Built up from the sand into a metropolis of the future, it’s exiting to envisage where we are headed next.
The world became acquainted with Dubai as a record breaking international city only a few years ago. The Emirate that launched a thousand magazine features was presented to Westerners as a global metropolis with a “skyline on the move”, captivating the world with record-setting skyscrapers, indoor ski slopes and a stunningly diverse population. With 96 percent of the population foreign born, Dubai makes even New York City’s diversity (born and bred New Yorkers make up just 37 percent), seem mundane. Dubai’s skyline, coined as the “Manhattan of the Middle East”, is now distinctly creating its own image with a fast and ever changing landscape, mainly due to constant building projects and a fascination with creative skyscrapers defying the laws of construction and an unimaginable investment in tourism infrastructure.
Dubai’s transformation from fishing village to global business hub has impressed the world – for its innovation, sheer speed and dynamism. Nowhere is the progress more evident than in the Emirate’s world class architecture. At the beginning of the 1950’s, the country’s economy was still based upon fishing and pearl diving, and its major urban settlements reflected their economic and societal patterns by means of clusters of family houses spread along the shores of their coastal creeks. But now it could be the case that the city’s architecture is at a crossroads, an inflection point, as there is a gradual shift from grand to green, and from imposing to approachable. So what is this the history of our prized future city, and where are we headed? Medy Navani, Creative Director of Design Haus Medy <http://www.dhmuae.com/> explores the subject of Dubai’s changing landscape, and what it means for the booming business of architecture and design, for firms both large and small.
Back in the 1960s and much of the 1970s, Dubai’s charming traditional architecture with its narrow alleys and wind tower houses still bore testimony to its Bedouin heritage. Dubai was a port town then, and trading was a mainstay of the economy. The typical image of Dubai in the late 1970s and even into the 1980s was of simple low-rise buildings that were home to thousands of people from across the region and the Indian subcontinent. When the World Trade Centre opened in 1979, it seemed impossibly far away from the centre of the city. But Sheikh Rashid, then Ruler of Dubai, had a vision when he asked the British architect John Harris to lead the project. It encouraged the city to expand and its stylish modernist, concrete-clad design increased its pulling power. In fact, it is the building that you see on the back of the 100-dirham banknote even today. The WTC was the first of the high-rises that would begin to pop up on the city’s arterial roads, becoming a preferred design statement for the few multinational and even large local companies establishing offices here. This led to the era of glass towers as the city grew quickly through the 1980s. As George Katodrytis, an architecture professor at the American University of Sharjah, wrote in UAE and the Gulf: Architecture and Urbanism Now: “From the 1980s, exposed glass curtain walls were used extensively in the design of almost every commercial and high-rise building facade in the Gulf …Buildings looked identical. Any discourse on environmental performance and innovation did not exist. “However, that era was blown away with the launch of the Burj Al Arab in 1999. The exclusive hotel was the first symbol, and is still the most recognisable one, of Dubai’s arrival on the world stage and its cosmopolitan vision of the future. Soon, Hazel Wong’s Emirates Towers and other extraordinary structures followed, spurring a decade of intense construction activity that saw landmark projects such as the Palm Jumeirah (which literally changed the map of Dubai) and Dubai Marina come to life. Then, in 2010, came the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world and a miracle of modern engineering.In the years that followed, the influence of architecture has broadened out to create connections across the design sector in Dubai. Local companies in collaboration with intrepid European designers experiment with new forms of architecture, including luxury low-rise floating homes. The recent rise of walkable communities and eco-friendly projects has cemented Dubai’s reputation for constantly reinventing itself.As an architect I believe that when people envision a city of the future, they picture a fast-paced environment brimming with forward-thinking people, against a background of skyscrapers, walkable communities and iconic towers. But for Dubai, the future is already here. It is now up to us to continue to innovate, break new boundaries and inspire the world.While Dubai has always been associated with a penchant for luxury, the growing popularity of ecologically sustainable and integrated built environments reflects a shift in both consumers’ and the industry’s perception of the new age of design in the city. Today, architects and interior designers in the region are increasingly opting for recycled materials in their cutting-edge designs, with woven vinyl flooring, reconstituted stone and consciously sourced upholstery taking centre stage.
