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Pope meets UAE delegation embodying culture of dialogue and reinforcing values of tolerance

posted on 27/04/2017

ROME: The Holy Father, Pope Francis, Head of the Roman Catholic Church, this morning received at The Vatican a delegation from the United Arab Emirates headed by Sheikha Lubna bint Khalid Al Qasimi, Minister of State for Tolerance.

Sheikha Lubna and her delegation also met with Cardinal Jean- Louis Tauran, President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, where various avenues of joint cooperation were discussed with regards to enriching the values of tolerance worldwide. Topics included the values and language of dialogue between various religions, cultures, and races that can lead to common human benefit and happiness; the reinforcement of global solidarity to confront the forces of prejudice, hatred, extremism and violence; and the need to emphasize the equality of all people, with no distinctions being made based on the basis of origins, gender, colour, religion, creed, schools of thought, sect, or social status.

Sheikha Lubna outlined to Cardinal Touran the philosophy of tolerance that the Emirates follows under the wise direction of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE,His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai; and His Highness sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces.

Sheikha Lubna also emphasized the need to build bridges of communication and dialogue between various religions, cultures, and peoples that form our one world, to work together to enrich the channels of understanding and solidarity and to reinforce the values of tolerance, coexistence, peace, respect for plurality and the acceptance of other ideas, cultures, religions, and sects. She also referred to the importance of global cooperation and solidarity in fighting the plague of extremism, hate, prejudice and racism that do not express our common human instinct nor our joint global values.

During this meeting, Sheikha Lubna also explained the established national constant principles upon which the UAE's leadership, government, and people base their human interactions and civilized relationships and communications with various nationalities, cultures, religions, and creeds, without distinction.

She noted that the basis for these interactions was justice, fairness, and living together within a framework of brotherhood, love, synergy, and affection. The UAE hosts over 200 nationalities living in dignity and safety, working together in appreciation and respect of each other and interacting in harmony and togetherness, she said.

Dr. Mohammed Matar al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, stated that: "The UAE has taken rapid steps to consolidate the values of tolerance and to correct misconceptions and misinterpretations regarding tolerance in our revered faith of Islam. Among them has been the supervision and renewal of religious dialogue in conformity with the principles of Islam that call for mercy, cooperation, dialogue, coexistence and respect. Further, the Friday sermon has a unified message so as to achieve these lofty aims, thereby enduring that the right messages reach the diverse members of the public."

During their visit, the delegation also visited the Vatican Archive, accompanied by Dr. Isabelle Mathian, Senior Secretary of the Cardinal President of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue. The delegation was also shown drawings, documents and other items in the Vatican Library, including material dealing with the history of the Arab world.

Dr. Abdulla Al Raisi, Director General of the National Archives, said that this visit was part of the approach of the National Archives in accordance with the sound vision of the country's wise leadership and as part of our firmly established belief that tolerance is the basis of the links between civilizations, in order to achieve peace and solidarity and reject violence and extremism.

Establishing a culture of tolerance and reinforcing it in our age is among the leading human values upon which the UAE leadership has placed the highest importance, since tolerance is the basis for peaceful coexistence and dialogue between civilizations and cultures, he noted.

Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations of Government of Sharjah, outlined the importance of the fruitful cooperation between the Sharjah Museums Department and the Vatican Museums, as shown during the 2014 exhibition in the UAE of a collection of pieces from the Vatican Ethnological Museum.

These institutions continue to co-operate on plans for international exhibitions that reflect the spirit of tolerance, human inter-communication and dialogue among the world's various cultures.

Maqsoud Kruse, the Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, pointed out that this historic visit expresses the true path that the UAE has taken and the exceptional leadership of the nation's wise leadership in promoting the concept of international tolerance and peaceful coexistence between the world's civilizations by building bridges of cultural communication and civilizational openness. This contributes in a practical and efficient way in fighting hate speech, discrimination and extremism while establishing the values of tolerance, love, and peace.

Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, M.D. Chief Executive Officer, Licensing and Regulatory Sector at the Community Development Authority (CDA) in Dubai, also clarified that the UAE is a messenger of peace and a symbol for tolerance and diversity among the various creeds, religions, and cultures. The Vatican visit, he noted, embodies the lasting Emirati heritage as the UAE is a giving, tolerant nation that acts as a force for good, tolerance, generosity and brotherhood.

