Thursday, February 29, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
 Joseph Varghese
Joseph Varghese
A journalist with a penchant for reporting events, Joseph Varghese digs deep to unearth facts. With several years of experience, including at Gulf Times, Joseph handles health, science and technology, IT and education in addition to everyday developments.
Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani and other dignitaries at the WISE session yesterday. PICTURE: Aisha al-Musallam
Sheikha Moza attends EAA plenary session at WISE 2023

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of the Education Above All ( EAA) Foundation, attended the plenary session organised by the foundation on the second and concluding day of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2023 yesterday.Jeffrey Sachs, university professor and director of the Centre for Sustainable Development at Columbia University stressed that the way to end the Israel-Palestinian issue that has been going on for several decades is by accepting Palestine as a UN member state.He said: “The war that has been raging in Gaza has been happening for several decades. The UN Security Council has already adopted the solution which is two states side by side. The Israel–Palestine issue can be solved if Palestine is recognised as a UN member state.”The session was also attended by HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, Vice Chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation; Ziroatkhon Hoshimova, First Lady of Uzbekistan and a number of ministers, dignitaries and officials. The session focused on raising global awareness about the Gaza Strip crisis, the importance of educational recovery, dealing with trauma and psychosocial support.Prof Sachs talked about the significant role of education in sustainable development and the necessity of adhering to it, especially in times of war and crisis, calling for thinking about the turmoil that the world is witnessing today and trying to find a solution to it.He added that the solution to the Palestinian issue is not by launching initiatives or proposing solutions but by the ability to implement decisions on the ground. The Security Council must approve the acceptance of Palestine as a full member of the United Nations and adopt it as an independent state.During the session, Al Fakhoora Scholarship graduate, Athar Ahmed narrated her personal experience and the humanitarian crises she had been exposed to since her childhood and how it had impacted her childhood . She gave an account of the roar of planes and the sounds of artillery, bombs and tanks, and seeing her family members covered in their blood and their body parts scattered, as a result of the bombing of their home in Gaza.Ahmed , then, pointed out how she was awarded the Al Fakhoora scholarship which helped her shape her life for better and led to the transformation and personal development of her life. She also noted how education with its transformative power can help withstand shocks and deal with life's challenges with steadfastness and strength.Founder and CEO of the Centre for Mind-Body Medicine, James Gordon talked about his centre's role in Gaza and how its programmes were developed to deal with the trauma suffered by the Gazan society, especially children. He pointed out that trauma in Gaza results from seeing blood and body parts, but what exacerbates its difficulty is that the trauma is collective.Dr Gordon pointed out that the centre's programme in Gaza was able to train more than 1,500 teachers, counsellors, and medical workers to enhance children's recovery from trauma, and who in turn were able to treat more than 85,000 children in various areas, including shelters, schools, mosques, and others.Ameera Harouda, a journalist from Gaza and one of the war survivors, explained how people and children felt safe and reassured in schools that were not spared from the bombing, highlighting the importance of protecting education and giving Palestinian children the opportunity to complete their education and hone their skills.Palestinian-American standup comedian Mohamed Amer also addressed the gathering through a video message.

Talal Alhothal and Faisal Abdulhameed al–Mudahka exchange the document after signing the agreement as Taj Sulaiman looks on. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
EAA Foundation, Gulf Times ink collaboration agreement

Education Above All (EAA) Foundation that works to ensure equal access to education and to harness the power of quality education for positive, sustainable, and inclusive change and Gulf Times, the leading English newspaper of Qatar signed a collaboration agreement on Wednesday.The agreement was signed by Talal Alhothal, director, Al Fakhoora Programme, EAA and Faisal Abdulhameed al–Mudahka, Editor-in-Chief, Gulf Times on the sidelines of the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) at Qatar National Convention Centre . Taj Sulaiman, Director, Communication and Partnerships at EAA was also present.Al-Mudahka said Gulf Times is happy to join hands with EAA which envisions bringing new life chances, real hope and opportunities to improve the lives of poor and marginalised children, youth and women especially in the developing world.Al-Mudakha explained: “EAA project is really very close to my heart as it is a great initiative that reaches out to margnialised children and vulnerable communities in many countries. It is a noble gesture of upholding the great values of humanity and helping the weaker sections of the society.”“Gulf Times is also proud to be supporting a foundation that is the brainchild of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, a long-time advocate of education. It is all the more pertinent to extend our full co-operation to EAA at this critical juncture when the Israeli occupation forces have massacred thousands of Palestinians and destroyed all the civilian infrastructure, including the UN-run Al Fakhoora school, in the besieged Gaza Strip,” he highlighted.Alhothal said that it was "great to partner with Gulf Times" and thanked the publication for supporting the noble cause of education especially for the marginilased communities in developing countries.“We, at EAA are glad to partner with Gulf Times, the leading English print media outlet in Qatar to spread the word about our activities in several countries around the world. We believe that this partnership will help us reach out to various communities in Qatar and beyond and help with the works of EAA to support marginalised children in various parts of the globe. We are confident that Gulf Times, with its vast network and social media platforms will be a major medium for EAA to convey the right message," added the official.

Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser addresses the 11th edition of WISE Tuesday. PICTURE: AR Al-Baker
Sheikha Moza decries attacks on educational institutes in Gaza

Deploring the attacks by Israeli forces on the educational institutes in Gaza, Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation (QF), stressed the need for innovation to find solutions for ‘intractable problems.’She was addressing the plenary session of the WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) summit after opening the 11th edition Tuesday at the Qatar National Convention Centre.Her Highness Sheikha Moza said: “Since the start of the current Israeli aggression in October, 36 Education Above All supported schools and universities have been completely or partially destroyed. And so, Israeli forces have destroyed so much that has been accomplished by Al-Fakhoora programme. With the collapse of each school and each university, we lose a pillar in the foundation of the future. For every child deprived of education because of violence, another pillar is lost.”The QF chairperson highlighted: “For more than 20 years, we have supported education in Palestine, and especially in Gaza. We built Al Fakhoora School as the first of many educational projects in Gaza. It has since been shelled by the Israeli forces. The projects, which now constitute Al Fakhoora programme include teaching and training, building schools and universities, and funding specific research projects that are not available elsewhere in the strip.”Her Highness stressed the grim situation by pointing out to the plight of a Palestinian child named Suhaila and said: "This child, and so many others like her, know the bitterness of being barred from learning. Because education’s value is taken for granted, only those who are deprived of it, realise its true importance. This little one, Suhaila, knows that education would provide her and her family with a better future. A better future that refuses to arrive, because the future is heavy with the threat of annihilation, a threat that was realised in the fate of Al Fakhoora.”“War disrupts educational institutions, exhausts health sectors, and prevents the wheels of development from turning. Those very wheels are buried deep in the debris. And because of this the greatest threat to a society’s progress occurs after the ceasefire. The victims, their old lives buried under the rubble, must rise from the ashes left by the destruction, and start again with nothing,” lamented, the QF chairperson.Her highness ascertained: “I want to ensure WISE is a platform for new ideas that keep pace with the changes taking place in the world, and the obstacles that education faces in certain countries for reasons of which we are all too aware. And I say, as I have said many times before: there is no alternative but to innovate if we are to find solutions to intractable problems. This is the role that WISE plays.”The QF chairperson noted that in tackling the challenges of education, scientists and researchers have an academic and moral responsibility, emphasising, “The future of our young people is built on education.”“Every time education is targeted, the international community takes more than a single step backward. Our priority and policy must transcend political calculations and machinations” highlighted the chairperson.Her Highness Sheikha Moza also noted that the focus of this year’s WISE - the potential of artificial intelligence- addresses related issues, and how to improve the ways its capabilities and possibilities are harnessed.Sheikha Moza pointed out that during the war in Gaza, artificial intelligence is being used to fabricate stories, falsify facts, and block publications, photos, and videos that include atrocities committed by the Israeli occupation forces against the people of Gaza and the West Bank. “This makes us wonder: whose stories does artificial intelligence select to be archived as history? Whose history will be told? Which ideas will be chosen as the most credible? And then: how do we maintain our independence and preserve our educational values? How do we remain sovereign societies?” she concluded.

HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani presents the WISE Prize for Education 2023 to Safeena Husain. PICTURE: AR Al-Baker
Girls advocate wins WISE Prize for Education 2023

Qatar Foundation (QF) vice chairperson and CEO HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani awarded Tuesday the 2023 WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) Prize for Education to Safeena Husain, founder and board member of Educate Girls.The honour comprises $500,000 and a WISE medal. Husain was recognised for dedicating 16 years to building the non-profit organisation focused on empowering communities for girls’ education in some of India’s hardest to reach villages.Earlier, QF chairperson Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser opened the 11th edition of WISE, under the theme ‘Creative Fluency: Human Flourishing in the Age of AI’. The global summit convenes more than 2,000 education industry stakeholders, including influential thought leaders, young trailblazers, and key decision-makers to foster dialogue on the transformative power of Artificial Intelligence in the global education landscape. The WISE Prize for Education is the first global award of its kind that honours an individual for an outstanding contribution to education. Speaking to Gulf Times Husain said : “ We have been able to recruit over 1.9mn girl children from the interior villages in several states in India. Over 16 years we have mobilised more than 1.4mn girl children from various states in the country for enrolment in our programme. With a precision targeting method using AI, Educate Girls is able to target in five years, the same number of out-of-school girls, which would otherwise require 45 years.”Husain’s journey with WISE began with a WISE Award in 2014 that acknowledged Educate Girls for its positive social impact and ability to scale. Through a network of over 21,000 community-based champions in some of the most marginalised communities in the country, the organisation has been working to break the intergenerational cycle of inequality and exclusion.Under Husain’s guidance, Educate Girls has evolved into a leading global force, harnessing innovative financing and AI technology to bridge the gender gap in education. This is mirrored in its global milestones: the delivery of the world’s first Development Impact Bond in education, and the organisation becoming Asia’s first The Audacious Project – which, housed at TED, is a collaborative funding initiative catalysing social impact on a grand scale. Husain said: “This is a collective win for all of us working toward girls’ education, right from the government and local communities to dedicated gender champions and our supporters. It is a testament to the array of initiatives that are actively addressing this global challenge, embracing grassroots innovations and technology-driven solutions that are tirelessly working to ensure that every girl, in every village, is in school and learning well.”“Girls' education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet to solve some of the world’s most complex problems. We must recognise that the right to education is a girl’s inherent right – a right that must always take center stage,” continued the WISE Prize Winner.Among the highlights of the opening plenary was a performance by 15-year-old Palestinian rapper Abdulrahman AlShanti – known as MC Abdul.The official strategic partner of WISE 11, Education Above All, a global non-profit organisation established by Her Highness Sheikha Moza, dedicated to transforming lives through education, is at the forefront of the summit’s programme creating dialogue around inclusive education, innovative financing, and protecting education in crises.