In Dubai we like to set world records and so it was a sign of the times when, in 2013, a two-storey Dubai store selling eco-friendly products was ranked by the US Green Building Council as the most sustainable building in the world.Today’s architecture takes a wider view than that of the 1980s. What makes Dubai even more interesting is the impact that the wide variety of international communities has on the overall design aesthetic in the city – they are ever-receptive to the fusion of global ideas with local practices.With so much activity, it should come as no surprise that the UAE and Saudi Arabia boast the largest design markets in the Mena region. Nearly 90 per cent of growth in the design industry is expected to stem from architecture, interiors and fashion, with architecture and interior design considered the most in-demand creative careers in the region today.Furthermore, recent research by market analysts Ventures shows that the interior design and fit-out spend in the GCC region is increasing to $17.7 billion this year from $15.5 billion last year. The study attributes the rise to near-constant innovation and ever-changing personal preferences. With all this growth, Dubai is probably one of the world’s most exciting cities for design professionals to advance their careers.
Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021 – where balance, resilience and authenticity break the Mental Health Stigma
Written by: Cinzia Nitti
Globally, 2020 has been a year like no other. Coronavirus pandemic caused a massive business disruption; transformation has been key in supporting employees and catalyzing workplace changes. There was a rush to adapt and reinvent Business Models. Organizations had to rethink and reconsider how they deliver services and strengthen their Organizations through a forward-thinking Digital strategy. To be more agile and responsive in such uncertain times, we need to respond to challenges and adapt quickly to new scenarios by moving from rigid hierarchies to leaner and more flexible structures.
But what about Mental Health at Work, and why is it essential?
What’s the Office of the Future?
Within the Wellbeing @ Work Summit Middle East 2021, HR Leaders tried to normalize the conversation about Mental Health by putting the topic first, enabling self-care and professional support, raising awareness, and building knowledge around its related issues. Nowadays, personal and work life are more intertwined than ever, so it becomes vital to create balance: the more employees feel free to talk about Mental Health, the more they can prevent struggle and breakout at the Workplace. HR leaders play a crucial role in making an IMPACT by pushing new solutions, promoting work-life balance, redesign workloads, and supporting their Teams.
In this general frame, Irada Aghamaliyeva (MENA Diversity, Inclusiveness & Wellbeing Leader at EY) affirmed: “Workplaces that are inclusive foster enhanced employee wellbeing; employees with high levels of wellbeing are more inclusive”. How can Organizations increase employees’ resilience and embed sustainable Leadership behaviors in the post-covid reality?
Dr. Irada Aghamaliyeva introduced the Mindfulness practice in the Workplace and highlighted its benefits on a large scale: improved wellbeing and resilience on a physical level; positive emotions, self-regulation, empathy and awareness of social dynamics; learning and innovation thanks to the implementation of flexible thinking, intuition and problem-solving processes. So breaking the stigma is possible, starting from personal wellbeing to sustain positive energy and fuel resilience.
About the Power of Empathetic and Authentic Leadership, Dr. Rima Ghose Chowdhury (EVP & Chief Human Resources Officers at Datamatics Global Services) stresses the importance of Leadership roles today. The virtual environment employees are working in, makes them more vulnerable due to a lack of balance between emotional and authenticity traits. Authenticity is the primary factor in effective leadership, regardless of the leadership style. Putting employees first as a strategic priority and hearing their voices to guide strategy; embracing agility to work more effectively in tumultuous time; including a multigenerational work-force: these are the key concepts within Dr. Rima’s motto “Empowering is to enable”. Through motivation and filling emotional support needs, the Empowering Teams Process leads to employees’ safety, esteem, and self-actualization.
