Month: June 2011

Coveted Award Given to Gulf Bank

Banker Middle East, the premiere banking industry magazine in the Middle East, has just announced a number of awards. Gulf Bank of Kuwait received the “Best Employee Training” award at the Banker Middle East Awards Ceremony that was held at the Ritz Carlton in Dubai on June 22, 2011.

Win for Gulf Bank

Certainly, Gulf Bank was quite pleased with this distinction, as Omar Al-Bassam, the Assistant General Manger of Human Resources at Gulf Bank explained:

“We are extremely proud to accept this prestigious award from The Banker Middle East, and the value the international recognition it represents. This is a great accomplishment for us and endorses our long-term strategy of recruiting, developing and investing in the very best people.”

He continued by saying, “This award reflects the efforts of a lot of people over a long period of time. I am very proud of the progress Gulf Bank has been able to make through listening to its staff and providing the training and the motivation needed to create the strong and dynamic organization the Bank has become today.”

Other Gulf Bank Wins

Gulf Bank has won a number of other awards as of late, as well. At the end of 2010, they won the Localization Award for the 6th consecutive year from the GCC Council of Ministers of Labour and Social Affairs. They also won the “Employer of the Year” award at the 2nd GCC Human Resource Excellent Awards 2010 that was held together with the 5th Human Assets Middle East Congress.

The Bank has implemented a number of new programs including the “Mentoring For Success” program that they started in 2010. This program has the goal of enhancing and developing the Bank’s talent by pairing up mentors and mentees that are selected and developed for retention and excellence.

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Quincy Jones Helping the Middle East…One Song at a Time

Quincy Jones is stepping into the scene in the Middle East, helping to promote Arab music and to give attention to Arab artists and musicians.


Jones recently worked on a single called “Bokra” with Badr Jafar who is an Emirati social entrepreneur. Others involved in the project included Lebanese star Majida El Roumi Grammy-winning producter RedOne, Kadim Al Sahir from Iraq, Saber El Rabai from Tunisia, Amr Diab from Egypt and Asma Lmnawar from Morocco.

26 years ago Jones produced the hit record “We Are The World” which swept the world and sold tens of millions of copies to raise money for African famine victims. Another version was made last year for victims of the Haitian earthquake.

Helping the Middle East

Quincy Jones explained his interest in the Middle East as he said,

“I have long been a vocal proponent of music and the arts being a great asset in building bridges between people and cultures.”

He continued by saying that, “I believe that given a choice, people want to live in a world of peace and prosperity, and it is my hope that this song will serve as a clarion call for the people of the Middle East and North Africa who share that desire for peace, hope, unity and a better tomorrow to come together to achieve that dream.”

Helping Those Underprivileged

The money that the single makes will help to finance educational arts and culture scholarships and projects that will help children in the Middle East and in North Africa.

In a press release about the singlg, Badr Jafar wrote, “This song comes at such an important time for the Middle East and brings together the region’s leading talent to produce a song of inspiration and hope for all. There is no better time in the region’s history than now for us to be producing a song of this magnitude, and we have the very best people in the industry behind it.”

RedOne told CNN,

“It’s such an honor to have been chosen by Quincy Jones to join the team and recreate this legendary song. We will be trying this new thing, inspire young people, the new generation thinking about peace, thinking about a better tomorrow.”

The song was already recorded in Rabat, Morocco and is expected to be released after Ramadan. Along with the song, the group is creating a music video and a behind-the-scenes documentary about the project.

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Best Bank in Middle East Named

As reported in recent news, the international finance magazine, Euromoney, recently held awards as part of their Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2011. The ceremony, held recently in Dubai, announced their findings. During the ceremony, they had awards for the Best Bank in the Middle East, the Best Bank in Kuwait, and for many other categories.

The National Bank of Kuwait (NBK) received the awards as the “Best Bank in the Middle East” and as the “Best Bank in Kuwait.”

The NBK Group Deputy CEO Isam J Al Sager said, about the awards,

“These awards mark a new recognition of NBK’s unique and leading position regionally as well as its impressive achievements and management expertise.”

Euromoney explained its choice when it said, “NBK is recognized as the Best Bank in the Middle East and the Best Bank in Kuwait for 2011 in view of its remarkable performance and ability to maintain its leading position in spite of current difficulties for regional and international financial markets.”

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Lighting Up the Middle East…Naturally

Soon, hopefully, the enter Middle East will be lit up from the sun. That’s because Kibbutz Ketura will, this week, be unveiling the first commercial solar energy plant in the Middle East. Run through the Arava Power Company, the 4.95 megawatt power source at Ketura will be presented today, on Sunday June 5th.

Suntech Photovoltaic Solar Panels

The field is compiled of 18,500 Suntech photovoltaic solar panels that should, in total, produce 9 million kilowatt hours of electricity each year. This renewable energy production has incredible potential, especially considering how sunny the Middle East is and how easy it would be to tap into this free energy source.

The occasion today expects to bring in many heavy hitters at the field, which is located 50 kilometers north of Eilat. In attendance will be National Infrastructures Minister Uzi Landau, Agriculture Minister Orit Noked, Mks Dr. Einat Wilf, Shlomo Molla and Eitan Cabel. And, to add some extra spice, hip-hop artist Shyne plans to be there as well.

First of Its Kind

As David Rosenblatt, the vice chairman and co-founder of the project said,

“This first-of-its-kind field… will change the face of the energy sector in the country.”

Other participants in the project include Siemens Project Ventures and Bank Hapoalim.

As Johannes Schmidt, the CEO Equity Investments & Project Finance of the Siemens Project Ventures Financial Services division said, “Ketura Sun is the first high power photovoltaic unit that we have set up together with Arava Power in Israel. The project is a perfect opportunity to position Siemens Project Ventures as a reliable and strong partner in the Israeli solar market and to further strengthen our environmental portfolio.”

Arava Power is projecting a goal to provide as much as 10% of Israel’s electricity through partnerships with areas throughout Israel’s southern regions. Time will tell if this project is one that others throughout the Middle East will want to adopt as well.

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