‘Al Ain Reads’ opens amid a host of cultural activities

Al Ain Reads Al Ain Reads opens amid a host of cultural activitiesAl Ain, UAE: The Al Ain Reads Book Show opened on Sunday inviting book lovers to meet writers, listen to readings and learn the art of story writing, amid a host of cultural events.

The show also offers a book exchange opportunity, enabling visitors to swap old books for new. The event, organised by the National Library at the Abu Dhabi Tourism and Culture Authority, will run for a week until October 5 at Hall 1, Al Ain Convention Centre.

The event’s organiser said that a number of Emirati writers, along with writers from around the region, will be present to sign books and offer tips on story writing. A special session for schoolchildren will also be organised to help them use their imagination to create story ideas.

Other activities include a creativity corner for special needs children and a reading corner. The book exchange initiative aims to encourage the free circulation of literature and knowledge sharing.

“It is recycling at its most active,” said Juma Abdullah Al Qubaisi, Director of Al Ain Reads.

Organisers are looking to beat last year’s exchange record when around 400 people took up the initiative — resulting in nearly 1,000 volumes being swapped.

“The exchange all happens in a friendly and convivial atmosphere among book readers of all ages — schoolchildren, university students, old age pensioners, families with young children, and from many nationalities who come to peruse an ever-growing choice of titles,” said Al Qubaisi.

Most publications are in Arabic and English, with some French and German copies, and range from fiction to non-fiction from all over the world, textbooks to children’s books, novels and poetry, art and photography albums, and engineering manuals and publications on heritage.

The book exchange is be supervised by student volunteers from UAE University who have been playing a key role in its organisation and the subject matter classification of books.

Al Ain Reads will open daily between 9am and 1pm and from 5pm to 10pm. On Friday the event will be open between 5pm and 10pm.

© Gulf News

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Shaikha Jawaher: Education is a basic right for Syrian refugee children

Shaikha Jawaher Education is a basic right for Syrian refugee children Shaikha Jawaher: Education is a basic right for Syrian refugee childrenSharjah, UAE: Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council and Ruler of Sharjah, emphasised that “education is one of the basic rights of every child, including Syrian Refugee children”, at a meeting with Baroness Floella Benjamin, University of Exeter’s Chancellor, the ceremonial head of the University.

“The Syrian crisis has deprived many children of waking up early morning to go to their schools that were destroyed… Deprived them of benefiting from their teachers who mentor them in the basic principles of life… And even deprived them of playing with their friends who they do not know if they are still alive,” Shaikha Jawaher said.

Shaikha Jawaher met Benjamin last Wednesday, at Shaikha Jawaher’s executive office to discuss the rapid changes in the educational environment.

The meeting highlighted developing educational outcomes by focusing on the quality of teaching methods, as well as improving the learning environment for children, and enhancing their chances to join the educational march.

Shaikha Jawaher added that “it seems like providing appropriate educational services for each refugee child is a hard task or even impossible in the present tragic circumstances, but with your big hearts nothing will be impossible. Supporting those children who have been waiting for long time to hear their school bells ring and stand early morning to salute the flag will make a difference in their lives and give them hope for a better future”.

Shaikha Jawaher appealed to individuals and institutions in the UAE society and the Arab world to support efforts to improve educational opportunities for Syrian refugee children, provide schools with necessary requirements to perform their educational role, and attract talented teachers who will contribute in elevating the level of academic achievements of the students.

Benjamin praised the efforts of the “Big Heart” campaign that was launched by Shaikha Jawaher to help Syrian refugee children, and enhance their opportunities for schooling, and ensure their access to appropriate educational services.

The “Big Heart for Syrian refugee children” campaign was launched on June 20 coinciding with the World Refugee Day by Shaikha Jawaher in her capacity as the Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs and the Eminent Advocate for Refugee Children for the UN refugee agency (UNHCR), to help Syrian refugee children who have been torn from their homeland.

© Gulf News

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Quincy Jones visits American University of Sharjah

quincy jones visits AUS Quincy Jones visits American University of SharjahSharjah: Legendary American musician Quincy Jones visited American University of Sharjah (AUS) last Friday for a special event held at the university’s College of Arts and Sciences building.

