Capricorn Commanders

•February 4, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Cricketers win hearts of special needs kids

Al Noor Centre 1
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Feb 04, 2016

DUBAI: A group of prominent international cricketers and part of the Capricorn Commanders, participating in the ongoing T20 Cricket League in Dubai, visited Al Noor Centre and spent time with children with special needs.
The visit was the first time for key players from Capricorn Commanders including Paul Collingwood, Jeetan Patel, Sunil Joshi, Geraint Jones, Saleem Elahi and Rikki Clarke along with the noted Dubai entrepreneur Parvez Khan, the man at the helm of Pacific Ventures, the company behind many impressive real estate projects in the UAE. The visit was a homecoming to a favourite charity he has supported over the years.
Khan’s Pacific Ventures was instrumental in the refurbishment of the training centre a few years back. “For me it is both a personal mission and a corporate responsibility. I have always believed in giving back to the community something in return for the success that Pacific Ventures has had so far. On a personal note, these children have become close to me and I wanted to give them a reason to smile,” said Khan.
Children from Al Noor Centre welcomed the visiting players with open arms and gave them handmade gifts. The team got a surprise when they were given cookies baked by the children themselves. Aside from a heartfelt interaction with the kids, the team also met with the teachers and the management.
“I am so glad I joined the trip. I consider a privilege to be able to touch another person’s life, and by interacting with these kids today, I hope I had inspired them to be strong and healthy and to always have a positive outlook in life, no matter the circumstances,” said Paul Collingwood, Captain of the Capricorn Commanders.
Meanwhile, Isphana Al Khatib, Director of the Al Noor Centre, expressed gratitude for the visit and said, “We are thankful to Pacific Ventures and to Mr Khan for his continuing support which allows us to do our job of looking after the welfare of children with special needs, and in training them to become productive members of our society. Thanks as well to the Capricorn Commanders for an inspirational visit, their presence and message to the kids are very much appreciated.”
It is also mentioned that the Capricorn Commanders team owned by Parvez Khan, a prominent Dubai-based business tycoon and owner of property developers Pacific Ventures and Sohail Khan, Actor, Producer & Director from Bollywood in India. The Commanders comprise of a strong squad ranging from the likes of Vaughan, Paul Collingwood, Abdul Razzak, Andrew Symonds and many cricketers of stature. It offers a rarest-of-rare opportunity for fans to re-engage with iconic cricket greats who are off the ODI scene.

PYF Workshop For Pak Students

•February 3, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Students walk away with personal development skills
PYF workshop
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Feb 03, 2016

DUBAI: Over 30 students from a number of Pakistani schools in Dubai and Sharjah took part in a workshop on self-development skills.
The workshop was organised by the Pakistan Youth Forum (PYF), a part of Pakistan Association Dubai (PAD). Held at the Pakistan Auditorium in the PAD premises in Oud Metha, Dubai, it was PYF’s second educational workshop for community students.
The workshop was part of the education committee’s mentorship programme, which aims to provide young students the guidance and development skills they need to succeed as individuals in a multicultural society such as the UAE.
The workshop was conducted by Dr Moin, head of the education committee at PYF. Students from Pakistan Education Academy, Dubai and Pakistani Islamia Higher Secondary School, Sharjah, attended the clinic. The activities focused on personal development, public speaking and English language enhancement.
The PYF organising team also opened a forum for feedback and conversation where students discussed their academic and extra-curricular issues.
“We are glad that we are able to make some change in the lives of these kids who are yet to be exposed to higher education and the work field,” Moin said.
Dr Faisal Ikram, General Secretary of PAD, also commended the PYF organising team for putting together a second workshop after the success of the first one.
“It is a moment of pride to see the passion and effort put together by the youth of our country to make a difference,” said Ikram.
PYF aims to continue the series of workshops to ensure that the attendees learn as much as possible in the final years of high school and put the skills to practice during their college lives and careers.

HHC Camel Trek 2016

•January 31, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Camel trek takes adventurers down the UAE’s cultural lane
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 30, 2016

DUBAI: A group of 15 people, locals and expatriates, as part of “In the Footsteps of our Ancestors” expedition, are crossing the UAE desert on camels and are soon to reach their final destination at Global Village.
The 10-day trek for the Emirati and expatriate explorers will conclude on Feb.1, where they will be greeted by family, friends and plenty of well-wishers at Global Village.
In a stopover in the middle of the desert in Dubai, the explorers met with local media and shared their experience of encountering local culture, heritage and the life of local people as adventurers.

