Khaled Almaeena
Khaled Almaeena

From a simple beginning a decade and a half ago to a much prized event, the Arab Media Forum can be aptly described as the Oscars of Arab media. It was an idea in the mind of a man with relentless passion who in a couple of decades has made Dubai synonymous with progress, security, talent, tolerance and future. By sheer dint of personality driven with a resolve to overcome challenges and carve out a niche in the world of science, technology, academia and media, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and Ruler of Dubai, has succeeded where lesser men would long ago have given up. Among his many ideas that took form and shape and are now viewed with much respect worldwide is the Arab Media Forum. From very humble beginnings where the first couple of years saw the learning curve evolve, the forum’s achievements have been noteworthy and the successes have served not only the media but many other fields. The forum has gained popularity and continues to enhance the quality of media performance. It has ingrained the quest for professional methodology in all fields of media, the print and the visual with all the technological advancements and social media developments. The forum succeeded in adding new dimensions by including digital media and new technologies among its work and research. This brought young entrants to the fold of Arab journalists who are media savvy and have a global perspective. This year there were 5,008 entries from 34 countries which put the committees under great pressure which they handled well. The logistics of planning and handling such a forum can be a nightmare; however, the whole process from choosing the prizes that cover all areas of social development to hospitality services and catering to the hundreds of participants was carried out with great competence and dedication. Good ideas, highly professional implementation of plans and the international standards applied contributed to the success of the forum. The forum added value to the community by the number of young men and women who volunteered and worked hard to make it a success. Mona Al-Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office, has been associated with the Dubai Press Club for years. A woman of substance and great resolve, her managerial skills and ability to overcome any obstacle make her a good leader. She has become the face of Emirati women who combine modernity with the retention of culture and heritage. Another prominent woman involved with the Arab Media Forum was Muna Bu Samra, the dynamic Director of the Dubai Press Club. Her contribution to the forum cannot be overlooked. Both women have crossed perceived cultural and social boundaries and have given us all an insight into the potential of the Emirati woman. Jasim Al-Shemsi, the man overlooking major logistical aspects was another dynamic person who stood out among the organizers of this great event. Indeed, Dubai is not about oil or malls but about people who have worked hard, broken barriers and impacted the world. The Arab Media Forum is part of that story. — Reprinted with permission of the Saudi Gazette and Khaled Almaeena. The writer is Editor-at-Large. He can be reached at [email protected] and followed on Twitter: @KhaledAlmaeena