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 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.
The Education City Tram at one of the stations.
Education City Tram to increase frequency during Asian Cup

The Education City Tram will increase the frequency of its services to ensure better connectivity to the Education City Stadium, during the upcoming AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023, Gulf Times has learnt.“The tram operation plan will be co-ordinated with the tournament’s organisers, the Ministry of Interior, and the Ministry of Transport to ensure a smooth and efficient service, including measures such as crowd control and security,” said Qatar Foundation (QF) Integrated Transportation System director Jassim Eisa Rasheed.AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2023 will be played from January 12 to February 10, with the Education City Stadium a key venue with four group matches, one Round of 16, and one Quarter-final.According to Rasheed, after the launch of the Green Line services, the tram will help provide access to visitors across all the major sites in the Education City as well.He added that the tram’s operating hours will be extended during weekends to accommodate student requirements and other events.“This will involve running trams earlier in the morning and later at night,” Rasheed said. “Dedicated tram routes may be implemented during special events and tournaments where the Education City Stadium is a venue to make it easier for fans and visitors to get around.”The official said that the Education City Tram has been a resounding success since its launch in December 2019, allowing park-and-ride links between the Education City’s schools, universities, entities, and facilities."The average number of daily tram passengers per day quickly reached over 3,000,” he revealed. “By the start of this academic year in September 2023, that figure had risen to over 4,000.”“The average number of tram passengers per month has reached over 120,000,” Rasheed continued. “This is a remarkable number, especially considering that the tram system is still relatively new.”“The introduction of the 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, the daily ridership of has reached around 5,000.”“Students at the QF are using the tram more frequently for a number of reasons,” Rasheed said.“First, the tram is a convenient and efficient way to reach facilities on both our south and north campuses, and is fast, reliable, and free,” he explained. “Second, the tram is environmentally friendly. And third, the tram is wheelchair accessible and feeder buses are available to pick up and drop off passengers to tram stops during hot weather.”The tram is making it easier for QF students to get around campus and to participate in all the activities that the Education City has to offer.All three lines are now operational, with the Blue Line connecting QF schools, the Yellow Line connecting its universities, the Qatar National Library, Minaretein, and QF student housing, and the Green Line connecting Education City’s north campus – which includes Sidra Medicine, the Qatar National Convention Centre, and QF housing – with its south campus.

Challenges faced by parents.
Parents face challenges over children’s excessive use of technology

A recently published study has recommended more advanced parental control tools as the adolescents in Qatar and beyond are more prone to excessive use of technology.The study 'Parental perspectives on adolescents’ excessive use of technology in Qatar: challenges and coping strategies' published on Doha International Family Institute Journal in December last year, explores the challenges and coping strategies associated with the excessive use of technology among adolescents in Qatar from the perspective of parents. The findings of the 2021-2022 study on the overuse of technology by adolescents in Qatar was recently featured on authors of the study are: Azza O Abdelmoneium, Heba al-Fara, Fatima Motawaa, Aisha al-Sultan, all from Doha International Family Institute and Sanaa al-Harahsheh and Ahmed Baghdady from World Innovation Summit for Health - both organisations based in Qatar.The study provides valuable information on the existing literature on children’s excessive use of technology, the challenges faced by parents in Qatar, and insights into their coping strategies relevant to the broader Arab region.The original study followed a mixed-method approach investigating the experiences of adolescents and their parents, and the use of technology in their lives. The study found that the excessive use of technology among adolescents in Qatar is a major concern for the family, leading to negative consequences such as isolation, poor performance at school, health problems, and social disintegration.One of the recommendations of the study points out that parents need more advanced parental control tools and must learn how to use them.It explains: “Many parents are unsure about the effectiveness of the methods they currently use. The Ministry of Communications and Information Technology in Qatar should provide links to these tools on its website, along with explanations in Arabic, to make them more accessible to a wider range of users. Cyber-physical activities that combine the use of technology with physical exercise can mitigate some of the negative health effects associated with screen time.”The study has noted that some coping strategies need to be developed by parents to mitigate the negative effects of excessive use of technology among adolescents such as control, building trust, entertainment, and discussion.“Such strategies encourage alternative forms of social interaction with the family and avoidance of technology. Implementing appropriate educational programmes for adolescents and parents would mitigate challenges and promote the development of healthy lifestyles and habits, including the creation of leisure activities to reduce reliance on technology,” highlights the study.According to the article, insights into parents’ experiences with their children’s use of technology will enable policymakers to create or revise policies that better support parents while dialogue and communication serve as effective solutions to the problem.“A formal, systematic guidance plan could help parents better understand digital technology and the risks associated with it, thereby minimising potential harm. There is a need to disseminate reports that inform parents about the impact of technology on students and educate them how to effectively manage their children’s internet usage. The role of school social workers is crucial, particularly for parents who face challenges related to their children’s problematic behaviour,” suggests the research.The study followed a mixed-method approach that included both qualitative and quantitative analyses. Semi-structured interviews were conducted in 2021 with Arab parents who have children aged 10–16. A non-probabilistic sampling approach was used to select parents with children aged 10–16. A total of 44 parents were recruited and selected through social media and messaging, as well as snowball sampling.

HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference Tuesday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar can be a key player in global energy transition: Al-Sada

Qatar’s natural gas reserves can help the country turn into a key player in the global energy transition from fossil fuels, noted former minister HE Dr Mohammed bin Saleh al-Sada Tuesday as he called for global collaboration to unleash the full potential of hydrogen.“In Qatar hydrogen takes on added significance given the country’s abundant natural gas reserves. If these reserves be taken for blue hydrogen production, it not only diversifies Qatar’s energy portfolio but also positions the country as a key player in the global transition to clean energy sources,” he explained.Dr al-Sada, a former minister of energy and industry, was delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony of the 14th International Conference on Hydrogen Production hosted by the College of Science and Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU).The integration of low carbon emission hydrogen is very crucial in bridging the gap between fossil fuel reliance and the future of renewable energy, he stated.“As developed countries are striving to secure or position in the global race for green and blue hydrogen, the time is right for global co-operation on developing innovative approaches that would unleash the full potential of hydrogen.“Many countries have plenty of renewable energy resources. Countries in the Mena region and particularly Qatar are blessed with natural gas. On the other hand, Europe, Japan, South Korea among others are trying for clean fuels to decarbonise several sectors such as fertilisers, steel, aluminum among others,” continued the former minister.He also hailed the historic decision of COP 28 to transition from fossil fuels to fuels such as hydrogen and natural gas.“The year 2023 was the hottest year on earth so far. At this juncture, in the battle against climate change, hydrogen offers solutions for intermittent renewable energy,” added Dr al-Sada, also the chairman of the Joint Advisory Board of Texas A&M University at Qatar as well as the chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Doha University of Science and Technology.HE the Minister of Environment and Climate Change Sheikh Dr Faleh bin Nasser bin Ahmed bin Ali al-Thani attended the inaugural session of the conference held in the GCC region for the time.Several international delegates as well as officials from various institutes and organisations in Qatar are attending the three-day conference.The opening session also heard from various officials who highlighted the importance of hydrogen energy and the need to develop innovative approaches to tap it.Dr Ala al-Fuqaha, associate provost, HBKU, spoke about the importance of the conference and its high relevance in the current context.Dr Yusuf Bicer, co-chair of the conference and associate professor at HBKU gave an outline of the conference and spoke about the ambitious targets that Qatar has set for transitioning into clean energy.Dr Tareq al-Ansari, co-chair of the conference and acting executive director of Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute as well as Dr Mounir Hamdi, dean, College of Science and Engineering at HBKU also addressed the gathering.

Books with the artwork of participants of the Ability Friendly programme
QF's Ability Friendly Programme members get their artwork featured on bags, notebooks