The musician had a question and answer session with the students where he spoke about his experience working with giants from the performing arts such as Frank Sinatra, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Marlon Brando and Michael Jackson, to name a few.

“The best advice I ever received was no matter where you go in the world, eat the food the people eat, listen to the music they listen to and always learn 30-40 words from the language. This was advice I received when I was 18 and it allows me to feel at home anywhere in the world,” said the iconic record producer.

When asked about the importance of music in the promotion of world peace, he said, “Music brings people together and is number one in promoting world peace. We all speak the same language; the language of music. It’s the same all over the world. The last thing that will be left on the planet will be music and water. You just can’t survive without either.”

He encouraged the performing arts students to make sure to learn the science of any field of art that they wished to pursue. Jones emphasised that it was crucial to put in the hours practising one’s craft in order to be successful at it.

© Gulf News

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Eight-year old girl wins Dubai ‘Little Inventors’ prize

Little Inventors Dubai Eight year old girl wins Dubai ‘Little Inventors’ prizeDubai, UAE: Eight-year old Ruchita Lalla won herself and family the grand prize of the “Little Inventors 2013” for her creation of an innovative home cleaning kit.

The winners of the first edition of “Little Inventors 2013”, organised by Fun City, one of the largest family entertainment centres in the region were announced on Friday, at Oasis Centre.

Ruchita was the top winner across all the categories and was awarded a family visit -for up to six members- to the world renowned museum Cité Des Sciences in Paris, while the runner ups in each category received trophies. All the other children were awarded participation certificates.

The innovation competition was launched in April and aimed to help in children’s development and encourage them to think out of the box by engaging them in scientific activities outside their school environment.

Parents and teachers had registered their children or class pupils in an individual capacity or in groups, when the competition was announced in April. Registration was divided into three categories and judged as per age. There was the six to eight years category, the eight to ten years category and the 10-12 years category.

The entries were judged by Dr Eisa Bastaki, Emirati scientist and President of Dubai University, Amnah Hussain, a Counselling Psychologist and Parenting Expert to Fun City and Silvio Liedtke, Chief Operating Officer of Landmark Leisure.

There were some 200 registrations, and from them, 40 submitted their projects and were competing for the title on Friday.

Fourteen of the participants were shortlisted and presented their inventions to the audience.

Bastaki said that being part of the judging committees at children innovation competitions, such as this, brings him great pleasure, as he said that developing these children’s spirit of innovation will make them the bases for a knowledge based economy.

“To start from the age of six or seven is a great idea and we should continue doing this,” Bastaki said. “We do not expect every child who grows up and graduates to become an innovator, but there is a percentage that will, and that is why we should start from this early age — if out of the 40 children today, one of them becomes an inventor – then we have done our job.”

He added that such a competition can be an incentive to those kids to think outside the box.

The evaluation of the entries was done on the basis of quality of innovation, presentation, utility and feasibility to integrate it into everyday usage, environment-friendliness of the creation and lastly the child’s level of independence in creating the entry.

Bastaki explained that while those are not “real inventions, but for a child, it is an invention, but for us we have seen it before, but for the child who did not know anything about it – it is.”

He added that it is important that parents let their children work on their projects on their own, so they would reap the benefits of the process.

© Gulf News

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Abu Dhabi schools must guarantee child protection: ADEC

ADEC logo Abu Dhab Education Council Abu Dhabi schools must guarantee child protection: ADECAbu Dhabi, UAE: It’s shocking that despite numerous steps taken by schools and prominent leaders, we still hear of cases where students are abused, physically or mentally, by their peers, and sometimes even by their teachers.

But these sporadic cases are going to completely eliminated.

At least that’s what the Abu Dhabi Education Council (ADEC) hopes to achieve in the new academic year.

They have announced a set of regulations that should be adhered to by every private school in Abu Dhabi.

And, among a host of guidelines, a student’s protection is the most important.

“The school and its headmaster shall always guarantee students’ rights not to be subject to exploitation, violence, physical harm, sexual abuse, any verbal insult, moral threat or harm of any kind,” it read.

“The school must publish and implement a policy that aims to protect students from any form of these abuses.

