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A showcase book of Best of Bahrain from www.gvpedia.com

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    C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1 C:\Users\Patrick\Desktop\Bestof Bahrain Vol1 Document Transcript

    • BEST OF bahrain Volume 1
    • Profitable partnerships. Every step of the way. Ithmaar Bank - Adding value through innovation Ithmaar Bank B.S.C. P.O. Box 2820, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain. Tel: +973 17584000 www.ithmaarbank.com
    • life is colourful ... ... because I stand on SOLID GROUND Welcome to a spectrum of innovative financial solutions. Solidarity provides the utmost safety and protection against the widest possible risks, along with a diverse range of prudent savings and investment opportunities, ensuring peace of mind and making life ever so colourful. Solidarity’s vision is to become the leading international Islamic-oriented financial services group in the world. With a paid-up capital of $220 million, Solidarity Group has the resources to deliver unmatched risk management solutions, tailored to meet the needs of individuals, families and businesses. Ph one +973 1758 5222, Fax +973 1758 5200 P.O. Box 18668, Manama, Kingdom of Bahrain WWW.SOLIDARITY.COM.BH
    • Health and Beauty 2 Best of Bahrain
    • Welcome to Bahrain! If you are reading this you are already part of a truly global way of life and are entering our Global Village arena where we showcase our country, our people and our culture and the opportunities that exist in becoming a part of our present and future. Global Village Partnerships and the “Best of” series is a fast growing international media group and “Best of Bahrain” is a first step in introducing the Kingdom on a positive note to our global audience. We feature the Kingdom of Bahrain’s Vision 2030, Business Friendly orientation as the Government focuses on the development of the community and our international business and investment relations. Our genuine hospitality as people in lifestyle and business is unrelenting and synergetic with all of Bahrain’s citizens and residents. Our goal has been to exhibit the diversity with as many key players and initiatives as possible from top organizations to singular entrepreneurs and talented individuals who are contributing to the successful growth of this Kingdom. There are many more still to showcase in future editions of “Best of Bahrain” and on our online social networking portal for Rawia Beyhum - Publisher businesses www.GVPedia.com. We are lucky to have been firstly supported by Bahrain’s Economic Development Board, who are our ambassadors to the Kingdom encouraging and inviting the global audience to merge amongst its establishments and set up base here. We proudly recognize the guidance of His Royal Highness the Prime Minister’s Court and all of Bahrain’s ministries, who saw the importance and potential of this publication in providing a neutral voice to the Kingdom. In our discovery of the Kingdom we have witnessed kindness, traditional values and unique talents that contribute to the wholeness of life here. We are proud to present to you this inaugural edition that will be eclipsed in the next editions of a small nation with a world to offer. Please make sure to visit Bahrain’s Economic Development Board (EDB) on www.bahrain.com and the Kingdom’s e-Government portal www.bahrian.bh during your stay for further information on the Kingdom of Bahrain. This publication would not have been possible without the support from our participating businesses, entrepreneurs, individual talents and the staff of Middle East Media (MEM) our media partner in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Rawia Beyhum Publisher International Group Publisher Sven Boermeester Bahrain Publishing Partner Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. Publisher Rawia Beyhum Project Manager Lisa Ashworth Production GVPedia Communications Editors Lisa Durante, Reena Raghavamoorthy Creative Direction Peter Batistich Images List of Photography Contributors see Index on page 188 Information Sources Economic Development Board (EDB), Ministry of Culture & Information, Vision 2030 ISBN # 978-0-620-39819-0 Disclaimer: Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information in The Best of Bahrain Vol. 1. Neither Best of Bahrain nor GVPedia Communications cc assume any responsibility for errors or omissions. All rights reserved: No part of this publication shall be reproduced, copied, transmitted, adapted or modified in any form or by any means. This publication shall not be stored in whole or in part in any form in any retrieval system. Contact details: Ms. Rawia Beyhum Middle East Media Marketing L.L.C. PO Box 10688 Al Matrook Bldg. 9th Floor, Flat. 101 Tel: +973 17 53 6535 Mobile: +973 39 78 5868 Fax: +973 17 53 3511 www.middleeastmedia.co.uk Email: rawia@membah.com In Partnership with: www.gvpedia.com Sponsored by Global Village Partnerships FZ LLC Best of Bahrain 3
    • Business Friendly Bahrain Best of Bahrain “Bahrain provides a free, open and transparent environment for businesses and has a globally competitive, value-creation story which focuses on sustainability, skills and good governance.” Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the EDB.
    • O ver the past century, Bahrain has led the Gulf in many different areas, from decades. The financial services sector has been thriving for nearly 40 years bringing about a certain oil exploitation to finance dependability, sustainability and and education. This has business wisdom. Bahrain also given Bahrainis their uniquely has a tried-and-tested legal sophisticated outlook, which and regulatory environment in supports a core culture of which investors can trust to fairly openness and freedom, and lies protect their interests in an open at the heart of everything they do. and transparent manner. Bahrain is the Gateway to the The quality of growth in a Gulf, with particularly favourable country depends primarily on the access to Saudi Arabia and the quality of its people. Bahrain’s ideal business hub due to its business sector is supported strategic location in the region, by the most productive, highly- excellent transport network, skilled national work force in the and a reputation for cultural GCC. For example, 67% of the neutrality and friendly ties with its financial services workforce is neighbours. Bahraini and education in the Shaikh Mohammed Bin Essa Al-Khalifa, Chief Executive, Economic Development Board Bahrain’s free market means country is of a very high standard. that businesses are allowed Tamkeen (formerly the Labour to operate freely, with minimal Fund), has invested around $185 an authenticity about Bahrain of opportunity and optimism.” red-tape and foreign ownership million to train more than 19,000 that is unique to the Gulf. Low Bahrain was the first country in restrictions. According to the Bahrainis and provide them with inflation and sustainable growth the region to diversify away from Index of Economic Freedom sector-specific skills. Education also mean that quality of life is oil and gas 40 years ago. From 2009, Bahrain is the 16th freest reforms have also been amongst the highest in the GCC, the outset, the government set economy in the world and the introduced to improve education especially for families. in motion a series of initiatives to freest in the Middle East. In fact, and skills training in line with encourage industry sectors which Bahrain is the only economy the requirements of the private Investment can offer significant investment in the MENA region to rank sector, adopting best practice potential, based on Bahrain’s amongst the world’s top 20. from some of the world’s most OppOrtunItIes natural and human resources, The Kingdom was also the first successful educational models. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al global market trends and regional country in the GCC to have Furthermore, Bahrain is an Khalifa, Chief Executive of the demands. ratified a Free Trade Agreement open, tolerant and welcoming Bahrain Economic Development Bahrain’s overall economic with the United States of society that has long respected Board (EDB): “Bahrain is the strategy is focused on the America. people of all cultures, ethnicities, most diversified economy in creation of high-quality jobs in Importantly, Bahrain has denominations and genders. With the Gulf and our strength is in sustainable industries and value- a strong track record and its its multicultural society, boutique this diversification. We have a added sectors. The country modern international business restaurants, and a thriving arts wellbalanced economy that is now carries an established credentials extend well into the scene and café culture, there is growing with sectors and islands track record in a number of key Best of Bahrain 5
    • sectors: over the 2006 to 2008 period. standards that have helped attract in 1984. Formal regulations Financial services Bahrain’s banking sector institutions to the country and governing funds were introduced Widely regarded as the comprises both conventional and led to the rapid growth of Islamic in 1992 which encouraged the bestregulated financial centre in Islamic banking and is the largest finance assets.” development of a thriving fund the Middle East, Bahrain has been segment within the Kingdom’s Bahrain is widely recognised sector and leading to Bahrain’s the region’s undisputed financial finance sector. as the global leader in Islamic dominance as the Gulf’s regional capital for decades. The Central A key feature of the banking finance, with the largest funds centre. As at October Bank of Bahrain (CBB) is the sole system in Bahrain is the rich concentration of Islamic financial 2009, Bahrain was home to more regulator of the entire financial variety of locally incorporated and institutions in the world. At than 2,600 registered funds. services sector. international banks (conventional present, there are 27 Islamic Of these, 137 are Bahrain As of November 2009, and Islamic) that operate in the banks (whose assets under domiciled schemes, and 59 are there are 414 licensed financial Kingdom. Between them, these management total US$25.7 Islamic funds. institutions based in Bahrain, banks provide professional billion), 18 Islamic insurance including local, regional and services and products to retail, companies (Takaful), and 1 Insurance & reinsurance international firms. Banking is wholesale and private wealth re-Takaful firm operating in The insurance industry in the cornerstone of the finance clients. Several locally the Kingdom. A number of Bahrain has been growing industry, and has diversified into all incorporated banks have either conventional banks have also steadily and strongly in recent aspects of finance including funds, branches or subsidiaries in other successfully integrated Islamic years demonstrating double insurances, reinsurances, Islamic countries throughout the Middle products within their operations. digit growth, and mirroring the finance and capital markets. This East, Far East, Africa, Europe and In addition, Bahrain is at the expansion of Bahrain’s financial has created a large pool of local the United States. Overall, the forefront of the market for Islamic sector. The Kingdom offers talent. total consolidated balance sheet securities (sukuk), including the ideal environment for the The financial sector is one of the banking sector reached short-term government sukuk, insurance industry, and with its of the most important and $218.9 billion by October 2009. as well as leasing securities. forwardlooking and business- wellestablished sectors of The CBB has played a friendly regulatory regime it Bahrain’s economy accounting Islamic Finance central role in the introduction hopes to sustain this growth in for 26.59% of Gross Domestic Khalid Hamad, Executive Director- of these products. the longterm. Bahrain is home to Product in 2008 according to the Banking Supervision, CBB: “Whilst more than 170 insurance firms. Central Informatics Organisation. the underlying principles of Islamic Funds Administration & Reinsurance is a smaller market Banking finance have safeguarded it management than the main insurance sector Bahrain’s banking system against the worst of the economic Bahrain has a thriving funds in Bahrain, but it is one that is experienced annual average downturn, it is Bahrain’s tried and industry, with the first Bahrain steadily growing. An increasing growth rates of 18 per cent trusted world-class regulatory domiciled fund being launched number of companies are offering
    • reinsurance for local companies investment vehicle, Bahrain Low set up costs, access to and the proposed Bahrain-Qatar and using Bahrain as a base from Mumtalakat Holding Company competitively priced, skilled causeway. It is also just 13km which to do business globally. with a capital of BHD2 billion. labour, political and cultural from Bahrain International Airport, Mumtalakat is committed to neutrality and a favourable legal making it perfectly positioned as takaful fostering the development of environment combine to make a multimodal logistics hub for the With the region’s Takaful market the company through greater Bahrain the ideal operating region. set to boom over the next few transparency, better accountability environment. Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa years, Bahrain is rapidly being and improved growth of its Al Khalifa, Chief Executive of the established as the leader in investments. Information Communication EDB, said: this field. Bahrain is the first technology (ICt) “The Khalifa bin Salman Port market to introduce regulations _____________________________ Bahrain boasts the Middle East’s and Bahrain Logistics Zone now for Takaful companies that met most liberal and advanced ICT represent a world class logistics with Accounting & Auditing On top of a thriving financial infrastructure and policies. The hub right at the heart of the Gulf, Organisation for Islamic Financial services sector, the Kingdom Bahrain ICT market is expected to providing the ideal location from Institutions (AAOIFI) standards. also has strong professional reach $375 billion by 2010, due to which to tap into the almost Predictions at the Takaful services, logistics and the high demand for IT products one trillion US dollars combined conference held in April 2008 manufacturing sectors. and services from both public market of the GCC countries suggested that the industry was International businesses and private sectors. The growing and its rapidly expanding, young set to increase to US$10 billion already in Bahrain include need for robust IT solutions is population.” by 2015. Microsoft, Kraft, BNP Paribas, also being driven by massive Ernst & Young, KPMG, DHL and eGovernment and eCommerce Automotive Industry sovereign Wealth Funds – Standard Chartered Bank. initiatives, aimed at achieving Bahrain has consistently stood mumtalakat economic diversification. Bahrain at the forefront of a thriving Kamal Ahmed, Chief Business & professional offers low entrance costs and its automotive sector in the Middle Operating Officer of the EDB: services market is rich with opportunity. East, having joined an elite club of “The independent ranking With the largest financial services 18 nations by hosting the Formula of Mumtalakat as the most centre in the Gulf and close Logistics One World Championship six transparent Sovereign Wealth proximity to Saudi Arabia’s oil Bahrain is currently investing times in a row. The automotive Fund in the Gulf is further proof and gas markets, opportunities US$2.9bn to upgrade its logistics industry in Bahrain grew by of the Kingdom’s commitment for professional and business infrastructure. The Bahrain 6.8% in 2007 and a further 10% to the highest standards of services are abundant in Bahrain. Logistics Zone is fully integrated in 2008 and the Kingdom now accountability and robust These include law, accountancy, with the new Khalifa bin Salman has substantial expertise in the regulation that has created a management consultancy, port, and is in close proximity to sector, especially in motor sport stable business environment.” marketing services, engineering both the King Fahd causeway and aluminium component In 2006, Bahrain set up its own services and human resources. linking Bahrain to Saudi Arabia manufacturing.