Several members of Qatar Foundation’s (QF) Ability Friendly Programme have made a mark with notebooks and tote bags featuring their artworks. QF’s Ability Friendly Programme is an initiative that supports people with disabilities to engage in sporting and developmental activities. Education City Gift Shop has introduced the products featuring artwork made by people of all abilities. Titled “Dreams in Colour”, the collection features artwork made by 12 young artists from the Ability Friendly Programme. Created by young artists with unique perspectives, the collection is a celebration of creativity and the joy of expression. A note in the products reminds people to “explore the wonder of differences and the power of art with us. Let these creations remind you that within challenges, there's beauty waiting to be uncovered.”According to an article on QF website, the idea of creating the product line was born following an arts session where impressed by the artistic talent of the participants , the volunteers running the session took it upon themselves to create a product line. Fatima al-Mannai, a graduate of QF’s Virginia Commonwealth University of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), who was one of the volunteers said: “We saw their potential and saw the opportunity to make a difference and play a small role in uplifting and empowering a marginalised section of society. We saw it not as a choice but as a duty.”Featuring several local elements in the artwork, the products are available for sale in the Education City Gift Shop branches in QF Headquarters and Multaqa as well as popup shops in Expo 2023 Doha, and Torba Farmers Market. All proceeds will go towards QF’s Ability Friendly Programme.“We are proud to be supporting the creative talent of these young artists and contributing towards creating an inclusive society where everyone’s potential can shine,” said Sara al-Thani, manager, Creative Studio at QF.“These products embody a real and meaningful narrative of social progress, a powerful story of discovering potential with community members empowering each other through the power of volunteering.”‘Dreams in Colour’ stands as a powerful testament to the transformative impact of volunteering, community engagement, and social responsibility. Every aspect, from the concept to artwork development was driven by volunteers, including both QF staff and students.Seeing their children’s art go from being taped to the wall to being on a commercial product was an emotional experience for the parents of the young artists. When asked how she felt, one of the mothers said: “A whirlwind of emotions, but most resoundingly it has given me hope – hope that in the future my child will be seen beyond her disability.”“Being a part of this project has taught me the power of taking initiative, of volunteering, of collective effort and most importantly, how each one of us can, and should, forge a path towards an inclusive society,” added, Shaikha Darwish, another volunteer from VCUarts Qatar.

Panelists at the session Monday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
'Vaccine hesitation, global supply challenges ought to be addressed'

Experts addressed the challenges in developing vaccines and making them available at a global level during a panel discussion at Doha Forum 2023 Monday.The session on 'Vaccine Innovation and Global Health Resilience: Lessons from Covid-19 and Beyond' highlighted two major challenges in vaccine development and implementation.“They are vaccine hesitation and global supply of vaccine,” said Prof Adrian Hill, director of Oxford University’s Jenner Institute. “There should be ways to address these challenges for effective implementation of vaccines all across the world.”“Billions of doses of vaccines were developed, but there was no equality in the supply and distribution of it globally,” he said. “Africa suffered very badly. When 75% of Americans were vaccinated, only 4% of Africans were vaccinated.”“We can’t allow that to happen again,” Prof Hill added. “Co-ordinated efforts are needed to prevent this happening again in case of another major breakout of any disease."Another issue, he said, is vaccine hesitation.“There is a lack of understanding of what vaccines offer, and this should be done away in the future,” Prof Hill said. “And in the education process, *there is the lack of an) understanding of risk. Vaccines are in the least category of risks.”He noted that coronavirus (Covid-19) vaccines were developed at a faster rate as there was great support, funding and global understanding of the need for vaccine.“It was also a great learning experience. We can develop vaccines much faster, and we did it,” Prof Hill said.“Developing the malaria vaccine took more than 17 years. We are in a position to develop vaccine at a faster rate now,” he continued. “We have technologies and several types of vaccines.”“Earlier, nobody had the right financing, support and the regulatory activities responses that we had during the Covid-19 pandemic,” Prof Hill said. “Under a year, we could develop three different vaccines.”Dr Abdullatif al-Khal, head of Infectious Diseases and senior consultant at the Hamad Medical Corporation, noted that building resilience at the national level as well as healthcare levels are needed to meet any emergency scenario.“Health systems may have to deal with pandemics in future,” he noted. “Building resilience for future causes can be money-saving, as we invest in health infrastructure and preventive programmes. This enhances the resilience of the country automatically.”Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria board chair Roslyn Morauta said that there was great unity among agencies to work on Covid-19 vaccines.“All the agencies worked together, (more) than ever before,” she said. “We have to get a mechanism that vaccines are made available to low- and middle- income countries at the earliest.”“Our organisation spends one-third of our money – about $1.5bn – every year on programmes for strengthening healthcare,” Morauta highlighted.Bangladesh Minister of Foreign Affairs Dr AK Abdul Momen gave a detailed account of his country’s efforts and success in fighting Covid-19.The session was moderated by World Innovation Summit for Health chief executive Sultana Afdhal.