Experts share their views during the panel discussion. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Experts discuss challenges, future of sustainable tourism

Experts at a panel discussion at Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2023 on Wednesday focused on sustainable tourism and highlighted the challenges as well as steps taken by various countries to ensure sustainability in tourism and beyond.Speaking at the discussion ‘Creating A World Class Sustainable Destination,’ Florian Sengstschmid, CEO, Azerbaijan Tourism Board noted that sustainability is a personal responsibility in all aspects of life and tourism is no exception. “Sustainability is a personal responsibility and it is very important that we all need to convey the concept of sustainability to each and everyone, not only in tourism but beyond that and in every aspect of life. As for tourism perspective and from a public perspective what can be done is that with the assistance of public authorities, we can create a proper destination strategy that powers different players in the industry to be accountable for their actions,” explained Sengstschmid.Speaking about the challenges faced by Turkiye in this regard, Esra Guler, MICE director, Turkiye Tourism Promotion and Development Agency noted that her country with very vast and diverse regions, have a number of challenges in ensuring sustainable tourism.Guler said: “Turkiye is a country full of diversity with different regions and ecosystems. The main thing is how to showcase all these through a common programme. So we have made a national sustainable tourism strategy and its criteria are formed in consultation with Global Sustainable Tourism Council.”“Several elements are included in the programme such as culture, environment emission management among others. It was a great task to put all the topics in one strategy. Every stakeholder has to follow the specifications and get certified accordingly with a three level certification,” she added.Shoaa Alsemaiti, assistant manager, Marketing and Communications of Katara Hospitality highlighted how Qatar adopted to sustainable standards especially after the country won the bid to host 2022 FIFA World Cup. “We prioritised the need for sustainability and we also focused more on sustainable cities. We developed the Lusail City, a sustainable city and the Katara Hospitality’s building received the certificate for sustainability,” she said.According to Doris Maria Woerfel, chair and executive director, African Sustainable Tourism Organisation, African countries face three main challenges.She stated: “Ownership is one major issue. Most hotels in Africa are owned by non-Africans and this is a major issue. Another challenge is Internet connectivity. Most of the countries in Africa do not have proper Internet connection even to organise online trainings.““The third challenge is the lack of proper infrastructure in several parts of Africa and even at some of the most famous national parks. Infrastructure development is a major challenge along with Internet connectivity,” she said.The session moderated by Prof Wolfgang Georg Arlt, founder, Meaningful Tourism also featured Bonita Mutoni, founder and managing director, Uber Luxe Safaris, Rwanda, who highlighted the need for quality tourists to protect the biodiversity of the destinations.“We need responsible and quality tourists who can take care of diversity of the ecosystems as successful and sustainable tourism is about growth in number of satisfied tourists,” added Mutoni. QTM 2023 concluded Wednesday.

Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori speaks to Gulf Times Tuesday
Travel agents need to reshape their business models : Qatari official

Travel agencies have to innovate and reshape their business models in the rapidly changing business scenario, a Qatari official told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the Qatar Travel Mart 2023 Tuesday.“Travel agencies have to find new business models and diversify their activities,” said Aamal Company Chief Executive Officer Rashid bin Ali al-Mansoori. “People do not need travel agents much for ticketing purposes. They have to reshape and innovate their role."“Travel agents have to think of organising holidays or business events or major conferences,” he continued. “There is need for co-operation among the travel agencies in the country with authorities and the airlines to ensure they are in line with the emerging travel scenarios and needs.”“They have to make arrangements for visa, security and safety as they are all very important for tourism industry,” al-Mansoori added.Welcoming the decision to introduce a common visa for travel among the GCC countries, he said that it is a very positive step even though there might be some challenges.“This is a step forward. I think the residents of any GCC country might be able to travel freely using the visa of their resident country just like the Schengen Visa,” he said. “This will lead to boost tourism in the region in a big way.”According to al-Mansoori, Qatar has always been a sports destination, with several major tournaments held frequently.“Sports tourism has been major part of Qatar’s tourism strategy. With the hosting of the FIFA World Cup 2022, Qatar has made itself a global destination, and the upcoming Asian Football Cup, followed by many other major tournaments in line in the coming years will lead to great tourism opportunities in the country,” he said.“However, cultural tourism is one aspect that Qatar is focusing more as it will help bring tourists all through the seasons with iconic museums and other attractions of the country,” al-Mansoori stated. “We have great infrastructure, beautiful resorts and hotels, beaches , deserts and many more.”“Moreover great food and Qatari hospitality are added attractions that will boost the growth of tourism in the country,” he added.

The Majilis Bus VVIP. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Mowasalat unveils 'Majlis Bus VVIP' at QTM 2023

Mowasalat (Karwa) has introduced the ultra-luxurious “Majilis Bus VVIP”, showcased at the Qatar Travel Mart (QTM) 2023, which concludes Wednesday.“This was planned during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. We had arranged some VVIP buses, and it is one of them,” Karwa business and sales officer Mohammed Ateeq told Gulf Times Tuesday. “This is called the ‘Majilis Bus VVIP’.”“It is completely like a super jet. We also have other category of VIP buses that are almost similar,” he added. “This bus is open for everyone to rent. This is one of our most prestigious luxurious buses.”The bus has a seating capacity for six people with reclining seats.It sports a washroom, a kitchen with all the necessary accessories installed, a fridge and a large TV, among other facilities.There is also a large and long sofa.“This is a bus for conferences or family outings; to go for Umrah or for other occasions,” Ateeq noted. “Currently we have only one such bus, which is a Mercedes Marco polo. We are getting the market pulse and according to the response and demand from the clients, we will increase the number of buses.”The official said that Karwa will rent out the bus according to the requirements of the people and according their scope of work."An expert driver will be provided with the bus," Ateeq said.

