Estonia’s Major Showcase at Gulfood 2024

Estonia’s Major Showcase at Gulfood 2024

 with Minister of Regional Affairs  Madis Kallas and 18 Leading Companies

Dubai, 19 th February: Estonia, represented by Taste Estonia, is set to make a significant impact at Gulfood 2024, highlighted by the participation of Madis Kallas, Estonia’s Minister of Regional Affairs. Taste Estonia’s participation in this year’s event is co-funded by the EU and underscores the country’s commitment to global culinary excellence and sustainability, marking a substantial representation with 18 leading Estonian companies showcasing their innovative products and services.

Gulfood 2024, hosted at Dubai World Trade Centre from 19 – 23 February, is the perfect backdrop for Estonia to demonstrate its food technology and sustainability practices. Under the inspiring theme ‘Pure air. Clean Water. Fresh Food.’, Minister Kallas’ visit emphasises the critical role of green innovation and sustainable development in the food industry, continuing Estonia’s tradition of impactful participation in previous editions of Gulfood.

This year, Taste Estonia’s stand at Trade Centre Arena, S-G44, will be a hub of activity, featuring a diverse group of Estonian companies, from the oldest and largest drinks manufacturer, Le Coq, to innovative start-ups like Puljong, specialising in natural broths, and Revala, a pioneer in ice cream powders and powder blends. Each company represents Estonia’s rich culinary heritage and forward-thinking food production approach, offering a glimpse into the country’s commitment to quality, sustainability, and innovation.

The 18 participating companies, including notable names such as Haage Natural Mineral Water, renowned for its perfect mineral balance, and Iktos, offering 100% authentic honey, underscore Estonia’s diverse food and beverage sector. Other participants like Valio Eesti showcase Estonia’s prowess in dairy production, while innovative firms like Vegestar and YOOK Production, which is shortlisted for the 2024 Gulfood Innovation Awards, highlight Estonia’s advancements in plant-based nutrition and sustainable beverages.

Through its robust participation in Gulfood 2024, Estonia aims to foster international partnerships, explore new markets, and share its vision of sustainable and innovative culinary practices with the world. Minister Kallas’ presence, alongside the collective showcase of Estonia’s leading companies, positions Estonia as a dynamic force in the global food industry, ready to meet future challenges with sustainable solutions and innovative products.

At the Gulfood Innovation Awards 2023, Revala, Rosena DK, and Must Umami were each awarded for their innovative approaches to healthy and organic food solutions, captivating a jury comprising industry experts and culinary figures and setting new standards for excellence in the food sector.

Taste Estonia embodies the best of Estonian cuisine, with a focus on purity, sustainability, smart innovation, health, and unparalleled taste. By participating in Gulfood 2024, Taste Estonia continues to lead the way in introducing the world to Estonia’s innovative food products and sustainable culinary solutions.

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Michelin-Green-Starred Chef Peter Pihel Elevates Sustainable Estonian Cuisine at Gulfood 2024 Masterclasses

Michelin-Green-Starred Chef Peter Pihel Elevates Sustainable Estonian Cuisine at Gulfood 2024 Masterclasses

Taste Estonia: Unveiling the Future of Gastronomy with Tradition and Innovation at the Heart of Every Dish

Dubai, 13 February 2024: Taste Estonia is set to captivate the culinary world at Gulfood 2024, showcasing the art of sustainable cooking with Estonia’s very own Green Michelin Star chef Peter Pihel. In a series of anticipated Top Table masterclasses, Chef Pihel will demonstrate the transformative power of the humble carrot, bringing to life the rich tradition of Estonian cuisine through innovative techniques such as cooking, curing, and fermenting.

Through Chef Peter Pihel’s masterclasses on February 21st and 23rd and the diverse offerings of Estonian restaurants and producers, visitors will leave with a renewed appreciation for sustainable, innovative cuisine possibilities.

Chef Peter Pihel’s culinary journey is marked by exploration, sustainability, and a deep respect for nature. Having honed his skills in some of Europe’s most prestigious kitchens, Pihel earned a Green Michelin Star in 2022 for his environmentally conscious approach to cuisine. His philosophy centres on the belief that exceptional food starts with respect for the environment, an ethos he passionately shares through his dishes. At Gulfood 2024, Pihel will showcase his skills and inspire attendees with his commitment to culinary innovation and environmental stewardship.