    • About the Bahrain eDB both the public and private sectors to Bahrain’s competitive advantages and work closely together to achieve Bahrain’s provide significant investment opportunities. Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer strategic objectives for change and growth. The Bahrain EDB works to enhance the of the EDB: “The Bahrain EDB strives Shaikh Mohammed bin Essa Al Khalifa is capabilities, infrastructure and policies that to be the catalyst for change that will the Chief Executive of the Bahrain Economic are tied to the economic sectors and to transform Bahrain into a preferred Development Board. the overall business environment. In doing global business destination.” so, the EDB aims to attract foreign direct eDB Initiatives investment in these areas and contribute to The Bahrain Economic Development The Bahrain EDB has played a prominent the Kingdom’s economic growth. Board (EDB) is a dynamic public agency role in a number of important initiatives. The Bahrain EDB is responsible for responsible for formulating and overseeing These include Bahrain’s hosting of the promoting the Kingdom of Bahrain abroad the economic development strategy of Middle East’s first ever Formula 1TM Grand through its overseas network of dedicated Bahrain, and for creating the right climate to Prix; becoming the first country in the Arab offices, in India, Japan and Hong Kong, attract direct investment into the Kingdom. world to fully liberalise its telecoms industry; and by working closely with its embassies The role of the Bahrain EDB is to provide and establishing a Free Trade Agreement around the world to promote business leadership by uniting all of the Kingdom’s with the United States. investment opportunities. shareholders through a unified vision, and The Bahrain EDB currently seeks In addition, the Bahrain EDB offers an to develop key strategies for growth. The to attract inward investment across investor-facilitation service to first-time Bahrain EDB also acts as a facilitator, helping several economic sectors in line with the investors interested in doing business in all of Bahrain’s stakeholders to understand government’s aspirations to promote Bahrain. A dedicated business development and adopt the changes necessary for productive and sustainable growth, as set officer serves as the first point of contact progress. In addition, the Bahrain EDB out in Bahrain’s Economic Vision 2030, to the Kingdom, working to understand provides sound project management to launched in October 2008. The National the objectives of each investor, providing ensure that all agreed reform initiatives are Economic Strategy provides a roadmap information regarding the relevant implemented effectively. for the vision, which sets the direction procedures for setting up businesses, and The EDB is chaired by His Royal for Bahrain’s future development, aiming helping them to develop a strong network of Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al to build a better life for every Bahraini by contacts to successfully conduct business Khalifa, Crown Prince of Bahrain. The utilising the private sector as an engine in Bahrain. EDB Board of Directors consists of 17 for growth and focusing on modernizing government ministers and 10 leading the economy, developing new skills and executives from the private sector. The enhancing productivity and innovation. Tel: +973 17 589 969 Board’s composition is designed to enable Several economic sectors capitalise on www.bahrainedb.com
    • Kamal Ahmed, Chief Operating Officer, Economic Development Board
    • ChapterS Best of Bahrain Hotels & Hospitality Dining & Entertainment 42-53 54-63 Chapter 1 Chapter 2 Health, Beauty & Wellness Training, Education & CSR 108-115 116-129 Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Oil, Gas & Manufacturing Media, Communications & Technology 164-169 170-187 Chapter 10 Chapter 9 10 Best of Bahrain
    • Travel, Tourism & Events Arts & Culture 64-77 78-107 Chapter 3 Chapter 4 Real Estate, Construction & Design Banking, Investment & Finance 130-149 150-163 Chapter 7 Chapter 8 BEST OF bahrain Best of Bahrain 11
    • The Court of HRH The Prime Minister Your Royal Highness, how Bahrain is a country of limited These mechanisms were set and economic growth. has your Government space and resources. In such in place since the early stages Simultaneously, any social or supported the development a situation it is only natural to of the state formation, which in economic development is subject and diversification of Bahrain’s define your ambitions within turn contributed to witnessing to this stability. economy in light of the current these limitations. Faced with such a limited negative magnitude of difficulties and successive challenges Bahrain conducted the recent global crisis, keeping Therefore, as we look today global and regional crises? in-depth studies with a futuristic Bahrain as immune as possible at the achievements realized Global difficulties are a testament approach that recognizes the under such circumstances. by the people of Bahrain as a of Bahrain’s ability to overcome indispensability of developing consequence of the Kingdom’s the reality and employ it for mechanisms for income We believe that any progress diversification policy, we the realization of its interests. diversification. is only secured via stability become more confident and 12 Best of Bahrain
    • The Royal Family, rulers of the Kingdom of Bahrain international exhibitions and accordance with specialized the current intense competition to conferences, as well as home to studies and research. We realize attract direct foreign investment many important industries such the international geographic and mega-projects. We believe as oil and gas related industries, importance of the region we live that it is the responsibility of the petrochemicals, aluminum, in, as a meeting point between State to provide the facilities and shipbuilding and repair. We East and West, particularly the incentives necessary to attract continue to attract foreign vital and strategic location of and sustain local and foreign investments, and you only need the Kingdom of Bahrain within investments alike. to take a look at the development it. Therefore, we remain keen and investment projects in the to benefit from our location Today we enjoy a sophisticated Kingdom to realize the success in further attracting foreign communication network; we of our policies whether those investment and encouraging have no monopoly in this field. concerned with sustainable new ideas and initiatives that will The industry is characterized by development or improving the further strengthen our economies a competitive environment that quality of life in general. and support our endeavors to recognizes the needs of both the increase our development and service provider and its users Your Royal Highness, how our growth rates. with ample opportunities for do you envision the path for specialized companies to enter. proud of Bahrainis ability to economic growth in the future? We are also aware that this can change their reality and open up What are the possibilities of be achieved only by providing We currently have in place three new prospects for the coming diversifying sources of income a modern infrastructure in the Telecom service providers. We generations. so as not to depend solely on areas of Communication and are confident that the presence of oil revenues, banking and the Technology, particularly in these three companies will enrich Today, Bahrain is a highly visible real estate sectors? Information Technology and the telecommunications sector, financial and banking centre In order to minimize any risks Telecommunications. We remain contribute to the industry’s with a leading international that may impede our economic committed to insuring that our development and provide high status particularly in Islamic and social development, we infrastructures are in accordance quality services for all investment Banking. Furthermore, Bahrain is constantly review our legislative with international standards and projects in the Kingdom of a significant centre for services, and economic policies in expectations, especially in light of Bahrain. Best of Bahrain 13
    • 14 Best of Bahrain His Royal Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa, The Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Bahrain
    • In the same manner in which the extent of development we are developing our and success witnessed in the communications, air traffic, sea Kingdom of Bahrain. Yet, we and land infrastructures, we believe that one of the most are developing and expanding important indicators in evaluating the Bahrain International our economic reality is the Airport in order to enable it to reflection of these achievements accommodate larger numbers on the Kingdom’s citizens and of aircrafts and passengers, their well-being. transferring it into a focal airport As a case in point, in attracting in the region. Furthermore, we foreign direct investment Bahrain are developing our ports as well is ranked first between all to keep pace with the continued Gulf States, and twelfth in this increase in trade, especially in category on the global level. transit trade, where the Kingdom Furthermore, according to the of Bahrain is a main conduit outward FDI Performance Index, between East and West. These Bahrain ranks as the second developments are imperative country in the Arabian Gulf States for growth. The King Fahad and ninth internationally. These Causeway is also going though rankings confirm, without a constant development particularly doubt, that we are set on the right as a land outlet, helping to path and that we have a solid increase mobility of trade, goods foundation on which to build our and people between Bahrain, future successes. Image by: Hanan Hassan Al Khalifa Gulf States and other Countries. What are the most The Kingdom of Bahrain has been fundamental economic internationally recognized as a indicators upon which your leader in the field of Information Royal Highness depends on in Technology, ranking 45th from your work as Prime Minister a list of ‘Country Readiness and Why? in the field of ICT.’ In addition We always act in accordance the United Nations Report on with our vision and goals, E-Government for 2010 ranked particularly the goals designed Bahrain E-Government as first in to meet the needs of Bahraini the Middle East, third in Asia and citizens, to provide better 13th Globally. services as inspirited by them, and to raise to their aspirations We continue to develop new for the future. In this context, the ideas, initiatives and proposals Government of Bahrain is based that add value to our economy on several main economic pillars and National Income, thus that include, but are not limited enhancing and advancing the to, the development of living historic role of the Kingdom of standards, the development Bahrain in developing world of services and facilities, the Trade. ongoing development of projects that bring about added value Do you believe that the global to the national economy, and economic indicators obtained attracting investments that on Bahrain’s economy from contribute to the establishment specialized international of new projects, which in turn institutions are sufficient provide more job opportunities evidence for the success of for Bahraini citizens. involvement, yet this can only be momentum. Therefore, we your economic policies and are achieved if they enjoy descent accord paramount attention to significant indicators of future Our ambitions recognize no and secure lives. sustainable development, as viability? limits when it comes to the we view it as the right approach Indicators are an important part Kingdom and the well-being of What is the opinion of Your for future growth and the only of a number of mechanisms citizens. We strive to realize the Royal Highness with regards guarantor to the continuity of our designed to measure the best results possible, from high to the challenges facing achievements. success of our policies, standards of living to providing sustainable development in the especially since they come from the best services possible, Kingdom of Bahrain? We have always believed that international institutions that specifically in social well-fair, Development is an ongoing investing in human capital are impartial and specialized. health, education and housing. process and the mechanisms should be at the heart of any These institutions highlight to We want citizens to realize set for its realization should developmental approach the world, in accordance with their full potential and to have be constantly reinforced and that investment, in itself, their predetermined standards, high levels of productivity and to maintain a progressive should remain a state priority Best of Bahrain 15
    • in the Kingdom of Bahrain. We Having said that, it becomes State Income and thus its income and create more job are confident in the abilities only natural to refer to some of capital allocation for project opportunities for Bahrainis? of Bahraini citizens, whom the challenges the state faces development. Yet, we remain Investment is not an end in we consider to be the real such as resource limitations capable of facing these itself. We strive to improve and sustainable wealth of the and varying global economic challenges, overcoming them the selection process so that nation in achieving further circumstances. For example, and indeed moving forward with investments play a significant developments in all fields. global financial downturns may our sustainable development role in the economy, meet the affect investment levels and policies. economic needs of the country, Human development and project building rates, while help transfer technological and economic development remain increases in global prices for How do you link investment technical skills and support highly correlated, yet we are basic commodities and goods, in different sectors with the our endeavors to train our firm believers in the necessity in light of the subsidies we Kingdom of Bahrain strategy manpower in order to increase to both maintain a balance guarantee our citizens, in turn for Vision 2030? What are their knowledge and skills. With between the two and realize increase the financial burden other areas of investment this vision in mind, Bahrain the specific needs of each field of the state. All these matters, you are looking to go into has devised many investment individually. directly and indirectly, affect to diversify sources of incentives and has worked to 16 Best of Bahrain
    • improve its overall investment and realize a continued flow of Vision 2030 focuses the future increasing investments including climate and freedom, leading investments. This is a testament strategy for the development Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). to an internationally recognized of the general confidence in the of our national economy with Achieving this will, without a distinctive progress in the field. Bahraini economy and in the international competitiveness in doubt, lead to an increase in security, appropriateness and mind. In this context, the private our competitiveness and further Bahrain enjoys a solid economy positive economic climate we sector is to become the catalyst strengthen the capacity of with good growth rates, which enjoy. Furthermore, it reflects for growth creating, among other Bahrain’s economy to make good in turn provided us with an the positive response to the things, ample opportunities for use of state of the art technology advantage during the recent new investment opportunities citizens to work in the private and world-class management global economic downturn, and patterns we are constantly sector also helping in turn limit techniques. We are sparing no allowing us to be more positive introducing and developing, the high interest in governmental effort to attract investment to while realistic and balanced in capitalizing on what makes and public sector employment. other sectors in addition to the our outlook throughout the crisis. Bahrain’s comparative advantage existing sectors of banking, The Kingdom of Bahrain was in particular its investment Furthermore, our national industry and real estate. At able to avoid to a large extent incentives and its legislative and strategy gives great importance present, we have the promising the negative impacts of the crisis judiciary infrastructure. to further encouraging and sector of tourism, where Bahrain Best of Bahrain 17
    • HRH awarded with “The Special Citation of has become the preferred that will be implemented through the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour” from the location for distinct investments the collaboration between the UN Secretary General, Geneva 2007 in tourism, these rose to more Government and Bahrain’s than $12 billion in the current Economic Development Board, decade, compared with only headed by His Royal Highness $500 million in the nineties. Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy As a tourist hub the Kingdom Supreme Commander. of Bahrain attracts more than There will also be a 3.7 million visitors a year. The continuous monitoring of contribution of the tourism sector the implementation process to Bahrain’s national income is including the detailed plans therefore approximately 9 percent contained therein. We all, as with average annual revenue of institutions in the Kingdom of one billion U.S. dollars. These Bahrain, collaborate in great achievements have been made harmony so as to realize our possible by the successful main objectives which in turn tourism sector development serves the country’s interests. polices the Government has Our aim is to integrate and put into place and firmly standardize without any overlap implemented. or conflict. Our vision is clear and our way forward is to review What strategy does your what has been achieved in the government employ in order to past, build on these successes ensure that Vision 2030 serves with a clear focus on the future. the truest interests of Bahrainis as a whole? We believe that in any economic We have specific mechanisms reform, the public sector emanating from Vision 2030 itself cannot replace the role of 18 Best of Bahrain
