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Friday, July 19, 2024 | Daily Newspaper published by GPPC Doha, Qatar.
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 Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar
Joey Aguilar has been a journalist since 2013 at Gulf Times, reporting on events related to Qatar. He was earlier a journalist for eight years in the Philippines. He became one of the 2015 United Nations Foundation Global Goals Press Fellows. He has also attended a number of journalism seminars in the Philippines.
From Left: Mayor Bryan Barnett (Rochester Hills, MI), Mayor Mike Duggan (Detroit, MI), Mayor Jim Ross (Arlington, TX)
Qatar
US mayors laud Qatar's World Cup preparations

Qatar has done “a phenomenal job” in its preparations for hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, from building state-of-the-art stadiums and infrastructure to addressing some of the biggest challenges, three US mayors who are visiting the country have said. “I couldn't imagine preparing for the World Cup in a situation where all stadiums are so close to one another, all crowds are so close to one another, and the complexities that arise out of preparing for something like that: from the infrastructure to the food to water to shelter, you name it, there are so many complexities that come in the play. “I have the utmost confidence a Qatar is gonna be able to pull it off unlike anybody else could have in a situation like that,” Arlington city mayor Jim Ross told Gulf Times on the sidelines of their visit to Qatar. He was with mayors Bryan Barnett (Rochester Hills) and Mike Duggan (Detroit) during a tour at the Al Thumama Stadium on Monday. The delegation also met with ministers and high-ranking Qatari officials, and took part in a number of forums and activities in the country. Ross, echoing earlier Duggan’s view, said that the prospect of a small country like Qatar being able to host a World Cup within such close proximity is exceptional. “We've been able to tour one of the stadiums and see what an incredible job not just in getting things done, but also the technological aspects of an open-air stadium, in keeping everybody cool, that is something that's just unheard of. “My city is a finalist for the World Cup in 2026, so I was especially interested in that. We got the tour in one of the new stadiums (and museums) and met with a number of government officials to see how everything is done, from waste management to infrastructure, you name it, and it is very exciting,” he said, adding they also saw Qatar’s stunning architecture and how the city operates. According to Duggan, the US can learn enormous lessons from Qatar, which can efficiently manage several issues such as transportation and construction. He also finds the disassembling of the stadiums after the tournament and use its parts elsewhere as impressive and calls it “a visionary approach”. For Barnett, Qatar’s ability to finish the infrastructure needed for the World Cup way ahead of schedule is extraordinary, apart from executing a good plan to address other concerns such as transportation. He stressed that the people of Qatar are very excited to host such a prestigious tournament and show the world what they prepared and created. “I know they want everyone to have a wonderful experience and feel the Qatari hospitality that's so world-renowned,” Barnett said.  

(From left) US mayors Bryan Barnett (Rochester Hills, MI) Jim Ross (Arlington, TX), and Mike Duggan (Detroit, MI) in Doha. PICTURE: Joey Aguilar
International
Qatar-US relations to deepen in post-pandemic era amid challenges

Qatar and US ties will further deepen in a post-pandemic era and amid certain geopolitical challenges, according to a delegation of US mayors on a tour of the country. Speaking to Gulf Times, Rochester Hills mayor Bryan Barnett expressed confidence that such relationship “will only get stronger”, citing that US mayors passed a resolution a week ago recognising 50 years of partnership and friendship between the US and Qatar. He said the resolution puts a spotlight on the strength of the two countries’ economic and cultural relationship, as well as other areas of bilateral co-operation. “I think that’s symbolic of our past and as mayors ourselves, we’re here in part to look at the next 50 years and how we can continue those relationships and learn from each other as we represent our unique and distinct populations,” said Barnett. He, along with city mayors Jim Ross (Arlington) and Mike Duggan (Detroit), took part in a number of high-level meetings with some Qatari ministers and government offi cials, as well as investment groups, in addition to attending forums and other activities, as part of their visit to Qatar. Ross, who is also visiting the country for the first time, cited Qatar’s significant contribution to their city museum, which recognises military personnel who received medal of honour. He also lauded Qatar’s hospitality and the warm reception of its people, saying that “everybody from the upper levels of government to the individuals working at the hotel are just as friendliest can be, and for me, that’s what communities are all about.” “I am especially indebted to Qatar for their willingness to participate and recognising military veterans and our community,” Ross stressed. Like its generosity to Arlington and other cities in the US, Duggan said that Qatar donated research projects to the University of Michigan and Wayne State University. The mayors also see an array of opportunities in trade and investment between the two countries and their cities as Qatar had previously shown interest in many communities around the US becoming partners. “Collaborative eff orts begin with relationships, you can’t collaborate effectively with anybody that you can’t develop relationships with. Qatar and the United States have 50 years of showing what really good relationships are about,” Ross pointed out, as he expressed confidence that such relations will grow further in the next 50 years. “I’m excited about the ongoing relationships between the US and our individual communities in Qatar. I am excited about how Qatar has been able to develop itself and Doha and seeing the tremendous growth here and what is happening here in this community and I’m excited about what they can offer the US and what the US can in turn offer them, so it’s really special for us.” The Arlington mayor finds education as an area for further collaboration between the two countries, as he lauded Qatar for creating Education City and bringing over half a dozen diff erent US universities to have satellite campuses in Doha. “This includes Texas A&M, I went there and I’d like to brag about it, that’s why I went to Law School and I was happy to see it here,” Ross said. “The way Qatar has developed that centre (Education City) is just phenomenal and I’d love to see that collaborative effort continue and grow.”

