to a chang-
ing economic climate, international
boat suppliers will be offering prod-
ucts, packages and deals that are
attractive and creative.
Even non-marine luxury brands
are seeking premium associations
with the Dubai Boat Show to lever-
age on its prestigious market con-
nectivity and exclusive access to the
affuent consumers in the region.
Aston Martin, Damas, Lamborghini,
Range Rover and Tiffany will be
participating in the show.
The current construction of
marina projects across the region
will see the opening of up to 30,000
berth spaces and an additional 1,500
What a lot of sports there are to enjoy in this hot and sunny country this month. The end of
winter sees the barometer heading upwards – it’s the fnals for some sports, i.e. horse racing
season, and the start of hot weather activities, i.e. boat shows in both Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
Dubai International Boat Show rises above economic challenges
to present fve major global launches and 22 regional premieres.
Pg 54-57 Sports-4 pgs.indd 2 3/10/09 12:20:39‭ ‬PM
kilometres of coastline over the next
fve years.
Held alongside the Dubai Boat
Show is the Dive Middle East Exhibi-
tion (DMEX) showcasing the very
latest in diving equipment, supplies,
services and techniques. Comple-
mented by live diving demonstra-
tions, the show will host a series of
presentations on the latest dive gear,
training programmes and projects
taking place around the region.
Abu Dhabi : The world’s
new Super Yacht
Owning a super yacht is more com-
plicated than one might think. Along
with fnding a qualifed, dedicated
crew to operate one, there is also the
question of where to put the yacht
when not at sea. In the UAE, until
recently, acquiring a berth for super
yachts was limited to the number
of marinas that could accommodate
large yachts that are 30 metres or
bigger. Owners of super yachts dock
them where they would like to vaca-
tion; for the high net worth individu-
als enticed by the rapidly developing
cities and intriguing coastlines of the
UAE, Kuwait and Oman - destina-
tions that offer a mix of exotic Arabia
and 21st century modernism – there
simply were not enough berths to go
around to keep their large yachts in
the region, whether for personal or
charter use.
That is rapidly changing, howev-
er, with billions of investment dollars
being sunk into the region’s marine
industry. Along the Arabian Gulf,
and Abu Dhabi, in particular, a fas-
cinating series of marinas are taking
shape forging the way towards the
UAE’s capital becoming a charter’s
paradise. Abu Dhabi, which is the
largest emirate of the seven sheikh-
doms that make up the UAE, is the
world’s richest city, according to
CNN’s Fortune magazine.
“With over 200 natural islands and
more than 700 kilometres of coast-
line, few places in the world are
as blessed with natural waterfront
as Abu Dhabi,” explains His Excel-
lency Sheikh Sultan bin Tahnoon Al
Nayhan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi
Tourism Authority. “Our coastline
and abundant islands offer endless
exploration and sporting options.”
Working to build a brighter future
for the emirate’s yachting industry,
Aldar Marinas, a subsidiary of Aldar
Properties, has identifed 16 marine
projects in Abu Dhabi, the most im-
pressive of which is Yas Island. Oc-
cupying a total area of 10,000 square
metres, the development will feature
an awe-inspiring and futuristic mega
yacht marina, along with a Fer-
rari theme park, a water park, polo
March 2009, UAE Digest 55
clubs, luxury hotels and luxury retail,
all surrounded by a world-class
Formula One racetrack. Promising
never a dull moment, the island is
sure to attract the world’s elite and
elicit envy from every corner of the
In an effort to target yacht en-
thusiasts, The Abu Dhabi National
Exhibition Centre (Adnec), with the
Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority, the
headline sponsor, will host the up-
coming ‘invitation only’ Abu Dhabi
Yacht Show 2009 on March 12-14.
It will be the frst yacht show in the
region dedicated to super and mega
yachts, and Adnec has commenced
dredging a 2.4 kilometre marina zone
– featuring a 350 metre quay wall,
suitable for stern mooring of over 20
yachts - to cater to the 30-100 metre
luxury yachts that will be on exhibit.