Panelists on the 'Governing our Climate Future' session. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Political commitment, leadership urged to address climate change crisis

Panelists at the session on *Governing our Climate Future*, on the second and concluding day of Doha Forum 2023 Monday, highlighted that there should be more commitment and political leadership to fight the climate change crisis.Speaking at the session, Maria Fernanda Espinosa, a former minister of foreign affairs and defence of Ecuador and former president of the UN General Assembly, noted that one of the main problems in the climate crisis is the governance, or the gaps in governance, present in many parts of the world.“COP28 started with great hopes with the adoption of the Loss and Damage Fund, but just before a few hours from the end, 80% of the agreements are deadlocked,” she said. “In multilateral negotiations, parties hold back to put pressure on others ... in due course many things were not agreed.”“After 28 times that the COP has met, our emissions continue to grow steadily,” Espinosa continued. “Basically we have to operate in an emergency mode. We are in an emergency, and we really call on world leaders to decide on the present and future of human kind.”“It is an urgent matter because planet Earth can live very well without us, but we can’t live without planet Earth,” she pointed out.Nobuo Tanaka, chair, Steering Committee of Innovation for Cool Earth Forum and a former executive director of the International Energy Agency, noted that the world must do more to meet the climate change crisis.“It is estimated that four giga tonnes of carbon emissions will be reduced by 2030, but it is just 30% of the necessary reduction to net zero,” he said. “It is also pledged that renewable energy should be developed to triple what it is today, and the energy efficiency should be doubled by 2030.”“Other pledges are financing for the developing economies and reduction of the use of fossil fuels,” Tanaka added.Nepal Minister of Foreign Affairs Narayan Prakash Saud noted that his country is facing the impacts of climate change, with the Himalayan and Annapurna mountain ranges severely impacted.He also said that his country had hosted the UN secretary-general and many other leaders to have a first-hand experience of the prevailing situation in his country.Climate Governance Commission policy analyst Maja Groff and African Union Youth envoy Chido Mpemba highlighted various issues of the emerging scenarios and urged for immediate action to mitigate the challenges.The session was moderated by journalist Maryam Nemazee.Addressing the global challenge of climate change requires co-ordinated international governance.Off the back of the latest meetings to contain global temperature rise to 1.5° Celsius, high impact global governance solutions can help fill the gap of the confronting climate emergency.

Ayman al-Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Jordan, speaking at the session. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
Urgent need for ending Gaza war highlighted at Doha Forum

The urgent need to put an end to the ongoing Israeli aggression in Gaza was highlighted by speakers at the opening panel session of Doha Forum Sunday.The panelists at the session ‘What Next for the Middle East?’ were HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs; Dr Mohammad Shtayyeh, Prime Minister of Palestine; Ayman al-Safadi, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, Jordan; and Dennis Francis, President of the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly, United Nations. The session was moderated by Becky Anderson, managing editor and anchor of Connect the World, CNN.Dr Shtayyeh said that Israel is committing severe war crimes and must be held accountable for this. He noted : “By all means, if Israel is above international law, I think, Israel should be put on sanctions. Israel should not be allowed to continue violating international and humanitarian law and United Nations resolutions. Israel is in the mood of revenge. The question is what should we do to stop this aggression?”“What is happening in Gaza is most inhuman practices. There are five entry points to Gaza and only one is accessible. That is not enough and Israel is responsible to as an occupying force to provide water, electricity, food supplies and so on. But Israel has failed in ensuring the supply of this and rather cut them off from Gaza and these are criminal acts ” he pointed out.“What is needed is neither an economic solution or a security solution. The need of the hours is a political solution for the whole issue. Delay in justice is the absence of justice,” he highlighted.According to al-Safadi, the continuation of war on Gaza Strip will drag the region into an all-out conflict. He said: “What is happening in Gaza could be described as a systematic act to expel Gaza population. There are Israeli calls in this direction to burn the Palestinians and wipe them off. Israel defies the world, violates the international law, and perpetrates war crimes and genocide.”He called on the United States to ramp up more pressure on Israel to halt its crimes in Gaza, adding that, as per international laws, its continuation of this approach endangers the entire region and leads to an all-out conflict.Francis highlighted Israel’s claim that they are going to eradicate Hamas is totally unacceptable as Hamas is an integral part of the Palestinian political structure.“Our main concern is not about what will happen later but what will happen today. Our main concern is today and we want a stop of these atrocities and genocide that is happening today. We need a comprehensive political solution that does put an end to this Palestinian suffering that started 75 years ago,” he stressed.

HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani along with other panelists at Doha Forum Sunday. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Negotiation, only way to end Palestinian issue: Sheikh Mohammed

Coming to the table and negotiation is the only way to end the conflict between Israel and Palestine, HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim al-Thani, Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs reiterated Sunday at the ongoing Doha Forum.Sheikh Mohammed said: “I believe that the only way forward to end this war is through the negotiation table. Historically with all wars and conflicts, none of them achieved their results in the battlefield.”He was speaking at the opening panel discussion of Doha Forum, “What Now for the Middle East?’ moderated by Becky Anderson, managing editor and anchor of Connect the World, CNN,“We have been working relentlessly under the direction of His Highness the Amir, in order to ensure that the hostages are released safely through negotiations which was proven to be successful. Our efforts, along with our partners, are continuing in Gaza and we are not going to give up,” explained the Prime Minister.Sheikh Mohammed continued: “The region has been extending the hands to Israel for peace plans for decades just as the Arab peace initiative that was adopted by the League of Arab States and supported by the Organisation of Islamic Countries. There were several attempts and we are always aiming at peace. We are looking for two states living side by side safely.”He deplored that unfortunately there has been no seriousness from the Israeli side for peace efforts. “They kept burying the peace proposals. And there were several rounds of war and every time Israel would go in and destroy everything in Gaza. The Israelis have not been doing their responsibility for peace as an occupying power,” noted the prime minister.Sheikh Mohammed highlighted that there are a lot of questions about Israel’s inaction to peace and the continuation of the war.“Gaza and West Bank are one unit and one state that should be governed by one body. That should be the outcome of the Palestinian agreement. Things need to be put in context and this war needs our role as a region to support the Palestinian people and their cause. The region has been supporting Palestine financially for the reconstruction,” stated the prime minister.“We have been continuing this effort despite all the circumstances and nothing will stop us. Our role is to make sure that the Palestinian people live in peace and prosperity. We are countries for peace and we never call for wars. We never call for violence and never see violence as a solution for any problem or any crisis,” added, Sheikh Mohamed.

Dr de Holan and Kobb announcing details of the new programme Monday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
HEC Paris in Qatar launches new Executive MBA programme

Focusing on young professionals in Qatar and the wider region, HEC Paris in Qatar has launched the Emerging Leaders Track of its Executive MBA (EMBA) programme.“The new programme will host its first cohort in the fall of 2024, catering to a younger audience of high-potential professionals, with an average age of 28-30,” HEC Paris in Qatar dean Dr Pablo Martin de Holan told a press conference Monday at campus in Msheireb Downtown Doha. “The average duration of the programme is 18 months.”He was joined by HEC Paris in Qatar (Partnerships and Growth) executive director Joshua Kobb and virtually, through a hologram livestream, by Prof Kristine de Valck, dean of degree programmes at HEC Paris’s main campus.Young managers with demonstrated leadership potential can enrol in the programme.The launch of the new track of the EMBA opens a much-needed opportunity for part-time management study for this segment of the population. The programme expects enrolment from across the GCC region.“The launch of another option in world-class EMBA, the Emerging Leaders Track, reflects HEC Paris’s commitment to impact and excellence,” said Dr de Holan. “HEC Paris in Qatar develops local, regional, and global talent that Qatar and the GCC need to build knowledge-based, diversified and sustainable economies.”“HEC Paris is immensely proud of our students, faculty, and of course, alumni, who hold key leadership roles across diverse industries in Qatar, in the GCC, in Europe, and globally, making a difference and helping create a better, more sustainable world,” he added.To be eligible, participants need a minimum of five years' professional experience, including one year of demonstrated career progression.This programme is designed for those seeking to advance into more senior positions or to enhance their current roles through personal and professional development and the application of strategic and innovative thinking acquired during the EMBA.As a part-time programme, it accommodates working professionals, enabling them to remain employed as they pursue their studies and avoiding the loss of salary associated with full-time MBA studies.HEC Paris’s EMBA is tailored to nurture talent growth in Qatar and the broader region.Delivered from the HEC Paris campus in Doha, the programme includes modules in Paris, London, Cambridge, and Dubai.This EMBA, led by globally acclaimed faculty, prepares participants to address the region's challenges and opportunities.“Across the region we deliver custom designed corporate programmes. We have also associated with some of the most prestigious and leading business organisations in Qatar and the region,” Kobb said. “The new EMBA programme has an important role in our entire portfolio of HEC Paris in Qatar. It helps us to reach a segment of population that has not been served by top tier institutions.”While covering essential areas such as business performance management, corporate finance, and strategy, the programme emphasises current topics and trends including innovation, digital transformation, social responsibility, and navigating the regional business environment.Graduates, equipped with these specialised skills, gain a comprehensive business understanding and become catalysts for driving sustainable growth in Qatar and the region.In collaboration with the business community, HEC Paris in Qatar is dedicated to positioning Doha as a regional hub of knowledge and expertise.The new programme is set to enhance the skills of emerging leaders, supporting the development of locally based talent who will be the drivers of change and transformation.

