Thursday, February 02, 2023 | 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.
Dr Michel Du2019Hooghe
Aspetar leader in sports medicine: FIFA official

A top FIFA official has described Aspetar Orthopaedic and Sports Medicine Hospital, as the leader in sports medicine. “First of all, Aspetar is an example of high level care in prevention, diagnosis and therapy in sports related injuries. People get first class care in this facility. It is a great sport medicine hospital,” Dr Michel D’Hooghe, chair of the FIFA Medical Committee, told Gulf Times. He was speaking on the sidelines of a two-day workshop for the football team doctors of Asian and European Champions League that started Wednesday. "Secondly, it is a place for educational activities. The hospital shares a lot of information and expertise all over the world. They have a great journal that gives insights into several areas related to sports medicine. Therefore, I would say Aspetar is a leader in football and sport medicine,” continued Dr D’Hooghe. The FIFA official also noted that the prevailing weather conditions in Doha are very pleasant and perfectly suitable for the World Cup in 2022. “Three years from now, Qatar will be hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The weather conditions here now are very pleasant and it will be very good one for the championship that starts in November 2022. As the chairman of the medical committee for FIFA, I have always argued that the World Cup in Doha should take place in such period of the year,” explained Dr D’Hooghe. The FIFA official also maintained that having a facility like Aspetar is an added advantage for Doha to host the World Cup. “The medical and paramedical facilities at the Aspetar are unique. The facility is an added advantage for the country as it is hosting the World Cup here and can help prepare the players well with its unique facilities.” As for the workshop, Dr D’Hooghe said that it explores the relation between a team doctor, the players, the coach, the club among other factors. “It provides details of the approach of the team doctors to prevention, therapy, diagnosis of injuries. It is a forum to exchange and share their opinion, experiences and expertise. Prevention of injuries is an important aspect in sports medicine, probably the, most important element. The workshop is a sharing and learning experience,” he highlighted. “Aspetar has a great reputation and great experience and expertise. It is well known all over the world and is the leading centre for sports medicine. Qatar can be very proud of such a facility,” added Dr D’Hooghe.

British ambassador Sharma, Katara general manager al-Sulaiti, and British Council Qatar director Ayton at the press conference at Katara.
Qatar British Festival to celebrate mutual ties, strengthen bonds

The sixth Qatar British Festival, which celebrates the strong and ongoing cultural relationship between the two countries, will take place in Doha from November 18 to December 7, it was announced Sunday. British ambassador Ajay Sharma, Katara Cultural Village general manager Dr Khalid bin Ibrahim al-Sulaiti, and British Council Qatar director Sam Ayton were present at the launch press conference at Katara. “The annual Qatar British Festival is a proof of the strong relationship between Qatar and the UK," said al-Sulaiti. "We are very pleased to partner with the British embassy and British Council, for the 6th year in a row, to make the Qatar British Festival come to life and allow people from all walks of life to explore how you can use arts as a lens to better understand each other’s cultures and learn from each other’s heritage. “As ‘Strategic Cultural Partner’ of the Qatar British Festival, we look forward to hosting a part of the programme that helps our visitors explore the festival,” he stated. The festival’s theme this year – People and Place – will examine the impact of “place” on people and in turn, people's impact on “place” and the long-lasting, positive effects of cultural connection and exchange between the people of Qatar and the people of the UK. “The Qatar British Festival is a visible embodiment of the strong relationship between the UK and Qatar,” Sharma said. “It is a celebration of our cultures and through the various events on the programme, it provides a unique and vibrant way of bringing people together. “We are delighted that we are holding the festival for sixth year.” The festival will conclude with the Qatar-UK Alumni Awards, a celebration of the enduring success cultural exchange can bring to societies, through education. “Our birthplace, where and how we are schooled, and the places we live, all make a lasting imprint on the people we are today. The theme of this year’s festival seeks to explore the intricate relationship between people and place and the enduring legacy that comes from cultural exchange,” Ayton noted. The festival features “Every Thing Every Time”, a public art installation by Future Everything. This is a ground-breaking installation which blurs art and technology. It is real-time digital writing that takes data from its position in a city and turns it into a constantly changing poem about the location. Another event is “The Place I Call Home”, a contemporary photography exhibition that explores the idea of “home”, related to the experiences of young people living in the region and the UK at a time of rapid change and social mobility. It also includes Elgar Enigma Variations: award-winning concert violinist Savitri Grier performs two famous pieces by Edward Elgar, *Enigma Variations and *Violin Concerto, with the Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra. The “Strategic Partner” of the festival is Katara Cultural Village, the “Legacy Partner” is Qatar Museums, and the “Strategic Community Partner” is Qatar National Library. Gulf Times is the “Media Partner” of the festival.

HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation and other dignitaries at the forum. Supplied picture
Doha Forum Youth Edition looks into climate change, challenges to education

