Profitable partnerships. Every step of the way.
Ithmaar Bank - Adding value through innovation

Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. P.O. Box 2820, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: +973 17584000

life is colourful ...
... because I stand on SOLID GROUND
Welcome to a spectrum of innovative financial solutions. Solidarity provides the utmost safety and protection against the widest possible risks, along with a diverse range of prudent savings and investment opportunities, ensuring peace of mind and making life ever so colourful. Solidarity’s vision is to become the leading international Islamic-oriented financial services group in the world. With a paid-up capital of $220 million, Solidarity Group has the resources to deliver unmatched risk management solutions, tailored to meet the needs of individuals, families and businesses.

Ph one +973 1758 5222, Fax +973 1758 5200 P.O. Box 18668, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain


Health and Beauty


Best of Bahrain

Welcome to Bahrain!
If you are reading this you are already part of a truly global way of life and are entering our Global Village arena where we showcase our country, our people and our culture and the opportunities that exist in becoming a part of our present and future. Global Village Partnerships and the “Best of” series is a fast growing international media group and “Best of Bahrain” is a first step in introducing the Kingdom on a positive note to our global audience. We feature the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Vision 2030, Business Friendly orientation as the Government focuses on the development of the community and our international business and investment relations. Our genuine hospitality as people in lifestyle and business is unrelenting and synergetic with all of Bahrain’s citizens and residents. Our goal has been to exhibit the diversity with as many key players and initiatives as possible from top organizations to singular entrepreneurs and talented individuals who are contributing to the successful growth of this Kingdom. There are many more still to showcase in future editions of “Best of Bahrain” and on our online social networking portal for businesses We are lucky to have been firstly supported by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, who are our ambassadors to the Kingdom encouraging and inviting the global audience to merge amongst its establishments and set up base here. We proudly recognize the guidance of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s Court and all of Bahrain’s ministries, who saw the importance and potential of this publication in providing a neutral voice to the Kingdom. In our discovery of the Kingdom we have witnessed kindness, traditional values and unique talents that contribute to the wholeness of life here. We are proud to present to you this inaugural edition that will be eclipsed in the next editions of a small nation with a world to offer. Please make sure to visit Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) on and the Kingdom’s e-Government portal during your stay for further information on the Kingdom of Bahrain. This publication would not have been possible without the support from our participating businesses, entrepreneurs, individual talents and the staff of Middle East Media (MEM) our media partner in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Rawia Beyhum Publisher
International Group Publisher Bahrain Publishing Partner Publisher Project Manager Production Editors Creative Direction Images Information Sources ISBN # 978-0-620-39819-0 Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in The Best of Bahrain Vol. 1. Neither Best of Bahrain nor GVPedia Communications cc assume any responsibility for errors or omissions. All rights reserved: No part of this publication shall be reproduced, copied, transmitted, adapted or modified in any form or by any means. This publication shall not be stored in whole or in part in any form in any retrieval system. Contact details: Ms. Rawia Beyhum Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. PO Box 10688 Al Matrook Bldg. 9th Floor, Flat. 101 Tel: +973 17 53 6535 Mobile: +973 39 78 5868 Fax: +973 17 53 3511 Email: In Partnership with: Global Village Partnerships FZ LLC Sponsored by Sven Boermeester Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. Rawia Beyhum Lisa Ashworth GVPedia Communications Lisa Durante, Reena Raghavamoorthy Peter Batistich List of Photography Contributors see Index on page 188 Economic Development Board (EDB), Ministry of Culture & Information, Vision 2030

Rawia Beyhum - Publisher

Best of Bahrain


Best of Bahrain

Business Friendly Bahrain
“Bahrain provides a free, open and transparent environment for businesses and has a globally competitive, value-creation story which focuses on sustainability, skills and good governance.” Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB.

ver the past century, Bahrain has led the Gulf in many different areas, from oil exploitation to finance and education. This has given Bahrainis their uniquely sophisticated outlook, which supports a core culture of openness and freedom, and lies at the heart of everything they do. Bahrain is the Gateway to the Gulf, with particularly favourable access to Saudi Arabia and the ideal business hub due to its strategic location in the region, excellent transport network, and a reputation for cultural neutrality and friendly ties with its neighbours. Bahrain’s free market means that businesses are allowed to operate freely, with minimal red-tape and foreign ownership restrictions. According to the Index of Economic Freedom 2009, Bahrain is the 16th freest economy in the world and the freest in the Middle East. In fact, Bahrain is the only economy in the MENA region to rank amongst the world’s top 20. The Kingdom was also the first country in the GCC to have ratified a Free Trade Agreement with the United States of America. Importantly, Bahrain has a strong track record and its modern international business credentials extend well into the


decades. The financial services sector has been thriving for nearly 40 years bringing about a certain dependability, sustainability and business wisdom. Bahrain also has a tried-and-tested legal and regulatory environment in which investors can trust to fairly protect their interests in an open and transparent manner. The quality of growth in a country depends primarily on the quality of its people. Bahrain’s business sector is supported by the most productive, highlyskilled national work force in the GCC. For example, 67% of the financial services workforce is Bahraini and education in the country is of a very high standard. Tamkeen (formerly the Labour Fund), has invested around $185 million to train more than 19,000 Bahrainis and provide them with sector-specific skills. Education reforms have also been introduced to improve education and skills training in line with the requirements of the private sector, adopting best practice from some of the world’s most successful educational models. Furthermore, Bahrain is an open, tolerant and welcoming society that has long respected people of all cultures, ethnicities, denominations and genders. With its multicultural society, boutique restaurants, and a thriving arts scene and café culture, there is

Shaikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive, Economic Development Board

an authenticity about Bahrain that is unique to the Gulf. Low inflation and sustainable growth also mean that quality of life is amongst the highest in the GCC, especially for families. Investment OppOrtunItIes Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB): “Bahrain is the most diversified economy in the Gulf and our strength is in this diversification. We have a wellbalanced economy that is growing with sectors and islands

of opportunity and optimism.” Bahrain was the first country in the region to diversify away from oil and gas 40 years ago. From the outset, the government set in motion a series of initiatives to encourage industry sectors which can offer significant investment potential, based on Bahrain’s natural and human resources, global market trends and regional demands. Bahrain’s overall economic strategy is focused on the creation of high-quality jobs in sustainable industries and valueadded sectors. The country now carries an established track record in a number of key

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sectors: Financial services Widely regarded as the bestregulated financial centre in the Middle East, Bahrain has been the region’s undisputed financial capital for decades. The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is the sole regulator of the entire financial services sector. As of November 2009, there are 414 licensed financial institutions based in Bahrain, including local, regional and international firms. Banking is the cornerstone of the finance industry, and has diversified into all aspects of finance including funds, insurances, reinsurances, Islamic finance and capital markets. This has created a large pool of local talent. The financial sector is one of the most important and wellestablished sectors of Bahrain’s economy accounting for 26.59% of Gross Domestic Product in 2008 according to the Central Informatics Organisation. Banking Bahrain’s banking system experienced annual average growth rates of 18 per cent

over the 2006 to 2008 period. Bahrain’s banking sector comprises both conventional and Islamic banking and is the largest segment within the Kingdom’s finance sector. A key feature of the banking system in Bahrain is the rich variety of locally incorporated and international banks (conventional and Islamic) that operate in the Kingdom. Between them, these banks provide professional services and products to retail, wholesale and private wealth clients. Several locally incorporated banks have either branches or subsidiaries in other countries throughout the Middle East, Far East, Africa, Europe and the United States. Overall, the total consolidated balance sheet of the banking sector reached $218.9 billion by October 2009. Islamic Finance Khalid Hamad, Executive DirectorBanking Supervision, CBB: “Whilst the underlying principles of Islamic finance have safeguarded it against the worst of the economic downturn, it is Bahrain’s tried and trusted world-class regulatory

standards that have helped attract institutions to the country and led to the rapid growth of Islamic finance assets.” Bahrain is widely recognised as the global leader in Islamic finance, with the largest concentration of Islamic financial institutions in the world. At present, there are 27 Islamic banks (whose assets under management total US$25.7 billion), 18 Islamic insurance companies (Takaful), and 1 re-Takaful firm operating in the Kingdom. A number of conventional banks have also successfully integrated Islamic products within their operations. In addition, Bahrain is at the forefront of the market for Islamic securities (sukuk), including short-term government sukuk, as well as leasing securities. The CBB has played a central role in the introduction of these products. Funds Administration & management Bahrain has a thriving funds industry, with the first Bahrain domiciled fund being launched

in 1984. Formal regulations governing funds were introduced in 1992 which encouraged the development of a thriving fund sector and leading to Bahrain’s dominance as the Gulf’s regional funds centre. As at October 2009, Bahrain was home to more than 2,600 registered funds. Of these, 137 are Bahrain domiciled schemes, and 59 are Islamic funds. Insurance & reinsurance The insurance industry in Bahrain has been growing steadily and strongly in recent years demonstrating double digit growth, and mirroring the expansion of Bahrain’s financial sector. The Kingdom offers the ideal environment for the insurance industry, and with its forwardlooking and businessfriendly regulatory regime it hopes to sustain this growth in the longterm. Bahrain is home to more than 170 insurance firms. Reinsurance is a smaller market than the main insurance sector in Bahrain, but it is one that is steadily growing. An increasing number of companies are offering

reinsurance for local companies and using Bahrain as a base from which to do business globally. takaful With the region’s Takaful market set to boom over the next few years, Bahrain is rapidly being established as the leader in this field. Bahrain is the first market to introduce regulations for Takaful companies that met with Accounting & Auditing Organisation for Islamic Financial Institutions (AAOIFI) standards. Predictions at the Takaful conference held in April 2008 suggested that the industry was set to increase to US$10 billion by 2015. sovereign Wealth Funds – mumtalakat Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the EDB: “The independent ranking of Mumtalakat as the most transparent Sovereign Wealth Fund in the Gulf is further proof of the Kingdom’s commitment to the highest standards of accountability and robust regulation that has created a stable business environment.” In 2006, Bahrain set up its own

investment vehicle, Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company with a capital of BHD2 billion. Mumtalakat is committed to fostering the development of the company through greater transparency, better accountability and improved growth of its investments. _____________________________ On top of a thriving financial services sector, the Kingdom also has strong professional services, logistics and manufacturing sectors. International businesses already in Bahrain include Microsoft, Kraft, BNP Paribas, Ernst & Young, KPMG, DHL and Standard Chartered Bank. Business & professional services With the largest financial services centre in the Gulf and close proximity to Saudi Arabia’s oil and gas markets, opportunities for professional and business services are abundant in Bahrain. These include law, accountancy, management consultancy, marketing services, engineering services and human resources.

Low set up costs, access to competitively priced, skilled labour, political and cultural neutrality and a favourable legal environment combine to make Bahrain the ideal operating environment. Information Communication technology (ICt) Bahrain boasts the Middle East’s most liberal and advanced ICT infrastructure and policies. The Bahrain ICT market is expected to reach $375 billion by 2010, due to the high demand for IT products and services from both public and private sectors. The growing need for robust IT solutions is also being driven by massive eGovernment and eCommerce initiatives, aimed at achieving economic diversification. Bahrain offers low entrance costs and its market is rich with opportunity. Logistics Bahrain is currently investing US$2.9bn to upgrade its logistics infrastructure. The Bahrain Logistics Zone is fully integrated with the new Khalifa bin Salman port, and is in close proximity to both the King Fahd causeway linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia

and the proposed Bahrain-Qatar causeway. It is also just 13km from Bahrain International Airport, making it perfectly positioned as a multimodal logistics hub for the region. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB, said: “The Khalifa bin Salman Port and Bahrain Logistics Zone now represent a world class logistics hub right at the heart of the Gulf, providing the ideal location from which to tap into the almost one trillion US dollars combined market of the GCC countries and its rapidly expanding, young population.” Automotive Industry Bahrain has consistently stood at the forefront of a thriving automotive sector in the Middle East, having joined an elite club of 18 nations by hosting the Formula One World Championship six times in a row. The automotive industry in Bahrain grew by 6.8% in 2007 and a further 10% in 2008 and the Kingdom now has substantial expertise in the sector, especially in motor sport and aluminium component manufacturing.

About the Bahrain eDB Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer of the EDB: “The Bahrain EDB strives to be the catalyst for change that will transform Bahrain into a preferred global business destination.” The Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency responsible for formulating and overseeing the economic development strategy of Bahrain, and for creating the right climate to attract direct investment into the Kingdom. The role of the Bahrain EDB is to provide leadership by uniting all of the Kingdom’s shareholders through a unified vision, and to develop key strategies for growth. The Bahrain EDB also acts as a facilitator, helping all of Bahrain’s stakeholders to understand and adopt the changes necessary for progress. In addition, the Bahrain EDB provides sound project management to ensure that all agreed reform initiatives are implemented effectively. The EDB is chaired by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain. The EDB Board of Directors consists of 17 government ministers and 10 leading executives from the private sector. The Board’s composition is designed to enable

both the public and private sectors to work closely together to achieve Bahrain’s strategic objectives for change and growth. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa is the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic Development Board. eDB Initiatives The Bahrain EDB has played a prominent role in a number of important initiatives. These include Bahrain’s hosting of the Middle East’s first ever Formula 1TM Grand Prix; becoming the first country in the Arab world to fully liberalise its telecoms industry; and establishing a Free Trade Agreement with the United States. The Bahrain EDB currently seeks to attract inward investment across several economic sectors in line with the government’s aspirations to promote productive and sustainable growth, as set out in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, launched in October 2008. The National Economic Strategy provides a roadmap for the vision, which sets the direction for Bahrain’s future development, aiming to build a better life for every Bahraini by utilising the private sector as an engine for growth and focusing on modernizing the economy, developing new skills and enhancing productivity and innovation. Several economic sectors capitalise on

Bahrain’s competitive advantages and provide significant investment opportunities. The Bahrain EDB works to enhance the capabilities, infrastructure and policies that are tied to the economic sectors and to the overall business environment. In doing so, the EDB aims to attract foreign direct investment in these areas and contribute to the Kingdom’s economic growth. The Bahrain EDB is responsible for promoting the Kingdom of Bahrain abroad through its overseas network of dedicated offices, in India, Japan and Hong Kong, and by working closely with its embassies around the world to promote business investment opportunities. In addition, the Bahrain EDB offers an investor-facilitation service to first-time investors interested in doing business in Bahrain. A dedicated business development officer serves as the first point of contact to the Kingdom, working to understand the objectives of each investor, providing information regarding the relevant procedures for setting up businesses, and helping them to develop a strong network of contacts to successfully conduct business in Bahrain.

Tel: +973 17 589 969

Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer, Economic Development Board

Best of Bahrain

Hotels & Hospitality
42-53 54-63

Dining & Entertainment

Chapter 1

Health, Beauty & Wellness
108-115 116-129

Chapter 2

Training, Education & CSR

Chapter 5

Oil, Gas & Manufacturing

Media, Communications & Technology
170-187 Chapter 10


Chapter 9

Best of Bahrain

Chapter 6

Travel, Tourism & Events
64-77 78-107

Arts & Culture

Chapter 3

Real Estate, Construction & Design
130-149 150-163

Chapter 4

Banking, Investment & Finance

Chapter 7

Best of Bahrain 11


Chapter 8

The Court of HRH The Prime Minister

Your Royal Highness, how has your Government supported the development and diversification of Bahrain’s economy in light of the current difficulties and successive global and regional crises? Global difficulties are a testament of Bahrain’s ability to overcome the reality and employ it for the realization of its interests.

Bahrain is a country of limited space and resources. In such a situation it is only natural to define your ambitions within these limitations. Faced with such challenges Bahrain conducted in-depth studies with a futuristic approach that recognizes the indispensability of developing mechanisms for income diversification.

These mechanisms were set in place since the early stages of the state formation, which in turn contributed to witnessing a limited negative magnitude of the recent global crisis, keeping Bahrain as immune as possible under such circumstances. We believe that any progress is only secured via stability

and economic growth. Simultaneously, any social or economic development is subject to this stability. Therefore, as we look today at the achievements realized by the people of Bahrain as a consequence of the Kingdom’s diversification policy, we become more confident and


Best of Bahrain

The Royal Family, rulers of the Kingdom of Bahrain

international exhibitions and conferences, as well as home to many important industries such as oil and gas related industries, petrochemicals, aluminum, shipbuilding and repair. We continue to attract foreign investments, and you only need to take a look at the development and investment projects in the Kingdom to realize the success of our policies whether those concerned with sustainable development or improving the quality of life in general. Your Royal Highness, how do you envision the path for economic growth in the future? What are the possibilities of diversifying sources of income so as not to depend solely on oil revenues, banking and the real estate sectors? In order to minimize any risks that may impede our economic and social development, we constantly review our legislative and economic policies in

accordance with specialized studies and research. We realize the international geographic importance of the region we live in, as a meeting point between East and West, particularly the vital and strategic location of the Kingdom of Bahrain within it. Therefore, we remain keen to benefit from our location in further attracting foreign investment and encouraging new ideas and initiatives that will further strengthen our economies and support our endeavors to increase our development and our growth rates. We are also aware that this can be achieved only by providing a modern infrastructure in the areas of Communication and Technology, particularly in Information Technology and Telecommunications. We remain committed to insuring that our infrastructures are in accordance with international standards and expectations, especially in light of

the current intense competition to attract direct foreign investment and mega-projects. We believe that it is the responsibility of the State to provide the facilities and incentives necessary to attract and sustain local and foreign investments alike. Today we enjoy a sophisticated communication network; we have no monopoly in this field. The industry is characterized by a competitive environment that recognizes the needs of both the service provider and its users with ample opportunities for specialized companies to enter. We currently have in place three Telecom service providers. We are confident that the presence of these three companies will enrich the telecommunications sector, contribute to the industry’s development and provide high quality services for all investment projects in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

proud of Bahrainis ability to change their reality and open up new prospects for the coming generations. Today, Bahrain is a highly visible financial and banking centre with a leading international status particularly in Islamic Banking. Furthermore, Bahrain is a significant centre for services,

Best of Bahrain



Best of Bahrain

His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain

The Kingdom of Bahrain has been internationally recognized as a leader in the field of Information Technology, ranking 45th from a list of ‘Country Readiness in the field of ICT.’ In addition the United Nations Report on E-Government for 2010 ranked Bahrain E-Government as first in the Middle East, third in Asia and 13th Globally. We continue to develop new ideas, initiatives and proposals that add value to our economy and National Income, thus enhancing and advancing the historic role of the Kingdom of Bahrain in developing world Trade. Do you believe that the global economic indicators obtained on Bahrain’s economy from specialized international institutions are sufficient evidence for the success of your economic policies and are significant indicators of future viability? Indicators are an important part of a number of mechanisms designed to measure the success of our policies, especially since they come from international institutions that are impartial and specialized. These institutions highlight to the world, in accordance with their predetermined standards,

What are the most fundamental economic indicators upon which your Royal Highness depends on in your work as Prime Minister and Why? We always act in accordance with our vision and goals, particularly the goals designed to meet the needs of Bahraini citizens, to provide better services as inspirited by them, and to raise to their aspirations for the future. In this context, the Government of Bahrain is based on several main economic pillars that include, but are not limited to, the development of living standards, the development of services and facilities, the ongoing development of projects that bring about added value to the national economy, and attracting investments that contribute to the establishment of new projects, which in turn provide more job opportunities for Bahraini citizens. Our ambitions recognize no limits when it comes to the Kingdom and the well-being of citizens. We strive to realize the best results possible, from high standards of living to providing the best services possible, specifically in social well-fair, health, education and housing. We want citizens to realize their full potential and to have high levels of productivity and

Image by: Hanan Hassan Al Khalifa

In the same manner in which we are developing our communications, air traffic, sea and land infrastructures, we are developing and expanding the Bahrain International Airport in order to enable it to accommodate larger numbers of aircrafts and passengers, transferring it into a focal airport in the region. Furthermore, we are developing our ports as well to keep pace with the continued increase in trade, especially in transit trade, where the Kingdom of Bahrain is a main conduit between East and West. These developments are imperative for growth. The King Fahad Causeway is also going though constant development particularly as a land outlet, helping to increase mobility of trade, goods and people between Bahrain, Gulf States and other Countries.

the extent of development and success witnessed in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Yet, we believe that one of the most important indicators in evaluating our economic reality is the reflection of these achievements on the Kingdom’s citizens and their well-being. As a case in point, in attracting foreign direct investment Bahrain is ranked first between all Gulf States, and twelfth in this category on the global level. Furthermore, according to the outward FDI Performance Index, Bahrain ranks as the second country in the Arabian Gulf States and ninth internationally. These rankings confirm, without a doubt, that we are set on the right path and that we have a solid foundation on which to build our future successes.

involvement, yet this can only be achieved if they enjoy descent and secure lives. What is the opinion of Your Royal Highness with regards to the challenges facing sustainable development in the Kingdom of Bahrain? Development is an ongoing process and the mechanisms set for its realization should be constantly reinforced to maintain a progressive

momentum. Therefore, we accord paramount attention to sustainable development, as we view it as the right approach for future growth and the only guarantor to the continuity of our achievements. We have always believed that investing in human capital should be at the heart of any developmental approach and that investment, in itself, should remain a state priority

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in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We are confident in the abilities of Bahraini citizens, whom we consider to be the real and sustainable wealth of the nation in achieving further developments in all fields. Human development and economic development remain highly correlated, yet we are firm believers in the necessity to both maintain a balance between the two and realize the specific needs of each field individually.

Having said that, it becomes only natural to refer to some of the challenges the state faces such as resource limitations and varying global economic circumstances. For example, global financial downturns may affect investment levels and project building rates, while increases in global prices for basic commodities and goods, in light of the subsidies we guarantee our citizens, in turn increase the financial burden of the state. All these matters, directly and indirectly, affect

State Income and thus its capital allocation for project development. Yet, we remain capable of facing these challenges, overcoming them and indeed moving forward with our sustainable development policies. How do you link investment in different sectors with the Kingdom of Bahrain strategy for Vision 2030? What are other areas of investment you are looking to go into to diversify sources of

income and create more job opportunities for Bahrainis? Investment is not an end in itself. We strive to improve the selection process so that investments play a significant role in the economy, meet the economic needs of the country, help transfer technological and technical skills and support our endeavors to train our manpower in order to increase their knowledge and skills. With this vision in mind, Bahrain has devised many investment incentives and has worked to


Best of Bahrain

improve its overall investment climate and freedom, leading to an internationally recognized distinctive progress in the field. Bahrain enjoys a solid economy with good growth rates, which in turn provided us with an advantage during the recent global economic downturn, allowing us to be more positive while realistic and balanced in our outlook throughout the crisis. The Kingdom of Bahrain was able to avoid to a large extent the negative impacts of the crisis

and realize a continued flow of investments. This is a testament of the general confidence in the Bahraini economy and in the security, appropriateness and positive economic climate we enjoy. Furthermore, it reflects the positive response to the new investment opportunities and patterns we are constantly introducing and developing, capitalizing on what makes Bahrain’s comparative advantage in particular its investment incentives and its legislative and judiciary infrastructure.

Vision 2030 focuses the future strategy for the development of our national economy with international competitiveness in mind. In this context, the private sector is to become the catalyst for growth creating, among other things, ample opportunities for citizens to work in the private sector also helping in turn limit the high interest in governmental and public sector employment. Furthermore, our national strategy gives great importance to further encouraging and

increasing investments including Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Achieving this will, without a doubt, lead to an increase in our competitiveness and further strengthen the capacity of Bahrain’s economy to make good use of state of the art technology and world-class management techniques. We are sparing no effort to attract investment to other sectors in addition to the existing sectors of banking, industry and real estate. At present, we have the promising sector of tourism, where Bahrain

Best of Bahrain


HRH awarded with “The Special Citation of the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour” from the UN Secretary General, Geneva 2007

has become the preferred location for distinct investments in tourism, these rose to more than $12 billion in the current decade, compared with only $500 million in the nineties. As a tourist hub the Kingdom of Bahrain attracts more than 3.7 million visitors a year. The contribution of the tourism sector to Bahrain’s national income is therefore approximately 9 percent with average annual revenue of one billion U.S. dollars. These achievements have been made possible by the successful tourism sector development polices the Government has put into place and firmly implemented. What strategy does your government employ in order to ensure that Vision 2030 serves the truest interests of Bahrainis as a whole? We have specific mechanisms emanating from Vision 2030 itself

that will be implemented through the collaboration between the Government and Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, headed by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander. There will also be a continuous monitoring of the implementation process including the detailed plans contained therein. We all, as institutions in the Kingdom of Bahrain, collaborate in great harmony so as to realize our main objectives which in turn serves the country’s interests. Our aim is to integrate and standardize without any overlap or conflict. Our vision is clear and our way forward is to review what has been achieved in the past, build on these successes with a clear focus on the future. We believe that in any economic reform, the public sector cannot replace the role of


Best of Bahrain

the private sector. Thus, the private sector should play the central role in managing the development process and must further expand its particular role on the domestic and regional fronts alike. Your Royal Highness, what are the scenarios for the future as you see them for the youth of Bahrain? The youth are half of the present and all of the future. We are preparing them to take responsibility with integrity. To meet this end, we continue to develop our educational system and link our educational curriculums with labour market needs. We have managed to decrease unemployment rates to their lowest level thus far, 4 percent. We concentrate on training, which in turn, will enable young people to engage in the labor market and meet the needs of the Kingdom in various disciplines.

We accord substantial attention to youth healthcare in order to insure that our young generations grow strong, disease free, highly productive and distinctively creative and innovative. Furthermore, we provide youth sports and social centers, giving them the opportunity to channel their energy and prepare themselves for the future whereby they are better able to contribute to their country’s progress and prosperity. We have centers for fostering talent and integrating people with special needs into the educational process, as part of a boarder plan to integrate and incorporate their abilities in society. We are also proud of the prevalence of several public and private universities in the Kingdom of Bahrain that seek to provide the best levels of education not only for our youth but for the youth

HRH awarded with “UNESCO Avicenna Gold Medal “ from UNESCO Director General, Paris October 2009

Best of Bahrain


of neighbouring countries and other foreign resident children from around the world. In light of the global challenges of climate change, what are the steps taken by the Kingdom of Bahrain to protect the natural heritage and to ensure the use of low-carbon energy in the various institutions and enterprises? In the Kingdom of Bahrain we have a formal body to protect the environment, which monitors the emission rates of factories and takes the necessary action to reduce these emissions where found. Furthermore, we contribute actively in various regional and international forums to find solutions to climate change challenges and to ensure that the Kingdom of Bahrain is aligned with any procedures that have been agreed upon globally. The findings and indicators, as a result of the Public Commission for the Protection of Marine

Resources, Environment and Wildlife Monitoring in Bahrain, confirms that emissions in the Kingdom are in line with international standards. Furthermore, we are among the countries that take the protection and the reservation of the environment seriously. In this regard, we have decisive and outstanding legislations. How do you see the participation of your country in growth at the global level and what role do you think that your government has in this area? We are part and parcel of this world and we are proud of our effective role, in collaboration with friends in all countries, to reach a more secure and stable world; where relations are characterized by mutual respect, free from conflict and tension, which have caused serious damage to the development plans in many parts of the contemporary world.

HRH awarded with the “King Abdulaziz Medal”, an honour given to world leaders from King Abdullah, Riyadh April 2009


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The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2010

There are common challenges facing all countries worldwide, where agreements are necessary to achieve crucial goals such as; sustainable development, economic diversification, job creation, quality education and health for all. Bahrain’s economy, especially as being one of limited resources, is highly interlinked with those of its neighbours as well as with world oil markets. We are working to expand our options, particularly in banking and tourism. Yet, despite our limited resources our economic growth remains high, diversified and thus enhancing our status on a world wide scale. We are confident that no State alone can make a unique achievement in the world. On the contrary, international cooperation is, without a doubt, the driving hallmark of today’s world. Indeed, the communication revolution, which

brought about tremendous global convergence, further blurred barriers between nations and made distances more manageable. We truly all live now in one global village, with only geographical spaces to separate us. Let us reiterate the call to the entire world, to fully cooperate to improve the circumstances in the least developed and poorest countries, to renounce violence and eschew conflicts and wars that can never bring peace and tranquility to the world. Unless all of us respect human rights, work to improve the lives of people everywhere, free from the prejudices of racism and ethnocentrism, the elimination of tension and widespread poverty will not be achieved. We are all part of this world and so progress and development is the responsibility of us all without exception.