Dignitaires at the ribbon cutting ceremony marking the opening of QTM 2023 Monday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar Travel Mart 2023 begins with participation from over 60 countries

The second edition of Qatar Travel Mart (QTM), featuring over 50 exhibitors and 100 buyers from 60 countries, was inaugurated by HE the Minister of Commerce and Industry Sheikh Mohamed bin Hamad bin Qassim al-Abdullah al-Thani, at Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre Monday.Held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohamed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, the three-day QTM 2023 with the theme, ‘Discover Places, People, and Cultures,' offers a collaborative forum for industry professionals to enhance their knowledge, forge connections, celebrate excellence, and engage with international leaders and decision-makers in the travel and tourism sector.The opening ceremony was attended by a host of dignitaries including Qatari Hotels Association and Qatari Businessmen Association chairman HE Sheikh Faisal bin Qassim al-Thani and Qatar Tourism chairman Saad bin Ali al-Kharji. The ceremony drew over 100 prominent officials, including ambassadors and delegates from the participating countries.Speaking about QTM 2023, al-Kharji said: “Qatar continues to offer unparalleled opportunity for exploration by global travellers and we look forward to showcasing the latest advancements made by our tourism industry over the next three days while collaborating with our valued partners to ensure the continued success and growth of our sector."At the accompanying conference of QTM 2023, al-Kharji delivered a keynote speech centred on the theme of Qatar’s tourism progress at the event. This was followed by keynote speeches from officials such as Hissein Brahim Taha, secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Co-operation; Prof Muzaffer Uysal, provost professor, University of Massachusetts; and Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association.Rawad Sleem, co-founder and general manager of NeXTfairs for Exhibitions and Conferences and organisers of QTM 2023, said: “This year's event marks a momentous occasion for QTM with a 50% expansion in scale. From exclusive programmes to a compelling agenda, QTM 2023 promises to ignite growth, celebrate achievements, and navigate the road to a sustainable tourism future post-World Cup."Following the keynote speeches, there was a panel discussion led by Prof Wolfgang George Arlt, founder, Meaningful Tourism. The focal point was 'The Future of Travel & Tourism: A Growing Positive Curve,' and it featured prominent figures, including Mohamed al-Asmakh, director, Asset Management, Katara Hospitality; Philip Dickinson, Overseeing Leading International Markets and MICE at Qatar Tourism; Tom Jenkins, CEO of the European Tourism Association; Chris Flynn, chairman and founder of the World Tourism Association for Culture & Heritage and Prof Muzaffer Uysal, provost professor, University of Massachusetts.There were also guest talks on topics such as 'The 'Burgenstock Collection: A Sustainable Collection'; 'Certification: Why This is so Crucial in This International Crisis Period '; 'Chinese Outbound Tourism, Current Status and Predictions for the Future'; and 'Korea Tourism: Riding The Korean Wave.'The attendees had the opportunity to explore exhibition stands and QTM's Global Village. Hosting 25 embassies, the Global Village is a hub for diverse cultures, connecting different parts of the world under one roof and showcasing heritage, traditions, and philosophies.

QNCC general manager Robert Tripoli speaks to Gulf Times. PICTURE: Thajudheen.
QNCC aims to become ‘phygital’ provider of events

Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) aims to expand its scope of activities to event organising and digital activities, a top official told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview.“Our idea is to expand the activities from a venue provider to event organiser and digital activities," explained QNCC general manager Robert Tripoli."We are very excited about next year as we have signed several agreements in this regard. Digital activities are more and more an important part with the events industry. We aim to be a 360 degree event provider for our customers and not purely a venue provider, ” he said.QNCC's strategy is to become a complete player within the events industry in the country leading to the realisation of the Qatar National Vision 2030 and help the country increase the footfalls from abroad."We are in talks with some of the partners to bring some international events here. We would love sooner than later to become a ‘phygital’ provider of events,” Tripoli stated. Phygital (physical plus digital) is a marketing term that describes blending digital experiences with physical ones.The official noted that QNCC will wrap up 2023 with 114 major events. “Towards the end of last year we were hosting the international media centre for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. Then we had several major events like the UN Least Developed Countries Congress among others. Towards the end of this month we will host WISE (World Innovation Summit for Education) and GPCA (Gulf Petrochemicals and Chemicals Association) Forum in December. We have already reached over 90% of the pre-Covid levels.”Tripoli said that QNCC is the main venue for academic and professional congresses as well as for concerts in Qatar. Relating to his experience as the head of the major convention centre in Milan which is about 45km away from the city centre, he said that the location of QNCC is a great advantage.“The location is a great advantage for QNCC because with all the connectivity to the place, distance is not an obstacle for people to reach here. There are multiple options and lot of parking spaces for the visitors. All in all, it is at a great location for everyone to reach. Moreover we are in the centre of the Education City and it is most ideal place for all the academic, health and professional conferences,” added Tripoli.

