HBMSU launches Innovation Arabia 8 with participation of international experts.

Under the Patronage of Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the University
·       Farouk El-Baz discusses ‘Essence of Management: How best leadership practices inspire organizational excellence’
·       Conference to include high-level discussions to find creative and innovative solutions for Arab World’s sustainable development

[UAE, February 16, 2015] – Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU), H.E. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chairman of the University’s Board of Governers opened today (Monday, February 16, 2015), the 8thedition of the Innovation Arabia 8 conference. The event features the high-level participation of the most prominent international experts, decision makers, and academics. Organized by HBMSU, the conference focuses on exploring the latest concepts and effective solutions that meet the needs of the Arab region’s overall development under four major tracks – Quality and Business Management, Health and Environment, e-Learning Excellence, and Islamic Banking and Finance.
The Innovation Arabia 8 conference, which is being held under the theme ‘Innovate, Collaborate and Differentiate: Honoring the Past, Treasuring the Present, and Shaping the Future,’ commenced its first session with discussions by the Committee of Experts. It was an interactive platform to explore innovative ideas to support the efforts to establish a firm ground to boost creativity to adopt knowledge economies in the Arab World. The concurrent sessions discussed a series of vital topics, including ‘Quality and Business Management: Exploring Synergies Leading Towards Innovation,’ ‘Promoting Innovative Health and Environmental Interventions,’ ‘Instructional Design and Technologies Towards Smart Learning,’ and ‘Islamic Banking and Finance: Carving an Edge for Competitive Advantage.’ 
The agenda for the first day included a keynote address by Dr. Farouk El-Baz, Director of the Center for Remote Sensing at Boston University, USA, about the ‘Essence of Management: How best leadership practices inspire organizational excellence.’ It covered Dr. El Baz’s observations of the best management practices in varied international organizations, including NASA, the Smithsonian Institution, Itek Corporation, and Boston University.
Participants were also addressed by Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Founder and Chairman of Talal Abu-Ghazaleh Organization and Head of the International Advisory Board of the Conference and Professor Nabil Baydoun, Vise Chancellor for HBMSU’s Enterprise and University Advancement and President of the Innovation Arabia 8 conference.
The agenda of the second and third days will include addresses by elite of international, regional and local speakers, including Rudolf Strohmeier, Deputy Director-General of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Research and Innovation who will discuss ‘Drivers for Sustainable Innovation Ecosystems’ and Gregory Watson, Former President of the International Academy for Quality who will deliver an address on ‘Insight Into Quality Management: From Hindsight to Foresight.’ In addition, the conference will also feature a discussion by Eng. Sobhi Batterjee, Founder, President and CEO of Saudi German Hospitals Group about ‘Leveraging Information Technology in Healthcare Industry.’ The list of keynote speakers also includes H.E. Hussain Al Qemzi, Chief Executive of Noor Investment Group and Noor Bank, and Dr. Alan Bruce, CEO and Director of Universal Learning Systems and Vice President of European Distance and e-Learning Network.
H.E. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Chairman of the University’s Board of Governers, said: “Innovation Arabia 8 is an ideal platform to enhance the international and regional cooperation in the field of innovation which is a mainstay towards a better tomorrow. The participation of the top-notch global academics, scholars and experts reflects the eminent reputation of the conference and strong confidence in HBMSU as a leading institution in promoting the quality of e-Learning and developing the culture of innovation and scientific research in the Arab World. We are confident that the high-level discussions will result in a group of innovative solutions for a sustainable development in the Arab world.”      
H.E. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim concluded: “HBMSU is committed to provide the synergies in order to explore new horizons to drive the economic and social development in the region through innovative means to meet the future requirements. Our focus is in line with our efforts to effectively contribute to the success of ‘Dubai Innovation Partners’ initiative that was launched by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in order to improve the quality of life for the current and future generations.”   
The opening of Innovation Arabia 8 also includes the announcement of the winners for the ‘Feigenbaum Leadership Excellence Award.’ This year’s awardees include H.E. Dr. Mubarak Saad Al Ahbabi, Chairman of the Department of the President’s Affairs UAE, under the category of ‘Exceptionals;’ Mohammed Humaid Al Marri, Assistant CEO for Finance and Support Services, Mohammed Bin Rashid Housing Establishment, UAE, under the ‘Accomplishers’ categtory and Dr. Reem Osman, Chief Executive Officor, Saudi German Hospital – Dubai for the ‘Women Leaders’ category.
The winners of El-Baz Award for Excellence in Organizational Sustainability were honored in recognition of their success in their commitment towards social responsibility and development of organizational excellence. The list of winners includes the Dubai Municipality’s Drainage and Irrigation Network Department, and Emirates National Oil Company Ltd. (ENOC).
As part of its efforts to encourage research, innovation and leadership in ‘Total Quality Management,’ HBMSU granted Dr. Noor Al Maaitah, Assistant Professor at the Mutah University with The Harrington Award for the ‘Best PhD Thesis in Total Quality Management.’ The reward has a high importance of being a specific initiative in recognition of the effective contributions to disseminating the total quality management concepts in all parts of the world and enhancing the related scientific research.
The three-day conference of Innovation Arabia 8 will also discuss a series of policies and strategies present leading academic researches under its four major tracks. The agenda will also include holding interactive seminars, awards program, and meetings with prominent academics, decision makers, researchers, experts, representatives of international organizations, government agencies, and private sector organizations to discuss the latest emerging trends and major challenges in the current and coming days and develop appropriate solutions that meet the overall development needs in the Arab region.


