Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BPN 1588: The year that was (1): Arab spring

 In December last year I was in Abu Dhabi for the World Summit Mobile Award Ceremony. With hotel on the Formula 1 circuit it was an exciting stay. It was not exciting because of the circuit itself as once a day a car sweeping the circuit passed the hotel room, an hour later followed by a cohort of professional bicyclists. It was really exciting as the World Summit Award had created a competition in mobile content and found a sponsoring partner willing to invest in the competition, the winners and the network. And there were many exciting applications, enough to change the name of Abu Dhabi in the city of Apps Dhabi.

After Abu Dhabi I was in more Arab countries like Kuwait and Bahrain in February and March. In Kuwait there was some unrest. I was there in the framework of the Kuwait Content Excellence Awards. Again the WSA local representative had organised a jury to judge new multimedia applications. Again here apps were popping up like mushrooms in fall.
In Bahrain I was invited to do two workshops and be an observer to the Bahrain eContent Award competition. The unrest that started in February formed a difficulty for the workshop. On the first day of the workshop, when we were just in the second hour, a burial procession passed under the window of the class room. We had to improvise a lot as the students could not always reach the classroom. So we decided to form a closed user group on Facebook and do a lot of the work online. This worked as most of the students were computer graduates.
A month later I arrived for the Bahrain eContent Award jury. And again the unrest formed a difficulty. We had to move hotel to a hotel close to the airport and had to work online, not seeing each other and missing out on profound debates. I left the country being very sad.
A month later I was in Hong Kong for the World Summit Global Award jury, organised by Alexander Hung with the support of Elisabeth Quat and Winny Tang, members of the ICT professional association iPROA. It became a good meeting ground with the colleagues from the Middle East: Faouzi from Tunesia, Effat from Egypt, Nawaf from Bahrain and Manar from Kuwait, Suleman from the United Arab Emirates and Nibal from Syria/Lebanon. We even managed to put out the Arab eContent Awards, which were later on awarded in a ceremony linked to a conference.
For the coming year there are already some fixed dates in the diary. In April the World Summit Award Ceremony will be held in Cairo; hopefully a sign that Egypt is recovering. Later that year The World Summit Mobile Award jury will be held in Abu Dhabi, followed in December by the award ceremony.
Among the best wishes from 2012 I found an image sent by Faouzi from Tunesia, which sums it up: Thanks to the people. Thanks Facebook!

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