    • the private sector. Thus, the We accord substantial attention private sector should play the to youth healthcare in order central role in managing the to insure that our young development process and must generations grow strong, further expand its particular role disease free, highly productive on the domestic and regional and distinctively creative and fronts alike. innovative. Furthermore, we provide youth sports and Your Royal Highness, what social centers, giving them the are the scenarios for the opportunity to channel their future as you see them for the energy and prepare themselves youth of Bahrain? for the future whereby they The youth are half of the are better able to contribute to present and all of the future. their country’s progress and We are preparing them to take prosperity. responsibility with integrity. To meet this end, we continue We have centers for fostering to develop our educational talent and integrating people system and link our educational with special needs into the curriculums with labour market educational process, as part needs. We have managed to of a boarder plan to integrate decrease unemployment rates and incorporate their abilities to their lowest level thus far, in society. We are also proud 4 percent. We concentrate of the prevalence of several on training, which in turn, will public and private universities enable young people to engage in the Kingdom of Bahrain in the labor market and meet that seek to provide the best the needs of the Kingdom in levels of education not only HRH awarded with “UNESCO Avicenna Gold Medal “ various disciplines. for our youth but for the youth from UNESCO Director General, Paris October 2009 Best of Bahrain 19
    • of neighbouring countries and Resources, Environment and other foreign resident children Wildlife Monitoring in Bahrain, from around the world. confirms that emissions in the Kingdom are in line with In light of the global challenges international standards. of climate change, what are the Furthermore, we are among steps taken by the Kingdom of the countries that take the Bahrain to protect the natural protection and the reservation heritage and to ensure the of the environment seriously. In use of low-carbon energy in this regard, we have decisive and the various institutions and outstanding legislations. enterprises? In the Kingdom of Bahrain we How do you see the have a formal body to protect participation of your country in the environment, which monitors growth at the global level and the emission rates of factories what role do you think that your and takes the necessary action government has in this area? to reduce these emissions We are part and parcel of this where found. Furthermore, we world and we are proud of our contribute actively in various effective role, in collaboration regional and international forums with friends in all countries, to find solutions to climate to reach a more secure and change challenges and to ensure stable world; where relations are that the Kingdom of Bahrain is characterized by mutual respect, aligned with any procedures that free from conflict and tension, have been agreed upon globally. which have caused serious HRH awarded with the “King Abdulaziz Medal”, The findings and indicators, as a damage to the development an honour given to world leaders from King result of the Public Commission plans in many parts of the Abdullah, Riyadh April 2009 for the Protection of Marine contemporary world. 20 Best of Bahrain
    • The inaugural Bahrain International Airshow (BIAS) 2010 There are common challenges brought about tremendous facing all countries worldwide, global convergence, further where agreements are necessary blurred barriers between nations to achieve crucial goals such and made distances more as; sustainable development, manageable. We truly all live now economic diversification, job in one global village, with only creation, quality education and geographical spaces to separate health for all. us. Bahrain’s economy, especially as Let us reiterate the call to the being one of limited resources, is entire world, to fully cooperate highly interlinked with those of its to improve the circumstances in neighbours as well as with world the least developed and poorest oil markets. We are working to countries, to renounce violence expand our options, particularly and eschew conflicts and wars in banking and tourism. Yet, that can never bring peace and despite our limited resources our tranquility to the world. economic growth remains high, diversified and thus enhancing Unless all of us respect human our status on a world wide scale. rights, work to improve the lives of people everywhere, free from We are confident that no State the prejudices of racism and alone can make a unique ethnocentrism, the elimination achievement in the world. of tension and widespread On the contrary, international poverty will not be achieved. We cooperation is, without a are all part of this world and so doubt, the driving hallmark progress and development is the of today’s world. Indeed, the responsibility of us all without communication revolution, which exception. Best of Bahrain 21
    • Bahrain Overview The pearl of the Gulf, Kingdom of Bahrain is a small island-nation located just off the Arabian Peninsula. With its name meaning ‘the two seas’, this land was once considered by the ancient Sumerians to be an island paradise for the wise and the brave who were transported there to enjoy eternal life. The Al-Fateh Mosque located next to the King Faisal Highway in Juffair, Kingdom of Bahrain 22 Best of Bahrain
    • More recently, the Kingdom of kilometre causeway which opened modernity, symbolising a beacon Bahrain has achieved fame as in November 1986, creating easy of progress in the Arab world. one of the first Gulf States to access for many businessmen discover oil. Since the Al Khalifa who live in the Kingdom of Head of State : family began ruling the country Bahrain and work in Dhahran in H. M. King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa in 1783, the country has been the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s moving towards creating a local Eastern Province. The island was Official Name: Kingdom of Bahrain identity that marries tradition and once known as Dilmun and was modernity, symbolising a beacon of home to an ancient civilisation Capital City : Manama progress and humility in the Arab that played a central trading role World. between the peoples of the Indus Area : 665 sq km Valley (now India) to the south Best of Bahrain and Mesopotamia (now Iraq) to Population Approx : 720,000 The Kingdom of Bahrain is an the north. Dilmun’s capital was archipelago comprising 33 islands a major port whose remains are Time Zone : UTC+3 located in the Persian Gulf ruled visible today at the UNESCO World by the Al Khalifa dynasty since Heritage Site of Bahrain Fort (Qal’at Official Languages : Arabic & 1783. Bahrain became a British al Bahrain). English protectorate in the 19th Century The Kingdom also features in and gained independence in one of the world’s oldest and most Official Religion : Islam 1971.The current ruler, His Royal enduring pieces of literature – the Highness King Hamad bin Isa Al Epic of Gilgamesh, where the Currency : Bahraini Dinar (BHD) Khalifa, assumed the throne in island was home to the source of 1999 and instituted a process eternal youth. The tale is believed Country Dialling Code : +973 of democratic reform. Through to refer to the pearls from the the change to a constitutional shallow Gulf waters, which were People Age Ratio : 0-14 years: monarchy in 2002 his title went one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s 26.4%, 15-64 years: 69.8%, 65 from Emir to King. Since that biggest exports for generations. years and over: 3.8% time, the Kingdom of Bahrain has In more recent years, the moved from strength to strength Kingdom of Bahrain has been Gender Ratio : 1.25 male/female through its financial sector and a regional pioneer, particularly infrastructure development. The as a specialist business and Ethnic Groups : Bahraini 62.4%, Kingdom of Bahrain is a member financial centre. The Kingdom non-Bahraini 37.6% of the United Nations, the Arab has a whole series of Gulf ‘firsts’ League, the Gulf Co-operation under its belt - from discovering Religious Affiliations : Muslim Council and the Organization of the oil, to diversifying the economy, (Shia and Sunni) 81.2%, Christian Islamic Conference. providing education for both 9%, other 9.8% males and females from the Background on Bahrain 1920s onwards and becoming Accommodation Bahrain is an Arabic word meaning the first democracy with universal The Kingdom of Bahrain “Two Seas”, referring to two facts. suffrage in the region. Indeed, provides various options First, the islands are surrounded in the Kingdom of Bahrain, for visitors, from furnished by two kinds of water; freshwater women are entitled to run for apartments to an impressive Image by Abdulla M. Al-Khan of Bahrain House of Photography springs may be found within the parliamentary office. The Royal range of local and international salty water of the Arabian Gulf. Family has integrated both hotels. The country hosts such Secondly, the Kingdom of politically and socially throughout well-known hotel names such Bahrain lies between the southern the world, befriending many as Ritz–Carlton, Banyan Tree, and northern waters of the Gulf high-profile figures. One such Crowne Plaza, Radisson Blu, which separate it from the Arabian friendship was with the late ‘King Sheraton and will be extending coast and Iran. The Kingdom of Pop’ Michael Jackson: on its hospitality with the opening of Bahrain is located midway his untimely death in 2009 H.M. of a greater range of five-star between the Qatar peninsula and King Hamad commented that properties by 2012, including Saudi Arabia. Bahrain Island is 48 “the world has lost a giant in the the Four Seasons, Raffles and kilometres long and 16 kilometres music industry.” In many ways, Kempinski. Also a current trend wide. The Kingdom of Bahrain is Bahrain has created a distinctive is the advent of boutique hotels connected to Saudi Arabia by a 23 identity that marries tradition and such as L’Hotel. Best of Bahrain 23
    • Health and Beauty Climate National Flag Located just off the Arabian The flag of the Kingdom of Peninsula, the Kingdom of Bahrain Bahrain is made up of a white is generally considered a hot, arid band on the left, separated country. While it does see very from a red area on the right by hot and humid summers (July a zigzagging line. The five white to September), the Kingdom of points of the line represent the Bahrain also experiences mild and five pillars of Islam. pleasant winters (December to March), making it a much-desired FACTS ON THE KINGDOM vacation destination for those living OF BAHRAIN in regions where the winter can be much harsher. GENERAL INFORMATION BUSINESS AND ECONOMY Average Temperature in ˚C Winter lows: 10 ˚C Banks and Foreign Exchange Summer highs 36 ˚C The Kingdom of Bahrain is host to world-class financial Embassies institutions, including the highly Most countries are represented in regarded Ahli United Bank, the Kingdom of Bahrain by their which has won ‘Best Foreign respective embassies. Exchange Bank in the Middle East’ for three consecutive Medical Facilities years. The National Bank The Kingdom of Bahrain offers of Bahrain also provides modern medical care and comprehensive banking medicines through various services. Other financial hospitals in the country. Two institutions in the country fall government hospitals and several under the following labels: private hospitals provide a wide investment banks, commercial range of medical services. banks, specialized banks, Many expatriates prefer to offshore banking units, and attend private hospitals such as money and foreign exchange the American Mission Hospital in brokers. Islamic Banking is Manama (www.amh.org.bh). For abundant. more information please view the Kingdom of Bahrain Ministry of Credit Cards and Cash Health website (www.moh.gov.bh). All major credit cards can be used in the Kingdom of Bahrain. National Anthem Cash is preferred in the local “Bahrainona” (“Our Bahrain”) currency which is Bahraini Dinar. 24 Best of Bahrain
    • Doing Business in the Kingdom of Bahrain According to the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, the Kingdom of Bahrain has the fastest growing economy in the Arab world. This makes it an ideal country for all types of business ventures. In the face of the global economic crisis, the country is diversifying its economy to ensure its continued success both locally and internationally. Additionally, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s focus on Islamic banking, which is becoming increasingly popular, ensures that it will be one step ahead of the world in the business realm. With many international firms making their home in the country, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a tried-and-true option for business and investment. has made steady progress in the local and international mobility. Kingdom of Bahrain. Today the The country’s small size allows for Natural Resources country hosts five dailies, including easy access to almost all parts Oil is the Kingdom of Bahrain’s two in the English language. of the nation. The government- major source of revenue, with Regional and international sponsored road network provides petroleum production and newspapers and magazines also the major link between residential processing accounting for about circulate in the country. and commercial areas, as well 60% of export receipts, 60% of as connects to airports, seaports government revenues, and 30% COMMUNICATIONS AND and industrial zones. In terms of of GDP. TRANSPORT international access, the Kingdom of Bahrain has no shortage of THE MEDIA Telecommunications options: various seaports; bridges The Kingdom of Bahrain (linking the island nation with Radio has a well-developed Saudi Arabia and Qatar); and Most radio stations in the Kingdom telecommunications system that the Bahrain International Airport, of Bahrain are state-run, with has recently been privatized with complete with its own carriers like the Bahrain Radio and Television several competitive providers Bahrain Air and Gulf Air, provide Corporation (BRTC) broadcasting including Batelco, Viva, Zain, instant gateways to the world a general programme in Arabic, Menatelecom and Nuetel. The outside the country’s borders. a second programme featuring landline phone system connects Buses run regularly with links cultural and local programmes, most parts of the country, while between most towns to Manama a Holy Quran programme and mobile coverage stretches across and Muharraq, running from a sports service, as well as the the island. The Kingdom of Bahrain 5.30am until 9.30pm. Timetable English language is well-connected; it is fairly easy information is provided at the bus Radio Bahrain. The country also to get online at internet cafes and terminals. has a privately owned programme visitors should not have problems The Government has aimed to for Indian listeners. obtaining internet access from privatise the public transportation any of the four and five star hotel for the private sector to develop Television properties. The Bahraini domain the service and raise its efficiency The Kingdom of Bahrain is eager to suffix is .bh. and effectiveness to fully serve promote itself as the media hub of The Telecommunications the residents. It is expected that the Middle East. Locally, the state- Regulatory Authority (TRA) was the development of the public run Bahrain Radio and Television recently established for protecting transportation will encourage more Corporation (BRTC) operates five the interests of subscribers and residents from all social sectors to terrestrial TV networks. users, and promoting effective and use the buses, even if they own For more information see the fair competition among established cars, to participate in the reduction Ministry of Culture and Information: and new licensed operators. www. of the number of cars in the roads www.moci.gov.bh/en/ tra.org.bh/en/ and minimise traffic jams, and also reduce air pollution, also knowing Print Public Transport that the Public Transportation Since the opening of the first As a small island nation, the service provided general benefits Arabic newspaper daily, Akhbar Kingdom of Bahrain’s transport from economic, social and al Khaleej, in 1967, print media infrastructure emphasises both environmental aspects. Best of Bahrain 25
    • Private Transport Like much of Europe and all of North America, driving in the Kingdom of Bahrain is on the right side of the road. Road rules are strictly enforced. These include the mandatory wearing of seatbelts, speed limits and a zero tolerance for drink driving. Violators may be fined on the spot. Rental cars are readily available but visitors cannot hire a car using a foreign driver’s license (other than from GCC countries). According to Bahraini law, only an International Driving Licenses is acceptable and must be obtained before entry into the Kingdom. Postal Services The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Postal Directorate has established post offices in many parts of the island nation, so that contact with the world is never far away. In addition, the country makes various internationally-recognised services available to its residents to ensure the highest levels of quality and efficiency in communicating with the outside world. Tourism With over eight million visitors a year, the Kingdom of Bahrain is a popular tourist destination. Steeped in Arab history while openly embracing the modern world, Bahrain offers what Lonely Planet describes as “an excellent introduction to the Persian Gulf”. The country combines traditional Arabic culture, contemporary Gulf glamour and the archaeological legacy of five thousand years of civilization. It also hosts settlements, temples and burial mounds from the ancient civilization of Dilmun, which dominated trade between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley Civilization. The government is actively supporting the tourism industry by contributing to large-scale development projects. Various resorts are planned in the Kingdom of Bahrain, including the Al Areen Resort, Dannat Hawar, Durrat Al Bahrain, Amwaj Islands, Lulu Island, Riffa Views and Bahrain Bay, soon to be home to the Kingdom’s first Four Seasons Hotel. Other prominent initiatives to increase tourism are the cultural events organized by the Image by Latifa Al Shakar, alshakar@gmail.com Ministry of Culture & Information as well as the expansion plans of the Kingdom’s national airport. 26 Best of Bahrain