It further explains how any suspected case of abuse must be promptly reported to the school headmaster.

“Should any such abuse take place, the headmaster shall abide by the student protection measures issued by the Council for this purpose, and shall suspend any school employee immediately should the said employee be accused of abusing any student.

“In the case of any violations of the student protection policy, the headmaster must inform the Council immediately and submit a written report to the Council within 24 hours of the occurrence or suspected occurrence of any such violations.”

The regulations were developed by the team from the Policy, Planning and Performance Management Division in the ADEC’s Private Schools and Quality Assurance Sector (PSQA).

It has been put together keeping in mind the best international practices in the field of education.

Among other topics – schools accreditation, school reports and other documents, fees, examinations, tests and assessment, attendance and absence, guardians’ involvement and family rights, Inspection and self-assessment and transportation were addressed.

© Emirates 24|7

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Emirati physician on path to academia

Emirati physician on path to academia 001 Emirati physician on path to academiaAl Ain, UAE: Fatima Al Dhaheri is part of the new generation of Emirati academics coming up through the ranks at UAE University.

A teaching assistant in the Department of Paediatric Medicine, she is preparing to travel to the US to study for her PhD.

But Dr Al Dhaheri, 24, believes many young Emiratis are reluctant to make the commitment necessary for a career in academia.

“Academia perhaps isn’t exactly the field you go to when you look for greener pastures, financially speaking at least,” she said. “It’s challenging, time and energy-consuming and requires a lot of patience.

“I think new graduates would rather join the workforce and have a kick-start from there, rather than go back to the same environment where they have been proving themselves for years as students.

“You need to be utterly passionate to delve into academia.”

It was Dr Al Dhaheri’s passion that drove her to become a student representative in the undergraduate curriculum committee at the College of Medicine, discussing education, student progress and faculty development.

“I found myself truly invested in every meeting to raise student concerns and vote on executive decisions regarding curriculum.

“I also love the dynamics of the job. I can teach, be involved in education and student affairs, work on research and still be a practicing doctor and see patients.

“If this is not the perfect deal, I don’t know what is.”

She said giving students more input about the curriculum could be a draw.

“I think once students realise they have a say regarding their own education, they would consider coming back and becoming key players in developing the very system that helped them become who they are today,” she said.

The lack of men in academia, she said, was merely a reflection of the university’s student body, which is about 70 per cent female.

“I think it goes back to the original question as to why this ratio exists when enrolling university freshmen.

“However I think women generally are more patient when it comes to academics – that’s why we see more women graduating as doctors.”

© The National

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UAE-UK educational ties got shot in the arm after President’s UK visit

MAAH151301 UAE UK educational ties got shot in the arm after President’s UK visit19 % GCC students studying in UK are from UAE

Dubai, UAE, 26 September 2013: Marc Jessel, Country Director, UAE, British Council says educational ties between the UAE and the UK got a shot in the arm following the state visit of UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to the UK in May.

He said the visit was a major affirmation of the close relationship between the two countries.

Mr. Jessel revealed that out of the 18,500 students from GCC studying in UK, 3,200 are from the UAE, which represents 19 percent of the total.

Mr. Jessel said that educational ties between the UAE and the UK have gone from strength to strength over the past few decades, with business management emerging as the No. 1 choice among students from the UAE going to the UK, followed by medicine and engineering.

Mr. Jessel was speaking yesterday evening (Wednesday, 25 September 2013) after inaugurating the Education UK Exhibition (EDUKEX) 2013 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

The three-day event in Dubai and Abu Dhabi allowed students from across the UAE to interact with representatives from different UK universities and colleges to identify higher education opportunities in the UK.

Mr. Jessel said: “This exhibition is of great importance as it boosts the existing relations between UK and UAE in the field of education. The show offers a two-way communication channel between students living in the UAE and UK universities that are interested in attracting students with excellent educational background to study in the UK.”

Mr. Jessel said that the strong UAE-UK relations have been reflected in two state visits between both countries within a span of three years.

During the exhibition, which was organised by the British Council, visitors had the chance to interact with over 45 exhibitors.

British Council says the UAE remains one of the countries that widely follow UK courses and tests in schools and universities.

