Tuesday, September 06, 2005

WSA Grand Jury Bahrain: Day 4

Last night the jury, the staff and the tutors were the guests of the ministry of Information. A dinner was being held in an arts and crafts centre Al-Jasra. This centre has been set up by the ministry of Information in order to inform people about traditions, traditional crafts like weaving, copper work and producing musical instruments. There are small shops were craftsmen work and a shop with the products produced in the centre. The ministry of Industry and Economy is now adding to the centre a place for education of small and middle great entrepreneurs. One of the spear points is to make an e-commerce portal to sell the local craft products.

Beforehand the jurors were asked to bring a national costume so that it would be a colourful happening. And it was very colourful with the first price going to our Mexican juror Rudolfo. But there were more beautifully clad people such as Merylin from Indonesia.

Left: Dorothee from Ghana mixes up natinal costumes; right: a small selection of national costumes

We went to the centre in a fleet of 15 Landrovers. They have been made available by a motor company as part of the sponsoring program set up by the Bahraini. The government gave a guarantee for the budget, but eventually the whole event will be paid sponsors.

At the centre we were welcomed by an Arabian band with dancers, while the jurors could visit the shops and meet the Bahraini people of the ministry, the hosts and invited guests. The Undersecretary of Information was also present. He is a real official. His goal in professional life is to abolish the ministry. En passant he told that the government has no less than 23 ministries; this for a population of 660.000 inhabitants.

Right: a pottery model of a traditional custome; left: Arabian dancers at the dinner

In the morning the hotel piccolo shoved a copy of the Bahrain Tribune newspaper under the door. The edition did contain a fill page on the World Summit Award with the CVs of the jurors and the moderation team. This was just the first instalment. Another one will be following.

The newspage; click for enlargement

This morning the jurors were free. A tour to the Koran museum had been organised. But the jurors got also a chance to go to the souk. Of course they came back with beautiful and fine scarfs, for example. Others went to the shopping malls just behind the hotel. In a square mile there are some five shopping malls. It is unbelievable. But I start to understand why shopping is so popular. People are not going to the beach here, but to the shopping malls. Besides many shoppers come Saudia Arabia over the causeway. It is funny to see Debenham and Marks & Spencer over here. But it is logical, given the reign of the British over Bahrain.

View on two shopping malls from the top of the hotel


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