Tuesday 19, January 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation launched a series of quality initiatives and projects during 2015, which established the leading role of the Foundation in the dissemination of knowledge and culture at the local and regional levels and contributed to the building of knowledge societies in line with the strategic vision of the UAE to achieve sustainable development in all fields.

Knowledge Summit 2015 towards international
After the huge success of the First Knowledge Conference, which the Foundation organised in 2014 on the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Foundation concluded year 2015 with the launch of the second edition of the event. In its second edition in December, the event took on a bigger stature in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Foundation to expands its scope as the ‘Knowledge Summit 2015’.

Based on the theme, ‘The Way to Innovation’, the Knowledge Summit 2015 focused on the key pillars of education, information technology, scientific research, and innovation in the field of media and film industry.

The event succeeded in attracting experts from these areas to discuss opportunities and challenges facing the development process, and explored ways to establish the culture of creativity and innovation in Arab societies.

Decree to establish Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award
In November 2015, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, issued Decree No. 36 of 2015 to establish Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award, aimed at encouraging stakeholders and knowledge workers, and instilling the concept of creativity and innovation in the transfer and dissemination of knowledge around the world.

Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Award announced three winners during the opening session of the Knowledge Summit 2015. National Geographic Channel won the Award for its effective role as one of the most important channels that promote the production of knowledge in the world. The second winner was Ahmad Alshugairi, notable presenter of the ‘Khawater’ programme, while the third winner was Hiroshi Ishiguro, globally renowned professor of the Department of Innovation Systems in the Graduate School of Engineering Science at Osaka University.

Results of the first Arab Knowledge Index
During the Knowledge Summit 2015, the Foundation announced in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme the results of the first Arab Knowledge Index, which included the most important outputs and statistics related to each Arabic country based on six main pillars covering the most vital sectors that represent knowledge levels in every country: Pre-university education; University education; Vocational education and training; Research & development and innovation; Information technology and communication; and Economic sector. The index took into consideration the national, historical and cultural characteristics of each Arab country separately, providing the flexibility to update it on a regular basis.

The launch of the Knowledge for All portal
Knowledge Summit 2015 witnessed the announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Knowledge portal initiative, an electronic platform that offers experts, researchers and university students the opportunity to gain access to the Arab Knowledge Index results and other vital information. The portal also enables Arab researchers, academics and specialists to include their research within the portal after evaluation by a specialist panel.

Nobel Museum exhibition organised for the first time in the region
Under the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, MBRF announced in March 2015 the Nobel Museum exhibition in Dubai, which was hosted for the first time in the region under a new theme, ‘Nobel Prize: Ideas Changing the World’ . The event provided visitors an ideal platform to learn about the prestigious Nobel Prize, drawing attention to the most prominent winners as well as inventions and discoveries that have transformed the lives of human beings.

The Nobel Museum exhibition attracted large number of visitors, particularly from academics and students and inventors.

Dubai International Program for Writing activity picks up
MBRF’s Dubai International Program for Writing witnessed significant activity during the year in both its categories – Writing and Writers Exchange. A novel workshop led by Lebanese novelist Najwa Barakat concluded with the participation of eight young Emirati writers. The Foundation will publish the books produced as part of the workshop in collaboration with reliable publishing houses inside and outside the UAE.

The year witnessed the launch of the first phase of the Writer Exchange with Japan in cooperation with Japanese Culture and Arts Foundation. Under the initiative, three writers from Japan stayed in the UAE for a month during which they visited the most important historical, cultural, social and recreational monuments accompanied by three Emirati writers. In the second phase, three Emirati writers visited Japan to learn about the culture and lifestyle of its people. The Emirati and Japanese writers are currently working on books based on their experiences during their stay.

A Writer Exchange with Germany has also been organised in collaboration with the Goethe Institute, featuring three writers from Germany.

Dubai Digital Library
MBRF has taken innovative steps forward with the launch of its ‘Dubai Digital Library’ initiative, in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of MBRF. The initiative aims to provide a sophisticated electronic platform, offering a huge collection of Arabic books, including translations, as well as Arabic and foreign periodicals, dictionaries, biographies, and maps.

Online Oxford Arabic Dictionary
As part of its commitment to support the use of Arabic in all fields, and enhance its role in building sustainable economies and communities based on knowledge, MBRF signed a memorandum of understanding with the publishing house of Oxford University to put Oxford Arabic language dictionary on the internet. The dictionary is available free of charge for students of universities and schools, and government agencies and public libraries. The dictionary includes a detailed guide on the latest vocabulary used in several areas such as computing, business, media, arts, and others.

Poetry Nights Programme
A series of events were organised as part of ‘Poetry Nights Programme’, a new initiative under MBRF’s House of Poetry project. It included a Saudi Poetry Night as the first activity under the initiative. A Kuwaiti Poetry Night hosted a group of poets from Kuwait while other events featured the participation of poets from the UAE and the Gulf, attracting huge audiences of poetry lovers.

Regional and international presence
As part of its efforts to strengthen the role of knowledge in Arab countries and the world, a series of specialised workshops were held on the Arab Knowledge Index in Jordan, Tunisia and the UAE. MBRF also organised five workshops in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme in key Arab and international cities, including Amman, Cairo, New York, Paris and London, to discuss the results of the ‘Third Arab Knowledge Report’, which was launched during the first Knowledge Conference in 2014.

Local and international participations
MBRF participated in a wide range of events and specialised exhibitions during the year through its Qindeel Printing and Publishing Services. It participated for the first time at the London International Book Fair 2015 apart from its presence at the Frankfurt Book Fair 2015. At the local level MBRF participated in the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2015, and Sharjah International Book Fair 2015, one of the major events in the fields of culture, books, printing and publishing activities in the region.

Expansion and development initiatives
The year turned out to be a period intense interest in MBRF’s initiatives and projects. The Foundation’s ‘My Family Reads’ initiative attracted new entities such as Dubai Courts, Emirates Post, and Dubai Statistics Center. The initiative offered employees of these entities with knowledge packages to benefit all members of their families. The year also witnessed MBRF’s ‘Book in Minutes’ initiative translating into Arabic summaries as many as 75 world renowned books benefiting over 5,000 readers.

Bel-Arabi initiative launches audio book and short story contest
The Bel-Arabi initiative, organised by the Foundation in December each year as part of World Arabic Language Day, entered the third year. The initiative promoted the use of the Arabic language and vocabulary and contributed to strengthen the position of the language with a series of activities at shopping centres in various emirates. A short story contest was launched for school students and teachers in collaboration with the Ministry of Education. Besides, an ‘audio book’ was also launched to support the Arab audio content on the internet.