Gulf Bike Expo 2009 will take
place at Dubai Festival City from
19th to 21st March. The event will
thrill bikers and enthusiasts in the
Middle East with a complete action-
packed biking experience. Gulf Bike
Expo, the largest of its kind is set to
showcase the latest in bikes, ATVs,
apparel, accessories, custom-de-
signed bikes and motorcycle-related
products from all major interna-
tional brands from Europe, the USA,
Canada, Italy and Japan.
Visitors will not only be able to
Pg 54-57 Sports-4 pgs.indd 3 3/10/09 3:04:53‭ ‬PM
see a superb range of bikes and
products, but will enjoy a complete
festival atmosphere with profession-
al stuntmen demonstrating extreme
jaw-dropping manoeuvres, putting
on a spectacular show of skill and
precision. Bikers from around the
region will have the opportunity
to participate in the freestyle bike
A purpose-built marquee will
display over hundreds of bikes,
clothing lines and accessories with
daily fashion shows scheduled from
participating fashion brands. An
entertainment area includes outdoor
bars, dining and barbecue areas and
is built with two live music stages
which will be managed by Live Na-
tion and they will feature local and
international bands and DJs who will
be spinning the latest tunes revving
up the crowd. Scorpion Customs
frontman, stuntman, and celebrated
disc jockey; DJ GQ, will take to
the stage to perform tunes from his
remixes. Movie enthusiasts will enjoy
an in-show cinema, showing the best
of bike movies throughout the day,
and the event will also feature the
highly successful Dubai Bike Week
in cooperation with Harley David-
Bike fanatics will have an oppor-
tunity to admire the works of master
bike customisers on modifed and
transformed bikes. On-site competi-
tions will target visitors at the show
with prizes that include bike cloth-
ing and accessories.
Round one of the 2009 FIA
World Cup and FIM Cross-Country
Rallies World Cup, the Abu Dhabi
Desert Challenge will take place
for the frst time on March 20-27,
Abu Dhabi, can become the motor
sport hub of Asia, according to the
region’s captain of motor racing,
14-times Middle East rally cham-
pion, Mohammed ben Sulayem.
He said that this month’s challenge
will begin a new era in Middle East
sport, with November’s Formula 1
Etihad Airways Abu Dhabi Grand
Prix inaugural event in the UAE also
scheduled in Abu Dhabi at a pur-
pose-built F1 track on Yas Island.
Ben Sulayem noted that this
year’s cross country event will see
the traditional fnal round of the FIA
World Cup and FIM Cross-Country
Rallies World Championship switch-
ing to the start of the motor sporting
season with the full backing of
the Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority
(ADTA) as the title sponsor for the
frst time.
The Abu Dhabi Desert Chal-
lenge, a natural evolution of the
18-year-old UAE Desert Challenge,
is open to competitors driving cars
and trucks complying with FIA T1,
T2 and T4 technical regulations and
motorcyclists and quads running
under FIM auspices.
The 2009 Dubai World Cup will
be held on Saturday, March 28. The
world’s richest day’s racing will be
the highlight of 46 race meetings
this season, hosted by three racing
clubs of the United Arab Emirates;
the Abu Dhabi Equestrian Club,
Dubai Racing Club and Jebel Ali
The 2009
$6,000,000 Group 1
Dubai World Cup,
sponsored by Emir-
ates Airline, to be run
on March 28, holds
special signifcance as
it will be the 14th and
fnal renewal staged
at Nad Al Sheba race-
course before racing
is moved to Meydan
in 2010. Refective
of the overwhelming
generosity of the UAE
and embodying the
warmth of traditional
Arabian hospitality,
contenders for the
purses are fown in
Curlin, 2008 winner of the Dubai World Cup
56 UAE Digest, March 2009
Pg 54-57 Sports-4 pgs.indd 4 3/10/09 12:20:42‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 57
from all corners of the world and
horsemen enjoy generous travel
subsidies for their support of racing
in the UAE.
