Networking

What is ‘Networking’

Networking is a process that fosters the exchange of information and ideas among individuals or groups that share common interests. Networking may fall into one of two categories: social or business. Less commonly in finance, the term “networking” may also refer to the setting up and operation of a physical computer network.

BREAKING DOWN ‘Networking’

Physically, a network forms interconnecting lines through passages, lines or cables. One line may intersect with another, and then the second line goes in a different direction to connect to more lines, and so on and so forth to form a netlike structure. Metaphorically, someone’s network remains connected through a series of symbolic ties. Business connections may form due to someone’s education, employer, industry or common colleagues.

Business Networking

In terms of business networking, one of the implicit objectives is to form professional relationships that may boost one’s future business and employment prospects. Networking events, such as conferences and meetings, are common practice within professional organizations, which may also link up with other bodies to stage a joint event.

Strategies for expanding someone’s network include developing relationships with people and companies as opposed to just swapping contact information. People and companies within a network usually maintain regular contact with each other to gain each other’s trust. Instead of going for a volume of contacts, quality may be preferred even though it takes more time and effort. The key to networking lies in engaging with someone in a network. Without meaningful, relevant contact, the purpose of in-person and online networking fails.

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Online Networking

Business networking has received a tremendous boost in participation thanks to the burgeoning popularity of business networking websites. LinkedIn provides an online meeting place for business professionals to engage with other professionals, join groups, post blogs and create online profiles with the goal of catching the attention of others with similar interests. LinkedIn allows users to search for companies, departments and employees of various firms. People within a LinkedIn network can put potential employees in touch with human resources managers or recruiters. Likewise, a business-to-business customer pipeline could develop in this way.

Computer Networking

Computer networking involves connecting computers in the same building or office so users can readily communicate with other computers or devices. Switches connect multiple devices in one building on the same network. Computers, for instance, can connect to printers, fax machines, scanners and servers through a switch. Routers tie multiple networks together, such as when a computer connects to an Internet router to access the Web. Routers control the information going to and from computer networks through security software and programs.

 

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Global Business Conference Attendee Brochure

Olympia Conference Centre, London

Promoting Entrepreneurs & Business Collaboration

21–22 September 2017

Hammersmith Road, London,

United Kingdom

 

 

International Business Federation (IBF) is a non-profit organisation that creates global platform for entrepreneurs. Its objectives are:

i) Promoting international business collaboration

ii) Promoting business growth through showcasing business at international level and networking

iii) Promoting innovation through cross fertilisation of ideas and business mentoring.

iv) Helping dynamic collaboration between the emerged and emerging markets

IBF helps building trusted relationships of businesses across the globe to enhance collaboration. It organise Global and International Business Conferences and Networking Events, Trade Exhibitions and Business Expo. The IBF consultants help cross -country bridging including legal formalities and deeper understanding.

Global Business Conference & Business Expo 2017 is opportunity for Entrepreneurship Promotion & Connecting Businesses Some of the top minds in international business will be at the event.

You can gain and share invaluable insights in a live and highly interactive environment. Put simply, Global business conference is unmissable for your brand and business to seize the global business presence and seeking future opportunities.

It is estimated that the venue will host 5,000 business visitors over two days, including entrepreneurs, CEOs, managing directors and other key business decision-makers. There will be multi Industry focus between UK and BRICS.

There will be key note speakers, presentations, workshops, seminars and B2B meetings across 2 days.

 

Global Business Conference and Expo 2017

ATTEND THE CONFERENCE WITH PRIDE at LONDON

OLYMPIA CONFERENCE CENTRE

In July 2011, four environmental, health and safety officers from Sembcorp’s Singapore and UK operations visited Sembcorp Gulf O&M (SGOMC) to conduct an internal audit as well as a staff safety training session. This was the first collaborative exercise conducted jointly by Sembcorp Singapore, UK and the Fujairah Independent Water and Power Plant (F1) team.