Rehan Ali Syed
Qatar
Summer travel demand soaring

Qatar continues to witness a huge demand for both inbound and outbound travel even during the summer, which is evidently an off-season for tourism in the country and the region, an industry expert has said. “The demand this year for summer is soaring high with bookings pouring in from all ends whether it is travel to back home or exotic vacations. Since the pandemic, this is the first summer which is looking extremely promising,” Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed told Gulf Times. He noted that booking for outbound travel is trending very high, citing a surge in cruise bookings starting from Europe. Key destinations this year are Turkey, Greece, UK, France, Georgia, Switzerland, Austria, Spain and the US. On the other hand, Syed noted that many travellers, especially football fans from various regions globally, are extremely keen to explore Qatar with the 2022 FIFA World Cup getting closer. “Thanks to Qatar Tourism for engaging in several programmes to promote the country in different parts of the world. The cruise season just got over last week, and we are looking forward to next season just before FIFA,” he added. Syed noted that Qatar tourism has been working relentlessly in extending its footprints in every country to ensure more visitors come into Qatar and enjoy various activities, and more importantly, to learn more about the Qatari culture. “Qatar’s dunes are one of the best in the world and there is no place in the GCC where the desert is directly connected to the inland sea. There are various camps available for customers to enjoy, the Arabian nights in the traditional tents as well as for those who prefer luxurious living,” Syed said. He noted that the opening of several resorts such as Hilton Salwa Resort, Messila Resort, Zulal Wellness Resort, Banana Island and soon to open, Rixos, will make Qatar an attractive destination for travellers in times to come. “There will be enough in offering for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions tourism and other adventure activities. It is quite evident that most of these places are on a good occupancy with more and more people opting for staycations,” Syed said. Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel shared the same view, noting the rapid recovery of the sector from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic due to cruise tourism’s robust performance. He said the cruise season, which usually takes place between November and April, significantly contributed to the recovery of the tourism industry. It is learnt that Doha Port received more than 16 cruise ships carrying a huge number of passengers and crews during the 2021/22 season. According to Trenkel, the past couple of months also witnessed an increasing number of visitors coming from other GCC countries such as Kuwait, Saudi, and Oman by car. Apart from attracting visitors from the Gulf, Qatar Tourism expects to unlock major markets once further relaxations of Covid restrictions take place.

Rehan Ali Syed
Qatar
Travel demand in summer soaring

Qatar continues to witness a huge demand for both inbound and outbound travel even during the summer, which is evidently an off-season for tourism in the country and the region, an industry expert has said. “The demand this year for summer is soaring high with bookings pouring in from all ends whether it is travel to back home or exotic vacations. Since the pandemic, this is the first summer which is looking extremely promising,” Tawfeeq Travel Group CEO Rehan Ali Syed told Gulf Times. He noted that booking for outbound travel is trending very high, citing a surge in cruise bookings starting from Europe. Key destinations this year are Turkey, Greece, UK, France, Georgia, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, the US. On the other hand, Syed noted that many travellers, especially football fans from various regions globally, are extremely keen to explore Qatar with the 2022 FIFA World Cup getting closer. “Thanks to Qatar Tourism for engaging in several programmes to promote the country in different parts of the world. The cruise season just got over last week, and we are looking forward to next season just before FIFA,” he added. Syed noted that Qatar tourism has been working relentlessly in extending its footprints in every country to ensure more visitors come into Qatar and enjoy various activities, and more importantly, to learn more about the Qatari culture. “Qatar’s dunes are one of the best in the world and there is no place in the GCC where the desert is directly connected to the inland sea. There are various camps available for customers to enjoy, the Arabian nights in the traditional tents as well as for those who prefer luxurious living,” Syed said. He noted that the opening of several resorts such as Hilton Salwa Resort, Messila Resort, Zulal Wellness Resort, Banana Island and soon to open, Rixos, will make Qatar an attractive destination for travellers in times to come. “There will be enough in offering for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions tourism and other adventure activities. It is quite evident that most of these places are on a good occupancy with more and more people opting for staycations,” Syed said. Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel shared the same view, noting the rapid recovery of the sector from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic due to cruise tourism’s robust performance. He said the cruise season, which usually takes place between November and April, significantly contributed to the recovery of the tourism industry. It is learnt that Doha Port received more than 16 cruise ships carrying a huge number of passengers and crews during the 2021/22 season. According to Trenkel, the past couple of months also witnessed an increasing number of visitors coming from other GCC countries such as Kuwait, Saudi, and Oman by car. Apart from attracting visitors from the Gulf, Qatar Tourism expects to unlock major markets once further relaxations of Covid restrictions take place.    

Fatma Alremaihi
Qatar
DFI to hold film screenings during World Cup

The Doha Film Institute (DFI) will make a series of film screenings in the run up to the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, aimed at highlighting the works and creativity of filmmakers in the country and the region, DFI CEO Fatma Alremaihi said. “We will hold film screenings in the M7 at Msheireb Downtown Doha,” she explained on the sidelines of the recently-held Qatar Creates event. Alremaihi said DFI will also put a spotlight on this year’s Ajyal Film Festival, divided into two parts and set to take place between October and November. The first part is for the jury programme, scheduled for the beginning of October, featuring the regular competition, shorts, features, and documentaries, as well as the Talk with filmmakers. In November, she said the annual event “will have a showcase of everything related to the film industry in Qatar in different locations and environments,” in addition to art exhibitions, Geekdom, and music concerts, among other activations. According to Alremaihi, part of DFI’s plan also includes showcasing the evolution of Qatar’s film industry and what it has achieved in more than a decade. “The industry is booming,” she stressed, noting that Qatari and Doha-based filmmakers are not just making films as a hobby but taking their careers seriously. “We are proud of our filmmakers….their films are selected in major festivals around the world and are actually winning many awards. It is very rewarding to see all the hard work that has been done, and the grounds have been building over the years step by step to see this result. “We always hope for more, so all of these filmmakers have finished their short films, they are now working on their features and this will be the next step for Qatar. And we already have people like Suzannah Mirghani, a Qatar resident whose short film won every award you can think of around the world,” Alremaihi said. “Now her feature was selected in Cannes, and won the prize so we are very proud to be behind all of these filmmakers supporting them all the time.” According to DFI, Mirghani is the writer, director, and producer of ‘Al-Sit’ (2020), which bagged 18 international awards, including three Academy Award qualifying prizes in 2021: Best of Fest at LA Shorts; Grand Prix at Tampere Film Festival; and Best Short Film at BronzeLens. Her latest short, ‘Virtual Voice’ (2021), had its World Premiere at Tribeca Film Festival. Her latest film, 'Cotton Queen' (Sudan, Qatar), was screened in the Directors’ Fortnight (Quinzaine des réalisateurs), an independent selection at the Cannes Film Festival. Alremaihi said that hopefully, residents and visitors will see local feature films being screened in commercial cinemas soon.    