With a purse of $6 million to
the winner, this year sees the 14th
running of the richest horse race in
the world. Classifed as a ‘Group 1
Flat Race’ on dirt for four-year-old
thoroughbreds and above, the Dubai
World Cup spans a distance of two
Following the incredible number
of entries to last year’s BurJuman
Style Stakes competitions, we’re
expecting the fercely contested
2009 Dubai World Cup ‘Best Dressed
Lady’, ‘Best Dressed Couple’ and
‘Best Hat’ competitions to attract
even more contestants, as Dubai’s in-
creasingly style-conscious racegoers
battle it out for the fantastic prizes
on offer.
24-hour kart racing
The frst round of the 2009 Nivea For
Endurance Challenge will take place
on March 27 & 28 at Dubai Kart-
drome, part of the Dubai Autodrome
complex. Spectators are encouraged
to cheer the relay teams of drivers
who will soldier on throughout the
day and night. Entrance is free, as it
is to all events at the autodrome.
World-class coaches and former
Test cricketers Dayle Hadlee and
Mudassar Nazar have taken up
their posts as head coaches at the
International Cricket Council (ICC)
Global Cricket Academy, based at
Dubai Sports City, and are starting to
develop the accredited programmes
to help improve the game both in
the UAE and among the other 103
ICC member-countries.
Hadlee and Nazar, have joined
the ICC Global Cricket Academy’s
director of coaching, Rod Marsh,
to help train and develop the best
talent in world cricket. All three
coaches will also work with inter-
national teams and local players to
improve the standard of the sport
across the United
Arab Emirates.
Programmes are
being designed for
schools and grass-
roots development
as well as bespoke
training camps
for international
sides and coaching
education courses to
make the ICC Global
Cricket Academy a
centre of excellence,
innovation and
education for world
The ICC Global
Cricket Academy will
also have wickets
that replicate playing
conditions across the world. Soil
from Australia, England and Paki-
stan is being
imported to
offer the variety
of wickets found
in different
The Abu
Dhabi Net-
ball League
(ADNL), one
of the capital’s
oldest sports
clubs, contin-
ued to grow
from strength to
strength during
the 2008/09
season, with a
record number
of new players signing up. The
standard of play has, as a result,
been raised even higher with com-
petitive spirits rising to the challenge.
ADNL has selected three teams
comprising the emirate’s top players
to represent Abu Dhabi at the Inter-
gulf Championships in Bahrain on
March 13-14. The championships,
acknowledged as the Gulf’s premier
netball competition, attract teams
from countries all across the region
including Oman, Bahrain, the United
Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar and
Saudi Arabia. Abu Dhabi has a for-
midable record in the event, having
been overall winner on four separate
occasions and coming runners up in
The 2008 Championship Cup and In-
vitational Trophy. This year will also
mark the frst appearance of an Abu
Dhabi men’s team at the event.
Models at the Oasis Fashion Show, Waf,
wearing hats destined for the races
Abu Dhabi netball
Dayle Hadlee, Rod Marsh and Mudassar Nazar
Pg 54-57 Sports-4 pgs.indd 5 3/10/09 12:20:45‭ ‬PM
Magic of Mumbai
isiting Mumbai after a gap of
5 years renewed my sense of
a city that is an epitome of
activity and youth. The city
hits you with a positive energy the
moment you land there. The expanse
of people in Mumbai symbolise the
new India that is marching ahead
uninterrupted. This can be seen
right from the start of the day - an
ocean of people of all age groups
busy with their morning jog along
its various sea-sides. Energetic,
pulsating, dynamic and extremely
health conscious, the city vibrates with
positive energy.
Despite various setbacks it has
faced, work continues unabated and
the sea of people fnd ways and
means of working around situations
for their daily survival. There is no
crying over recession since there is
work to do and time is scarce.
Mumbai’s entrepreneurial spirit
is legendary and can be seen in
its various aspects. Be it a young
newspaper boy, calling out the
headline of the day while making
his way through the maze of traffc
in one of Mumbai’s traffc signals or
the various kinds of small businesses
58 UAE Digest,March 2009
on the move
Young, energetic and dynamic, India,
pulsates with a youthful energy that
infects you instantly
By Sankaranarayanan
The Gateway of India, Mumbai
that start work inside local trains -
that form the heartland of Mumbai’s
working classes. Or the dabbawalas
who deliver lunch from one end of
Mumbai to another like an army of
Pulsates with positive energy,
you are left speechless looking at its
diversity and entrepreneurial spirit.