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Bahrain Overview
The pearl of the Gulf, Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island-nation located just off the Arabian Peninsula. With its name meaning ‘the two seas’, this land was once considered by the ancient Sumerians to be an island paradise for the wise and the brave who were transported there to enjoy eternal life.

The Al-Fateh Mosque located next to the King Faisal Highway in Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain


Best of Bahrain

More recently, the Kingdom of Bahrain has achieved fame as one of the first Gulf States to discover oil. Since the Al Khalifa family began ruling the country in 1783, the country has been moving towards creating a local identity that marries tradition and modernity, symbolising a beacon of progress and humility in the Arab World. Best of Bahrain The Kingdom of Bahrain is an archipelago comprising 33 islands located in the Persian Gulf ruled by the Al Khalifa dynasty since 1783. Bahrain became a British protectorate in the 19th Century and gained independence in 1971.The current ruler, His Royal Highness King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, assumed the throne in 1999 and instituted a process of democratic reform. Through the change to a constitutional monarchy in 2002 his title went from Emir to King. Since that time, the Kingdom of Bahrain has moved from strength to strength through its financial sector and infrastructure development. The Kingdom of Bahrain is a member of the United Nations, the Arab League, the Gulf Co-operation Council and the Organization of the Islamic Conference. Background on Bahrain Bahrain is an Arabic word meaning “Two Seas”, referring to two facts. First, the islands are surrounded by two kinds of water; freshwater springs may be found within the salty water of the Arabian Gulf. Secondly, the Kingdom of Bahrain lies between the southern and northern waters of the Gulf which separate it from the Arabian coast and Iran. The Kingdom of Bahrain is located midway between the Qatar peninsula and Saudi Arabia. Bahrain Island is 48 kilometres long and 16 kilometres wide. The Kingdom of Bahrain is connected to Saudi Arabia by a 23

kilometre causeway which opened in November 1986, creating easy access for many businessmen who live in the Kingdom of Bahrain and work in Dhahran in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province. The island was once known as Dilmun and was home to an ancient civilisation that played a central trading role between the peoples of the Indus Valley (now India) to the south and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) to the north. Dilmun’s capital was a major port whose remains are visible today at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Bahrain Fort (Qal’at al Bahrain). The Kingdom also features in one of the world’s oldest and most enduring pieces of literature – the Epic of Gilgamesh, where the island was home to the source of eternal youth. The tale is believed to refer to the pearls from the shallow Gulf waters, which were one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s biggest exports for generations. In more recent years, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been a regional pioneer, particularly as a specialist business and financial centre. The Kingdom has a whole series of Gulf ‘firsts’ under its belt - from discovering oil, to diversifying the economy, providing education for both males and females from the 1920s onwards and becoming the first democracy with universal suffrage in the region. Indeed, in the Kingdom of Bahrain, women are entitled to run for parliamentary office. The Royal Family has integrated both politically and socially throughout the world, befriending many high-profile figures. One such friendship was with the late ‘King of Pop’ Michael Jackson: on his untimely death in 2009 H.M. King Hamad commented that “the world has lost a giant in the music industry.” In many ways, Bahrain has created a distinctive identity that marries tradition and

modernity, symbolising a beacon of progress in the Arab world. Head of State : H. M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa Official Name: Kingdom of Bahrain Capital City : Manama Area : 665 sq km Population Approx : 720,000 Time Zone : UTC+3 Official Languages : Arabic & English Official Religion : Islam Currency : Bahraini Dinar (BHD) Country Dialling Code : +973 People Age Ratio : 0-14 years: 26.4%, 15-64 years: 69.8%, 65 years and over: 3.8% Gender Ratio : 1.25 male/female Ethnic Groups : Bahraini 62.4%, non-Bahraini 37.6% Religious Affiliations : Muslim (Shia and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian 9%, other 9.8% Accommodation The Kingdom of Bahrain provides various options for visitors, from furnished apartments to an impressive range of local and international hotels. The country hosts such well-known hotel names such as Ritz–Carlton, Banyan Tree, Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu, Sheraton and will be extending its hospitality with the opening of a greater range of five-star properties by 2012, including the Four Seasons, Raffles and Kempinski. Also a current trend is the advent of boutique hotels such as L’Hotel.

Image by Abdulla M. Al-Khan of Bahrain House of Photography

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Health and Beauty

Climate Located just off the Arabian Peninsula, the Kingdom of Bahrain is generally considered a hot, arid country. While it does see very hot and humid summers (July to September), the Kingdom of Bahrain also experiences mild and pleasant winters (December to March), making it a much-desired vacation destination for those living in regions where the winter can be much harsher. Average Temperature in ˚C Winter lows: 10 ˚C Summer highs 36 ˚C Embassies Most countries are represented in the Kingdom of Bahrain by their respective embassies. Medical Facilities The Kingdom of Bahrain offers modern medical care and medicines through various hospitals in the country. Two government hospitals and several private hospitals provide a wide range of medical services. Many expatriates prefer to attend private hospitals such as the American Mission Hospital in Manama ( For more information please view the Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Health website ( National Anthem “Bahrainona” (“Our Bahrain”)

National Flag The flag of the Kingdom of Bahrain is made up of a white band on the left, separated from a red area on the right by a zigzagging line. The five white points of the line represent the five pillars of Islam. FACTS ON THE KINGDOM OF BAHRAIN GENERAL INFORMATION BUSINESS AND ECONOMY Banks and Foreign Exchange The Kingdom of Bahrain is host to world-class financial institutions, including the highly regarded Ahli United Bank, which has won ‘Best Foreign Exchange Bank in the Middle East’ for three consecutive years. The National Bank of Bahrain also provides comprehensive banking services. Other financial institutions in the country fall under the following labels: investment banks, commercial banks, specialized banks, offshore banking units, and money and foreign exchange brokers. Islamic Banking is abundant. Credit Cards and Cash All major credit cards can be used in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Cash is preferred in the local currency which is Bahraini Dinar.


Best of Bahrain

Doing Business in the Kingdom of Bahrain According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Kingdom of Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. This makes it an ideal country for all types of business ventures. In the face of the global economic crisis, the country is diversifying its economy to ensure its continued success both locally and internationally. Additionally, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s focus on Islamic banking, which is becoming increasingly popular, ensures that it will be one step ahead of the world in the business realm. With many international firms making their home in the country, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a tried-and-true option for business and investment. Natural Resources Oil is the Kingdom of Bahrain’s major source of revenue, with petroleum production and processing accounting for about 60% of export receipts, 60% of government revenues, and 30% of GDP. THE MEDIA Radio Most radio stations in the Kingdom of Bahrain are state-run, with the Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) broadcasting a general programme in Arabic, a second programme featuring cultural and local programmes, a Holy Quran programme and a sports service, as well as the English language Radio Bahrain. The country also has a privately owned programme for Indian listeners. Television The Kingdom of Bahrain is eager to promote itself as the media hub of the Middle East. Locally, the staterun Bahrain Radio and Television Corporation (BRTC) operates five terrestrial TV networks. For more information see the Ministry of Culture and Information: Print Since the opening of the first Arabic newspaper daily, Akhbar al Khaleej, in 1967, print media

has made steady progress in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Today the country hosts five dailies, including two in the English language. Regional and international newspapers and magazines also circulate in the country. COMMUNICATIONS AND TRANSPORT Telecommunications The Kingdom of Bahrain has a well-developed telecommunications system that has recently been privatized with several competitive providers including Batelco, Viva, Zain, Menatelecom and Nuetel. The landline phone system connects most parts of the country, while mobile coverage stretches across the island. The Kingdom of Bahrain is well-connected; it is fairly easy to get online at internet cafes and visitors should not have problems obtaining internet access from any of the four and five star hotel properties. The Bahraini domain suffix is .bh. The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) was recently established for protecting the interests of subscribers and users, and promoting effective and fair competition among established and new licensed operators. www. Public Transport As a small island nation, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s transport infrastructure emphasises both

local and international mobility. The country’s small size allows for easy access to almost all parts of the nation. The governmentsponsored road network provides the major link between residential and commercial areas, as well as connects to airports, seaports and industrial zones. In terms of international access, the Kingdom of Bahrain has no shortage of options: various seaports; bridges (linking the island nation with Saudi Arabia and Qatar); and the Bahrain International Airport, complete with its own carriers like Bahrain Air and Gulf Air, provide instant gateways to the world outside the country’s borders. Buses run regularly with links between most towns to Manama and Muharraq, running from 5.30am until 9.30pm. Timetable information is provided at the bus terminals. The Government has aimed to privatise the public transportation for the private sector to develop the service and raise its efficiency and effectiveness to fully serve the residents. It is expected that the development of the public transportation will encourage more residents from all social sectors to use the buses, even if they own cars, to participate in the reduction of the number of cars in the roads and minimise traffic jams, and also reduce air pollution, also knowing that the Public Transportation service provided general benefits from economic, social and environmental aspects.

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Private Transport Like much of Europe and all of North America, driving in the Kingdom of Bahrain is on the right side of the road. Road rules are strictly enforced. These include the mandatory wearing of seatbelts, speed limits and a zero tolerance for drink driving. Violators may be fined on the spot. Rental cars are readily available but visitors cannot hire a car using a foreign driver’s license (other than from GCC countries). According to Bahraini law, only an International Driving Licenses is acceptable and must be obtained before entry into the Kingdom. Postal Services The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Postal Directorate has established post offices in many parts of the island nation, so that contact with the world is never far away. In addition, the country makes various internationally-recognised services available to its residents to ensure the highest levels of quality and efficiency in communicating with the outside world. Tourism With over eight million visitors a year, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a popular tourist destination. Steeped in Arab history while openly embracing the modern world, Bahrain offers what Lonely Planet describes as “an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf”. The country combines traditional Arabic culture, contemporary Gulf glamour and the archaeological legacy of five thousand years of civilization. It also hosts settlements, temples and burial mounds from the ancient civilization of Dilmun, which dominated trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization. The government is actively supporting the tourism industry by contributing to large-scale development projects. Various resorts are planned in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including the Al Areen Resort, Dannat Hawar, Durrat Al Bahrain, Amwaj Islands, Lulu Island, Riffa Views and Bahrain Bay, soon to be home to the Kingdom’s first Four Seasons Hotel. Other prominent initiatives to increase tourism are the cultural events organized by the Ministry of Culture & Information as well as the expansion plans of the Kingdom’s national airport.

Image by Latifa Al Shakar,


Best of Bahrain

World Heritage Sites UNESCO has listed one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s many ancient forts, Qalat Al Bahrain, as a World Heritage Site. Initiated in 2006 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the Investing in Culture project is aimed at enhancing an active partnership between the private and public sectors to financially and morally support new cultural projects aimed at human development with preservation of national identity. ( One heritage site notable to the Kingdom of Bahrain is the Tree of Life near Jebel Dukhan. Tipping This is prevalent but not as standardized as in North America. Many hotels and restaurants include a service charge for dinners of 10 -15 percent though it is customary to leave a small extra tip to the waiting staff at the discretion of the patron. Taxi drivers and other service workers will expect small tips of around 10 per cent. Luxury In The City Located on the ground floor of the iconic Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC), Moda Mall has attained the status of an ultraexclusive shopping complex, thanks to its tenants. Offering about 16,500 square metres of retail space, Moda Mall houses some 160 high-end brands including Louis Vuitton, Emporio Armani, Versace, Just Cavalli, Hermes and Stella McCartney, under it’s roof. Hypermarkets in Bahrain Even though, Bahrain has caught on to the hypermarket model relatively late in the GCC region, the pace has been picking up steadily. France’s Auchain and the UAE’s EMKE Group have expressed interest in establishing their presence in the country. The Bahrain City Centre Mall has been successful in attracting quite a number of tenants who are major players in the GCC region. Other malls are mostly located in the Seef District and include Al Ali Mall, Seef Mall, Bahrain Mall, Marina Mall and Dana Mall.

Future of Retail Growth There is growth of convenience foods in the market due to demand for a Western diet. US-based Kraft has invested in a 60,000 square metre food processing plant, it’s first in the GCC region. With demand for foreign food and fashion increasing, there is immense potential for growth in Bahrain. SHOPPING DISTRICTS • Seef District • Al Ali Mall • Seef Mall • Bahrain Mall • Marina Mall • Dana Mall • Capital Mall - Bahrain Cultural Handicrafts) Muharraq Al Kurar House Manama The City Center Mall is possibly the biggest with 350 stores, 20 cinema screens, the Middle East’s largest indoor water park, 30 restaurants and a large Carrefour supermarket. The Manama Souk is next to Bab Al Bahrain (the gateway to Bahrain) and it is full of invigorating noises and scents. Isa Town Souk - Antiques • Souk Al Haraj – Flea market • Spice Souk • Gold Souk • Gold City • Cloth Souk

SPORT The most famous sports event in the country is the Bahrain Grand Prix, an annual Formula One racing event that takes place at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). In 2004, Bahrain organised the Bahrain Grand Prix, the first FIA Formula One World Championship event held in the Middle East that was later awarded the “Best Organized Grand Prix” award by the IFA. In 2006, the Bahrain Grand Prix which is usually the third race of the Formula calendar swapped places with the traditional opener, the Australian Grand Prix and opened the Formula One calendar. In 2007, the BIC became the first circuit to receive the FIA Institute Centre of Excellence trophy. The Kingdom of Bahrain staged the opening race of the 2010 season as well. To date, the lap record is held by Michael Schumacher who in 2004 did a lap record of: • Lap record 1:30.252 – M Schumacher (2004) • Laps 57 • Circuit Length 5.412 km • Race Distance 308.238 km Equestrian The Kingdom of Bahrain is wellknown for its love of horse-riding and equestrian heritage plus diving and golfing activities. Riding clubs and events include: • Amiri Stables, home to many equestrian events where

Best of Bahrain


visitors can view some of the world’s finest Arabian breeds Awali Riding Club specialises in Trail Riding, Show Jumping, Polo, Dressage and Cross Country. • The Dilmun club was founded in 1974 and has grown into the premier private club in Bahrain. Located in Saar, near Budaiya, the ‘Dilly’ is a Sports and social club Twin Palms Riding Centre is the largest riding and livery centre Sakhir Racecourse with its unique Arabic tent design International show-jumping Endurance races Scuba Diving Because of its geography, diving is popular in Bahrain: the warm, shallow waters of the Bahrain archipelago are teeming with oyster beds. Scuba diving is generally done from boats and average underwater visibility is about five metres. The Scuba Master dive centre in Manama teaches PADI and SDI training in English and Arabic. Popular dive sites in Bahrain Bahrain pearl is the finest spot for diving in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Image by Hasan Al Khunaizi,

Clown fish trigger fish, surgeon fish, turtles, rays, lion fish, grouper, snapper, crayfish and even whale sharks can be spot near this reef. Caisson wreck is located 20 miles off the coast of the Kingdom of Bahrain. This concrete and steel structure is home to a numerous species of fish. Fasht najwah is located at 50 nautical miles north of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Najwah is an excellent dive location for advanced divers and photographers. During peak season, Najwah is an excellent location to spot whale sharks. Fifi wreck is located 5 miles off the east coast of the Kingdom of Bahrain. This location is especially popular for night dives. Golf Golf can be enjoyed at any level and on one of the oldest courses in the Gulf to one of the most innovative. Golf started in the 1930’s with the first three hole golf course built next to Jebel Al Dukan in the oilfields. For training, you might like to try Riffa Views Golf Academy. Bahrain has hosted some major golf events such as the Senior Tours

Championship at Riffa Views Golf Club which is a PGA, 18 hole, par 72 golf course featuring five lakes and 72 bunkers, plus the option to play in the evening under the floodlit course. Desert Sports There are many types of desert activities in the Gulf, whether to watch or participate in: • Camel riding • Adventure Drive Arabia – this is for self drives on quad bikes • Falconry ARTS AND CULTURE The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry of Culture and Information is dedicated to promoting local art and culture, as well as introducing the community to global forms of expression. Traditional Bahraini art and culture consists of Quran readings, public poetry performances, ceremonial dances, and storytelling. In addition, Bahrainis are well-known for their work in handicrafts like golden jewellery and their craftsmanship as demonstrated in their boatbuilding tradition. Local music falls under the Khaleeji category, which is indigenous to


Best of Bahrain

Environment As a country that takes the environment seriously, the Kingdom of Bahrain has been working closely with the UN on issues of environmental preservation and sustainability. The United Nations Environment Programmes Regional Office for West Asia is located in the Kingdom of Bahrain, and from there works to provide advisory services, capacity building and technology transfer in the priority areas of the region under a series of umbrella programmes. The government, along with local and international organisations, is making efforts to address environmental threats in the country, as this is the first step towards long-term environmental sustainability. By focusing on issues like scarcity

Major Locations Al Muharraq, Al Hadd, Manama, Al

Bahrain Duty Free

International Airport Bahrain International Airport, Al Muharraq, with over 36 airlines using the facility. On October 8, 2009, it was announced that expansion work worth BHD 1.8 billion will be started in 2010 at the airport. In connection to that, Bahrain Airport Company has received bids from six companies. Planned over the next 30 years, the expansion is expected to triple the passenger capacity to 27 million a year. Two new terminals will be opened in the next four years as part of the expansion. The airport development plan will also involve construction of an air traffic control tower, cargo facilities, a royal flight terminal and road and rail links to the airport.

Drawing by Danny Lawless

the Persian Gulf area as a whole and mixes Arab, Persian and African musical traditions. The Kingdom of Bahrain also has a folk dance tradition. The Ardha is a men’s sword dance, which is accompanied by traditional drummers and a poet, who sings the lyrics.

of fresh water, desertification, and pollution from oil production, individuals and groups hope to set the foundations for an environmental movement that can keep the Kingdom of Bahrain’s natural heritage as a blessing for generations to come.

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Manamah, Jidd Hafs, Al Mintaqah, Ash Shamaliyah, Jiddah, Umm An Nasan, Al Mintaqah Al Wusta, Madinat Isa, Ar Rifa Al Gharbi, Sitrah, Madinat Hamad, Ar Rifa Wa, Al Mintaqah, Al Janubiyah, Al Mintaqah, Al Gharbiyah. National Capital • Manama Other Cities Samahij, Barbar, Sar, Al Qurayyah, Al Jasrah, Jurdab, Karzakkan, Al Malikiyan, Halat Umm At Bayd, Dar Kulayb, Askar, Az Zallaq, Al Wasmiyah, Jaww, Ad Dur, Al Mamtalah, Ar Rumaythah. Attractions Luxurious, modern and cosmopolitan, the Kingdom of Bahrain welcomes a huge number of international tourists each year to come and share the fascinating blend of eastern and western cultures. The Bahrain travel guide will provide you an insight about the attractions of this blissful Kingdom. Manama, the capital, is dotted with mosques and minarets. This place boasts of excellent hotels, shopping malls, restaurants and an interesting central souq (bazaar). Some of the key places to visit to make your visit to Bahrain complete are: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Bab al Bahrain The Gold Souq Siyadi House Al-Khamis Mosque Bahrian Fort Barbar Temple Museum of Pearl Diving National Museum of Bahrain Arad Fort Shaikh Isa’s House Tree of Life Bait Al Qu’ran King Fahad Causeway Al-Jasra House Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh Fort

FOCUS ON DINING The Taste of Bahrain As a multi-cultural haven that is home to people from around the world, the food of the Kingdom of Bahrain features man different cuisines such as Indian, Thai, Chinese, Continental and Pakistani food, as well as traditional Arabic fare. Some of the popular restaurants in the Kingdom of Bahrain that serve international food are: • Le Mediterranee , Ritz-Carlton Hotel • Far East Seafood Market, Ramee International Hotel • Al Noor Lounge Café It is well worth trying the traditional local food and drink. Bahrainis eat popular Arabian foods like Falafel (a dish of fried balls of chickpeas served in a bread), Shawarma (lamb or chicken carved from a rotating spit and wrapped in pita bread, usually stuffed with lettuce and tomato with an accompanying bag of pickles), Qoozi (grilled lamb stuffed with rice, boiled eggs, onions and spices). A specialty of the region is Machboos, an interesting dish that is made up of fresh fish or meat and is served with fine rice and dates. Another delicacy which is typical to the region is Muhammar, a dish of sweet rice served with dates or sugar.Bahrainis are partial to snacks such as ‘Samboosa’, a semi-circular or triangular pastry stuffed with meat, pepper and onions and deep fried. Another popular breakfast and snack item is a special flat bread called the ‘Khubz’ that can be found in any of the numerous bakeries throughout the country. One can find an abundance of fresh fruits like dates, bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, pomegranates, tomatoes and cucumbers that are cultivated in the region. Another food that forms an important part of the Bahraini diet is the fresh fish of the Gulf which is served grilled, steamed or fried according to one’s choice. Popular meats available in the local market include Safi (rabbit fish), Chanad (mackerel), and Sobaity. Though fish is mostly served with rice here, one can easily find fresh fish and chips in Bahrain.

Image by Latifa Al Shakar -

Alcohol Bahrain has more of a cosmopolitan approach than many of its GCC neighbours. There are many lively bars, clubs and licensed restaurants in villas as well as in four and five star hotels. Please note that public displays of drunkenness and drink driving are not tolerated and can result in fines or prosecution.


Best of Bahrain

Image by Bahrain House of Photography

Image by Latifa Al Shakar,

Coffee, locally called ‘Gahwa’, is the traditional welcome drink that is often served with cardamom and saffron added to it. Many of the hotels and restaurants carry alcohol licenses so you can enjoy your choice of accompaniment to your meal. Restaurants in Manama are diverse and there is something to suit any palate. The capital boasts hundreds of restaurants including: • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • Al Dallah Al Raouche (Sheraton Bahrain Hotel) Al Sawani Golestan - Iranian La Perle - Seafood Restaurant Al Noor Lounge Cafe (Intercontinental Hotel) Le Jardin (Ramada Hotel) Le Mediterrane in Bahrain (Ritz Carlton Hotel) Silks (Moevenpick Hotel) Le Bistro (Intercontinental Hotel) Trader Vics Wrangler JJ’s Irish Restaurant Neyran (Mercure Hotel) Al Waha (Gulf Hotel) The Meat Company Le Versailles (Intercontinental Regency) Bahrain Nirvana (Ritz Carlton Hotel) - Indian Plums (Ritz Carlton Hotel) - Japanese

Jazz • CICO’s - Italian • COCO • Up a Tree, Cup a Tea • Upstairs Downstairs • Mezzaluna - Mediterranean • Monsoon – Thai • Zoe’s - International Nightlife The Kingdom of Bahrain is a melting pot of diversity with superb international live bands from jazz at the Gulf Hotel, international duos at the Movenpick Hotel, Latino duos at the Mercure, and Philipino acts at The Warbler, Windsor Tower, Metropolitan Hotel, Radisson Blu and Rock Bottom Café singing cover songs. There are sports bars and Arabic and Indian themed clubs. For Arabic nights try Baisan Tower, Crowne Plaza Hotel, Diplomat Hotel, Al Safir Hotel, Ramee International Hotel, Metropolitan Hotel, Gulf Gate Hotel, Grand Hotel, Phoenicia Tower, Concord Hotel, Delmon International Hotel, Aradous Hotel, Adhari Hotel, Tylos Hotel, Mirador Hotel, Palace Inn Hotel and Panorama Hotel. For Indian venues there is Bollywood Café at the Ramee International Hotel, Madonnar Bar, Concord Hotel, Sangam at Delmon International Hotel, Taj lounge at Ardous Hotel, Cassablanca at Adhari Hotel, International Club House at Tylos Hotel and Khushboo at Bahrain International Hotel, Plums at Ritz Carlton.

For some contemporary cuisine why not visit Adliya which is a small area with boutique restaurants with a zappy buzz and in some instances cool.

USEFUL PHRASES • Yes : Na’am • No : La • Hello : Marhaba • Good-bye : Fi aman Illah • Good-morning : Sabah al-khair • Good-evening : Masa’al-khair • Thank you : Shokran • How much : Qadaish? Or Bi-kam? • Never mind : Ma’lesh • Please : Min fadlak (m) Min fadlik (f) • I have no money / cannot increase my offer : Mafeesh flous • Call me a taxi : Areed taxi • I want to buy : Areed ashtiri • May I have the bill please : Mumkin el-hisab, min fadlak? • God willing : Insh’allah • Congratulations : Mabrook • Go : Imshi • Stop : Qif • I don’t speak Arabic : Ma ata – kallam Arabi • Market area : Souk • One : Wahid • Two : Ithnain • Three : Thalatha • Four : Arba’a • Five : Khamsa • Six : Sitta • Seven : Sab’a • Eight : Thamaniya • Nine : Tis’a • Ten : Ashara • Hundred : Mi’a • Thousand : Alf

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For healthy growth, just add Bahrain.
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in a climate of

scal aridity, delicate seedlings have to be tended. Bahrain provides

an ideal environment in which to do just that; a complete economic ecosystem, in fact, providing business with essential suppor t and sustenance. This is perhaps why so many multinational s – from Microsoft to Citibank to Kraft – have already planted themselves on Bahraini soil. The track record – theirs and ours – demonstrates what fertile ground it is. Ground where green shoots of recovery stand t he best possible chance of not mere survival, but of a blooming future. For gardening tips, visit m

porsche design

Our most significant development since 1972: a signature style. Things that accompany us through life should be, above all, functional. But they should also touch us emotionally. As long ago as 1972, Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche laid the milestones – with the Chronograph I – of a philosophy that continues to govern Porsche Design today: consummate functionality in clear, unadorned forms. The result is not only classic gentlemen’s accessories, but also a collection of other exclusive products which reveal their essence in visual and haptic beauty. In brief: a design that is timeless.

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Chronograph I First all-black chronograph Pilot glasses First glasses with lens-changing feature P´3110 TecFlex Ballpoint Pen Stainless steel weave, borrowed from racing

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P´6910 Indicator Only chronograph with mechanical-digital stopwatch function P´9521 Mobile Phone With innovative fingerprint sensor P´3210 Fragrance First fragrance from Porsche Design

“If you analyse the function of an object its form often becomes obvious.” Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche

The Worldtimer. One watch. Two time zones.

porsche design worldtimer

The perfect companion for cosmopolitans, thanks to its automatic movement with unique world time function. It allows the display of a second time zone on the dial in a mechanical-digital manner. The time of the second time zone is transferred to the hands by simply pressing a button.

Porsche Design at Jashanmal Department Store Al Aali Mall, Bahrain City Centre; L’ Hotel at Seef District

Hotels & Hospitality


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“The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission, and with the passion and dedication of our ladies and gentlemen we strive to provide the highest level of personalized service to create exceptional and memorable experiences for our guests every day,” says Mr. Dilip Mukundan, Director of Sales & Marketing of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa.

Best of Bahrain


Hotels & Hospitality

Strategically placed business location overlooking Manama City and the new rising Bahrain Financial Harbour, includes The Club Floor with specialised facilities for the business traveller.

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain “Adopt a Lion” campaign raises funds for the Regional Institute of Active Learning in Bahrain. The lions can be seen throughout The Ritz-Carlton hotel.

The Sports Club & Spa boasts swimming pools, tennis courts, Turkish bath, as well as a private marina housing Bahrain’s residents’ yachts.

For seven years, the hotel has bagged the “Best Business Hotel in Manama, Bahrain” accolade from ‘Business Traveller Middle East.’

The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa
“We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” With this edifying philosophy, its grand lobby, famously designed with black Italian marble floors and rare Rio Rosewood walls, it reflects the aura of timeless sumptuousness that the global brand adheres to. In the epicentre of Manama’s business and shopping district, the warmth of Bahrain’s buisness friendly atmosphere comes alive in a refined resort ambience.

44 Pool:

Best of poolside and soak in the Bahraini sun, or take a LoungeBahrain relaxing dip in the beautifully designed outdoor swimming pool.

The Villas: Enjoy relaxed elegance at one of the 23 luxurious three-bedroom villas each with its own private swimming pool, beach access and 24-hour butler service.