Mr Jessel said: “The UAE has huge trust in the UK system and a larger number of courses and tests are being brought to the country by UK firms.”

Students from the UAE are ideal candidates for UK universities as they are well educated through world class tools and are familiar with the UK system which allows them to cope with the course agenda faster and more effectively than their peers.


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2,000 Emiratis enrolled in American universities during 2012

American flag 007 2,000 Emiratis enrolled in American universities during 2012Abu Dhabi, UAE: The 12th edition of the International Student Network’s American Education Expo (ISN Expo) will witness a large flock of pupils and parents wanting to be a part of the large pool of Emirati students studying in American universities abroad.

Starting on Friday 27 in the capital, the expo will also take place in Dubai the following day.

“Emirati and UAE-based students in general, are doing an excellent job in our universities, scoring very high in subjects like Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. Currently our American students are not fulfilling the requirements for majoring in those fields,” said Babish Soni, director of marketing at the event.

Last year, 2,000 Emirati students were accepted into universities across the US, which is the highest number seen in the past 14 years, according to a spokesperson from the US Embassy in Abu Dhabi.

“Students accepted this year, will most likely receive a merit-based scholarship. Additionally, a US Embassy Office booth will be present at the event and a student counsellor will be able to talk to parents about visa arrangements which will be facilitated for all nationalities if prospect students meet US visa requirements,” Soni added.

All UAE residents are encouraged to apply as 90 per cent of students who are accepted from the UAE and Gulf region in general, were not natives from those countries, according to the official.

“Education is an $80 billion industry and is very good for the US economy as well as for those who study with us, because of the opportunities that they usually receive when they return to their country of residence,” Soni said.

Admission to the event is free and students are asked to bring multiple copies of their high-school report cards, transcripts, and TOEFL scores to the event to allow university representatives to determine admission and scholarship eligibility.

© Gulf News

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NBA’s Kobe Bryant hopes to inspire UAE youths to get healthy

NBA’s Kobe Bryant hopes to inspire UAE youths to get healthy 01 NBA’s Kobe Bryant hopes to inspire UAE youths to get healthyDubai, UAE: Basketball star Kobe Bryant wants to learn about the culture of the UAE first-hand while he helps children lead a more active lifestyle.

The LA Lakers’ shooting guard arrived in Dubai yesterday on his first visit to the UAE at the start of his Kobe Bryant Health and Fitness Weekend, which starts today.

Bryant, 35, who is one of the biggest names in the NBA, will be visiting the Gems American Academy school in Abu Dhabi today where 40 pupils will join him in a basketball skills clinic.

The five-time NBA champion will be joined by players from the Real Madrid basketball “legends” team.

“It’s an honour to be here. When I told people I was coming to Dubai, everyone was trying to describe it for me,” Bryant said.

“I told them stop, don’t tell me, I want to see it for myself and take it all in. I want to learn about the culture here first-hand.

“I live by the idea of constantly challenging yourself. It’s important to try to inspire the youth, you work to be better and inspire others to be better.

“I hope that what I do on the court carries beyond the arena. The biggest gift we can give is to teach the game to the next generation by doing these camps.”

Bryant’s visit is about more than just basketball, it is about encouraging people to live healthier lives.

In the UAE, 18.9 per cent of the population live with diabetes and the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke are up to six times higher in people with this condition.

A sedentary lifestyle and bad eating habits have been cited as the main causes of the increasing prevalence of type 2 diabetes.

Traditionally, type 2 diabetes is referred to as adult-onset diabetes. However, in recent years diabetes has reached epidemic levels worldwide, with children as young as seven affected.

“This is an incredible platform to raise diabetes awareness in the Mena region,” said Dr Ghada Aoun, medical director and specialist endocrinologist and diabetologist at Boston Diabetes and Endocrine Centre, which is sponsoring the event.

“Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness and limb amputation in the region. Public awareness is a key factor in combating the disease.

“Such events help us to communicate with people, inspire a better lifestyle for children and adults and encourage early diagnosis of the disease. Most people with diabetes in the region don’t know they have it.”

Bryant said that both his grandfathers had diabetes but “I was young and didn’t understand”.