    • World Heritage Sites UNESCO has listed one of the Kingdom of Bahrain’s many ancient forts, Qalat Al Bahrain, as a World Heritage Site. Initiated in 2006 under the patronage of His Royal Highness Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, the Investing in Culture project is aimed at enhancing an active partnership between the private and public sectors to financially and morally support new cultural projects aimed at human development with preservation of national identity. (www.investinginculture.bh). One heritage site notable to the Kingdom of Bahrain is the Tree of Life near Jebel Dukhan. Tipping This is prevalent but not as standardized as in North America. Many hotels and restaurants include Future of Retail Growth SPORT a service charge for dinners of 10 There is growth of convenience The most famous sports event -15 percent though it is customary to foods in the market due to in the country is the Bahrain leave a small extra tip to the waiting demand for a Western diet. Grand Prix, an annual Formula staff at the discretion of the patron. US-based Kraft has invested One racing event that takes Taxi drivers and other service workers in a 60,000 square metre food place at the Bahrain International will expect small tips of around 10 per processing plant, it’s first in Circuit (BIC). In 2004, Bahrain cent. the GCC region. With demand organised the Bahrain Grand Prix, for foreign food and fashion the first FIA Formula One World Luxury In The City increasing, there is immense Championship event held in the Located on the ground floor of potential for growth in Bahrain. Middle East that was later awarded the iconic Bahrain World Trade the “Best Organized Grand Prix” Centre (BWTC), Moda Mall has SHOPPING DISTRICTS award by the IFA. In 2006, the attained the status of an ultra- • Seef District Bahrain Grand Prix which is usually exclusive shopping complex, • Al Ali Mall the third race of the Formula thanks to its tenants. Offering • Seef Mall calendar swapped places with the about 16,500 square metres of • Bahrain Mall traditional opener, the Australian retail space, Moda Mall houses • Marina Mall Grand Prix and opened the some 160 high-end brands • Dana Mall Formula One calendar. In 2007, including Louis Vuitton, Emporio • Capital Mall - Bahrain Cultural the BIC became the first circuit to Armani, Versace, Just Cavalli, Handicrafts) receive the FIA Institute Centre of Hermes and Stella McCartney, Excellence trophy. The Kingdom of under it’s roof. Muharraq Bahrain staged the opening race of Al Kurar House the 2010 season as well. Hypermarkets in Bahrain To date, the lap record is held Even though, Bahrain has caught Manama by Michael Schumacher who in on to the hypermarket model The City Center Mall is possibly the 2004 did a lap record of: relatively late in the GCC region, biggest with 350 stores, 20 cinema the pace has been picking up screens, the Middle East’s largest • Lap record 1:30.252 – M steadily. France’s Auchain and indoor water park, 30 restaurants Schumacher (2004) the UAE’s EMKE Group have and a large Carrefour supermarket. • Laps 57 expressed interest in establishing The Manama Souk is next to • Circuit Length 5.412 km their presence in the country. Bab Al Bahrain (the gateway to • Race Distance 308.238 km The Bahrain City Centre Mall has Bahrain) and it is full of invigorating been successful in attracting noises and scents. Equestrian quite a number of tenants who The Kingdom of Bahrain is well- are major players in the GCC Isa Town Souk - Antiques known for its love of horse-riding region. Other malls are mostly • Souk Al Haraj – Flea market and equestrian heritage plus located in the Seef District and • Spice Souk diving and golfing activities. Riding include Al Ali Mall, Seef Mall, • Gold Souk clubs and events include: Bahrain Mall, Marina Mall and • Gold City • Amiri Stables, home to many Dana Mall. • Cloth Souk equestrian events where Best of Bahrain 27
    • visitors can view some of the Clown fish trigger fish, surgeon Championship at Riffa Views Golf world’s finest Arabian breeds fish, turtles, rays, lion fish, grouper, Club which is a PGA, 18 hole, par Awali Riding Club specialises snapper, crayfish and even whale 72 golf course featuring five lakes in Trail Riding, Show Jumping, sharks can be spot near this reef. and 72 bunkers, plus the option Polo, Dressage and Cross Caisson wreck is located 20 to play in the evening under the Country. miles off the coast of the Kingdom floodlit course. • The Dilmun club was founded of Bahrain. This concrete and steel in 1974 and has grown into the structure is home to a numerous Desert Sports premier private club in Bahrain. species of fish. There are many types of desert Located in Saar, near Budaiya, Fasht najwah is located at 50 activities in the Gulf, whether to the ‘Dilly’ is a Sports and social nautical miles north of the Kingdom watch or participate in: club Twin Palms Riding Centre of Bahrain. Najwah is an excellent • Camel riding is the largest riding and livery dive location for advanced divers • Adventure Drive Arabia – this is centre Sakhir Racecourse with and photographers. for self drives on quad bikes its unique Arabic tent design During peak season, Najwah is • Falconry International show-jumping an excellent location to spot whale Endurance races sharks. ARTS AND CULTURE Fifi wreck is located 5 miles off The Kingdom of Bahrain’s Ministry Scuba Diving the east coast of the Kingdom of of Culture and Information is Because of its geography, diving Bahrain. This location is especially dedicated to promoting local art is popular in Bahrain: the warm, popular for night dives. and culture, as well as introducing Image by Hasan Al Khunaizi, hasan-alkhunaizi@hotmail.com shallow waters of the Bahrain the community to global forms of archipelago are teeming with Golf expression. Traditional Bahraini oyster beds. Scuba diving is Golf can be enjoyed at any level art and culture consists of generally done from boats and and on one of the oldest courses Quran readings, public poetry average underwater visibility is in the Gulf to one of the most performances, ceremonial about five metres. The Scuba innovative. Golf started in the dances, and storytelling. In Master dive centre in Manama 1930’s with the first three hole golf addition, Bahrainis are well-known teaches PADI and SDI training in course built next to Jebel Al Dukan for their work in handicrafts English and Arabic. in the oilfields. like golden jewellery and their For training, you might like to try craftsmanship as demonstrated in Popular dive sites in Bahrain Riffa Views Golf Academy. Bahrain their boatbuilding tradition. Local Bahrain pearl is the finest spot for has hosted some major golf music falls under the Khaleeji diving in the Kingdom of Bahrain. events such as the Senior Tours category, which is indigenous to 28 Best of Bahrain
    • the Persian Gulf area as a whole of fresh water, desertification, and mixes Arab, Persian and and pollution from oil production, African musical traditions. The individuals and groups hope Kingdom of Bahrain also has a to set the foundations for an folk dance tradition. The Ardha environmental movement that can is a men’s sword dance, which keep the Kingdom of Bahrain’s is accompanied by traditional natural heritage as a blessing for drummers and a poet, who sings generations to come. the lyrics. Drawing by Danny Lawless lawlessconcept@yahoo.ca International Airport Environment Bahrain International Airport, Al As a country that takes the Muharraq, with over 36 airlines environment seriously, the using the facility. Kingdom of Bahrain has been On October 8, 2009, it was working closely with the UN announced that expansion work on issues of environmental worth BHD 1.8 billion will be preservation and sustainability. started in 2010 at the airport. In The United Nations Environment connection to that, Bahrain Airport Programmes Regional Office Company has received bids from for West Asia is located in the six companies. Planned over the Kingdom of Bahrain, and from next 30 years, the expansion is there works to provide advisory expected to triple the passenger services, capacity building and capacity to 27 million a year. Two technology transfer in the priority new terminals will be opened areas of the region under a series in the next four years as part of umbrella programmes. of the expansion. The airport Bahrain Duty Free www.bdutyfree.com The government, along development plan will also involve with local and international construction of an air traffic organisations, is making efforts control tower, cargo facilities, a to address environmental threats royal flight terminal and road and in the country, as this is the rail links to the airport. first step towards long-term environmental sustainability. By Major Locations focusing on issues like scarcity Al Muharraq, Al Hadd, Manama, Al Best of Bahrain 29
    • Manamah, Jidd Hafs, Al Mintaqah, FOCUS ON DINING Ash Shamaliyah, Jiddah, Umm The Taste of Bahrain An Nasan, Al Mintaqah Al Wusta, As a multi-cultural haven that is Madinat Isa, Ar Rifa Al Gharbi, home to people from around the Sitrah, Madinat Hamad, Ar Rifa world, the food of the Kingdom Wa, Al Mintaqah, Al Janubiyah, Al of Bahrain features man different Mintaqah, Al Gharbiyah. cuisines such as Indian, Thai, Chinese, Continental and Pakistani National Capital food, as well as traditional • Manama Arabic fare. Some of the popular restaurants in the Kingdom of Other Cities Bahrain that serve international Samahij, Barbar, Sar, Al Qurayyah, food are: Al Jasrah, Jurdab, Karzakkan, Al Malikiyan, Halat Umm At Bayd, • Le Mediterranee , Ritz-Carlton Dar Kulayb, Askar, Az Zallaq, Al Hotel Wasmiyah, Jaww, Ad Dur, Al • Far East Seafood Market, Mamtalah, Ar Rumaythah. Ramee International Hotel • Al Noor Lounge Café Attractions Luxurious, modern and It is well worth trying the traditional cosmopolitan, the Kingdom local food and drink. Bahrainis of Bahrain welcomes a huge eat popular Arabian foods like number of international tourists Falafel (a dish of fried balls of each year to come and share the chickpeas served in a bread), fascinating blend of eastern and Shawarma (lamb or chicken western cultures. The Bahrain carved from a rotating spit and travel guide will provide you an wrapped in pita bread, usually insight about the attractions of this stuffed with lettuce and tomato blissful Kingdom. Manama, the with an accompanying bag of capital, is dotted with mosques pickles), Qoozi (grilled lamb stuffed and minarets. This place boasts of with rice, boiled eggs, onions and excellent hotels, shopping malls, spices). A specialty of the region is restaurants and an interesting Machboos, an interesting dish that central souq (bazaar). Some of the is made up of fresh fish or meat key places to visit to make your and is served with fine rice and visit to Bahrain complete are: dates. Another delicacy which is typical to the region is Muhammar, • Bab al Bahrain a dish of sweet rice served with • The Gold Souq dates or sugar.Bahrainis are partial • Siyadi House to snacks such as ‘Samboosa’, a • Al-Khamis Mosque semi-circular or triangular pastry • Bahrian Fort stuffed with meat, pepper and Image by Latifa Al Shakar - alshakar@gmail.com • Barbar Temple onions and deep fried. Another • Museum of Pearl Diving popular breakfast and snack • National Museum of Bahrain item is a special flat bread called • Arad Fort the ‘Khubz’ that can be found • Shaikh Isa’s House in any of the numerous bakeries • Tree of Life throughout the country. • Bait Al Qu’ran One can find an abundance • King Fahad Causeway of fresh fruits like dates, • Al-Jasra House bananas, citrus fruits, mangoes, • Salman bin Ahmed Al Fateh pomegranates, tomatoes and Fort cucumbers that are cultivated in the region. Another food that Alcohol forms an important part of the Bahrain has more of a Bahraini diet is the fresh fish of Image by Bahrain House of Photography cosmopolitan approach than many the Gulf which is served grilled, of its GCC neighbours. There steamed or fried according to are many lively bars, clubs and one’s choice. Popular meats licensed restaurants in villas as available in the local market well as in four and five star hotels. include Safi (rabbit fish), Chanad Please note that public displays of (mackerel), and Sobaity. Though drunkenness and drink driving are fish is mostly served with rice not tolerated and can result in fines here, one can easily find fresh fish or prosecution. and chips in Bahrain. 30 Best of Bahrain
    • Image by Latifa Al Shakar, alshakar@gmail.com Coffee, locally called ‘Gahwa’, is the Jazz USEFUL PHRASES traditional welcome drink that is often • CICO’s - Italian • Yes : Na’am served with cardamom and saffron • COCO • No : La added to it. Many of the hotels and • Up a Tree, Cup a Tea • Hello : Marhaba restaurants carry alcohol licenses • Upstairs Downstairs so you can enjoy your choice of • Mezzaluna - Mediterranean • Good-bye : Fi aman Illah accompaniment to your meal. • Monsoon – Thai • Good-morning : Sabah al-khair Restaurants in Manama are diverse • Zoe’s - International • Good-evening : Masa’al-khair and there is something to suit any • Thank you : Shokran palate. The capital boasts hundreds of Nightlife • How much : Qadaish? Or Bi-kam? restaurants including: The Kingdom of Bahrain is a melting • Never mind : Ma’lesh pot of diversity with superb international • Please : Min fadlak (m) Min fadlik (f) • Al Dallah live bands from jazz at the Gulf Hotel, • I have no money / cannot increase my offer : Mafeesh • Al Raouche (Sheraton Bahrain Hotel) international duos at the Movenpick flous • Al Sawani Hotel, Latino duos at the Mercure, and • Call me a taxi : Areed taxi • Golestan - Iranian Philipino acts at The Warbler, Windsor • I want to buy : Areed ashtiri • La Perle - Seafood Restaurant Tower, Metropolitan Hotel, Radisson • Al Noor Lounge Cafe (Intercontinental Blu and Rock Bottom Café singing • May I have the bill please : Mumkin el-hisab, min Hotel) cover songs. There are sports bars and fadlak? • Le Jardin (Ramada Hotel) Arabic and Indian themed clubs. • God willing : Insh’allah • Le Mediterrane in Bahrain For Arabic nights try Baisan Tower, • Congratulations : Mabrook (Ritz Carlton Hotel) Crowne Plaza Hotel, Diplomat Hotel, • Go : Imshi • Silks (Moevenpick Hotel) Al Safir Hotel, Ramee International • Stop : Qif • Le Bistro (Intercontinental Hotel) Hotel, Metropolitan Hotel, Gulf Gate • I don’t speak Arabic : Ma ata – kallam Arabi • Trader Vics Hotel, Grand Hotel, Phoenicia Tower, • Market area : Souk • Wrangler Concord Hotel, Delmon International • One : Wahid • JJ’s Irish Restaurant Hotel, Aradous Hotel, Adhari Hotel, • Two : Ithnain • Neyran (Mercure Hotel) Tylos Hotel, Mirador Hotel, Palace Inn • Al Waha (Gulf Hotel) Hotel and Panorama Hotel. • Three : Thalatha • The Meat Company For Indian venues there is • Four : Arba’a • Le Versailles (Intercontinental Bollywood Café at the Ramee • Five : Khamsa Regency) Bahrain International Hotel, Madonnar Bar, • Six : Sitta • Nirvana (Ritz Carlton Hotel) - Indian Concord Hotel, Sangam at Delmon • Seven : Sab’a • Plums (Ritz Carlton Hotel) - Japanese International Hotel, Taj lounge at • Eight : Thamaniya Ardous Hotel, Cassablanca at Adhari • Nine : Tis’a For some contemporary cuisine why Hotel, International Club House at • Ten : Ashara not visit Adliya which is a small area with Tylos Hotel and Khushboo at Bahrain • Hundred : Mi’a boutique restaurants with a zappy buzz International Hotel, Plums at Ritz • Thousand : Alf and in some instances cool. Carlton. Best of Bahrain 31
    • For healthy growth, just add Bahrain. g costs peratin low o ntre anc i a l ce in la ss f rs hip d-c wne orl o ei gn ps w for ar t -u 0 % r s t 10 fo lin ks x, ho p t ta s or re a te o p ns p c tu p or e- st tr a st ru ce or on nt f ra or c e in kf x, t ro ll s en or e ta e m em w z e xc co ed e re om le , ag ill lf te c sk in u ed G de ly nc ro tra e gh va ze th ad hi e to fre , s, nk y st ba a US co w l te ra ur nt a bo ce g la g n ro w st lo
    • Even in a climate of scal aridity, delicate seedlings have to be tended. Bahrain provides an ideal environment in which to do just that; a complete economic ecosystem, in fact, providing business with essential suppor t and sustenance. This is perhaps why so many multinational s – from Microsoft to Citibank to Kraft – have already planted themselves on Bahraini soil. The track record – theirs and ours – demonstrates what fertile ground it is. Ground where green shoots of recovery stand t he best possible chance of not mere survival, but of a blooming future. For gardening tips, visit bahrain.co m
    • porsche design Our most significant development since 1972: a signature style. Things that accompany us through life should be, above all, functional. But they should also touch us emotionally. As long ago as 1972, Professor Ferdinand Alexander Porsche laid the milestones – with the Chronograph I – of a philosophy that continues to govern Porsche Design today: consummate functionality in clear, unadorned forms. The result is not only classic gentlemen’s accessories, but also a collection of other exclusive products which reveal their essence in visual and haptic beauty. In brief: a design that is timeless. 72 78 99 Chronograph I Pilot glasses P´3110 TecFlex Ballpoint Pen First all-black chronograph First glasses with lens-changing feature Stainless steel weave, borrowed from racing 04 07 08 P´6910 Indicator P´9521 Mobile Phone P´3210 Fragrance Only chronograph with mechanical-digital With innovative fingerprint sensor First fragrance from Porsche Design stopwatch function “If you analyse the function of an object its form often becomes obvious.” Prof. Ferdinand Alexander Porsche
    • porsche design worldtimer ß6750 The Worldtimer. One watch. Two time zones. The perfect companion for cosmopolitans, thanks to its automatic movement with unique world time function. It allows the display of a second time zone on the dial in a mechanical-digital manner. The time of the second time zone is transferred to the hands by simply pressing a button. Porsche Design at Jashanmal Department Store Al Aali Mall, Bahrain City Centre; L’ Hotel at Seef District
    • CHAPTER 1 Hotels & Hospitality 42 Best of Bahrain
    • “The Ritz-Carlton is a place where the genuine care and comfort of our guests is our highest mission, and with the passion and dedication of our ladies and gentlemen we strive to provide the highest level of personalized service to create exceptional and memorable experiences for our guests every day,” says Mr. Dilip Mukundan, Director of Sales & Marketing of The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa. Best of Bahrain 43
    • Strategically placed business The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain The Sports Club & For seven years, the location overlooking Manama “Adopt a Lion” campaign raises Spa boasts swimming hotel has bagged the City and the new rising Bahrain funds for the Regional Institute pools, tennis courts, Turkish “Best Business Hotel in Financial Harbour, includes The of Active Learning in Bahrain. bath, as well as a private Manama, Bahrain” ac- Hotels & Hospitality Club Floor with specialised fa- The lions can be seen through- marina housing Bahrain’s colade from ‘Business cilities for the business traveller. out The Ritz-Carlton hotel. residents’ yachts. Traveller Middle East.’ The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa “We are Ladies and Gentlemen serving Ladies and Gentlemen.” With this edifying philosophy, its grand lobby, famously designed with black Italian marble floors and rare Rio Rosewood walls, it reflects the aura of timeless sumptuousness that the global brand adheres to. In the epicentre of Manama’s business and shopping district, the warmth of Bahrain’s buisness friendly atmosphere comes alive in a refined resort ambience. Pool: 44 LoungeBahrain Best of poolside and soak in the Bahraini sun, or take a relaxing dip in the beautifully designed outdoor swimming pool.