Gulfood 2024 attendees are invited to experience the Taste Estonia stand, where the fusion of tradition and innovation creates a dining experience unlike any other, represented by 18 Estonian companies at the forefront of sustainable food production.

Estonia’s participation in Gulfood reflects its commitment to sustainable and innovative culinary practices. Estonian chefs and food producers are at the forefront of integrating sustainable methods with culinary innovation, resulting in a food culture that is both environmentally responsible and gastronomically advanced. From utilising locally sourced ingredients to adopting zero-waste practices, Estonia is pioneering a movement that celebrates the earth’s bounty without compromising its future. Taste Estonia’s showcase at Gulfood 2024 is a testament to the country’s leadership in green culinary practices, offering a glimpse into the future of food rooted in tradition yet boldly innovative.

Taste Estonia’s participation in Gulfood 2024, co-funded by the EU, marks a significant milestone in Estonia’s journey towards becoming a global leader in sustainable gastronomy. Join us at the Trade Centre Arena, S-G44, from February 19th to 23rd, and be part of the culinary revolution that is setting the stage for the future of food.

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 Jetour took its first international bow on January 27 in the UAE, underscoring the Region’s global importance. 

January 29, 2024, Dubai, UAE – The Elite Cars, the exclusive distributor of Jetour in the UAE, launched the JETOUR T2 model on January 27. The fast-growing global automotive brand is known for bringing a “Safe, Comfortable, Intelligent, and Robust” Travel+ lifestyle to individuals. The launch in the UAE marks a historic milestone as the new model’s first-ever global introduction. It underscores the brand’s dedication to pushing boundaries and redefining the SUV automotive landscape in the region.


The launch event took place at Terra Solis and attendees were treated to a visual extravaganza as the night sky lit up with a synchronised drone show that showcased the car’s design along with the vision for Jetour and The Elite Cars, culminating with a mesmerising display of fireworks. Notably, to commemorate the momentous occasion, six of the first customers of the Jetour T2 were ceremoniously handed the keys to their cars.


The new off-road SUV model is the first T-series product under the JETOUR brand, representing the spirit of travelling and modern luxury. Designed for thrill seekers, this 4×4 SUV experience combines intelligent, cutting-edge technology, an exquisite muscular design and unparalleled performance.


No matter the terrain or challenge, be it the bustling urban streets or the steep inclines in nature, the JETOUR T2 ensures a smooth and exhilarating drive. Notable features include its 4-cylinder 2.0 Turbo-charged engine delivering 254 bhp, choice of seven driving modes, intuitive multi-function display, bilingual voice control, and Kunpeng Power.


“We take great pride in introducing the highly anticipated JETOUR T2 to our esteemed clientele in the UAE, who will have the unique distinction of being the first to own and drive these exceptional vehicles. As part of our steadfast dedication to provide a world-class experience, we are committed to catering to their needs and surpassing their expectations,” remarked Mr. Tamer Abu Khalaf, Co-Founder, The Elite Cars. “With its impeccable design and advanced features, Jetour’s latest model – The T2 is perfectly suited for the demands of this region. Our valued customers can venture into any terrain with peace of mind, knowing that their JETOUR T2 will effortlessly conquer any challenge.”


“We have seen exponential growth in the UAE since our official launch in 2018, and are confident that, with the launch of the all-new JETOUR T2, we will continue to further captivate the hearts of customers in the region, given our strong appreciation towards innovation, quality craftsmanship and performance,” comments Mr. Li Xueyong, President of JETOUR Auto and Vice President of Chery Automobile Co. Ltd.


Jetour takes pride in providing extraordinary peace of mind through our industry-leading warranty and service packages. Our remarkable 10-year/1 million kilometre warranty and comprehensive 3-year service package guarantees outstanding after-sales support, enabling our customers to enjoy a seamless ownership experience and complete satisfaction throughout their journey with Jetour.

“W Capital” held special exhibition for “Rabdan Developments” projects

“W Capital” held special exhibition for “Rabdan Developments” projects

*The real estate market is reaping the benefits of Dubai’s global leadership

*The market is full of attractive opportunities despite the significant price increase

Walid Al Zarooni

Dubai – United Arab Emirates

  Friday 26 January 2024 :W Capital Real Estate Brokerage organized their own real estate exhibition in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, promoting the new projects of Rabdan Developments.