Participants of the Second Doha Forum Youth Edition Saturday discussed the challenges to be met in the fields of education and climate change as they engaged in dialogue and diplomacy to tackle the pressing issues of today. A collaborative event by Doha Forum and Qatar Foundation, the event was held at the Minaretein building (College of Islamic Studies) in Education City. It is a precursor to the annual Doha Forum, an immersive two-day conference that will gather global leaders for constructive dialogue on December 14-15. HE Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Minister of Culture and Sports, speaking at the forum. PICTURES: Shemeer Rasheed A panel discussion at the forum The young members also discussed topics like Radicalisation and the Role of Education in its Prevention, during panel debates in both English and Arabic. HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation, HE Sheikh Thani bin Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani and Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN special envoy on youth were among the dignitaries who attended the forum. More than 200 youth leaders participated in the forum and the discussions aimed at nurturing leadership and advocacy skills and highlighting the paramount importance of education. There were three panel discussions at the forum engaging the youth from several fields. Speaking at the opening session, Wickramanayake highlighted that education and climate change are two important topics that the world needs to address with urgency. “ Education is not a privilege but a birthright of every young man and woman. It is the most powerful tool to resist other forces such as terrorism and to fight other security threats. One dollar invested for education can generate 15 dollars in return.” The topics of panel discussions were Climate Change: The Power and Responsibility of the Next Generation; Education Politics in Conflict Zones and The Quest for Identity and Radicalisation and the Role of Education in its Prevention. Speaking at the event, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem al-Ali emphasised the importance of the topics of Doha Forum Youth Edition. HE the Minister talked about the mechanisms of real change in the world towards the issues and the role of local, regional and international forums, conferences, and institutions in bringing about this change. He pointed out that despite the existence of these institutions, and international efforts there are numerous wars being fought at different levels. Racism and partisanship are still active even in the developed world, he said. He asked "Why have there been no breakthrough for these problems facing us? Where do we start to bring about the desired change? Do we establish institutions and launch new programmes or change our activities and leaders?" He continued : "The beginning must be from ourselves, if we want to change the world, let us start by ourselves," adding that the real change in the major perceptions of societies starts from the self and changes from within. HE Lolwah Al-Khater, spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and executive director of Doha Forum commented: “I am delighted at the success of this year’s Doha Forum Youth Edition. "Providing a dedicated youth platform and opportunity to engage and debate on high profile topics such as climate change, it is clear to see just how much the youth of today have to contribute to thought leadership, while engaging in the culture of diplomacy, dialogue and diversity. It is with great anticipation that we now await this year’s Doha Forum in December,” she said. Panel debates were led by youth leaders in a range of fields, including Muzoon Almellhan, activist and the youngest UNICEF Goodwill ambassador , Rümeysa Kadak, member of the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, and Shoaib Rahim, acting mayor of Kabul. The event was moderated by Ministry of Foreign Affairs representative Nofe al-Suwaidi. At the first session, panelists discussed climate change and how to overcome the challenges. Dina al-Tarawneh , co-founder of Green Mangroves,Mohammed al-Housani, sustainable energy activist/researcher and Abdalla I al-Suwaidi, chairman of Elite Paper Recycling deliberated different approaches to overcome climate change and how small individual steps can help in protecting the environment and counter the challenges of climate change. The session was moderated by Dareen Abughaida, principal presenter, Al Jazeera English. “Through the Doha Forum Youth Edition, young people have applied their perspectives, their experiences, and their passion to some of the most important topics affecting and influencing our world today – topics through which the common thread of education run," added Mayan Zebeib, Chief Communications Officer, Qatar Foundation.

Jayathma Wickramanayake. PICTURE: Shemeer Rasheed
UN Youth Envoy lauds youth empowerment in Qatar

A top UN official has highlighted the efforts of Qatar and its leadership in empowering the youth and providing opportunities for them in various facets of life. “It is heartening to see the commitment of the country’s leadership as Qatar values the partnership of the youth by providing them several opportunities. I am particularly impressed by the youth taking part in conversations that are major topics of the world today and the government is providing them the opportunities for the same,” stated, Jayathma Wickramanayake, UN secretary-general's envoy on youth. Wickramanayake was speaking at the inaugural session of the Doha Forum Youth Edition held yesterday at the Minaretein building (College of Islamic Studies), in Education City, Doha. Wickermanayake said that during her first visit to Qatar, she was highly impressed by the Qatar National Library and the government’s efforts to provide knowledge to the people of the country and abroad. “This is my second visit to Qatar and I do cherish my visit to the Qatar National Library during my first visit to Qatar. The library and the resources at the library, is the another proof of the great commitment of the country to equip the youth with knowledge and the right tools to make them prepared for the future,” she explained. She also noted that the two major topics of discussion at the forum are education and climate change and Qatar has been taking an effective and prominent role in both the topics. “There are around 1.8 billion young people worldwide and education is a key factor. I am a strong believer in the fact that education is not a privilege but the birthright of every young man and woman. An estimated 263mn children are out of school currently for various reasons and about 61mn miss out schools as they live in conflict and disaster hit areas,” continued the official. She maintained that education is the most essential investment to build the future of the world. “Education is the most powerful tool to resist other forces such as terrorism and to fight other security threats. One dollar invested in education can generate 15 dollars in return,” she noted. As for the issue of climate change, Wickermanayake said that it was an emergency that needed to be tackled urgently. “About 71% of the gas emissions in the world is caused by 100 companies. We need to transform these business models into sustainable ones. Climate education is key for this and there should be a change in the approach. Conversations today in this forum can be the starting point for that change,” added the official.