    • The Villas: Enjoy relaxed elegance at one of the 23 luxurious three-bedroom villas each with its own private swimming pool, beach access and 24-hour butler service. Overlooking the Northern complex. Few hotels in Bahrain Establised in 1983, The Ritz-Carlton Bahraini coast with its seafront can match its pulling power. Hotel Company, L.L.C. is supported archipelago, the hotel’s 245 Mr. Dilip Mukundan, Director by on-going hospitality training rooms and suites, including the of Sales & Marketing, The that maximizes the talents of every Club Rooms and Club Lounge, Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & staff member, empowering them are flanked on both sides Spa explains that the property to create unique experiences for with a generous spa, leisure functions on an credo of “a its guests. “With fully equipped accroutements and a cluster place where the genuine care meeting facilities and ballrooms of Philippe Stark-inspired, and comfort of our guests is our offering over 24,000 square feet of Caribbean style villas adorning a highest mission.” Undoubtedly meeting space it is no surprise that 20 acre waterfront development espousing “Service that is the hotel is Bahrain’s first choice on the Arabian Gulf. This self- truly felt from the heart”, the for intimate meetings to large sustained retreat faces the pioneer of the hospitality international conferences.” Manama cityscape and the business Cesar Ritz, otherwise What makes The Ritz-Carlton, new rising Bahrain Financial known as the ‘king of hoteliers Bahrain Hotel & Spa so special Harbour developments with and hotelier to kings’ would is what Ladies and Gentlemen the neighbouring Diplomatic be content with this hotel understood ages ago: that area and surrounding shopping experience. relaxation begets business Best of Bahrain 45
    • success which in turn inspires Community Footprints initiative to Ritz-Carlton lions, ‘adopted’ for Mukundan concludes that he is relaxation. consistently and positively inspire charity, were visible throughout “eager to reinforce and strengthen As the highest testament to its the lives of others. In line with this The Ritz-Carlton hotel. “It is our position as a market leader earned majesty, The Ritz-Carlton, tradition, The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain through this collection of imprints and work with the Ladies and Bahrain Hotel & Spa wisely retains “Adopt a Lion” campaign at The that we can make a meaningful Gentlemen whose dedication and its roots in humility and does more Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa, difference”, says Mr. Dilip loyalty make it all possible.” than its lion’s share of community was successfully launched in Mukundan. service. In tribute to its corporate March 2009 as a means for raising He looks forward to continuing tradition for leaving its footprint in funds to benefit the Regional the success of The Ritz-Carlton, the sands of time, The Ritz-Carlton Institute of Active Learning in Bahrain Hotel & Spa in a city that Tel: +973 17 58 0000 Hotel Company developed the Bahrain. The cute and cuddly is experiencing immense growth. www.ritzcarlton.com All rooms include high-speed internet access, LCD TV, satellite TV and 24-hour in-room 46 Best of Bahrain dining service, with breathtaking views of the Arabian Gulf or the Manama cityscape.
    • Amongst all restaurants, the Indian sitar and drum, seduces throughout the company’s aesthetic beauty that is also Nirvana emerged victorious thanks guests who keep coming back for numerous outlets worldwide. evident in his selection to its South Asian indigenous more. The well appointed rooms with of Rosewood for The Club Floor. touch. Welcome to a dining The Burlington Club with its the most comfortable mattresses Considered to be among the room fit for Maharajas, serving Havana cigars, library lined walls known to mankind represent yet most beautiful of all woods, authentic culinary experiences and low lights is reminiscent another value addition of this luxury it has been used for centuries from India, it boasts a particularly of the locations where famous establishment. The stunning sea for fine furniture production. romantic setting. Replete with red personalities stayed at the original view from the rooms, added to the Here it is used in profusion carpets, red candles, red walls Ritz-Carlton as far back as 1927. fine room touches - designed by - for pianos and sculptures, that and surrounding mirrors reflecting Today the emphasis is on renowned French architect grace the walls and floors of time, space and memories of days regionally refined architectural Pierre-Yves Rochon - this new and yet enticingly gone by; the dulcet tones of live design and personalised service demonstrates his penchant for traditional space. Best of Bahrain 47
    • L’Hotel – Bahrain’s First Boutique Hotel It is no longer astonishing when a hotel staff member actually remembers a guest’s preferences stated during a previous stay, no matter how long ago. Equipped with 90 rooms and suites ranging from 40 to 120 square metres, four F&B outlets and a bar, L’Hotel offers diversity through the Day and Night concept that has seen steady and successful growth. 48 Best of Bahrain
    • Thanks to technological advancement, hotels are now able to record their guest’s preferences and enable them to offer personalised services. L’Hotel, the first boutique hotel in Bahrain, has embraced technology (Opera software) to offer personalised services to its guests. The hotel is a fairly recent entrant with joint partnership between Sheikh Ebrahim Bin Khalid Al Khalifa and Lebanese hotelier, Joseph Yazbeck (Grand Hotel - Washington DC, Voltaire Palace - Geneva, Plaza Hotel - Beirut and more) at a time when potential and demand for 5 Star destination hotels in the Kingdom of Bahrain is accelerating to a vividly conscious necessity. Capitalising on its location, L’Hotel attracts its key visitors from across the Saudi Causeway and the surrounding Seef District and Financial Hub. In the advent of Best of Bahrain 49
    • Health and Beauty the recent financial crisis, the hotel industry, as a whole, has seen a dip in expenditure and allowances. This has placed stress upon hotels to be more competitive by being unique and flexible in their offerings to a more demanding and careful customer. L’Hotel has risen to the occasion with a much-needed offering at the right time. Ralph Yazbek, General Manager of L’Hotel is immediately inviting and engaging, in testament to his premier success-indicator, a personalised approach to each and every L’Hotel guest. The staff at L’Hotel follow suit, knowing each guest by name and the details of their habitual preferences. That is why L’Hotel attracts the more attentive customer, VIPs, corporates and a growing fan base of cultural event goers who seek an attentive orientation to their 50 Best of Bahrain
    • preferences and to some who self equipped with its own high- cultural venue (Day and Night are acutely aware of their own grade espresso machine. There is concept), L’Hotel organises high particular tastes. no doubt that attention to details is profile events in conjunction with Fully aware of the regional paramount here. Bougi - a PR & management demand for absolute comfort L’Hotel has introduced the bold consultancy which conducts savvy and indulgence, L’Hotel is built concept of Son Entrecote from PR and networking opportunity at to supercede the standardized Le Relais de Venise in France- L’Hotel (www.bougilife.blogspot.com). definition of boutique and 5 Star one dish served impeccably and Everything is faced with a hotels. Yazbek elaborates with repeatedly to a growing base of stoic perseverance to push the delight about the humane touch loyal customers, Green Salad, benchmark of personalized and personalised approach that is the American Angus beef steak services and ensure that the L’Hotel’s signature and has guests with its secret sauce and French approach is towards good taste offering unstinted patronage. Fries served with a fork and knife. and quality. “We are not afraid to “Our designs and room amenities Of course Yazbek is cautious of discover markets or segments are unique,” he says while listing introducing similar endeavours in that were not in our initial business examples of the e-Butler system future. “One must be careful of plan.” And he sums up, “The best in every room, control blinds, triple the product introduced, since the is yet to come. We are here to glazed windows to keep out any market in Bahrain is small”, he serve the customer and cater to all obtrusive noises, direct and indirect adds. their needs.” lighting, class A mattresses of 7 Nevertheless, L’Hotel has cm feathers, 1 cm thick protector managed to establish its name and 360 counts for the linen bed through a combination of spread. The furniture is Natuzzi, innovative ideas. In a bid to Tel: +973 17 567 2222 custom-made and every room is promote itself as a business and www.lhotelbahrain.com Best of Bahrain 51
    • Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen Banyan Tree, an internationally renowned chain of hotels chose Bahrain to spread its roots through the Middle East. 52 Best of Bahrain
    • Not a surprising fact, considering better, they act as Ambassadors sustaining the brand legacy, the the presence of a large population to the brand. Customer staff members ensure that there of expatriates and GCC residents. care and service culture are is no margin for error. And their With an architecture that boasts prominent factors in their training work has not gone unrecognised. of opulence and tradition that has programmes conducted daily. Banyan Tree Hotels and Resorts both Asian and Arabian influences, The welcoming relaxed has won around 400 awards and Banyan Tree Al Areen in Bahrain atmosphere at Banyan Tree Banyan Tree Al Areen alone has creates a unique atmosphere and Al Areen mostly attracts more bagged more than five, the most a wow factor for every visitor. guests during weekends than the recent being The Best SPA Resort The aim is to create an week days. However, corporate in the World which speaks highly awareness and to offer the best clients are slowly discovering the for itself. service in the country that is an conference facilities and filling up added value to the destination. the weekdays as well. Apparently, With a staff mix belonging to more the current financial climate has not than 15 nationalities in the resort managed to dull its sheen. all trained for cultural awareness While presenting a royal product Tel: +973 17 84 5000 and adaptability to serve the clients to attentive customers and www.banyantree.com/en/alareen Best of Bahrain 53
    • CHAPTER 2 Dining & Entertainment 54 Best of Bahrain
    • Best of Bahrain 55
    • Fun, food, fiesta Dining & Entertainment Food and fun is available aplenty in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Ranging from the traditional coffee shops to luxury international cuisine of all nations, Bahrain caters to the gastronomic demands of a cosmopolitain audience. With a multi-national expatriate is run by the Alsharif Group serve authentic food is so zealous Mezzaluna is primarily popular for population living in the Kingdom, comprising three entrepreneurs that even the firewood for the Italian serving a fine choice of wines, Zoe it is fairly common to spot who have taken the dining scene oven is imported directly from is favored for its food served with restaurants serving not only Arabic in Bahrain to a whole new realm. the country. Such is the passion the fine beats composed by it’s in- cuisines but international ones, Their Café Italia, a classy Italian behind food served in the Kingdom house DJ. Located at the centre as well. For instance, a Mexican- restaurant and Memories of China, of Bahrain. of Bahrain’s restaurant district in food connoisseur can head to an upscale Chinese restaurant Other noteworthy restaurants in Adliya, the four restaurants are Senor Pacos, the oldest Mexican serve authentic dishes from Italy the Kingdom are Zoe, Mezzaluna, managed by Al Ghalia Group. restaurant available. This restaurant and China respectively. The drive to Monsoon and Café Lilou. While Ranging from high-end dining, 56 Best of Bahrain
    • trendy and hip dining to the small in the district of Muharraq (www. café and bakery, these restaurants shaikhebrahimcenter.org). Live receive good patronage from bands and Djs are available at residents and social or business various hotel and resort venues visitors, alike. The friendly throughout the Kingdom. Sport ambience of restaurants across events are popular such as cricket, the Kingdom of Bahrain make the football, golf, rugby, sailing, diving, customers wish to come back for horse riding, karting, motorsports savoring more Arabian hospitality. and of course the Formula One Image by Bahrain House of Photography racetrack at Bahrain International Entertainment Circuit (BIC). Also, a large indoor Shopping malls in the country water park touted to be the Middle cater to both the dining and East’s largest, is set to open in entertainment needs of the visitors City Centre Mall. New real estate and residents. With food courts projects like Amwaj Islands will present in all the malls. Cinema have a theme park and a waterfront theatres located inside shopping entertainment complex. Other malls and elsewhere screen the noteable venues are the bowling latest international movies. There and fun rides at Adhari Park, Al are various cultural events such Areen Wildlife Reserve and the Lost the popular hang-out spots party away. BJ’s Night Club in as the Spring of Culture (www. Paradise of Dilmun waterpark in the are located in the Kingdom’s Hotel Al Bustan, Enigma in Hotel springofculture.org) which takes Kingdom’s developing Southern capital Manama and the Windsor Tower and Bushido in place each year in March. Other Governate. touristic resorts surrounding the Kingdom’s Seef District are ongoing concerts and plays with an the island’s coasts. With a worth a visit among the others. influx of international entertainers Nightlife wide range of bars, cafés and can be attended at the Shaikh There are many places in the nightclubs to choose from, a Refer to www.bahrainguide.org Ebrahim Bin Mohammed Al Khalifa Kingdom of Bahrain to chill visitor is often spoilt for choice for more information on Dining and Center for Culture and Research out in the evenings. Most of to spend a vibrant night and Entertainment in the Kingdom. Best of Bahrain 57
    • The Renaissance of Chinese Cuisine 58 Best of Bahrain
    • Ken Lo’s Memories of China, a daunting undertaking, even for located in Adliya behind Café the most discerning connoisseur Italia, has quickly become the of Chinese cuisine. Comprised epicenter of Chinese cuisine of dishes created by the team in Bahrain. Inspired by the of professional chefs who have legendary Memories of China honed their skills in some of the establishments in London, it is best Chinese restaurants in Asia, the first to open outside the U.K., the menu maintains an enticing bringing Cantonese style dishes selection of classic dishes, such with London flair to Bahrain’s as Bahrain’s widest selection of burgeoning culinary scene. dim-sum including an assortment Vibrance and sophistication of meat or vegetarian puffs, are two words often associated buns and dumplings, as well with Memories of China, courtesy as Szechuan and Cantonese of the eclectic mix of energetic inspired dishes such as Kung patrons nestled amidst a seating Po Chicken, Spicy Prawns with area surrounded by sleek Pine Nuts, Quick Fried Beef in architecture, clean sculpted décor, Oyster Sauce, or Stir Fried Beef and healthy dose of quintessential in Chilli Sauce. But Memories Chinese inspired design elements. of China’s claim to fame are The night is best started at MoC’s their glorious signature dishes, chic lounge located upstairs, such as the Crispy Seaweed where you are greeted by young, with toasted Almonds, Sauteed spirited staff who are only too Spicy Salt & Pepper Prawns, the eager to offer you a choice of uniquely scrumptuous Crispy signature cocktails. Plush seating, Shredded Beef, and of course representation of Bahrain’s sultry lighting, and zen inspired the immensely popular succulent gastronomic renaissance, and the music make the lounge a perfect Crispy Aromatic Duck which is epitome of what every restaurant place to mingle with company, unquestionably a must have to experience should truly be... as you prepare to embark on the complete your culinary experience memorable. culinary journey that awaits. It has at MoC. Open daily for Lunch: 12-3pm also become a popular venue for Eating out has become and Dinner 7pm-2am. private events. an integral part of Bahrain Choosing amongst the lifestyle, and Memories of China For reservations please call mouthwatering array of dishes is has become undoubtedly, a +973 17 717080 Best of Bahrain 59