The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. To know more about the FOW Future of Work Insights platform around the world, click here: https://fowinsights.com/
The Wellbeing @ Work virtual Summit Middle East returns for its 5th annual event on 22-24 February 2021
The summit provides an innovative and experiential virtual learning opportunity for our audience of CEOs, benefit and reward business leaders and senior HR professionals. The information and knowledge gained from attending this event allow the opportunity to make strategic wellbeing and mental health decisions within an organization, supporting our mission to create more flourishing and thriving workplaces. Never before has the mental health and wellbeing of your employees been so important. The Wellbeing @ Work Summit includes keynote speeches, panel discussions, workshops, and fireside chats alongside unrivaled networking with leaders across the Middle East using our AI-enabled matchmaking platform. This is far more than a webinar! An engaging 3-day event providing you invaluable insight and tools to create thriving workplaces.
Key Reasons to Attend:
- An engaging AI-enabled matchmaking platform to make invaluable connections & host virtual meetings up to 2 weeks before the three-day festival
- Learn how multinational organizations are creating workplaces where employees thrive in the new world
- Campfire panel discussions informing workplace change & mental health solutions
- Middle East-based employer case studies providing the secrets to employee wellbeing success
- International experts bringing best-practice from across the globe
- Invaluable networking with business leaders from across the Middle East
The Wellbeing @ Work Summit delivers strategic direction, advice and inspiration from employers and experts from across the world to help you create a more compassionate corporate culture that delivers results. The design and implementation of a holistic wellbeing and mental health programme that delivers healthy outcomes and a more productive organization is paramount right now.
In addition, the results of the extensive Middle East region-wide survey on wellbeing and mental fitness in organizations across the region made in partnership with Cognomie will be presented during the event.
Interview with Keith F Watson -Online Tutor ICS Learn
“We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced” Keith F Watson – ICS Learn
The Interviewee: Keith F Watson, LL.M, Chartered FCIPD, FCMI, FLPI, FITOL
Job Title: Owner 360 HR Solutions and Online Tutor ICS Learn
Keith’s qualifications include LL.M (Employment Law and Practice) and CIPD. A tutor since 2007, Keith worked in the financial services sector from 2006 in a variety of senior HR roles before setting up his consultancy in 2016. He’s actively involved with the CIPD in various capacities, including being a past branch chair, member of Council and a voluntary membership assessor. He is currently a member of the Professional Standards Panel (Chair) and a member of the Qualifications Advisory Group, as well as a member of the Employment Tribunal. Keith is also an Equality Act Assessor in the Sheriff Courts.
1-HR Revolution Middle East: The CIPD has become one of the most important certifications in the HR and the L&D field. Would you please explain to our readers the scientific value of the CIPD Certification, as well as its impact on the professional career progression in those fields?
ICS Learn: HR is an art underpinned by science, and the CIPD qualification benefits individuals and organisations by going beyond the technical aspects of people management and development.
Whilst the qualification requires a robust technical knowledge across a range of topics, the real strength lies in the requirement to adapt that knowledge to the business environment and become a critical thinker who can devise best-fit solutions.
There is no doubt that the increasing requirement by organisations for their HR teams to have CIPD qualifications is due to those already with these qualifications having demonstrated the effective application of their technical knowledge in the workplace, rather than taking answers from a book and trying to make them fit situations where they simply don’t work
2- HR Revolution Middle East: From your experience, what are the most recurring challenges do learners have in completing their CIPD studies? What recommendations would you give them to help facilitate their time management for study?
ICS Learn: One of the most reoccurring challenges is time management. New learners – especially those studying part-time – do sometimes underestimate the time commitment in undertaking a professional qualification. Whilst we generally recognise the time necessary for classroom attendance, be it in-person or virtually, we often forget about the additional time required for self-study, research, and assignments – all of which are critical to our success.
There are only 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week, and even in lockdown, there are very few people claiming to have a lot of free time. Therefore, we must decide (ideally in advance) what activities we are going to put aside for the duration of our studies.
We all have different approaches to learning, so it’s important to free up the time when we’re going to be most effective, be that early in the morning, lunchtime, evening or later at night. Some people study better in short bursts, whereas others prefer to set aside a specific day at the weekend. There is no right or wrong way to study, it’s simply a question of when works best for you.