The UAE delegation headed by Sheikha Lubna Bint Khaled Al Qasimi included Dr. Hissa Al- Otaiba UAE Ambassador to Spain and non-resident Ambassador to the Vatican, Dr. Mohammed Matar al Kaabi Chairman of the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, Dr. Abdulla Al Raisi Director General of The National Archives, Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, Government of Sharjah, Maqsoud Kruse Executive Director of Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, Dr. Omar Al-Muthanna, M.D. - Chief Executive Officer, Licensing and Regulatory Sector at the Community Development Authority, CDA, in Dubai, Dr. Abdulaziz Nasser Al-Risi - Administrative Development Consultant - Assistant Undersecretary at the National Archives, Yasser Saeed Hareb, Member of the Executive Office of the Council of the Muslim Council of Elders, Rashed Ahmed Al-Teneiji, Director of Support Services Departments and Member of National Program for Tolerance Team, Ahmed Khalfan Khamis Al Suwaidi, Manager of the General Services Administration in the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, William Richardson Counsellor in Hedayah, The International Centre of Excellence for Countering Violent Extremism, and Peter Hellyer, Adviser at the National Media Council.


ERC re-opens Al Mokha General Hospital in Yemen

posted on 27/04/2017

The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) has re-opened Al Mokha General Hospital in the Yemeni Governorate of Taez after its restoration.

Governor of Taez Ali Al Ma'mari praised in a speech the role played by the UAE and its humanitarian arm the ERC, in re-developing the city of Al Mokha.

Accompanied by the Governor of Taez, a delegation from the ERC toured the city of Al Mokha to evaluate progress of work on the projects to reconstruct schools and to maintain the city's main power plant.


UAQ Ruler praises efforts of Ministry of Culture to improve culture, knowledge, protect monuments

posted on 27/04/2017

H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Umm Al Qaiwain, has praised the efforts of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development to improve culture and knowledge and protect monuments, especially its efforts to discover and restore monuments in many locations.

He stressed the importance of the crucial role of Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, in promoting the UAE's cultural sector and national identity, while highlighting the ministry's efforts in the Ed-Dur Temple.

He made this statement was made during today's visit of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Rashid bin Saud bin Rashid Al Mu'alla, Crown Prince of Umm Al Qaiwain, and Sheikh Nahyan to the recently-restored Ed-Dur Temple in Umm Al Qaiwain. He was briefed on the operations in the temple site and saw the mobile monuments exhibition, including the oldest pearl in the world, on the sidelines of the visit.

Sheikh Nahyan said that the UAE's land and culture are ancient and rooted since the dawn of history, as indicated by the archaeological evidence. The UAE has a historic presence that displays the role of its people in the Arab, regional and international world since ancient times, and the eras until the birth of the UAE and the journey of its renaissance, progress and prosperity, he stated and added that the Ed-Dur site provides evidence of the UAE's existence in ancient history.

He also highlighted the fact that the UAE is one of the first countries in the Arab world that devoted special attention to preserving and protecting archaeological monuments. This key policy for the nation's advancement through its long journey over previous years was founded by the late founding father, Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan, and continued by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.


UAE Pavilion providing vital SMEs with international opportunities at Hannover Messe

posted on 27/04/2017

HANNOVER: Small and medium-sized enterprises, or SMEs, are the "bloodline" of the UAE economy, delegates from the UAE Pavilion have emphasised across activities at Hannover Messe, where Emirati innovators are exhibiting to large international audiences.

As the world's largest industrial technology and manufacturing trade fair, the week-long event has been providing a unique platform to expand on opportunities for some of the UAE's growing SMEs in international markets.

Among the 26 private sector organisations and government entities taking part in this year's annual event, are a number of growing UAE-based SMEs that provide the country with sustained growth, economic diversification and job creation.

In addition, Hannover Messe has provided UAE government departments with a unique platform for showcasing the advantages of operating out of the UAE. Faisal Al Hmoudi, Director of the Department of Economic Development's Takamul programme, spoke to a crowd of international businesspeople at a special innovators forum, where he presented on the Takamul programme.

Launched in 2011 to encourage and facilitate the local application of innovative technologies, Takamul supports industry start-ups and SMEs "from ideas to application", bringing theoretical concepts to life, Al Hmoudi explained.