Overlooking the Northern Bahraini coast with its seafront archipelago, the hotel’s 245 rooms and suites, including the Club Rooms and Club Lounge, are flanked on both sides with a generous spa, leisure accroutements and a cluster of Philippe Stark-inspired, Caribbean style villas adorning a 20 acre waterfront development on the Arabian Gulf. This selfsustained retreat faces the Manama cityscape and the new rising Bahrain Financial Harbour developments with the neighbouring Diplomatic area and surrounding shopping

complex. Few hotels in Bahrain can match its pulling power. Mr. Dilip Mukundan, Director of Sales & Marketing, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa explains that the property functions on an credo of “a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission.” Undoubtedly espousing “Service that is truly felt from the heart”, the pioneer of the hospitality business Cesar Ritz, otherwise known as the ‘king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings’ would be content with this hotel experience.

Establised in 1983, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. is supported by on-going hospitality training that maximizes the talents of every staff member, empowering them to create unique experiences for its guests. “With fully equipped meeting facilities and ballrooms offering over 24,000 square feet of meeting space it is no surprise that the hotel is Bahrain’s first choice for intimate meetings to large international conferences.” What makes The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa so special is what Ladies and Gentlemen understood ages ago: that relaxation begets business

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success which in turn inspires relaxation. As the highest testament to its earned majesty, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa wisely retains its roots in humility and does more than its lion’s share of community service. In tribute to its corporate tradition for leaving its footprint in the sands of time, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company developed the

Community Footprints initiative to consistently and positively inspire the lives of others. In line with this tradition, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain “Adopt a Lion” campaign at The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, was successfully launched in March 2009 as a means for raising funds to benefit the Regional Institute of Active Learning in Bahrain. The cute and cuddly

Ritz-Carlton lions, ‘adopted’ for charity, were visible throughout The Ritz-Carlton hotel. “It is through this collection of imprints that we can make a meaningful difference”, says Mr. Dilip Mukundan. He looks forward to continuing the success of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa in a city that is experiencing immense growth.

Mukundan concludes that he is “eager to reinforce and strengthen our position as a market leader and work with the Ladies and Gentlemen whose dedication and loyalty make it all possible.”

Tel: +973 17 58 0000


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All rooms include high-speed internet access, LCD TV, satellite TV and 24-hour in-room dining service, with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf or the Manama cityscape.

Amongst all restaurants, the Nirvana emerged victorious thanks to its South Asian indigenous touch. Welcome to a dining room fit for Maharajas, serving authentic culinary experiences from India, it boasts a particularly romantic setting. Replete with red carpets, red candles, red walls and surrounding mirrors reflecting time, space and memories of days gone by; the dulcet tones of live

Indian sitar and drum, seduces guests who keep coming back for more. The Burlington Club with its Havana cigars, library lined walls and low lights is reminiscent of the locations where famous personalities stayed at the original Ritz-Carlton as far back as 1927. Today the emphasis is on regionally refined architectural design and personalised service

throughout the company’s numerous outlets worldwide. The well appointed rooms with the most comfortable mattresses known to mankind represent yet another value addition of this luxury establishment. The stunning sea view from the rooms, added to the fine room touches - designed by renowned French architect Pierre-Yves Rochon demonstrates his penchant for

aesthetic beauty that is also evident in his selection of Rosewood for The Club Floor. Considered to be among the most beautiful of all woods, it has been used for centuries for fine furniture production. Here it is used in profusion for pianos and sculptures, that grace the walls and floors of this new and yet enticingly traditional space.

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L’Hotel – Bahrain’s First Boutique Hotel
It is no longer astonishing when a hotel staff member actually remembers a guest’s preferences stated during a previous stay, no matter how long ago.

Equipped with 90 rooms and suites ranging from 40 to 120 square metres, four F&B outlets and a bar, L’Hotel offers diversity through the Day and Night concept that has seen steady and successful growth.


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Thanks to technological advancement, hotels are now able to record their guest’s preferences and enable them to offer personalised services. L’Hotel, the first boutique hotel in Bahrain, has embraced technology (Opera software) to offer personalised services to its guests. The hotel is a fairly recent entrant with joint partnership between Sheikh Ebrahim Bin Khalid Al Khalifa and Lebanese hotelier, Joseph Yazbeck (Grand Hotel - Washington DC, Voltaire Palace - Geneva, Plaza Hotel Beirut and more) at a time when potential and demand for 5 Star destination hotels in the Kingdom of Bahrain is accelerating to a vividly conscious necessity. Capitalising on its location, L’Hotel attracts its key visitors from across the Saudi Causeway and the surrounding Seef District and Financial Hub. In the advent of

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Health and Beauty

the recent financial crisis, the hotel industry, as a whole, has seen a dip in expenditure and allowances. This has placed stress upon hotels to be more competitive by being unique and flexible in their offerings to a more demanding and careful customer. L’Hotel has risen to the occasion with a much-needed offering at the right time. Ralph Yazbek, General Manager of L’Hotel is immediately inviting and engaging, in testament to his premier success-indicator, a personalised approach to each and every L’Hotel guest. The staff at L’Hotel follow suit, knowing each guest by name and the details of their habitual preferences. That is why L’Hotel attracts the more attentive customer, VIPs, corporates and a growing fan base of cultural event goers who seek an attentive orientation to their


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preferences and to some who are acutely aware of their own particular tastes. Fully aware of the regional demand for absolute comfort and indulgence, L’Hotel is built to supercede the standardized definition of boutique and 5 Star hotels. Yazbek elaborates with delight about the humane touch and personalised approach that is L’Hotel’s signature and has guests offering unstinted patronage. “Our designs and room amenities are unique,” he says while listing examples of the e-Butler system in every room, control blinds, triple glazed windows to keep out any obtrusive noises, direct and indirect lighting, class A mattresses of 7 cm feathers, 1 cm thick protector and 360 counts for the linen bed spread. The furniture is Natuzzi, custom-made and every room is

self equipped with its own highgrade espresso machine. There is no doubt that attention to details is paramount here. L’Hotel has introduced the bold concept of Son Entrecote from Le Relais de Venise in Franceone dish served impeccably and repeatedly to a growing base of loyal customers, Green Salad, the American Angus beef steak with its secret sauce and French Fries served with a fork and knife. Of course Yazbek is cautious of introducing similar endeavours in future. “One must be careful of the product introduced, since the market in Bahrain is small”, he adds. Nevertheless, L’Hotel has managed to establish its name through a combination of innovative ideas. In a bid to promote itself as a business and

cultural venue (Day and Night concept), L’Hotel organises high profile events in conjunction with Bougi - a PR & management consultancy which conducts savvy PR and networking opportunity at L’Hotel ( Everything is faced with a stoic perseverance to push the benchmark of personalized services and ensure that the approach is towards good taste and quality. “We are not afraid to discover markets or segments that were not in our initial business plan.” And he sums up, “The best is yet to come. We are here to serve the customer and cater to all their needs.”

Tel: +973 17 567 2222

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Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen
Banyan Tree, an internationally renowned chain of hotels chose Bahrain to spread its roots through the Middle East.


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Not a surprising fact, considering the presence of a large population of expatriates and GCC residents. With an architecture that boasts of opulence and tradition that has both Asian and Arabian influences, Banyan Tree Al Areen in Bahrain creates a unique atmosphere and a wow factor for every visitor. The aim is to create an awareness and to offer the best service in the country that is an added value to the destination. With a staff mix belonging to more than 15 nationalities in the resort all trained for cultural awareness and adaptability to serve the clients

better, they act as Ambassadors to the brand. Customer care and service culture are prominent factors in their training programmes conducted daily. The welcoming relaxed atmosphere at Banyan Tree Al Areen mostly attracts more guests during weekends than the week days. However, corporate clients are slowly discovering the conference facilities and filling up the weekdays as well. Apparently, the current financial climate has not managed to dull its sheen. While presenting a royal product to attentive customers and

sustaining the brand legacy, the staff members ensure that there is no margin for error. And their work has not gone unrecognised. Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts has won around 400 awards and Banyan Tree Al Areen alone has bagged more than five, the most recent being The Best SPA Resort in the World which speaks highly for itself.

Tel: +973 17 84 5000

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Dining & Entertainment


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Dining & Entertainment

Fun, food, fiesta
Food and fun is available aplenty in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ranging from the traditional coffee shops to luxury international cuisine of all nations, Bahrain caters to the gastronomic demands of a cosmopolitain audience.

With a multi-national expatriate population living in the Kingdom, it is fairly common to spot restaurants serving not only Arabic cuisines but international ones, as well. For instance, a Mexicanfood connoisseur can head to Senor Pacos, the oldest Mexican restaurant available. This restaurant

is run by the Alsharif Group comprising three entrepreneurs who have taken the dining scene in Bahrain to a whole new realm. Their Café Italia, a classy Italian restaurant and Memories of China, an upscale Chinese restaurant serve authentic dishes from Italy and China respectively. The drive to

serve authentic food is so zealous that even the firewood for the Italian oven is imported directly from the country. Such is the passion behind food served in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Other noteworthy restaurants in the Kingdom are Zoe, Mezzaluna, Monsoon and Café Lilou. While

Mezzaluna is primarily popular for serving a fine choice of wines, Zoe is favored for its food served with the fine beats composed by it’s inhouse DJ. Located at the centre of Bahrain’s restaurant district in Adliya, the four restaurants are managed by Al Ghalia Group. Ranging from high-end dining,


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Entertainment Shopping malls in the country cater to both the dining and entertainment needs of the visitors and residents. With food courts present in all the malls. Cinema theatres located inside shopping malls and elsewhere screen the latest international movies. There are various cultural events such as the Spring of Culture (www. which takes place each year in March. Other ongoing concerts and plays with an influx of international entertainers can be attended at the Shaikh Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Center for Culture and Research

Image by Bahrain House of Photography

trendy and hip dining to the small café and bakery, these restaurants receive good patronage from residents and social or business visitors, alike. The friendly ambience of restaurants across the Kingdom of Bahrain make the customers wish to come back for savoring more Arabian hospitality.

in the district of Muharraq (www. Live bands and Djs are available at various hotel and resort venues throughout the Kingdom. Sport events are popular such as cricket, football, golf, rugby, sailing, diving, horse riding, karting, motorsports and of course the Formula One racetrack at Bahrain International Circuit (BIC). Also, a large indoor water park touted to be the Middle East’s largest, is set to open in City Centre Mall. New real estate projects like Amwaj Islands will have a theme park and a waterfront entertainment complex. Other noteable venues are the bowling and fun rides at Adhari Park, Al Areen Wildlife Reserve and the Lost Paradise of Dilmun waterpark in the Kingdom’s developing Southern Governate. Nightlife There are many places in the Kingdom of Bahrain to chill out in the evenings. Most of

the popular hang-out spots are located in the Kingdom’s capital Manama and the touristic resorts surrounding the island’s coasts. With a wide range of bars, cafés and nightclubs to choose from, a visitor is often spoilt for choice to spend a vibrant night and

party away. BJ’s Night Club in Hotel Al Bustan, Enigma in Hotel Windsor Tower and Bushido in the Kingdom’s Seef District are worth a visit among the others. Refer to for more information on Dining and Entertainment in the Kingdom.

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The Renaissance of Chinese Cuisine


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Ken Lo’s Memories of China, located in Adliya behind Café Italia, has quickly become the epicenter of Chinese cuisine in Bahrain. Inspired by the legendary Memories of China establishments in London, it is the first to open outside the U.K., bringing Cantonese style dishes with London flair to Bahrain’s burgeoning culinary scene. Vibrance and sophistication are two words often associated with Memories of China, courtesy of the eclectic mix of energetic patrons nestled amidst a seating area surrounded by sleek architecture, clean sculpted décor, and healthy dose of quintessential Chinese inspired design elements. The night is best started at MoC’s chic lounge located upstairs, where you are greeted by young, spirited staff who are only too eager to offer you a choice of signature cocktails. Plush seating, sultry lighting, and zen inspired music make the lounge a perfect place to mingle with company, as you prepare to embark on the culinary journey that awaits. It has also become a popular venue for private events. Choosing amongst the mouthwatering array of dishes is

a daunting undertaking, even for the most discerning connoisseur of Chinese cuisine. Comprised of dishes created by the team of professional chefs who have honed their skills in some of the best Chinese restaurants in Asia, the menu maintains an enticing selection of classic dishes, such as Bahrain’s widest selection of dim-sum including an assortment of meat or vegetarian puffs, buns and dumplings, as well as Szechuan and Cantonese inspired dishes such as Kung Po Chicken, Spicy Prawns with Pine Nuts, Quick Fried Beef in Oyster Sauce, or Stir Fried Beef in Chilli Sauce. But Memories of China’s claim to fame are their glorious signature dishes, such as the Crispy Seaweed with toasted Almonds, Sauteed Spicy Salt & Pepper Prawns, the uniquely scrumptuous Crispy Shredded Beef, and of course the immensely popular succulent Crispy Aromatic Duck which is unquestionably a must have to complete your culinary experience at MoC. Eating out has become an integral part of Bahrain lifestyle, and Memories of China has become undoubtedly, a

representation of Bahrain’s gastronomic renaissance, and the epitome of what every restaurant experience should truly be... memorable. Open daily for Lunch: 12-3pm and Dinner 7pm-2am.

For reservations please call +973 17 717080

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Dining & Entertainment

Italian Reinvented

Since its opening in February 2007, Café Italia is an award winning restaurant which has firmly established itself in Bahrain’s culinary stratosphere. The dramatic, awe inspiring décor designed by acclaimed Bahrain based Italian designer Davide Chiaverini is one of the most stunning venues on the island, and the sumptuous fusion of classical and contemporary Italian cuisine has translated into gastronomic decadence.

Renowned Executive Chef Twedi Martatna leads the culinary team, whose creations combine classic and popular dishes as well as contemporary creations that employ innovative culinary techniques as well as the use of exotic imported ingredients that are certain to appease both purists of Italian cuisine, and adventurists alike. Appetizers include the Warm pan seared U.S. King scallops with green pea puree, black


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olive hollandaise sauce and old aged balsamic reduction, as well as the Epicurean Wagyu Beef Carpaccio of finely sliced tenderloin served with crisp celery salad, tomato cherry and old aged balsamic dressing. The quintessential fresh pasta offerings include divine dishes such as the “Homemade Fresh Fettucini” with tender slivers of Wagyu Beef - perhaps the best beef in the world - accompanied with

Porcini Mushroom and a splash of White Truffle Oil, and the “Homemade Capellini with Herb Duckling Stew” comprising of fresh angel hair pasta gently tossed in light tomato sauce, chili flakes, baby marrow and herbed marinated duckling. For the seafood afficionado’s, Chef Twedi has created dishes such as the Meticulously crusted grain mustard dory fillet with creamy seasonal vegetables, carrot

juice and served with gravy, or perhaps you may be enticed by the “Grilled Hammour Scallopine” - thinly sliced slivers of grilled hammour with lemon and extra virgin olive oil, served on a bed of Romaine lettuce and fried Arrancini di Risso. Last but not least, the carnivores are sure to be delighted with the addition of US Black Angus Rib-Eye and T-Bone steaks, which accompany the Black Angus

Tenderloin and the superb Wagyu Beef Tenderloin that Café Italia has become reknowned for. With so many new dishes to sample, and a stunning venue to dine with friends and family, Café Italia will undoubtedly pamper the senses and live up to its mantra of being “Italian, Reinvented.”

For reservations, please call +973 17 744774

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Bienvenidos Amigos

It was back in 1988 that Señor Paco’s first opened its doors to offer guests the country’s first truly Mexican dining experience. Dining at Señor Paco’s is more than just eating out, it’s like dropping in on old friend’s for a warm relaxing evening of good food and good company, in an enchanting atmosphere capped with the magic of live guitar music. The atmosphere of the restaurant is very friendly and homely, replete with stained glass and bright

Mexican style décor. The food is delicious with a variety of authentic traditional Mexican food, in addition to the best of “new west cuisine” which is an innovative fusion of traditional recipes with exceptional ingredients and new culinary techniques. Using only the freshest local produce and coupled with their welcoming and inviting service it all adds to the restaurant’s lively and friendly nature ensuring a great night out.


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In fact, Señor Paco’s is so particular about the traditional taste of its Mexican fare that exotic special ingredients are required, such as spices and chilies and food stuffs that are imported from Mexico and the Western United States. The restaurant also has great deals for lunchtime diners where prices are reduced for their Lunch time special. Señor Paco’s restaurant at Adliya Avenue is open seven days

a week from Lunch:11.30am - 3pm and Dinner: 6pm -12 Midnight. Seef Mall Branch at Magic Island opens from 10am-12 midnight.

For Reservations Call: +973 17 725873 Fax: +973 17 825313/ +973 17 540029 Mail: For Home Delivery Call: +973 17 811375

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Travel, Tourism & Events


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Travel, Tourism & Events
In a bid to be recognised as the ultimate travel destination that showcases its arts and culture with prominence, the Kingdom of Bahrain spares no efforts while working towards achieving its ambitions.

BAC Image of T1 arrival hall and forecourt

In line with Vision 2030, the Kingdom is all set to welcome the world right from the moment you step on to its shore. With connections to 52 international destinations through 37 airlines, the Bahrain International Airport (BIA) is currently on an expansion mode to accommodate the high influx of tourists that the country seeks to attract. To meet the travel needs of the passengers, the expansion will be carried out in phases and estimated to be completed in 2038. In early 2008, Bahrain Airport Company (BAC)

took over the responsibility of overseeing these operations. An important aspect of Vision 2030 will have been achieved if BAC meets the standards in the years to come. Besides the airport, the national airline - Gulf Air is working on improving its forces on a sustainable scale. They include replacement of aircraft, alignment of air routes and retention of quality staff. The airline has been the sponsor of the Formula One Gulf Air Grand Prix ever since the country played host to the race that

is held at the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) every year. A haven for art and history buffs, the Kingdom of Bahrain invites the world to partake in its quest to witness, nurture and grow its culture heritage. The Bahrain National Museum that displays ancient artefacts, Qal’at al Bahrain that has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and Qalat Arad are few of the venues that are working diligently to support the display of arguably, the Kiingdom’s most valuable assets. The country does not lack artistic

talent as well. Mr. Rashid Al Oraifi, and father-son duo, Mr. Abdullah Al Muharraqi and Mr. Khalid Al Muharraqi are but few examples of the Kingdom’s local talent that are pushing the creative boundaries in expressions and mediums used. To encourage more creative diversification The Ministry of Culture & Information (Spring of Culture-www.springofculture. org) and The Economic Development Board (EDB) offer overwhelming support to artists from various backgrounds including photography, film,


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Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) is currently in the process of overseeing the expansion of Bahrain International Airport (BIA) to accommodate more than three times its current capacity (Image submission from BAC)

poetry, paintings, music and books. Non-profit organisations like Elham (www.elhambahrain. net), privately-owned Riwaq Gallery ( home.php), Shaikh Ebrahim bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre for Culture and Research (www. act as springboards for artists through events like film screenings, photography trips, lectures, concerts, competitions and exhibitions. The Kingdom of Bahrain is a perfect location to host

trade exhibitions, conferences and business meetings due to its proximity to both the East and the West, coupled with competitive prices, technological advancement and availability of first-class services. Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA), the Kingdom’s top authority in the Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) sector aims to promote the Kingdom of Bahrain as a top business tourism spot of choice in the Gulf region.

Image of traditional basket weaving

Image by: Abdulla M. Al-Khan -

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Pole Position
They say ‘small is beautiful’ and undoubtedly, few other countries exemplify this better than the Kingdom of Bahrain, whose bold economic initiatives have set a regional benchmark for excellence. If a nation’s evolution can be measured by its infrastructure, then the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) best represents the Kingdom of Bahrain’s positioning as a pioneer of diversification in the Middle East.

The Kingdom ofBest of Bahrain developed a facility to Bahrain has 11 68 Best of Bahrain complement the demanding standards of professionalism that the name ‘Formula One’ bears. Reflecting this is the foundation upon which the BIC was built.

The undisputed ‘Home of motorsport in the Middle East’ came into being in March 2004, a mere 16 months after its initial construction began. The brain child of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, the venue is host to the annual Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as Drag, GT, GP2, Porsche SuperCup, Formula 3 races and the Australian V8 Supercar Championship series. A great venue for a new generation of motorsport lovers, from the region and beyond, the extensive media coverage of the annual races attracts racing aces like Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Bahrain’s own Sheikh Salman bin Rashid al Khalifa and Hamad Al Fardan. By promoting motorsports on such a grand scale, the BIC brings to light Bahrain’s truly global and welcoming culture. This elite 6.4 km racing circuit located in the south-western area of Bahrain, is one of only 17 circuits world wide that hosts a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Designed by German architect Herman Tilke, the circuit is built on a sprawling 169 hectare desertscape with a 36,000 seating capacity and a further 7,000 seats for corporate guests. Comprising seven racing tracks, four of which can be used simultaneously, the outer track has been designed to accommodate all racing disciplines - corporate and incentive events as well as all year round testing. The complex also houses the region’s leading off-road 4x4 course ‘Adventure Drive Arabia.’ Look no further for a bespoke venue for corporate exhibitions and product launches as the BIC is the preferred forum to host large events. The luxurious corporate hospitality suites speak volumes about the BIC’s mark of international service. With the main operational building, Al Sakhir Tower, offering a panoramic view of the race track, the setting sun and the ocean, the BIC captures both the traditional allure of the desert, in which it is situated, and the glamour and excitement of Formula 1. Although positioned in the middle of the desert, the track is made of Graywacke aggregate

Formula One, Formula 1 or F1 is officially known as the FIA Formula One World Championship and is deemed the highest class of auto racing. ‘Formula’ refers to a set of rules that all participants and cars must comply with. The F1 season consists of a series of races, known as Grand Prix’s held on purposebuilt circuits with cars reaching speeds of 360 km/h. Europe is Formula One’s

traditional centre, where all teams are based, and where about half of the races take place. However, the sport’s scope has expanded significantly in recent years and Grand Prix’s are held world wide. Events in Europe and the Americas have been dropped in favour of races in Asia and the Far East. Benie Ecclestone is widely credited with rearranging the management of Formula One’s

commercial rights, transforming the sport into the billion-dollar business it is today. Formula One is a massive television event, with a global audience of 600 million people per season. ‘The Formula One Group’ is the legal holder of the commercial rights with significant economic effect and popularity making it an obvious merchandising environment and contributing to high sponsorship investments.

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The circuit, situated in the south-western area of Bahrain, is welcomed from afar with a view of the statuesque Al Sakhir Tower, decorating the flat desert horizon. The clear seas and the desert landscape are striking geographical features that epitomize Bahrain’s contrasts.

With the continued support of its main sponsor Gulf Air, the Bahrain Formula One Grand Prix joins Australian V8 Supercars series, the GP2 Asia races, as well as home grown series such as the ‘Chevrolet V8

Supercars Middle East’ and ‘Batelco 2.0 Litre Challenge’; in addition to the local favourite, ‘Drag Championships’, delivering a what Whitaker calls “an important building block for BIC and the

Kingdom at large”. By increasing entertainment value and promoting the BIC through regional events, Bahrain’s economy stands to benefit from the kudos that the circuit creates.


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(largely Welsh granite) shipped from the UK, and is highly acclaimed by Formula One drivers and F1 bosses for the high level of grip it ensures. The cost of building Bahrain’s circuit amounted to an approximate $150 million. Returns on this investment have benefited the Kingdom of Bahrain’s economy and global profiling, justifying the large investment made. Not only do the annual motor sporting events, most notably the Formula One Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, attract worldwide racing fans, it also generates regular quality media coverage for the Kingdom. By signing a deal to host one leg of the Formula One Championship until 2016, Bahrain has secured the opportunity to promote the country’s diversification strategy by propelling tourism and positioning itself as a regional motor sport hub. Martin Whitaker, CEO, BIC, confidently explains, “Everyone who visits the island as a direct result of an event at the BIC pays for an air ticket, stays in a hotel, eats at a restaurant, hires a taxi and shops at the malls - that adds up to a significant and generous proportional effect on the country’s GDP.” But what actually makes the destination so appealing is the ease of access that Bahrain offers,

as a holiday destination, to the Middle East and Europe In the process, Bahrain has been given a face-lift as one of the Gulf region’s fastest growing nations, thanks to the phenomenally successful six Grands Prix rounds that it has already hosted. The development of the ultra modern circuit has been a catalyst for the future growth of the economy of the Kingdom, while laying the foundations for other ambitious investments. Martin Whitaker explains, “Without a shadow of doubt the menu of regional and international racing hosted at the BIC has changed the perception, awareness and profile of the Kingdom to hundreds of millions of people around the world”. He adds that the Grand Prix in Bahrain is being used as “a platform on which to develop new business while also encouraging their counterparts to look at BIC as a corporate hub and a place for customer incentivisation.” Media interest in the country has increased tremendously ever since Bahrain made history in 2004 by hosting the first Formula One Grand Prix race held in the Middle East. In 2005, the Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix generated print media coverage to the value of $43 million, of which $12.4 million

was within Bahrain itself. The year 2006 saw a massive 780 percent leap with a total media value and global airtime exceeding that of the entire Winter Olympics in Torino. The total economic impact on the Kingdom of Bahrain during the three-day Formula One race weekend totalled a staggering $580 million. In 2008, the BIC received the prestigious FIA ‘Centre of Excellence’ award from the FIA Institute which makes it the only Grand Prix circuit to hold such an accolade. The Kingdom also hosted the immensely successful second annual FIA Summit entitled ‘Medicine in Motorsport’, as well as the inaugural ‘Motor Sport Business Forum Middle East’, which was designed to focus new business opportunities and media in the Middle East. The forum that BIC provides for these international summits promote the diverse business opportunities that Bahrain has to offer the world. Also host to some of the most splendid events, product launches and corporate functions; in 2008 alone the circuit had a staggering 460 commercial events with a further 150 charity and community events. Not only is the BIC home of the development of regional motorsport with a vibrant karting circuit and community, it

also has a portfolio of corporate and retail events that are characterised by a wealth of entertainment options. Standing as an icon of diversification in a rapidly evolving region, the core element of Bahrain’s business strategy has been endorsed by the Bahrain Economic Development Board’s new annual partnership with the BIC with the launch of the ‘@ Bahrain’ branding of the new Sakhir City Development Corporation business park. This will also oversee the expansion of Bahrain’s links to the automotive sector, demonstrating precisely how the circuit and adjacent land is being used to promote opportunities for business development, thereby highlighting the geographical importance of Bahrain as transportation and trading centre point. Another striking example of how the BIC stands as an ‘oasis in the desert’, is the rapid rise of world class hotels and resorts like the Banyan Tree Al Areen Resort and Spa, Four Seasons Hotels and the RitzCarlton allowing for luxury stay options for visitors during the races and otherwise.

Tel: +973 17 45 0000

Formula One being one of the world’s most sought after sporting brands, has resulted in Bahrain benefitting by being at the forefront of an elite club of 17 nations that host the premiere motorsport event annually.

Gulf Air
With 60 years of operations in the region, Gulf Air has become synonymous with Arabian hospitality, enhanced by a wide range of services in the air and on the ground.

Gulf Air’s training programmes are comprehensive that cover all divisions of the company. Starting from the regular, ongoing induction and refresher training programmes for cabin crew staff, our training programmes include Tamkeen’s Career Progression Programme for staff, ground operations programmes, management development workshops and periodic skills development workshops and customer service training programmes.

