Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation launches ‘Summer Programme for Giftedness and Innovation’


DUBAI: Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Medical and Educational Sciences announced the launch of the 2024 Summer Programme for Giftedness and Innovation today, which will run until 23rd July.

The programme is organised by Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Centre for Giftedness and Innovation in Dubai.

The announcement was made during the opening ceremony held at the Foundation’s headquarters.

Dr. Khalifa Al Suwaidi, Secretary-General and CEO of Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation for Medical and Educational Sciences, said that the programme encompasses a diverse range of workshops and activities across various fields, including artificial intelligence, digital design, and manufacturing, as well as scientific visits to some of the UAE’s leading institutions.

The Summer Programme aims to offer students opportunities to learn and acquire new skills, broadening their educational horizons beyond traditional curricula. These programmes are instrumental in building students’ self-confidence through tan
gible achievements in various activities and projects.

The Summer Programme for Innovation targets students aged 14-22 years, while the Summer Programme for Giftedness targets students aged 10-17 years.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah Gold Souqs chart a journey through time and cultures


SHARJAH: Data from the Department of Economic Development in Sharjah shows that the total number of commercial licenses issued to traders in gold, precious stones and pearls reached 727, while the growth rate of registered memberships in the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce and Industry grew 138% during the last ten years.

There are a number of gold and jewellery stores in major shopping malls and outlets in Sharjah. Then there are markets dedicated for the yellow metal, including the Gold Center, which is home to many international gold stores, and the Rolla Gold Market, in addition to the market designated for trading in gold and jewellery in the Central Souq in Sharjah.

GG and Sons Jewellery remains a witness to the beginnings of the gold trade in Sharjah when its founder came from India in 1965 to open the first gold shop in one of the alleys of the Central Souq also known as the Blue Souq in Sharjah, 13 years before its opening.

According to the store manager, Joman Shahmadar, thanks to the multiple adva
ntages enjoyed by the gold trade in the emirate, GG and Sons has expanded its branches within the wing designated for yellow metal trade in the Central Souq, taking the number to four out of six branches nationwide.

Sharjah Central Souq, a unique masterpiece

Celebrating the past and shimmering in the brilliance of yellow metal, the Central Souq in Sharjah, also known as the Blue Souq, stands out as one of the most popular tourist and commercial destinations dedicated to gold jewellery due to its historical status and the distinctiveness of its diverse outlets that meet all tastes and needs, attracting shoppers and tourists of all nationalities.

The Central Souq in Sharjah, whose image is printed on the five-dirham currency of the United Arab Emirates, constitutes a unique landmark among the numerous landmarks of the Emirate. Opened in 1978, it embodies an architectural masterpiece with its geometric design in the form of a steam train decorated with Islamic inscriptions and coloured in picturesque blue.
Its strategic location next to the serene waters of Khaled Lagoon adds to its charm.

The huge edifice consists of two main wings, long, parallel with eight balconies, and connected by two bridges connecting them. While one wing celebrates the yellow metal, the other wing, overlooking one of the main roads of the emirate, has been dedicated to trading in carpets, antiques, fabrics and much more.

The Central Souq includes around 600 shops, making it a unique masterpiece in the Middle East and an expression of the heritage and status of the Emirate of Sharjah.

The market is a tourist, cultural and leisure destination for many individuals and families who get to experience the cultures of the world through its fabulous jewellery and the best of both traditional and modern designs and patterns.

Gold remains precious

At a time when the global gold trade has been witnessing a fluctuation of prices, the Sharjah Gold Market continues to attract shoppers and visitors with its remarkable attractiveness to remain vi
brant and interactive.

While data from the World Gold Council during the past months of this year showed a decline in demand for gold jewellery in some global markets, gold merchants in Sharjah report a continuing demand even as its price continues to climb, with increased purchases during special occasions and holidays.

Yemeni trader Ahmed Salah says that the Sharjah Central Souq, has remained a model of adaptation and innovation in the face of economic challenges, underscoring its position as a leading destination for shopping and excellence in the world of jewellery.

Salah adds that visitors come to the Central Souq from all over the world and it has regular customers from Oman, Qatar and Saudi Arabia, in addition to shoppers and tourists from all over the Emirates, because the Sharjah Central Souq, known simply as the ‘Gold Souq’ is distinguished by its reputation as the ultimate destination for gold and the best in jewellery as it offers a wide range of stores that display unique designs with high qua
lity.