He also told the audience of the financial and legal support offered by Takamul in applying for international patents, with 187 being filed in the US through the programme so far. A large number have stemmed from vital sectors that support economic diversification agendas, such as ICT, which accounts for 38 per cent of intellectual property protection filings, and the medical field with 16 per cent of applications.

Another central objective of the programme is to strengthen relationships between industry players and academic institutions, in order to address needs for the latest technological applications, as well as contributing to broader national capacity development goals.

Muhammad Bagudu, Managing Director at EEKMASEC Global FZE, spoke of the warm relations established with government agencies and departments in the UAE as they set up, noting governmental guidance in growing their business in the local market.

He also welcomed the support from the Department of Economic Development - Abu Dhabi in attending Hannover Messe, and explained the opportunities afforded by participating in the trade fair.

"We are seeing a lot of German companies that are interested in establishing B2B relationships and partnerships with UAE-based firms, "said Bagudu. "It is in our interests to work with multinational firms in different parts of the world, most importantly in Europe, so that we can work together on delivering quality solutions."

Summarising the role of SMEs in the UAE, Bagudu concluded, "SMEs are vital for a sustainable economy. We are glad that the UAE is encouraging SMEs to establish their companies in the UAE, providing cost-effectiveness via various Free Zones throughout the Emirates."


UAE's first solar-powered gas station opened

posted on 27/04/2017

The country's first solar-powered gas station has been opened by the Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC), in yet a new sign reflecting the country's increased focus on maintaining the highest standards of sustainability and clean energy.

The service station lies on the city's main Sheikh Zayed Road thoroughfare and is covered with solar panels that can generate up to 120 kilowatt hours, about 30 percent more energy than the station needs, which means the excess power is directed back into the city's electric grid.

The trademark eco-friendly station goes in line with the great strides made by the Emirate of Dubai to turn itself into a hub for renewable energy as part of the Dubai 2020 Vision premised to render the emirate one of the world's smartest and most sustainable cities.

A ceremony marking the inauguration was held in presence of Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, ENOC Vice Chairman, and Dubai Electricity & Water Authority's Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer.

"ENOC has always been a major enabler in the UAE energy sector and made significant contributions to the Emirate's development drive, " said Saif Humaid Al Falasi, ENOC Group CEO, in his inaugural remarks.

The new development fits within the pioneering initiatives launched by ENOC nationwide over the past period in alignment with the government plans to make the emirate the smartest and the most sustainable in the world, he added.

The services station is planned to reduce CO2 emissions by 195 million metric tonnes annually, and will wield a number of energy consumption reduction techniques.


Dubai among world’s top 5 maritime clusters in competitiveness and attractiveness

posted on 27/04/2017

Dubai is poised as the first Arab city to lead the region at par with top global players and ranked fifth on the list of the world's most competitive and attractive maritime clusters, according to an international survey conducted by Menon Business Economics Group, the globally renowned organisation for benchmarking leading maritime capitals of the world.

The survey showed how Dubai has progressed confidently from 13th place in 2015 to 10th among the ‘Overall Leading Maritime Capitals of the World for the Year 2017.' Dubai also ranked fifth in the ‘Competitiveness and Attractiveness Index' in 2017 compared with eighth place in 2015. The emirate maintained its leading position among the most attractive business environments for locating maritime business' and ‘the cities have the most complete maritime clusters,' affirming the significant success and improved total performance of Dubai's maritime sector.

Abdulla Al Shaibani, Secretary-General of the Executive Council of Dubai, said that Dubai's ascension among the world's top maritime capitals in 2017 just two years after the initial international assessment for 2015 is not surprising.

'Dubai is on the right track to boost the competitiveness, effectiveness and efficiency of the local maritime sector under the directives of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the Executive Council, in line with efforts to achieve the objectives of the Dubai Maritime Sector Strategy launched and implemented by the Dubai Maritime City Authority,' he said.

He explained that the strategy aims to develop, organise and promote the local maritime sector and consolidate Dubai's position as a world-class maritime center.

"We are proud of this new success which constitutes another record achievement for Dubai on the global stage. This will encourage us to work harder to enhance the legislative, legal and financial structure and improve maritime services and logistics to promote Dubai's transformation into one of the world's leading maritime centers in the coming years, in line with Dubai Plan 2021 objectives, and following the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to reach the top position in the world."