The passion for innovation and high quality service delivery for which Gulf Air earned its reputation in the 70s and 80s for its luxurious Tristar services continues even today. In recent years, Gulf Air has won international recognition for its several innovative products such as Sky Nanny, Sky Chef and dineon-demand that have set a trend for other airlines to follow. What is the range of challenges you face in

ensuring that your model serves the truest interests of your stakeholders and of Bahrainis as a whole? Our mandate is clear; to build an efficient, commercially sustainable and dynamic airline that effectively serves the people and the economy of Bahrain and represents the Kingdom on the world stage. There are challenges to achieve this goal as the aviation industry in general is very volatile and subject to several factors

such as changing marketplace, fluctuating fuel prices and geopolitical events. Add to this is the aggressive expansion by regional and international competitors in the region who are competing for the same capacity. Gulf Air’s new strategy has a strong business model in place that aims to become a regional leader and the preferred choice for travel throughout the Gulf and Middle East, connecting more points throughout the region than

our competitors by identifying commercially viable and profitable routes. As such the following will be key drivers; • Bahrain first – emphasis on high quality service for the local business market • Future growth – connect Bahrain to over 50 destinations, including up to 20 new locations • Commercial advantage – tailoring the fleet to serve more points with non-stop services


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With unbeatable prices along with a “lowest fares guaranteed” promise available online, any time is best to travel with Gulf Air.

inducted in to the fleet replacing the older ones progressively. Another major development is the inclusion of regional jets into its fleet - Embraer 170 Advanced Range jets. The aim is to serve every Arab capital with at least a double -daily service and the regional jets will help achieve this objective. As Gulf Air progresses in this direction, it will soon have a stable of brand new aircraft for its customers to enjoy a new travel experience. • Regional leader – focusing on frequency and higher-value markets • Brand excitement – create a dynamic, lean, customer driven national Bahraini carrier What is your vision for expansion, in terms of fleet and staff? Towards achieving this, Gulf Air has already started an active refleeting programme under which new A320 aircraft are being How important is sustainability to your organisation? How have you incorporated the concept in the aviation business? Sustainability is key to the success of our business and it is clearly laid out in our new strategy that states building an efficient, commercially sustainable and dynamic airline that effectively serves the people and the economy of Bahrain and represents the Kingdom internationally. In order to achieve

this, Gulf Air will offer customers more value for money, re-align the network to reflect customer demand as well as redesign the product to deliver more customer value on a consistent basis. Gulf Air will improve the customer experience by introducing several attractive new product innovations, seating arrangements, in-flight entertainment and other on-board amenities, tailored to the Middle East region on a consistent basis. Gulf Air will also aim to reduce fleet costs and minimise expenditure that no longer adds customer value. As the title sponsor of the Bahrain Grand Prix until 2010, what are your plans about further association with sports? In addition to being the title sponsor of Grand Prix since its first race in the Kingdom, Gulf Air is also the shirt sponsor of the London-based football club

‘Queens Park Rangers’. Gulf Air has always been a keen supporter of sports as it has sponsored several regional and local sports event, previously. The airline will continue to extend its support to sports events as and when required. How has the recent economic downturn created an impact in your organisation? Like all other airlines in the world, Gulf Air also had to bear the brunt of the economic downturn. However, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s is one of the few economies that have successfully managed the downturn and business is growing. Gulf Air took some rationalisation measures to respond to the lowdemand. Despite the recession, Gulf Air was able to maintain the same number of travellers last year vis a vis 2008.

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Travel, Tourism & Events

Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA)
Keys to BECA’s success since its establishment in Bahrain and how it contributes to the overall economic development of the country.

Keys to the success of Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA) since its establishment: Commitment to building a culture that places our customers at the heart of everything it does, i.e., customers’ needs and aspirations genuinely form the basis for the design and delivery of BECA’s

services, thereby providing exceptional value to customers; Challenges the expectations of people who may have preconceptions about Bahrain by doing everything possible to ensure the country is at the top of the list when it comes to organisations choosing their destinations; Partnerships with industry

stakeholders, internally and externally; Diversification of its portfolio BECA was established by Law No. 62 for the year 2006 which was promulgated on 4th September 2006. It functions under the Ministry of Industry & Commerce, Kingdom of Bahrain and is governed by a

Board of Directors. The current Chairman of the BECA Board is His Excellency Dr. Hassan A. Fakhro, the Minister of Industry & Commerce. How BECA contributes to the overall economic development of the Kingdom of Bahrain : Bahrain’s Meetings, Incentives, Conventions & Exhibitions


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a regional and global destination for MICE. BECA’s core business and service offerings and the scope of BECA’s local market development activities BECA is the forerunner organisation with a mandate to market Bahrain as a preferred, all year-round, business destination and cultivate partnerships with key MICE industry stakeholders by pursuing market development work in the international business sector. Its MICE, Destination Marketing & PR Department seeks to achieve this mandate by nurturing a healthy business environment for the exhibition, convention, meetings and incentive travel community in partnership with the Bahrain International Exhibition & Convention Centre (BIECC), the Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB), Gulf Air, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry, Tourism Affairs and the hospitality and leisure tourism industry. In addition, BECA is the owner and organiser for the annual Food & Hospitality Expo (www. which was held for the 2nd annual time on the 1214th January 2010, and doubled in size in both participants and visitors. In addition it is planning a new Sport, Leisure and well being expo in 2011.

BECA is also the venue operator for the (BIECC), the country’s largest and most flexible trade show and convention facility with more than 16,000 square meters of interconnected meeting and exhibition space. The competitive landscape of the industry and BECA’s competitive strengths Competitive landscape of the industry Global exhibition/conventions market is high growth and lucrative for city and state economies, but intensely competitive and demanding of state-of-the-art, purpose-built facilities. All industry eyes are on the Middle East now as a series of exhibition venue development are occurring particularly in the Gulf Cooperation Council. BECA’s competitive strengths • Strong support from the Bahrain Government • Value for money • Flexibility • Diversified portfolio • Improved customer communication and service efforts How BECA attracts and serves its partners/customers BECA considers its harmonised alliances with industry

stakeholders such as Tourism Affairs, Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB), Gulf Air, Bahrain International Circuit, Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry and others from the leisure and hospitality sectors very valuable in attracting conference business to Bahrain. Building a destination as a brand entails the synergistic and collegial efforts of all MICE stakeholders - it is all about relationships. In order to attract conference business in these challenging times, we have embarked on a series of initiatives to play up the unique experiences being offered by Bahrain. Team Bahrain One of these is Team Bahrain which was launched earlier this year in support of the Bahrain Government’s efforts to improve the destination’s supporting infrastructure for its MICE industry. Team Bahrain is the working group of Bahrain’s MICE sector currently comprised of more than 40 representatives from the public and private sectors. Formed to gain buy-in from Bahrain’s business and leisure tourism industry stakeholders, Team Bahrain serves as a forum for our community of suppliers to acquire industry knowledge and assists them in ensuring that the delivery of their service, product and facility

(MICE) sector is aggressively investigating opportunities which enables it to contribute to the National Economy. BECA has embarked on initiatives with the objective of establishing Bahrain on the international arena, as a unique and key MICE destination in line with the Government of Bahrain’s 2009 to 2014 National Economic Strategy of becoming

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to international MICE buyers and planners remain consistent to world-class standards. Partnership with Gulf Air as BECA’s Official Carrier In 2009, BECA and Gulf Air entered into a strategic alliance aimed at boosting Bahrain’s position as a leading destination for corporate meetings, incentive travel, conferences and exhibitions. Following the signing of the agreement between Bahrain’s national carrier and its MICE Authority (BECA), Gulf Air became the

official carrier for all events organised by BECA in Bahrain and abroad. Renewal of Alliance with Bahrain Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI) BECA and BCCI renewed in 2009 their partnership to increase trade and investment linkages and optimise economic opportunities in the realm of the MICE sector. Encouraging partnerships with local and international organisations for its exhibitions

Organisations are recognising the value of face-to-face interaction in driving business. BECA’s events serve as a strategic platform for businesses wishing to access a market of more than 274 million people in the Northern Gulf. For instance, BECA signed partnership agreements with public and private sector organisations for its second Food & Hospitality Expo,2010, where TUV Middle East (Member of TUV NORD Group), a German Inspection, Certification and Training Body, conducted workshops to help people understand the necessary requirements to comply with the International Food Safety Management System Standard during the three-day premier, international food and hospitality event. Basic Food Hygiene, Basic Health and Safety for Catering Industry, Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point are some of the topics that were discussed at the workshops aiming to raise safety standards and preserve consumer confidence in the products of the food industry in Bahrain. How BECA develops significant international relations Developing global partnerships with Professional Exhibition Organisers (PEOs), Professional Conference Organisers (PCOs) and Industry

Associations is among the initiatives of BECA aimed at bringing new MICE business to Bahrain. It develops significant international relations through its memberships in Industry Associations. BECA is a member of several key MICE industry associations including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Singaporebased Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations (AFECA), Brusselsbased International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), Parisheadquartered Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), Amsterdambased International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Chicagoheadquartered Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) and Hertfordshire-based Association of Event Venues Limited (AEV). BECA’s memberships in these associations allow the Authority to build a strong community of peers, connect with industry experts and access a vast array of on-line and print resources to build on industry know-how. BECA also participates in key B2B, international events dedicated to the MICE industry such as IMEX in Frankfurt and EIBTM in Barcelona. BECA’s current activities and foreseeable potential business or opportunities in/from the Japanese/Asian/International markets BECA coordinates Bahrain’s international B2B show, Aluminium China, which is held annually. BECA’s events are also populated by Asian exhibitors wishing to penetrate the lucrative Gulf market. Future expansion plans and growth strategies of BECA With support of the Kingdoms leadership, Expo City a new flagship facility for Bahrain is being developed which will increase the area covered by the existing Centre by nearly ten-fold. Scheduled to be fully operational by 2013, Expo City (expo@bahrain) will be built adjacent to Bahrain International Circuit (The Home of Formula One in the Middle East), northeast of the capital Manama. It will have


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the capacity to hold national, regional and international events simultaneously. The state-of-the-art exhibition and convention facilities will have three, four and five star hotels with a combined capacity of 1,200 rooms, as well as a multipurpose indoor arena, dining, leisure and entertainment services. It will include hotels in the three-, four- and five-star category for a combined capacity of 1,200 rooms. BECA’s goals and vision for the company in the short term as well as in the long term BECA’s General Objectives • To promote the Kingdom of Bahrain as the regional exhibition and conference hub • To contribute to attracting international exhibitions and conferences, particularly specialised events • To contribute to developing the proactive infrastructure efficiency • To allocate BIECC to host specialised exhibitions and conferences and limit hosting of public exhibitions • To develop a marketing strategy that includes local, regional and international conferences, including meetings, cultural events and various recreational, entertainment and sports events. • To promote continuous cooperation with the Bahrain’s hotel and tourism sector in marketing international exhibitions and conferences • To develop the exhibition industry through co-operating with various countries • To support and encourage local traders in organizing and participating in local and international exhibitions and conferences through coordination with the Bahrain Chamber of Commerce and Industry BECA will continue promoting Bahrain as the regional exhibition and conference hub and contribute to attracting international exhibitions and conferences, particularly specialised events, to our destination.

2006 – 2009 Demand for MICE Events in Bahrain
Venue-Wise Event Bookings 2006 – 2009
Since its establishment as Bahrain’s forerunner MICE Authority in 2006, BECA has been instrumental in growing the total number of bookings at BIECC : Event Bookings : 223 per cent increase 2006 : 43 2007 : 113 2008 : 125 2009 : 139 Tenancy days : 129 per cent increase 2006 : 265 2007 : 559 2008 : 571 2009 : 608

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Image by: Abdulla M. Al-Khan -

Arts & Culture



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Capital of Dilmun and its ancient harbour

Bahrain is home to the most important civilisation of the Gulf region–Dilmun civilisation (from the end of the 3rd to the middle of the first millennium BC). In recognition of this fact, the UNESCO declared the Qal’at al-Bahrain site as a world heritage site in 2005. On 18 February 2008, Qal’at al-Bahrain Site Museum was launched with sponsorship by ARCAPITA Bank under the platform of Investing in Culture ( A fort present in the Qal’at al-Bahrain site bears testimony to the time gone by. Built at the end of the 13th century AD, the fort is located atop a 17.5 hectare artificial hill signifying almost 4000 years of continuous human

occupation (ca 2200 BC-17 century AD). The most valuable part of the site is not the fort itself but the history of civilisations that existed at the site. From 1954 to the present, The Danish, French and Bahraini excavations on the site of Qal’at al-Bahrain have revealed its key importance and long occupation history. In virtue of its strategic location, the ancient settlement had rapidly prospered to become the capital of the Dilmun civilisation and its ancient harbour. Qal’at al-Bahrain site museum To the north of the fort, lies the Qal’at al-Bahrain site museum


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(designed by Wohlert Arkitekter) along the waterfront and acts as a gateway to the archaeological site. The visitor passes through a pathway equipped with audioguide (that can be collected at the museum) and service facilities to reach the site. About 500 objects were found here during excavations carried out from 1954 to 2008. Besides an expansive Tell Wall, that recounts the site’s archaeological layers, the visitor is transported into history while passing through the five halls, each representing one historic period in chronological progression starting with the Dilmun (2200 BC - 300 BC), through Tylos (300 BC – 400 AD) and Islamic periods (1250 AD 1650 AD). Unearthed civilisations behind the Qal’at al-Bahrain site Since its foundation, Qal’at alBahrain served as an important business point among traders from Mesopotamia, Persia, Eastern Arabia, Central Asia and the Indus region. While the first city (ca. 2200 BC) revealed a small settlement organised on

oasis agriculture, hunting and fishing, “City II” (ca. 2050 to 1750 B.C.) was a well fortified city covering a surface of 12 to 15 hectares. A group of monumental architecture, defined as a palace, prospered for several hundred years. In the Middle Dilmun (1750- 900 BC) civilization period, the Kassites, settlers from Mesopotamia, occupied the site. Archaeological work uncovered the residence of this new governance which was probably settled in the restored palace of the former kings of Dilmun. Over a 100 cuneiform tablets in Akkadian language hold evidence of the existence of an active administration. Other interesting mechanisms found and showcased in the Site Museum are a Date Incubator used to create date syrup and a Sarcophagus in Bitumen (an oil based substance). The Sarcophagus was used to bury people with their valuables to help them to their journey in the afterlife. All the excavated tombs contained funerary items. As the inhabitants believed in the after

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life, the diseased was buried with some of his personal belongings. In the Late Dilmun (900 – 300 BC) civilisation, Qal’at al Bharain site prospered tremendously. For instance, excavations uncovered a luxurious architectural complex with public and private areas, a central courtyard and elaborate sanitary system. Another interesting discovery is of the more than fifty snake sacrifices that were deposited in bowls hidden beneath the floors in several areas of the palace. Moreover, a sanctuary and a zone of metallurgic workshops were recovered in the vicinity of the palace. The snake was

venerated as a symbol of fertility and has some links to the Epic of Gilgamesh and his search in Dilmun for immortality. Also found are copper smelting pots which reveal a history in manufacturing traded items. During the Hellenistic period, known as Tylos (300 BC - 600 AD), the island undergoes an exceptional phase of prosperity, apparently losing status as the island’s capital but remaining nevertheless the island’s major port as attested by the character of the finds. During the 2nd- 3rd century AD, a fortress was built north of the settlement and used as an important military administrative complex.

The Islamic period (12th to 17th century AD) saw a flurry of activity. The former coastal Tylos fortress was converted into a commercial warehouse. This commercial activity brought back the wealth of the settlement. Following intricate political events and power changes at the end of the 13th and the beginning of the 14th centuries AD, a new fortress was erected and protected by a moat. It was however a mediocre construction which had to be constantly restored as a result of emergent Portuguese threats. In 1529, the fort could resist no longer the Portuguese artillery and hence

became under the Portuguese dominion. In 1559, the fort was reinforced by 3 bastions following an attempted attack by the Ottomans. Progressively, as the access channel to the site became too shallow, the maritime traffic was directed to Manama and Qal’at al-Bahrain site was soon abandoned. Today, it offers a peek at the glorious past of the Dilmun civilation to visitors and tourists from all over the world. The Museum Café The seaside café welcomes visitors everyday from 8am to 8pm.


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Facilities: • Sea front Café • Auditorium • Accommodation facilities Opening hours: • Tuesday to Sunday • 8am to 8pm • Guided tours of the museum are available all day – Booking advised • Trilingual audio-guides for the fort can be collected at the museum.

Tel: +973 17 56 7170/171/174

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Arts & Culture

“Pearling” World Heritage proposal submitted to UNESCO
Bahrain is aiming for international recognition of its pearling heritage by proposing it for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Searching for pearls

Officials from the Ministry of Culture and Information, Sector of Culture and National Heritage have in January 2010 submitted the nomination documents for the heritage site “Pearling,

testimony of an island economy” at the UNESCO headquarters in Paris. Therewith a one and a half year cycle of evaluation begins upon which the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee

will decide about the site’s inscription to the list during its meeting in Bahrain in the summer of 2011. The site commemorates Bahrain’s pearling era and the single product economy that has sustained the country for many centuries. Bahrain is known as the prime location for the collection and trade of pearls which has intensely shaped the Kingdom’s identity. Since historic times various sources acknowledge the outstanding role of Bahrain’s pearls which are said to be especially beautiful and of the highest quality. The pearling testimony would be Bahrain’s second World Heritage site, after “Qal’at al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour and Capital of Dilmun” had been granted this prestigious distinction in 2005. The heritage site “Pearling, testimony of an island

economy”, consists of three oyster beds in the territorial waters of Bahrain. The oyster beds are located 40 to 70 kilometers off the northern shores of the island of Bahrain. A seashore at the southern tip of Muharraq links these marine Oyster bed – Hayr Shtaya parts of the site to its urban components. The seashore with its natural beach is the only remaining authentic location in Muharraq where dhow fleets during the pearling era left and arrived at the beginning and end of the four-month long pearl collection season each summer. The seashore also features the remains of the historic defense fort Qal’at Bu Mahir. From there a pathway connects 11 urban sites, consisting of 16 historic buildings located throughout the historic settlement of Muharraq. These residential, commercial and public buildings represent different professions


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Pearl diving

Siyadi majlis

(such as the pearl diving crew with divers, haulers, captains; pearl merchants etc.), and key functions or themes within the pearling economy and its society (commercial, religious and social places such as a mosque; warehouses for boat construction and diving equipment; medical treatment for divers; sweet water supply and many more). Thus, a vivid and comprehensive picture of the pearling era and its varied heritage is conveyed at the site. The Ministry’s initiative which involves a long list of partners from the public and private realm of Bahrain’s society includes a program for protecting and promoting the heritage site. The site’s different components are protected as national heritage and their significance made comprehensible for the public. To this aim, the historic buildings are restored and partly fitted with exhibitions on their theme and individual family (hi)stories. Crucial for this endeavor are the stories and the knowledge about the pearling era that lie with the people of Bahrain and Muharraq. Traditions such as the pearling songs that are popular up to today are equally important. The 3.22 km long pathway and urban space that connects the historic buildings will be rehabilitated and improved to meet the needs of visitors and the residents of Muharraq. But also diving for pearls are activities which the program supports on the site. The oyster beds, for example are planned to be made accessible to the public through boat excursions that involve pearl

diving. To this end one of the capacity building schemes that the Ministry aims to offer to the Bahraini labor market is to train pearl divers for both commercial and tourism purposes and to make Bahrainis benefit from this abandoned ancient tradition. But also other traditional professional skills will be revived, such as the craftsmanship required for the restoration of the historic buildings and pearl jewellery making. After intense diagnostic and research work that has been carried out since 2007 and during which the project concepts have been finalized, the implementation phase will now start with the first restoration works and the provision of visitor facilities. The ambitious plan of the program for the next 2 years include not only the restoration of the historic structures but also the construction of a visitor centre in the suq of Muharraq as well as other interpretive facilities in Muharraq. However, many of the program’s activities are long term projects. The urban rehabilitation works, which are a joint endeavor of various authorities and the local community, will increasingly take effect to make historic Muharraq an attractive living environment with a traditional flair. This will likewise appeal to visitors and help boost the economy of Muharraq. Currently archeological excavations can be observed at the Amarat Fakhro in the suq of Muharraq. The archaeological team led by experts from the British Oxford Brookes University

have already found fascinating objects that reveal the use of the site during the late pearling era. But they have also discovered evidence of much older periods of Muharraq’s city history which are currently being further investigated. In preparation of the nomination documents for the site, the Sector for Culture and National Heritage has conducted much research concerning the site and the pearling economy. Soon, first rehabilitation works of historic structure and surrounding urban space will for example be visible in Suq al Qaysariya which will be yet another heritage attraction. Further extensive research work in close contact with the local community is coming up including more interviews conducted to gather knowledge regarding the pearling era and its society. This will equally serve as a backbone for future exhibitions on the site and for an informative website that is currently under construction. A library and archive in the planned visitor centre will make this valuable pool of knowledge accessible to public to stimulate further research into this significant aspect of Bahraini history. An upcoming competition which the Sector for Culture and National Heritage will soon launch is aiming particularly to excite the younger generation of Bahrain in support of their pearling heritage. Young Bahrainis will be invited to gather stories of pearling from the older generations and witnesses of that era in order to safeguard this valuable key to Bahrain’s past.

As part of Investing in Culture the Pearling project is currently on display among many other cultural activities and assets at the Investing in Culture exhibition at the Bahrain National Museum. Initiated in 2006 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the Investing in Culture project is aimed at enhancing an active partnership between the private and public sectors to financially and morally support new cultural projects aimed at human development with preservation of national identity. The launch of the project was initiated by H.E. Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, Minister of Culture and Information, during the opening of the accompanying exhibition at the Bahrain National Museum on February 8th. In support of culture and mutual cooperation, the exhibition highlights implemented as well as envisaged projects that are supported by the private and public sectors dedicated to culture and arts and that contribute to the definition of Bahrain’s cultural identity (www.

For further information please contact Soon more information will be available at

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Arts & Culture

Bahrain Talents
A very small selection of Bahrain Talents are featured here with an outlook for further future representation of the multiple and diverse professional, aspiring and budding talents that are available in the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Image by Rana Tabbara, Image Title: Sheikh Sayyed

Image by Sowsan Hassan -

The Best of Bahrain publication seeks to be an asset to the nation, as a vehicle serving the communities best interests for growth and development. Bahrain’s Talents have sustained the heart of this publication and inspired our efforts in exhibiting the most instinctive aspirations of this community in alignment with the success of Bahrain’s corporations and personalities that are likewise built upon these very same aspirations. In the following pages you will see a large selection of Photographs in and around the Kingdom of Bahrain that are generously contributed by Bahrain’s citizens and visitors to the Kingdom. A special thanks goes out to our advisors who have worked with us to plant the seeds for recognizing and developing Bahrain’s Talents. Notably: Photographer Ms Deyana Ahmadi, the region’s leading

Image by Mr Baraa Abdulla

Image by Ghada Khunji

Image by Jose Romualdo

Image by Latifa Al Shakar -

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Painting by: Faika Al Hassan - (Painter)

Image by Ghada Khunji

commercial photographer and a huge asset to the nation; Painter / Lecturer Ms. Balqees Fakhro, one of the top most influential personalities in the Kingdom; Artist, Rashid Al Oraifi; Architect / Designer, Mr. Ahmed Bucheery and his staff at Ewan Architectural and Engineering Consultancy, Creative Writer and Founder of Elham Creative Arts Group Mr. Ali Al Saeed; CG Designer and Founder of Muharraqi-Studios Mr. Khalid Al-Muharraqi; Managing Director of advertising arm for JWT Mr. Younes Skaini; to all for their support and consideration of the

Best of Bahrain publication, we hope to work more diligently with you in the future. Also many thanks to all contributors listed (see Index of names on page 188). Best of Bahrain will continue to seek Bahrain’s Talents and is growing its database via info@, or www.facebook. com/bestofbahrain

Painting by: Danny Lawless -

Moosa Silwadi -

Image by: Elgin Vande Wiele, Image Title: Morning blues in Muharraq

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An Ancient civilization meets modern art

Rashid Al Oraifi

Bahrain is the smallest country in the GCC but one of the richest in terms of culture, art and heritage. The islands of Bahrain were once the seat of one of the greatest trading empires of the ancient world, the Delmon civilization, and traces of this influence still permeate. Delmon was founded during the Bronze Age in approximately 3000BC and existed for over 2000 years. The civilization initially developed as a trading hub thanks to its pivotal geographical position along the trade route linking Mesopotamia, today’s southern Iraq, and the Indus Valley, now India and Pakistan. Archaeologists have unearthed over 300,000 graves throughout Bahrain that provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region, and the Government is understandably eager to preserve and protect these sites.

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“My art is an expression of my being, my soul and represents me in all international exhibits and studios.”

ne individual seeking to unite this ancient civilization with the twentyfirst century, however, is Rashid Al Oraifi; artist and founder of the Rashid Al Oraifi museum. His mission is to educate and inform, by displaying Delmon sculptures and artefacts as well as creating art inspired by this era. It is located in a city named Muharraq that is known for it still preserved heritage, the museum is an enclave of calm and a tribute to the Kingdom of Bahrain’s compelling heritage; decorative gypsum designs cover the walls and window frames, and a central courtyard paved with locally made bricks and enhanced with bronze sculptures adds to the sense of openness of the overall design. When and why did you first start your operations in Bahrain? How has this environment inspired you? The idea was encompassing me as a dream for a long time. Where I am today was a result of compounded struggle that eventually led to my ideas being realized. The museum, by its nature and its educational, social and cultural objectives, is by far my greatest inspiration as it includes 77 art pieces and 26 statues, exhibited throughout 7 halls. Everything represents the Delmon Civilization; I have been living this traditional and authentic Delmon era as an inspiration for a long time. What changes have you witnessed in terms of the Kingdom’s development as a Middle Eastern hub for Art and visual media? I have lived through and witnessed most of the political, social and economic events that have befallen this region. As an artist I am part and parcel of any positive changes in the Kingdom, whilst the Kingdom’s growth is part of my cultural and artistic development. I give and I receive. In Bahrain we have witnessed many great developments such as freedom and reformation, both of which are crucial for an artist as it moves him to contribute. Another positive event is the formation of the Contemporary Art Society which was formed as a joint effort with my colleague, Karim Al Orayyed. What challenges do you face in developing your Art? Do you plan any expansions, if so, when, what and why? The greatest challenge I face as an artist is to get proper media coverage regarding my achievements, contributions and production. There is not enough promotion regarding this


type of art, it tends to be far too ad hoc. However, it’s wonderful to witness that people are now more interested in contemporary Delmon art, and this is reflected in high demand and an increase in sales. For me, to expand is to produce more art. Can you briefly run through the individual themes of your art, your operations and services, explaining the new trends and approaches in your field? I derived all my inspiration and innovation from Delmon art. I’ve been researching and studied this school of art for over forty years. Most of my exhibits in the museum are inspired from that era, and I believe that visitors from all over the world have appreciated it and enjoyed it. As the Bahraini economy and population continues to expand and diversify, is there any loss of the unique heritage and culture belonging to the kingdom? If so, what are you doing to redress this situation? Bahrain has never underestimated the importance of modernization or the perseverance of architecture heritage. Many other countries sought to renovate old houses and make them into a central tourism attraction within the tourism industry, which is what inspired Bahrain to set aside old homes as cultural heritage. I have actually authored a book entitled Arab Architecture about the subject, which outlines the importance of architecture in the Kingdom and how it should be utilized in tourism. What further strategies for progress do you have? One of my strategies is to keep in par with what developed nations are doing and how they are progressing. I also focus on exhibiting art properly and in a compelling way, for example the jewelry exhibition is closely linked to the Delmon era and the Delmon seal. Additionally, I’ve written books in order to educate others about Delmon Art, as well as selling many of my prints and silverwork. Where does Rashid Al Oraifi go from here? Scenarios for the future? Rashid the artist seeks a successful art piece that is in par with today and deserves the modernization of this society. My art is an expression of my being, my soul and represents me in all international exhibits and studios.

Equally at ease in diverse mediums, Al Oraifi brings art to life as it enriches the

culture and heritage
of the region.

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“Where I am today was a result of compounded struggle that eventually led to my ideas being realised.”
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Al-Oraifi Gallery Gallery - +973 17 535 112 Museum - +973 17 335 616

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Muharraqi Studios
Computer graphics (CG) and animation have become an integral part in all things creative - films, advertisements, cartoons and architecture.