Objectives were to impart audit experience to the F1 team, preparing them for the external ISO/OHSAS certification audit at the end of 2011 and, eventually, for certification as compliant with the Abu Dhabi Environment, Health and Safety Management System (EHSMS) requirements.

The Singapore-UK team, comprising Ivy Chua, Joan Toh, Cheong Shu Jun and Adrian Parker, started providing its support in September 2010, and has worked with the F1 team to complete the documentation of the EHS Management System Procedures, and also supported them in the implementation phase. With the team’s expertise and their commitment towards Sembcorp, the collaboration has proved to be valuable and fruitful.

Lead auditor Ivy Chua said, “I am very impressed by the effort and commitment demonstrated by the operations team. They were very eager to find out how to make their systems more robust.”

In addition to the audit, HSE training sessions were incorporated into the visit. This training is part of Group HSE’s regular support to Sembcorp’s business units, which serves to strengthen the Group’s performance as a whole.

The UAE and the UK are celebrating their long-standing relationship through the continuation of a cultural exchange programme.

Officials have announced the latest series of events under the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration, aimed at strengthen existing ties and forging new partnerships.

The British Council is collaborating with a wide range of British and Emirati partners to create diverse programmes spanning the arts, literature, education, society, sport, science and trade.

Hannah Henderson, Head of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Culture at the British Council, explains what makes the initiative unique.

Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, spoke on Thursday of the long friendship and mutual understanding at the heart of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration. “This Ministry is honoured to be partnering with the British Council in full support of this imaginative cultural venture,” he said. “When the joint patrons of UK/UAE 2017 – His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan – inaugurated this creative collaboration at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain last November, we knew that a great adventure was on the horizon. Now we are getting under way.” Held at the Abu Dhabi headquarters of the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the ceremony, which was also attended by Philip Parham, the British Ambassador to the UAE, was used to announce the events that will form the spring season of the year-long programme.

The UAE/UK Cultural Exchange Program, which will be taking place throughout 2017 under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Emirati forces and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, comes as an embodiment of the depth of relations between the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom over the past years. The program emphasizes the mutual appreciation of culture, values and tradition of both countries. The launch of the program is a clear reflection of the openness of the United Arab Emirates to different cultures of the world stemming from values of acceptance, tolerance, peace and respect for others. UK/UAE 2017 will focus on launching joint events and activities reflecting creativity and cultural, artistic and heritage exchanges between Britain and the UAE. This will be achieved through collaboration between the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the British Council, the World Organization for Arts and Education and a large number of bodies and partners to organize a varied program of events and activities in the fields of art, literature, education, society, sports and science.

The program also aims to celebrate the relationship between both countries and work on its consolidation and development to keep pace with contemporary requirements. This will be achieved through presenting heritage and cultural programs, values and traditions established in both countries. In addition to supporting contemporary creativity in all areas and presenting creative and innovative ideas and supporting talents. All this will help to strengthen economic and cultural ties between the two countries and explore opportunities for future cooperation. Both countries believe in the importance of cultural and human communication which contributes to the increase of direct contact between the two cultures , for example the exchange of visits and experiences among the younger generation. The cultural program acts as an embodiment of the strength of the relationship between Britain and the UAE and the continuation of the successful cooperation especially after the visit of the Prince of Wales to the UAE which paved the way for this program. This program is a real addition for joint cooperation in the cultural and innovation field forming the basis of continuation of the extraordinary relationship between the UAE and the United Kingdom. Word by Sheikh Nahayan during the press conference: Ambassador Parham, Members of the Press, Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen: Welcome to the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development. We are gathered to announce the spring season of UK/UAE 2017—A Year of Creative Collaboration Between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates.