Dubai progressed from ranking seventh in 2015 among the future leading maritime capitals to becoming sixth in 2017 and from 11th in 2015 to 10th among the world's largest shipping centers for 2017. Dubai is 12th in 2017 compared with 13th in 2015 in terms of maritime finance and law services, and progressed from 15th to 14th place in terms of maritime technology. The latest results confirm Dubai's competitive advantages in supporting the ambitious vision of being among the world's top maritime centers, joining the ranks of Singapore, Hamburg, Oslo, Hong Kong, Tokyo, Copenhagen, Athens, and London.

Sultan Bin Sulayem, Chairman of Dubai Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation and President of the Dubai Maritime City Authority, said: "We are happy with the results of Menon's survey. This excellent achievement is due largely to the unlimited support of our wise leadership in developing a safe, sustainable and diverse maritime environment and providing a competitive, comprehensive and attractive investment climate, which are the driving forces behind Dubai's fast and smooth transition to the phase of ‘post-oil economy'.

Bin Sulayem concluded: "Our major achievements in 2016 have driven Dubai's emergence as one of the world's best maritime capitals in 2017. Our strategy, which centers on innovation, knowledge and smart transformation, has accelerated the organization, development and promotion of the local maritime sector.

'We continuously invest in the provision of more advanced infrastructure, the development of policies and integrated regulatory frameworks, and further enhancement of our maritime capabilities – all of which will secure Dubai's leading position on the global maritime map. We look forward today with confidence and optimism to achieve greater success within the next few years and make Dubai one of the top maritime clusters, backed by the Maritime Sector Strategy which promotes regional and international investor confidence in the competitive advantages of the local maritime sector and continuously upgrades its components, especially marine services and the operation and maintenance of very large vessels."

The Menon Business Economics Group polled more than 30 global maritime cities from around the world, with results revealing Dubai among the top five in terms of attractiveness and competitiveness and 10th overall in all aspects of the maritime sector. The report surveyed 1,600 marine experts and professionals from 33 countries who evaluated the cities based on the five key indicators of Shipping Centers, Maritime Finance and Law, Ports and Logistics, Maritime Technology, and Marine Cluster Attractiveness and Competitiveness. Readiness indicators were evaluated as well.


UAE’s humanitarian initiatives reflect genuineness of its people: UN Ambassador

posted on 27/04/2017

Dr. Salwa Ghaddar Younis, UN Ambassador, Chairperson of the Arab Family Organisation and Ambassador of the UNDP's "Together Towards Sustainable Development" initiative, has stated that the charitable and humanitarian initiatives launched by the UAE have had great regional and international impact to reduce poverty and assist vulnerable people, reflecting the genuineness of the country's people and their values.

In an interview with the Emirates News Agency, WAM, on the sidelines of her visit to the UAE, Dr. Younis said that the #Year of Giving initiative launched by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan is consistent with the methodology of the UAE's founder, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, in assisting vulnerable people without discrimination.

She highlighted the fact that the UAE's humanitarian initiatives confirm the noble values on which the country was founded, and added that the world requires such positive actions which carry a universal message of love, giving, tolerance and greater development.

Dr. Younis highlighted the UAE's vast experience in the field of humanitarian aid and is recognised for its excellence and success. In record time, it has managed to become one of the most important and largest donor countries in the world, obtaining an advanced rank among donor nations in official development assistance, she added.

She congratulated the wise leadership of the country, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for launching the Year of Giving initiative that makes a difference to the lives of many people around the world, while stating that this is not new to the UAE's leadership and people, who continually promote giving, tolerance and happiness around the world.

"The UAE is achieving, in a remarkable way, the goals of the United Nations as a donor country, contributing to the fight against poverty all over the world. In this respect, I appreciate the initiative of the Year of Giving and I call on the world to contribute to the success of such noble initiatives, which are aimed at sustainable development," Dr. Younis said.

She added that the UAE's initiatives and generous contributions to help vulnerable people highlight their strong commitment to achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, clearly reflecting their vision and commitment that give impetus to a better and a more sustainable future for all.


Emirates NBD Group becomes Official Banking Partner for Expo 2020 Dubai

posted on 27/04/2017

Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the region, has signed a Premier Partnership agreement with Expo 2020 Dubai to become its Official Banking Partner.

The partnership marks Emirates NBD's long-term commitment to supporting the growth and development of the UAE, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai.