The 10-day expedition is being organised by the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Heritage Centre (HHC) to promote local culture and heritage through a series of exciting events with the participation from local and expatriate communities. The trek is being led by the renowned UAE explorers Ahmed Al Qassimi and Mohammed Bin Taryam while expatriates from France, India, Malaysia, Yemen and others are also part of the journey on the backs of camels, away from all types of gadgets to feel the lives of people in the desert.
Talking to The Gulf Today, some of the explorers shared their once in a lifetime experience.
Renowned UAE explorer Mohammed Bin Taryam said that leading a one of its kind tour in the region is a great opportunity and honour as through this travel we are revealing our culture and heritage to the participants who belong to different nationalities. He also lauded the HHC’s efforts for organising a unique trip.
Taryam termed this tour a great opportunity for participants to know about the local culture, heritage and above all life in a desert. “This journey also is teaching them to endure with patience new things like understanding the psychology of camels, hardships of desert and their strength to bear all these as a part of a team.”
Charlotte Sarrazin, a French expat residing in Dubai for three years, has been taking part in various leisure activities from camping, off-road drive, etc with her friends in desert but it was the first time she took part in such a long adventurous trip.
“Being a part of this journey through desert by camels is a great experience. There are no words to reflect such a remarkable experience with people from different nationalities and feeling the hardships] people used to experience for a long time,” she said.
She added, “Through this journey I had a chance to know the local language, culture and the landscape.”
The group has only two female participants but there was nothing to worry during their tour. “Males in a Muslim society are very respectable and have given us such comfort and space that I felt more secure than anywhere else,” Charlotte added.
Ahmad Khalifa, the Yemeni traveller born and raised in Sharjah, has been a professional horse rider – he competed in Endurance Race many times – and took part in the journey to experience what was part of the daily life of the local community for centuries.
“So far the journey led by the renowned local traveller is smooth as all the hurdles while passing through the desert was merely testing our endurance as the prior two-week training was a great support. Initially it seemed a tough journey as sitting on a camel for hours is not a joke but the guidance and daily training sessions are giving us enough strength to overcome all the hardship,” he added.
Responding to a question, he said that nowadays everyone prefers to visit malls and coffeehouses to spend their time “but I like adventures and my aim is to finish this journey without any difficulties as this tour is a challenge for me.”
Rasheenah Ahmad is an Indian expatriate living in Dubai for the last 16 years. Besides occasional desert picnics, this was the first time for her to be part of the group for 10 days. “It is a great opportunity for me to learn about the local culture while travelling through the desert on camels which was proved a great task especially managing our balance on the backs of camels while passing through dunes,” she said.
She pointed that the journey was not only exciting but also full of challenges as sometimes crossing dunes seemed very hard but the training was a great help for them to enjoy the travel.
Mohammad Fahimi, the Malaysian expat residing in Dubai for over a year, termed the journey a great experience and ineffable. “I have ridden horses many times back home but riding a camel for days is not an easy task as it took great expertise to maintain balance while crossing different terrain in the desert. We were lucky to have renowned local explorer Mohammed Bin Taryam who was a great help and throughout the journey shared his tips to overcome all the difficulties,” he said.

SCHS-LG Mobile App Contest

•January 30, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Zayed University team emerge winners of mobile app contest