This Ministry is honored to be partnering with the British Council in full support of this imaginative cultural venture. When the joint patrons of UK/UAE 2017—His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan—inaugurated this creative collaboration at Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain last November, we knew that a great adventure was on the horizon. Now we are getting underway. As many of you know, the three themes of UK/UAE 2017 are the next generation, community, and inclusion. Those three themes embody vibrant cultures. We in the UAE have always admired the culture of the United Kingdom because it has so creatively managed the education of its youth, tended to the needs and aspirations of its communities, and engaged in understanding dialogue with all elements of its diverse population and with all countries around the world. We in the UAE have been proud to call the UK our friend, a friend with whom we have enjoyed a long, harmonious, and productive relationship. Our long friendship has opened our eyes to creative forces and achievements that distinguish our respective cultures. Nothing could be more illustrative of our cultural affinity with the UK than our embrace of the English language, taught so effectively by the British Council. After all, our beloved Arabic language has served us well in all aspects of our lives. It is the essence of our souls. And it is the language that communicates our deepest beliefs. I am sure that this year’s creative collaboration will help UK citizens to better appreciate the power and beauty of Arabic. At the same time, our knowledge of English will enable us to better understand the imaginative and creative genius of the British people.

This year will be a glorious learning experience for us all. I am reminded of a brilliant epigram uttered by a twentieth-century artist who said: Our heads are round so our thoughts can change direction. The very notion of creative collaboration demands our round heads so that our thoughts can change direction. We will gain new direction-changing information. We will alter and even reject some existing ideas. We will discover new points of view and possibly adopt some of them. Using our round heads, we will enrich our lives and our own cultures. That is inevitable. We will encounter a mysterious painting or a challenging installation or a joyous folk dance or a classic architectural feature or an unforgettable musical phrase or a powerful sculpture or the soaring language of a drama or the compelling composition of a photograph or an astonishing metaphor or a deft mise-en-scène [miz-an-sen] of a movie. Our thoughts will change direction. We will strengthen our resolve to cooperate. We will creatively collaborate upon an absolutely firm foundation. The UK and the UAE have always shared common values—a devotion to our own cultures and a deep respect for and appreciation of other cultures, ethnicities, languages, religions, and beliefs. We share the desire for global peace and the safety, prosperity, and well-being of our communities.

We share the joys of civilization. This Year of Creative Collaboration Between the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates will intensify those joys. Thank you all for being here today in support of this marvelous undertaking. The spring programme includes: Cultural Excellence Fellowship programme; Capacity Building for Researchers at Heriot Watt University, Academic City; an extensive education and outreach programme to support the performances of Madam Butterfly and La Bohème from the Welsh National Opera and to accompany the six performances by the BBC Proms with BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers at Dubai Opera; a dedicated Science Strand at Emirates Airline Festival of Literature;

UK based artists commissions at Sharjah Biennial 13 Tamawuj; Fantastic Mr. Fox production; Crafts Council and ‘Britain Takes Shape’ exhibitions at Design Days Dubai; DEAL Live by Blooloop Experience Economy Conference; Science Collaboration Symposium: Smart Cities at Masdar Institute of Technology; Accessibility & Inclusivity for Museums workshops; The Shakespeare Globe Storytelling Workshops; Anish Kapoor: The Creative Act panel discussion; Shakespeare Under the Stars: Macbeth; Think Science: Sugar Science workshops and a Musician in Residence programme. The curatorial approach to the UK/UAE 2017 programme asks questions regarding the role of culture in future societies. Structured into four main enquiries, it looks at the future of heritage, concepts of future in science and imagination, the future of audiences, and the future of the business of culture. Exploring the ways in which cultural heritage and creative expression when shared between nations can inspire innovation across different sectors, developing and shaping the societies of tomorrow, UK/UAE 2017’s programme will stimulate and inspire the next generation and identify sources of future collaboration between the UK and the UAE.