Mr. Khalid Abdulla Al-Muharraqi, Founder & Chief Creative, Muharraqi-Studios w.l.l

While the field may be at its nascent stage in Bahrain, the talent is definitely available and growing. Meet Khalid Al Muharraqi, the 38-year old animator who left behind a career in advertising and graphic design to immerse himself in 3D art. Son of Abdulla Al Muharraqi, a renowned artist in the Middle East, Khalid studied photography and interior design at the Art Institute of

Houston. It was while working for advertising agencies in the Middle East that he grew disappointed by the level of quality, ideas and design that has been accepted in the market. Recognising an opportunity in 3D as the fine art of the future, Khalid made the switch as the best path for him. Working from his studio at home, Khalid constantly updates the software and tests the

hardware to ensure that operations run smooth. When things get awry like system installation, new hardware, his business partner and a tech engineer pitch in to help. One of the challenges is always safe storage of data and secure back up. Despite these challenges, he maintains his work as creatively as possible. “We have always resisted corporatising our set

up as I feel it would mean losing our edge and would not allow us to be flexible to try new things. This way, we are not restricted by having to carry massive overheads, staff or infrastructure.” Even though the Gulf market is slowly waking up to the animation industry, the assumption that animation can be done in a jiffy with a few clicks of a mouse, still persists. Khalid finds it a regular


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Image Title: The return of the Great Talon

task to dispel such notions among his clients. Future Trends Yet Khalid finds vast improvement in the quality of CG since he started out. He foresees CG diverging into two paths - the hyper realistic animations and images already started, as well as the other highly stylised cartoons or animations; work that makes

you feel that this is not just 3D, but is an art style. Work Style Khalid uses around five applications that only work in 3D. When asked why, he says, “There is no such thing as a perfect application, so I use the tools that I need when I need them on each application. So, just like a traditional artist that would mix

his medium from oil, to chalk, to pencil.... I do the same here with different applications to get the results that I want to achieve.” Khalid has come a long way since he began. Today, his services are sharp, carried out according to the client brief which makes him proud of his professionalism. And his work has not gone unnoticed. “Those that follow my steps range from

professional artists using 3D as their main tools, to upcoming CG artists and people who are just starting out. As well as software developers and those in the film and gaming industry are in contact with me regularly. I get hundreds of emails, fan mail; requests to work with me, for me or just to watch me work and give them guidance. I welcome that and do my best to make a good

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impression. I am always happy to help.” Drawing Awareness One way of creating an interest in CG and animation is to spread the word, and Muharraqi Studios has done just that and has placed Bahrain on the CG map through its work. The website also draws hundreds of people logging in per month checking for any updates, tutorials or new projects on the go and this helps people to gain awareness of the latest tools. Additionally, a boost arrives by giving support to films and creative work produced in the country.

3D visualization of The Pearl of Qatar development as presented to the client


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3D visualization of Al Khamis Mosque aired on Bahrain TV for Ramadan 2009 - Kingdom of Bahrain

Focus Khalid channels his efforts towards creating projects that are innovative. To do so, he understands his client’s needs and who the audience is. From there, concepts, location, storyline and presentation are all worked out. Then there are the technical aspects like developing the 3D models, texturing them, painting the maps or the ground, lighting the environment as well as recreating day light features. Finally animation and rendering to ensure the right quality is obtained on the finished product. Sustainability With conservation and sustainability evolving as

Inspiration Nature, art and ancient Arabian stories are inspiring to him. “I am always looking for things that make me think and transport me to other worlds. I hope that my work will have that effect on people and make them think and wonder about what is possible.”

3D using Other, modo, LightWave-3D, Photoshop, ZBrus was exhibited at CG-Germany show in 2008

Image Title: Burning Heart

key issues in the region and elsewhere, Khalid and his team are considerate about utilising better performing processors and CPUs to achieve maximum performance, as well as leaving the least impact. “Although it is more expensive, it keeps us at the forefront of the latest developments in the industry.”

Image Title: Oryx

Image Title: Last Flight

Tel: +973 39 689 933 Email:

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KSDi - Khalifa Shaheen Digital Images

Technology in film and cinematography has grown by leaps and bounds over the years. And Khalifa Shaheen has been a witness to all these changes ever since he started out in this field in the 1960s. The most dramatic one has been the C41 processing of film chemically to the digital format that is currently used. Today, he owns Khalifa Shaheen Digital Images, a company that has evolved to take care of photography, video production as well as an image library. “Market demands determine what images are required and that depends on who is asking. In the West, traditional images are more sought after. Whereas locally,

more contemporary pictures are required”, says Khalifa who considers delivering excellence and creativity for his clients, a constant responsibility. “Creativity is an inexact process. I have always strived to come up with original ideas and that process, I am not sure I can explain. Sometimes I’ll be in the shower or driving or walking my retriever and an idea springs fully formed into my mind. Other times, original ideas are more illusive. Our standards are high and I intend that they remain so. This attitude doesn’t always win me friends but it does mean that our work is faultless.” And such work requires talent that the region is capable of


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HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa

producing. “We use local talent as much as possible. International professionals have their place as well, but for local sensitivity, a Bahraini wins every time.” Also, KSDI offers film/tape conversion to DVD. There just aren’t many 8mm projectors or tape decks around anymore rendering old home movies useless. “When we transfer the footage we also have the ability to colour correct and fix the footage to a much better state than the original. Film/video are a dated media that will eventually become brittle and break. We do this service to preserve your precious memories for a lifetime,” says Khalifa. With plans to expand further,

KSDI runs a 10-week training course called “Screen Actors Training program” to spur creativity with the community and to prepare for the media projects that will soon be heading its’ way. With the finance and creative talent available regionally, all that remains is distributorship. With the market in Bahrain and the UAE taking a mature turn, KSDI plans to extend beyond Bahrain to elsewhere in the Gulf. Simultaneously, this has not slowed its growth in the country. “This year, we have added animation and digitization to our list of production services,” says Khalifa. The current global volatility has led KSDI to tighten its margin

and offer greater value across the board. With consumer confidence at an all time low, KSDI offers media solutions to all manner of business, with the intention of heightening that business’s profile and visibility, in a market obscured by the mist of the credit crisis. Further, KSDI uses Facebook to promote its ancillary entertainment services and maintain direct interaction with its clientele. It has a screen actor training page that has over 200 members. There is also a live comedy competition, ‘The Funniest Person in Bahrain’ that has over 300 Facebook members and growing.

Tel: +973 17 593 993 www.

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Arts & Culture

Bahrain House of Photography
More than 60 years behind a camera has done nothing to rob Mr. Abdulla Al Khan of his passion.

Al Khan (or “Abdulla Mohammed Al Khan” as he liked to be called) has one of the richest photographic archives dating back from the 30’s up until this current day. His photographs document many of Bahrain’s social, historical and traditional contexts and events and trace Bahrain’s many important milestones and significant roles in the Bahraini society. Not only do his photographs act as documentation, but they also act as important memorabilia for the Bahraini people and remind our current society of what Bahrain once was.

Abdulla Al Khan

Abdulla Al Khan of Bahrain House of Photography has been photographing the country since 1945. He now has an archive of more than 1,500,000 photographs which are under the process of being transferred to a massive collection of digital imagery. The Bahrain House of Photography, where all the negatives are stored is now in the process of being transformed into a photographic museum to honor the royal family of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

Al Khan started out his career at Bapco where he got a job photographing mechanical problems, site developments and public relations events, however this did not deter his passion for capturing Bahrain’s richest cultural assets. Al Khan’s studio walls are adorned with pictures of Bahrain’s past from pearl divers to dhow captains. He is credited for introducing wedding photography to the Kingdom of Bahrain, an idea

he brought back with him from his studies in photography at Ealing Technical College. As a result, Al Khan soon established himself in the Kingdom as the official photographer for many of the key events in the lives of Bahrain’s royal family members, photographing everything from weddings to birthdays. Al Khan also developed a special relationship with the late Amir HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Khalifa, who once described


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Abdulla Al Khan spent 30 years photographing the Kingdom's new developments from a helicopter - Diplomatic arial view shown here from 1976 to 1992 and 2008, shown here respectively

Al Khan as “My eyes in the Kingdom”. In fact Al Khan acted as an eye witness to the realities of the nation, he recalls, “I went around taking photographs of Bahrain as it really was to show Shaikh Isa”. Commercially Mr Al Khan continued to work with the Ministry of Housing and Works for over 30 years, documenting the new developments of the kingdom from helicopters. Al Khan says comically, “I have probably had more flight time than any pilot in Bahrain”. His archives from sky view chronicle in detail the changes in the country’s landscape such as views of Isa Town as a desert to the new developments at Durrat Al Bahrain. The richness of his archives document, amongst

others, the first cables being laid for Isa Town. His most recent projects include monitoring developments of Durrat Al Bahrain and the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH). Today Al Khan’s most daunting task continues to be the digitalization of his vast collection at Bahrain House of Photography. He is the only person with the knowledge of the stories behind each picture, so the work has to be done himself. Whereby other countries reserve Government spending to archive all of their history, Al Khan is doing this on his own expenses. He determines that, “it is vital to remind the younger generation of what we were and where we came from, to record history for them”. His only

hope is that he is still around to complete all the work. In five years only one third of his archives have been documented digitally. Al Khan goes on to discuss the advent of digital photography likening it to fast food in comparison to the manual art that took more time but provided the same sensations as quality dining. He believes that although fast food exists that there is still a need for fine dining. His passion for photography is resounding, as he understands deeply the value of his work. He views each of his pieces as his children and says of his work, “You would not say I prefer this son because he is rich or this daughter because she is beautiful, they are all your creations and they are equally valuable” and

“So I do not have any photographs which are my favorites. Though I am proud of the photos I have taken of the royal family.” Books by Al Khan: 1. Bahrain Old Houses 2. Muharraq The Sea Rose 3. Democracy of 1973 Al Khan also had several exhibitions in the Kingdom of Bahrain and abroad and now has his own permanent exhibition at Bahrain House of Photography.

For further information please visit

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Ali Sharaf Photography
Ali Sharaf is taking the photography industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain by storm, presenting a new digitally enhanced final output that is grabbing lots of attention.

Focusing on both Editorial and Commercial industries, Ali Sharaf works with magazines and advertising agencies that require high quality images. Recently Ali Sharaf outdid himself again with stunning imagery for the launch marketing campaign of Viva, the Kingdom’s most recent telecommunications provider. Suffice to say, his work speaks to the general public as he himself is a Bahraini, born and raised who understands what is required to grab attention and give

his fellow citizens something new to aspire to. Sharaf says of his work, “people are often surprised that the images I create are the work of a Bahraini. Many other people believe that my work, along with the work of some other Bahraini photographers, is already at global standards. This is of course flattering but at the same time drives us to continuously build upon our skills to remain at that global level”. Ali Sharaf goes on to add that his work showcases a range of aspects however one

that he wishes to highlight is that the Kingdom of Bahrain has lots of talent within its indigenous population. He notes himself as being fortunate enough to work closely with a highly skilled team of Bahrainis, ranging from my special friend ‘Fahad Al Dossari’ Director of Esthetics to stylists, who he believes to be as equally talented as those in their fields internationally. Ali Sharaf presents himself with a mature outlook for his preferred field in art, fashion and beauty

photography. As a graduate from Manchester & London Workshops and seminars in the UK, he has taken his profession back to his homeland, where when asked about the comparison of freedom to express in the Kingdom, Sharaf answers that although Bahrain is a more conservative culture he has not felt himself to be excessively limited in how he presents his work. He stoically acknowledges that, “the concept of beauty is one that differs from one region to the next so I actually consider myself


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fortunate to be able to address the challenges that come along with producing images that can be regarded as pleasing and beautiful to a varied audience be they conservative or otherwise”. Taking full advantage of the digital revolution and armed with his knowledge and skills in digital enhancement that he acquired from his former career in graphic design, when describing his work, Ali Sharaf mentions that, “we now live in the digital age whereby the process of editing a

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photo once it has been captured is commonplace amongst professional photographers and has actually developed into a high level of expertise in some respects. I cannot speak for other photographers but in my case, I use the post-production process to reinforce what I had envisioned for the image, identify things that were out of my control during the shoot, and move the image in the direction that it needs to go to”. In Sharaf’s opinion, retouching should be realistic in order to enhance the natural beauty of his subjects rather than radically altering them. To Sharaf there are many aspects of his work that he enjoys from the planning stages of a project all the way through to the post production phase and handover. Sharaf takes pleasure in addressing the unique challenges that come with every new project and feels lucky to have the support and creative input of a great team. “I was fortunate enough to learn from world class photographers over the course of my studies and at the same time it opened my eyes to the level of professionalism that exists in the field of photography outside our region. Photography as a profession and industry in Bahrain, and within the region, is still a relatively new concept on many levels. By way of a simple example, I am often approached to produce an advertising campaign for certain publications within a timeline of one week and within a limited budget; this is something that is far less common in Europe or the US where the photography industry is at a maturity level higher than our own and photographers are given months to put together an advertising concept for renowned publications and are working with sizeable budgets. This is something I anticipate will change as the industry evolves here”. On reflecting on the overall photography industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain, Sharaf declares that, “there are few Bahraini photographers that are able to pursue their passion as a full time career since this can be financially challenging as the industry currently stands. I hope that as my work and that of my fellow professional Bahraini photographers continues to evolve

to a level that is consistently at level with global standards, that together our work will open doors for other Bahrainis to follow their dreams and become even more successful as professional photographers. In terms of what I wish to give back to the international market, my hope is that we as Bahraini photographers are able to be recognized as a

meaningful and relevant talent to the industry overall. The world is a much smaller place now than what it was 10 or 20 years ago so I look forward to the prospect of sharing our unique vision, and collaborating with a wider audience”. When asked about the pinnacle of his success, Ali Sharaf explains that, “being regarded as an image-

maker of an international standard has been very rewarding as has the opportunity to work with some well known global brands. I have my sights set on higher goals beyond the region as the fashion industry is one that plays out on a global stage”.

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Health, Beauty and Wellness


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“We want to be recognized by our clients as the Best Resort in the World”.
Mr. Zee Bassila, Director, Sales & Marketing Banyan Tree Spa, Kingdom of Bahrain

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The Beauty Beat
Arab women have the world’s healthiest and youngest looking skin, reveals a research by Swiss-based Clinique la Praire.

Various genetic and environmental factors contribute to this ranking, which is reinforced by the range of traditional beauty regimens that Arab women have embraced for centuries, and which have now grown in popularity worldwide. Bahrain is no different with a history of using herbal plants in traditional medicine. It is well-known that the skin is reflective of the health of an individual. A flawless and glowing

complexion is sure indication of wellness, which certainly adds to the beauty of a person. The Kingdom of Bahrain has a rich history of using indigenous plants as medicine. About 20 indigenous species have been known to be used in the herbal remedies for numerous afflictions. These remedies that appear simple include boiling, infusions, extraction of milled dry or fresh leaves, flowers, seeds or whole plants. Also, certain plant parts were either

consumed raw or cooked. Besides traditional medicine, beauty treatments were also used to maintain good health. Some of the beauty treatments followed in the country are outlined here.... Hands on The art of henna painting has been practised for at least 5,000 years in the Middle East and Indian subcontinent. Henna is made from henna tree leaves, which are collected and ground

up into a paste by mixing with hot water and then allowed to ferment. The design process is done using a small cone that has a hole from which henna comes out when pressure is applied. Henna, which lasts about 12 days, traditionally adorns the hands and feet of women during special occasions such as engagements, weddings and Eid. Designs vary in different regions with each baring a particular design according to cultural tastes; for example unlike


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Image by: Haifa Hassan -

Image by: Ezzat Alzurba

the Indian designs which are very intetricate, the Bahraini Henna style uses a lot of white spaces and larger designs, usually of flowers and leaves or oriental geometric shapes. There are many types of traditional henna designs, now only popular with the older generations, including Al Ghammsa, which is hand painting up to the elbow. The Al Jutti style involves tinting two joints of each finger, while the Bittat style is formed of four triangles

with small dots drawn on the palm of the hand. Flowers or stars are also used in this design. With a thicker consistency, henna is also used to dye hair. The red-coloured henna is normally preferred and is applied for several hours to attain the desired look and lustre. Henna is also noted for its medicinal properties. It is an antiseptic for soothing burns, eczema and providing relief from bruises and arthritic pain. Henna is also used to treat athlete’s foot, corns, foot

A sweet body Halawa or sugaring is a traditional Arabic hair removal technique. Used by the Ancient Egyptians, halawa, which translates as ‘sweet’, is an all-natural mixture of sugar, water and lemon juice. It is also water-soluble and non-toxic, which makes it mild on the skin,

Image by: Haifa Hassan -

odour, blisters and minor cuts. When mixed with vinegar and applied to the head, henna is thought to alleviate headaches.

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Health and Beauty
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Image by: Haifa Hassan -

as well as environmentally friendly. The mixture is heated to the edge of crystallisation and formed into a soft ball, flattened onto the skin, then quickly striped away. The hair is removed at the root. The lukewarm halawa only sticks to the hair and not the skin, so unlike other waxing methods, it does not irritate the skin and is safe to apply to all skin types. It is a gentler means of hair removal, especially on sensitive areas of the body and gives smooth, silky results that last four to six weeks; much longer than shaving or depilatory creams. Sugaring diminishes hair growth rapidly and the more frequently it is done the finer the hair tends to grow back. Get steamy The hammam or Turkish bath is closely related to the Ancient Roman’s bathing practices. It was developed in the Middle East as a means of cleansing the body as well as a place for socialising where conversation and gossip

was exchanged. This centuries old steam bath is seeing resurgence in popularity amongst locals as well as tourists. Hammams have thick stone walls and domed roofs. Once inside, bathers relax in a hot, humid marble chamber or room and allow the moisture to soften and penetrate their skin. This room is known as the warm room and allows the bather to perspire freely. You may then move to an even hotter room known as the hot room. An attendant wearing a traditional chequered sheet, called a pestemal, then scrubs the body vigorously with an abrasive cloth, removing dead skin and leaving the layer beneath so smooth it gleams. This removes toxins from the body and relieves muscular aches. An invigorating dousing with water follows, and bathers are left to stretch out on the hot marble stone at the centre of the chamber, heated from beneath by air circulating from a wood-

burning furnace. After performing a full body wash and receiving a massage, bathers finally retire to the cooling-room for a period of relaxation. Spas in the Kingdom of Bahrain There is no dearth of spas offering top class rejuvenation treatments in the Kingdom. Beauty treatments from other countries including Thailand, India and Morocco are also offered at the various spas, here. Infact the biggest and most extensive spa in the Middle East, Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen is in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Offering an extensive range of treatments including private steam rooms, ice igloo, pelotherapy chamber, sanarium, affusion showers and brine cavern, the spa is a must-visit for a spa aficionado. Another spa worth visiting is at the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa that has a Hammam with a steam room and four pools along with two massage rooms. The La

Fontaine Spa uses the concept of balancing all the forces of the human body, namely the mental, physical, emotional and spiritual – by using natural treatments for the face. With such a huge variety of beauty treatments available, it is all the more reason to visit the Kingdom of Bahrain and leave with a relaxed smile.

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Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen
The Banyan Tree Spa has developed and branched out into the Best Spa Resort in the world today.


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Now, the challenge lies in maintaining this image. The 10,000 square metre Spa in Bahrain took 3 years to build into what it is today. Over 35 staff members who come from the different spas of Banyan Tree work at this facility. They have all been well-trained at either one of the three Banyan Tree Spa training academies

located in different countries in Asia, where each therapist studies 300 hours before she starts handling any guest. This allows her to be familiar with the physiology, anatomy of the human body and standard spa services. Spa treatments include several signature ones. But the treatment that is most popular

with the guests is the Royal Banyan Package. Celebrities, too, frequent the spa that places privacy as a top priority. Little wonder then, that Banyan Tree Spa has been voted as the “Best Spa Resort in the world”. The inspiration comes from the Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts culture and

know-how, after all Banyan Tree first took root as a spa before turning into a resort chain.

Tel: +973 17 845 000

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Training, Education & CSR


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“It is through the continued support of HRH Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and the support of our endowment fund sponsors that the CPISP has grown into one of the most successful scholarship programs in the region.”
Dr. Ronald Koller, CPISP Director

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Training, Education & CSR
Education paves a path to help one achieve goals and realise dreams. In acknowledgement of this fact, the Kingdom of Bahrain has made provisions for education in Vision 2030.

HH Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Royal Charity Organization - Kingdom of Bahrain


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The Kingdom has always displayed its keenness to encourage the employment of its citizens in various capacities, especially in the public sector. And the private sector too, with its share of vast opportunities beckons the Bahrainis. However, to be able to compete for such jobs, certain skills like excellent English communication are required. Such demands call for sustained training. Vision 2030 calls for developing an education system that will empower every citizen with suitable educational qualifications to meet his or her occupational requirements. This calls for raising the standards and performance of schools, vocational institutions and universities. In order to achieve that, properly-trained teachers must be available. By way of improving their

recruitment and training, enhancing the managing of their performance, improving their image in society and increasing the attractiveness of careers in teaching, the standard of education could be raised a notch higher. Other strategies include providing quality training in world-class applied and advanced skills to meet new challenges and requirements. And regular review the quality of performance of the educational institutions to check if they are at par with world-class standards. Also, research and development will be encouraged to create the platform for a knowledge-based economy. Another initiative of the Government to create channels of opportunities for Bahrainis is Tamkeen. Meaning ‘Labour Fund’, the initiative is a powerful

agent for change and has several successful initiatives to showcase its efforts. Through economic reform, training reform and attitudinal change, to a lesser level, Tamkeen organises and executes its initiatives that are bound into the Labour Market Reforms. The main goal is to position the locals as top choices for jobs in the private sector that is achieved through funds from the fees for expatriate work permits. These funds pay for training and study and to subsidise salary increase incentives for Bahrainis. Tamkeen not only has the freedom when it comes to setting its own agenda, it provides freedom to those enrolled Bahrainis to be employed not just in the Kingdom of Bahrain, but elsewhere globally.

Corporate Social Responsibility is taken as an essential responsibility in the country. As such, Islam calls for the individual to give a portion of his income to the society. However, charity involves not only sharing money but time too. The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) is one organisation that supports the rights of migrant workers and seeks to resolve their suffering. The members volunteer their efforts to work collectively to eradicate abuse of low-income workers and launch initiatives to uplift their rights. MWPS has come a long way and tastes success when it comes to combating human rights issues faced by low-income workers. For it is them who have helped build what stands today as the Kingdom of Bahrain.

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The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP)

HRH the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, addresses the audience at the 2009 CPISP Graduate Recognition Ceremony at the Court of the Crown Prince.

When and why was the Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Programme established? The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) was established in 1999 by HRH the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, with the aim of providing the opportunity to Bahrain’s brightest, most talented and outstanding youth to study at top international universities and colleges. His Royal Highness’ vision is to develop young Bahrainis from all walks of life so that they can achieve their dreams and aspirations, and attain key positions that will contribute to Bahrain’s development, through serving in the public or private sectors or through the international arena. In terms of specific milestones and achievements, how has the scholarship programme evolved since its inception? As of 2009, The Program has awarded a total of 96 scholarships to outstanding Bahraini secondary school students. Ten fully funded under-graduate scholarships are awarded on an annual basis to 5 young men and 5 young women from both private and governmental secondary schools, providing them the opportunity to study at top international

universities and colleges. The first group of scholarship recipients included 6 students from the Ministry of Education schools. However, in 2001, HRH the Crown Prince decided to increase the total number of annual scholarships to 10, and include four scholarships for students from private schools. Scholarship recipients are free to choose their own majors and universities that they gain acceptance from. The Program requires its scholars to attend international universities abroad, so that they receive cultural exposure and gain the most out of their academic experience. Government school students are required to undergo two years of either prep or boarding school, where they attain a high school post graduate diploma or A Levels, before applying to University. This gives them the opportunity to improve their English language and research writing skills; the results have proven to be outstanding when it comes to obtaining a seat in prestigious universities. The Program works hard to create a family atmosphere among students, parents and staff, arranging for various activities and social functions throughout the year. HRH the Crown Prince meets students in small informal groups twice a year upon their return to Bahrain during

their summer and winter breaks to personally ask about their progress and development. CPISP officials also make trips during the year to the US and UK to check on students and visit schools and universities to build and maintain ties, and seek scholarship opportunities for future candidates and recipients. The Program encourages students to actively participate in academic field trips, summer projects and other initiatives which enrich their learning experience and develop personal growth. CPISP students have proudly represented Bahrain by undertaking field trips and summer projects around the world including Borneo, France, South Africa, Syria and Tasmania. Students are also required to partake in summer internships so that they can gain work experience and prepare for their future career plans. In 2004, the Program’s first group of scholars graduated from university with Bachelors’ degrees and either began employment or continued with their post-graduate degrees, funded by HRH the Crown Prince. The Program places no restrictions on students on where they work upon graduation. In fact, HRH encourages graduates to obtain a job in the global arena and gain international work experience and exposure before returning to Bahrain. In 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI)


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recognized HRH the Crown Prince for his efforts in setting up the CPISP and his commitment to fund the program with $32 million over the next 10 years. In 2006, HRH launched the CPISP Endowment Fund, opening the door for sponsors to contribute to the Program’s continued operation and development through financial support. A Board of Directors was established, chaired by HRH the Crown Prince, and six of the thirteen seats on the Board have been reserved for sponsors. The Fund also enabled the CPISP to provide its scholars with the opportunity to pursue post-graduate degrees and take part in specialized educational enrichment programs. The CPISP Action Learning Program was launched as a result, and has allowed CPISP students to develop their leadership and team working abilities, as well as learn from hands-on experience in a work environment by working on a real business challenge with top companies. In 2009, the CPISP added a leadership, critical thinking, and communication segment to its final selection criteria, organizing a 4 week training workshop for candidates vying for the Crown Prince’s annual scholarships. Students took part in activities and exercises aimed at developing their leadership, critical thinking, and communication skills; and interacted with mentors from various organizations who also received training on how to assess the students. The CPISP Alumni Association was also launched, and includes 46 CPISP graduates who are either employed, pursuing post-graduate degrees, or taking part in specialized projects. The Alumni Association works to create a lasting connection between the CPISP and its graduates. It’s objectives and duties not only include organizing reunions and activities for graduates, but will also involve assisting the Program in developing beneficial programs and projects for current students. As the CPISP celebrates its ten year anniversary, it recognizes that it is the Bahraini students themselves who can take credit for the Program’s success. As a result of their hard work, outstanding academic performance, and numerous personal achievements, the CPISP has earned itself a high reputation among the educational institutions and international organizations that it deals with. What strategic approach to education do you adopt? Does your scholarship programme focus on delivering assistance to schools in certain geographic areas of Bahrain? What is your selection rationale? CPISP has developed its own specialized process to shortlist scholarship candidates and select the final recipients. First, CPISP staff brief 11th grade students with high GPAs about the Program and its application criteria through presentations and school visits. Students then submit their applications to the Scholarship Office and sit for a Qualifying English Language Test administered by the CPISP. To qualify as

a CPISP applicant, students must be enrolled in the 11th grade and have a 97 per cent or higher cumulative GPA for grade 10 and the first semester of grade 11, as well as Bahraini citizenship. The top 60 students are then shortlisted based on their GPAs and English Test scores. These candidates are then given the opportunity to benefit from various educational workshops administered by the Program over the summer and throughout their final academic year of secondary school. Candidates are offered a series of courses, workshops and seminars commencing in March and concluding in December. The candidates begin with a course that prepares them to take the IELTS and SAT. The CPISP registers the candidates for the IELTS and SAT and organizes the administration of these assessments. During the summer candidates take part in a specialized training program, which aims to develop their leadership, communication, and critical thinking skills. From September until December a variety of seminars relating to applying to university, selecting a career and exploring other options for financing university education are available to the candidates. A local college fair is held at the conclusion of these seminars. The final ten scholarship recipients are selected based on their GPA, scores on the SAT and IELTS, and a score from the summer training program. The selection process, including all student scores and grades, is reviewed by an independent auditing firm to ensure accuracy and transparency. What are some of the international universities that students have attended? Do you provide funding for post-graduate education through master’s and doctoral programmes? The CPISP currently provides both undergraduate and post-graduate funding for its scholars, who are selected at the secondary school level. CPISP scholars have gained acceptance into some of the most distinguished international universities in the US, UK, and France. They include: US Universities: • Boston College • Brown University • Columbia University • Cornell University • Drake University • Emory University • Georgetown University • Harvard University • Johns Hopkins University • Lake Forest College • Massachusetts Institute of Technology • Michigan State University • New York University • Princeton University • Purdue University • Rochester Institute of Technology

• • • • • • • •

Stanford University Tufts University University of Chicago University of Hartford University of Michigan University of Pennsylvania University of Southern California Yale University