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 30, 2016

SHARJAH: The Zayed University team, that participated in the contest to develop a smartphone application, emerged winners. The team will soon visit LG Electronics headquarters and take a sightseeing tour. They will also participate in the Human Computer Interaction (HCI) conference in Korea.
The competition was launched in March by the Assistive Technology Center at Sharjah City for Humanitarian Services (SCHS) in cooperation with Seoul National University Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT). This was with the sponsorship of LG Electronics. The contest aims at raising college students’ awareness of assistive technology, which improves the quality of life of differently-abled people through the effective integration of technology.SCHS-Sharjah University
Students from University of Sharjah, American University of Sharjah, Zayed University and Ajman University of Science and Technology participated in the year-long contest. Organisers provided assistance in terms of the two-week training and guidance on a number of aspects.
The awards ceremony was attended by Sheikh Fahim Bin Sultan Al Qasimi and Sheikha Jameela AlQasimi, the General Director of Sharjah City of Humanitarian Services, alongside 70 senior officials from universities across the country.SCHS-Zayed University
In an exclusive interview with The Gulf Today, the top two teams, the winners from Zayed University and runners-up from University of Sharjah, shared and highlighted their journey from teaming up, developing the smartphone application, to competing with students from four other universities.
The team from the Zayed University comprised Asma Ahmed Aldhani, Shaima Abdulla Al Junaibi, Abdulla Saleh Buali and Noora Saed Alawadi.
Talking to The Gulf Today in SCHS, they shared the details of their winning project, “Salem” (peace), which seeks to support people with memory related issues like dementia, Alzheimer’s, and short-term memory loss, among others.
“Through this app, the user will be able to store all the relevant data such as meeting or visiting someone. It will be like keeping a digital diary, since the stored information might be used to help one recall the details of the stored event, such as a particular person, in case of memory loss,” said Abdulla Saleh Buali.
They pointed out that the two-week workshop about developing a mobile app was resourceful. They noted that the support extended by the SCHS in addressing the needs of people with learning disabilities also played a great role in enabling them to develop their project, which secured the top position in the competition.
The team from University of Sharjah comprised Mariam Bin Tarish, Balsam Alkouz, Omnia Almoastasim, Abdullah Malek and Elham Habaro. Their project titled “Jam’eity” (my supermarket) won the second position.
“The mobile application ‘Jam’eity’ inspired by the local culture aimed to benefit autistic children, through repeated exercises, to understand and learn the benefits of a supermarket. The benefits of the app ranges from selecting an item to paying using cash,” explained Malek and the rest of the team members.
The app is not only helpful to children with autism, but can be used by children with learning difficulties since it helps the user to handle challenging tasks related to a supermarket.
The app currently supports Arabic and will help the users with its 2D and 3D interface. It also has games for virtual shopping as well as games for whiling one’s time away.
“With the help of staff from the SCHS, we understand the needs and difficulties faced by the autistic children. As part of the contest we developed this app using basic concepts. Once the app is uploaded for public use, we have plans to incorporate more options as well as target English language users,” the team said.
The Sharjah University team is on the search for support to promote their app. According to the team, the demand for the app is huge, since it will benefit a big number of people with autism.
Members of both winning teams extended their gratitude to SCHS and Seoul National University Quality of Life Technology Center (QoLT) for organising such a unique competition to benefit people with special abilities.
It is also mentioned that the students from different faculties enrolled in the competition and later grouped into teams and provided a two-week application development training.

CIS Dubai Fair 2016

•January 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Students tipped on wise career choices
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 28, 2016

DUBAI: Hundreds of students at the Cambridge International School (CIS) Dubai participated in a day-long “Education & Careers Fair 2016”. More than 30 local and international educational establishments participated in the annual school event where senior students accessed information related to higher education and flexible career opportunities in the present competitive market. The fair was aimed at guiding students in making wise career choices through equal opportunities of study and employment options.
Craig Lamshed, principal and CEO of CIS, told The Gulf Today that the Education & Careers Fair is the annual event where a large number of university representatives provide academic and enrolment information to students seeking entry into their universities. “This provides students the opportunity to develop their ideas and clear any doubts about their future planning,” he said.  Lamshed spoke proudly about three CIS graduates topping the world while 18 others surpassing UAE students in their IGCSE and AS/A level examinations.  “At Cambridge, we recognise that whilst academic success is of primary importance, there is also a firm belief in developing skills that allow our graduating students to study at top universities around the world,” Lamshed added.
Lourdina Franco, Head of Senior School pointed out that over the years the number of universities participating from around the world has increased and students now access wider options. She said, “We are attracting as many universities as possible to ensure students have a broader representation and get first-hand information.
“Teachers, students and parents are also excited about this year’s fair. The entire CIS community looks forward to this event, as it enables our middle and senior students to make informed decisions prior to their options evening later next month.”
During term 1, CIS students were introduced to the Careers and Education programme which allowed them to explore and express interests, hobbies and achievements whilst focusing on potential career paths.  Osman Lleshanaku, careers adviser, highlighted the importance of providing students first-hand experience with admission officers alongside teachers and parents.
“We are proud of our talented students. With Dubai being an international city and with Expo 2020 approaching, we wish to offer CIS students the ability to have all of their questions answered prior to making the all-important transition from school to higher education,” he added.
Most notable universities that participated in the fair were Heriot Watt, American University in Dubai, Murdoch University, Middlesex University Dubai, Rochester Institute of Technology, University of Wollongong, Amity University, SAE Institute, S P Jain, Al Ghurair University, Gulf Medical University, Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management and Birla Institute of Technology & Science.
CIS is part of the GEMS group of schools, being one of the most established and successful international schools in Dubai. It offers Foundation Stage to Year 13 school and teaches the National Curriculum for England with a range of GCSE, A level and BTEC qualification.