ABU DHABI, 19th March, 2017 (WAM) — British Polo Day on Saturday returned to Abu Dhabi for the first of its 2017 events. Some 200 guests and VIPs, including Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, Philip Parham, the British Ambassador, Richard le Poer, Earl of Tyrone, and Bear Grylls, TV adventurer and survivalist, came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions.
The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, and H.R.H. The Prince of Wales in October 2016. The unique cultural programme has been initiated to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between people, institutions and businesses. The British Polo Days in the UAE provide such a platform, with the best of British and the UAE on display, with Harrods, Bentley, Royal Salute and Hackett all supporting. There was also a chance to introduce new global partner, Chelsea Barracks, the new neighborhood development incorporating 5 new garden squares in Belgravia, London, to the guests. Other new partners included VistaJet and YPI Luxury Yachts, further cementing the British Polo Day community.
The event, which was presented by RJI Capital, took place for the 7th year at Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of H.H. Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al Nahyan. The glamorous black-tie evening kicked off with a bicycle polo demonstration, a sport played in the Olympics over 100 years ago, with players from the regiments of Cavalry and Guards competing in Bentley and Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi Teams respectively for The Thesiger Trophy.

Next, Stuart Wrigley captained the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Abu Dhabi team, sponsored by Vista Jet, who were victorious.

The highlight exhibition polo match of the evening, The British Polo Day Plate, saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles, with both sides led onto the field of play by the first two Bentley 4X4s, the new Bentayga, in the UAE. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.

British Polo Day Abu Dhabi’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting bespoke-commissioned British Silverware British Polo Day trophies presented by Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Muburak Al Nahyan and Ron Wahid, Chairman and CEO of RJI Capital. The agile Curacho, ridden by Sami Al Namsi, was named Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Best Playing Pony’ by Marc de Panafieu, Brand Director for Middle East.

Following the prize-giving ceremony, guests sat down to a three-course dinner followed by a live charity auction which raised a total of US$20,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al Nahyan, the Sumba Foundation and Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom and Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, that helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.
Guests bid fiercely for lot that included a safari of a lifetime to Kenya with The Safari Collection, a stay at the beautiful Cape View Clifton, a special dinner at Wiltons and a trip to the amazing Nihiwatu on Sumba Island in Indonesia for the British Polo Day being held there later this year.
The next event on the calendar is British Polo Day Dubai on Friday 24th March at the Al Habtoor Polo Club and Resort, where the British teams will play against Habtoor Polo and the Gulf Team.

Saturday 18th March 2017: British Polo Day, presented by RJI Capital, returned to Abu Dhabi for the first of its 2017 events. Some 200 guests and VIPs including HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan, HE Philip Parham, the British Ambassador, the Earl of Tyrone and Bear Grylls came together to celebrate the best of UAE and British traditions.

The UK/UAE Year of Creative Collaboration was launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and HRH The Prince of Wales in October 2016, with HH Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak al Nahyan giving a stirring speech stating the aims of increasing the visibility of the UK in the UAE and vice versa in order to give greater focus, depth and contemporary relevance to the long-standing relationship between the two nations. The unique cultural programme has been initiated to strengthen existing relationships and broker new ones between people, institutions and businesses. The British Polo Days in the UAE provide such a platform, with the best of British and the UAE on display, with Harrods, Bentley, Royal Salute and Hackett all supporting. There was also a chance to introduce our new global partner, Chelsea Barracks, the exceptional new neighborhood development incorporating 5 new garden squares in Belgravia, London, to the guests. Other new partners included VistaJet and YPI Luxury Yachts, further cementing the British Polo Day community.

 

This spectacular event took place, for the 7th year, at Ghantoot Racing & Polo Club, the private royal polo ground of HH Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan. The glamorous black-tie evening kicked off with a bicycle polo demonstration, a sport played in the Olympics over 100 years ago, with players from the regiments of Cavalry and Guards competing in Bentley and Intercontinental Hotel Abu Dhabi Teams respectively for The Thesiger Trophy.

 

Next Stuart Wrigley captained the Oxbridge team, sponsored by Chelsea Barracks, against the Abu Dhabi team, sponsored by Vista Jet, who were victorious.

 

The highlight exhibition polo match of the evening – The British Polo Day Plate –saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute British Exiles, with both sides led onto the field of play by the first two Bentley Bentaygas in the UAE the opening ceremony. The RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team rode to victory.