HE Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Jabr al-Thani and Dr Abdul-Azim Abdul-Wahab Hussein announce details of the Congress Tuesday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Over 1,000 healthcare providers to attend QCS international gastrointestinal cancer congress

Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) will host the International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2023 from December 1 to 2 with the participation of over 1,000 healthcare providers academics and researchers from around the world.QCS founder and chairman HE Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Jabr al-Thani and vice chairman Dr Abdul-Azim Abdul-Wahab Hussein who shared details of the congress at a press conference Tuesday, also cautioned that the incidence rate in gastrointestinal cancers in Qatar is likely to increase significantly by 2030.Held under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani, the conference will be held at Ritz-Carlton, Doha, with the participation of health care providers, researchers, academics and specialists in the field of gastrointestinal cancers worldwide.Sheikh Khalid said: "The importance of the International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers comes from the fact that this type of cancer represents a significant burden globally, both in terms of incidence and mortality. Gastrointestinal cancers account for one in four cancer cases and one in three cancer deaths globally.”“The Qatar National Cancer Registry at the Ministry of Public Health predicts an increase in the disease. The incidence rate in gastrointestinal cancers is projected to increase from roughly 18 per 100,000 right now to 34 per 100,000 by 2030,” he added.Dr Hussein explained: "Gastrointestinal cancers encompass a wide range of malignancies, including cancers of the esophagus, stomach, liver, pancreas, gallbladder, bile ducts, small intestine, colon, among other organs. Yet, the burden they pose is matched by the opportunity they present-a chance to radically transform the lives of millions through medical breakthroughs, innovative research, and collaborative care.”He noted that the conference is a global platform that brings together an elite group of specialists and experts in various fields related to gastrointestinal cancers from several countries, including the US, Austria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, Jordan. Qatar is represented by the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and the Primary Health Care Corporation among other organisations.Sheikh Khalid said that the conference will include two-panel discussions, the first concerned with raising community awareness about preventing gastrointestinal cancers.“There will be a medical exhibition in cooperation with health authorities to provide free consultation services to the public. The second session is concerned with people living with cancer and their families to talk about the importance of food and other aspects during the treatment and recovery period by hosting an elite group of specialists in this field.”In 2020, colorectal cancers ranked second in cancer incidence in the country. Amongst the Qatari population registered in the Qatar National Cancer Registry, there were 635 cases diagnosed with colorectal cancer. Of these, 28% have died and 72% have survived.

A panel discussion in progress at the conference. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam Gladwell with GU-Q dean Dr Masri.
GU-Q conference suggests measures for water security

Embracing innovation and technology, adaptation of advanced technologies in water treatment and desalination, smart water management systems, and data-driven decision-making tools were among the recommendations made at an event in Doha Sunday to overcome water security challenges in GCC region and beyond.The opening session of Georgetown University in Qatar (GU-Q)’s “Sustaining the Oasis: Envisioning the Future of Water Security” conference, part of its Hiwaraat series, saw experts highlighting the urgency of addressing water security challenges and climate change.In his opening keynote, Malcolm Gladwell, author of six New York Times bestsellers and one of TIME’s 100 most influential people and Foreign Policy’s Top Global Thinkers, argued that the kind of social risk-taking and the sense of urgency that led to breakthroughs for treating childhood leukaemia and the personal computer revolution can be a model for approaching climate change and water security.“One of the mistakes we make is to treat every one of the problems we face as an ordinary problem and to assume that it is not necessary to be urgent or disagreeable,” he said, describing a doctor who pioneered chemotherapy treatments despite the fact that his peers thought he was taking too many risks.“Scientists working on leukaemia in the 1960s thought it was an ordinary problem and that it wasn’t necessary to be in a hurry, or turn their backs on what their peers think,” he explained, going on to make the connection with environmental crises today.Gladwell noted that tipping points are profoundly counter-intuitive.“There’s a tipping point in Amazon deforestation, which we are perilously close to, where the ecosystem in the Amazon will change very quickly from a rainforest to a kind of savannah with devastating consequences for the planet,” he said. “It’s not a normal problem. It’s something that’s going to change overnight, and we can’t approach it with that same mindset, if we expect to have any kind of positive outcome.”GU-Q dean Dr Safwan Masri, in conversation with Gladwell, noted: “Water security can never be taken for granted. The World Health Organisation (WHO) reports that one in three people globally does not have access to safe drinking water.”Gladwell agreed: “The persistence of scepticism about some of these issues suggests that there’s something very wrong in the way we are framing them for the public and also our policymakers.”“We might need to spend more time thinking about the context in which we educate people,” he added.Georgetown’s Earth Commons dean Dr Peter Marra and Earth Commons Institute dean, conference co-organiser and GU-Q dean’s senior adviser Dr Raha Hakimdavar shared their thoughts on water security at the opening session.The findings from the conference will be shared with the COP28 Presidency to inform discussions and negotiations around water.A panel discussion on the water security challenges in the GCC countries highlighted that acknowledging and emphasising the urgent needs to address the water security challenges in the GCC as well as promoting sustainable water management, collaboration among the stakeholders, governments, academia, industries and researchers are some of the way forward.The panellists also highlighted that embracing innovation and technology, adaptation of advanced technologies in water treatment and desalination, smart water management systems and data-driven decision-making tools, enhancing water conservation and efficiency measures, sustainable agricultural measures and raising awareness on the topic among the general public, can lead to a great extent of water security in the region.