The exhibition started on Monday, January 22, 2024, at the Dusit Thani Hotel, Abu Dhabi, and lasted for 3 days.

“This exhibition is one of the important events organized by the company periodically, and at the top of their local real estate agenda, as it becomes an upscale platform for marketing important real estate projects, with the opportunities it provides to reach all segments of buyers and diverse real estate investors,” said Walid Al Zarooni ,W capital CEO.

 “W Capital work hard to market all real estate categories, starting with projects for middle and limited-income people, all the way to luxury projects and complexes,” he added.

  Walid Al Zarooni said that the exhibition focused on promoting the projects of Rabdan Developments, one of the leading UAE real estate developers, pointing out that the real estate market is full of attractive opportunities despite the significant price increase over the last three years.

The CEO revealed that Rabdan Developments is preparing to launch the “Gharbi 1 Residences” project in Jumeirah Village Circle soon, which will be an icon in architectural engineering, and will feature panoramic views and exceptional amenities. The project will offer studios with a balcony, one-bedroom apartments with a balcony and a pool, and two-bedroom apartments with balcony, private terrace and pool, and 4-bedroom villa with balcony and pool.

He stressed that Rabdan Developments focus on setting new standards in the real estate sector by providing innovative, sustainable and aesthetically attractive development projects. The company focus on redefining the way people experience urban life through a combination of advanced technology and artistic design.

Walid Al Zarooni stated that the UAE is witnessing a boom in organizing unique real estate exhibitions in recent years, amid the attractiveness of the country’s real estate sector for both local and foreign investors. He confirmed that the UAE is experiencing a new urban shift in which they adopt modern infrastructure and urban expansion to accommodate future demand for housing in the next two decades.

He pointed out that the UAE welcome everyone and provides unprecedented facilities in terms of granting long-term residency, facilitating foreigners’ ownership of completely new projects. There are ambitious plans to become the first global preferred destination for living and working.

The CEO stressed the positive role of real estate exhibitions in attracting customers and buyers, praising the offers presented by real estate developers to capture a good segment of customers, which contributed to recording historical real estate sales exceeding AED400bn last year. He believes that the real estate market is reaping the fruits of Dubai global leadership.


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              SteelFab 2024 to host 275 exhibitors from 35 countries at Expo Centre Sharjah next Monday

              SteelFab 2024 to host 275 exhibitors from 35 countries at Expo Centre Sharjah next Monday

Sharjah, January 4, 2024

Expo Centre Sharjah (ECS) announced that it has completed its preparations to host the 19th edition of the SteelFab 2024 exhibition — the biggest event of its kind across the Middle East and North Africa region.

From January 8 to 11, over 275 exhibitors from 35 countries, including major manufacturers, producers, and suppliers in the metalworking sector, will come together at ECS, which is organising the event with support from the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The exhibition will showcase innovations by a large group of big-name brands, over 600 in number, which will present their newest welding, cutting, and fabrication techniques. The exhibitors will also display metalworking machinery and equipment capable of doubling the output of pipe manufacturing production lines and preparing prefabricated metal sheets, alongside the latest lifting and material handling systems employed across different industries.

SteelFab 2024 offers visiting representatives from companies and factories a full experience, placing before them the steel industry’s most cutting-edge technological advances as well as a wide array of state-of-the-art equipment and devices, from advanced steel manufacturing machinery to cost-effective metal laser cutting systems. In addition, visitors will have a chance to learn about key applications of AI in the development of robotics and smart solutions to boost efficiency and security in the processing of sheets, pieces, and rolling barriers.

Sultan Shattaf, Director of the Sales and Marketing Department at Expo Centre Sharjah, said the SteelFab exhibition plays an important role in inspiring entrepreneurs in the metalworking industries with practical insights and applications that, when implemented in the context of their enterprises and industrial facilities, lead to a marked difference in production and their ability to target new markets. He noted how the event and its participants are keeping abreast of all the latest developments in the steel fabrication sector, on which most relevant industries depend — foremost of all the structural and welding technology industry.