UK Universities: • Architectural Association • University of Birmingham • University of Durham • Imperial College London • King’s College London • London School of Economics and Political Science • Loughborough University • University of Manchester • Oxford University • School of Oriental and African Studies • University College London • University of Bristol • University of Cambridge • University of Nottingham • University of Warwick French Universities: • Paris Graduate School of Management • Sciences Po How is your programme funded? And how do you determine funding priorities? The Program was initially funded solely by HRH the Crown Prince when it was established in 1999. In 2006 the Program’s endowment fund was launched, which has since attracted a total of 27 sponsors who have pledged, in addition to HRH’s continued annual contribution of BD 1.5 million to the Program, a combined total of BD 18 million over the next 5 years. The Program currently operates on a yearly budget of about BD 1.8 million, and is supporting 48 students pursuing their Bachelor’s degrees, 5 pursuing Master’s degrees, and 5 pursuing their doctorates. The annual financial support provided by HRH the Crown Prince and sponsors goes into the CPISP’s yearly operational budget and into investments that will generate funding for the Program’s future operations. The Program’s funding priorities include all student related expenses, followed by promotion of the Program to attract sponsorship and support of its endowment fund. The CPISP covers the costs of students’ tuition fees, accommodation, and health insurance. Students are given a yearly allowance which differs according to their location of study, and are also provided with round trip airline tickets from Bahrain to their school or university at least once a year during their holiday breaks. Upon their graduation from university, the Program provides two air tickets to the parents or guardians of each student to attend their university commencement

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explore career and university options through seminars and a college fair. Is CPISP in partnership with other government or non-government scholarship initiatives? Do you work in tandem with them? The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program operates as a separate entity that provides scholarships to select outstanding Bahraini secondary school students, from both private and governmental secondary schools, on an annual basis. Qualifying students must apply directly for the Crown Prince’s scholarships the year prior to their actual secondary school graduation. Application forms can be downloaded from the CPISP website (www. and submitted to the Scholarship Offices, which are currently located at the Court of the Crown Prince. To brief outstanding students about the Program’s application process, the CPISP works with the Ministry of Education and individual private secondary schools to organize and set up presentations and school visits. The Program also works with various business organizations to provide scholarship candidates and recipients with internships and career-related information. Local organizations take part in the training programs organized by the CPISP, offering candidates and recipients their guidance and expertise as mentors and colleagues. A local college fair is also organized by the CPISP for its candidates, which provides students with other educational options in the region. Applicants and candidates who do not earn the Crown Prince’s scholarship are able to earn other scholarship opportunities from other organizations. Various government and semigovernment organizations and ministries have approached CPISP candidates with scholarship opportunities as well. How do you help raise awareness about the importance of education and what additional measures do you think could be taken to spread the word? HRH the Crown Prince’s vision regarding the Kingdom’s future recognizes the crucial role of education, training, and youth and human development. With the establishment of the endowment fund, the Program has taken measures to approach outside organizations from the private sector and business community to support HRH in achieving the Program’s objectives. The CPISP strives to promote its objectives on a local community level, as well as internationally. Through its private school visits and government school presentations, the CPISP calls on outstanding students to take advantage of the educational opportunities available to them, and to benefit from international cultural exposure. The CPISP also utilizes the local media and its own in-house Spotlight magazine, to showcase its message and highlight the achievements

of its scholars. The success and personal accomplishments of CPISP scholars and alumni are a testament to the outcomes of a solid education. Internationally, the CPISP has proven to be one of the most productive scholarship programs in the region. Program officials continuously work to maintain ties with international universities and educational institutions; and due to the students supported by the Program, the CPISP has earned a reputable standing with top universities and education-related organizations. How do you envision the Bahraini public and private sectors benefiting from graduates who are recipients of your scholarships? Is ‘brain drain’ an issue? Recipients of the Crown Prince’s scholarships have proven to excel in their academic environments, extracurricular activities, and in the workplace. During their internship and workrelated experiences, scholars have received high recommendations from senior officials in praise of their performance and quality work. The CPISP aspires to see its scholars attain a substantial education, gain international cultural exposure, and secure employment opportunities that will allow them to demonstrate their full potential and productivity. By attaining key decision-making roles in the private or public sectors, CPISP scholars will contribute to Bahrain’s development and future both nationally and globally. Although the CPISP places no restrictions on where students work after graduation, students are encouraged to gain international work experience and exposure before returning to Bahrain. Many students choose to return to Bahrain upon their graduation to support the growth of their country directly. Due to the quality performance demonstrated by their predecessors, CPISP scholars are sought by major companies and organizations in Bahrain with promising job offers. Out of all the valuable work and scholarships you have provided, is there a particular high-achieving student that stands out in your mind? Do tailor-made leadership programmes help foster exceptional talent? CPISP takes great pride in the academic excellence and achievements of its scholars. To apply for the Program, students must have a 97 per cent GPA at the secondary school level. Most CPISP scholars continue to excel academically, reaching honor rolls and deans’ lists of their chosen schools and universities; many graduate with honors and distinctions. Scholars also become active members of their student communities, pursuing various extracurricular activities including sports, and teaching. Professionally, CPISP scholars receive high appraisals from executives for their exemplary performance in the working environment. The following are a few examples of some of the CPISP’s distinguished scholars.

Georgetown University, USA

Columbia University, USA

Princeton University, USA

ceremonies. The CPISP also provides its recipients with the opportunity to take part in additional education enrichment programs in cooperation with other organizations, such as its in-house Action Learning Program and the Academy of Achievement’s International Summit. The CPISP also funds various programs for eligible candidates applying for scholarships, as well as its scholars. As mentioned before, the CPISP provides its qualifying candidates with SAT and IELTS training workshops, a specialized leadership, critical thinking, and communication development program, and the opportunity to


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• Khalid Adnan Fakhro received the Crown Prince’s scholarship in 2001, going on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with specialization in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Chicago, USA. Upon his graduation with Honors in 2005, Khalid received a scholarship from Yale University to pursue a PhD in Human Genetics. From 2006 to 2008, Khalid was accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Scholars Program (HHMI MRSP) at Yale University, designed to encourage rigorous training in science to solve medical/clinical challenges. Khalid’s experience as a lab member of the Human Genetics Department at Yale University has included acquiring and implementing a variety of techniques such as high-throughput screening, fluorescence microscopy, cell culture, PCR genotyping, microarray SNP chip analysis and biochemical assays. • Marwa Khaled Al Sabbagh earned the Crown Prince’s scholarship in 2001, after which she was placed into Oundle Boarding School, UK to complete her A-Levels. While pursuing her Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Nottingham College, UK Marwa was awarded the Duke of Edinburgh Gold Award and the British Council International Silver Award “Shine”. Marwa was also awarded the Nuffield Foundation Science Bursary for Undergraduate Research to work in the Institute of Genetics at the University of Nottingham in the summer of 2005, going on to graduate with first class honors from Nottingham. Marwa then went on to complete her Master’s degree in Biological Research from Imperial College London with distinction, and received the Overseas Research Student (ORS) scholarship from Imperial College London to pursue a PhD in Reproductive Biology: Uterine Biology. • Lubna Al Tajir received the Crown Prince’s scholarship in 2001, after which she went on to graduate from the University of Bristol, UK with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication Engineering. She was awarded the Toshiba Prize for the most innovative final year research project, entitled “Finite Difference Time Domain (FDTD) modeling of Photonic Crystal Devices.” The project focused on how to find the optimum characteristics for photonic crystals which can be highly efficient in electronic communications. After graduation Lubna started teaching Mathematics at Norwood School as part of Teach First, a charity recruiting outstanding graduates to teach at challenged UK secondary schools. In 2006 Lubna won first place in the Teach First school projects ideas competition. She proposed “The Apprentice Club” (based on “The Apprentice” TV program but modified for school environments). She later secured funding from the charity UnLtd to set-up and run the project. In 2007 she was graded as

Recipients of the Crown Prince’s 2009 scholarships.

an ‘Outstanding’ teacher by the Office of Standards in Education. Lubna then joined Deloitte Consulting, London and in 2009 received an ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’. • Fatema Ghazi Al-Arayedh received the Crown Prince’s scholarship in 2002, going on to pursue a high-school post graduate diploma from Choate Rosemary Hall, USA. Fatema then gained acceptance into Yale University, where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science. During her undergraduate years at Yale, Fatema was a very active member of the student body, taking part in various student associations, including the Halal Food Committee and the Muslim Students Association; and launched a Yale Chapter of Operation Smile, which works to provide plastic surgery for children with cleft lips and tumors. She also helped co-found the Arab Students Association at Yale, serving as a board member and vice-president. Upon her graduation from University, Fatema returned to Bahrain and began employment at the Economic Development Board, where she worked in cooperation with the Ministry of Justice on the national economic reform initiative Vision:2030 for the Kingdom of Bahrain. Fatema is currently pursuing her judicial doctorate at Columbia University Law School, USA. • Ahmed Yusuf Abdulla received the Crown Prince’s Scholarship in 2005, going on to graduate from Princeton University in 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical Engineering – focus on Entrepreneurship and Management. Upon graduation, Ahmed joined the Princeton in Africa Fellowship Program, where he will be spending a year in Burkina Faso developing a Carbon Assessment Strategy for International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering (2iE). Ahmed has been involved in various projects, studies and papers. He co-authored a paper on how the

confluence of a nation’s vulnerability and its risk of climate change can predict whether or not it will experience civil violence. As a result Ahmed was invited to lead a panel discussion on the effects of climate change on civil violence in Africa at the American Geophysical Union’s Joint Assembly in Toronto in May 2009. Ahmed has also coauthored a proposal for the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels using non-fossil fuel sources, and is a freelance 3D-modeler and an amateur astronomer. Ahmed is a member of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). What plans and projects does CPISP have for the future? With the continued support of HRH Prince Salman, the CPISP hopes to draw in continued sponsorship from organizations dedicated to the Kingdom’s youth and educational development. This will ensure the Program’s continued operation, and allow it to gradually increase the number of scholarships it awards each year while maintaining the quality of opportunities available to its recipients. The Program also hopes to introduce further educational enrichment programs and training for its scholars, and open up its scholarships to graduates. What personal challenges and aspirations do you have for the future of CPISP target segments? The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program aims to equip Bahrain’s outstanding youth with the education and resources that will allow them to succeed academically and professionally. The success, accomplishments, and achievements of Bahrain’s talented youth will lay the foundation for Bahrain’s future, and allow the younger generation to take key leadership and decision-making roles that will contribute to Bahrain’s development.

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Royal Charity Organization
The Royal Charity Organization (RCO) was established by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on July 14, 2001 with a decree to serve, donate for the cause of and help all the orphans of the Kingdom of Bahrain.

His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa meeting with orphans in the Kingdom of Bahrain

In November, 4, 2001, another Royal Decree was issued by His Majesty King to assign the organization with providing care for widows. Also in November, 27, 2007, yet another Royal Decree was issued to re-organize the RCO, with His Majesty the King as the Honorary President of the organization and HH Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa as the Chairman of the Board of Trustees. Our Mission Royal Decree No. 33 for the Year 2007 has defined the Mission of the Organization as follows: • Sponsoring the Widows and Orphans and caring for the

Dr. Mustafa Al Sayed, Secretary General of the RCO

Elderly and the People with Special Need. Providing Social, Health and Educational Care, and contributing in mitigating the burden of Cost of Living in respect of the needy families. Contributing in setting up and developing Social and Charity Projects. Contributing in the Sustainable Development activities. Carrying out any other directives that are made by His Majesty, the Honorary President of the Organization, and / or carrying out duties that are ratified by the Board of Trustees.


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Our Vision To Be… A leading Royal Organization in the field of Charity and Social activities in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Our Message Through the generous Royal Care and by the Distinguished Performance, we would commit ourselves to carry out Charitable, benevolence and gracious activities; and to put in effect a humanitarian, social and economical role that pays dividend to the citizens; and to contribute in improving the spirit of cooperation in order to raise the status of charity Activities; and to support the resources of the Needy People in the Kingdom. Our Values • Benevolent Deeds • Integrity • Communal Cooperation • Fairness • Creativity • Group Activities • Respect for Others The Organization Provides The Following Living Care : • Monthly Payment for individual Orphans and widows sponsored by the Organization. • Season Allowances (Ramadan, Eid..etc.). • Discount Cards. Educational Care: • Schools Uniforms and all necessary stationery. • Higher Education Scholarship. • Education scholarship for the disabled. • Additional Tutorial lessons. • Private institutions scholarship.

The Organization Provides The Following Social Care: • Educational and Social trips. • Summer Activities. • Spring Camps. • National Events. • The ideal mother award. • Mothers and Orphans councils. Health Care: • Provide free medical services. • Health educational seminars. Sociological Care: • Advice Centre. • Periodical visits and evaluation. • Sociological treatments. Development Care: • Employment Program. • Leadership Program. March 2009 Housing Rehabilitation & Renovation Project August 2009 Humanitarian Aid

HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, honors the Royal Charity Organization (RCO) on winning the worldwide Islamic Relief (IR) Award, in recognition of RCO’s charity work in the Kingdom of Bahrain and abroad. The Award in particular recognizes RCO’s excellence in providing aid and assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, an initiative which is a part of the Kingdom’s larger role in national advocacy for the Palestinian people during the Israeli war on Gaza.

Tel: +973 17 313666 Email:

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Bahrain Polytechnic

Established in September 2008, Bahrain Polytechnic offers degree programmes in Engineering Technology, Information & Communications Technology, Business and International Logistics Management. The institution has been established in line with Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030. With a mission to build a better future for each Bahraini by providing improved training and education opportunities, Bahrain Polytechnic offers and teaches internationally recognised programmes that are fully based on the application of new knowledge in real-life situations. This helps the students acquire

high levels of critical thinking and problem solving skills. Currently Business is the most popular choice for students. Further programmes are being developed in areas such as Design which are also high in demand. The programmes also focus on enhancing students’ teamwork, communication, work ethics and English language skills. The use of information technology in teaching and learning is a key component of the Polytechnic’s programmes. The objective is to provide graduates who are work-ready and have the range of both applied skills and problem solving abilities to meet the current


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passing years. Currently, the majority of the faculty is involved in the teaching of English, a core element of learning at the Polytechnic. Industry-Ready Graduates Bahrain Polytechnic maintains a close relationship with the various industries, employers and professional groups, both in Bahrain and abroad. This ensures that the students receive continuous assistance and advice that will enable them to be ‘work ready’ and make a productive contribution to Bahrain’s economic development. Attaining World-Class Recognition and emerging challenges of the work place. It is this depth and breadth of skills which will equip young Bahrainis to both contribute to and benefit from the achievements of the 2030 vision. Faculty The highly experienced and skilled faculty at Bahrain Polytechnic possess a mix of academic qualifications, industry experience and teaching skills. The majority of the faculty are from overseas with large numbers of New Zealanders, Irish, Australians, British and others. These expatriates work alongside a group of Bahraini faculty that is expected to grow with the With the aim to be a world class institution, Bahrain Polytechnic has sourced most degree programmes from reputed overseas universities and been subject to the accreditation regimes of the provider countries. Others are being developed by internationally recognised subject matter experts. The Polytechnic also engages international quality assurance agencies to undertake periodic reviews to ensure academic programmes are of international standards. Thanks to the support of the Economic Development Board and the National Education Reform Project Board, the Polytechnic has obtained a high profile in the Kingdom and has

already enjoyed great success in student recruitment. Challenges However, Bahrain Polytechnic is still a newly established institution and a new concept of higher education in Bahrain. The primary objective of the Polytechnic is to create an awareness of its presence among the Bahraini students, parents and employers. For that, the Polytechnic has a strong Marketing and Liaison team committed to “spreading the word” about what the Polytechnic has to offer to Bahrain. The challenge also remains to ensure that all students have the language skills to excel in their studies. The Polytechnic has responded by putting great emphasis on English language teaching throughout the whole course of students’ study at Bahrain Polytechnic.

The Way Forward Exciting times are ahead for Bahrain Polytechnic with plans of introducing short-term courses, certificate and diploma courses, directed at upgrading the skills of those already in employment and those actively seeking employment. The polytechnic will also work towards strengthening and developing existing ties within the industry, business and other employers. This partnership is likely to foster sharing staff resources, student placements, curriculum advice, graduate employment schemes, as well as scholarships. It’s certainly the way forward for Bahrain Polytechnic! Tel: +973 17 897 000

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Migrant Workers Protection Society

MWPS hopes to engage the whole of society to eradicate abuse and exploitation of low-income workers.

The development of the Kingdom of Bahrain that gained momentum around the 1970s saw an exodus of migrants into the country, particularly those seeking to work as labourers, the majority of whom came from countries like India, Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka. Whilst it is true that the Kingdom of Bahrain is a land of opportunity and has been the harbinger of wealth and good fortune to many, it is a sad reality that not all have been so lucky. Untold tragic stories have abounded, but not for long. A small group of volunteers, migrants themselves, of various nationalities, initially started to work independently to provide protection and assistance to lowincome migrant workers who have been exploited and/or abused.

Legally established in February 2005 at the invitation of the Ministry of Social Development, the Society that worked under the umbrella of The Bahrain Centre for Human Rights as ‘Migrant Workers Group’, has now grown into a group of about fifty volunteers who contribute their personal time and effort to improve working and living conditions for the workers and to offer them a ‘voice’ when they suffer injustices. The Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) now runs a shelter to house female domestic workers who have left their place of employment due to some form of abuse. The main problems that are commonly faced are: - Non-payment and irregular payment of salaries


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- Underpayment of promised salaries - Workers not being given contracts / contract violations - False complaints by the employer - Physical and sexual abuse and harassment - Current labor law not adequately covering domestic workers - Withholding of CPRs and passports by employers - Language barrier (hindering all communication) Unfortunately, this has not affected the number of people desiring to come to work here due to a lack of awareness from the labor-sending countries and of course the level of poverty in which they live in their countries. And the most affected are the unskilled low-income migrant workers and domestic workers. The reasons are numerous, some of which are: - Lack of awareness of their rights - Language barriers with employers and relevant government authorities - Fear of reprisal when trying to defend their own rights - Inadequate knowledge of rules and regulations in the gulf countries - Inadequate support from their embassies and communities To combat these issues, MWPS has structured itself into four core committees. Action Committee: To actively support male and female migrant workers round the clock who are experiencing work-related injustices Shelter Committee: To manage the shelter that houses female domestic workers who have been abused by their employers until their cases have been resolved by government institutions and authorities. Labor Safety & Welfare Committee: To work towards ensuring that health and safety standards are being adhered to in both the work place and in the labor accommodation.

Since 2005, MWPS has housed over 500 female domestic workers in its Shelter and helped them to address and resolve their issues and complaints as well, not to mention offering aid to thousands of stranded workers across the island.

Fund Raising Committee: To raise necessary funds to support the activities carried out by the society. The Government of the Kingdom of Bahrain has been of tremendous support as well. In 2009, MWPS received a generous donation from HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Ministry of Social Development and the Indian Embassy have pitched in as well. All other funding comes from private donors and charitable organisations as well as their own fund-raising events. In addition, MWPS owes its gratitude for the cooperation and assistance provided by the Ministry of Labor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Labor Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA), General Directorate for Nationality, Passports, and Residency (GDNPR), Ministry of Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Social Development and the media. Challenges However, the members have a few challenges to contend with: - The lack of adequate compliance with and implementation of existing laws. - Shortage of dedicated and committed volunteers to contribute long hours in

addressing the different issues faced by migrant workers. - Language barriers when dealing with the workers and the government authorities. - Slow judiciary and bureaucratic processes that can take anywhere between 6 months to 2 to 3 years even. To a worker that can mean no salary and unemployment for the duration of the court case. Reaching Out MWPS positions itself through regular mention in the press, by word of mouth, through constant communication with the embassies and through government institutions such as police stations and hospitals. Members are always available to render their help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, sometimes long after midnight even, accepting all complaints if any migrant worker is in trouble irrespective of caste, religion, and race. They are also approached by various government departments and agencies and have built strong working relationships with them. Achievements MWPS is now a recognised society in this field nationally, regionally and globally who regularly meet and interact with many similar international organisations.

MWPS has established a strong relationship with various government entities. It is regularly consulted by various government departments in the Kingdom of Bahrain and asked for its input and contributions through workshops and conferences. It is one of only 3 non-governmental organisations invited to attend the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Personas at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They have also launched a Gas Stove initiative, which creates awareness and identifies the dangers of using kerosene stoves in labor accommodation and aims to in turn replace these with safer gas stoves. In time, they hope that the work and living conditions of all lowincome migrant workers can be raised to an acceptable standard, safe for everyone. Vision MWPS hopes to help change the general attitude of the public towards these employees who have made great sacrifices by leaving their homes and families behind to work in the country. After all, these people help make lives easier and help to accomplish more for the Kingdom of Bahrain and its people.

Tel: + 973 17 827895

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Real Estate, Construction & Design


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Architectural Landmarks
For the past few years, Bahrain has been undertaking a construction spree, with several major projects either just completed or on the verge of completion.

Hanan Hassan Alkhalfia

Projects comprise of residential apartments, mixed-use developments, villas, hotels and even man-made islands like Diyar Al Muharraq and Dilmunia. The latter is a health-centric island with related facilities in resort style including cosmetic surgery, sports medicine centre and alternative medicine centre. Significant amount of construction

materials are required for such projects and most of them are imported from GCC countries and Turkey, India and China. With human labour coming from abroad as well, mainly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and the Phillippines. The Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC) is remarkably one of the most iconic architectural

landmarks in the country of the 21st century. Designed by Atkins, the architecture and engineering consultancy that has designed Burj Khalifa in Dubai and constructed by joint venture of Nass and Murray & Roberts, the 50-storeyed twin towers offers panoramic views of Manama’s landscape. Featuring three large wind turbines on it’s exterior, BWTC is


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interconnected with a five-star Sheraton in addition to Moda Mall. Many touristic projects are being developed near the Bahrain International Circuit in the South of Island, known as the Southern Governate, such as Durrat Al

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Kingdom of Bahrain Pearl Roundabout a trophy upholding the pearl and six arms signifying the GCC nations

Bahrain Airport expansion plans to triple passanger capacity in the next 30 years

Bahrain and Expo City @ Bahrain initiated by Bahrain’s Exhibition and Convention Authority. Another note-worthy development is the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), a waterfront development located near Manama. Covering 380,000 square metres, BFH is a selfcontained community offering high-end office space, luxury residential accommodation, hotel, leisure and entertainment opportunities. It takes about ten minutes to reach BFH from Bahrain International Airport. Modern architecture, like many other aspects in Bahrain, co-exists with the ancient. With a rich heritage of ancient civilizations, it is not surprising to spot forts that were built centuries ago. The Bahraini Fort is one such landmark in Manama. Known in Arabic as Qalat Al Bahrain, it was built in the 14th century and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The Bahrain Fort is situated at the end of Karbabad village, on Bahrain’s central northern coast. Another building of historical importance is The Museum of Pearl Diving. Officially inaugurated by the late HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, in October 1937, it is the first official centre for the Bahrain Courts. At that time, the building was divided into four important sections, each of which represents the four Supreme Courts, excluding the three Directorates of the country. Today, it is a traditional heritage centre whose sections and rooms have been transformed into exhibition and presentation galleries. Other notable buildings are Bahrain’s National Museum and the Al Fateh Mosque with the world’s largest fiber glass dome.

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Dilmunia at Bahrain to promote health, wellness and tranquillity
Bahrain will soon be the home of an island dedicated exclusively to promoting and enhancing health and well-being.
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This manmade island, Dilmunia at Bahrain, is being created by Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), the developer and manager of Ithmaar Bank’s major development projects including real estate projects, infrastructure projects, resorts, hotels, medical facilities and commercial buildings. “Dilmunia at Bahrain is a master-planned development positioning itself as a global leader in the promotion and enhancement of health and well-being,” said


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IDC Chief Executive Officer and Member of the Board, Mohamed Khalil Al Sayed. “Dilmunia aims to enrich Bahrain’s tourism offerings, bringing varied facilities and experiences to people living in or visiting the Kingdom.” The Island is set to include three five-star hotels offering alternative therapeutic services, a four-star hotel with a commercial component, residential housing of different categories, in addition to the Island’s anchor theme;

and the central health and wellness cluster in Dilmunia Health District. The manmade island will be a mix of residential, hospitality, leisure and commercial developments, surrounding a core of comprehensive health and wellness amenities, which will together offer an alternative ‘balanced’ perspective towards life and living. “Dilmunia will be the destination for harried citizens of the Middle East and the world in search of an

environment that strives to prevent illness and promote healthy and active living,” says Al Sayed. “The project is being developed over an area of 125 hectares of land reclaimed off the northeast seashore of Muharraq Island only a few minutes away from the Bahrain International Airport.” Inspired by ancient Dilmun, widely believed to be the Garden of Eden, the Dilmunia at Bahrain Island will be a lush green oasis. The peace and tranquillity offered

by the myriad shades of green and clear blue water, will serve to complement the comfort and security of the dwellings. With expert healthcare and medical facilities just a stone’s throw away, the dream of achieving physical, mental, spiritual and emotional equilibrium will no longer be so elusive. “Dilmunia at Bahrain will promote healthy and active living through a combination of beautifully landscaped serene

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surroundings, health-oriented leisure amenities and worldclass conventional, aesthetic and alternative medical facilities,” says Al Sayed. “Residents will enjoy a lifestyle where the seamless integration of nature and architecture provides the ideal ambience for complete relaxation and interaction with nature; paramount to achieving a healthy work-life balance. Extensive and creative landscaping will inspire residents to spend time outdoors, whether exercising or strolling along the tree-lined avenues and waterfront paths. The intelligent integration of amenities with residential living will maximize opportunities to share quality time with friends and family,” he says. Dilmunia will offer internationalstandard health and wellness

facilities in a resort-style environment. In addition to specialist clinics, hospitals, spas and other wellness facilities, it will include boutique hotels, residential areas, leisure amenities, as well as shopping centres. Residing on Dilmunia will present a wide choice of housing options that have been designed to enhance wellness. From oneof-a-kind and unconventional secluded villas, to luxury condominiums, waterside, pier side and quayside living options set to capture your imagination, as well as your hearts. Meanwhile, life enriching hospitality will be offered at the various themed hotels, developed to cater to your every mood and craving; with practices from traditional Chinese concepts to Thai herbalist beliefs;


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French-inspired hydro remedies to traditional hammam rituals. In essence, world renowned practices to not only pamper, but uplift you into a state of wellness. Woven into the texture of life at Dilmunia will also be a multitude of lifestyle experiences for you to indulge in. Lifestyle oasis, strips or pods will be available for shopping, feasting, eating, relaxing or just chilling out. Specialized retail and designer outlets, hi-tech Cineplex’s or gourmet food and beverage outlets will jostle for your attention. In keeping with the philosophy at Dilmunia, cherishing health and wellness is of prime concern. With an access to world-class medical facilities and services, the promotion of better living and the prevention of lifestyle ailments will be achieved. Managed and

operated by a core group of medical professionals and worldrenowned specialists, the Wellness Centre will provide treatment options through alternative medicine, physical therapy, as well as through diagnostic tests, dietary control and conditioning for the body, mind and soul. Envisioned as an oasis of secrecy and delight, the Wellness garden of Dilmunia will co-exist in complete harmony with the concrete structures that form its landscape. A milieu of themed gardens, waterways, wetlands and parks provide the much needed contrast for creating that feeling of vibrant yet languid, the feeling of being one with nature. Life in Dilmunia, amidst the lush landscape, insightful designs, professionally run amenities and

lifestyle attractions, will motivate an awareness of wellness. It will inspire a view of life that emphasizes the state of the entire being and its ongoing development. It affirms this simple truth of life: ‘an active mind in an active body’, in an environment that is both spirited and dynamic. Reclamation work on US$1.6 billion island was formally completed on 31 May 2009 – and a new island was added to the shores of Bahrain. With the Project quickly taking shape, IDC has already concluded deals for the sale of additional plots on the Island, signed agreements with a prestigious international hotel chain and is now finalising negotiations with Dilmunia Health District partners. “The Island is located on the

north east coast of Muharraq, close to Amwaj Island, 500 meters south of it, and 500 meters away from the Muharraq ring road,” says Al Sayed. “It will be accessible by a bridge taking off from the ring road, some 500 meters before reaching the Amwaj Island access road.” “One of the unique characteristics of Dilmunia is the shield-shaped profile of the island,” says Al Sayed. “As a result, the Island is seven meters higher in the centre, where the medical cluster is located, than it is at the shoreline. This will mean improved views for everyone as well as the ability to build underground parking facilities.”