The partnership agreement was signed by H.H. Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Expo 2020 Dubai Higher Committee, and Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Emirates NBD Group.

Emirates NBD will be the exclusive onsite banking partner, providing ATM machines and an onsite ‘Bank of the Future', where the UAE-based banking group will offer a variety of services to visitors, participants and organisers, such as merchant account operations, Islamic banking and foreign exchange services.

Reem bint Ibrahim Al Hashemi, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director-General of Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "The banking sector is changing at an incredible rate, from the boom in online, telephone and banking apps to the latest technology being used to enhance the branch experience.

"Emirates NBD has been at the forefront of this transformation, as illustrated by its futuristic branch at Jumeirah Emirates Towers, part of Dubai Future Foundation's prestigious Museum of the Future, where people can see first hand how banking is evolving.

"As such, the group will play a key role in ensuring that banking services at Expo 2020 Dubai are at the forefront of innovation, while meeting the needs of every customer."

Also welcoming the partnership, Hesham Abdulla Al Qassim said: "As a home-grown bank of the UAE and a market leader in the country's banking sector, we are truly honoured to be the official banking partner of a national initiative on the scale of Expo 2020 Dubai.

"We recognise the value of collaboration across cultures in generating sustainable solutions to global problems, and are delighted to support Dubai's Expo core vision of ‘Connecting Minds; Creating the Future'.

"At Emirates NBD, we believe innovation is key to the country's future growth, and we are committed to leveraging digital innovation and adopting smart technologies to create a superior banking experience for our customers. We believe Expo 2020 Dubai will be an opportunity to further demonstrate what the UAE is achieving in business innovation and global best practice."

With assets of close to AED 450 billion (US$122.5 billion), the bank's operations have grown outside of the UAE to include Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and the United Kingdom, as well as representative offices in India, China and Indonesia.

The bank is a significant employer with more than 10,000 people representing 70 nationalities, making Emirates NBD one of the largest and most culturally diversified employers in the UAE.

As a Premier Partner, Emirates NBD joins DP World, Emirates Airline, Etisalat, SAP and Siemens in the top tier of the Expo partnership programme.

Through its main theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future', Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a platform to encourage creativity, innovation and collaboration and the bank's passion for innovation and unlocking opportunity is also aligned with Expo 2020 Dubai's key themes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Emirates NBD has underlined this with its investment of AED500 million (US$136 million) over the next three years towards digital innovation and multichannel transformation of its processes, products and services.


Dar Al Ber completes 16 international humanitarian initiatives in first quarter of 2017

posted on 27/04/2017

The Dar Al Ber Society has completed 16 humanitarian and charitable initiatives abroad in the first quarter of 2017.

These initiatives included the construction of 282 mosques, 88 schemes for distributing copies of the Holy Quran, digging and building 1,743 water wells and reservoirs, 407 allowances that aid productive families, and 204 charitable endowment projects.

Abdullah Ali bin Zayed Al Falasi, Executive Director of Dar Al Ber, said the international humanitarian initiatives spanned a wide range of areas and regions across the globe.

"The Dar Al Ber Society has also launched 42 emergency relief campaigns in different countries in the first quarter of this year," he said, adding that these relief campaigns were financed by the society's Zakat programme.

The total number of projects under the umbrella of its 16 initiatives amounted to 3,444, totalling AED34,350,878.


Etihad Airways A380 goes double daily to Sydney

posted on 27/04/2017

Etihad Airways today announced that all 14 weekly flights on the popular Abu Dhabi – Sydney route will be operated with its A380 aircraft, effective from 29th October.

The current daily A380 Sydney flights will be joined by a second daily superjumbo service, upgraded from a 328-seat Boeing 777-300ER. The announcement comes as Etihad Airways marks the 10th anniversary of flying to Sydney, its first Australian destination.

Commenting on the announcement, Peter Baumgartner, Etihad Airways Chief Executive Officer, said, "Sydney is one of our busiest and best performing long-haul routes where we have experienced increased demand, particularly in our premium cabins, since the launch 10 years ago.

"By introducing the A380 on the second daily flight, we are able to ensure our flagship product is on all of the Sydney services each week. The upgrade of this service will help fulfil growing demand, benefiting travellers to and from Abu Dhabi, and across Etihad Airways' global network."