    • Italian Reinvented Dining & Entertainment Since its opening in February Renowned Executive Chef 2007, Café Italia is an award Twedi Martatna leads the winning restaurant which culinary team, whose creations has firmly established itself in combine classic and popular Bahrain’s culinary stratosphere. dishes as well as contemporary The dramatic, awe inspiring creations that employ innovative décor designed by acclaimed culinary techniques as well Bahrain based Italian designer as the use of exotic imported Davide Chiaverini is one of the ingredients that are certain to most stunning venues on the appease both purists of Italian island, and the sumptuous fusion cuisine, and adventurists alike. of classical and contemporary Appetizers include the Warm Italian cuisine has translated into pan seared U.S. King scallops gastronomic decadence. with green pea puree, black 60 Best of Bahrain
    • olive hollandaise sauce and old Porcini Mushroom and a splash juice and served with gravy, or Tenderloin and the superb aged balsamic reduction, as of White Truffle Oil, and the perhaps you may be enticed Wagyu Beef Tenderloin well as the Epicurean Wagyu “Homemade Capellini with Herb by the “Grilled Hammour that Café Italia has become Beef Carpaccio of finely sliced Duckling Stew” comprising of Scallopine” - thinly sliced slivers reknowned for. tenderloin served with crisp fresh angel hair pasta gently of grilled hammour with lemon With so many new dishes to celery salad, tomato cherry and tossed in light tomato sauce, and extra virgin olive oil, served sample, and a stunning venue old aged balsamic dressing. chili flakes, baby marrow and on a bed of Romaine lettuce to dine with friends and family, The quintessential fresh herbed marinated duckling. and fried Arrancini di Risso. Café Italia will undoubtedly pasta offerings include For the seafood Last but not least, the pamper the senses and live up divine dishes such as the afficionado’s, Chef Twedi has carnivores are sure to be to its mantra of being “Italian, “Homemade Fresh Fettucini” created dishes such as the delighted with the addition Reinvented.” with tender slivers of Wagyu Meticulously crusted grain of US Black Angus Rib-Eye Beef - perhaps the best beef in mustard dory fillet with creamy and T-Bone steaks, which For reservations, please call the world - accompanied with seasonal vegetables, carrot accompany the Black Angus +973 17 744774 Best of Bahrain 61
    • Bienvenidos Amigos It was back in 1988 that Señor Mexican style décor. The food is Paco’s first opened its doors to delicious with a variety of authentic offer guests the country’s first traditional Mexican food, in truly Mexican dining experience. addition to the best of “new west Dining at Señor Paco’s is more cuisine” which is an innovative than just eating out, it’s like fusion of traditional recipes with dropping in on old friend’s for a exceptional ingredients and new warm relaxing evening of good culinary techniques. food and good company, in an Using only the freshest local enchanting atmosphere capped produce and coupled with their with the magic of live guitar music. welcoming and inviting service it all The atmosphere of the restaurant adds to the restaurant’s lively and is very friendly and homely, replete friendly nature ensuring a great with stained glass and bright night out. 62 Best of Bahrain
    • In fact, Señor Paco’s is so a week from Lunch:11.30am particular about the traditional - 3pm and Dinner: 6pm -12 taste of its Mexican fare that exotic Midnight. special ingredients are required, Seef Mall Branch at Magic Island such as spices and chilies and opens from 10am-12 midnight. food stuffs that are imported from Mexico and the Western For Reservations Call: United States. +973 17 725873 The restaurant also has great Fax: +973 17 825313/ deals for lunchtime diners where +973 17 540029 prices are reduced for their Lunch Mail: pacos@batelco.com.bh time special. Señor Paco’s restaurant at For Home Delivery Call: Adliya Avenue is open seven days +973 17 811375 Best of Bahrain 63
    • CHAPTER 3 Travel, Tourism & Events 64 Best of Bahrain
    • Best of Bahrain 65
    • Travel, Tourism & Events In a bid to be recognised as the ultimate travel destination that showcases its arts and culture with prominence, the Kingdom of Bahrain spares no efforts while working towards achieving its ambitions. BAC Image of T1 arrival hall and forecourt In line with Vision 2030, the took over the responsibility of is held at the Bahrain International talent as well. Mr. Rashid Al Oraifi, Kingdom is all set to welcome the overseeing these operations. An Circuit (BIC) every year. and father-son duo, Mr. Abdullah world right from the moment you important aspect of Vision 2030 A haven for art and history Al Muharraqi and Mr. Khalid Al step on to its shore. will have been achieved if BAC buffs, the Kingdom of Bahrain Muharraqi are but few examples of With connections to 52 meets the standards in the years invites the world to partake in its the Kingdom’s local talent that are international destinations through to come. quest to witness, nurture and grow pushing the creative boundaries 37 airlines, the Bahrain International Besides the airport, the its culture heritage. The Bahrain in expressions and mediums Airport (BIA) is currently on an national airline - Gulf Air is working National Museum that displays used. To encourage more creative expansion mode to accommodate on improving its forces on a ancient artefacts, Qal’at al Bahrain diversification The Ministry of the high influx of tourists that the sustainable scale. They include that has been declared as a Culture & Information (Spring of country seeks to attract. To meet replacement of aircraft, alignment UNESCO World Heritage Site and Culture-www.springofculture. the travel needs of the passengers, of air routes and retention of Qalat Arad are few of the venues org) and The Economic the expansion will be carried out quality staff. The airline has been that are working diligently to Development Board (EDB) in phases and estimated to be the sponsor of the Formula One support the display of arguably, the offer overwhelming support to completed in 2038. In early 2008, Gulf Air Grand Prix ever since the Kiingdom’s most valuable assets. artists from various backgrounds Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) country played host to the race that The country does not lack artistic including photography, film, 66 Best of Bahrain
    • Image by: Abdulla M. Al-Khan - www.bahrainhouse.com Bahrain Airport Company (BAC) is currently in the process of overseeing the expansion of Bahrain International Airport (BIA) to accommodate more than three times its current capacity (Image submission from BAC) poetry, paintings, music and trade exhibitions, conferences books. Non-profit organisations and business meetings due to like Elham (www.elhambahrain. its proximity to both the East net), privately-owned Riwaq and the West, coupled with Gallery (www.alriwaqgallery.org/ competitive prices, technological home.php), Shaikh Ebrahim bin advancement and availability Mohammed Al Khalifa Centre of first-class services. Bahrain for Culture and Research (www. Exhibition & Convention Image of traditional basket weaving shaikhebrahimcenter.org) act as Authority (BECA), the Kingdom’s springboards for artists through top authority in the Meetings, events like film screenings, Incentives, Conferences and photography trips, lectures, Exhibitions (MICE) sector aims concerts, competitions and to promote the Kingdom of exhibitions. Bahrain as a top business The Kingdom of Bahrain tourism spot of choice in the is a perfect location to host Gulf region. Best of Bahrain 67
    • Pole Position They say ‘small is beautiful’ and undoubtedly, few other countries exemplify this better than the Kingdom of Bahrain, whose bold economic initiatives have set a regional benchmark for excellence. If a nation’s evolution can be measured by its infrastructure, then the Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) best represents the Kingdom of Bahrain’s positioning as a pioneer of diversification in the Middle East. The Kingdom ofBest of Bahrain developed a facility to 11 Bahrain has 68 Best of Bahrain complement the demanding standards of professionalism that the name ‘Formula One’ bears. Reflecting this is the foundation upon which the BIC was built.
    • The undisputed ‘Home of motorsport in the Middle East’ came into being in March 2004, a mere 16 months after its initial construction began. The brain child of His Royal Highness Crown Prince Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al Khalifa, the venue is host to the annual Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, as well as Drag, GT, GP2, Porsche SuperCup, Formula 3 races and the Australian V8 Supercar Championship series. A great venue for a new generation of motorsport lovers, from the region and beyond, the extensive media coverage of the annual races attracts racing aces like Michael Schumacher, Felipe Massa, Jenson Button, Lewis Hamilton and Bahrain’s own Sheikh Salman bin Rashid al Khalifa and Hamad Al Fardan. By promoting motorsports on such a grand scale, the BIC brings to light Bahrain’s truly global and welcoming culture. This elite 6.4 km racing circuit located in the south-western area of Bahrain, is one of only 17 circuits world wide that hosts a round of the FIA Formula One World Championship. Designed by German architect Herman Tilke, the circuit is built on a sprawling 169 hectare desert- scape with a 36,000 seating capacity and a further 7,000 seats for corporate guests. Comprising seven racing tracks, four of which can be used simultaneously, the outer track has been designed to accommodate all racing disciplines - corporate and incentive events as well as all year round testing. The complex also houses the region’s leading off-road 4x4 course ‘Adventure Drive Arabia.’ Look no further for a bespoke venue for corporate exhibitions and product launches as the BIC is the preferred forum to host large events. The luxurious Formula One, Formula 1 traditional centre, where all commercial rights, transforming corporate hospitality suites speak or F1 is officially known as teams are based, and where the sport into the billion-dollar volumes about the BIC’s mark the FIA Formula One World about half of the races business it is today. Formula of international service. With the Championship and is deemed take place. However, the One is a massive television main operational building, Al Sakhir the highest class of auto sport’s scope has expanded event, with a global audience of Tower, offering a panoramic view racing. ‘Formula’ refers to a significantly in recent years and 600 million people per season. of the race track, the setting sun set of rules that all participants Grand Prix’s are held world ‘The Formula One Group’ and the ocean, the BIC captures and cars must comply with. wide. Events in Europe and the is the legal holder of the both the traditional allure of the The F1 season consists of a Americas have been dropped in commercial rights with desert, in which it is situated, and series of races, known as favour of races in Asia and the significant economic effect and the glamour and excitement of Grand Prix’s held on purpose- Far East. popularity making it an obvious Formula 1. built circuits with cars reaching Benie Ecclestone is widely merchandising environment Although positioned in the speeds of 360 km/h. credited with rearranging the and contributing to high middle of the desert, the track is Europe is Formula One’s management of Formula One’s sponsorship investments. made of Graywacke aggregate Best of Bahrain 69
    • The circuit, situated in the south-western area of Bahrain, is welcomed from afar with a view of the statuesque Al Sakhir Tower, decorating the flat desert horizon. The clear seas and the desert landscape are striking geographical features that epitomize Bahrain’s contrasts. With the continued support of its main Supercars Middle East’ and ‘Batelco 2.0 Kingdom at large”. By increasing sponsor Gulf Air, the Bahrain Formula One Litre Challenge’; in addition to the local entertainment value and promoting the BIC Grand Prix joins Australian V8 Supercars favourite, ‘Drag Championships’, through regional events, Bahrain’s economy series, the GP2 Asia races, as well as home delivering a what Whitaker calls “an stands to benefit from the kudos that the grown series such as the ‘Chevrolet V8 important building block for BIC and the circuit creates. 70 Best of Bahrain
    • (largely Welsh granite) shipped as a holiday destination, to the was within Bahrain itself. The year also has a portfolio of corporate from the UK, and is highly Middle East and Europe 2006 saw a massive 780 percent and retail events that are acclaimed by Formula One drivers In the process, Bahrain leap with a total media value and characterised by a wealth of and F1 bosses for the high level of has been given a face-lift as global airtime exceeding that entertainment options. grip it ensures. one of the Gulf region’s fastest of the entire Winter Olympics in Standing as an icon of The cost of building growing nations, thanks to the Torino. The total economic impact diversification in a rapidly evolving Bahrain’s circuit amounted to phenomenally successful six on the Kingdom of Bahrain during region, the core element of an approximate $150 million. Grands Prix rounds that it has the three-day Formula One race Bahrain’s business strategy has Returns on this investment already hosted. The development weekend totalled a staggering been endorsed by the Bahrain have benefited the Kingdom of of the ultra modern circuit has $580 million. Economic Development Board’s Bahrain’s economy and global been a catalyst for the future In 2008, the BIC received new annual partnership with profiling, justifying the large growth of the economy of the prestigious FIA ‘Centre of the BIC with the launch of the investment made. Not only do the Kingdom, while laying the Excellence’ award from the FIA ‘@ Bahrain’ branding of the the annual motor sporting events, foundations for other ambitious Institute which makes it the only new Sakhir City Development most notably the Formula One investments. Martin Whitaker Grand Prix circuit to hold such Corporation business park. Gulf Air Bahrain Grand Prix, attract explains, “Without a shadow of an accolade. The Kingdom also This will also oversee the worldwide racing fans, it also doubt the menu of regional and hosted the immensely successful expansion of Bahrain’s links to the generates regular quality media international racing hosted at the second annual FIA Summit automotive sector, demonstrating coverage for the Kingdom. By BIC has changed the perception, entitled ‘Medicine in Motorsport’, precisely how the circuit and signing a deal to host one leg of awareness and profile of the as well as the inaugural ‘Motor adjacent land is being used to the Formula One Championship Kingdom to hundreds of millions Sport Business Forum Middle promote opportunities for until 2016, Bahrain has secured of people around the world”. East’, which was designed to business development, thereby the opportunity to promote the He adds that the Grand Prix focus new business opportunities highlighting the geographical country’s diversification strategy by in Bahrain is being used as “a and media in the Middle East. The importance of Bahrain as propelling tourism and positioning platform on which to develop new forum that BIC provides for these transportation and trading itself as a regional motor sport business while also encouraging international summits promote centre point. Another striking hub. Martin Whitaker, CEO, BIC, their counterparts to look at BIC the diverse business opportunities example of how the BIC stands confidently explains, “Everyone as a corporate hub and a place for that Bahrain has to offer the world. as an ‘oasis in the desert’, is the who visits the island as a direct customer incentivisation.” Also host to some of the most rapid rise of world class hotels result of an event at the BIC pays Media interest in the country splendid events, product launches and resorts like the Banyan Tree for an air ticket, stays in a hotel, has increased tremendously ever and corporate functions; in 2008 Al Areen Resort and Spa, Four eats at a restaurant, hires a taxi since Bahrain made history in alone the circuit had a staggering Seasons Hotels and the Ritz- and shops at the malls - that adds 2004 by hosting the first Formula 460 commercial events with a Carlton allowing for luxury stay up to a significant and generous One Grand Prix race held in the further 150 charity and community options for visitors during the proportional effect on the country’s Middle East. In 2005, the Gulf Air events. Not only is the BIC races and otherwise. GDP.” But what actually makes Bahrain Grand Prix generated print home of the development of the destination so appealing is the media coverage to the value of regional motorsport with a vibrant Tel: +973 17 45 0000 ease of access that Bahrain offers, $43 million, of which $12.4 million karting circuit and community, it www.bahraingp.com Formula One being one of the world’s most sought after sporting brands, has resulted in Bahrain benefitting by being at the forefront of an elite club of 17 nations that host the premiere motorsport event annually.