The exhibition’s 2024 edition, he said, will feature new global brand-names and exhibitors showcasing a range of equipment, machinery, and devices for the first time in the region. This fact shows how the event contributes to sustainable communication between the steel industry’s leaders and experts from Sharjah, familiarising them with the latest technologies and innovations that have played a part in the sector’s fourth industrial revolution. SteelFab also provides information and practical and professional knowledge through its programme of events which includes a series of specialised sessions and seminars discussing issues relevant to those operating in the sector.

The event, which will welcome in visitors from 10 am to 6pm daily, is set to gather leading manufacturers, producers, suppliers, and experts in the steel industry.

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India’s largest Apparel show in the Middle East ‘Brands of India’ inaugurated by H.E. Butti Saeed Al Ghandi,  Vice-Chairman, Dubai World Trade Centre    

India’s largest Apparel show in the Middle East ‘Brands of India’ inaugurated by H.E. Butti Saeed Al Ghandi, Vice-Chairman, Dubai World Trade Centre   

Empowering 350+ Indian Brands on the Global Stage: The Brands of India trade show by The Clothing Manufacturers of India (CMAI) commences today

 Dubai, UAE, November 28, 2023

In a momentous celebration of trade, international collaboration and cultural exchange, the maiden edition of Brands of India trade show organised by The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI), received a grand inauguration by H.E. Butti Saeed Al Ghandi, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai World Trade Centre. The event, is set to captivate the MENA Apparel industry at the Dubai World Trade Centre in Halls 6 & 7 from November 27th to 29th, 2023.


Supported by the Embassy of India-UAE, The Dubai Textile Merchants Association (TEXMAS), Dubai International Chamber and the Readymade Garments Merchants Group Dubai, the trade show demonstrates the rapid pace at which Indian businesses are entering the UAE market indicating a strong and positive momentum post the signing of the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) in 2022.


Complimenting CMAI for Brands of India, Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce & Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India, expressed, “This is an excellent platform to position our brands in overseas market. Under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Mr. Narendra Modi, the Government of India is dedicated to creating and supporting a modern, dynamic, integrated and world class textile sector. CMAI has been consistently promoting Indian brands, encouraging them to develop international linkages and expand their horizon in international markets, particularly in regions with substantial Indian Diaspora.”

Mr. Rajesh Masand, President, Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) said “Even before CEPA, there has been a long history of India-UAE fostering economic, cultural and friendly ties. Dubai has been strongly positioning itself as the gateway to Africa for Indian businesses and Brands of India will further cement ties and empower Indian Apparel brands to accelerate their presence in the MENA region. The co-operation in digital currencies of both countries, Dirham and Rupee along with the interconnection of payment systems is another recent development in trade settlement capabilities which will further boost business.”


Gracing the occasion as Chief Guest, H.E. Butti Saeed Al Ghandi, Vice-Chairman of the Dubai World Trade Centre, emphasised the significance of Brands of India in boosting bi-lateral ties and drawing both countries even closer and expressed “Fashion has the power to transcend borders and create lasting connections. We are delighted to witness this noteworthy event that promotes diversity and showcases the vibrant tapestry of Indian Brands.”


“Brands of India is poised to serve as a key milestone in the journey of Indian Apparel brands towards international recognition. About 1500 buyers from more than 30 countries have pre-registered to source from the show which makes us ecstatic that the platform has created exciting business prospects for Indian brands in the region” said Mr. Jayesh Shah, Chairman, Brands of India and Vice President, CMAI.



H.E. Mr. Sunjay Sudhir, Ambassador of India to UAE stated “Today, Indian brands have a global appeal and are preferred by people from across the world. I am glad the event is hosted in the UAE which is home to citizens of around 190 nationalities. Under CEPA, there is immense scope for expanding the presence of Indian Apparels in the Gulf, Middle East, Africa and Europe.”


Renowned brands such as Oxemberg, J. Hamstead, Dollar, Grammer, Louis Philippe, Van Heusen, Allen Solly, Otto, Peter England, Texas Jeans, Mexico Jeans, Klix, Double Bull, Bonheur, 109 F, Cover Story, Biba, Dressline, Indifusion, Soch, Satya Fusion, Vastrado, Zola, Gini & Jony, Little Kangaroos, Blazo, Tiny Girl, Vitamins, Mustang and many others are participating at the show.