DSF 2016: Fashion

•January 28, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Dubai Shopping Festival fashion treats leave visitors spellbound
By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 26, 2016

DUBAI: The Dubai Shopping Festival has captivated both local community members and tourists alike, with its array of surprises from street fashion runways to display creations from top global designers to dazzling performances throughout Dubai.
Last week, hundreds of shoppers in The Dubai Mall were dazzled with the transformation of the ice rink into a magical arena for the first ever “Fashion on Ice” performance, as part of the DSF “Unwrap The Best of Style” experience.
This unique experience featured 20 professional ice-skaters who enthralled a huge number of shoppers as they modelled the avant-garde collection presented by Galeries Lafayette.
Mood lighting and special effects on the ice coupled with a compelling soundtrack complimented the grace and acrobatics from an outstanding troupe of ice dancers as they put on a truly world class display.  For the 21st edition of DSF, the organisers of the festival, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM), have been encouraging leading retailers to deliver more unique experiences to their customers through activation workshops, as part of the Apparel and Fashion Theme.
The “Fashion on Ice” was one such unique concept developed as a partnership between DSF and Galeries Lafayette which included meticulous planning in the choreographed dance and fashion show.
The major inaugural Street Runway, the first fashion show of its kind in the region, was held in the historical district of Al Fahidi district, Dubai in partnership with Dubai Culture and Arts Authority and in collaboration with Paris Gallery.
At the Al Fahidi Street Runway, a collection of elegant international labels, with a vintage feel, were modeled while guests experienced a unique atmosphere that brought luxury Parisian fashion to the historical district.
Models utilised Al Fahidi’s unique alleyways as catwalks, showing off beautiful and classic apparel from some of the world’s finest vintage labels. The Parisian café ambience enchanted the audience who sat at Parisian coffee tables lining alleyways and around the courtyard. Paris, the capital of beauty and fashion, was captured by the collections displayed to the tunes of classic French music. The collections featured elegant day and evening wear that ranged in material from lace to leather, with accessories complementing the looks with rich antique pieces.
The setup of the event was modeled to recreate a French evening, allowing the models to enact brief encounters between friends. Chic seating arrangements allowed the audience to immerse in the runway experience.

Burj Khalifa Stamp

•January 25, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Postage stamp to commemorate Burj Khalifa

By Jamil Khan @ The Gulf Today-Sharjah, Jan 25, 2016
Ahmad Al Falasi from Emaar (L) with Ibrahim Bin Karam, Chief  Commercial Officer of Emirates Post Group
DUBAI: In a ceremony held on the 125th floor of the world’s tallest building, Burj Khalifa, a new postage stamp was launched besides unveiling the exclusive letter box to facilitate the tourists to send their postcards from the iconic building.
The Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building by global developer Emaar Properties, marked its sixth anniversary by releasing its first dedicated postage stamp. The commemorative stamp, launched in partnership with Emirates Post, depicts Burj Khalifa rising majestically above Downtown Dubai at sunset in all its resplendent glory.
The ceremony was attended by officials from the Emirates Post, Emaar Properties and a large number of media persons.
The stamp now officially released will also be on sale at the retail kiosksat At the Top, Burj Khalifa, the observation deck. They have been issued in denomination of Dhs3, along with a souvenir sheet and first day cover.
Ahmad Al Falasi, Executive Director – Group Operations, Emaar Properties, said, “Burj Khalifa is a global icon and the pride of our nation. One of the world’s most visited tourist attractions, it is also a compelling testament to the can-do ability of Dubai and the city’s focus on promoting global partnerships. An architectural marvel that pushes the boundaries of engineering and construction, Burj Khalifa has become one of the most photographed monuments in the past six years. The launch of the commemorative stamp is a fitting tribute to the vision behind Burj Khalifa and the years of hard work by thousands of professionals around the world that went into building it.”
Ibrahim Bin Karam, Chief Commercial Officer of Emirates Post Group, added, “It gives us great pleasure to release these special stamps on the sixth anniversary of Burj Khalifa. Emirates Post Group always goes the extra mile to support projects that bring glory and prestige to the UAE. These stamps will help promote Burj Khalifa and the UAE in all corners of the globe.”
A”post office corner” will also be introduced to At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY world’s highest observation deck. Here,visitors can send friends and family the special souvenir post card, with the official stamp,from “Burj Khalifa Heights.”
The At the Top, Burj Khalifa journey includes two experiences: Visitors can experience At the Top, Burj Khalifa SKY tours, which cover both Level 125 and Level 148 and features an outdoor terrace and premium lounge, while At the Top, Burj Khalifa takes them to the observation deck on Level 124.
At 828 metres (2,716.5 ft), the 200 plus storey Burj Khalifa has 160 habitable levels, the most of any building in the world.The building holds four Guinness World Records; the Tallest Building, the Tallest Man-made Structure on Land Ever, the “Highest Observation Deck” for “At the Top” and Highest Restaurant from Ground Level for Atmosphere. At the Top, Burj Khalifa, has been voted as the “Best Attraction in the World 2015.”


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