    • Gulf Air With 60 years of operations in the region, Gulf Air has become synonymous with Arabian hospitality, enhanced by a wide range of services in the air and on the ground. Gulf Air’s training programmes are comprehensive that cover all divisions of the company. Starting from the regular, ongoing induction and refresher training programmes for cabin crew staff, our training programmes include Tamkeen’s Career Progression Programme for staff, ground operations programmes, management development workshops and periodic skills development workshops and customer service training programmes. The passion for innovation and ensuring that your model such as changing marketplace, our competitors by identifying high quality service delivery for serves the truest interests fluctuating fuel prices and geo- commercially viable and profitable which Gulf Air earned its reputation of your stakeholders and of political events. Add to this is the routes. As such the following will in the 70s and 80s for its luxurious Bahrainis as a whole? aggressive expansion by regional be key drivers; Tristar services continues even Our mandate is clear; to build and international competitors in • Bahrain first – emphasis on today. In recent years, Gulf Air has an efficient, commercially the region who are competing for high quality service for the local won international recognition for its sustainable and dynamic airline the same capacity. business market several innovative products such that effectively serves the people Gulf Air’s new strategy has a • Future growth – connect as Sky Nanny, Sky Chef and dine- and the economy of Bahrain and strong business model in place Bahrain to over 50 on-demand that have set a trend represents the Kingdom on the that aims to become a regional destinations, including up to 20 for other airlines to follow. world stage. There are challenges leader and the preferred choice new locations to achieve this goal as the aviation for travel throughout the Gulf and • Commercial advantage – What is the range of industry in general is very volatile Middle East, connecting more tailoring the fleet to serve more challenges you face in and subject to several factors points throughout the region than points with non-stop services 72 Best of Bahrain
    • With unbeatable prices along with a “lowest fares guaranteed” promise available online, any time is best to travel with Gulf Air. inducted in to the fleet replacing this, Gulf Air will offer customers ‘Queens Park Rangers’. Gulf Air the older ones progressively. more value for money, re-align has always been a keen supporter Another major development is the network to reflect customer of sports as it has sponsored the inclusion of regional jets into demand as well as redesign the several regional and local sports its fleet - Embraer 170 Advanced product to deliver more customer event, previously. The airline will Range jets. The aim is to serve value on a consistent basis. continue to extend its support every Arab capital with at least Gulf Air will improve the to sports events as and when a double -daily service and the customer experience by required. regional jets will help achieve this introducing several attractive objective. As Gulf Air progresses new product innovations, How has the recent economic in this direction, it will soon have a seating arrangements, in-flight downturn created an impact in stable of brand new aircraft for its entertainment and other on-board your organisation? customers to enjoy a new travel amenities, tailored to the Middle Like all other airlines in the world, experience. East region on a consistent basis. Gulf Air also had to bear the • Regional leader – focusing on Gulf Air will also aim to reduce fleet brunt of the economic downturn. frequency and higher-value How important is sustainability costs and minimise expenditure However, the Kingdom of Bahrain’s markets to your organisation? How have that no longer adds customer is one of the few economies that • Brand excitement – create a you incorporated the concept value. have successfully managed the dynamic, lean, customer driven in the aviation business? downturn and business is growing. national Bahraini carrier Sustainability is key to the success As the title sponsor of the Gulf Air took some rationalisation of our business and it is clearly laid Bahrain Grand Prix until 2010, measures to respond to the low- What is your vision for out in our new strategy that states what are your plans about demand. Despite the recession, expansion, in terms of fleet building an efficient, commercially further association with sports? Gulf Air was able to maintain the and staff? sustainable and dynamic airline In addition to being the title same number of travellers last year Towards achieving this, Gulf Air that effectively serves the people sponsor of Grand Prix since its vis a vis 2008. has already started an active re- and the economy of Bahrain first race in the Kingdom, Gulf fleeting programme under which and represents the Kingdom Air is also the shirt sponsor of new A320 aircraft are being internationally. In order to achieve the London-based football club www.gulfair.com Best of Bahrain 73
    • Bahrain Exhibition & Travel, Tourism & Events Convention Authority (BECA) Keys to BECA’s success since its establishment in Bahrain and how it contributes to the overall economic development of the country. Keys to the success of services, thereby providing stakeholders, internally and Board of Directors. The current Bahrain Exhibition & exceptional value to customers; externally; Chairman of the BECA Board Convention Authority (BECA) Challenges the expectations is His Excellency Dr. Hassan A. since its establishment: of people who may have Diversification of its portfolio Fakhro, the Minister of Industry & preconceptions about Bahrain BECA was established by Commerce. Commitment to building a culture by doing everything possible Law No. 62 for the year 2006 that places our customers at the to ensure the country is at the which was promulgated on 4th How BECA contributes to the heart of everything it does, i.e., top of the list when it comes September 2006. It functions overall economic development customers’ needs and aspirations to organisations choosing their under the Ministry of Industry of the Kingdom of Bahrain : genuinely form the basis for the destinations; & Commerce, Kingdom of Bahrain’s Meetings, Incentives, design and delivery of BECA’s Partnerships with industry Bahrain and is governed by a Conventions & Exhibitions 74 Best of Bahrain
    • a regional and global destination BECA is also the venue operator stakeholders such as Tourism for MICE. for the (BIECC), the country’s Affairs, Bahrain’s Economic largest and most flexible trade Development Board (EDB), Gulf BECA’s core business and show and convention facility with Air, Bahrain International Circuit, service offerings and the more than 16,000 square meters Bahrain Chamber of Commerce scope of BECA’s local market of interconnected meeting and & Industry and others from the development activities exhibition space. leisure and hospitality sectors very BECA is the forerunner valuable in attracting conference organisation with a mandate to The competitive landscape business to Bahrain. market Bahrain as a preferred, all of the industry and BECA’s Building a destination as a year-round, business destination competitive strengths brand entails the synergistic and cultivate partnerships with and collegial efforts of all MICE key MICE industry stakeholders Competitive landscape of the stakeholders - it is all about by pursuing market development industry relationships. In order to attract work in the international business Global exhibition/conventions conference business in these sector. Its MICE, Destination market is high growth and lucrative challenging times, we have Marketing & PR Department for city and state economies, embarked on a series of initiatives seeks to achieve this mandate but intensely competitive and to play up the unique experiences by nurturing a healthy business demanding of state-of-the-art, being offered by Bahrain. environment for the exhibition, purpose-built facilities. All industry convention, meetings and eyes are on the Middle East now Team Bahrain incentive travel community in as a series of exhibition venue One of these is Team Bahrain partnership with the Bahrain development are occurring which was launched earlier this International Exhibition & particularly in the Gulf Cooperation year in support of the Bahrain Convention Centre (BIECC), the Council. Government’s efforts to improve Bahrain Economic Development the destination’s supporting Board (EDB), Gulf Air, Bahrain BECA’s competitive strengths infrastructure for its MICE industry. Chamber of Commerce & Industry, • Strong support from the Bahrain Team Bahrain is the working Tourism Affairs and the hospitality Government group of Bahrain’s MICE sector (MICE) sector is aggressively and leisure tourism industry. • Value for money currently comprised of more than investigating opportunities which In addition, BECA is the owner • Flexibility 40 representatives from the public enables it to contribute to the and organiser for the annual • Diversified portfolio and private sectors. Formed National Economy. BECA has Food & Hospitality Expo (www. • Improved customer to gain buy-in from Bahrain’s embarked on initiatives with the foodexpbh.com) which was held communication and service business and leisure tourism objective of establishing Bahrain for the 2nd annual time on the 12- efforts industry stakeholders, Team on the international arena, as a 14th January 2010, and doubled Bahrain serves as a forum for our unique and key MICE destination in size in both participants and How BECA attracts and serves community of suppliers to acquire in line with the Government of visitors. In addition it is planning a its partners/customers industry knowledge and assists Bahrain’s 2009 to 2014 National new Sport, Leisure and well being BECA considers its harmonised them in ensuring that the delivery Economic Strategy of becoming expo in 2011. alliances with industry of their service, product and facility Best of Bahrain 75
    • Associations is among the initiatives of BECA aimed at bringing new MICE business to Bahrain. It develops significant international relations through its memberships in Industry Associations. BECA is a member of several key MICE industry associations including the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE), Singapore- based Asian Federation of Exhibition & Convention Associations (AFECA), Brussels- based International Association of Congress Centres (AIPC), Paris- headquartered Union des Foires Internationales (UFI), Amsterdam- based International Congress & Convention Association (ICCA), Dallas-based Meeting Professionals International (MPI), Chicago- headquartered Society of Incentive Travel Executives (SITE) and Hertfordshire-based Association of Event Venues Limited (AEV). BECA’s memberships in these Organisations are recognising the associations allow the Authority to value of face-to-face interaction in build a strong community of peers, driving business. connect with industry experts and BECA’s events serve as a access a vast array of on-line and strategic platform for businesses print resources to build on industry wishing to access a market of know-how. more than 274 million people in BECA also participates in key the Northern Gulf. For instance, B2B, international events dedicated BECA signed partnership to the MICE industry such as agreements with public and IMEX in Frankfurt and EIBTM in private sector organisations for Barcelona. its second Food & Hospitality Expo,2010, where TUV Middle BECA’s current activities and East (Member of TUV NORD foreseeable potential business Group), a German Inspection, or opportunities in/from the Certification and Training Body, Japanese/Asian/International conducted workshops to help markets people understand the necessary BECA coordinates Bahrain’s requirements to comply with international B2B show, Aluminium the International Food Safety China, which is held annually. Management System Standard BECA’s events are also during the three-day premier, populated by Asian exhibitors to international MICE buyers and official carrier for all events international food and hospitality wishing to penetrate the lucrative planners remain consistent to organised by BECA in Bahrain event. Basic Food Hygiene, Basic Gulf market. world-class standards. and abroad. Health and Safety for Catering Industry, Hazard Analysis Critical Future expansion plans and Partnership with Gulf Air as Renewal of Alliance with Control Point are some of the growth strategies of BECA BECA’s Official Carrier Bahrain Chamber of Commerce topics that were discussed at the With support of the Kingdoms In 2009, BECA and Gulf Air & Industry (BCCI) workshops aiming to raise safety leadership, Expo City a new entered into a strategic alliance BECA and BCCI renewed in 2009 standards and preserve consumer flagship facility for Bahrain is being aimed at boosting Bahrain’s their partnership to increase trade confidence in the products of the developed which will increase the position as a leading destination and investment linkages and food industry in Bahrain. area covered by the existing Centre for corporate meetings, optimise economic opportunities in by nearly ten-fold. Scheduled to incentive travel, conferences the realm of the MICE sector. How BECA develops significant be fully operational by 2013, Expo and exhibitions. Following international relations City (expo@bahrain) will be built the signing of the agreement Encouraging partnerships Developing global partnerships with adjacent to Bahrain International between Bahrain’s national with local and international Professional Exhibition Organisers Circuit (The Home of Formula One carrier and its MICE Authority organisations for its (PEOs), Professional Conference in the Middle East), northeast of (BECA), Gulf Air became the exhibitions Organisers (PCOs) and Industry the capital Manama. It will have 76 Best of Bahrain
    • the capacity to hold national, regional and international events simultaneously. The state-of-the-art exhibition and convention facilities will have three, four and five star hotels with a combined capacity of 1,200 rooms, as well as a multi- purpose indoor arena, dining, leisure and entertainment services. It will include hotels in the three-, four- and five-star category for a combined capacity of 1,200 rooms. BECA’s goals and vision for the company in the short term as well as in the long term BECA’s General Objectives • To promote the Kingdom of Bahrain as the regional exhibition and conference hub • To contribute to attracting international exhibitions and conferences, particularly specialised events • To contribute to developing the proactive infrastructure efficiency • To allocate BIECC to host specialised exhibitions and conferences and limit hosting of public exhibitions • To develop a marketing strategy that includes local, regional and international conferences, including meetings, cultural events and various recreational, entertainment and sports events. • To promote continuous co- operation with the Bahrain’s hotel and tourism sector in marketing international exhibitions and conferences • To develop the exhibition industry through co-operating with various countries • To support and encourage 2006 – 2009 Demand for MICE Events in Bahrain local traders in organizing Venue-Wise Event Bookings 2006 – 2009 and participating in local and Since its establishment as Bahrain’s forerunner international exhibitions and MICE Authority in 2006, BECA has been conferences through co- instrumental in growing the total number of ordination with the Bahrain bookings at BIECC : Chamber of Commerce and Industry Event Bookings : 223 per cent increase 2006 : 43 BECA will continue promoting 2007 : 113 Bahrain as the regional exhibition 2008 : 125 and conference hub and contribute 2009 : 139 to attracting international exhibitions and conferences, Tenancy days : 129 per cent increase particularly specialised events, to 2006 : 265 our destination. 2007 : 559 2008 : 571 2009 : 608 www.beca.bh Best of Bahrain 77
    • Image by: Abdulla M. Al-Khan - www.bahrainhouse.com 78 Best of Bahrain Arts & Culture CHAPTER 4
    • Best of Bahrain 79