Trader Wael Al-Yafei, stresses that the demand for buying gold has not stopped in the market. Gold remains a sought-after commodity despite its high prices, as it is considered a safe haven for investments. Al-Yafei adds that the Sharjah Central Souq is known for the great diversity of the pieces on offer, catering to various tastes and budgets.

A jewel of heritage and trade

The Central Souq, topped with ornate arches, is overflowing with activity and life for a continuous influx of visitors who come from in and outside the Emirates for its precious offerings and luxurious gifts or to enjoy the atmosphere of the heritage market that exudes the scent of the past.

The souq is not just a place to sell gold and jewellery, but rather a jewel and symbol of heritage, trade, and tourism at the same time.

Irish visitor Elaine Cair says that she came to the market to buy gold jewellery for her mother, noting the special shopping experience that is unique to the Sharjah Central Souq, which combines heritage,
luxury, and enjoying the beauty of luxury jewellery that suits all tastes.

Shopper Umm Ali comes from Oman to Sharjah to buy gold during holidays and various occasions. It’s her favorite place to shop because of its charm, quality and diversity of its offerings.

French tourist Nicolas Blandel, who is visiting with his family, said that the Sharjah Central Souq, with its unique design and charming stores, takes the visitor to another world. ‘I did not expect to find this great diversity of designs and jewellery…each store carries a unique story,’ he added.

Egyptian visitor Doaa Ahmed finds that visiting the Central Souq is like visiting a shopping mall and tourist destination at the same time, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for everyone who visits it.

Luxury and originality

While the displays of gold pieces and luxury jewellery are diverse in the Central Souq in Sharjah, many of the market’s merchants are keen to preserve the display of traditional women’s jewellery that Emirati women ha
ve worn since ancient times and passed on to the women of the present. Each piece of heritage jewellery conveys a story that expresses pride in cultural identity.

The “Al-Maria” necklace, made up of a long gold chain, is prominently displayed on the facades of many shops, decorated with small, “trembling” gold coins that symbolise wealth and social status.

The seller, Saleh, says that the demand for ‘Al-Maria’ and ‘Al-Murtaza’ remains, even though they are among the oldest Emirati jewellery that reflect Emirati traditions, as well as Al Kawashi.

The Emirati grandmother, Umm Abdullah, who visited the Central Souq with her daughter to buy some heritage pieces, points out that Emirati women are keen to acquire gold jewellery inspired by popular heritage, noting that despite changing times, Emirati women have maintained their traditions and prefer traditional gold pieces, which they consider to be precious collectibles due to their history and the beauty of their design.

Many heritage pieces also appear in th
e market, such as the ‘bowl’ designated for the head, Al Kawashi, the ‘knacks,’ and other exclusive heavy pieces such as the ‘belt,’ which is worn around the waist and celebrates heritage.

The shops spread throughout the corridors of the Sharjah Central Souq take visitors on a journey through time and cultures. Every corner tells the story of the emirate and its rich heritage, as craftsmanship intertwines with heritage to form a unique shopping experience, that is full of stories and golden touches.

Source: Emirates News Agency

China’s inbound, outbound travel booms in summer, featuring culture, sport events


BEIJING: With the holiday rush approaching, China’s inbound and outbound travel continues to boom this summer, featuring culture, sport events and coolness.

Analysts said that the development of inbound and outbound tourism will inject vitality into China’s economic development and directly stimulate tourism consumption while driving the prosperity of related industries, such as catering, accommodation, transportation and retail. Meanwhile, more jobs will be created and more business opportunities will be provided for local people.

In the first half of the year, various industries related to tourism were integrated, and coordinated development was achieved. The added value of the service industry, including the culture and sports industry, is expected to account for more than 10 percent of the GDP of the first half of 2024, Jiang Yiyi, Vice President of the School of Leisure Sports and Tourism at Beijing Sport University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

With high temperatures hitting many cities, Chinese
tourists’ growing preference for avoiding the summer heat has unlocked the huge potential of many lesser-known domestic tourist attractions.

Thanks to a series of visa-free policies implemented by Beijing, more and more foreign tourists are visiting China, making “China Travel” popular on social media platforms.

Interest in China has been increasing globally since the country expanded its unilateral visa-free travel policy, with 14 countries and regions added to the arrangement from November 2023 until the present. In the first quarter of 2024, there was a significant 400 percent growth in inbound travel to China, driven by the benefits of such visa-free policies, according to a report sent from Trip.com to the Global Times.