Preslav Nakov
QCRI develops news platform to fight fake news

Qatar Computing Research Institute ( QCRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, has developed a news aggregator platform, Tanbih, 'to uncover fake news at its very origin'. “Tanbih, an Arabic term meaning ‘alert,’ is an intelligent platform to understand media biases," principal scientist Preslav Nakov told Gulf Times. The platform, making use of Artificial Intelligence, understands whether it is emotional manipulation or appeal to authority. "It can detect and understand the underlying reasons for the spread of fake news,” he said. QCRI’s Arabic Language Technologies and Social Computing groups have been working with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory to develop Tanbih. “The technology uses artificial neural-networks to represent text in a multi-dimensional space. Through a complex series of computations, it is able to identify disinformative content and pinpoint its bias. "The platform is unique on several fronts: it puts technology in an actual product that users can easily operate, but it is also built to be region-specific, so it pays considerable attention to what is needed in this part of the world and it offers ways to address those needs,” explained Nakov. The principal scientist said fake news makes people believe in wrong information very fast. “The spread of fake news has become the most sophisticated political weapon in the recent years. It all became so prominent in 2015-16, especially during the US elections. The rise of technology has made the spread of disinformation very fast and the implications can be dreadful and devastating. It could lead to several implications such as personalised attacks, mass mobilisations and grave health consequences among others,” he continued. However, Nakov pointed out that the need of the hour is more media literacy and critical thinking. People have to be extra vigilant and analyse any news item from different angles to make sure that it is genuine or fake before it is shared. “A recent report says that Finland is winning the war on fake news. They have invested in education against fake news and provided the right tools from primary schools to high schools and universities. They have also advertisement campaigns to provide media literacy and critical thinking. This is the right approach to fight fake news,” he pointed out. Nakov said that the Tanbih is able to understand pre-identified and highly predictable propagandist techniques. “As a news aggregator, Tanbih relies on a sophisticated series of data-run analytics to create media profiles. It attempts to uncover important information on media stance, centrality, hyper-partisanship, and inclinations when it comes to popular topics. One advantage of this technology is its capability to analyse Arabic media content,” maintained, Nakov. The scientist pointed out that several organisations are at the forefront to fight fake news. Facebook and Twitter are waging a war against disinformation by removing fake accounts and other actions . “Many social media platforms now integrate smart solutions that position fake news at the very bottom of the news feeds. They do not announce about these efforts in a big way as they are not the general regulatory bodies. However, these efforts will go a long way to fight disinformation,” he added.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani and dignitaries at the graduation ceremony.
AFG College with University of Aberdeen celebrates graduation

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani attended the graduation ceremony of the first batch of students from AFG College with University of Aberdeen at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, yesterday. A number of their excellencies Sheikhs, ministers, academics, faculty members, parents of graduates, and guests attended the graduation ceremony. Among those present were HE the Minister of Education and Higher Education Mohamed Abdul Wahed Ali al-Hammadi and British ambassador Ajay Sharma. At a glittering ceremony, the graduates arrived in a procession to the tunes of a bagpipe, in true Scottish tradition, followed by the faculty. As the events of the ceremony unfolded, Sheikha Dr Aisha bint Faleh al-Thani, founder and chairperson of AFG College with the University of Aberdeen, was bestowed with a Doctor of Laws degree by Prof George Boyne, principal and vice-chancellor of Aberdeen University, for her services to education, philanthropy and business. The graduates were also presented their degrees by Prof Boyne. The graduates are from various disciplines such as Master of Business Administration, Master of Science in International Business Management, Postgraduate Diploma in International Business Management and Undergraduate degree in Business Management. Addressing the gathering, Sheikha Dr Aisha said: “My deepest gratitude goes to the University of Aberdeen for conferring on me such a high award. It is a great privilege to receive this honorary doctorate from a university that plays a big part in developing the potential and talents of tens of thousands of students who come from different parts of the world.” Exhorting the graduates, the chairperson said: “Graduates, today you stand at the doorsteps of exciting days that will see you fulfil what the University of Aberdeen prepared you for, namely to lead and be advocates for change. You possess the needed vision, energy, enthusiasm and most importantly, the capability to transform not just your country but also the whole world. I urge you to explore and push the limits of your creativity to come up with ways that can contribute to the development of your community and humanity.” She reminded the graduates that the learning process does not end with the graduation and to use every opportunity to learn, give, share and discover strengths to overcome challenges. Sheikha Dr Aisha also made use of the opportunity to thank  two special women in her life – her mother and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, for inspiring her to try hard and work for humanity. Prof Boyne, in his message, said it was a special day for the university as the first batch of students from Qatar received their degrees through the partnership with Al Faleh Group. “This partnership underlies the University of Aberdeen’s commitment to extend our international reach and the diversity of our student body. Throughout your time studying with us, I hope you have experienced a learning environment, which nurtures intellectual curiosity where all members of our academic community have developed and grown,” he added. The student speaker, Jassim bin Mohamed al-Misned, highlighted the college days, the time they spent creatively and all the learning and fun they enjoyed during their time at the university.

WISE Officials Dr Ameena Hussain and Dr Asmaa al-Fadala. PCITURE: Shemeer Rasheedrnrn
WISE has evolved as a major think tank in education

Within 10 years since its inception, The World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) has emerged as a major think tank in education, top officials of WISE told Gulf Times in an exclusive interview. “We started as a summit in 2009, offering a platform for bringing global educational advocates together. We have evolved from there. We are now a major think tank in education with very strong pillars and a great research arm, creating evidence-based research on different topics in education,” said Dr Ameena Hussain, director of Programmes and Content, WISE. A global initiative of Qatar Foundation, WISE will host the latest edition of its biennial summit from November 19-21 at Qatar National Convention Centre. “Our focus is mainly on three pillars of research, programme and advocacy. Since 2015, we have been working closely with institutions and research organisations to look at the issues and produce policy recommendations. We are moving from academic research into best practices for policymakers on different topics such as school leadership, early childhood, and entrepreneurship in education,” noted Dr Asmaa al-Fadala, director, Research and Content Development, WISE. Held under the theme, ‘UnLearn, ReLearn: What it Means to be Human,’ about 2,500 delegates from over 100 countries are expected to take part in the 2019 summit. “More than convening educators on a platform, we are providers of knowledge in education and innovation. We have also expanded with different programmes such as The WISE Prize for Education, The WISE Awards. We have a programme for startups in education technology, youth leadership programme among others,” explained Dr Hussain. According to Dr al-Fadala, WISE has been also focusing on the local stakeholders. "We are trying to bring all the pillars together. This year we are also focusing on the local institutions including all the government and private schools in cooperation with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education and other stakeholders.The summit is a global one but also an opportunity to work with local stakeholders," said the official. “We are going around the globe with education initiatives. We do have regular activities and meetings in different countries. Our research is focusing on a number of important topics related to education and innovations. We have over 60,000 people on our database who have come to the WISE activities," said Dr al-Fadala. The official also encouraged local educators and innovators to register for the summit through the WISE website. According to Dr Hussain, WISE introduces a number of new initiatives for every global summit. “We introduce new things and best practices every time for the summit. This year we are giving more opportunities for our delegates to present their ideas and best practices. The delegates can register for different sessions and can also become speakers at some of the sessions,” she pointed out. “We are expecting a number of high-level educational experts to take part in the summit. We are also finalising some celebrities to attend the event whose names will be disclosed once their participation is confirmed. National Geography presenter, Jason Silva is one of the confirmed participants. Amy Mahmoud, a poet, is another celebrity speaker at the event,” added Dr Hussain.