The most expensive house ever made
on earth – business tycoon Mukesh
Ambani’s home or the stretch of
Asia’s largest slum Dharavi (that shot
to fame, due to the flm Slumdog
Millionaire). Dharavi, must not be
mistaken as a
space for the
poor solely
because the
area operates
in contrasts.
Nearly every
home has the
facilities that
you’d seen
in a middle
income group
home. Several
fourish there,
be it leather
leather goods
shops and small enterprise. On the
other end are sprawling malls that
stack a host of world class brands.
Towering among the group of
monuments in Mumbai are the Taj
and Oberoi, both of which have
stood the test of time despite the
onslaught of terror they witnessed
Business in the hotels are as usual
and in the main lobby of the Taj,
there is a small memorial dedicated
to the staff of the hotel who lost their
lives during the terrorist attack. It is
heartening to see nearly everyone
Taj Mahal Palace Hotel, Mumbai
Pg 58-61 Travel-India on move.indd 2 3/11/09 5:33:44‭ ‬PM
The Mani Bhavan, Mumbai
March 2009, UAE Digest 59
stand by it for a minute, to pay
homage to the deceased. The century
old Taj Palace stands tall and after
renovations, will soon be launched.
Ever since it opened in 1903 (even
before The Gateway of India was
built), The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,
Mumbai has created its own unique
history. Maharajas, princes, corporate
heads, kings, presidents, CEOs, actors
and entertainers have frequented the
Taj group of hotels that has played
the perfect host. An architectural
marvel that brings together Moorish,
Oriental and Florentine styles,
offering panoramic views of the
Arabian Sea and the Gateway of
India, the Taj Hotel Mumbai, is a
landmark of the city, showcasing
contemporary Indian infuences
along with beautiful vaulted alabaster
ceilings, onyx columns, graceful
archways, hand-woven silk carpets,
crystal chandeliers, a magnifcent art
collection, an eclectic collection of
furniture, and a dramatic cantilever
The Trident, Nariman Point on
the other hand is poised proudly
on the edge of the Arabian Sea,
overlooking the Queen’s Necklace
area. One of the country’s largest
hotels, it represents a contemporary
outlook and dynamism combined
with warmth and ethnic values.
Not only does Trident Club offer
the business traveller services to
make their business trip simple
and stress-free but also a multitude
of facilities, including the recently
introduced butler service, to make
The Trident, Mumbai
the trip a comfortable, relaxing and
memorable experience. Excellent
cuisine, be it Indian or world
cuisine, the Trident is a connoisseur’s
Nearby, at the Gateway of India,
a monument erected to welcome
Queen Mary and King George V
of England on their visit to India
in 1911, life goes on like before -
groups of people feeding the birds,
yoga camps, people buying fresh
fowers from open scooters and in
the sea, fshermen returning after
their catch.
Among Mumbai’s other popular
landmarks are, the Hanging gardens
above Malabar hill laid our in 1880,
that covers Mumbai’s main reservoir,
the imposing Victoria Terminus
or CST station and Mani Bhavan,
Mahatma Gandhi’s home in Mumbai
- a three storeyed structure, painted
in brown and yellow amidst a Parsi
neighbourhood where he lived
between 1917-1934, now overseen
and maintained by the Gandhi
The lavish interiors of hotel Trident
Pg 58-61 Travel-India on move.indd 3 3/11/09 5:33:45‭ ‬PM
Taj Palace Hotel, Delhi Presidential Suite, Taj, Delhi
A CNG auto rickshaw in old Delhi The Rajghat, Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial, Delhi
The Red Fort, Delhi
he frst thing I noticed about
Delhi was its fyovers, wide roads
and lots of greenery everywhere.