British Polo Day Abu Dhabi’s official prize giving ceremony saw the winning teams collecting the bespoke-commissioned British Silverware British Polo Day trophies presented by HH Sheikh Shakhboot bin Nahyan bin Muburak Al Nahyan and Ron Wahid, Chairman and CEO of RJI Capital. The agile Curacho, ridden by Sami Al Namsi, was named Jaeger-LeCoultre’s ‘Best Playing Pony’ by Marc de Panafieu, Brand Director for Middle East.

 

Following the prize-giving ceremony, guests sat down to a delicious three-course dinner prepared by the InterContinental Abu Dhabi followed by a live charity auction raising a total of $20,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by Her Highness Sheikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan, the Sumba Foundation and Sentebale, a charity founded by Prince Harry of the United Kingdom, together with Prince Seeiso of Lesotho, that helps the most vulnerable children in Lesotho and Botswana get the support they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

 

Guests bid fiercely for lots including a safari of a lifetime to Kenya with The Safari Collection, a stay at the beautiful Cape View Clifton, a special Dinner at Wiltons and a trip to the amazing Nihiwatu on Sumba Island in Indonesia for the British Polo Day held there later this year.

 

The next event is British Polo Day Dubai held on Friday 24th March at the Al Habtoor Polo Club & Resort where the British teams will play against Habtoor Polo and the Gulf Team.

Signed by the UK Space Agency Chief Executive, Dr David Parker, and H.E Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, the MoU allows for extensive cooperative activities in the field of space between the UK and the UAE, including partnerships in scientific missions and outreach efforts.

Today’s agreement builds upon decades of friendship and strategic partnership between the UK and UAE.

David Parker, CEO of the UK Space Agency, said:

We are extremely proud of this memorandum. This collaboration in the space field is a sign of the strong desire of our two countries to work together, and confirms the commitment of the UK to become a partner of the UAE Space Agency,”

British Ambassador to United Arab Emirates, Philip Parham, added:

With the signing of this MoU, the broad and deep UK and UAE strategic partnership has now reached space. This will open the way for extensive cooperation and partnership in space research, scientific missions and popular outreach. The UK is one of the world leaders in space exploration and technology: UK technology was key to the world’s first collaborative satellite and the most distant probe landing ever achieved – Ariel 1 and Huygens respectively. I’m excited to imagine the potential, the uncharted frontiers and the many benefits which the UAE and UK can realise together in this field.

The MoU includes an extensive framework for cooperation between the UK Space Agency and the UAE Space Agency, including conception and implementation of joint studies and projects, the exchange of scientific data and information, an exchange of personnel and training of specialists between the two agencies, as well as government activities related to space policy, public outreach and human development.

H.E Dr Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency said:

The UAE enjoys a strong relationship with the United Kingdom in various fields, including education, business, science and culture. We are looking forward to further augmenting this relationship via the new MoU, which is in line with our strategic plans to expand collaboration with the UK.

Al Romaithi added:

We discussed with our English counterparts opportunities to develop aspects of collaboration in areas of common interest and future prospects. We look forward to exchanging expertise, participating in joint studies as well as holding joint conferences and symposia. All of these undertakings will benefit the space agencies of both nations and strengthen the ties between our people.

H.E Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency spoke about the UAE space sector and the state’s strategy, objectives, initiatives, and programs in this field, in addition to the agency’s strategic priorities.

Al Ahbabi said:

The UAE Space Agency recognizes the importance of space exploration in the greater context of advancing humanities legacy. We are firm believers in working together with all competent entities in the field of space towards the common goal of fostering the well-being of humankind.

Prior to today’s signing, the UK Space Agency’s International Partnership Space Programme has already co-funded with the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre in the UAE (MBRSC) a project between Deimos Space UK and MBRSC to develop mapping applications that use DubaiSat-2 and Deimos-2 high-resolution satellite data.