ICDL GCC Foundation supports 2014 Safer Internet Day.

Reiterates concern about safety of cyber citizens as part of celebration
]UAE, February 10, 2014[The ICDL GCC Foundation, an organisation that promotes digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region and Iraq, has extended its support to the “2014 Safer Internet Day”, an annual global campaign promoting the safe and responsible use of online technology, especially among youth. This year’s event will be celebrated in over 100 countries tomorrow, February 11, 2014, under the theme ‘Let’s create a better internet together.’ It will focus on the online domain, which has emerged the latest and the best medium for information, communication and entertainment, and will discuss the roles and responsibilities of internet users in creating a safer cyber world.

As a staunch advocate of cyber safety, ICDL GCC Foundation continuously conducts campaigns on safe Internet etiquettes, digital safety education and appropriate online behavior. It has recently launched Cyber Safety Workshops targeting law enforcement, government, educational, teachers, parents and youth across the GCC. The Foundation has also distributed to students among many schools in the region free guidebooks on 101 tips on Internet etiquettes and the responsible use of social media and other smart technologies. The pocket guide, which was distributed for example in UAE in cooperation with the Ministry of Interior’s Child Protection Center, was aimed at educating children along with their parents and teachers about cyber safety. 
Jamil Ezzo, Director General of ICDL GCC Foundation, said: “Our increasing reliance on Internet in our daily life has spurred considerable growth in cyber crimes, with children and youth the most vulnerable group to these threats. ICDL has always championed greater awareness on cyber safety and advocated for the implementation of stringent laws to the concerned authorities. By supporting “Safer Internet Day 2014”, we reiterate our concern for the safety of cyber citizens. Through our workshops and programs, which we organize on a regular basis, we strive to empower all Internet users, particularly children, in the region with Internet best practices to avoid all forms of cyber threats.”
Safer Internet Day is organized by Insafe, a network of European Safer Internet Centers, to encourage safe and positive use of the internet and digital technologies. It started in 2004 as an initiative of the EU Safe Boarders project and gradually gained popularity across the globe. Now in its 11thedition, Safer Internet Day is expected to be celebrated by over 10 million people worldwide.  For more information, log on to: http://www.saferinternetday.org.