Brands of India was initially envisioned with 150 top Apparel brands but exceeded expectations with the overwhelming participation of more than 350 brands showcasing collection that spans Western wear, Indian Ethnic wear, and Fusion wear across 145 Men’s wear brands, 80 Women’s wear brands, 90 Kidswear brands and 35 brands as Fusion of these categories.

India’s largest Apparel show in the Middle East ‘Brands of India’ inaugurated by H.E. Butti Saeed Al Ghandi, Vice-Chairman, Dubai World Trade Centre    Read More

350+ Apparel Brands set to Dazzle at Brands of India, DWTC from 27 to 29 November

350+ Apparel Brands set to Dazzle at Brands of India, DWTC from 27 to 29 November

Date: Dubai, UAE, November 25, 2023


In a landmark event marking the introductory edition of the most comprehensive trade show featuring Indian Apparel brands in the Middle East, VVIPs of UAE will officiate the opening of the ‘Brands of India’ organised by The Clothing Manufacturers Association of India (CMAI) with support from Embassy of India-UAE, The Dubai Textile Merchants Association (TEXMAS), Dubai International Chamber and Readymade Garments Merchants Group Dubai. The inauguration is scheduled to take place on the 27th of November 2023 at Halls 6 & 7 of Dubai World Trade Centre, UAE.


The event has garnered significant interest from leading Wholesalers, Retailers, Distributors, E-commerce platforms and Departmental chains, thus presenting a not-to-be-missed opportunity to forge sourcing relationship with 350+ Indian Apparel brands in Men’s Wear, Women’s Wear and Kids Wear.


Mr. Rajesh Masand, President of CMAI asserted “Brands of India offers a distinct platform for Indian Apparel manufacturers to present their latest and trendiest collection to a global audience of discerning buyers. We anticipate the fair will play a crucial role in augmenting India’s Ready-made Garment exports to the region”.


Distinguished Middle East entities including Lulu Group, Landmark Group, Apparel Group, Yellow Flower Group, Snow White, BMA International, City Centre, Bait Awladona Co. (Kuwait) will be the key attendees at the show. About 1500 prominent Retailers and Importers from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, Yemen, Egypt, Ghana, Ethiopia, Nigeria, Kenya Cameroon, Somalia, Algeria, Sudan, Russia and many other countries have pre-registered to visit the event. The show will serve as an ideal Gateway to the MENA region.


Mr. Anil Pagarani, Readymade Garments Merchants Group Dubai and Chairman, Yellow Flower Group Dubai said “India is a well-structured Textile and Garment Production hub. Over the years, Indian brands have stirred consumer sentiments in the Middle East. We are quite excited about Brands of India and plan to source the latest merchandise. The dates are just perfect to order and receive on-time deliveries for upcoming festive demand”. 


Mr. Jagdish Amarnani, Chairman, The Textile Merchants Group (Texmas), Dubai stated “India is amongst the world’s largest producer of Apparel. The fair presents a good mix of fashion collection by leading brands from Kolkata, Mumbai, Tirupur, Surat, Ahmedabad, Ludhiana, Indore, Jaipur, Bengaluru, Chennai and Delhi which completely resonates with our local customers festival demand starting from the New Year till April”. 


United Arab Emirates (UAE) emerged as the largest importer of Indian Ready-made Garments with imports totalling US$ 1.21 billion in FY 2022-23. Notably, during the first seven months of 2023-24, UAE imports of Indian Ready-made Garments reached US$ 368.78 million.


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Sustainability takes centre stage at Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East

Sustainability takes centre stage at Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East

Dubai, UAE22 November : Green initiatives are high on the agenda at Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, which takes place until 23 November at Dubai World Trade Centre. From fascinating panel debates around sustainability at the event’s discussion platform, The Hub Forum, to Project Sustainability, a showcase of the most noteworthy eco products from across the exhibition, environmental awareness is at the forefront of the co-located events.


During the opening day of Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, a panel of experts from leading paper manufacturers around the world met at the Hub Forum to share their insights on eco-friendly processes and the pivotal role they are playing in reshaping the paper industry.