“I think the key here is to promote an active lifestyle. We want to show kids how to be active and have fun doing it – it can’t be like a chore,” he said.

“The hardest part is not the training. The hardest part is being able to change your diet and the way you see food. I made the change a little over three years ago. Now I eat for performance, recovery and purpose.”

The Health and Fitness Weekend will culminate in a celebrity basketball game tomorrow at the state-of-the-art Knights Arena at American University in Dubai.

Bryant, who is recovering from injury, will lead the warm-up and coach a team of celebrity players, called Team Black Mamba, which is Bryant’s nickname.

Playing against Team Black Mamba will be the Real Madrid basketball legends.

“I just want to be around the game and have fun,” Bryant said.

Addressing his Achilles injury, Bryant said he was getting stronger every day.

“Now it’s about cutting the recovery time, I should be OK [for the start of the season],” he said.

Ahmed bin Sulayem, the executive chairman of Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC), also took the opportunity to present Bryant with a DMCC Free Zone business licence, which will enable the American sportsman and business mogul to operate a business from Dubai with 100 per cent ownership and no corporate tax.

As for what he plans to do with the licence, Bryant said: “For now, I want to listen and learn. I want to understand the culture here and see how my ideas can fit.”

“Kobe is looking great and with the way he trains and takes care of his diet, he can keep going for another five or seven years,” said Mr bin Sulayem, adding: “No pressure Kobe.”

Bryant is the official ambassador for After-School All-Stars, an American non-profit organisation that provides comprehensive after-school programmes to children in 13 US cities.

© The National

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Anti-drug drive launched in Dubai schools

Anti drug drive Anti drug drive launched in Dubai schoolsDubai, UAE: The Dubai Police, on Tuesday, launched a major awareness campaign in schools on the harmful effects of hallucinatory and other narcotic drugs.

The campaign, being carried out by the police’s General Department of Community Service with the slogan ‘Schools without Drugs’, aims to spread awareness among students in Grade 7 to 12. It will run throughout the 2013-2014 school year.

Schools must assume the vital role of protecting students from the use of drugs by spreading awareness also among parents and giving training to teachers to convey the security and drug awareness messages, said Lieutenant-Colonel Dr Juma Sultan Al Shamsi, Director of the Awareness and Protection Division at the General Department of Anti-Narcotics.

The launch was also attended by Dr Jasim Khalil Merza, Director of the Awareness Department at the police’s General Department of Security Services; Sam Hayes, Vice-Consul at the British Embassy in Dubai; and Sina M. Giachetti, Assistant Attaché, Drug Enforcement Administration, United States Department of Justice.

LT-Col Dr Al Shamsi said 90 percent of drug addicts were influenced by bad friends, and some were using pills prescribed by doctors. The Dubai Police had now designed an electronic system to control drug use.

The campaign will spread awareness through the media by drafting in specialist columns, interviews with addicted juveniles and their parents on the impact of drug use, special programmes on Noor Dubai radio channel and Sharjah Police’s radio programme ‘Aman biladi’ and other programmes in coordination with some TV channels. It will also send out the campaign messages through social media networks and SMSes and postthem on websites.

The police will also rope in social and youth clubs, organise workshops, send SMSes to parents urging them to keep a close watch on their children, enlist preachers in mosques to speak in sermons about the harmful effects of drugs, besides distributing brochures, posting the campaign theme on ATM machines in cooperation with the banks and distributing gifts to students.

Dr Khalil Merza said that curiosity was the first reason for teenagers to try out hallucinatory pills.

Hayes thanked the Dubai Police for inviting the British Embassy to join the campaign.

“It is quite interesting to enrich the awareness programme. Earlier, we had worked with the Dubai Police and the Shaikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding to educate students about drugs and the UAE culture,” he said.

“This time again, we are keen to participate in the activities to convey the awareness messages about the dangerous effects of narcotics. There are around 100,000 Britons living in Dubai, so we are keen to participate in the campaign to spread awareness among British students about the negative impacts of drug use and the UAE legislation. We will visit and coordinate with schools in spreading awareness using different methods to prevent drug use.”

© Khaleej Times

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