The officials at the press conference. PICTURE: Ram Chandrnrn
96 films from 39 countries to be screened at Ajyal festival

The Ajyal Film Festival 2019 organised by Doha Film Institute (DFI), will open with the Middle East premiere of Palestinian director, Elia Suleiman’s critically acclaimed movie, ‘It Must Be Heaven.’ The six-day festival will have 96 films from 39 countries that demonstrate the power of storytelling to transform minds and will inspire audiences and stimulate discussions about real and relevant issues that affect them. It will be held from November 18-23 at Katara Cultural Village and will feature public screenings, Ajyal jury screenings, interactive discussions, red carpet events, and community-oriented activities that will delight all ages. It will also include the world premieres of completed projects from the Qatari Film Fund recipients, Ahmad al-Sharif’s 'End of the Road' and Kholood al-Ali’s 'Fragile', shining the spotlight on Qatari talents and presenting the local stories to the world. The details of the festival were announced at a press conference on Sunday by Fatma Hassan Alremaihi, CEO of Doha Film Institute and Ajyal Festival director at Nova Cinemas, Pearl Qatar. Rawda al-Thani, film programmer; Aya al-Balouchi, Ajyal jury manager and Abdulla al-Mosallam, chief administrative officer, DFI and deputy director of Ajyal Film Festival were also present at the press conference. "This year, the festival is being held under the theme, ‘Find Film, Find Life. The focus is to engage the audience and make them realise how the transformative power of films helps in finding new perspectives and new ways to understand life,” said Alremaihi. “This year we have expanded the scope of the festival as the movies will be screened at different centres around the city. There will be screening at Katara, Doha Festival City, Nova Cinemas among other places. The films include 23 feature films and 73 short films with 56 women directors and 50 films from the Arab countries,” explained Alremaihi. Tickets for the 7th Ajyal Film Festival are already available for purchase at the Ajyal Main Box Office located in Katara Building 10, at the Ajyal Box Office at Vox Cinemas Doha Festival City for screenings taking place at Vox Cinemas and from the Novo Cinemas Box Office for screenings at the Novo Cinemas Pearl. There will be five inspiring DFI-supported short films from Qatar’s promising filmmaking talent at the festival. Presented in collaboration with the Translation and Interpreting Institute of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, the trans-adapted presentation marks the UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. A selection of contemporary short films from up-and-coming directors from India is part of the Made in India special presentation to celebrate the ‘Qatar-India 2019 Year of Culture’. The festival also will host some key personalities in films, arts and humanity from Qatar and abroad. They include master filmmakers Elia Suleiman and Kiyoshi Kurosawa, upcoming Arab filmmakers Amjad Abu Alala and Oualid Mouness, visual artist Bouthayna al-Muftah, filmmaker Jason Silva in partnership with WISE-Qatar Foundation and Gitanjali Rao, actor and producer Chace Crawford in partnership with beIN and Sundance TV and actor Kris Hitchen among others. The 2019 Made in Qatar programme presented by Ooredoo comprises 22 inspiring films, including the world premieres of the completed projects from the Qatari Film Fund recipients. Ajyal 2019 will also screen 19 films supported by the DFI Grants programme, co-financing, Qatari Film Fund or projects mentored through its labs and workshops.

Andy Purdy
Huawei official praises Tasmu platform, eyes more collaboration with Qatar

The Tasmu platform announced by the Ministry of Transport and Communications is an incredible programme with great opportunities for Huawei to participate and move forward in Qatar, a top global official of Huawei told Gulf Times. “Qatar is an important market for us. We are excited about potential opportunities with the government of Qatar as well as with the Tasmu platform, rollout of the 5G networks and the development of smart cities which is upcoming; we hope our contributions are going to be very significant in Qatar,” said Andy Purdy, chief security officer, Huawei USA. “Huawei is providing in-building solutions for the wireless cellular coverage within many of the 2022 FIFA World Cup stadiums. Many other collaborations efforts for the World Cup and other areas are under discussion,” explained Purdy. The official said that the importance of privacy and transparency is growing day by day and there are ways to assure cyber security through objective practices. “Resilience is a factor and the operators should develop platforms so that if any bad guy encroaches, they should be able to limit the harm. Security is a journey and not a destination. As the bad guys can hack in real time, creating trust is a shared responsibility to take advantage of the great technologies,” added the Huawei security officer. Purdy said that Huawei’s overall approach in the last seven to eight years has been to create a global assurance programme for cyber security and privacy to create an objective basis trust for customers, suppliers, and governments. “We work with a global committee and we have an internal process to set requirements, track conformance and test our systems. We buy numerous tools from around the world to double-check our products for vulnerabilities, fix problems and build new technologies to provide greater assurance,” noted the official. “In 5G, we have a third party solution to monitor security mechanism and gateways as well as tools to make sure that risk are managed,” he added. As for the US sanctions against Huawei, Purdy said that the concern of the US government is China, not Huawei. “Cyber security experts say that it is important to have an objective and transparent basis for trust. We have been promoting global uniform standards and best practices and independent testing for trust verification process. This proves that we are not under the influence of any government,” he pointed out. “Some of the governments, such as the UK and Germany have said that the US has not given any credible evidence about any significant cyber security wrongdoing by Huawei anywhere in the world,” he said. “Huawei is becoming more optimistic about our ability to do business without the American suppliers. We prefer to buy from American suppliers as we buy from various organisations around the world. We spend an average of $11bn yearly on the US suppliers which translates to around 40,000 jobs a year in the US. Shortly after the sanctions were imposed, we estimated that the impact of the sanctions in the projected growth of revenue would be around $30bn. Despite the challenges, we have 24% global market share with 8% profit on a year on year growth in the third quarter of 2019. So we now estimate there may be $10bn reduction in growth or maybe less than that,” said Purdy The official also highlighted that Huawei provides great energy efficiency for their products resulting in reducing the carbon footprints. “It is possible that Huawei may go without Google and we are working on the alternatives. In 5G there are now no US components. It might take sometime to find an equally trusted medium such as Google and the Android platform. But we hope that we don’t have to do so as things might be settled amicably,” Purdy added.