Berthold Trenkel
Qatar
Qatar Creates to further boost country’s tourism

Qatar Creates’ all-new format is expected to attract more foreign visitors, further boosting the country's tourism sector, Qatar Tourism COO Berthold Trenkel has said. Speaking on the sidelines of Qatar Creates launch on Monday, Trenkel said that such initiative is popular in markets like Europe where people are typical visitors of museums and known to be highly culturally oriented. “Qatar Creates is a great initiative and we are doing a lot of collaboration. We’ve fully integrated it like all the calendars from the museums (to be) a part of the Qatar Calendar, which is the big umbrella, which covers anything whether it is a sports event, exhibition, and etc,” he said. Qatar Creates’ new edition, now a year-round celebration of art, fashion, design, culture and architecture, features a wide range of cultural and artistic offerings across the country leading up to the FIFA World Cup 2022. According to Qatar Museum (QM), Qatar Creates 2022 will be the first year to witness two editions of the celebration as it welcomes visitors during the prestigious football tournament in the country. It will also introduce QM’s upcoming museums and galleries, including the Art Mill Museum, Qatar Auto Museum and Lusail Museum. Qatar Tourism is also set to ramp up its efforts to entice more travellers from neighbouring GCC countries during the summer, Trenkel said. “Obviously the GCC region is the easier one because it is where the neighbours live, it is hot here and you don’t have that perception challenge (since people are more used to the weather). “So that is the primary target and then I am hoping the Indian subcontinent will open up but that will still depend on the Ministry of Public Health rules, once these rules relax… then we can also target this market,” he added. Trenkel added that the country witnessed a surge in the number of visitors from other GCC countries during the Eid al-Fitr holidays, many of whom travelled by car. Qatar Tourism, he noted, also saw a strong recovery during the cruise season (which typically starts in November and ends in April), which substantially helped Qatar’ tourism sector. Trenkel said that further relaxations of Covid-19 restrictions in Qatar and other countries will enable them to unlock other markets in different regions. “It depends also what is the situation in other countries like China, where parts of it are still in lockdown and people cannot travel. So for us the Chinese market is not accessible or it is not accessible to anyone right now. “But once that changes, then we will also go after these markets. Right now the focus is largely North America and Europe because these markets are way relaxed in terms of travel restrictions and everything, and people are travelling,” Trenkel pointed out. While the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is expected to draw large crowds, he said the tourism team is exerting efforts to capitalise on the winter peak and the first quarter of 2023. Trenkel said Qatar Tourism will also launch a programme next month aimed at attracting transit passengers at Hamad International Airport. “We will launch a campaign that we are working on and it should go live in key markets like Australia and the UK because that is where the transit traffic comes from, so that is a big thing,” he said. “It’s our ‘Stopover Campaign’ trying to capitalise on all the air capacity that obviously Qatar Airways has.”    

HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani at the Qatar Creates launch on Monday. Supplied picture
Qatar
All-new format of Qatar Creates launched

* More than 1mn visitors to be greeted with spectacular performances, groundbreaking museum exhibitions, premier fashion shows and more * Complete cultural offering to be presented through all-new Qatar Creates One Pass   An all-new format of Qatar Creates was launched at Msheireb Downtown Doha’s M7 on Monday, featuring an array of cultural and artistic offerings across the country leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “Today, I am excited to announce that we are now transforming Qatar Creates from a limited period of events into a year-round national cultural movement, for local and international audiences alike. “I am pleased to tell you about a new way in which Qatar is elevating and expanding the great array of cultural activities and experiences we offer. We are beginning this initiative as part of the excitement surrounding the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022,” said Qatar Museums and Doha Film Institute Chairperson, and Fashion Trust Arabia Co-Chair HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani. She was joined by M7 director Maha Ghanim al-Sulaiti and Qatar Creates director Saad Saleh al-Hudaifi at the event. According to HE Sheikha Al Mayassa, the latest edition of Qatar Creates serves as “all-embracing vehicle that curates, promotes, and marks the diversity of cultural activities in the country”. It will feature 17 exhibitions across five museums and five creative hubs, 10 high-profile events, three live festivals, 15 Qatar Creates lounges and more than 80 public art installations across Qatar this autumn. “As the countdown intensifies toward the opening of the World Cup, we are delighted to share a picture of autumn 2022 in Doha, when the calendar will be overflowing with museum exhibitions, premier fashion events, spectacular music and theater experiences, and eye-opening previews of the exciting cultural future that Qatar is building today,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said. She noted that many of the initiatives “will also raise funds aimed at supporting the creative economy and impact environmental change by supporting innovative ideas that are directly addressing this global challenge”. “And beyond the World Cup, we intend for the Qatar Creates movement to expand and grow. Our aim is for it to touch and enrich people’s life. And for this reason, we are proud to invite everyone to participate in Qatar Creates, in whatever capacity they are able.” Several other high-profile events and live performances, among other programmes, are geared toward the start of the much-awaited tournament from November 21 to December 18. The Qatar Creates kick-off also witnessed the launch of its new One Pass – an online portal that offers a one-stop resource for all of Qatar’s cultural offerings. It gives residents and visitors the opportunity to immerse and fully experience a wide range of cultural, leisure and entertainment offerings across the country. One Pass holders get free admission to all museums, discounts at events and performances, restaurants, and local retailers, as well as front-of-line privileges. They will also receive a daily newsletter of events and online access, which provides details about the activities taking place in Doha during the 2022 FIFA World Cup. “By bringing this all together with the One Pass, our hope is that everyone will have the opportunity to live it all, to experience the very best our country has to offer, turning visitors into ambassadors who will share their experiences and want to return to Qatar again and again. Most importantly, wherever you are you will always be informed of our latest programmes and events,” HE Sheikha Al Mayassa said. What is Qatar Creates? Qatar Creates is a cultural initiative that was launched by Qatar Museums in 2019 to celebrate the inauguration of the National Museum of Qatar. It is an annual celebration of art, fashion, design, culture and architecture through a weeklong series of community events and programmes including fashion shows, exhibitions, tours, workshops and panel discussions. Qatar Creates is a global summit for the cultural innovation economy, acting as a platform to promote local, regional and international cultural perspectives. Led by HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, Qatar Creates promises to showcase local and global talent. It will bring together the best of Qatar’s cultural entities including Museum of Islamic Art and MIA Park, Mathaf: Arab Museum of Modern Art, the National Museum of Qatar, QM Gallery Al Riwaq, QM Gallery Katara, 3-2-1 Qatar Olympic and Sports Museum, Dadu, Children's Museum of Qatar and its newly created Creative Hub comprising of the Fire Station – Artists in Residence, M7, Tasweer Qatar Photo Festival and Liwan Design Studios and Labs. Qatar Creates 2022 will be the first year to witness two editions of the celebration to welcome visitors during the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. This edition will also introduce QM’s upcoming museums and galleries, including the Art Mill Museum, Qatar Auto Museum and Lusail Museum.    