In three years since I last visited the
capital, it has grown in beauty with
Dynamism of Delhi
wide roads, well laid out green
spaces that adds to its glory
as the capital of India with its
well preserved historic offce
buildings and monuments. The
majestic Rashtrapati Bhavan,
the imposing India Gate blends
with its surroundings that
include lakes, well laid our
fower beds, landscaping and
lots of fountains – all of which,
any Indian can be proud of.
The most beautiful part of
Delhi is that, there are very few
skyscrapers. Beautiful villas
with greenery all around, the
city looks distinct and different.
The serene bhajans at Rajghat,
Mahatma Gandhi’s memorial
transport you to a different world
and you are enveloped with a
sense of calm and peace. It is
extremely well kept with its ever-lit
lamp, fowers and the landscape.
So are monuments like the Qutub
Minar rising up to a height of 72
metres, Humayun’s tomb and the
Red fort that refect the past glory
of India.
Even in the outskirts of the
city, you can see a change in the
lifestyles of people. There are
modern farmhouses and it feels that
the richness of the city is fowing
on to its outskirts. If Delhi has old
spaces like Chandni Chowk to shop,
it has lots of world class shopping
malls stacking world class brands
for its richer segments of people.
The city also has well known
educational institutions and a motley
group of young entrepreneurs,
abuzz with exuberance and activity.
Apart from the feet of expensive
cars one gets to see on Delhi roads,
the city is gearing up towards the
four wheeled culture teeming with
sports cars. Restaurants by evening
is teeming with young groups of
people including foreigners who are
enjoying the vast variety of Indian
food as well as the opportunities
India offers them. The maximium
population of India consists of
young people and the youth
of India are moving forward
A fact that can be seen in The
Taj Palace Delhi for instance,
that is majestic and awe-inspiring
and has several world celebrities,
corporate honchos, diplomats
and heads of state as its guests.
A place to bask in the warmth
of Indian hospitality and rich
Indian cuisine that
ranges from the
recipes of the royal
Indian kitchens,
innovations by
well known
Indian chefs to the
choicest delicacies
the world over
be it Japanese,
Arabian, Chinese,
Mediterranean or
European food.
60 UAE Digest, March 2009
Pg 58-61 Travel-India on move.indd 4 3/11/09 5:28:44‭ ‬PM
Allure of Agra
The drive to Agra from Delhi
showcased the rural wealth of India.
After whizing past a belt of lush green
wheat-felds, a marketplace or a huge
shopping mall is a common sight.
And as you approach the legendary
Taj Mahal, the mood gets different.
Located on the banks of the Yamuna,
we saw the resplendent Taj by
moonlight from Oberoi group’s Amar
Vilas, where we were put up.
Amar Vilas is located 600 metres
from the monument and though
the sky was foggy, the white
marble of the Taj basking in the
moonlight is a sight to savour.
Created like a poetry in stone, all
its rooms, suites, lobby, bar and
lounge offer breathtaking views
of the monument. Built in
a style inspired by Moorish
and Mughal architecture, the
resort is a splendid display
of terraced lawns, fountains,
refection pools and pavilions
with rich interiors that
take you back to an era
of emperors and princes.
Richly detailed interior s are
perfectly complemented by
a choice of international and
Indian cuisine that includes
Japanese, Arabian, Chinese,
Mediterranean and European
The romance of Agra
transports you to another
era, another ethos. It is impressive
to see tour guides around that area,
speak a host of languages. They are
highly educated and have an in-depth
knowledge about their professions.