 

Abu Dhabi: The British government is looking to enhance its scientific collaboration and research with the UAE and the other five Gulf Cooperation Council countries in areas such as climate change, smart cities, and health care, with grants of £400,000 (Dh1,847,688) being awarded to Masdar Institute and Khalifa University as part of its programme.

The programme — Gulf Science, Innovation and Knowledge Economy — is being run in partnership with the British Council, with a total of £9 million being allocated for the four-year project.

“This is a new strategic and financial commitment aimed at strengthening partnerships between the Gulf countries and the UK. It’s a £9 million fund that has been allocated by the British government over the next four years,” said Clara Grundy, deputy director at the British Council, and the current head of the project.

“The programme looks at recognising and addressing common global challenges, for example, climate change, cyber security, and health care. We want to develop an integrated research and innovation approach that brings together different researchers from different disciplines, sectors, and cultures to work together,” she added.

 

Grundy explained that innovation in science was among the main focus of the programme with the UAE, and that several applications have been sent from institutions in the country to join the project.

 

“In the UAE we are specifically looking at science and innovation. There was an open call for institutional links and research in the UAE around certain themes like renewable energy. We accepted two applications we received from Masdar Institute and Khalifa University,” she said.

“The projects that we accepted from these two institutions are being fully funded with £400,000 each for their two-year projects. The Masdar Institute project is focused on desalination, while the Khalifa University research is on the environment and the prevention of harmful algae,” she added.

Grundy said that along with funding scientific research in the UAE, the programme was also holding capacity building workshops to help early and mid-career researchers.

“Two of these workshops have been held in the UAE so far, one in Abu Dhabi and the other one in Dubai. In each of these courses there were approximately 20 researchers, and so we have trained 40 researchers this year alone.

“They were three-day workshops that looked at the communication skills — whether written or oral that are required for researchers to be able to collaborate on an international platform, and to develop those skills. [The training] also looked at how to bid for funding, and how to present their research,” she added.

Grundy said the programme had been very positive so far, and also added that it was crucial for countries to develop scientific partnerships with each other along with cultural and diplomatic ties.

“The reason we are now looking to the Gulf countries is because on a federal level they have started to take research innovation as a priority. The Gulf countries are looking out externally to collaborate on an international platform.

“In the world that are we are living in it is very important to strengthen scientific partnerships, and especially with the UAE’s vision of turning itself into a knowledge based economy, so this can only be beneficial to both countries,” she added.

as delegations from the new US administration, Russia, China and the EU gathered at the Munich Security Conference to discuss the strategic challenges facing the international community, a very different international assembly was taking place at the Abu Dhabi headquarters of the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development.

As ministers in Germany prepared to debate matters diplomats define as “hard power” – military and economic issues relating to the future of the European Union, Nato and the West – Sheikh Nahyan Mubarak, the UAE Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, the British ambassador to the UAE and British Council representatives unveiled details of an initiative that represents diplomacy at its softest.

 

A collaboration between the British Council, the UK government and local strategic partners such as Abu Dhabi’s Tourism and Culture Authority (TCA), the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (DCAA) and the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration is a series of events that range from the recent performances of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s West End record-breaking musical Cats at Dubai Opera, to scientific conferences on the UAE’s future urban development.

 

“The UK/UAE 2017 initiative is cultural diplomacy at its best, using the creativity and passion of our brightest talents to forge a new and lasting collaboration that engages and inspires future generations,” Sheikh Nahyan said at last week’s unveiling of the initiative’s spring season.

It followed the programme’s launch under the auspices of Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, and the Prince of Wales in November.

 

Rather than a roster of treaties and military commitments, the aim of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Creative Collaboration is to employ culture in its broadest sense – including the arts and literature, sport and education, science, technology and business – to foster understanding between the two nations and to strengthen cultural and economic ties.

The bonds are already considerable, according to Philip Parham, the United Kingdom’s ambassador to the UAE.

 

“More than 100,000 British nationals live in the UAE and they have made and continue to make an outstanding contribution,” Mr Parham said, reflecting on just one example of that contribution, the impact of UK-based designers on the UAE’s urban fabric.