Philippines ambassador Alan L Timbayan is joined by Qatar's Minister of Education HE Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr al-Nuaimi, HE the Minister of Communications and IT Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed al-Mannai in cutting a ceremonial cake at the diplomatic reception as Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Protocol director Ibrahim Fakhro and Diplomatic Corps dean and Eritrean ambassador Ali Ibrahim Ahmed look on. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam.
Qatar
124th Philippine Independence anniversary celebrated in Doha

The Philippine embassy in Doha highlighted the strong relations between Qatar and the Philippines to mark the latter’s 124th anniversary of Independence on Monday at a ceremony at Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel. Ambassador Alan L Timbayan was joined by Qatar's Minister of Education HE Buthaina bint Ali Al Jabr al-Nuaimi, HE the Minister of Communications and IT Mohammed bin Ali bin Mohammed al-Mannai in cutting a ceremonial cake at the diplomatic reception. Qatar Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Department of Protocol director Ibrahim Fakhro and Diplomatic Corps dean and Eritrean ambassador Ali Ibrahim Ahmed and other dignitaries were present in addition to guests from the business and government sectors, and members of the Filipino community. “The Philippines particularly notes its robust bilateral relations with Qatar, which began 41 years ago. The two countries’ strong people-to-people linkages have cultivated mutual trust and goodwill between the two countries from two diverse regions,” ambassador Timbayan said in his address. The envoy thanked Qatar “for being a close ally of the Philippines and for standing with us during difficult times. The Philippines is grateful and looks forward to bringing its relations with Qatar to new heights”. “The celebration of Philippine independence is a proud moment for the Filipino people because the history of our country’s freedom is a narrative of the quest for Filipino nationhood and identity. “The story of the Philippine independence is one of courage, sacrifice, and love of country - where stories of valor not only revolved around men but also women and the youth. “Since the declaration of our independence on 12 June 1898 from three centuries of colonialism, the Philippines has gone a long way as a sovereign state and as a member of the international community. It has stood shoulder to shoulder with many countries in many circumstances – in war and in peace – and has built strong ties with many nations over the years in pursuit of its national interests,” ambassador Timbayan added. The event featured a performance by the String Quartet of the Manila Symphony Orchestra.    

Ahmad Hussaen al-Abdulla and executive chef Mohamed Kammleh led the inauguration of Bayt Al Dana restaurant. PICTURES: Shaji Kayamkulam
Qatar
Bayt Al Dana offers fusion of authentic, delectable Arabic cuisine

After the recent unveiling of its new brand identity, Dana Club – now owned and operated by Katara Hospitality – has inaugurated the Bayt Al Dana restaurant. Promising “a fresh, new experience” to mark the nation’s diverse flavours, Bayt Al Dana offers a fusion of authentic and delectable Arabic cuisine for both members and non-members. Dana Club offers families a place to relax, dine, exercise and play “Bayt Al Dana restaurant offers a variety of authentic Arabic cuisines from west to east up to north. It serves North African cuisine and also Lebanese and Jordanian fare,” Dana Club general manager Ahmad Hussaen al-Abdulla told reporters on the sidelines of the event. Bayt Al Dana’s a la carte menu provides guests with Middle Eastern gastronomy (including Lebanon, Tunisian, and Moroccan) paired with Qatari culinary traditions – a wide selection of dishes such as hot and cold mezze, Qatari Lamb Majbous, Royal Couscous, and Lamb Tajine, among others. Al-Abdulla said the restaurant has brought together some of the finest chefs to form a culinary team who will be preparing the best dishes that fit the taste of their clients. He noted that Bayt Al Dana, meaning House of Dana (big pearl), reflects the country’s rich heritage and history, and aim to contribute to Qatar’s National Vision 2030. Bayt Al Dana’s a la carte menu provides guests with Middle Eastern gastronomy According to al-Abdulla, Dana Club, described as “one of Doha’s most recognisable buildings”, is the first club to be part of Katara Hospitality’s portfolio, which comprises renowned luxury brands and assets. “Previously, the restaurant was exclusive to members only. Our new vision, by introducing this outlet and its facilities to the public, will be to welcome guests, members and food lovers." A private members club, Dana Club is located close to the Doha Corniche and beside the West Bay business district. The restaurant’s kitchen has been renovated, and with its new setup, its food and beverage team now offers innovative and exciting dishes to diners with the introduction of new Lounges and SuperBowl Menus. “It has been incredible to have this opportunity to develop a menu that appeals to all tastes. At Bayt Al Dana we create a true taste of Arabic cuisine using delicious locally sourced ingredients, combined with the knowledge and knowhow of my fantastic team of chefs” said the executive chef Mohamed Kammleh in a press statement, promising to take guests “on a journey of timeless delicacies from different regions of the Middle East.” The dishes at Bayt Al Dana are created to perfection with contrasting texture, colours, and flavours. The star of the menu, Smoked Freekeh with Lamb shank, is artfully presented and pays homage to traditional Arabic ingredients. Diners can also enjoy the outdoor terrace with the view by the pool.

Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Revazishvili
Qatar
Georgian movies to be screened at Katara

Katara – the Cultural Village, in co-operation with the Georgian embassy, will screen award-winning Georgian movies for three days at the Drama Theatre from May 24. “We brought some of the best Georgian movies to be screened at Katara,” Georgian ambassador Nikoloz Revazishvili told Gulf Times. Tangerines (2013), directed by Zaza Urushadze, will be screened on May 24. It had been nominated for an Academy Award and Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language film in 2015, according to the embassy. The film also won a number of leading awards, including Gaudi Awards – Best European Film in 2016; Bari International Film Festival – Best Picture in 2014; Fajr International Film Festival – The Crystal Simorgh for Best Screenplay, The Crystal Phoenix for Best Picture in 2014; and Satellite Awards – Best Foreign Language Film 2015, among others. Screening of Dede (2017), directed by Mariam Khatchvani, is on May 25. It won the Unesco award at the Asia Pacific Screen awards 2017. It also bagged the Special Jury Prize in the East of the West competition at Karlovy Vary International Film Festival 2017 This film won the Audience Award at the Montpelier Mediterranean Film Festival 2017 and the Jury Prize at the Batumi International Arthouse Film Festival 2017. The embassy noted that the third Georgian movie, Giorgi Ovashvili’s Corn Island (2014), will be screened on May 29. It won a number of leading awards, including Karlovy Vary Film Festival – Crystal Globe 2014; Athens Panorama of European Cinema – Audience Award, Fipresci Prize 2014; Kinoshok – Open CIS; and Baltic Film Festival – Best Cinematography Award 2014, among others. Organisers announced that only those who were fully vaccinated can attend the screenings while children below 12 years of age will not be allowed to enter the venue. Booking to get a free ticket is now available on Katara’s website.    