The Education City tram.
Education City tram reflects QF's commitment to innovation

The Education City Tram has become a symbol of the community's modernity and progress reflecting Qatar Foundation (QF)’s commitment to innovation, a top official told Gulf Times.“The introduction of the Education City Tram has brought about significant changes for the Qatar Foundation community,” said QF integrated transportation system director Jassim Eisa Rasheed. “It has brought all elements of Education City closer together and increased its transportation options – helping to make it a modern city where those who work, study, and visit there can be easily connected to their destinations.”He said that the tram has made it easier and more convenient for the community to get around Education City.“It is free, reliable, and frequent, making it the ideal way to travel around Education City – including for visitors, for whom Education City is now even more accessible, with the tram making it easier to explore our campus and its many attractions,” Rasheed said.“The tram has also had a positive impact on the environment,” he continued. “By reducing the number of cars on the road, it has helped to improve air quality and reduce traffic congestion.”“As it is also powered by electricity, this is a more sustainable form of transportation,” Rasheed added. “In addition to these practical benefits, the tram has also had a significant cultural impact on Education City: it has become a symbol of the community's modernity and progress, and reflects Qatar Foundation’s commitment to innovation.”He noted that the tram has helped to bring the Education City community together, with more people now using the tram to get around, creating opportunities for interaction.The QF also institutes car-free days at Education City to help raise awareness of the tram and other sustainable transportation options.Last Thursday was a car free day.“We have held car-free days at Education City to help raise awareness of the tram and other sustainable transportation options,” Rasheed said. “Our integrated transportation system, which includes feeder buses from tram stops to Education City destinations as well as micro-mobility options, has made it even easier for people to get around without a car.”“Taking all of this into account, the introduction of the Education City Tram has had a positive impact on people’s behaviour,” he said.Rasheed noted that the number of people using the tram is rising steadily.“The average number of daily tram passengers per day quickly reached over 3,000,” he said. “By the start of this academic year in September, that figure had risen to over 4,000.”“The average number of tram passengers per month has reached over 120,000,” Rasheed remarked. “This is a remarkable number, especially considering that the tram system is still relatively new."“The introduction of the (Education City Tram’s) Green Line in July 2023 has further boosted the popularity of the tram system, making it easier for students and staff to get around the full campus, and Education City being more accessible to visitors,” he added. “By the end of 2023, our expectation is to have reached a daily ridership of 5,000.”

Tripoli and Shishtawi exchanging the signed MoU Tuesday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
QNCC, Mangusteen partner up to push dynamic events

The Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) and Mangusteen, a leading international event management company headquartered in Qatar, have announced a collaboration to “craft moments that resonate, inspire and leave lasting moments in hosting events”.The memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed Tuesday by QNCC general manager Robert Tripoli and Mangusteen chief executive Malik Shishtawi.“The QNCC’s strategic mission is to cultivate a diverse array of events that not only enrich Qatar’s landscape but also bolster the realisation of the National 2030 vision,” said Tripoli. “Through collaborative efforts with partners such as Mangusteen, co-organised events with partners look to delve into specific sectors spanning Fintech, digital transformation, as well as cultural and entertainment spheres.”“The partnership between Mangusteen and the QNCC is a testament to our shared commitment to excellence and innovation in the world of events,” said Shistawi. “We look forward to creating unforgettable experiences and fostering the growth of Qatar’s event industry.”“The very first manifestation of this MoU will be the 3rd edition of the Arab Fintech Forum, which we are bringing to the state-of-the-art QNCC venue,” he added.Under the terms of the agreement, both parties will to co-organise a series of events that span both the entertainment and business sectors.While Mangusteen will lead in event planning and management, the QNCC will provide the venue and essential support services.This collaboration signifies an exciting synergy between Mangusteen’s event management expertise and the world-class facilities at the QNCC.It promises to bring a fresh wave of dynamic events to Qatar, providing a platform for both local and international talents to shine.Both parties are optimistic about the possibilities that the partnership will unlock, and they remain committed to maintaining the highest standards and professionalism throughout the collaboration.According to the officials, the strategic partnership is poised to redefine the event landscape in Qatar and the region.

Dignitaries at the opening session of the three-day conference Tuesday. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Minister calls for integrating health considerations into city planning

Integrating health considerations into all aspects of city planning and development can forge a path toward holistic well-being, noted HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, Tuesday.“Healthier cities necessitate a holistic approach through enhancing partnership and governance mechanisms that embody health and all policies of the government,” she told the opening of the Eastern Mediterranean Region Healthy Cities Conference 2023 organised by the Ministry of Public Health and the World Health Organisation.“Our cities must cater to the well-being and inclusivity of all, including children and the elderly. We must champion urban designs that promote sustainability, safety, accessibility and mobility, fostering environments where individuals and communities can thrive,” Dr al-Kuwari explained.The three-day conference aims to explore and scale up the healthy cities approach across the Eastern Mediterranean Region. The opening ceremony was also attended by HE Saleh bin Muhammad al-Nabit, President of the Planning and Statistics Authority and Chairman of the Permanent Population Committee; Dr Ahmed al-Mandhari, WHO regional director for the Eastern Mediterranean and senior officials and representatives of 15 countries of the region.Dr al-Kuwari explained : “Qatar works to promote the health and well-being of the population and achieve sustainability, guided by the wise vision of His Highness the Amir, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani, and to achieve the Qatar National Vision 2030. The Healthy Cities programme serves the country’s efforts in this regard, and we are proud that Qatar is the first country where all municipalities received the title of Healthy City from the World Health Organisation, in addition to Qatar Foundation’s Education City being recognised as Healthy Education City and Qatar University as a Healthy University.”The minister continued: “Qatar has adopted a policy of promoting health, equity, and sustainable development and translated it into strategic initiatives, policies and best practices by following the ‘Health in All Policies’ strategic priority. We are pleased that through this conference we can exchange knowledge and experiences with other countries of the Eastern Mediterranean Region and with WHO Healthy City Networks across various regions.”Dr al-Kuwari noted that a culture of embracing innovation should be created to address current challenges, embracing the transformative potential of technology and artificial intelligence.“We must find ways to harness digital solutions that promote health, mitigate harms, and uphold principles of well-being and sustainability. As the challenges of climate change grow increasingly predominant globally, we are now even more aware of the specific problems posed by the arid urban environments of many cities in the region. We must therefore aim to forge comprehensive and enduring solutions including innovative approaches to lower greenhouse emissions, improving air quality and championing sustainable urban green spaces,” she continued.Dr al-Mandhari reiterated the Healthy Cities programme’s important role in creating a multisectoral platform for health promotion and well-being. He said: “Healthy Cities can contribute to accelerate the achievement of our regional and global objectives and our progress towards the health-related Sustainable Development Goals. They can also contribute to combat noncommunicable diseases and support the regional implementation of the new ‘Global framework for integrating well-being into public health utilising a health promotion approach’.”In the keynote address, Prof Michael Marmot, director of the UCL Institute of Health Equity, University College London, spoke about healthy cities as a multisectoral platform to address the social determinants of health. Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of World Health Organisation, addressed the conference through a video message.

HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada delivering the keynote address at the event Monday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Al Kharsaah project to reduce Co2 emission by 26,000mn tonnes

The 800mw Al Kharsaah Solar Power Project, inaugurated last year, will enable Qatar reduce its Co2 emission significantly, the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Energy-Water-Environment Nexus in Desert Climates (ICSEWEN'23) was told Monday. “The country’s first large scale solar plant will, over its lifespan, enable Qatar reduce its Co2 emission by 26,000mn metric tonnes,” explained HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada, former Minister of State for Energy and Industry. He was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of ICSEWEN'23, organised by Hamad Bin Khalifa University's Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (Qeeri). HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation President Eng Essa bin Hilal al-Kuwari and HBKU president Dr Ahmed M Hasna were present on the occasion. One of the key pillars of Qatar’s strategy is to diversify the energy mix and increase the share of renewable energy resources, HE Dr al-Sada pointed out. “During the first year of operation, Al Kharsaah project was planned to generate almost 2mn megawatt hours-equivalent to the energy consumption of 55,000 households in Qatar. This project demonstrates Qatar’s commitment to sustainable energy development and contributes to the global sustainable energy aspect,” he explained. “Another pillar of the strategy is to manage water resources efficiently. The iconic Water Security Mega Reservoirs project - one of the largest in the world-significantly extends Qatar’s water reserves,” he continued. The former minister noted that the water, energy environment nexus in recent years has emerged as a holistic research management approach to analyse synergies. “Water is essential for producing energy and food and energy are necessary for distributing water. Food production depends on an environment with clean water and sustainable energy resources. The nexus is closely associated with UN Sustainable goals such as zero hunger, clean water, sanitation, affordable clean energy and climate action,” he highlighted. The official pointed out that the challenges in this nexus may vary from one region to the other. "These challenges are compounded in dessert climate such as Qatar and other GCC countries which depend on expensive and energy intensive desalination processes," he commented. He expressed confidence that ICSEWEN'23 will help come up with recommendations and suggestions to meet the water, energy and environment challenges specifically in the region and globally at large. “Water scarcity has always been a critical issue for Qatar like other states in the region. We have inadequate rainfall and depleting level of ground water and high cost of water desalination to meet most needs of the country. The abstraction of ground water in Qatar is another challenge,” added, the former minister.

Abdulla al-Mansoori
QCDC activities benefit thousands of students in 2022 alone

Several activities by Qatar Career Development Centre (QCDC), founded by Qatar Foundation, have yielded overwhelming positive outcomes in the recent years with about 10,000 children benefitting from the programmes in 2022 alone, noted a top official.“Over 9,600 children benefited from QCDC's career development centre at Kidzania in 2022 alone while 334 students were impacted to exhibit measurable transformation by more than 20 programmes and initiatives the centre had organised,” disclosed Abdulla al-Mansoori, director of QCDC."Our Career Guide magazine reaches more than 80,000 readers across the country," al-Mansoori explained to Gulf Times in an interview recently.“We have seen increased student engagement, with our services, along with ever growing opportunities to collaborate with education and labour market institutions and entities. In 2022 alone, QCDC has benefitted thousands of students and young people across Qatar, helping them make more informed decisions about their education and career paths,” continued the official.However, al-Mansoori said that the success of the organisation lies in the individual level transformations that occur as a result of the centre’s efforts which involve personal growth, skill development, increased confidence, and a sense of empowerment among the individuals.He explained: “At the core of our mission is the belief that our work has the power to change lives on a profound level. It is about helping individuals discover their potential, overcome obstacles, and pursue their dreams and aspirations. These individual stories of transformation are often the most compelling evidence of the value we bring to our communities.”The director said that QCDC is planning several career development programmes for the next two years. “We are expanding and building upon our career guidance and development services and taking them to new heights, to provide students with a holistic package of advising and guidance offerings that cover various bases needed to adapt to today's dynamic professional environment and labour market.”He pointed out that QCDC has extended the 'Little Employee' initiative to run year-long. Helping children from the ages of 7-15 to experience real-life work environments by accompanying a parent or a relative to their workplace.“Furthermore, we have published a guide with all the majors available at the university and higher education levels in the country. This Majors Guide gives tips to the students about all the sectors of higher studies with all the requirements and skills needed for each course. The guide makes students come out with informed decisions, and plan their career path, as they become are more aware about their potential and skills and the available majors that suit them,” he highlighted.The official revealed: “We are in the process of launching a revamped career programme that we named Al-Dileela. This is for students, graduates, and people who apply to get a new job or change their current one. We are going to take them through the full process to be prepared for the journey. This will happen with the collaboration of a great group of experience career advisers. We also have several comprehensive and complimenting initiatives to support people with special needs on the same path.”“As we move forward, we are committed to staying at the forefront of career development by constantly evolving our programmes and initiatives to meet the ever-changing demands of the modern job market. We will continue to collaborate with educational and labour market stakeholders, both locally and internationally, to create a thriving career development ecosystem in Qatar,” concluded, the QCDC director.

