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Innovative conference hosting programme aims to further raise Dubai’s profile as a global business events and knowledge hub


Thought leaders, top specialists attend Al Safeer Programme Educational Seminar

An educational seminar to empower high-profile and well-connected UAE residents to host international conferences in the emirate took place earlier this week. Hosted by the Dubai Convention and Events Bureau (DCEB), a division of the Dubai Department of Commerce and Tourism Marketing (DTCM), in conjunction with the Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC) and MCI Dubai, the event was held to boost membership of the Al Safeer Congress Ambassadors Programme.

Speaking at the event, Hamad Bin Mejren, DCEB Executive Director for Business Tourism, said: “The Al Safeer programme was set up around four years ago to identify and motivate local Dubai-based doctors, scientists, professors, teachers, government officials and business people, who are in some way connected internationally with organisations and associations, to work with us and get meetings with their respective organisations to Dubai. The programme has proven very successful as these key local opinion leaders hold the key for Dubai to be able to bid for and win these conferences.”  

The programme, which currently boasts around 150 prominent members from a variety of fields, ranging from academia to medicine, is looking to expand its ranks and better position the emirate not only as a leading business events destination, but also as a vibrant and innovative knowledge hub. By growing ambassador numbers and working with them on a continual basis to bring global conferences to the city, the programme enhances Dubai’s international standing by getting leading international associations to debate the latest developments in their respective fields here in Dubai.  

To date the programme has resulted in dozens of international conferences coming to Dubai, bringing along with them thousands of delegates, all of which has had a positive impact on Dubai’s economy.  

Convening at the DWTC’s Al Multaqa Ballroom for the high-profile event, several dozen prospective members from the Emirates Medical Association (EMA), the Society of Engineers (SOE), science and technology association IEEE UAE, and several leading universities and government departments networked with existing conference ambassadors and heard a number of speakers share their experience of securing and organising international congresses in Dubai.  

Amongst them was the keynote speaker, Waleed Refaay, Managing Director for the Society for Petroleum Engineers (SPE) in the Middle East, Africa and India and South Asia, who has secured a 10,000 member delegation as part of the SPE Annual Technical Conference and Exhibition in 2016.  Addressing the audience, Refaay said: “Being a congress ambassador is hard work, but putting together a successful bid is a very memorable and satisfying experience. To devote your time and energy towards providing a platform for the exchange of ideas that also leaves a positive legacy and impact on your host nation’s international reputation is a winning proposition that is a definite highlight of my career.”   

Also speaking to the audience were Dr. Nooshin Mohammed, consultant cardiologist at Dubai Hospital and board member of Emirates Cardiac Society, who secured the hosting of the World Congress of Cardiology (WCC) in Dubai in 2012, Dr. Alaa Ashmawy, Dean of the School of Engineering at the American University in Dubai (AUD), who secured hosting rights for the World Engineering Education Forum 2014, and Dr. May Raouf, Medical Director for the Sharjah Blood Transfusion & Research Centre, who is in charge of the Congress of the International Society of Blood Transfusion (ISBT) in 2016.  

Commenting on the event, Dr. Yasser Farahat, Secretary General of Emirates Urology Association and a current member of the Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme, said: “The Al Safeer Congress Ambassador Programme has made a very compelling case and I think we will get a very good response from the prospective members that attended today. The Al Safeer programme is an invaluable tool to grow Dubai’s global profile while boosting the business events sector. The current members really enjoy the work that they do under the programme as well as all the support they receive to bolster their efforts.”  

According to the DCEB, ambassadors can not only strengthen the economy of the region, but will also gain recognition for assisting in creating jobs and providing the community with access to new technologies, intellectual capital and educational exchange. DCEB supports ambassadors across the board, from designing customised bid documents and presentations to providing venue and accommodation options, suggesting ideas for social programmes and activities, setting up full site inspections, boosting delegate numbers, as well as providing financial and government support.

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