A morning view of Sunway Lagoon Theme Park in Malaysia. Supplied picture
Qatar
With border curbs lifted, Malaysia welcomes tourists with open arms

The reopening of Malaysia’s borders in April provides an opportunity for West Asian travellers to visit and explore the Southeast Asian country – renowned as a favourite family and Muslim-friendly destination, a senior official of Tourism Malaysia has said. “One of the main advantages of Malaysia is that it offers a lot of Muslim-friendly facilities,” International Promotion Division (Asia/Africa) senior director Manoharan Periasamy said. “People from the region feel more at ease when they travel to Malaysia, because halal food and mosques are there.” Manoharan Periasamy speaking to journalists at a recent roadshow in Doha. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam “We want to capitalise on that, where people don’t have to feel alienated,” he said. “Halal food is all over Malaysia, you can walk around with the hijab or head covering.” He spoke to reporters at Tourism Malaysia’s roadshows in Iran, Oman and Qatar, held between May 13-21, designed to attract more visitors from West Asia. The roadshows brought together Malaysia's tourism fraternity comprised of travel agents, hoteliers, product owners, state tourism bodies and medical tourism industry players, visiting Tehran, Muscat and Doha. “We do have several activities to suit the Middle East market,” Periasamy said, citing an array of tourism offerings for the family, including adventure seekers. He said Malaysia has a lot of new attractions such as the Genting Highlands, which underwent a significant transformation, in addition to the famous Sunway Lagoon Theme Park, the Sunway Resort in Kuala Lumpur, and the world's second tallest skyscraper, Merdeka 118, among others. He added that soft adventure activities such as snorkeling and scuba diving would continue to entice tourists due to Malaysia’s pristine beaches and beautiful coral reefs. Tourism Malaysia noted that travellers from the West Asian market dominate the top five international tourist spending in Malaysia in terms of per capita expenditure, and usually stay longer compared to tourists from other markets. Visitors from the region, including nationals from Qatar and Saudi Arabia, have an average per capita expenditure of about $3,000, staying between 10-14 days. According to Periasamy, young Arab visitors aged 22-25 prefer adventure over the usual city tour, exploring other destinations beyond Kuala Lumpur. “They like going to Kota Kinabalu, going to the islands, they like snorkeling, some soft adventure kind of activities, so we see this trend,” he said. “They are dispersing themselves, not really concentrating in the city.” “In the last couple of years, we realised that (all of a sudden) we don’t see Arabs in Kuala Lumpur … they have disappeared, they go to other places, they are changing maybe because of (the coronavirus pandemic), they don’t want to be in a populated area,” Periasamy said. “They want to enjoy the holidays and be part of it, not just sitting there and watching the twin towers.” “Now, they want to indulge and don’t want to be part of the attraction, but rather, they take a sunset cruise or do cycling and trekking,” he added. In a press statement, Tourism Malaysia director-general Zainuddin Abdul Wahab said it is a timely occasion to strengthen their partnership with international airlines such as Qatar Airways, Oman Air and Mahan Air, which offer direct flights to Kuala Lumpur, as Malaysia welcomes back more West Asia travellers. According to Tourism Malaysia, fully vaccinated inbound travellers are no longer required to undergo pre-departure and on-arrival coronavirus (Covid-19) tests, including children aged 12 and below. This also includes those who tested positive of Covid-19 within 6-60 days before departure to Malaysia. Travel insurance is also not a prerequisite for foreigners entering the country.  

Jureena Binti Noordin at the two-day event in Doha.
Qatar
Malaysia’s first offshore university branch to open in Qatar

The National University of Malaysia (Universiti Kebangssan Malaysia or UKM) will open a branch campus in Doha this October, offering information technology, business management, sciences and engineering courses to both Qatari and expatriate students, Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan has announced. The announcement came following the visit of Malaysia’s Minister of High Education Datuk Seri Noraini Ahmad to Qatar, who witnessed the agreement signing between UKM and its local partner, The Regional Group, to open Malaysia’s first offshore university campus. “This is a milestone for Malaysian Higher Education and we are very happy with this achievement,” the envoy told reporters on the sidelines of the two-day Education Malaysia Fair in Doha. Jureena Binti Noordin at the two-day event in Doha Nine reputable Malaysian universities participated in the fair, organised by MY Aspiration (Malaysia) and led by Education Malaysia Dubai. It is supported by the Malaysian embassy in Doha. The two-day event provided students with extensive and insightful information on diverse and quality educational opportunities in Malaysia. As one of the top public universities in Malaysia, Shaharan noted that UKM ranks 144th in the QS World University Rankings, and placed 33rd in Asia. It has 13 faculties and 12 institutes offering undergraduate and postgraduate courses in various fields. UKM is also home to more than 2,500 international students. “This is a good opportunity for us to offer our programmes especially for Gulf countries,” said UKM’s Marketing head Jureena Binti Noordin, noting that the university’s Qatar campus at Fereej Al Soudan is set to welcome its first batch of students this October. UKM is one of five research universities in Malaysia that aims to be a regional leader in academic and research excellence. It also partnered with various organisations around the world to further enhance its academic and research capabilities. The Regional Group, founded more than 50 years by the late Sheikh Khalifa bin Abdul Aziz al-Thani, focuses on achieving sustainable growth through a balanced diversity of activities. Its executive management is now led by Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Khalifa al-Thani. BOX: UKM Qatar branch campus * Intake: October 2022 * Admissions to open: July/August 2022 * List of programmes offered by faculty 1. Faculty of Sciences and Humanities - Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours (Political Science) - Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours (Developmental Science) - Bachelor of Social Sciences with Honours (Media Communications) - Bachelor of Arts with Honours (English Language Studies) 2. Faculty of Economics and Management - Bachelor of Economics with Honours - Bachelor of Business Management with Honours - Bachelor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation with Honours 3. Faculty of Law - Bachelor of Law with Honours 4. Faculty of Information Science and Technology - Bachelor of Computer Science with Honours - Bachelor of Information Technology with Honours - Bachelor of Software Engineering with Honours (Information System Development) - Bachelor of Software Engineering with Honours (Multimedia System Development) 5. Faculty of Science and Technology - Bachelor of Science with Honours (Actuarial Studies)

Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan (centre, seated) and Marliza Zorakin Malek (seated, right), with other embassy officials and representatives from the nine Malaysian universities taking part in the Education Malaysia Fair in Doha. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
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Education Malaysia Fair opens in Doha

Nine Malaysian universities are taking part in the two-day Education Malaysia Fair in Doha, providing students with extensive and insightful information on diverse and quality educational opportunities in Malaysia. Organised by MY Aspiration (Malaysia) and led by Education Malaysia Dubai, the event opened Friday at JW Marriott Marquis Hotel, City Centre Doha. It is supported by the Malaysian embassy in Doha. The participating universities are: Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation, International Medical University, Management and Science University, SEGi University, Sunway University, Swinburne University of Technology Malaysia Campus, Taylor’s University, Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, and the University of Nottingham Malaysia. “The embassy of Malaysia is very happy to have the organiser, Marliza Zorakin Malek (managing director of MY Aspiration), come over to Doha and to restart this process (which had been put on pause due to the coronavirus pandemic) – the usual thing that we do to promote the higher education in Malaysia and to promote universities,” Malaysian ambassador Zamshari Shaharan told reporters on the sidelines of the event. The embassy noted that Malaysian universities rank in the world’s top universities, and with a total of 35 in the top 600, based on QS World University Rankings 2021. The QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 shows that 32 Malaysian programmes were placed among the top 100 universities for the study of their academic subject. Five Malaysian universities featured in the QS World University Rankings for 2022, headed by Universiti Malaya (now ranked 65th in the world). According to Malek, some of the nine leading Malaysian universities participating in the fair are recognised by Qatar’s Ministry of Higher Education. She said that these Malaysian universities have different niches, from medical and health sciences to engineering, computer science, and information technology (IT). In a pre-registration conducted among 25 nationalities from Qatar last month, Malek noted that at least one-third are highly interested in medicine, followed by engineering, and computer science and IT. The embassy noted that there are 100,381 international students from 160 countries who are currently pursuing their studies in international schools, colleges, universities, language centres, and training institutes in Malaysia as of December 2021. Of this figure, more than 11,010 students are from Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Oman, and the UAE, including expatriate students, and 77 Qataris. Malaysia is also hosting branch campuses of prestigious universities from the UK, the US, Australia, and China. Students pay only a fraction of the cost when studying in Malaysia compared to what they need to pay in the main campus.

Project Qatar is expected to attract leading brands from around the globe (file photo).
Qatar
Qatar to host multiple events in June

The second edition of the Qatar Human Resource (HR) Conference is set to take place on June 1 in Doha, marking the start of a series of events leading up to the 2022 FIFA World Cup in the country, according to Visit Qatar website. Themed Excellence in Human Capital Management, the conference will witness executives from the HR, recruitment, education, and training sectors presenting “key insights and invaluable business experience with other industries and businesses to help them navigate uncertainties and be more agile”. While 2020-2021 has been a turbulent period for various sectors especially in managing of human resources, the event organiser Nextfairs noted that these industries still face with new set of challenges as they recover from the impact of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Many businesses aim to implement “new strategic initiatives towards transforming the working environment and maintaining a balance between traditional and modern approach”. On June 3, a Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra (QPO) concert titled The Best of Franz Liszt will serenade the audience at Katara – the Cultural Village Opera House from 7.30pm to 9.30pm. Performers include Alastair Willis (conductor) and Janos Balazs (piano). “The concert will feature Piano Concerto No. 1, a piece so magnificent that it took Liszt over 25 years to complete, as well as Les Préludes, the best known of Liszt’s symphonic poems,” the organisers said. “This concert is for piano enthusiasts as Liszt was considered the greatest piano virtuoso of his time.” “János Balázs will perform solo piano and Alastair Willis will conduct,” the organisers added. Two events will be taking place from June 6-9 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre (DECC): “Project Qatar 2022” and “Hospitality Qatar 2022”. Project Qatar 2022, under the patronage of HE the Prime Minister and Interior Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz al-Thani, returns for its 18th edition and is expected to attract leading brands from around the globe. It “connects industry professionals to high-ranking decision makers in Qatar, making way for lucrative partnerships and agreements”. Hospitality Qatar, the country’s exclusive and longest-running international hospitality and Horeca trade show, will further boost and provide an array of opportunities for the sector. “As 2022 is set to be a remarkable year in Qatar, the hospitality sector in the country is bound to witness a surge in demand fueled by initiatives taken by the government and a line-up of global and local events,” the organisers said. “Sports events, staycation demand, cruise business, travelers from GCC countries, exhibitions, food festivals, and other such events will drive the growth of Qatar’s hospitality sector in 2022 to unprecedented levels.” “The hotels market’s supply alone is set to exceed 44,000 rooms by the end of 2022, almost a 50% growth from the current supply of 30,000 rooms, offering opportunities unmatched by any other market in the world,” they added. The QPO, in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture’s Music Affairs Centre, returns on June 9 at the Katara – the Cultural Village Opera House for the “Classics of the Golden Age” concert, between 7.30pm and 9.30pm. Dubbed as a “never before seen concert”, it will feature “classics from the golden age of Arabic cinema, as well as music from Qatar, with distinguished participation of many young singing talents”. Performers include Nayer Nagui (conductor) and Nasser Sahim (vocals). The QPO is also scheduled to perform on June 18 at Katara for “The Best of Brahms” concert, featuring three of the greatest pieces of classical music ever played with Maestro Elias Grandy. It includes “one of the great musical expressions of tragedy from the Romantic age, Brahms’ Tragic Overture and Brahms’ Symphony No. 1”. Qatar will also host the International Air Transport Association (IATA)’s 78th Annual General Meeting and World Air Transport Summit from June 19-21. It will bring together “top leadership from airlines, the aviation value chain, and governments as the aviation industry faces complex and dynamic operating, business and geopolitical environments”. Cityscape Qatar, the country’s only property exhibition of its kind, is set to return for its latest edition from June 20-22 at the DECC. It will put a spotlight on a wide range of diverse real estate opportunities for local, regional and international investors. The QPO will be performing on June 21 for its “Classical Hits – Bruch Violin Concerto” at Katara, featuring “one of Mozart’s supreme achievements and one of the greatest operas of all time Don Giovanni – Overture”. It also includes Max Bruch’s most popular violin concertos in solo violin repertoire Violin Concerto No. 1. Performers include Elias Grandy (conductor) and Joo Young Oh (violin). On June 25, the QPO will return to Katara for the “Northern European Impressions by Grieg and Sibelius”, which will highlight “Sibelius’ most enduring work, Finlandia, the symbol of ending struggle for nationhood, in addition to the universal favourites with its bright and cheery character Peer Gynt, Suite No 1 by Edvard Grieg. The programme ends with the romantic and memorable melodies of Sibelius’ Symphony No. 2.    