ICDL GCC Foundation has been spearheading regional initiatives to place IT security and cyber-safety at the top of government agendas across the region. It has been supporting a wide scale implementation of awareness programs including skills validation through training and international certification programs centering on IT Security, Cyber Safety and the effective, safe, responsible and mindful use of Social Media. The Foundation continues to collaborate closely with the concerned authorities and experts to further elevate the level of awareness among the public.

Presidents of international universities finalize new Strategic Plan to expand open, distance education initiatives worldwide.

ICDE SCOP 2012 sets new record as the largest gathering of members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education
ICDE members commend H.H. Sheikh Mohammad’s Smart Learning initiative for higher education in the UAE
November 27, 2012
Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU) has announced that members of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE) have completed drafting a new Strategic Plan (2013-2016) following several in-depth deliberations and Focus Group Discussions during the recently concluded ICDE Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 (ICDE SCOP 2012) at the HBMeU headquarters. While drafting the Strategic Plan, ICDE members also took into account the key points made by H.E. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, during his speech at the event. Organized under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of HBMeU, ICDE SCOP 2012 has witnessed the largest gathering of ICDE members, particularly presidents of open and distance learning universities from around the world, in addition to regional and international ministers, to discuss various challenges and barriers associated with the implementation of ODE in the Arab region and around the world.

During ICDE SCOP 2012, the ICDE members particularly lauded the Mohammad Bin Rashid Initiative for Smart Learning for higher education in the UAE which was recently launched by H.H. Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice- President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. 
The ICDE members have identified five strategic objectives in line with its vision to become the global membership organization for enhancing the quality of open and distance education.  The Council members also agreed to jointly promote greater educational opportunity for all through increased acceptance of a wider range of learning modes; adoption of best practices and the highest standards of educational provision; development and use of new methodologies; provision of opportunities for professional interaction; encouragement and support for networks at the national, regional, global levels and linguistic groups; and promotion of intercultural cooperation and understanding.
Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMeU, said: “ICDE SCOP 2012 provided an opportunity for HBMeU and other leading entities in open and distance education all over the world to share their experiences and best practices in promoting ODE as a tool for social and economic development. The high-level discussions helped generate new ideas and strategies to address various challenges associated with the implementation of ODE, particularly in terms of aligning ODE programs with the specific needs and priorities of various countries around the world. There were several strategic decisions that were made during the event, including the Council’s approval of the new Strategic Plan, which will surely have a significant impact on the future initiatives of ICDE. On the other hand, Dubai’s hosting of ICDE SCOP 2012 also allowed us to showcase the many advances that the emirate has made in the field of e-learning and academic excellence. Moreover, as hosts of the annual conference, we were particularly pleased to have initiated a more in-depth discussion of the challenges and opportunities in ODE in the Arab region.”
Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open University, said: “ICDE SCOP remains a very important networking platform that gathers prominent personalities from leading universities and academic institutions around the world to discuss many important issues and concerns significant to open and distance learning. I am pleased with the energetic participation of all delegates during the conference, which has been crucial in developing the new strategic initiatives that we have outlined for the next succeeding years. HBMeU has been a truly gracious host and we certainly had a very productive and wonderful experience enjoying Dubai’s hospitality. Moreover, it has been a great opportunity to see first-hand the amazing breakthroughs that Dubai has achieved over the years as a center for academic excellence and higher learning in the Arab world.”
A new global campaign to further promote e-learning, which will start in Dubai, was also launched during the conference by Prof. Tian Belawati. A number of strategic agreements were also signed during ICDE SCOP 2012, including a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between HBMeU and Beirut Arab University (BAU) to work together on various initiatives related to e-learning such as research, publications, scientific conferences, seminars and events.

Presidents of 150 international universities gather at HBMeU for first-ever meeting in Arab world.