On Arab Geographies to showcase films from across Arab World

posted on 27/04/2017

Image Nation Abu Dhabi, one of the region's leading media and entertainment companies, and independent film platform Cinema Akil, have announced, for the first time in Abu Dhabi, "On Arab Geographies", a film programme dedicated to showcasing a selection of films from across the Arab world and beyond.

The programme aims to showcase a powerful and broad spectrum of critically-acclaimed contemporary Arab films around the notion of geography. The "On Arab Geographies" programme of screenings and talks will be held at Manarat Al Saadiyat, Abu Dhabi from 4th - 6th May, 2017.

The weekend-long programme revolves around the geographies of Arab film that capture contemporary narratives and stories in the region. The programme is curated by Rabih El Khoury, who is currently the Programme Manager of Talents Beirut, a Programmer at the Arab Film Festival in Berlin, ALFILM, and a member of the administrative board of the Metropolis Association. The event will screen a total of eight films that include feature length and short narratives and documentaries from the UAE, Egypt, Sudan, Iraq, Tunisia and Lebanon. among others.

Commenting on the programme, Rabih El Khoury said, "This programme aims to be a travelogue throughout the Arab World and beyond. A journey that is not only shaped by mobility and movement within a set of geographical entities, but also one that is led by internal wanderings, and individual efforts to find hope."

Gehad Darwish from Image Nation Abu Dhabi, said, "Our vision at Image Nation is to create opportunities for Arab talent to tell their stories, and provide them with the right platform to showcase, network and share their ideas with the audience. It is also an opportunity for local audiences to discover the breadth and depth of Arab films and support their local filmmakers. We are very pleased with this collaboration with Cinema Akil and the great selection of films and narratives curated by the brilliant Rabih El Khoury."

The lineup will showcase titles including Tunisian director Kaouther Ben Hania's documentary feature, "Zainab Hates the Snow" and Amna Al Nowais's short film, "Omnia".

Butheina Kazim, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Cinema Akil, said, "The main objective of the programme is to cater to an increasingly wide audience interested in contemporary Arab cinema and storytelling in addition to adding to the thriving cultural scene in Abu Dhabi. The programme is also in line with Cinema Akil and Image Nation Abu Dhabi's shared vision of providing a consistent platform for showcasing contemporary Arab cinema."

The programme opens on the 4th May at 7 p.m. with the award winning Egyptian feature film, "In The Last Days of the City", directed by Tamer El Said.

The "On Arab Geographies" programme is aligned with the #SupportArabCinema campaign by Image Nation, which encourages local audiences to support Arab films and filmmakers in the region. The programme is open to the public and is free of charge.


Passenger traffic up 29.5 percent at Dubai World Central in Q1

posted on 27/04/2017

Passenger traffic at Dubai World Central, DWC, Dubai's second international hub, grew an impressive 29.5 percent during the first quarter of 2017 with 333,780 passengers passing through the facility compared to 257,813 in the same period in 2016 according to Dubai Airports, which also released its 2017 forecast for DWC passenger numbers.

Commenting on the announcement, Paul Griffiths, Dubai Airports CEO, said, "DWC is starting to make its mark as an emerging regional hub. We expect to surpass the 1 million passenger mark for the first time this year with 1.1 million expected to use the airport in 2017."

The top five destinations served by DWC in terms of total passenger numbers during the first three months of the year were Doha, Moscow, Kathmandu, Amman and Budapest. Aircraft movements at DWC (passenger, cargo, general aviation and helicopters) totalled 9,811, down 8.9 percent over the 10,774 recorded during the first quarter of 2016.

Air freight volumes at DWC increased 6.5 percent during the first three months of the year with 211,144 tonnes being handled compared to 198,295 during the same period last year. After first opening for cargo in June 2010, DWC is already ranked as the 20th busiest airport globally for international air freight volumes.

DWC is currently served by 18 passenger carriers, operating an average of 103 flights weekly to 24 international destinations and is home to 42 scheduled cargo operators that fly to as many as 108 destinations around the world.

"The expansion of the existing passenger terminal building is well underway and will boost capacity at DWC to 26 million passengers by next year," added Griffiths. "DWC remains an important element of our strategy to provide timely capacity to accommodate passenger and cargo traffic growth. DWC offers airlines easy availability of slots, quick turn-around times and access to new catchment area while passengers benefit from short walking distances and quit transit times though the airport."


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