Sunday, April 15, 2007

Bahrain: GP and eContent

The GP Formula 1 race is on today in Bahrain. With sentiment I look back at my visit in 2005 to the race circuit where the Grand Jury of the World Summit Award (WSA) spent some time. We were allowed to cruise around the circuit with some Land Rovers at a speed of maximally 180 kilometres an hour. Of course this is a far cry of the speed of 300+ kilometres. But it was a great experience to be on the track. Now sitting in front of the television, I recognised the paddocks, the press centre, the control centre (see photograph with me in front of the screen tableau) and of course the royal tower.

Bahrain wanted to have this competition as a tourist attraction. The weather is nice at the moment and for the races people fly in and spend a few days on the island. This touristy attraction will have to compensate the loss of oil in the future. And the kingdom was anted this race by the F1 organisation above Libanon. They also were pushing to get the race to Libanon, but they lost. That is what my Lebanese friend Gaby Deek, one of the people involved in the competition to land the race, told me. So when he visited the circuit it was a homecoming, although he would have loved to have it in Lebanon.

But the Bahraini are also working on less tangable assets. In 2005 I was twice in Bahrain. In the spring I was there to help the local jury in the process of selecting the winners of the Bahrain eConent Award (BEA) and the entries for the WSA. The second time I was there for the Grand Jury of the WSA, which was sponsored by the Bahrain government. It is remarkable that such a small country with 600.000+ inhabitants can be so active in e-culture, e-government, e-business, e-health and e-inclusion. I personally think that the country is further in e-government and e-business than many a European country.

Again this year the ministry of Commerce and the local ISOC chapter are organising the BEA. And again the BEA jury will select the winners in eight categories and offer the winners as entries for the WSA to the organising committee. The jury BEA jury deliberations will held in Manama from April 29 till May 3, 2007.

The Grand Prix of the Formula 1 race will have been handed out by that time. But the awards still have to be selected. Bahrain will be one of the 168+ countries having a pre-selection for the best content products. By September the entries will be judged by a WSA Grand Jury in Brijuni in Croatia.

Blog Posting Number: 724

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