A panel discussion  during the congress.  PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
QCS international congress recommends to promote precision oncology research

The International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2023 organised by Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) has recommended to promote precision oncology research.The two day congress, held under the patronage of HE Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani, Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and opened in the presence of HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al-Kuwari, the Minister of Public Health concluded yesterday at Ritz-Carlton, Doha.The international congress has come out with several suggestion to fight gastrointestinal cancers (GI) and help the population better aware of the disease and thus make them prepared to prevent it.One of the recommendations is to promote precision oncology research and it “advocates for increased funding and support for research in precision oncology to personalise colorectal cancer treatment, enhancing its efficacy and reducing side effects.”Another suggestion is “Develop advanced training programmes for surgeons, focusing on the latest techniques in the surgical management of GI cancers, including colorectal, hepatic, and pancreatic cancers.”A major recommendation is to establish multidisciplinary teams. It says “Encourage institutions to form multidisciplinary teams, combining the expertise of surgeons, oncologists, radiologists, pathologists, and nurse specialists for comprehensive GI cancer care.”Similar recommendations are: Implement Liver Transplant Protocols; Adopt Clinical Guidelines; Organize Public Awareness Campaigns; Expand Access to Advanced Imaging; Foster Economic Research in GI Cancer Treatment; Enhance Patient Support Services and Create Specialised Cancer Units.Over 1,000 primary health care providers and researchers attended the congress and exchanged ideas and latest developments in cancer treatment and awareness.HE Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Jabor al-Thani, chairman of QCS said that the congress was a great success and it witnessed exchange of knowledge, expertise and opinions among the researchers and delegates to benefit the participants as well as the efforts to combat cancer especially gastrointestinal cancers.“The congress has been a great success and I am extremely satisfied with the outcomes of the congress which can help in framing several policies and programmes in cancer treatment. It is also very fulfilling that the participants had a great time in exchanging ideas and learn more about preventing some of the cancers and how to raise awareness about it among the community members. We hope that the recommendations of the congress will help in fighting the disease in a big way and make our society better prepared to face cancer and protect the people from it,” explained, Sheikh Khalid.The second day of the congress included two sessions, targeting members of the public. It presented methods of prevention and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers, factors that cause them, and methods of diagnosis and treatment, with a focus on the role of food in preventing the disease.There was also an accompanying medical exhibition to provide free consultation services both medical and nutritional and perform biometric and body mass index measurements for the public.The congress attracted prominent experts from a number of countries such as the United States of America, Austria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, the Sultanate of Oman, Lebanon, and Jordan, in addition to the participation of a number of entities from Qatar such as the Ministry of Public Health, Hamad Medical Corporation and the Primary Health Care Corporation.