Tel: +973 17 584 600

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Welcome to DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ, one of the biggest mixed-use residential urban development in Bahrain!

Aaref Hejres - Chief Executive Officer of DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ

What is particularly significant about it is that this 12-square kilometre city is being created entirely on reclaimed land off the northern shores of Muharraq. Already, the first stage of reclamation is 97 percent complete with handover of the northern islands in March 2010. Stage 2 reclamation is already underway and will begin staged handover of land from the first quarter of 2011. Much of the land that’s available for early access is focused on the local development market and is particularly affordable. To make the development more affordable, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ is working closely with design consultants to challenge current design standards and optimise

development efficiency. Feasible international alternatives are encouraged to be adopted when they meet or exceed the current design standards. Since meticulous research and planning had gone into the project during the initial stage, it later enabled the developer to efficiently stand true to the planned costs during the implementation stage. While working with proven investors and developers, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ discovered that there is a great deal of interest shown, particularly for the affordable and mid-income targeted product. To meet the demands of the market, the developer will offer a wide variety of products in all

property types, for institutions, investors and home-owners alike. The properties will be available in luxury as well as cost-effective variants to further boost the community mix in the project. The prices will be based on a numbers of factors that still need to be finalised. A mix of luxury as well as affordable housing products has thus enabled the developer to successfully address the various challenges posed by the short and long-term cycles of real-estate development. Environmental Commitment Speaking of challenges, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ has incorporated environmental commitment as part


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The proposed public beach with a length of over a kilometre will be connected to the rest of the community via a pedestrian/ cycle path designed to interconnect the large beach and main park to the local neighbourhood park system planned throughout the development.

of its corporate vision. Since its very inception, the project has set new benchmarks in the Kingdom of Bahrain with regards to the implementation and environmental monitoring of reclamation techniques. DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ has consulted with international expert environmental bodies as well as its master-planners, and locally, with the Directorate of Environmental Assessment and planning (DEAP) and Marine Resources Directorate (MRD), to ensure that the best options are selected. Many of these activities are being carried out for the first time in Bahrain. DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ can proudly say that these initiatives have helped to move

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DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ will be uniquely positioned to provide housing for each sector according to the requirements in the marketplace.


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the environmental agenda forward and hope that other developers will follow. As a fully integrated mixed use community, the developer has ensured triple bottom line sustainability by combining environmentally sustainable development and providing new homes for the people of Bahrain in a quality urban fabric, whilst encouraging sustained

local employment, economic investment and growth. The regulations for DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ have been developed to provide for a long term sustainable community that blends both traditional and modern architectural themes. For instance, parking requirements that exceed the current standards have been proposed. These parking regulations have been developed by reviewing the regulations of many international countries, such as the US, UK and Australia. Facilities Recreational and public facilities to benefit the residents of DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ are planned throughout the development. Locations for health centres, public and private schools, police stations, fire stations and

mosques have been identified. In addition, there have been discussions with government ministries to provide a full-scale municipal government complex within the community. Open space areas for recreation, to be located in each of the communities have already been identified. But the main attraction for the residents of DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ and the Kingdom of Bahrain will be the public beach proposed on the south eastern shore of the community. Employment Opportunities Directly and indirectly, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ will promote economic growth and development by facilitating business and employment at a variety of levels, from the inclusion of a new Central Business District

and incorporation of smaller localised operations in tailored commercial villas along with the establishment of a dedicated service and logistics Centre for businesses of all sizes. This will give opportunities for residents within DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ to live, work and entertain within the same community. Vision DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ is very optimistic about the market over the next 5 years. From its inception, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ has included housing products for all strata of society, and while the current focus is on the more affordable products, other market segments will be prioritised as the development progresses.

Tel: +973 77 155 555

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The most perfect pearl
The Kingdom of Bahrain’s landscape is changing as each building project shapes up. With Durrat Al Bahrain, the quality of lifestyle too is taking hold of a whole new meaning. Luxury takes a step further in the Kingdom.

Durrat Al Bahrain is a jewel in the making to the crown of the country‘s development. And the country is highly expectant of this resort-style project. Located on the south coast of Bahrain, this 21-square kilometre master development has been created across a cluster of 15 spectacular islands. It will host, among others, beautiful beachfront villas, executive apartments and offices, luxury hotels and spa resorts, parks and entertainment precincts, premier retail malls and restaurants, a 400 berth marina, and an Ernie Els-designed 18-hole golf course. Durrat Al Bahrain,

named after the “most perfect pearl” in the Arabian Gulf, is a US$6 billion joint development owned by the government of Bahrain and Kuwait Finance House (Bahrain). The project is designed by W.S. Atkins & Partners Overseas, the worldrenowned design, engineering and consultancy firm, and project managed by KMC Bovis Lend Lease JV, an international project development management firm. Upon completion, Durrat Al Bahrain will be the region’s most prominent seaside resort city, putting Bahrain on the upscale tourism map.

The Islands The most prominent aspect of Durrat Al Bahrain are The Islands, which carve an exquisite green necklace atop the graceful, blue waters of the Gulf. Designed in two circular rows of 11 islands, The Islands are a glorious visual treat and undoubtedly, the “crown jewel” of Durrat Al Bahrain. The Islands are purely residential and are designed to offer the international urban community with the serenity of island lifestyle. Just over 1000 lavish villas of varying sizes and styles adorn the islands, with privileged lifestyle options like private beaches, marina and

boat mooring, lush gardens and breathtaking sea views. These fascinating islands are strung together with a network of interconnecting bridges and a circular arterial that connects The Islands to either ends of The Crescent, the urban hub of Durrat Al Bahrain. The Crescent While serenity will dominate life on the Atoll and Petal Islands, the Crescent will serve as the commercial hub of the island community. For those seeking to combine the resort lifestyle with key elements of urban living, the Crescent will boast some


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6,000 apartments and offices set against the backdrop of a bustling piazza featuring restaurants, cafes, a large-scale modern shopping mall, public beaches and a host of community facilities, including masjids, health centres and schools. Connected to the Crescent will also be the project’s hotel island, which will have an estimated 600 rooms and a private beach. Durrat Al Bahrain will possess all the amenities expected of a city and to this end, Beacon Education, the UAE’s leading provider of education services, will run two schools with 1200 pupils

each, with one school offering the UK curriculum and the other the International Baccalaureate. Durrat Marina Tameer and Durrat Khaleej Al Bahrain, through a joint venture, will also develop a full-service 700,000 square-metre marina, Durrat Marina, which will provide berthing space for some 400 boats and yachts along with day stack storage of 300-400 boats and marina maintenance facility. Arranged over three islands it will set the scene for a canal environment, complete with a yacht club, waterfront town

houses, apartments, numerous cafes and shopping outlets lining its winding paths and waterways. The Golf Course Spanning approximately 90 hectares of lush green land with the marina and the sea as the backdrop, the golf course will be surrounded by a club house, a driving range, a 200-room 5-star hotel complex and 2200 beautifully designed luxury residential villas and apartments. Ernie Els Design is the company designing the course including waterways. Community facilities around The Golf Course include schools,

health and well-being centres and mixed-use sports centres. To facilitate ownership for all prospective residents, innovative financing schemes have been put in place. A freehold ownership law has opened opportunities for investment by expatriates and well-thought out financing structures, both Sharia-compliant and conventional, are also in place to assist mid-level income earners to own the home of their dreams in Durrat Al Bahrain.

Tel: +973 17556999

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The US$ 2 Billion Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) is the largest privately owned and managed mixed-use Industrial and Logistics Park in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Being Developed by Tameer through a unique Private Public Partnership the Park will develop large-scale industrial parks within Bahrain’s main industrial hub.


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A project by

BIW Headquarters at the Wharf

Covering an area of 1.7 million square metres and located within the Salman Industrial City, BIW offers investors preserviced plots supported by world-class infrastructure and services. BIW is ideally suited for various sectors, which include; • Industrial • Logistics and Warehousing Park • Business and Commercial Park • Residential Park • Services Areas Why invest in BIW? • BIW’s strategic location within the Kingdom’s main industrial zone (Salman Industrail City). • BIW’s accessibility to

• •

Aerial view of Bahrain Investment Wharf

Bahrain’s main infrastructure and roads network Utilising Bahrain as an export hub to the USA through the Free Trade Agreement. Bahrain & USA share a mutual trade approaching US$ 1 billion per year, and this landmark FTA will help to open up further new export opportunities for US industries, not only in Bahrain but also the rest of the region. Utilisation of skilled Bahraini workforce The diversification of Bahrain’s economy away from oil and the existence of a tax free environment. The stable currency of Bahrain

Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan, Chairman of BIW

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The King’s inauguration of the Salman Industrial City with BIW’s Chairman, Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan – January 2010

Aerial view of BIW’s Labour Accommodation

While speaking about BIW’s progress, Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan, Chairman of BIW says, “BIW is a sizable project with major developments yet to happen. Since it’s launch in 2006, the park received tremendous regional attention and as a result the park was marketed successfully. The land reclamation was completed


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at the end of 2008, and the infrastructure went under way since then; this is also nearing completion with more than 80 percent being completed. During this time, tenants have also started the construction of their facilities and there are a number of them who have reached their completion. Equally important is the

completion of BIW’s two main substations each at 66kv at the Wharf with the third one also close to its completion.” With the recent market downturn a number of sectors have faced a great deal of impact, mainly those operating within the real estate and financial sectors, saying this BIW has pulled through steadily

being it as an industrial project that has also been looked at as an opportunity to diversify away from the harder hit sectors. BIW extends its support to the Government’s Vision 2030 to diversify the economy, opportunities for partnerships with the Government and initiatives for attracting foreign investments to the Kingdom.

BIW also encourages the startup of small to medium business industries and believes that BIW can offer the platform for such businesses to flourish in Bahrain and become the backbone of Bahrain’s strong economy.

Tel: +973 17 468 500

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Banking, Investment & Finance


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Planned new Headquarters of Al Baraka Banking Group in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Bahrain - Banking Hub in the Middle East
The Kingdom of Bahrain has deservedly earned the distinction of being the nerve centre of financial services in the Middle East.


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With around 400 financial establishments ranging from local lenders to specialised large-scale project finance investment banks in Bahrain, the country serves as a gateway to Middle East’s financial ventures like petrochemicals complexes, skyscrapers, offshore tourist developments and

infrastructure ventures. According to the Central Bank of Bahrain, Bahrainis occupied 72% of the 9753 financial services jobs by the end of 2006. The financial sector is the largest single employer in Bahrain, with Bahrainis representing over 80 percent of the work-force.

Central Bank of Bahrain The Central Bank of Bahrain, the sole integrated regulator of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s financial services, is responsible for ensuring monetary and financial stability in the Kingdom of Bahrain and for maintaining the internal and external value of

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the national currency. It is also the single integrated regulator of Bahrain’s financial services industry. With a vision to mobilise the country’s economy to a higher platform, the Central Bank of Bahrain works on ensuring a growing economy in the country. Islamic Financial Services The Islamic financial services

(IFS) sector of Bahrain is certainly the largest in the GCC region with 26 Islamic banks, including four of the five largest in the world, a wide range of other IFS companies and sector development organisations. As the global economic crisis unfolded, IFS was considered as a sort of safety net for the overall financial sector. Since


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Sharia law prohibits interestbased financial products, Islamic banks around the world were not exposed to the subprime and other toxic assets. However, towards 2009 when the oil prices decreased along with real estate prices, the effects of the economic crisis caught up with the IFS sector. Both conventional and

Islamic banks entered 2009 cautiously. However, IFS is still moving forward in the Kingdom of Bahrain. In the current time of economic lethargy, the country is striving to retain its crown of glory as the undisputed leader of IFS. Currency Counts The official currency of the

Kingdom of Bahrain is the dinar which stands as the second highest valued currency, after the Kuwaiti Dinar. Before 1965, the year when the Bahraini dinar was introduced in the country, Gulf Rupee that was circulated by the Indian government was used as the currency. The name ‘dinar’ is derived from the Roman word

denarius. One dinar consists of 1000 fils. The Kingdom of Bahrain faces stiff competition from Dubai and Doha who are vying to establish themselves as financial services centre in the GCC. Also, Saudi Arabia is keen to promote itself as a financial centre.

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Islamic Banking
Islamic banks operate in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. At the threshold of the 21st century, Islamic banks had about US $700 billion in funds under their management.

What is an Islamic Bank
Broadly speaking an “Islamic bank is an institution that mobilizes financial resources and invests that money in an attempt to achieve pre-determined islamically acceptable social and financial objectives. Both mobilization and investment of money should be conducted in accordance with the principles of Islamic Shari’a”. A few decades ago, modern banking and financial institutions that encompass Islamic values within their principles and practices seemed to be merely a remote dream. Today, however, Islamic

banking has become a viable financial approach that attracts an increasing amount of capital investment. As a concept Islamic Banking was developed as a result of the religious prohibition of the payment or receipt of interest. The fundamental principles of Islamic Banking go back over one thousand four hundred years. They are set out in Shari’a law and are enshrined in the Qur’an, the Hadith and the Sunna. Today, these principles form the basis of the contemporary Islamic Banking range of Islamic financial products & services. There is no standard way

of grouping Islamic Financial Institutions, but in terms of services rendered, today Islamic Financial Institutions can be divided into the following broad categories: Islamic Banks, Islamic Windows, Islamic Finance/Investment Banks, Islamic Mortgage Companies, Takaful Companies, Mudarabah Companies & Islamic investment Funds.

Evolution of Islamic Banking
Although it draws inspiration from practices and values that go back centuries to the dawn of Islam as inclined above, Modern Islamic banking started in the early

1960s concurrently in Egypt and Malaysia. In 1962, the Pilgrimage Fund, TABUNG HAJI, was established in Malaysia to accept saving deposits from persons who intend to make the pilgrimage to Makkah and invest the proceeds in accordance with the Islamic law. The Fund grew to provide full scale banking services and to become one of the largest banks in Malaysia. Around the same time and completely independently a series of small saving/investment banks were established in Egypt’s countryside, beginning in 1963 in the village of Mit Ghamr. These small banks also practiced the same principle of interest-free banking.


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Image Contributed by: Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA)

The Idea continued to develop theoretically until 1974, when the first Islamic commercial Islamic bank was established in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates. The same year also witnessed signing the agreement to establish the Islamic Development Bank IDB as an inter-governmental pan-Islamic bank. The IDB’s main objective is to finance development projects in the Muslim countries in accordance with the rules and ethics of Islamic finance, followed a short time later by Faisal Islamic Bank in Egypt and Sudan (1977), Bahrain Islamic Bank, and Jordan Islamic Bank (1978).

By the mid 1980s, this new species of ethical banks, based on Islamic principles became an established part of mainstream banking in the Middle East and South Asia. They continued to sprout across South and East Asia in addition to Turkey and the Arab countries. Subsequently, ethical banks and financial institutions, based on Islamic principles, spread in countries where Muslims are minorities, such as UK, Luxemburg, Denmark, Australia, India and the United States. Many Muslims flocked to these new banking institutions, not only for ethical and religious

reasons, but also because they provided professional and friendly services to their customers.

Principles of Islamic Banking
There is no standard way of defining what an Islamic bank is, but broadly speaking an “Islamic bank is an institution that mobilises financial resources and invests them in an attempt to achieve predetermined islamically - acceptable social and financial objectives. Both mobilisation and investment of funds should be conducted in accordance with the principles of Islamic Shari’a”.

1. Prohibition of Interest or Usury The principles of Islamic finance are established in the Qur’an, which Muslims believe are the exact Words of God as revealed to the Prophet Mohammed. These Islamic principles of finance can be narrowed down to four individual concepts. The first and most important concept is that both the charging and the receiving of interest is strictly forbidden. This is commonly known as Riba1 or Usury. Money, on its own, may not generate profits. When Riba infects an entire economy, it jeopardises the well-being of everyone living in that society.

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When investors are more concerned with rates of interest and guaranteed returns than they are with the uses to which money is put, the results can only be negative. Adherents of Islam believe that the Qur’an is the final book of God’s word following both the Torah and the Bible. As a result, there are a number of similarities between the Islamic, Christian and Jewish faiths. Quoting Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel, Chairman and Founder of Albaraka Banking Group; “Usury is forbidden in all the three religions, Judaism, Christianity and Islam, but it is the people who forget the rules of Allah. All societies, nowadays

- Muslims, Christians and Jews deal with Usury.” 2. Ethical Standards The second guiding principle concerns the ethical standards. When Muslims invest their money in something, it is their religious duty to ensure that what they invest in is good and wholesome. It is for this reason that Islamic investing includes serious consideration of the business to be invested in, its policies, the products it produces, the services it provides, and the impact that these have on society and the environment. In other words, Muslims must take a close look at the business they are about to become involved in. In all facets of the financial system, Islam has certain

rules, certain regulations as to how Muslims should go about participating in these activities. For example, in share trading or the securities market, Islam looks at the activities of the companies, to establish whether or not the companies are involved in activities which are in line with Sharia’a. 3. Moral and Social Values The third guiding principle concerns moral and social values. The Qur’an calls on all its adherents to care for and support the poor and destitute. Islamic financial institutions are expected to provide special services to those in need. This is not confined to mere charitable donations but has also been institutionalised in the industry in

the form of profit-free loans or Al Quard Al Hasan. An Islamic bank’s business includes certain social projects, as well as charitable donations. Islamic banks provide profitfree loans. For example, if an individual needs to go to hospital or wants to go to university, we give what is called Quard Al Hasan. This Quard Hasan is normally given for a short period of one year and the Islamic bank does not charge anything for that. 4. Liability and Business Risk The final principle concerns the overarching concept of fairness, the idea that all parties concerned should both share in the risk and profit of any endeavor. To be entitled to a


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Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif President & Chief Executive with H.E. Amro Moussa - Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (2008)

Last year Group Strategy Meeting - held in the Kingdom of Bahrain (2009)

return, a provider of finance must either accept business risk or provide some service such as supplying an asset, otherwise the financier is, from a Sharia’a point of view, not only an economic parasite but also a sinner. This principle is derived from a saying of the Prophet Mohammed (May Peace be upon Him) “Profit comes with liability”. What this means is that one becomes entitled to profit only when one bears the liability, or risk of loss. By linking profit with the possibility of loss, Islamic law distinguishes lawful profit from all other forms of gain. In order to insure that these principles are followed, each Islamic institution must establish and provide itself with an

advisory council known as a Sharia’a Board. The members of Sharia’a Boards can include bankers, lawyers or religious scholars as long as they are trained in the Islamic law, or Sharia’a. In 2001, the Industry witnessed a remarkable development in this regard by the initiative of the Accounting and Auditing Organization for the Islamic Financial Institutions or AAOIFI. At that time, AAOIFI’s standards were enhanced to include elements that aim at broadening the role of the external auditor. Now according to these new developments the external auditor is also required to look for compliance with Sharia’a rules as defined by the Sharia’a supervisory board of each bank and in accordance with the Sharia’a standards AAOIFI has begun to issue.

Differences from conventional banks:

Islamic Banking

Conventional Banking

Focus on Investment

Focus on lending

emphasis on soundness of project

emphasis on ability to repay

Coordination with partners in resource mobilization

Dependence on borrowing in resource mobilization

Apply moral criteria in Investment

Apply only financial criteria

For more information about Al Baraka Banking Group and its Subsidiaries please visit

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Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive

Interview with President & Chief Executive
The Kingdom of Bahrain is home to more than 400 banks and financial institutions. In face of such heavy competition, Al Baraka Banking Group continues to grow at an enviable pace with more than 300 branches in 12 countries within the MENA region and around the globe. Not surprising, when we work to create a win-win atmosphere. Based on Shari’a principles – Partnership and Ethics, we ensure that all parties involved in a transaction receive an added value. Our dedication holds true even when a large opportunity with a lucrative return has to be missed. Our intention is to grow worldwide while gaining confidence of our investors. Through technology and innovation, the network is growing with a prospective of 350 branches by end of 2010 and 500 branches worldwide by 2014. Also, Al Baraka Banking Group has established Islamic banking principles in England, setting up the Islamic Bank of Britain and the European Islamic Investment Bank of which we hold shares. We are encouraged to build our next branch in France as we have seen demand grow. Individuals, globally, come to us for three main reasons, first because they are satisfied with our products, second because of our service quality and third because of the good returns on our transactions. And we are simply happy that our efforts have been recognised. We are honored and humbled to receive the title of the World Islamic Banking Conference (WIBC) Islamic Banker of the Year in both 2004 and 2009. After all it is our job to contribute to the community and to promote Bahrain as the financial centre of the region. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and Chief Executive

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif with the Prime Minister of Egypt Dr. Ahmed Nadhif in Sep 2009


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Al Baraka Banking Group
The Group offers retail, corporate and investment banking as well as treasury services strictly in accordance with the principles of the Shari’a.

General Managers of Al Baraka Banking Group in 12 Subsidiaries in Nov 2009

Al Baraka Banking Group is considered a pioneer in Islamic Banking with one of the largest banking groups worldwide, managing 12 Subsidiaries and providing the following types of products: - Investment Products - Commercial Banking - Retail - Treasury services

benefits with the customers, staff and shareholders who participate in our business success.’

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)
Al Baraka Banking Group is committed to the society and its needs. Through sponsoring educational and social projects that boost the living conditions of the local community, we make all possible efforts to apply one of the important philosophical pillars of Islamic banking: the concept of “construction of land”, which means adding tangible value to assets. Islamic principles are followed in all countries that Al Baraka Banking Group operates in. They are: First: Investments that contribute to the production of alcoholic beverages, tobacco or weapons,

or are associated in any way with gambling, pornography or the abuse of children, women and minorities, or any other morally questionable practices are forbidden. Second: All Islamic banks and financial institutions refrain charging or paying of interest as Islam prohibits it. Instead, Al Baraka Group’s banking subsidiaries, like all Islamic banks; accept deposits on an investment basis whereby depositors share with the bank in the actual results of the realisation of their investments. Financing is provided to businesses in turn mainly on the basis of installment sale, leasing or equity participation. Nevertheless, customers share with their depositors the profit received from the partnership between investors and entrepreneurs in

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif receiving the Long Service Certificate Award in Al Baraka Banking Group in Jan 2010

‘We believe society needs a fair and equitable financial system: one which rewards effort and contributes to the development of the community.’

‘To meet the financial needs of communities across the world by conducting business ethically in accordance with our beliefs, practicing the highest professional standards and sharing the mutual

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif receiving the prestigious title of ‘Islamic Banker of the Year’ (WIBC) at the 16th World Islamic Banking Conference - from the Governor of the Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) in Dec 2009

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Planned new Headquarter of Al Baraka Bank subsidiary in Durban, South Africa


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which both the risks and the rewards are shared. Returns on invested capital are based on profits actually generated rather than predetermined interest rates. Third: All contracts entered into by Al Baraka Group’s banking subsidiaries, and all their relations with businesses and depositors, must comply with the ethical standards of the Shari’a.

PARTNERSHIP Our shared beliefs create strong bonds that form the basis of long-term relationships with customers and staff. DRIVEN We have the energy and perseverance necessary to make an impact on our customers’ lives for the greater good of society. NEIGHBOURLY We value and respect the communities we serve, our doors are always open, our customers always experience a warmhearted, hospitable welcome and accommodating service.
Planned new Headquarters of Al Baraka Banking Group in the Kingdom of Bahrain

Al Baraka Banking Group is a leading bank with Standard and Poors long and short term credit ratings of BBB- and A-3 respectively. It is listed on the Bahrain Stock Exchange and NASDAQ Dubai. The authorised capital of Al Baraka Banking Group is US$1.5 billion, while the total equity amounts to about US$1.7 billion.

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif meets EU High Representative Mr. Javier Solana in March 2009

PEACE OF MIND Our customers can rest assured that their financial interests are being managed by us to the highest ethical standards. SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION By banking with us, our customers make a positive contribution to a better society their growth and our growth will benefit the world around us.

Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif with H.E. Sheikh Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon at The Annual Arab Banking Conference in Nov 2009

Planned new Headquarter of Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank subsidiary in Turkey

Although the Al Baraka Banking Group is relatively new, its antecedents go back almost 30 years. The Group has come about as a result of a consolidation of various interests of Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel in 10 Islamic banks, with the objective of adding strength and purpose to his vision of creating a global Islamic banking group.
Tel: +973 17 541 122

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Oil, Gas & Manufacturing


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When was Bapco established and how has its position in the regional oil and gas industry changed since then? Bapco lies at the heart of the Bahrain economy. For 78 years it has been the main provider of wealth to the nation. Since 1932, when oil was first discovered on this island, the progress of Bahrain has been based largely on the growth and development of the oil and gas industry. As the economic base of the Kingdom diversified into the financial services sector, aluminium smelting, petrochemicals and now tourism, Bapco has continued to play the key role as the provider of fuel for all energy users. In the same way, the Company has led the way by energetically raising standards in business planning, technical innovation, and manpower development as well as environmental, health and safety issues.

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Highlights of 2009 • Bapco receives Her Royal Highness Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa on 21 May in an inspirational visit which highlights the Company’s environment and female empowerment initiatives; • The landmark US$151 million Refinery Gas Desulphurisation Plant (RGDP) is commissioned in January, delivering major environmental benefits; • Bapco upstream employees are seconded to the joint venture Tatweer Petroleum, developer of the onshore Bahrain field; • A new shutdown technique is pioneered on the Low Sulphur Diesel Production (LSDP) complex, resulting in reduced downtime and cost savings; • A 49-day Turnaround & Inspection (T&I) shutdown on a fluid catalytic cracking unit is one of the biggest in Bapco’s history; • A new drilling rate record is set on a Khuff gas well using advanced directional drilling techniques; • The Refinery Laboratory receives the Air BP Performance Excellence Award for the outstanding quality of Jet A1 fuel test data; • Work begins on the US$430 million Lube Base Oil Plant (LBOP); • 306 Bahrainis benefit from on-the-job industrial training programmes at Bapco; • Bapco donates US$2 million to community, social and charitable organisations.

Tel: +973 17 704040

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Aluminium Bahrain
Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) consistently ranks as one of the largest and most modern aluminium smelters in the world.

Known for its technological strength and innovative policies, Alba enforces strict environmental guidelines, maintains high track record for safety, and is widely regarded as one of the top ten performers on a global scale. It supports numerous community oriented programmes and social activities that have underlined its status as one of Bahrain’s leading industrial organisations that remains committed towards upholding its corporate social responsibilities. Alba’s inception marks the beginning of Bahrain’s strategy to diversify its economic base and reduce its dependence on oil. The aim was to establish an industry that would provide valuable export earnings, develop the country’s resources and create training and employment opportunities for a large number of Bahrainis. Alba was therefore incorporated by Charter in 1968 and officially commenced operations in 1971

as a 120,000 tonnes per annum smelter. Alba intends to grow regionally and globally to the benefit of its shareholders by exploiting the regional energy advantage, its operational excellence, the regional talent and the local customer base. The company will continue to expand its position as the leading smelter in the Gulf region as well as raising and strengthening its profile on a global platform. In doing so, Alba outperforms international environmental standards and always meets local, regional and global regulations. The company has been at the vanguard of ecological concerns and its investment in protecting and preserving environment exceeds $ 600 million in the past 17 years. Alba’s material management, casthouse maintenance & instrumentation and marketing were recently certified to the ISO 9001:2008 Quality Management


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System standard. It has also won the prestigious Royal Society for Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the British Safety Council Award for three consecutive years. Customer focus is at the heart of Alba’s operations, and provides the key incentive for developing new and innovative products and services, expanding into new marketing territories, and making operational efficiency a key priority for everyone at the company. Alba today produces more than 870,000 metric tonnes per annum of the highest grade aluminium, with products including standard and T-ingots, extrusion billets, rolling slab, propertzi ingots, and molten aluminium. Around 45 per cent of output is supplied to Bahrain’s downstream aluminium industry, with the rest exported to regional and international customers in the Middle East, Europe, Far East, South East Asia, Africa, and North America. The Alba plant comprises

five reduction lines, three cast houses, a dedicated carbon plant, a 600,000 mtpa coke calcining plant, a water desalination plant, 11 fume treatment plants, a marine terminal, and a 2,200 MW power plant, consisting of 4 power stations. The plant also features a 10 hectare ‘green’ oasis, with more than 4,000 trees and shrubs, a fruit and vegetable garden, and an artificial lake. Alba’s early success established a blueprint for other non-oil industries to follow, including a thriving downstream aluminium industry. Today, Alba is a major contributor to the social, industrial and economic development of the Kingdom of Bahrain, employing over 3,000 people, of whom around 90 per cent are Bahrainis. The shareholders of Alba are Bahrain Mumtalakat Holding Company, SABIC Investment Company and Breton Investments.