The view of the Taj from Shah Jahan’s
room too in heart- warming because
it brings back the story of love shared
between the Mughal emperor and his
queen Mumtaz Mahal. The fort built
in red sandstone has water-cooling/
heating systems in its architecture and
ventilators that has an abundance of
natural light. Replete with gateways,
gardens, the pillared halls, mosques,
marble trellises and geometric
gardens, the fort represents Mughal
architecture at its best. The return to
Delhi was through Kosi where we
lunched at the Le Meridien. I leave
India with a sense of nostalgia and
some fne memories. I fondly miss the
exuberance of JK Sharma, Approved
Guide & Escort, Ministry of Tourism,
Govt of India who accompanied us
in the trip. His style of narration is
phenomenal and so is his cheery
Amar Vilas - Agra
A press trip to Delhi, Mumbai and Agra
was organised by India Tourism’s Dubai
offce and Swagatam Tours Private
Limited. Jet Airways few the group
and hospitality was arranged by the Taj
and Oberoi group of hotels
March 2009, UAE Digest 61
The Taj Mahal, Agra
Pg 58-61 Travel-India on move.indd 5 3/11/09 5:43:59‭ ‬PM
destination comes alive when the mood, as
well as the mode, of travel to a destination
is as exciting as can be. Enhancing both is
Jet Airways’ advanced in-fight entertainment
system installed on the new Boeing 777-300 ER and
Airbus A330-200 aircrafts, (functional since May 2007),
that continues to add a touch of luxury to travel. This is
part of the company’s comprehensive expansion plan that
includes launching new seats, new in-fight service, new
staff uniforms and a new corporate identity, as Chairman
Naresh Goyal states. He confrmed the deliveries for the
frst of the 20 wide-body aircrafts last month. The 10
Boeing B 777-300ER and 10 Airbus A330-200 aircrafts are
valued at $2.1 billion. “Having changed the way people
fy in India, we will now take our own brand of service
and style, the spirit of new India, to the rest of the world,”
he adds.
Travellers can choose from three categories of travel
- First Class, Premiere, and Economy. Each category is
designed ergonomically for maximum comfort, utility and
luxury. Since the aircraft ply on long haul international
routes, seats are designed differently. As the backrest
reclines, the seat moves forward to create a recline
angle of 130 degrees to an ergonomically correct seating
position, reducing sinew, joint and muscle tensions. A
hammock style headrest cradles and supports the head
and neck, while a net suspended below the seat, provides
support for feet and ankles.
Luxury uninterrupted
If you travel frst class, service starts even before you start
fying. The moment you arrive at the airport, a concierge
escorts you to immigration and onwards to the elite First
Class lounge; a valet will check in your luggage while
you relax with a bubbly at the lounge or wrap up some
work at the business centre. When it is time to board the
aircraft, you will be escorted to your exclusive private
suite in the sky.
With dual sliding doors, night sky mood and lighting
system - personal space and comfort is of prime
importance for frst class travel. The specially designed
space in your private suite lets you invite a companion
to join you at your table for a delectable meal or a
confdential business discussion. As for food, get set
to be treated to an array of culinary delectables – a
personalised fve-course meal from a selection of world
class cuisines and drinks. The suite even has a closet to
stay immaculate and comes with a personal amenities kit
that contains Bvlgari White Tea and eau de toilette spray,
62 UAE Digest, March 2009
Comfort in the Sky
Jet Airways’ advanced in- fight infrastructure adds comfort and luxury to travel
for instance. Entertainment is aplenty starting with a giant
23-inch fat screen TV and you’ll fnd blockbusters from
Hollywood and Bollywood, plus a whole host of award
winning TV shows. For music lovers, the Jukebox offers
audio CDs of Indian and international music. If work
is on your mind, you could tune in to the latest in the
world of business through SMS and email facility or stay
updated through Love Text News. As for services, the
crew ensures that you feel at home in the sky. You can
also enjoy a limousine pick up to and from the airport to
make the journey even more luxurious.
Premiere travel
Freedom of movement comes with every seat in the
Premiere section. You can work with a laptop plug-
in socket as you fy at 35,000 feet. The section has a
herringbone seat confguration that gives you an easy
aisle access from every seat and features a lie fat bed and
a wall that offers you the comfort of personal space. You
can stay entertained with a personal 15.4 inch touch-
screen LCD
TV, Hollywood
and Bollywood
TV shows and
business news
and can even
call for popcorn.
Premiere fyers
can also enjoy
the comfort of a
limousine pick-
The same space converts into a comfort zone
A treat of world cuisine
Pg 62-63 Travel-Jet Airways.indd 2 3/12/09 3:04:43‭ ‬PM
March 2009, UAE Digest 63
Jet Airways has
recently signed a
purchase agreement
for 10 Boeing B787
Dreamliner aircraft with
deliveries commencing
in 2011. The B787 order
is valued at $1.6 billion.