International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents to discuss challenges, opportunities, strategies
Under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of Hamdan Bin Mohammed e-University (HBMeU), H.H. Sheikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, inaugurated today (Tuesday, November 13, 2012) the International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 (ICDE SCOP 2012), a first-of-its-kind gathering in the Arab region that is being attended by 150 presidents of open and distance learning universities from around the world.

This year’s conference also marks the 74thanniversary of the International Council for Open and Distance Education (ICDE). To mark this occasion, Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open Universityhas announced a global campaign, starting from Dubai, to further promote e-learning. ICDE is a network of 100 educational institutions worldwide working to promote open and distance learning, and provide opportunities for exchange of educational best practices.
The ICDE SCOP 2012 kicked off at the HBMeU headquarters in Dubai Academic City with an opening address by H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim, Dubai Police Chief and Chairman of HBMeU’s Board of Governors. The Conference is being held under the theme ‘Open and Distance Education (ODE): Barriers, Opportunities & Strategies Forward’ to discuss major challenges and obstacles regarding the implementation of open and distance learning from both an international and regional perspective. It will also explore opportunities ODE provides in helping countries overcome socio-economical challenges and will provide insights into successful strategies for advocacy of ODE. The meeting places particular focus on the latest trends and developments in ODE, including Open Educational Resources, quality and regulatory framework, among others.
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The opening day featured speeches by Dr. Laurence F. Johnson, Chief Executive Office of the New Media Consortium and Dr. Badr Aboul-Ela, Director of the Commission for Academic Accreditation, Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, U.A.E Vice-President of the Arab Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (ANQAAHE). The first day also featured an extensive discussion on the topic “Does ODE offer a viable alternative to residential education?” moderated by UAE-based media professional Omar Obaid Bin Butti, who highlighted the differences between open and distance learning, and residential learning. Dr. Meg Benke, Acting President, Office of the President, Empire State College, State University of New York, USA, also participated in the session, along with Prof. Mandla Makhanya, Vice Chancellor, University of South Africa, Prof. Anja Oskamp, Rector, Open University Netherlands, and Prof. Tolly Mbwette, Vice Chancellor, Open University of Tanzania.
H.E. Lieutenant General Dhahi Khalfan Tamim noted that ICDE SCOP 2012, the 19th edition of the global event that is being held for the first time in the Arab world, serves as a fitting event to commemorate the 10th anniversary of HBMeU and underline the level of success that the University has achieved. One of the key objectives of ICDE SCOP 2012 is to approve its strategic plan for 2013-2016. The conference also serves as an ideal platform to conduct extensive discussions on the opportunities and challenges related to open and distance learning in the Middle East, and developing effective strategies to deploy the e-learning concept on a global scale.
“As a leading institution in the field of e-learning, HBMeU is committed to promote academic excellence by building effective channels for communication, and exchange of ideas and experiences with different open and distance learning academic institutions worldwide. This will enable us to establish new standards that will further enhance the quality of e-learning and strengthen its role as a pillar for overall development in the Middle East and around the world. Over the last 10 years, HBMeU has been able to complement the vision of UAE’s leaders, to achieve sustainable development and join the global race by adopting innovative learning practices,” he added.  
Prof. Tian Belawati, President of ICDE and Rector of the Indonesian Open University, expressed her pleasure that SCOP 2012 is being held in the Middle East, which is an important step in strengthening the role of open and distance learning as one of the solid foundations of academic excellence in the Arab world and the world in general. Belawati also recognized the efforts of HBMeU in ensuring the success of this first-of-its-kind event in the Arab world, and highlighted the commitment of all stakeholders to implement the recommendations developed during the Conference, which continues to serve as an ideal venue for exchanging experiences in open and distance learning.
The International Council for Open and Distance Education Standing Conference of Presidents 2012 has been a source of recommendations and initiatives that strengthen the channels of communication between major academic institutions specialized in electronic, open and distance learning worldwide. It also facilitates a healthy exchange of information and discussions concerning strategies, while also covering political trends in its continuing pursuit of a solid framework that cultivates a culture of lifelong learning.
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