Nada Khamis al-Sulaiti showcasing her award-winning piece. She also held a workshop at DJWE titled u2018The Story of Hairaat.u2019
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DJWE workshops enhance visitors' knowledge of gems Talks and workshops at DJWE

Apart from showcasing an array of luxury collections by renowned local and international brands, the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE), which concluded on Saturday, also hosted talks and workshops that provided participants and visitors a deeper understanding of precious gems, branding, art and gemmology. The six-day event, held from May 9-14 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, witnessed experts discussing a wide range of topics “from the creative process of jewellery formation to consumer savviness when it comes to buying diamonds and precious stones”. One of the workshops included ‘The Story of Hairaat,’ highlighting the success of award-winning Qatari jewellery designer and founder of the brand, Nada Khamis al-Sulaiti. Al-Sulaiti, who established her own brand in 2011, opened the first boutique in November 2019 at The Gate Mall in Doha. Hairaat showcases luxury pieces that reflect Qatar’s rich heritage and architectural concept “with the highest of standard jewellery design concepts”. “Each Hairaat jewellery piece has a story behind it,” stressed al-Sulaiti, who was a product of the Young Qatari Designer initiative and now aims to continuously raise the quality of jewellery design in the region. A workshop by International Gemological Institute (IGI) provost and creative head Sara Ben Zid on ‘Beauty and Value of Rubies, Sapphires and Emeralds’ discussed the importance of certification, as well as recognising the different types of precious gemstones through various factors such as formation, location, and various sources. Papillon Jewellery founder Noora al-Ansari and Image, Etiquette and Protocol consultant Elisabete Reis put a spotlight on ‘Jewellery Etiquette’, concept and collection, and “the importance of buying the right piece of jewellery that reflects your beauty and personality”. At another workshop, Letrange president and CEO Sebastien Letrange focused on “bringing modernity into the 184-year-old luxury leather goods brand.” He also tackled the brand’s “pursuit of excellence in savoir faire, constant innovation in products and the love of art.” Sebastien is the 7th generation member of Letrange, a family business established in 1838 and one of the oldest makers of leather goods France. The 18th edition of DJWE also held a workshop titled ‘Journey through time with Vacheron Constantin’ presented by renowned watch collector and Qatar Watch Club founding member Abdulla Sager al-Khouri. As Qatar is all set to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup, this year also marks what was described as an exceptional year for watchmaking, especially with the oldest watchmaker, Vacheron Constantin. The brand was showcased at the Alfardan Jewellery pavilion, along with other renowned luxury brands. DJWE 2022 also witnessed the debut of Qatar’s Gems and Metals Calibration Lab (GMCL) – an IGI-certified facility. It aims to raise awareness on the importance of grading and help ensure products available in the Qatar market meet international standards. A first-ever at the exhibition include the showcasing of Louis Vuitton’s Saturne necklace, an extraordinary creation of 186.42 carats featuring more than 140 multi-coloured sapphires and diamonds; Gaga Milano’s collection, which comprised unique and limited edition Italian timepieces such as the Quirky Tourbillon, Napoleone, Manuale 48mm and Skeleton 48mm; and Mouawad’s Regina Suite (a dazzling necklace that turns into a crown), and Dragon Suite (largest yellow diamond of its type as graded by GIA). At DJWE, Alfardan Jewellery’s Al Tawash showcased exceptionally created pieces, highlighting Qatar’s rich pearling heritage. It displayed Alfardan’s vast collection of the world’s most beautiful natural pearls – known as a source of pride, joy, and wealth for Qataris.    

Purnima Sheth showcases some of Rose's collection at DJWE's Alfardan pavillion. PICTURE: Shaji Kayamkulam
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Rose dazzles at Alfardan pavilion at DJWE

Rose, one of India’s leading jewellery houses, is showcasing an array of collections with exquisite design and craftsmanship at the Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition's (DJWE) Alfardan Jewellery pavilion. The six-day event, which opened on May 9 at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre, will conclude on May 14 after bringing together more than 500 brands from over 10 countries and attracting a huge number of visitors from Qatar and the region. “We are very proud and honoured to be a part of the Alfardan Group and our product has been well received by the Qatari and the Dubai customers. We come out with six collections in a year and they are inspirations from Mother Nature. “Our most popular collection is called the ‘Colours of Life’, and we also have ‘Treasures’, which is one of a kind in the world,” Purnima Sheth, Rose founder and senior sales director – Luxury, told Gulf Times. She noted that Rose is a 41-year-old company from India, which she started in 1981. It now has two retail stores for jewellery in Mumbai and Delhi, and a multi-brand watch store in Mumbai. The company has been participating in the DJWE as part of the Alfardan Group in the last eight years. It has three to five stores in the Alfardan Group in Doha and in Dubai. One of Rose’s unique and special pieces is the ‘Begum Sahiba’, which Sheth says is an inspiration, and has 274.84 Mozambique ruby tumbles, 32.29karat fancy old mine cut diamonds, 8.09 freshwater pearls, and has a 12.5karat center solitaire brilliant-cut diamonds. “It's a beautiful piece and very gracious and also has some kind of mix of cultures, which would blend very well with the region and with Indian history,” she said. Rose also features a special piece called ‘The Countess’, 11.5karat, which is also a mixture of yellow and white diamonds, and has rose cuts and centerpiece. “People do like colour diamonds, they just go up to yellow and beyond that, they don't go to the brown and green, except yellow but they prefer the classic white,” she added. “First they want to make the complete collection, then comes the yellows and the greens, when you're a collector you go into the colours at the end of it.” She said the Qatari market is one of the best in the region – that has good taste and who understands good design and workmanship. “They also understand that there is a lot of effort gone into this manufacturing and design, they appreciate us which is why we are here so often and they have received us very well,” said Sheth. The latest edition of the exhibition, she said, is witnessing “a very good quality crowd, and that makes a big difference. “You don't need lots of crowds, you need good quality and people who are buying so that's important, and fortunately Rose has a very good location, good presence, good brand presence, and people know us so they come looking for us.” Rose has been taking part in many exhibitions in the region since 2003, and has become a popular brand, especially with its online platform. Sheth noted that Rose further strengthened its digital vertical (online platform) in the last two years in the region, thanks to its very pro-active Instagram handle. “We get tonnes of orders from people looking at it, they give us the advance (orders) and we ship it through Alfardan in Doha and in the other regions also,” she said. “We are very excited about this new way of selling and our whole team is extremely active on WhatsApp and Instagram and Snapchat for all their regions.” About Rose’s partnership with Alfardan, Sheth said “Alfardans are wonderful people, they love our product, very hospitable and very fair in their pricing and everything is just perfect it can't have a better business model.”    

