Wednesday 6, April 2016

Dubai – MENA Herald: Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), the university launched the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Social Smart Learning initiative (Cloud Campus) across 27 Starbucks stores in the UAE in support of the Year of Reading initiative. Under the directives of H.H. President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, the UAE has declared 2016 as the Year of Reading to foster a culture of learning and knowledge sharing in the country. H.E. Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and General Security in Dubai and Chairman of the University’s Board of Governors, led the numerous dignitaries who attended the main event at Starbucks-Jumeirah Drive-thru.

The joint initiative between HBMSU and Starbucks aims to reach hundreds of thousands of learners a month. It complements the ongoing national efforts seeking to produce confident and responsible local leaders who are determined to build a future in sync with

the goals of UAE Vision 2021. Cloud Campus hopes to encourage young people to deepen their knowledge and enhance their skills in accordance with the 21st century requirements. The initiative accessible via the internet seamlessly combines social media channels such as YouTube and Facebook with other modern technologies that are popular among various social groups.

HBMSU and Starbucks collaborated for the pioneering initiative as part of their respective Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) programs focusing on transferring and enriching knowledge in the UAE. Both parties aim to help hurdle learning obstacles, offer opportunities to facilitate easy access to information, and enhance the teaching and learning processes through the aid of the latest technological tools. By using (Cloud Campus), Starbucks clients can have a free and direct access to a virtual library for a wide array of interactive resources, including more than 5,000 illustrated lectures as well as references and educational courses in business, science, and creative and professional skills.

H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim said: “The launch of HBMSU’s initiative across UAE Starbucks branches falls in line with the vision launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to transform Dubai into a smart city. The strategic partnership between Hamdan Bin Mohammed Social Smart Learning initiative (Cloud Campus) and an internationally acknowledged brand such as Starbucks, helps expand and further instill the concept of smart learning, particularly among today’s youth, who frequently visit and spend long hours at Starbucks. This initiative will allow them to make best of their free time–reading and gaining knowledge, in a seamless and smarter way, without feeling bored.”

“Smart learning has become today’s modern language and is widely available to everyone. We are witnessing a radical change in the traditional concepts and learning systems in the UAE, where educational attainment and having a degree is no longer expensive or complicated as it was decades ago when learning was mainly based on paper work, classes and going to libraries. Today, smart learning enables everyone to seamlessly, easily and cost-efficiently dive into the sea of knowledge anytime and anywhere. Moreover, communication between the learner and professor is now around-the-clock or on a 24/7 bases, so it honors me to say that the UAE’s wise leadership has no limit for its ambitions to raise the bar on the country and position it among the most developed smart learning countries in the world,” Khalfan added.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor, HBMSU, said:” The initiative will be available across selected Starbucks stores in the UAE. It aims to provide new and promising educational opportunities for all in line with HBMSU’s commitment to life-long learning; a fundamental pillar to effect positive community change and reshape the future of education in accordance with the requirements of modern development. Dr. Al Awar also pointed out that the initiative complements the Year of Reading 2016 initiative, saying both are based on the government’s goal of producing qualified, intellectual, and culturally competent generations with outstanding scientific skills. “These generations will help lead the country in its march towards excellence and position the UAE as the world’s leading knowledge center.” Additionally, he reaffirmed HBMSU’s commitment to provide communities with best educational tools and resources to further increase the citizens’ employability in adherence to UAE Vision 2021’s goal of building a ‘competitive economy led by knowledgeable and innovative UAE nationals.’

Dr. Al Awar added: “The UAE has been focusing on enhancing knowledge and learning in accordance with the directives of the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who

emphasized that ‘building human capital is a national need.’ Today, the UAE is steadily moving forward under the wise leadership of H.H. Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE President, and H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, to make the UAE one of the most developed nations in the world. Under the leadership of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMSU, we will continuously provide learning opportunities for all and foster a culture of innovation and excellence through smart learning across the Arab region. We are confident that our strategic partnership with committed, responsible and influential entities such as Starbucks will result in tangible results and significant contributions to ensure community development and building generations who will lead the country towards progress.”

Commenting on the partnership, Matthiew Holgate, President of Starbucks – MENA confirmed Starbucks’ enthusiasm and commitment to the launch of (Cloud Campus) in partnership with HBMSU to support positive change in the communities, saying “Starbucks has always been part of the communities where its operates, and we always strive to create positive change in people’s lives by offering more than a cup of coffee. Through the partnership with HBMSU, we are enabling youth across UAE to have wider and easier access to the right education in the creative and engaging Starbucks’ environment. We aim to provide young Emiratis the opportunity to learn new and exciting things while enjoying their favorite coffee at Starbucks. This partnership will continue for three months giving more opportunities to our customers across the UAE.”

HBMSU’s Social Smart Learning initiative (Cloud Campus) is an interactive educational platform developed to disseminate knowledge using 60-90 minute videos and micro-learning methodology. The platform includes more than 5,000 courses and 170 learning materials covering various professions and topics to enhance digital skills. The courses are given under the supervision of a team of experts and academics who are committed to

provide round-the-clock support. The learners business skills can be further improved through its 10 program offerings in leadership, entrepreneurship, communication, talent development, operation management, marketing, HR Development, and Islamic banking, among others. Upon completion of each program, a certificate from HBMSU will be issued to them.

Starbucks customers can directly access Cloud Campus and enjoy 10 hour free interactive lectures during their visit to participating stores. They can watch videos and access the content using their mobile devices, laptops, tablets, and smartphones running on Android, iOS, and Windows.