Another reoccurring challenge for students looking to complete their CIPD qualification is understanding the question set. Whilst it is never the intention of an examiner to confuse a student with a question, it does sometimes happen. For example, it’s often said that businesses working in English are divided by a common language and HR practice is no different. An SME, for instance, can be a “small medium enterprise” or a “subject matter expert”. To avoid confusion, the first step is to read the question not once, not twice but at least three times to understand what has been written. If there is the slightest doubt as to what is being asked, seek clarification from your tutor.
3- HR Revolution Middle East: To what extent do you believe that the body of knowledge of the CIPD Certifications can be applied to practical work in different countries?
ICS Learn: Whilst the legal aspects of the CIPD qualification are based on UK law, most CIPD qualifications are very general so that they can be applied internationally. Being that culture varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, the core elements of HR practice remain the same in that we help support organisations in achieving their objectives through good people management and development practices.
The breadth of learning is a distinct advantage in all jurisdictions, as is knowing about practice and regulations in other jurisdictions. Given that laws and regulations vary over time, being able to identify and apply relevant regulations in an assignment is a valuable skill to have regardless of whether the same regulations apply in the countries we support. I have often joked that if I was ever to become an employee again, I would wish my contract to be based on Indonesian law as in that jurisdiction employees must agree to their dismissal!
4- HR Revolution Middle East: As an Instructor, how did your journey with ICS start? What makes you most passionate about this role?
ICS Learn: I started my journey with ICS Learn more than 20 years ago as a CIPD student at which time, in addition to assignments, each module was tested by exam. Around 14 years ago, I received an email from one of my former ICS Learn tutors asking if I would be interested in attending an Advanced Employment Law workshop she was running as she was looking to retire from these workshops and she had been asked to look for a potential successor. Having literally that weekend just finished my dissertation for my master’s degree in Employment Law, for the first time in years I had a “free” weekend.
As I always enjoyed such workshops I readily agreed to attend. However, on arrival, I received a message that the tutor was unfortunately unable to attend and I was instead asked to run the workshop! Perhaps it was being thrown in at the deep end with no time to worry about anything, but the workshop was a great success with all the attendees passing their Employment Law exam a few months later and my having fully acquired the tutoring bug.
Over the years much has changed, and I have had the pleasure of running training sessions and workshops on a variety of CIPD and non-CIPD topics both virtually and in numerous countries including Singapore, India, Sudan, Nigeria, and of course in the Middle East both in UAE and KSA.
Whilst HR and the world has evolved, facilitating learning in others whilst learning from students and their personal workplace experiences is as inspiring and exciting today as it was 14 years ago.
5- HR Revolution Middle East: As a learner how did the CIPD qualification change your life?
ICS Learn: Without a doubt, gaining a CIPD qualification has been life-changing and has allowed me to have not only a successful career in HR within financial services but to successfully run my consultancy for the last 5 years. I must admit that being able to work internationally in so many different regions has been a distinct bonus and certainly embeds the learning that no matter what we do in HR there is always more than one way of doing it.
6- HR Revolution Middle East: What special tips would you share with professionals unable to choose the appropriate CIPD Certification Level for them? How does ICS Learn help learners in taking this step?
ICS Learn: Our advice would always be to chat to our CIPD Course Advisors, whether that be through our website, email, or on the phone. Their job is to talk through your experience, ambitions, and previous education to make sure that you choose the right CIPD course for you.
7- HR Revolution Middle East: What are the most common challenges CIPD students face? What pieces of advice do you have for them?
ICS Learn: As detailed in question 2, the most common challenge is time. We must be willing to accept that in taking on a new challenge we must set aside some of our current activities. Short term pain for long term gain!
8- HR Revolution Middle East: What should be the “competencies” of a CIPD student in order to excel and accomplish the degree?
ICS Learn: Self-discipline, commitment, curiosity, an open mindset, and of course an ability to understand and write in business English
9- HR Revolution Middle East: ICS Learn cares to publish students’ success stories with different certifications and how they got opportunities to progress substantially in their careers. How often do you refer to those stories to encourage reluctant learners to finish their studies?
ICS Learn: We feature our student success stories in our monthly Student Newsletter, as we know this inspires learners to keep going with their studies, as well as showing them how other students overcame the challenges they faced. It’s a great way for students to learn from each other!
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