Moderated by Marat Smirnov from FSC International, the panel included Marcel Mhanna, General Manager of MEPCO; Tomasz Skowronski, Business Area Manager Eastern Europe and Middle East, Avery GmbH, Wojech Zukowski, Sales and Marketing Director, WZ Eurocopert and Naynesh Pasari, CEO Shree Krishna Paper Mills & Industries.


Each company represented in the panel is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC); which verifies forests to ensure their environments are responsibly managed and meet the highest environmental standards. Companies that are FSC-certified use paper or wood products made with or containing materials from these woodlands.


Speaking during the panel Skowronski said: “Avery’s journey into sustainability started many years ago. We have divided the business into different areas including raw materials, energy, production processes, waste and social responsibility, which collectively work towards shared sustainability goals. In addition, we have made significant investments in green energy and solar panels and are committed to promoting greener fleet management by incorporating hybrid and electric vehicles. As a result of all our efforts, in 2020 our factory in Germany was recognised as being CO2 neutral.”


During the panel discussion, the experts unanimously agreed that adopting a circular model is vital to achieving sustainability in the paper industry. Additionally, they noted that the industry’s awareness of this approach is increasing. As consumers become more conscious of their choices, they are likely to prefer environmentally responsible options, which will further motivate the industry to adopt sustainable practices. However, they noted it is crucial to have strict legislation against ‘greenwashing’ to prevent companies from making false claims about their eco-friendly practices.


One of the many companies showcasing its commitment to sustainability at Paperworld Middle East this week is Asia Pulp & Paper (APP). The company has made sustainability a core pillar of its operations and has been transparently reporting its progress since 2008 through an annual Sustainability Report that aligns with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.


Sandeep Raina, Export Sales Head, APP said: “Our goal at APP is to secure a prosperous future for our children. We achieve this by creating products and delivering services that cater to every stage of life with utmost care. It is our responsibility to conduct business sustainably so that we can continue to innovate and contribute towards preserving the future.”


On day two of Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East, Sudha Bhatia, Academic Advisor at Rochester Institute of Technology was joined on stage at The Hub Forum by Grace Karim, Co-founder of Bookends, a platform for buying and selling used books, which promotes the environmentally-friendly principles of ‘reduce, reuse and recycle’.


Both speakers highlighted the importance of encouraging sustainable practices in the next generation and making sustainability an engaging and fun part of their education. Bhatia commented: “To empower youth to move towards sustainability we need to tap into their areas of interest and educate them on how small, daily actions can make a difference. Education isn’t just about what is learned in the classroom, schools should look increasingly to take their students to visit environmental projects in their area. Beeah, being one example in the UAE.”


Project Sustainability returned to Paperworld Middle East and Gifts and Lifestyle Middle East for another year, bringing together a diverse selection of sustainable items from across the two events. Products featured at Project Sustainability include an antibacterial recycled pen from Magic Trading which is made from recycled materials, and the Navigator Eco-Logical paper product which is made from fewer natural resources, whilst guaranteeing a premium quality performance.

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Bassem Youssef shares details about becoming a writer

Bassem Youssef shares details about becoming a writer

In a candid discussion on Friday evening at the Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF 2023), author and comedian Bassem Youssef revealed fresh, undisclosed details about his two viral interviews with Piers Morgan about the ongoing war in Gaza. “When the events in Gaza unfolded, Morgan’s producer contacted me for an interview to discuss the matter. The image portrayed in Western media was very negative, and I felt that talking about it at that time was akin to career suicide. I initially refused, but as the repeated requests and abundant misinformation continued to pile on, I decided to speak and set the record straight. I considered approaching it comedically, knowing this interview would be a double-edged sword”, Youssef shared with Emirati entrepreneur Anas Bukhash, who moderated the dialogue. Getting the facts straight Bassem Youssef went on to explain that after realising the incredible resonance and impact of the first interview, he decided to conduct another in-person interview with Morgan.

The preparation for the second interview was different, intending to explain an issue inaccurately he said, adding that he collaborated with researchers, forming three teams from around the world, including historians from the West Bank, Gaza, and other locations.  He said, “They conducted extensive interviews over two weeks, gathering significant information. The challenge was finding the appropriate way to present it, which I did calmly, allowing the interviewer his space and successfully delivering my message”. Bassem also let his packed audience in on his journey of living in America, parenthood, and his book The Magical Reality of Nadia during an insightful and witty dialogue.  Focusing fully on the present  The Egyptian comedian told the audience that the idea of doing stand-up comedy in English emerged because he needed a source of income to establish himself in the media. 