From January to May this year, Trip.com has recorded a significant upward trajectory in flight search volumes from Australia to China, with a notable 154 percent increase compared with the same period last year.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Dubai Summer Surprises unveils packed schedule


DUBAI: The Dubai Festival and Retail Establishment (DFRE) unveiled the most extensive programme yet for the Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), running from 28th June to 1st September. Shoppers can expect unbeatable deals, exciting shows, and amazing prizes throughout the summer.

Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO of DFRE, said, “This year’s Dubai Summer Surprises features the biggest summer line-up launched to date. Promising a memorable summer for everyone, we’ve designed an exceptional DSS programme that features thousands of offers and things to do for everyone.”

The DSS kicks off with dazzling Opening Weekend Celebrations at select Dubai malls on 28th June. Shoppers can enjoy various artistic and entertainment shows featuring the “Quick Style” dance group, “Autostrad” performance group, singer-songwriter Dana Salah, and singer-songwriter Ali Gatie, among others.

The DSS 12 Hour Sale will be held on 28th June from 10 am to 10 pm, with discounts of up to 90 percent off across more than 100 brands at select malls.

Modesh Wo
rld will mark its 25th anniversary grand celebrations this year, welcoming visitors at one of the region’s largest indoor entertainment and amusement facilities with 170 rides and attractions, including an all-new Inflatable Park and Animal World Play Area, more than 100 arcade games and VR experiences, soft play areas, and much more.

The DSS opening weekend will also see the launch of Movie Magic at select cinemas across Dubai. Visitors can expect daily surprises and win instant prizes.

This summer, the “Beat the Heat” concert series returns for its third edition, transforming Dubai World Trade Centre into a hub of Indie Arabic music.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah Art Foundation, Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation announce grant for Emirati filmmakers


SHARJAH: Sharjah Art Foundation (SAF), in partnership with Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation (ADMAF), invites Emirati filmmakers to apply for an open call to receive funding of AED 25,000. Designed to support independent Emirati cinema, this special grant will be offered to one Emirati awardee, jointly selected by the Foundation and ADMAF.

Through this dedicated grant, the awardees will be provided with opportunities and professional challenges that will help connect them with the international community of experimental filmmakers.

This open call is part of the seventh edition of the Sharjah Film Platform (SFP) Short Film Production Grant organised by Sharjah Art Foundation. Offered in conjunction with SFP – the Foundation’s annual festival of independent cinema and moving image-the grant provides funds for the completion of short films that test the boundaries of contemporary filmmaking. Grant recipients will premiere their completed films at a future edition of SFP.

For this grant, a short film is defi
ned as a work with a total runtime of 50 minutes or less, including the credits. Applicants are required to submit a recorded three-minute pitch through which they will be assessed on the overall vision for their film, including genre, theme, structure and plot; the originality of their script; and their creative and technical skills.

Source: Emirates News Agency

EPAA organises Sir Bu Nair Festival on May 17


SHARJAH: The Environment and Protected Areas Authority in Sharjah (EPAA) announced the completion of its preparations for organising the 24th edition of the annual Sir Bu Nair Festival on 17th-18th May, with distinguished participation from several government sector institutions in Sharjah.

The festival is organised by the EPAA, with the participation of the Sharjah Police General Command, Sharjah Media Council, Sharjah Government Media Bureau, Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Broadcasting Authority, Sharjah Sports Council, in addition to Sharjah International Marine Sports Club.

Several government and private entities, represented by Sharjah Commerce and Tourism Development Authority, Sharjah Coop, Sharjah Driving Institute, and Zulal Water, provide support and sponsorship for this annual festival to ensure its optimal success.

Hana Saif Al Suwaidi, EPAA Chairperson, stressed the importance of cooperation between community institutions and individuals and the integration of capa
bilities and plans to enhance the environmental and tourism efforts undertaken by the Emirate of Sharjah.

She noted that the continuation of the festival to perform its educational and awareness message reflects the priority of environmental protection and biodiversity within Sharjah’s agenda and aspirations towards the environment and the conservation of marine and environmental heritage.

The festival will witness various activities and events, including sports competitions, tourist tours, training workshops, and heritage sessions, in addition to an accompanying exhibition and the presence of food trucks throughout Sir Bu Nair Island, and honouring the participating entities and institutions.

Source: Emirates News Agency