Mahallati Jewellery's Ceylon sapphires on display at the Alfardan pavilion. PICTURE: Ram Chand
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The best sapphires

Mahallati Jewellery, one of the premier jewellery houses of the Middle East, is showcasing a collection of Ceylon sapphires – known as the world’s best sapphires – at the Alfardan pavilion as part of the ongoing Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE). “Sapphires from Sri Lanka, which are of exceptional quality, speak very well in terms of their complexion, colour, hue and the sheen brightness,” operations director Mohamed Mahallati told Gulf Times on the sidelines of the 18th edition of DJWE, taking place at the Doha Exhibition and Convention Centre until tomorrow (May 14). Jewellery experts since 1968 and established by Abdul Karim Mahallati, the company offers a wide variety of jewellery, from everyday use pieces to bridal settings.   With more than 50 years of retail excellence, Mahallati experts guide and help clients “to find the perfect piece”, ensuring their “jewellery experience is one to treasure”. “Imagine all the sapphires to have, like when you move from one side to the other as the light plays on the stone, the same hue, same colour, and clarity … it is quite very difficult to find this,” said Mohamed Mahallati, who is also the son of the owner. He cited a huge demand for Ceylon sapphires in Qatar and the region, especially in a post-coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic era, as many people are keen to get back to normalcy. “We see that here now, people are present, they are coming, and it is like how it is used to be and we are very excited to be back here,” Mahallati said. “We have been participating for many years, and coming back after Covid, we can see a very cheerful and joyful experience right now,” he said, expressing optimism that the exhibition will become a success once again. From a small workshop in 1968, Abdul Karim Mahallati is now joined by his children and has expanded the brand into one of the most trusted and renowned jewellery brands to come from the Middle East. Mahallati began his journey into the industry at the age of 15 at a gold workshop in Iraq, where he learned goldsmithing. He became passionate about the intricate workmanship that is crucial in creating superior and notable pieces. Mahallati opened his own jewellery manufacturing facility and first Mahallati Jewellery boutique in 1968. From there, he travelled the world to source the best materials for his jewellery collection. From Japan, South East Asia, Africa and Europe, he developed the highest standards of jewellery creation, which remain a signature of Mahallati Jewellery today. As his flair for quality created an increasingly strong demand for his jewellery in Iraq, Mahallati began to expand, establishing jewellery boutiques all across the Middle East with a head office in Dubai. In 1998, he was joined in the business by his eldest son, Mehran Mahallati, who shares in the Mahallati jewellery credo of excellence and innovation in jewellery design and manufacture. Together they further expanded the Mahallati Jewellery brand, opening luxury retail stores in Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Mall and Dubai Marina Mall. Mahallati Jewellery is family-owned and run: Abdul Karim Mahallati is now also joined in the business by daughter Marwa and youngest son, Mohamed. The company has a manufacturing facility in Thailand, employing more than 200 jewellery experts and incorporating in-house jewellery development, with retail and wholesale stores across the Middle East. (source: https://mahallatijewellery.com/)    

Shelley Kabilu showcasing her collections, comprising natural fancy colour diamonds, rare white diamonds and fine jewellery, at the DJWE. PICTURES: Joey Aguilar
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Shelley & Co creates magic with colour diamonds

Shelley & Co, a leading expert, source, supplier and manufacturer of natural fancy colour diamonds to the global diamond and jewelry industry, is showcasing an array of collections at the ongoing Doha Jewellery and Watches Exhibition (DJWE). “Our colour diamonds that we are known for are natural,” Shelley & Co owner Shelley Kabilu told Gulf Times. “We have a collection of custom-made beautiful pieces with unique diamond shapes like heart shapes, which I love very much.” She is exhibiting her pieces, which include rare white diamonds and fine jewellery, at her booth at the Almajed pavilion on the sidelines of the 18th edition of the DJWE, which concludes tomorrow (May 14). Among the colour diamonds on display are pink, yellow, and green diamonds, which have been in high demand globally, including Qatar and the region. Kabilu said that she has been getting “requests for green diamonds ever since, I guess, Jennifer Lopez got her new engagement ring from (American actor) Ben Affleck … so people are asking more about green”. She noted that the post-pandemic era is witnessing a huge demand for luxury pieces such as diamonds and other jewellery across the globe. Some clients, Kabilu said, want something beautiful to make them feel happy especially after the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, while others who have not travelled for a long time prefer to spend on things they enjoy, such as jewellery. “Especially after the pandemic, we need things to make us happy, even the simple things,” she said. “When you buy jewellery you really have something that you own, that you enjoy, and something that has value.” Shelley & Co is offering an array of daily wear jewellery collections, in response to requests during the previous edition of the DJWE. These include gemstones like emeralds from Colombia and Africa, rubies, and sapphire, in addition to flower-inspired pieces. “I love flowers and everything floral, and it is something that I feel the whole world shares,” Kabilu said. “Anyone who gives or receives flowers is just something special. I take that with me in my designs.” She plans to create Qatar-inspired pieces, and has started working (beginning stages of the prototype) on a new collection. “Absolutely, I would love to launch a new collection around the time of FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022, and that would be so special to be able to do something that inspires me so much from Qatar,” Kabilu said. This is the second time she is participating in the exhibition, but Kabilu said she has been coming to the region for more than 12 years. About the exhibition, she said: “It is fabulous to be back here and to see the different brands showcasing their jewellery. The feeling is wonderful and the atmosphere is great.”