Boeing B 777 is
confgured into three
classes, eight First
Class, 30 Premiere
Class and 274
Economy Class seats
and operates on the
Mumbai- London and
and New York routes.
Jet Airways plans to
operate services to San
Fransico via Shanghai
with the oncoming
winter schedule. The
Airbus A 330 aircraft
is confgured in two
classes, 30 Premier and
190 Economy seats
and operates daily
Delhi-London services.
It will also be deployed
on fights from India
to markets such as
Singapore, Kuala
Lumpur, Johannesburg
and Toronto via
Jet Airways, along
with JetLite (a wholly
owned subsidiary of
Jet Airways India Ltd)
has a combined feet
strength of 109 aircraft
and offers customers
a schedule of over 526
fights daily.
All passengers are able
to access some special
features that include
a library of over 100
management books,
the Berlitz World
Traveller, a programme
to help passengers
learn over 20 foreign
languages from basic
words to numbers
and sentences, and
Relaxline, that helps
passengers relax.
Economy’s the word
With state-of-the art, ergonomically designed seats,
exciting culinary delights and a world-class cabin crew,
every seat in the economy range has a 10.6 inch touch-
screen TV with ready on demand infight entertainment,
music, movies, songs, interactive games etc. For young
fiers, JetKids is a unique programme which includes
games, toys, contests and special offers for tiny tots.
Seats are designed to reduce pressure on your body and
give the added support for long journeys. If you recline
on your backrest, the seat bottom will automatically
move into an ergonomically correct position. Other
thoughtful features include a reading light at the back
of the seat, a hammock headrest and unique foot net,
designed to let you relax and arrive at your destination
rested and refreshed. The food choices range from
Indian to continental cuisine.
Roomy seats designed for comfort
braham Joseph,
Senior General
Manager, Jet
Airways, Gulf,
Middle East and North
Africa, is quite impressed
by Danny Boyle’s
Slumdog Millionaire
and feels that the flm
will intrigue people about
India and they would
surely want to visit the
Ask him if the current situation has
affected the airline (with airports full of
people returning home every day), he
has a realistic answer. “While a few of
Jet Airways fights to the US have been
put on hold, we are concentrating on the
major routes that bring in the revenue.
Mumbai is a very busy route and our routes
to Mumbai- Delhi from Dubai and Abu
Dhabi, Cochin - Trivandrum - Mumbai from
Muscat, Mumbai and Cochin from Doha
and Mumbai and Cochin from Kuwait are
doing extremely well,” he says.
Jet Airways continues to have their
fights connect to a city in India every
four minutes in a day. Also, the airline’s
Boeing B 777- 300ER and Airbus A 330-
200, with newly introduced ergonomical
infrastructure fy from Dubai regularly.
Jet Airways has a code share with
Emirates airlines. While Emirates fights
bring in people from the world to Dubai,
for those wanting to travel to India, the Jet
After Slumdog Millionaire, tourist fow to India should increase
Abraham Joseph, Senior General
Manager, Jet Airways, Gulf,
Middle East and North Africa
Airways fights take them
there. Jet Airways also has
a code share arrangement
with Etihad Airlines. “We
can sell on their fights and
they have a code share on
our night fights,” he states.
What about their travel
strategy for the year 2009?
“In the Gulf, we are in a
unique situation. In many
places in the world, travel
is a luxury and is usually to
do with leisure and business. But here,
people need to go back home regularly,
since most of the population here
consists of expatriates. And they form
our major clientele. Their traffc will
always be there,” he states.
Are there any plans to tie up with
tourism departments in the world? “We
have plans for promoting tourism for
non-Indian tourists. We are doing a lot
of promotions in April. The campaign
will be called ‘Know Your India’ and
will promote travel to the country. We
are working with India Tourism to
create that traffc.
But the Jet Escape packages that are
prevalent in India are not here. “We are
participating with IPL, tying up with
agents for packages of tours that involve
air tickets, accommodation and transfer,”
he states.