The officials at the press conference. PICTURE: Thajudheen
Stakeholders prepare new diabetes survey

Qatar is planning to conduct another survey for diabetes statistics soon, disclosed an official yesterday. “The Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) along with Hamad Medical Corporation and other healthcare entities are planning for another survey for diabetes prevalence in Qatar. However, the details are yet to be worked out and will be announced when it is finalised,” said Dr Abdulla al-Hamaq, executive director, Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA). Dr al-Hamaq was speaking to the media at a press conference to announce the details of the World Diabetes Day observed on November 14 annually with several programmes. Dr Amel Adam, head of Healthcare, QDA and Katie Nahas, programme manager, QDA were also present on the occasion. The previous Stewise Survey in Qatar was conducted in 2012 which found out that 16.7% of the population suffers from diabetes. The theme for this year is ‘Diabetes: Protect Your Family’. This November marks the second year of a two-year theme dedicated to the overall theme, ‘The Family and Diabetes’. Research conducted by the International Diabetes Federation revealed than many parents would struggle to spot the warning signs of diabetes in their own children. “Although the majority of people surveyed had a family member with diabetes, an alarming four-in-five parents would have trouble recognising the warning signs,” explained Dr Adam. There will be a number of programmes and educational activities to raise awareness about the dangers of Diabetes. “We have planned for a walk in the Oxygen Park in the Education City at Qatar Foundation on November 15. In addition there will be other activities such as workshops and awareness programmes throughout the first two weeks of November leading to the World Diabetes Day On November 14. We hope to educate the people about their food habits as well as their diet. This, we hope, will equip the people to fight diabetes and overcome the challenges posed by it,” noted Nahas. Dr Hamaq pointed out that the number of people suffering from diabetes especially type 2 is going up all over the world. “It is reported that about 400mn people are suffering from diabetes globally. What is needed is to counter the issue. We need to discover the issue and have to take steps to address it. The family support plays a crucial role in this regard. The next step is to take preventive measures to fight the disease,” added the official.

HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti announcing the National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy at Qitcom 2019. PICTURES: Noushad Thekkayil.
Qatar launches strategy to tap AI for future

Qatar's National Artificial Intelligence (AI) Strategy was launched Tuesday at the Qatar Information Technology and Communication Conference and Exhibition 2019 (Qitcom). The announcement was made by HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim bin Saif al-Sulaiti. The National AI Strategy is a blueprint produced by Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU). “This strategy is the first of its kind to be developed in collaboration between the government and a research institute. It aims to adopt the artificial intelligence and harness it to secure the economic and strategic future of Qatar as is envisaged by Qatar National Strategy 2030,” noted the minister. QCRI executive director Dr Ahmed K Elmagarmid “We are honoured to have our blueprint accepted and launched as the Qatar National Artificial Strategy. It is structured around six thematic pillars and covers the areas in which AI contributes,” Dr Ahmed K Elmagarmid, executive director, QCRI, told Gulf Times. Earlier this year, QCRI had produced the blueprint with the aim of informing and advising Qatar’s leadership on the potential opportunities and challenges relating to AI, and to propose a path forward. The six pillars which underpin the new national AI strategy are: Talent; Data Access; Employment; Wealth Creation; Embracing an AI + X Future; and Thought Leadership in AI Ethics. "This strategy looks at various aspects such as education, businesses, employment among others. For example, it looks how AI impacts employment. In some cases, you have AI replacing employment but in other ares you find it creating new employment opportunities. The strategy aims to enable Qatar to create higher values and in the end gain considerably from the opportunities created by AI,” explained Dr Ashraf Aboulnga, research director, QCRI. “At QCRI, there is a big spectrum of activities from research to advanced development of products. QCRI will develop new ideas related to AI that will serve local economy,” continued, Dr Aboulnga. Since its inception in 2010, QCRI has been a thought leader in the use of AI in areas of computing research and has been continuing to raise Qatar’s profile as a global technology innovation hub. HBKU is committed to actively contributing to achieving the Qatar National Vision 2030, and is proud to be supporting the government’s efforts to make Qatar a leading figure in AI. The announcement that its blueprint has been accepted as Qatar’s national AI strategy can only enhance QCRI’s already impressive ability to attract top-tier talent in this field. “Qatar can lead by example and show the rest of the world how to seamlessly embrace an AI+X Future, where almost every activity of importance will be touched by AI,” added, Dr Elmagarmid.