Aluminium Bahrain PO Box: 570, 150, King Hamad Highway, Askar 951 Kingdom Of Bahrain Tel: + 973 17 830 000 Fax : + 973 17 830 083

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Media, Communication & Technology


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Bringing ideas to life
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Communication Horizons
Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), the leading integrated communications provider in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a significant force among the region’s key telecommunications’ players. With an ongoing strategy to grow overseas, the Batelco Group incorporates joint venture operations in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and India. Batelco Group Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos explains the vision, mission and strategy underpinning his group’s success.

Batelco serves both the corporate and consumer markets in the most liberalised and competitive environment in the Middle East and remains committed to delivering cutting edge communications to its customers in Bahrain and all the geographies 11 which it operates. The Company’s management and staff are driven by an enthusiasm for delivering the best customer in Best of Bahrain 172 Best of Bahrain experience based on innovation, affordability and reliability of products and services.

“We have built and managed significant fixed and wireless advanced infrastructure, allowing Bahrain to showcase global events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, in addition to linking Bahrain, the financial capital of the Middle East, with global banking, insurance and financial hubs”, Peter Kaliaropoulos, explains.

Peter Kaliaropoulos, Batelco Group Chief Executive Officer

Batelco is now one of three telecommunications companies in Bahrain. How has the loss of monopoly affected business and do you think that competition has helped Batelco improve its services? Has competition helped Batelco improve its services Emphatically yes! Competition forces companies to continually innovate and differentiate. Consumers benefit from the increased focus on customer experience and development of relationship management. Ultimately, competition leads to an increase in the buying power of the consumer. Competition also stimulates creativity within the organisation as new perspectives are visualised and normal modes of operations are challenged to “get things done better, faster, cheaper, for the consumer and the company. Loss of the monopoly some years back has also helped us. Loss of market share is inevitable by definition, but we have grown our business in Bahrain because all the telco companies have grown the market – 1.5m mobile customers, 90,000 broadband customers, double the IDD minutes and turn key solutions for buildings and many more new services continue to drive growth. Competition has focused us with some “considerable obsession” on improving the customer experience. We measure service levels for various customer segments and product performance and we continually improve our processes to deliver a better quality and more consistent

experience to our customers, especially for the high value consumers and businesses. What is your vision for the Batelco group in 10 years’ time? How do you think telecommunications has transformed Bahrain’s profile globally and what role do you think Batelco has played in this development? Our vision is driven by our desire to create a company of reference in the MENA region, India and Asia compared to our peers. Our growth strategy is transforming Batelco to a regional mobile, broadband and ICT company across 10 countries serving more than 10 million customers by the end of 2010. We aspire to have 80% of our revenues from our overseas operations to ensure we have significant diversification. Longer term the Batelco Group will be a key member of a regional and global strategic alliance with another telecommunications company, known for its innovation and service excellence. Telecommunications provide the backbone for the growth of any economy and in Bahrain we have witnessed massive growth and development in recent years. Batelco continues to be the builder of national and international digital highways and knowledge hubs linking Bahrain to our global village. We take this responsibility seriously and with pride – we have built and manage significant fixed and wireless advanced infrastructure allowing Bahrain to showcase global events such as the Formula 1 and linking Bahrain, the financial

capital of the Middle East to the global banking, insurance and financial hubs. Batelco’s excellent infrastructure is also underpinning the Kingdom’s “Business Friendly” drive. We have convinced many corporate and global companies to place their IT hubs, data centres and call centres in Bahrain. Companies such as BNP, DHL and Cisco would not take the risk if Bahrain didn’t offer world’s best class infrastructure. What lessons are you learning about the best way to enter the other geographic markets, now that you are so integral to telecommunications in Bahrain? Understand more than just the normal statistical and historical information about the new markets and/or companies. We do a lot of “homework” before and during the transaction. Get to understand the peculiarities of the local market by spending time on the ground talking to as many relevant people as possible. Understand the strengths of the local management team. Understand what’s behind the numbers and what will drive sustainable growth. If you don’t have a strong, local partner, you are setting yourself up for lots of hard work ahead of you. We listen to internal and external advisors but challenge them. Transfer knowledge quickly and realise economies of scale or revenue synergies even quicker. Finally, if the local management team has hunger and passion to succeed, back them up. If not, we do (unfortunately) micro-manage till the right team is in place.

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Batelco’s Hamala Headquarters

What are the critical components of creating a successful telecoms group that gives value and creates value too? Do you think that this model can be successfully implemented in countries other than Bahrain? Three things really: Clarity about the way forward. For example, our “Expand 2010” was an easily understood strategic orientation to drive profitable scale by delivering value and innovation to customers irrespective of where we do business Obsession with operational excellence driven from the customer experience perspective. Set goals, measure, improve, raise the bar and start all over again.

Pick the best leaders you can afford who share the need for success and growth and are passionate about leading and developing other people and continually challenging and improving what we do. As the Group grows, attention needs to be given to any “silo” or “tribal” behaviours. The Group needs to learn from examples of brilliant in-country initiatives and share them with other operations, whilst in-country operators need to ensure they don’t suffer from any “not invented here” symptoms. How does Batelco work to continually deliver the most up to date technological advancements and how

integral do you consider this to be to the continued development of Bahrain? We invest significantly to ensure we continually deliver the most up to date products and services. Investment in emerging technologies is naturally a key component in the development of the Kingdom of Bahrain. With our Next Generation Network project complete, we are in a position to roll out advanced products and services that will change the face of telecommunications in Bahrain and further serve to enhance the Kingdom’s development. We have also invested in Kingdom-wide 3.5G wireless HSDPA technology, fixed ADSL2+ and many other technologies. Technological innovation is important and a key differentiator for Batelco and Bahrain. However, what is more critical is the translation of such technology to products and services that allow businesses to increase their productivity and competitive advantage. From a consumer standpoint, what is Batelco’s true value proposition, or is it merely a matter of which telecoms operator wins the brand building and advertising race in order to win market-share? Batelco’s proposition is “backto-basics”. Deliver consistently, deliver value, deliver innovation, be responsive to customer needs and lead in product/ service development. Branding

and advertising are important and relevant to customers. Our new re-branding campaign in Bahrain has proved to be very popular with customers and employees. However, all our people and processes need to deliver the brand promises day after day otherwise customers will see through the gimmicks and promises versus the substance. With massive and sustained investment in diverse spheres an integral part of Batelco’s strategy for growth, what innovative means of financing have you gone in for, and with what success? In April 2007, Batelco signed an agreement with a consortium of regional and international banks to secure a loan of US$485 million to fund the Company’s regional expansion. The last payment for this loan is in April 2010. Today, we have a strong balance sheet and operating cash flows. We can raise debt of around $1.5 billion should the opportunity arise. We will explore all options, debt and equity, conventional and Islamic products should we require to fund a major acquisition. The establishment of Batelco and its increasing success is helping to put Bahrain on the global telecoms map, positioning it as a force to be reckoned with. How is this progress being fostered in an increasingly competitive


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environment where consumer loyalty is based on familiarity and not necessarily cutting edge offerings. Local familiarity is important to our strategy. In all markets we operate we now have a local brand – Sabafon in Yemen, Umniah in Jordan, QualityNet in Kuwait, etc. Whilst we have the industrial strength of the Group of companies and enjoy synergies, we clearly differentiate via our local brands to be more relevant to the local based consumer clients rather than a monolithic brand and be perceived as a foreign company in emerging markets. What further innovation can be expected from Batelco in the medium term? Our marketing and product development teams are always delivering new services. For competitive reasons we can’t be too explicit now, especially with Saudi Telecom just launching their services in Bahrain. However, in Bahrain expect convergent solutions based on our fixed and wireless NGN infrastructure, expect higher speed broadband services to consumers, new content delivered over wireless and fixed IP services, SLAs to business customers and innovation on service management processes. In other markets it is about delivering mobile and broadband services to youth segments and

increasing the penetration for such services. Outline your CSR programme and how integral is this to the success of the company? At Batelco Bahrain and across other companies we have invested in, we understand that we are an integral part of the community in which we operate and as such our Corporate Social Responsibility programme is an inherent part of our daily lives. We take this responsibility very seriously and believe our sponsorship and donation strategy helps us to be more familiar with the local communities and contribute to their development whilst preserving and growing shareholder value. During 2009, In Bahrain, for example, we committed approximately BD4 million to a variety of causes and this year we continue to extend our support to a wide range of health, education, cultural and sports initiatives. Our contributions in 2009 included BD200,000 to the Shaikh Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Salman Cardiac Centre, to enhance the medical care and services for cardiac patients, BD100,000 in support of Palestinians in Gaza and BD200,000 to the Crown Prince Scholarship Fund to support the 3rd level education of some of Bahrain’s brightest students at overseas universities.
Batelco has invested US$1.4 billion in Bahrain’s telecom infrastructure since 1981, including significant investment in NGN (Next Generation Networks) infrastructure which has reinforced the Kingdom’s position as a leading communications hub.

Batelco offers complete, end-to-end telecommunications solutions for its residential, business and government customers. The comprehensive solutions portfolio covers mobile services, international roaming, Broadband Internet, satellite services, WiFi, and MPLS IP-VPN based network services utilising our Next Generation all IP Network providing Datacoms services over fixed and wireless platforms in addition to managed services including systems integration and management.

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A full service integrated communications agency with a difference, providing outstanding creative solutions and inspiring communications to high profile organizations in Bahrain and beyond.

Miracle’s clients include:

Established in 1993, Miracle offers a broad range of professional communications services from brand development to publishing through to digital and print media production. Over the past fifteen years the organization has grown into a major entity across all media touch points within Bahrain and the GCC. “Miracle has developed a reputation as a strategic and innovative solutions provider for modern, complex and evolving businesses, which helps them to meet and exceed their communications requirements,” commented founder and CEO Khalid Juman. Its client base reads like a Who’s Who list of Bahrain, having worked with brands such as NBB, menatelecom, Inovest, Durrat Al Bahrain and the Economic Development Board. International brands have also received

the Miracle treatment, including Toyota, Virgin, BlackBerry and H & M. Combine this with a long history and finely tuned expertise in brand identity design, advertising and client side marketing and the result is a fully rounded body of professionals and services. Another secret of Miracle’s success lies in its deep rooted black and white philosophy. The essence of this philosophy is that open, honest and direct relationships lead to wellinformed, accurate results. This understanding enables Miracle to design outstanding creative solutions and inspiring communications that are positive, defined, sensitive and targeted. It’s a philosophy that not only applies to client relationships, it is also adopted successfully

across Miracle internally where clearly defined roles and established working practices pave the way for fully coordinated production strategies. This carefully planned, creative and professional approach has resulted in a large number of successful campaigns and very satisfied customers across the board. Miracle is made up of three main divisions; BRANDING, PUBLISHING and PRINTS, which work together to provide a fully integrated offering. The brand communications division, Miracle BRANDING, produces some of the most inspirational creative work in the Middle East. The dedicated BRANDING team work with existing and new brands to deliver and strengthen their messaging across all touch


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points. From through-the-line advertising campaigns to digital media, collateral, annual reports, promotions and exhibitions, Miracle BRANDING will make sure the brand works anywhere it is expressed. As a leading book publisher in Bahrain, Miracle PUBLISHING specializes in high quality publications. Each publication, whether coffee table book, magazine or exhibition, is approached with diligent attention to management and detail. Capturing Bahrain’s colour, diversity and enviable social fabric has been PUBLISHING’s raison d’être for many years now. Its most recent offering is the extremely successful DURRAH magazine, a quarterly, high quality lifestyle magazine for Bahrain and the Middle East.

Durrah Magazine One of Miracle’s prestigious quarterly publications.

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Another prominent force in the communications market is Miracle PRINTS, Miracle’s large format digital printing facility. Guaranteeing high quality imagery for advertising, presentation, building wraps, signage and fleet graphics, they deal with all printing requirements from photographic quality mounted prints to printing on glass and metal. Fast, flexible and economic, Miracle PRINTS brings the brand to the target audience with dramatic results. Bahrain has always been at the forefront of the media and publishing industry in the GCC, and is a competitive and fast moving market place. Miracle has always been a pioneer in this vein, being the first to introduce the industry to high-spec technology, most notably with design interface tools, with large format printing, and also with Miracle’s Digi-Smart Digital Asset Management system. But simply introducing

the technology is not enough in an emerging market, education on the benefits of such innovations and developments is key and this is where Miracle steps up to the mark. Through a carefully planned structured process and its open and honest approach with its clients, they have managed to maintain the position of being the pioneer in creativity and innovation in Bahrain. But how does Miracle cope when a client doesn’t agree with Miracle’s creative, innovative vision for its brand or communications needs? “We believe that the service we provide should follow a detailed process of education,” commented CEO, Khalid Juman “In a sense we build a case for the direction or strategy we recommend and the brand or piece of communication should follow. At the end of the day, it’s a give and take process. We learn

as much as we can about the client and align ourselves with their needs in order to provide them with the best solution possible. Often we must meet them half way, they do have the final say after all, but our track record for turning around and/or developing revolutionary new brands has been very impressive”. One such example that stands out for Mr. Juman is the design and development of Bahrain’s ‘Spring of Culture’ event brand and collateral. The patron of the event, HE Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, asked Miracle to create a timeless brand with longevity that would last and withstand change as the brand and event evolved. All of the campaign collateral also had to be developed for the first annual event. The timing to come up with an innovative solution was extremely tight, but a motivated Miracle team worked against the


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clock to come up with a brand that the event still uses today 5 years on. A brand that has become the most successful and renowned events brand in the Kingdom of Bahrain. At the time of printing this article, Miracle has just delivered the eye catching and lively collateral and advertising for the Spring of Culture event 2010. Miracle has continued to evolve over the years into one of the most well-established and recognized integrated communications agencies in Bahrain. However, the recent global crisis has not left the media industry unscathed and has made clients’ deadlines tighter and budgets smaller, making the understanding of clients needs even more crucial. Miracle has dealt with the downturn by restructuring and becoming more efficient and providing a more focused and personalized service, while

reinvigorating its recruitment drive to bring the most talented individuals in the industry on board. “We are confident about the future” commented Miracle Deputy CEO, Bernard Guly, “The secret is not to rest on our laurels but to always strive to do the best we can and continue to provide innovative solutions and superior customer service. It’s simple to grow in a sustainable way if you are confident in your skill set and in what you can achieve”. Future plans for Miracle are positive and promising, “we will continue to grow, innovate and expand in a disciplined way and move into areas that complement our core business of brand communications’’ says Mr. Guly. With this focused strategy and positive outlook, Miracle has continued to be a strong and leading contender in this competitive industry and clearly has a lot to look forward to in the future.

Our Clients Include: National Bank of Bahrain; Menatelecom; Economic Development Board; Durrat Al Bahrain; Durrat Marina; Royal Arabian; Toyota; Lexus; BlackBerry; Kuwait Finance House; Royal Court of Bahrain; Ministry of Information and Culture; Bahrain National Museum.

Tel: +973 77 022 222

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Trade Arabia is a Bahrain-based online business news and information portal covering various trade and industry sectors in the Gulf Region, Middle East and the Levant. Founded in 1999, it has been online for more than 9 years delivering business information and trade news updates to millions of online readers worldwide. Trade Arabia’s content is also being syndicated by various news organizations in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. With a Google Page Rank of 7/10, the portal is organized into news channels, market trends, business directory and calendar of events, which is being accessed by millions of visitors per month.


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The portal also includes a network of publication websites such as Gulf Daily News, Akhbar Alkhaleej, Gulf Weekly, Travel and Tourism Middle East, Gulf Construction, Gulf Industry, Middle East Interiors, The Gulf, Oil and Gas News and a number of industry events and exhibition websites. The winner of Bahrain 2009 eContent Award (eMedia Category), the portal is being visited by more than 3.2 million visitors per month and its pages/sections/news/

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The Bahrain eContent Award 2009 Organising Committee would like to thank

H.E. Sh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa

Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology for his patronage of the event and attending the award ceremony.

to the winners of the Bahrain eContent Award 2009
• Akhbar Al Khaleej • TRADE ARABIA • Al Wasat Special Mentions • Manama Gate • Al Waqt

• Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) • Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) • Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA)

• International Hospital of Bahrain • Ministry of Health

• Women Gateway • Tarbya Net • Ministry of Interior - Traffic Kids

• Batelco "O" Portal Special Mentions • Adhari Park

• Bahrain Center for Studies & Research (BCSR)

• Ministry of Education - Multimedia Enrichment • Teacher Anwar • Arab Open University Special Mentions • Science for 6th Grade • Wasmia

• Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Company (ASRY) • Riffa Views • Global Tourism Club Special Mentions • Moda Mall

• Jehat Al Shi’r • Folk Culture of Bahrain • Arabic Culture Café

• Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait (BBK) • Bank Muscat International (BMI)

business directory are generating more than 15 million page views per month based on the site’s December 2009 statistics generated by WebTrends web server measurement and analysis. Some of Trade Arabia’s major advertisers include General Electric, Gulf Air, Emirates Airlines, American Express, Visa, Mercedes-Benz, Riffa Views, Emaar Properties, Tamdeen, CNBC to name a few. has also been optimized to be accessed via smart phones as it tries to ensure visitors a consistent and optimized experience on their mobile device. Services Trade Arabia portal offers a widerange of Middle East businessrelated online services such as: e-Newsletters and EDMs Trade Arabia sends a daily e-newsletter to subscribers in the

Middle East, Levant and the world. The portal also sends EDMs for various clients to industry specific and geo-targeted audience. Directory Trade Arabia’s directory of companies covering contact and activity details of more than 500,000 companies from the GCC and the Middle East, China, East Asia, Europe and the United States. Events calendar Trade Arabia’s searchable events database holds information on current and upcoming events in the Middle East, from exhibitions, forums, seminars and conferences. Online Banner Ads Trade Arabia’s online banner advertising is one of the greatest sources of traffic that can be used in an organization’s niche market.

Trade Arabia Web Services Division • Domain Registration • Custom Web Design • Website Development • Database Driven Web Sites • Custom Web Applications • Search Engine Optimization • E-commerce Websites • Dedicated / Shared Hosting • Website Maintenance • Banner Advertisements • Email Direct Marketing The Trade Arabia Network and Online Services Director Rana Lababidi talks about Trade Arabia and the future of internet and online news: With much of the print media and television channels going online, how does Trade Arabia position itself at the forefront to attract maximum ‘clicks’ or ‘hits’?


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Trade Arabia carries business news a nd trade information on GCC and MENA. The portal also carries world news including technology and economy. To attract maximum visits on a daily basis, news is being updated on an hourly basis which print and television media cannot duplicate. Several countries in the GCC region vie to become the ideal centre for conducting business. How does Trade Arabia help Bahrain retain and maximise its position regionally? Since the editorial and technical components of the portal is headquartered in Bahrain, important news that promotes Bahrain as GCC’s business hub to the region and the world, is being given detailed emphasis by the portal. While Trade Arabia reaches a wide section of readers from worldwide, in which region is the maximum number of readers based? Trade Arabia’s large number of

visitors is coming from the United States and the Levant, particularly the GCC. However, we have noticed that visits from the Indian Sub-continent and China are on the increase. As a gatekeeper, how do you ensure that the content on the portal is factual and also interesting? What kind of stringent standards have you set for yourself and the editorial team to maintain the integrity of the content? Trade Arabia with its own editorial department is also getting support from other Al Hilal Group member publications such as Gulf Daily News, Akhbar Alkhaleej, Gulf Weekly and The Gulf that are known for their editorial integrity and honesty. These journalistic standards have also been set by Trade Arabia editorial department. As always in the news business, content is double checked and sources confirmed before uploading them online.

What recognition has Trade Arabia received so far in the industry? Trade Arabia received the 2009 Bahrain e-Content Award for e-Media Category Your business depends largely upon IT infrastructure. How does Bahrain fare in terms of online set-up and services? Bahrain fares fairly well when it comes to IT infrastructure, however, internet connectivity/ carriers must be continuously improved for the Kingdom to compete with the big leaguers such as the U.S., India and other countries of Asia with well developed internet facilities. In the face of severe competition from other publishers, what challenges do you face in retaining your readers and driving traffic upwards? What kind of data do you have on the user’s profile?

The challenges of retaining viewership lie on the upload of fresh news and other business information. In addition our daily Search Engine Optimization efforts - various search engines have been updating their source applications and algorithms without informing the online publishers and netizens or internet users. How does the future of online news appear for the next five years? In five years, we envision online usage and news readership to increase dramatically as IT and mobile infrastructure particularly in the Middle East becomes more mature coupled with the propagation of IT education at the grassroots’ level.

Tel: + 973 17293131

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Emerging Digital Agency

4SPOTS Key Professional Team

How has the environment changed in your field since you first started business? When we first started out, Online media was not at it’s peak in the country. Many of our clients then needed reassurances about investing in online media as websites were not given much importance. Competitive rates for Internet services were not offered either which did not help the development of the industry. However as time went by companies in the region began to see the benefits of online media. Today there is a healthy growth in the industry, companies are getting returns from their online investment. Websites are treated as important for a better brand perception. Internet is growing at a rapid rate especially in Bahrain , nearly about 420,000 internet users are active in comparison to mere 40,000 in 2000. This has given something for the Bahrain corporates to think about and the growth is a reflection of that. Can you briefly describe the new trends in website design and how a more sophisticated interface can realistically add value to your clients in terms of their bottom lines? Beside content , a website heavily relies over user experience , which generates perception about the company or product it is representing. Business analysis and

Information architecture plays a key role in developing a website which is targeted to its audience. A well-developed website always meets the target audience’s expectation and generates returns for your investment.If you ask me frankly , any site which provides good ROI to our client is bound to be in our good books , however it is important to keep your website trendy which gives unique experience to the user. Present trends like full screen websites, print like design elements and unique navigation allow for a better depth of penetration and an increase in positive perceptions. You provide various professional web services and solutions. Which area is most financially rewarding? Costing models can be fairly tricky for agencies as it is rather difficult to put a price on creativity. This is partially a reason for such a difference in pricing between agencies. Here at 4SPOTS we follow a resource utilisation model, which essentially means that various services are irrelevant because every project requires a specific set of resources. The utilisation of these resources determines the cost. This is also another reason we are able to provide our services to potential clients at a very reasonable rate.

Do you outsource any part of your services? If so, to where? Over the years we have developed certain procedures of development and determined what works for our client and what does not. It is very difficult for someone not part of the team to understand these procedures easily. Hence we do not prefer to outsource our important services , however certain services e.g Hosting, requires specialisation. Hence we have business partners as we feel it is more feasible for us to leave it to specialists for those particular services. Throughout your years of operation, what challenges have you faced in delivering excellence and creativity to your clients? Bringing ourselves to par with strong international agencies in other markets such as the west was a challenging aspect of our work. In order to achieve this we have constantly forced ourselves to keep our finger on the pulse of the industry. From a development perspective, we have had to constantly update our work with newer browser standards for example and the changing face of the internet. From a design perspective however, we have always had to push harder, research and understand the client’s perception of the brand. In addition to this we have to filter through various elements of brand


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Once the website is designed what specific after sales services do you provide? Once the project is completed, we then work closely with the client in monitoring the site, analysing activity within the site and recommending further additions to the site in terms of content and features. We also take responsibility for the management of the website through a retainer which reduces the load on the client in keeping the site upto date. Given the current global volatility, have you faced financial constraints from your clients in terms of the production value of your websites? Oddly enough we have not yet faced any real change in the market as many of our clients have not reduced their online budgets. It is important for companies to step up their communication strategy during the recession and we are quite happy that many of our clients have realised this and are pushing full steam ahead with our recommendations. How do you see Bahrain developing in terms of the regional online media industry? Adoption of new trends is natural in the Kingdom. Bahrainis stand out as technophiles and this is what makes it so exciting to be here. The infrastructure within the country is improving and with the influx of talented and qualified professionals I don’t see any reason why Bahrain shouldn’t take the place of being at the forefront of the online media sector in the region. Are there any plans for expansion of the services you provide? If so when, what and why? We are actively looking into SAAS (Software as a Service) and will be investing in more portals in the future.

Srusti Ranjan

guidelines to achieve the most visually appealing product. At the end of each day, we make sure that any work that crosses our desks is ground breaking with regards to both technology and design. What type of website design is most popular amongst your clients? How long is the design process? Full screen designs or sites with liquid resolution features like those used for Portamoda, are quite popular with some of our clients. Innovative navigation like the one we created for Majaal ( and GBCorp (www.gbcorponline. com) is something that brings a fresh user experience. Printalike designs are back !.Though we love to design graphics intensive sites, it is important not to get carried away and stick to the brand guideline and requirement of the client and design accordingly. Each design process varies depending on the requirements of the client.

How do you see yourself in the Middle Eastern Online media Industry? What future contributions do you hope to provide? We are growing quite fast in Bahrain and are now expanding our client base across the Middle East. This is largely due to the levels of satisfaction of our clients and our focus on quick turnarounds and quality offering. We hope to contribute to the industry by increasing the focus on quality and creativity. With such a vast and cost effective pool of Web professionals at hand in India, are plans for regional expansion realistic? While it is cost effective to outsource a lot of work to India, I think a company has to decide between agencies that understand the region and agencies that do not. Also most part of the website development requires person to person interaction and understanding of client’s requirement and the brand perception of the team towards the same , hence I would think regional expansion is realistic.

In what specific ways are you extending your brand in order to capitalise on the current New Media craze that has taken the shape of social networking platforms? In a recession based economy; organizations realize the value of accountable digital media. As a digital agency, we’re ready to provide unique solutions. We’re looking beyond corporate websites. With the onset of social media, people influence other people. 85% will make a point of telling other people about a product that impresses them. The fact that they pass on your message and influence others multiplies your message and makes your money work harder for you. Bahrain has a strong internet penetration but the area that is growing within the digital market is the mobile industry with over 130% penetration and so it is only right for us over 2010 to extend our services into social media and the mobile market. We have been responsible for a few very successful social media campaigns. For example, we are responsible for creating one of the fastest growing Facebook page in Bahrain for a retail client.
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4 Spots Al Baraka Banking Group Ali Sharaf Photography Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA) Bahrain House of Photography Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) Bahrain Polytechnic Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen Café Italia Dilmunia at Bahrain (Ithmaar Development Co.) Diyar Al Muharraq Durrat Al Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) Gulf Air Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen Ithmaar Bank Khalifa Shaheen Digital Images (KSDi) L’ Hotel Memories of China Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) Miracle Muharraqi Studios Porsche Design Rashid Al Oraifi Señor Paco’s Solidarity Group The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) The Court of HRH The Prime Minister The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa The Royal Charity Organization Trade Arabia
Photography Credits Abdulla M. Al-Khan - Abdulla M. Khan of Bahrain House of Photography Ali Sharaf - Bahrain Airport Company - Bahrain Exhibitions & Convention Authority (BECA) Haifa Hassan - Hanan Hassan Al Khalifa - Hasan Al Khunaizi - Khada Khunji - Khalid Al Muharraqi - Khalifa Shaheen - M. Salman - Mazen Al Maskati - Toufic Beyhum - Weal Yousif Ahmed - Bahrain Talent Contributors Baraa Abdulla - Danny Lawless - Elgin Vandewiele - Faika Al Hassan - Ghada Khunji - Jose Romualdo “Rom” B. Cumagun Latifa Al Shakar - Moosa Silwadi - Rana Tabbara Photography - Sowsan Hassan -

184 160 104 168 74 102 68 146 126 172 114 60 136 140, IBC 36, 144 4, 32 34, 72 52 1, 3, IFC 100 48 58 128 176 38, 96 40 90 62 1 166 12 120 44 124 180

Promotion Credits 4 Spots Bahrain Art Society - Bahrain Polytechnic - Bougi - Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen Jashanmal Books Division - L’Hotel - Middle East Media (MEM) Ministry of Culture & Information - Miracle - Mr. Karim - La Ventana Restaurant - Adliya, Bahrain Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa - The Economic Development Board (EDB) - www. Market Essential Downloads The Economic Development Board




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