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  • Monday, May 16, 2011

    The Arab Women Revolution

    Many things have changed over the last 10 years. And many changes have happened in the last few months. They call it the Arab spring - and it will be remembered in years to come. But the gradual change over the past 10 years that has got overlooked - due to Western focus on getting Osama - is another advent of change in the Middle East. We call them the "Lady Leaders". Almost under our noses, the Lady Leaders have emerged. People like Sheikh Lubna and Queen Rania. These two are just the iceberg:

    Now the minister of foreign trade for the UAE and the most powerful woman in the Arab world, according to the Forbes 2010 list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, Al Qassimi is no longer an anomaly. She is one of a small but significant group of women who are defying expectations and making a difference in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries: Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.

    It's obvious a real change is happening. Women are involved in making the key decisions. In fact many women lead these decisions. That's probably very surprising to some who look at Arab societies as if they can't be modernist or "normal". And in time the equality will more and more prominent - a new revolution, a new Arab spring.

    Women Leaders in the Middle East - Read the s&b article (free sign up) - it's a powerful piece

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    Thursday, May 12, 2011

    The Coffee App

    Coffee is an obsession for many people. Many people can't even survive without their Skinny Caramel Macchiato in the morning. And many others treat themselves to a grande mocha frapp extra shot extra cream when they're feeling down. But coffee and the culture of coffee trace themselves back to the Arab world. In fact coffee tracks itself back from Ethiopia. And on its way to Europe, coffee migrated through Arabia. As you all know coffee is entrenched within Arabic culture. Coffee is not just about Starbucks:

    The coffee is poured from a pot no dissimilar to what you would consider a large Aladdin's lamp into a small cup called finjaan, which is about the size of an espresso shot. The pot, called a dallah, usually has a long spout and is made from brass, but increasingly many other designs are used. It may be served to you by the hired help, or, indeed, by the host himself.



    And now popular culture and Arabic culture are now coming together. The Finjan is a multi channel play to accurately and beautifully portray the culture of coffee. There is a book - but there is also a beautiful app coming to an iPhone near you. Created by Daveeda Shaheen and supported by apparabia and TwoFour54 (and who knows? - maybe one of the big coffee companies)- this really pulls out the beauty of the coffee. It's much more than your shot of caffeine in the morning:

    The Finjan iPhone app will explore the art of coffee cup reading as a way of telling the story of one's life and provide a fun and interactive experience to help you see the hidden symbols in your coffee cup. Once you have tried this app every cup of coffee will be a new experience.

    We look forward to its launch. Would you like an app with your nespresso, madam?

    Arabic Coffee
    The Finjan

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    Tuesday, May 10, 2011

    Burj Khalifa Suicide in Dubai

    It was only a matter of time. The tallest building in the world. The largest fall. For whatever stress this life causes, may their soul rest in eternal peace. This is not a story about Dubai. It's not a story about the Burj Khalifa. It's a story about desperation. Let's see it for what it is.

    Dubai Session
    Further confirmation from 365 - sensitively, not posting the photo.
    7 days article
    Gulf News:

    Dubai: A security source has confirmed that a man has committed suicide on Tuesday by throwing himself from the 147th floor of Burj Khalifa.
    Police received a report that the man, an Asian in his thirties, jumped off the building and landed on the 108th floor on the side of the Burj.
    Investigation revealed that he reportedly committed suicide after a dispute with his company.


    The National

    International media picking this up:

    WaPo
    NYDailyNews

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    Wednesday, May 04, 2011

    Arab Air Hub

    From almost nowhere 10 years ago, Emirates, Etihad and Qatar Airways are staking a claim for the Gulf. That claim is to be the central point of global travel. And they are all succeeding in different ways. Air travel is challenged in different ways - and while oil prices affect all incumbents in the industry, the three players have been able to grow.. What happened to Heathrow? Well - taxes and unions. The UK has rules on working hours and it applies significant airline taxes. Coupled with British Airways and its striking employee base, the gleaming terminal 5 at Heathrow will start to play second fiddle to the glamour of the Middle East.



    The central hub of the aviation world is moving further south and further east. With travel across the globe so much easier than it was, Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha become great stop overs between East and West.

    From Fast Company

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