A panel discussion on the second day of the summit.
Gord launches ‘Destination Green’ campaign

The Gulf Organisation for Research & Development (Gord) launched a new campaign named Destination Green at the Qatar Sustainability Summit (QSS) which concluded Monday. “Destination Green, aimed at promoting sustainability in the region, urges the business houses and the society at large to take tangible steps in creating a sustainable world," Gord founding chairman Dr Yousef Alhorr said. The campaign will appeal to the business houses to report their green initiatives. It is open to both public and private companies, he explained. By pledging support for Destination Green, organisations will commit to improve their operations and practices towards a carbon-neutral world. The organisations will be acknowledged as long as they have worked towards environmental conservation to catalyse market-led transformation. “A sustainable business practice can manifest itself in many forms, such as the use of supplies made from sustainable sources, enforcing single-use plastic ban, telecommuting and recycling policies. Over the years, regional and international organisations within Qatar have ventured into the sustainability realm with initiatives aimed at creating a carbon-neutral world. Putting this in context, Gord’s Destination Green campaign will consolidate the efforts of various stakeholders towards the greater goal of crafting a green legacy for present and future generations,” explained the official. The project was officially inaugurated with a pledge wall signed by HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie and other dignitaries including HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti, HE the Minister of Culture and Sports Salah bin Ghanem bin Nasser al-Ali, Planning and Statistics Authority president HE Dr Saleh bin Mohamed al-Nabit; Public Works Authority (Ashghal) president Dr Saad bin Ahmad al-Muhannadi, and Qatari Diar CEO Abdullah bin Hamad al-Attiyah. On the second day of the summit, a panel discussion on the topic of ‘Tackling Energy Challenges for Sustainable Region’ highlighted the challenges faced by the region.It discussed several ideas such as ‘Renewable Energy Systems: Current Status and Prospects’; ‘Cooling & Energy Challenges in Hot & Humid climate’; ‘Sustainability of Power generation & Energy Transition’ and ‘European Commission’s Fuel Quality Directives- Implications for Oil & Gas Industry in Middle East.’ Prof Soteris Kalogioru, editor-in-chief, Renewable Energy, Cyprus University of Technology said “Melting polar ice, hurricanes around the world, coastal floods are some of the challenges that we face in the modern times. There should be higher push for renewable energy so that carbon emissions can be reduced.” He highlighted that 93% of houses in Cyprus has solar energy water heating facility which is a world record. Dr Bourhan Tashtoush, head of energy systems and renewables discussed the topic of cooling and energy challenges in hot and humid conditions. “Cooling of residential buildings accounts for the biggest share of energy consumption- about 50% -in GCC countries. 80% of the energy consumption in GCC countries goes for cooling purposes,” he highlighted. Prof Tatiana Morosuk, Technical University Berlin and Clemens Ploechi, managing partner Energy Changes also took part in the discussions.

HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie addressing the inaugural session of the Qatar Sustainable Summit yesterday in Doha.
Qatar aims to implement more sustainability practices: Minister

Qatar has highlighted several plans to be implemented in the near future to take sustainability practices to a higher level. “We have plans for the perfect use and recycling of water, reduction of air pollution, recycling wastes, raising efficiency of energy use, increasing green areas and encouraging investments towards green economy,” said HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie. He was addressing the inaugural session of the Qatar Sustainable Summit organised by the Ministry of Municipality and Environment and Gulf Organisation for Research and Development, which opened yesterday at St Regis Doha. “Qatar has put many integrated plans and objectives for sustainable development and is working in the clean and renewable energy with plans to generate 200 megawatts of solar power during the next two years and that will be increased to 500 megawatts,” continued al-Subaie. “Qatar has entrenched, through National Vision 2030, the achievement of balance among sustainable development components that include society development, economic development and environmental sustainability. It is a national responsibility in which all associations, both government and private and all categories of the society participate,” explained the Minister. The Environment Minister pointed out that His Highness the Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani in his address to the United Nations in September 2019 promised to work for the climate and the sovereign wealth fund of Qatar will work on encouraging and promoting the green investment activity and adopt low-carbon economic growth. This will help in achieving climate objectives of Paris Agreement, support sustainable development objectives and investments in the sustainable natural resources. The Minister said that Qatar has not spared any effort in the application of green buildings standards in government buildings and is encouraging private sector to apply the practices. “There are dozens of success stories in this field including big compounds and complete cities with highest degrees of green building standards with Qatar specifications and standards for them. “All of that connects with evaluating the environmental effects of the projects and achievement of our obligations to the preservation of ecological sustainability. This contributes to the global efforts in the reduction of climate change impacts and reduces CO2 emissions,” continued the Minister. “These efforts have culminated with stadiums of World Cup 2022, which have become global icons, as well as working on making this championship environment-friendly. It will be the first ‘Carbon Neutral’ championship by using solar power in stadiums and using energy and water-saving, cooling and lighting technology,” highlighted the Minister. He maintained that the Ministry of Municipality and Environment is working with the strategic plan of Urban Planning Sector on improving standard and quality of life through urban development and perfect planning of modern cities with participation from significant sectors of the ministry. The Minister stated that the Qatar Sustainability Summit is an efficient platform for participation of both governmental and private sectors, support partnership between them, experiences exchange and recognising the best global practices in sustainability fields. “This will contribute in providing awareness to various categories of the society with sustainability norms at the core of daily life and preservation of Qatar’s resources and environment in a sustainable manner. It will also encourage on working together to meet the present needs without prejudice to the requirements of the next generations,” he added.

HE the Minister of Municipality and Environment Abdullah bin Abdulaziz bin Turki al-Subaie and HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Seif Ahmed al-Sulaiti open the exhibition at QSS as other dignitaries look on.
Qatar makes big strides in green building practices