Dignitaries and other guests at the opening session of the symposium Monday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Symposium discusses major topics of science, engineering, medicine

Exploring avenues and opportunities of knowledge sharing and collaboration in various fields of science and technology, the 9th edition of Arab American Frontiers of Science, Engineering and Medicine symposium started Monday at the JW Marriott Marquis City Centre.The three-day event is under the patronage and in the presence of HE the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah.The opening ceremony was attended by HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani, HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Buthaina bint Ali al-Jabr al-Nuaimi, US ambassador Timmy Davis, and other dignitaries.Organised by Hamad Bin Khalifa University( HBKU), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and Texas A&M University at Qatar, the conference focuses on important areas of science and technology and has brought together American and Arab scientists, engineers, and medical professionals to discuss major scientific advances on various topics relevant to the Mena (Middle East and North Africa) region and the world.The symposium facilitates cutting-edge knowledge exchange across a broad range of multi-disciplinary topics under the guidance of co-chairs from the universities in the US and the Arab world.Addressing the gathering, US envoy Davis said it is a very important age of science."We know more about our universe, more about health management and more about ourselves than we have known ever before,” he said. “The test we face is how we can shape this information into ways of maximising it.”He observed that although the US is a world leader in science, technology and research, it does not have all the answers.“As we look to the future, we must remember our past. In the earlier times, incredible scientific advances were made by scientists from Baghdad, Cairo among other places in the Arab World,” Davis pointed out. “Many of the developments in the modern science have roots here in the region.”The envoy added that the topics of the conference address many of the challenges that the world face today.Dr Dena al-Thani, associate professor at the HBKU’s College of Science and Engineering, told Gulf Times that the the conference focuses on five major areas.“These are ‘Quantum Computing’, ‘Decarbonisation’, ‘Precision Medicine’, ‘Technology for Equity and Inclusion’, and ‘Tech Transfer’,” she said.Two main sessions are led by HBKU: “Quantum Computing” by College of Engineering assistant professor Dr Saif al-Kuwari, and “Technology for Inclusion and Equity” by Dr Dena al-Thani.

Al-Mansoori: We have evolved to become the country’s beacon of career guidance, planning and development.
Qatar Career Development Centre to be more autonomous as QF legacy centre

The Qatar Career Development Centre (QCDC), founded by Qatar Foundation (QF), will be a far more autonomous body hereafter to continue its journey of providing career guidance and life-long learning activities for the community, a top official told Gulf Times.“While the QCDC was initially established under Qatar Foundation, it marks a significant milestone in its growth as it transitions into a QF Legacy Centre: a more independent role within the broader Qatari society, empowered by the QF’s long and lasting support and our shared vision,” QCDC director Abdulla al-Mansoori said.He was speaking on the centre’s future course and current programmes to empower the youth.“This new chapter grants the QCDC the opportunity to further expand our diverse partnerships, adapting to evolving circumstances,” the official said. “With increased autonomy, we are now in a position to strategically engage with a broader spectrum of partners, both private and public entities, within the country and beyond its borders.”“We are entering into a new phase, accompanied by various esteemed partners, as we evolve into a specialised career guidance and development entity in Qatar, and spread awareness about the broader concept of career development,” al-Mansoori continued. “Our primary focus is on shaping the future of the younger generations, aligning ourselves with the evolving societal needs and developments.”“The QF recognises the imperative to expand our reach and engage with an even broader spectrum of target audiences and stakeholders,” he said. “This encourages and motivates us to take bold steps forward as we have so far done.”“We are bridging the gap between the educational outcomes and the dynamic demands of the modern labour market,” the official added.Al-Mansoori said that the QCDC is currently the premier centre for career guidance and development in Qatar.”It is invigorating to see how we have evolved beyond organising the Qatar Career Fair and related activities, to become the country’s beacon of career guidance, planning and development, shouldering the responsibility of empowering the youth, supporting capacity building, and preparing highly accomplished human capital in the country,” he said. “We are dedicated to providing career guidance to help students make the proper decisions to plan their future, and ultimately, maintaining the state's sustainable development through human capital development.”The official said that the QCDC is developing its long-standing partnerships with career development and educational institutions locally and internationally, with the results to become apparent soon with the introduction of internationally accredited programmes.“We have forged, and are expanding, partnerships with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MoEHE), the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Social Development and Family, the Civil Service and Government Development Bureau, among many other influential stakeholders,” al-Mansoori said.“We will soon announce a major collaboration between the QCDC, the MoEHE and an international partner,” he revealed. “This collaboration will build towards elevating the career guidance and development landscape in Qatar, with a focus on establishing a much needed, centralised, and robust career development ecosystem.”