“In December I had a moment when this struck me particularly, when I was standing in front of the Sheikh Zayed Mosque,” the ambassador said.

“Behind me was the mosque, beautifully decorated with mosaics designed by the British artist Kevin Dean. In front of me was this incredibly memorable new monument, designed by the British artist Idris Khan and to my left was the [Sheikh Zayed] bridge, designed by the British architect, Zaha Hadid.”

 

Mr Parham might have added Dubai’s World Trade Centre and the Burj Al Arab to his list of British architectural imports, as well as Abu Dhabi’s Zayed National Museum, World Trade Centre and Masdar City, but his message was unambiguous – building on such a deep relationship in a meaningful way has represented a significant challenge.

Luckily, the person responsible for rising to the occasion is no stranger to the UAE’s cultural scene.

 

Before joining the British Council as head of the UK/UAE 2017 Year of Culture eight months ago, Hannah Henderson worked for the Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Festival for almost five years and before that was head of arts for the British Council in the Middle East, a role in which she designed and delivered the organisation’s first regional arts strategy for the Gulf.

“The intention of the whole year is that it will give a greater depth and contemporary focus to the relationship between the two countries,” she said.

“But because there’s a long and strong history of collaboration in pretty much every sphere imaginable, it’s about looking at what this means today, right now, through the lens of culture.”

What that allows, Ms Henderson said, is for individuals and organisations to collaborate and engage in ways that are not transactional but based on mutual benefit and understanding.

It is an approach that results, she said in projects that are quite different from those predicated on commercial considerations.

 

“We start from the position of not programming a festival, but of building an understanding and working together,” she said, citing accessibility and inclusivity workshops developed with the Sharjah Museums Department as an example. “They are developing programmes two to three years in advance, they don’t need any help with that. So we asked what we could do that would help the museums to develop in an area of their choosing.”

 

The result is a series of workshops aimed at UAE-based ­museum professionals that will draw on UK expertise in creating museum environments that cater for audiences that include people with disabilities.

If some of the public events in the year’s spring season sound like more traditional British fare – such as performances at Dubai Opera by the BBC Symphony Orchestra and BBC Singers, a musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox or roving, outdoor performances of Shakespeare’s Macbeth – Ms Henderson is determined to avoid accusations of cultural imperialism.

 

“It’s not about importing British cultural products, it’s about looking at two-way knowledge transfer so everything we are doing is done in partnership,” she said. “There’s no project that is the British Council bringing a British product or a British artist to the UAE and putting it on here. Every single project has a British partner and a UAE-based partner and all of them have been developed to meet the needs of both.”

 

Despite being one of four years of creative collaboration the British Council is running this year – the others are in India, Korea and Malaysia – the themes of the UAE season have been tailored, Ms Henderson said, to complement the country’s strategic aims in developing a society to make the transition to a post-oil, knowledge-based economy.

“It’s about looking at how all of these projects, the vast majority of which have dedicated education, skills and capacity-building elements linked to them, can help to equip the next generation of Emiratis with skills that will be useful to them in the UAE.”

 

Ms Henderson’s emphasis on a long-term approach to cultural engagement was echoed by Randa Haidar, head of cultural programmes for Abu Dhabi’s Tourism and Culture Authority.

“Culture doesn’t just manifest itself in festivals, exhibitions and museums, it’s very fluid and it transcends into other areas of knowledge that are very much needed for the continuous progress of our fast-developing nation,” said Ms Haidar during last week’s launch.

 

“Fields like anthropology, research methods, documentation and political science are also needed, but culture is always the starting point, so it’s important for the success and for accessibility to [culture] to happen.”

Ultimately however, whether it is as a long-standing friend, a trusted adviser or as a partner with proven cultural bona fides, the point of soft power programmes such as the British Council’s Year of Creative Collaboration is to make sure that the UK is one of the UAE’s first ports of call when it comes to more worldly issues of investment, business and trade.