*Two-day Sustainability Summit begins in Doha Qatar's outstanding progress in green building practices, ways to reduce climate change impact as well as sustainability achievements were among the highlights of the first day of the Qatar Sustainability Summit, which opened Sunday at St Regis Doha. “In co-operation with Qatari Diar, Gord has unleashed its full potential and resources to implement a range of programmes contributing towards the promotion of sustainability practices within built environment," noted Dr Yousef Alhorr , founding chairman of Gord during his address at the inaugural session of the summit. An exhibition, featuring several sustainability practices, is also taking place along with the two-day summit. "Gord has also developed Global Carbon Trust (GCT), a unique carbon registry programme for the issuance of carbon credits. Going forward, GCT will be assisting the carbon neutrality for the host country emissions of 2022 tournament, thanks to the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy for providing all the support needed in this journey. GCT is the only programme in the Middle East that has been shortlisted among 14 greenhouse gas programmes worldwide by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). Once approved by ICAO, GCT will also assist the carbon neutrality of the aviation sector by supplying carbon credits," explained Dr Alhorr. Dr Yousef Alhorr speaking at the event Some of the award winners “Gord’s R&D activities contribute to the sustainability drive by focusing on research and innovation in areas of energy efficiency, renewables, recycling and high-performance materials. Gord’s Global Sustainability Academy fosters capacity building programmes annually, targeting a wide range of professionals and practitioners in the public and private sectors through a range of specialised sustainability courses,” continued Dr Alhorr. The founding chairman maintained that the organisation’s contribution in supporting the nation’s sustainability agenda comes through the development of systems and standards such as the Global Sustainability Assessment System (GSAS) for green building certification. “Today, we are proud to honour a number of entities that have demonstrated outstanding implementation of GSAS on their projects, exceeding the sustainability requirements within Qatar and beyond,” he noted. Recognising outstanding achievements in the field of sustainability and climate change, Gord awarded leading organisations within Mena region with the 'Award for Excellence in Climate Action'. Petroleum Development Oman and Bauer Nimr were conferred with the award for greenhouse gas reduction through treatment of produced water at crude oil processing facility through wetland treatment solution in Oman. The project contributes to greening of the dessert, providing potential water solutions and reducing significant greenhouse gas emissions. The Public Works Authority, Ashghal, received the award for project on wastewater treatment which avoids the landfill methane emissions, by diverting sewage water to Doha North Plant and converting solids into dried palleted fertiliser in a sophisticated ultramodern pallet plant. The project site produces treated water that helps greening the area by plantation of 90,000 trees and developing a bird sanctuary. Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation, Kahramaa, was awarded for delivering Qatar’s pioneering solar charging station for electric vehicles. This project has promising potential to transform the transportation sector towards low-carbon development. Al-Ta’adhod Trading & Construction Group received the Award of Excellence in recognition of green CSR initiatives. A number of ‘Sustainability Awards' were also given to various leading green projects within Mena region. Hamad Port project was awarded for the exceptional implementation of GSAS among other sustainability initiatives, while the Ministry of Interior was recognised for considering sustainability as one of the key aspects in delivering several of its projects. Another recipient was Qatar Rail for its outstanding 5-Stars rating of Msheireb Metro Station, managing to exceed Qatar Rail requirement of 4-Stars. Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy was awarded for extraordinary delivery of four stadiums with 5-Stars provisional certificates, exceeding FIFA’s requirement of 4-Stars. Several private organisations were also honoured with sustainability awards.

Dr Leslie Pal
CPP aims to connect global policies to local context

The College of Public Policy (CPP) at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) aims to connect global policy environment to issues pertinent to Qatar, stated the dean of the college. “We are one of the newest colleges under HBKU. We want to be a policy school that connects the global and local policies in a fresh way. The focus of the college is to bring the global policy environment connected to local issues pertinent to Qatar,” Dr Leslie Pal, dean, CPP, told Gulf Times recently. CPP started from this Fall Semester with the programme Master of Public Policy, teaching topics related to policy analysis and evaluation. “The Sustainability Development Goals were developed globally. But they are implemented by individual countries. Qatar is very active in this field and these policies are implemented in the local context,” noted Dr Pal. The dean explained that the students of the college are engaged in policy analysis, trying to understand how policies are defined, implemented and evaluated. They will also deal with global policy issues and policy analysis. “The Master of Public Policy programme focuses on two broad areas which are social policy on topics such as education, healthcare, family, social protection among others. The other area is policies on energy and the environment,” described the official.“This is a masters programme with a research component as the students will be working for their capstone project in small teams. They will address real policy issues related to Qatar and will be under the supervision of the faculty members,” he said. “We are educating the people who are going to contribute to the policy discussions. They are going to be capable of policy discussion and assessment and improving the capacity to make effective policies. This way, we are contributing to the efforts taken by HBKU and the Education City in general for a knowledge economy,” added the official. According to the dean, media literacy is the way to counter disinformation. He also added that he was looking at some co-operation with the research institutes and other partners in the Educations City to find ways to counter disinformation.

Indian ambassador P Kumaran and Indian Parliament member Benny Behanan along with other dignitaries at the ribbon-cutting ceremony to open the medical camp. PICTURES: Ram Chand
Asian Medical Camp benefits hundreds of expats