Jet Airways has extended its Jet
Privilege card, to this region too.
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the biggest slum cluster in Asia.
Danny Boyle’s heartwarming tale of triumph
against adversity – based on Vikas Swarup’s novel
Q & A – reaped a rich haul of eight Oscars after
sweeping Golden Globes and Bafta Awards. As
Azharuddin and Rubina Ali (the young Jamal Malik
and Latika in the movie) beamed in front of TV cam-
eras, riotous celebrations erupted thousands of miles
away in Dharavi at the crack of dawn.
Dharavi became the centre of world attention.
Even Vikas Swarup got a windfall from the movie’s
dream run as his book few off the shelves. All this
was for real. It seemed too good to be true. But
dreams do sometimes take wings, believe it or not!
Literally fabulous!
Who doesn’t like to dream? Our imagination is at
its highest, however, when we delve into literature
written by great writers. We are transported to far off
lands when we fip through the pages of a gripping
novel just lying in bed.
And if more than 60 writers converge at one
venue, giving a peep into their wonderful world over
a span of three days, you cannot ask for more. The
Emirates Festival of Literature held in fve different
halls at Hotel Intercontinental of the Festival City was
the frst-of-its-kind event held in the UAE. Writers
from several Arab countries, Western nations, the In-
dian subcontinent, Far East and Africa held sway over
a fairly large gathering of book lovers.
The festival was initially marred by a controversy
surrounding a book, which was thought to be banned
here due to which Canadian writer Margaret Atwood
pulled out at the last minute but later participated
through a video link-up. Tickets were priced from
Dh35 to Dh100 for talks, conversations, discussions
and debates. It was heartening to see people actually
spend money in these hard times to listen to great
minds. What is more, people bought books and stood
in long queues to get them autographed by writers.
It seems the literature-starved people of Dubai
were waiting for such an event. Hopefully, it will be-
come an annual feature – another interesting event to
look out for in Dubai’s cultural calendar. But it would
perhaps help the cause of literature much more if the
tickets and books were more moderately priced.
arching into March, there seems to be
no end to depressing news. While it is
expected that the recession will deepen
this year, what is adding to our woes is
terrorism. Just when we thought we had enough of
gloomy news, comes a terror attack in Lahore against
the visiting Sri Lankan cricketers. In what seems like
a copycat of 26/11 in Mumbai, the attack shocked the
world that woke up to the dangers of international
terrorism. The catastrophic combination of religious
revivalism, political paralysis, military machinations
and fnancial freefall has made Pakistan truly the most
dangerous place on earth today.
But the scourge of terrorism affects us all. No mat-
ter where it originates, it is the ultimate Frankenstein
that devours its creator. So, world leaders have to get
together to tackle this international menace just as
they have joined hands to battle the economic down-
turn. Unfortunately, few leaders agree on what con-
stitutes ‘terrorism’ even in this day and age when the
hydra-headed monster has demonstrated that it makes
no distinctions whatsoever – even between the hand
that feeds it and the one that bites it. Can we expect
that now the world will get its act together? One fails
to understand why terrorism is not being fought with
the same seriousness as recession. Can we continue
on the path of progress – after we have found our
way out of the fnancial mess – if we leave interna-
tional terrorism and religious fanaticism unchecked?
Clearly, this plague needs to be given equal attention
as the fnancial meltdown, if not more. Let’s hope for
the formation of a broad international coalition against
terror. A safe, secure and prosperous world should not
remain a pipedream.
When dreams take wings
Not everything was gloom and doom in February. The
Oscars were packaged in a new format and the glitter
of the event dispelled the world’s darkness somewhat.
What was most heartening were the smiles on the
faces of young children from the slums of Mumbai
as they marched up on the stage in their smart little
tuxedos and shimmering frocks to hold the prestigious
statuettes. The night of February 22 in Hollywood
truly belonged to the stars of Slumdog Millionaire
– a rags-to-riches adventure set in Mumbai’s Dharavi,
64 UAE Digest, March 2009
This scourge must be fought
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