“The first two years were extremely challenging and frustrating due to the audience’s response to my performance”.  Youssef then transitioned to hosting a show in Arabic. Sharing his learnings from this period, he opined, “You should not look at the journey as a whole, nor should you anticipate how it will end. Instead, focus on the present and what you have today. The future will come, so don’t preoccupy yourself with what you will be. You will only reach there if you concentrate on what you are doing now, without neglecting proper planning.’ Children’s book on embracing differences and diversity About authoring The Magical Reality of Nadia, Youssef said the idea emerged from a talk with his agent. “The protagonist, Nadia, named after my daughter, faces challenges in school because she comes from a different background, but possesses a tool that allows her to revisit her ancient history.

The book’s main idea was to discuss diversity and how one can learn and benefit from this diversity. I believe that life is a continuous journey of learning”. On the importance of reading, Youssef stressed the need to choose a book based on personal interest and read it through. He enjoys reading about history from different points of view and appreciates the diverse perspectives that enhance communication. At the end of the session, Youssef shared the three most significant lessons he learned in 2023: the importance of continuous learning; empathy towards others, especially towards those who are different; and the virtues of patience and in achieving one’s aspirations’.

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Ithra explores innovative digital library systems in Sharjah International Library Conference

Ithra explores innovative digital library systems in Sharjah International Library Conference

Sharjah, 9 november, 2023,


The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra), Diamond Sponsor of Sharjah International Library Conference, on November 8 presented a cultural session in the 10th edition of the library conference titled, “The library as a sustainable and creative source, the Ithra Library as a model.” Speakers included Tariq Khawaji, Cultural Consultant at Ithra, Ali Al-Saadi, Library Systems & Technical Services Specialist at the center, and Nadine Achkar, MEA Country Manager II of Global Libraries & Education at Overdrive. Together, and before a regional and international audience of passionate librarians, they introduced Ithra and shared digital knowledge and expertise around important topics in the world of libraries.


An international model

Ali Al-Saadi started the session by highlighting the early developmental stages of the Ithra Library, how it grew over the past five years to become a library that is competitive worldwide in terms of design and integration of technologies; made evident in its nomination for IFLA’s Public Library of the Year Award in 2022.

“Since the start of 2023, the Ithra Library has had over 600,000 visitors and 37,000 readers. So far it has successfully conducted 88 reading clubs, 80 programs, and around 600 cultural sessions,” says Al-Saadi. “The Ithra Library’s programs stopped being exclusive to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Some of its initiatives now take place in at least seven Arab and international cities.

The Ithra Library also produces publications of its own, some of which have been translated into many different languages.”


Full digitalization

“RFID technology is used at the Ithra Library to make the process of borrowing and returning books easier for readers. Smart screens dispersed around the library enable readers to easily scan books and find detailed information on their chosen book, as well as screens that help them locate the books they’re looking for,” he says.

Al-Saadi also noted the sustainable practices that the Ithra Library diligently applies. “Whether it’s waste management, recycling initiatives or cans for plastic, paper, and food, the Ithra Library applies sustainable environmental practices across its four levels,” he adds.


Youth potential

The discussion that followed was presented by Tariq Khawaji, who highlighted the crucial role of libraries in enriching the intellect and creativity of youth. The Ithra Library, he says, offers many creative and cultural programs and initiatives especially tailored to fulfill the needs of all young age groups.

Khawaji pointed to the iRead competition as an example, which is a reading competition that started ten years ago as a program available only to people in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia. It has developed over the years to become a regional competition open to all Arab countries. The competition is one of many tracks under the Ithra Reading Program (iRead). Others include Kutubiya for exchanging books, iRead Marathon which plants trees as a reward for reading, and iRead Talks that bring together intellectuals, writers and culture lovers in Arab countries as well as Saudi Arabia to discuss books and reading.

The King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture (Ithra) participated in Sharjah International Book Fair for the first time in 2023, as a Diamond Sponsor of SILC taking place at SIBF during November 7-9, an exhibitor in the book fair, and a participant in its Cultural Program.

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