HE Dr Hanan Mohamed al- Kuwari, HE Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Jabor al-Thani, Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani and Dr Abdul-Azim Abdul-Wahab Hussein at the opening ceremony of the congress Friday. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
QCS launches International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2023

Qatar Cancer Society (QCS) opened the International Congress of Gastrointestinal Cancers 2023 Friday under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman al-Thani and in the presence of HE the Minister of Public Health Dr Hanan Mohamed al- Kuwari at the Ritz-Carlton Doha.QCS will sign Saturday and an agreement with Oman Cancer Society to work together seamlessly and exchange various programmes and ideas to fight cancer in the region and provide support to the programmes in both the countries and beyond, chairman HE Sheikh Dr Khalid bin Jabor al-Thani told Gulf Times.Also Saturday, QCS will announce Ghanim al-Muftah, the renowned, Qatari online streamer and philanthropist, as its newest brand ambassador. "In fact he volunteered to be an ambassador of the society and I accepted his proposal. He will promote the activities of QCS hereafter,” Sheikh Khalid explained.The opening session of the two day conference was attended by several dignitaries including the Ministry of Public Health's (MoPH) Public Health Department director Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani and QCS vice chairman Dr Abdul-Azim Abdul-Wahab Hussein.Sheikh Dr Khalid welcomed the gathering and highlighted the importance of the congress in preventing and overcoming the gastrointestinal cancers.He said: “I hope this conference will help in exchange of ideas among the delegates and other participants and will help raise more awareness among the community about the ways to fight the disease. The participants will be able to discuss a number of topics related to various types of cancers that affect the digestive system. They shall suggest ways and ideas to help diagnose the disease early and thus prevent it. The congress is also expected to come out with several recommendations in the fight against cancer.”The opening session of the congress was moderated by Prof Harald Rosen, head of faculty, Surgical Oncology at the Sigmund Freud University in Vienna and Dr Hassan al-Thani, head of Trauma and Vascular Surgery Sections and a fellow of the American College of Surgeons, Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC).At the opening session, Dr Mohammed Abunada, acting deputy chief medical officer for surgical services and chairman of surgery, HMC, spoke about the topic “Surgical Management of Primary Colorectal Cancer.” Dr Abunada in his presentation, highlighted that colorectal cancer is the third most commonly diagnosed cancer accounting for second most common cancer death. He also discussed the treatment path of the cancer in Qatar and how the country is resiliently treating this cancer.On its second day, Saturday, the medical congress includes two sessions, the first targeting members of the public. It will present methods of prevention and early detection of gastrointestinal cancers, factors that cause them, and methods of diagnosis and treatment, with a focus on the role of food in preventing the disease.There is also an accompanying medical exhibition to provide free consultation services both medical and nutritional and perform biometric and body mass index measurements for the public.The congress has attracted prominent experts from a number of countries such as the United States of America, Austria, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Lebanon, and Jordan, in addition to the participation of a number of entities from Qatar such as the MoPH, HMC and the Primary Health Care Corporation.The International Gastrointestinal Cancers Congress 2023, is a platform that unites clinicians, researchers, academics, and industry professionals from Qatar, the Gulf region and the world in the field of gastrointestinal oncology.

Randa al-Dawoudi at WISE on Wednesday. PICTURE: Shaji  Kayamkulam
Young Palestinian sheds light on plight of millions in Gaza

A young Palestinian who anchored the Education Above All session yesterday at the World Innovation Summit for Education (WISE) 2023, noted that people in Gaza are losing hope each passing day.Randa al-Dawoudi, studying and working in Istanbul, told Gulf Times that she came to attend the summit because she wanted to be the voice of the millions of voiceless Palestinians.“I am coming from Istanbul where I am studying as well as working. I just wanted to represent the Palestinians and highlight the deteriorating situation in Gaza. I want to be the voice of the millions suffering in my motherland,” said al-Dawoudi.She said: “My family is in Gaza and I have no way to go to them now. I am speechless about what is happening in Gaza. Sometimes, I feel guilty that I am not with them. When I am able to get connected to them over the phone, I tell them that I want to reach them. But they discourage me and ask me to stay outside the country. They ask me to tell the story of all of them to the outside world.”“So I feel I have the responsibility to tell their stories to the outside world. It is a huge responsibility and that is the reason I am here,” said al-Dawoudi.The young Palestinian who is working in the marketing field said she went into a depression due to the war in Gaza.“I was so upset and turned traumatic. I am yet to completely come out of the depression. We don’t know what will happen after the ceasefire. But my family members and others fear that after this period the Israeli forces will kill all of them,” she lamented.“I cannot meet my family, I can't go to my motherland but still I am doing the job for my country by highlighting the plight of my family and my motherland to the outside world. I lost my mother in the 2008 Israel aggression. I have my father and sister living in Palestine now. My sister is married and has two children,” added al-Dawoudi.

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.