About 2,500 low-income group Asian expatriates were provided with free health check-up and healthcare awareness activities on Friday at the 17th Asian Medical Camp organised by the Centre for Indian Community (CIC) and Indian Doctors Club (IDC) at Thumama Health Centre. Indian ambassador P Kumaran inaugurated the camp along with visiting Indian Member of Parliament (MP), Benny Behanan, the chief guest on the occasion. While appreciating the efforts of the organisers in providing therapeutic assistance to the workers, the Indian envoy also highlighted the importance of giving more health awareness to the attendees so that many of the diseases can be prevented or controlled. “It is great to see the support provided to the workers by this medical camp year after year not only for the Indian community but also for those from other Asian countries. More health awareness will help the workers to take care of their health and get early warnings in case of any health issues,” noted, Kumaran at the inaugural ceremony. He also appealed to the camp organisers to follow up with the workers especially with those who were identified with certain diseases. Large number of workers from India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan had arrived at the venue right from the morning and received large-scale services at the camp. In addition to the pre-registered patients, several others also walked in to make use of the facilities at the camp. Behanan said that the Asian Medical Camp is a proof of the commitment of the Indian community in providing healthcare services to the needy and promised that such efforts will be brought to the attention of the authorities in India as well as in the parliament. CIC president, KC Abdullatif presided over the function. He briefed the audience about the milestones in the past 16 years and appreciated the efforts of everyone involved in the camp from its inception. Dr Mohamed al-Hajri, director of the Emergency Preparedness and Response Department, Ministry of Public Health, representing the minister of public health appreciated the camp and the efforts by the entire team and extended the wholehearted support of the ministry for the camp. Dr Yousuf al-Musalmani, medical director, Hamad General Hospital, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC); Dr Samia al-Abdulla, executive director of operations at Primary Health Care Corporation ( PHCC); Dr Hanadi al-Hail, director, Al Thumama Health Centre; Joel Jacob, president of Indian Doctors Club and P N Baburajan, president, Indian Community Benevolent Forum also spoke on the occasion. More than 100 doctors and paramedics attended the camp providing various services which included specialised services in orthopaedics, cardiology, ENT, ophthalmology and physiotherapy. Other services included testing blood sugar, hypertension, cholesterol, ECG, ultrasound scanning, urine tests, audiometric and oral check-up. In addition, there were also opportunities for registering for blood donation as well as for organ donation. There were different awareness sessions to educate the participants about several important healthcare topics. Dr Dilu Visuanadhan talked about 'Heart attack: Preventive Measures' and Dr Sreekumar Padmanabhan held a lecture on 'Occupational Diseases and their Prevention'. The camp was organised with the support of HMC and PHCC, sponsored by Ooredoo. Qatar Red Crescent Society, Indian Physiotherapy Forum, United Nurses India Qatar, Kerala Pharmacists Forum Qatar, Al Jabir Opticals, Qatar Institute for Speech and Hearing also supported the camp.

Dr Yousef Alhorr
GORD helps organisations to achieve Carbon Neutrality

The Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (GORD) will help the organisations to measure, reduce and offset greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions to achieve Carbon Neutral Tournament in 2022, a top official has said. “We shall do this through a specific internationally accepted methodology using Global Carbon Trust (GCT), a voluntary ‘GHG Program’ initiative of GORD, which aims to contribute to a vision of sustainable and low-carbon economy and help organisations and people to preserve the environment and mitigate the impacts of climate change,” GORD’s Founding Chairman, Dr. Yousef Alhorr said. “GORD will assist organisations to develop projects to measure and quantify GHG reductions of the projects in the MENA region. Upon successful certification by an internationally accredited third party-auditors confirming that GCT rules have been complied, the Steering Committee, a panel consisting of independent and international GHG experts, will issue carbon credits to the project. These carbon credits will be stored in the account of the project owner in the carbon credit bank, called as ‘GCT registry’, which is an electronic registry operated by ‘IHS Markit’, a leading US based international service provider. These carbon credits can be transferred to organisations to offset or neutralise carbon footprints of organisations or events or sporting tournaments,” he explained. GCT provides opportunity to organisations in implementing greenhouse gas reduction projects and contributes to mitigation of climate change. It has developed stringent but simplified standards for the emission reduction calculations and monitoring of greenhouse gas reduction projects and measures by the organisations in the country and the region. GORD supports and works with all local organisations by developing a methodology for carbon reduction. GORD will support organisations in their journey to achieve GHG reductions till the projects achieve success in certification of their emissions reductions, subsequently convincing GCT to issue carbon credits, intended for offsetting carbon footprints. According to Dr Alhorr, GCT is the only voluntary GHG Program from the MENA region that has submitted a proposal for pre-qualification with United Nation’s International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), under their CORSIA Scheme, to support International Airlines to achieve Carbon Neutrality by offsetting their GHG emissions. “GCT, the only programme from the MENA region to have submitted a pre-qualification proposal with ICAO, has been listed on the latter’s website,” he noted. The Qatar Sustainability Summit taking place on October 27 and 28 will discuss more about the efforts for carbon neutrality and the areas for more collaboration. The summit has some of the leading international and regional experts discussing various topics related to it. “The agenda for the summit is very diverse and will cover the built environment and sustainability, energy sector and carbon reduction, green transportation among others under the overarching themes related to sustainability policies. There will also be more collaborations and partnerships with local and international organisations. We will also sign several agreements with leading organisations for best green practices,” added Dr Alhorr.

Scrap Art Exhibition opens at Souq Waqif
Scrap Art Exhibition opens at Souq Waqif

A novel Scrap Art Exhibition was opened by HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa al-Thani on Wednesday at the West Square of Souq Waqif. HE the Minister of Transport and Communications Jassim Saif Ahmed al-Sulaiti was also present on the occasion. The opening ceremony was attended by a number of diplomats and other dignitaries as well as local artists from Qatar. The exhibition will be open to the public until November 2 from 8 am to 12 noon and 4 pm to 9 pm. The dignitaries toured the exhibition and interacted with the artists at the exhibition that features scrap art from a number of countries. The artists briefed them about the most important art exhibits as well as the modern techniques and tools used in the works. About 30 prominent global artists in the field of scrap art were invited for the exhibition. The artists are showcasing some of their prominent works that vary from figurative sculptures to furniture parts. View this post on Instagram A post shared by Gulf Times (@gulftimes) on Oct 23, 2019 at 12:16pm PDT Most of the works are made of scrap metal, wood and other waste materials. The exhibition aims to convey the idea that waste materials can be used for creating elegant art pieces and how this can be a great inspiration for people. The art items at the exhibition include figures of animals, robots, household items, musical instruments among others. Turkish sculptor, Asaf Erdemli said that he was delighted to be part of such an exhibition. “I have participated in many global events and I have a number of collections. One of the highlights of my works at the exhibition is a guitar made of a number of scrap items and has been appreciated by many,” he said. Argentine artist, Julian Andres who is on his first visit to Qatar said that it was a fantastic opportunity for him. “I was invited by the organisers as they happened to see one of my Instagram posts. The artwork made from several scrap items, has been well received and I was happy to accept their invitation,” added Andres.