    • Capital of Dilmun and its ancient harbour Bahrain is home to the most occupation (ca 2200 BC-17 important civilisation of the Gulf century AD). region–Dilmun civilisation (from the The most valuable part of the end of the 3rd to the middle of the site is not the fort itself but the first millennium BC). In recognition history of civilisations that existed of this fact, the UNESCO declared at the site. From 1954 to the the Qal’at al-Bahrain site as a present, The Danish, French and world heritage site in 2005. On 18 Bahraini excavations on the site February 2008, Qal’at al-Bahrain of Qal’at al-Bahrain have revealed Site Museum was launched with its key importance and long sponsorship by ARCAPITA Bank occupation history. In virtue of under the platform of Investing in its strategic location, the ancient Culture (www.investinginculture.bh). settlement had rapidly prospered A fort present in the Qal’at to become the capital of the al-Bahrain site bears testimony Dilmun civilisation and its ancient to the time gone by. Built at the harbour. end of the 13th century AD, the fort is located atop a 17.5 hectare Qal’at al-Bahrain site museum artificial hill signifying almost To the north of the fort, lies the 4000 years of continuous human Qal’at al-Bahrain site museum 80 Best of Bahrain
    • (designed by Wohlert Arkitekter) oasis agriculture, hunting and along the waterfront and acts as fishing, “City II” (ca. 2050 to 1750 a gateway to the archaeological B.C.) was a well fortified city site. The visitor passes through a covering a surface of 12 to 15 pathway equipped with audio- hectares. A group of monumental guide (that can be collected at architecture, defined as a palace, the museum) and service facilities prospered for several hundred to reach the site. About 500 years. objects were found here during In the Middle Dilmun excavations carried out from (1750- 900 BC) civilization 1954 to 2008. period, the Kassites, settlers Besides an expansive Tell from Mesopotamia, occupied Wall, that recounts the site’s the site. Archaeological work archaeological layers, the visitor uncovered the residence of this is transported into history new governance which was while passing through the five probably settled in the restored halls, each representing one palace of the former kings of historic period in chronological Dilmun. Over a 100 cuneiform progression starting with the tablets in Akkadian language Dilmun (2200 BC - 300 BC), hold evidence of the existence through Tylos (300 BC – 400 AD) of an active administration. and Islamic periods (1250 AD - Other interesting mechanisms 1650 AD). found and showcased in the Site Museum are a Date Incubator Unearthed civilisations behind used to create date syrup and a the Qal’at al-Bahrain site Sarcophagus in Bitumen (an oil Since its foundation, Qal’at al- based substance). Bahrain served as an important The Sarcophagus was used to business point among traders bury people with their valuables from Mesopotamia, Persia, to help them to their journey in Eastern Arabia, Central Asia and the afterlife. the Indus region. While the first All the excavated tombs city (ca. 2200 BC) revealed a contained funerary items. As the small settlement organised on inhabitants believed in the after Best of Bahrain 81
    • Health and Beauty life, the diseased was buried venerated as a symbol of fertility The Islamic period (12th to became under the Portuguese with some of his personal and has some links to the Epic 17th century AD) saw a flurry dominion. In 1559, the fort belongings. of Gilgamesh and his search of activity. The former coastal was reinforced by 3 bastions In the Late Dilmun (900 in Dilmun for immortality. Also Tylos fortress was converted following an attempted attack – 300 BC) civilisation, Qal’at found are copper smelting into a commercial warehouse. by the Ottomans. al Bharain site prospered pots which reveal a history in This commercial activity tremendously. For instance, manufacturing traded items. brought back the wealth of the Progressively, as the access excavations uncovered a During the Hellenistic period, settlement. channel to the site became luxurious architectural complex known as Tylos (300 BC - 600 Following intricate political too shallow, the maritime with public and private areas, a AD), the island undergoes an events and power changes at traffic was directed to central courtyard and elaborate exceptional phase of prosperity, the end of the 13th and the Manama and Qal’at al-Bahrain sanitary system. Another apparently losing status as the beginning of the 14th centuries site was soon abandoned. interesting discovery is of the island’s capital but remaining AD, a new fortress was erected Today, it offers a peek at the more than fifty snake sacrifices nevertheless the island’s and protected by a moat. glorious past of the Dilmun that were deposited in bowls major port as attested by the It was however a mediocre civilation to visitors and hidden beneath the floors in character of the finds. During construction which had to tourists from all over the world. several areas of the palace. the 2nd- 3rd century AD, a be constantly restored as a Moreover, a sanctuary and a fortress was built north of the result of emergent Portuguese The Museum Café zone of metallurgic workshops settlement and used as an threats. In 1529, the fort The seaside café welcomes were recovered in the vicinity important military administrative could resist no longer the visitors everyday from 8am to of the palace. The snake was complex. Portuguese artillery and hence 8pm. 82 Best of Bahrain
    • Facilities: • Sea front Café • Auditorium • Accommodation facilities Opening hours: • Tuesday to Sunday • 8am to 8pm • Guided tours of the museum are available all day – Booking advised • Trilingual audio-guides for the fort can be collected at the museum. Tel: +973 17 56 7170/171/174 www.investinginculture.bh Best of Bahrain 83
    • “Pearling” World Heritage Arts & Culture proposal submitted to UNESCO Bahrain is aiming for international recognition of its pearling heritage by proposing it for listing as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. will decide about the site’s economy”, consists of three inscription to the list during oyster beds in the territorial its meeting in Bahrain in the waters of Bahrain. The oyster summer of 2011. beds are located 40 to 70 The site commemorates kilometers off the northern Bahrain’s pearling era and the shores of the island of Bahrain. single product economy that has A seashore at the southern tip sustained the country for many of Muharraq links these marine Oyster bed – Hayr Shtaya centuries. Bahrain is known parts of the site to its urban as the prime location for the components. The seashore with collection and trade of pearls its natural beach is the only which has intensely shaped remaining authentic location in the Kingdom’s identity. Since Muharraq where dhow fleets historic times various sources during the pearling era left and acknowledge the outstanding arrived at the beginning and role of Bahrain’s pearls which end of the four-month long pearl are said to be especially collection season each summer. beautiful and of the highest The seashore also features the quality. The pearling testimony remains of the historic defense Searching for pearls would be Bahrain’s second fort Qal’at Bu Mahir. From there World Heritage site, after “Qal’at a pathway connects 11 urban Officials from the Ministry of testimony of an island economy” al-Bahrain – Ancient Harbour sites, consisting of 16 historic Culture and Information, Sector at the UNESCO headquarters in and Capital of Dilmun” had buildings located throughout of Culture and National Heritage Paris. Therewith a one and a half been granted this prestigious the historic settlement of have in January 2010 submitted year cycle of evaluation begins distinction in 2005. Muharraq. These residential, the nomination documents upon which the UNESCO’s The heritage site “Pearling, commercial and public buildings for the heritage site “Pearling, World Heritage Committee testimony of an island represent different professions 84 Best of Bahrain
    • Pearl diving Siyadi majlis (such as the pearl diving crew diving. To this end one of the have already found fascinating As part of Investing in Culture with divers, haulers, captains; capacity building schemes that objects that reveal the use of the the Pearling project is currently pearl merchants etc.), and key the Ministry aims to offer to the site during the late pearling era. on display among many other functions or themes within Bahraini labor market is to train But they have also discovered cultural activities and assets at the pearling economy and its pearl divers for both commercial evidence of much older periods the Investing in Culture exhibition society (commercial, religious and tourism purposes and to of Muharraq’s city history which at the Bahrain National Museum. and social places such as make Bahrainis benefit from this are currently being further Initiated in 2006 under the a mosque; warehouses for abandoned ancient tradition. But investigated. In preparation patronage of His Royal Highness boat construction and diving also other traditional professional of the nomination documents Prince Salman Bin Hamad equipment; medical treatment skills will be revived, such as for the site, the Sector for Al-Khalifa, Crown Prince and for divers; sweet water supply the craftsmanship required for Culture and National Heritage Deputy Supreme Commander, and many more). Thus, a vivid the restoration of the historic has conducted much research the Investing in Culture project and comprehensive picture of buildings and pearl jewellery concerning the site and the is aimed at enhancing an active the pearling era and its varied making. pearling economy. Soon, first partnership between the private heritage is conveyed at the site. After intense diagnostic rehabilitation works of historic and public sectors to financially The Ministry’s initiative which and research work that has structure and surrounding urban and morally support new cultural involves a long list of partners been carried out since 2007 space will for example be visible projects aimed at human from the public and private realm and during which the project in Suq al Qaysariya which will be development with preservation of Bahrain’s society includes concepts have been finalized, yet another heritage attraction. of national identity. The launch of a program for protecting and the implementation phase Further extensive research the project was initiated by H.E. promoting the heritage site. The will now start with the first work in close contact with the Shaikha Mai Bint Mohammed site’s different components are restoration works and the local community is coming Al-Khalifa, Minister of Culture protected as national heritage provision of visitor facilities. The up including more interviews and Information, during the and their significance made ambitious plan of the program conducted to gather knowledge opening of the accompanying comprehensible for the public. for the next 2 years include regarding the pearling era and its exhibition at the Bahrain National To this aim, the historic buildings not only the restoration of the society. This will equally serve as Museum on February 8th. In are restored and partly fitted historic structures but also the a backbone for future exhibitions support of culture and mutual with exhibitions on their theme construction of a visitor centre on the site and for an informative cooperation, the exhibition and individual family (hi)stories. in the suq of Muharraq as well website that is currently under highlights implemented as well Crucial for this endeavor are the as other interpretive facilities in construction. A library and as envisaged projects that stories and the knowledge about Muharraq. However, many of the archive in the planned visitor are supported by the private the pearling era that lie with the program’s activities are long term centre will make this valuable and public sectors dedicated people of Bahrain and Muharraq. projects. The urban rehabilitation pool of knowledge accessible to culture and arts and that Traditions such as the pearling works, which are a joint to public to stimulate further contribute to the definition of songs that are popular up to endeavor of various authorities research into this significant Bahrain’s cultural identity (www. today are equally important. The and the local community, will aspect of Bahraini history. investinginculture.bh/flash.html). 3.22 km long pathway and urban increasingly take effect to make An upcoming competition space that connects the historic historic Muharraq an attractive which the Sector for Culture buildings will be rehabilitated living environment with a and National Heritage will soon and improved to meet the needs traditional flair. This will likewise launch is aiming particularly to of visitors and the residents of appeal to visitors and help boost excite the younger generation Muharraq. But also diving for the economy of Muharraq. of Bahrain in support of their pearls are activities which the Currently archeological pearling heritage. Young For further information program supports on the site. excavations can be observed at Bahrainis will be invited to gather please contact The oyster beds, for example are the Amarat Fakhro in the suq of stories of pearling from the older Pearling@info.gov.bh planned to be made accessible Muharraq. The archaeological generations and witnesses of Soon more information will to the public through boat team led by experts from the that era in order to safeguard this be available at excursions that involve pearl British Oxford Brookes University valuable key to Bahrain’s past. www.pearling.com Best of Bahrain 85
    • Bahrain Talents Arts & Culture A very small selection of Bahrain Talents are featured here with an outlook for further future representation of the multiple and diverse professional, aspiring and budding talents that are available in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Image by Rana Tabbara rskaini@gmail.com, Image Title: Sheikh Sayyed
    • Image by Sowsan Hassan - sowsanwest@hotmail.com Image by Ghada Khunji www.ghadakhunji.com The Best of Bahrain publication seeks to be an asset to the nation, as a vehicle serving the Image by Mr Baraa Abdulla www.qafza3d.com communities best interests for growth and development. Bahrain’s Talents have sustained the heart of this publication and inspired our efforts in exhibiting the most instinctive aspirations of this community in alignment with the success of Bahrain’s corporations and personalities that are likewise built upon these very same aspirations. In the following pages you will see a Image by Latifa Al Shakar - alshakar@gmail.com large selection of Photographs in and around the Kingdom of Bahrain that are generously contributed by Bahrain’s citizens and visitors to the Kingdom. A special thanks goes out to our advisors who have worked with us to plant the seeds for recognizing and developing Bahrain’s Talents. Notably: Photographer Ms Deyana Ahmadi, the region’s leading Image by Jose Romualdo rcumagun@ahliauniversity.edu.bh Best of Bahrain 87
    • Painting by: Faika Al Hassan - alhasanf@hotmail.com (Painter) Image by Ghada Khunji www.ghadakhunji.com
    • Image by: Elgin Vande Wiele elginm@gmail.com, Image Title: Morning blues in Muharraq Painting by: Danny Lawless - lawlessdesigns@hotmail.com commercial photographer and Best of Bahrain publication, we a huge asset to the nation; hope to work more diligently with Painter / Lecturer Ms. Balqees you in the future. Fakhro, one of the top most influential personalities in the Also many thanks to all Moosa Silwadi - www.knotconstruction@gmail.com Kingdom; Artist, Rashid Al Oraifi; contributors listed (see Index of Architect / Designer, Mr. Ahmed names on page 188). Bucheery and his staff at Ewan Architectural and Engineering Best of Bahrain will continue to Consultancy, Creative Writer seek Bahrain’s Talents and is and Founder of Elham Creative growing its database via info@ Arts Group Mr. Ali Al Saeed; gvpedia.com, or www.facebook. CG Designer and Founder of com/bestofbahrain Muharraqi-Studios Mr. Khalid Al-Muharraqi; Managing Director of advertising arm for JWT Mr. Younes Skaini; to all for their support and consideration of the Best of Bahrain 89
    • An Ancient civilization meets modern art
    • Rashid Al Oraifi Bahrain is the smallest country in the GCC but one of the richest in terms of culture, art and heri- tage. The islands of Bahrain were once the seat of one of the greatest trading empires of the ancient world, the Delmon civilization, and traces of this influence still permeate. Delmon was founded dur- ing the Bronze Age in approximately 3000BC and existed for over 2000 years. The civilization initially developed as a trading hub thanks to its pivotal geographical position along the trade route linking Mesopotamia, today’s southern Iraq, and the Indus Valley, now India and Pakistan. Archaeologists have unearthed over 300,000 graves throughout Bahrain that provide a fascinating glimpse into the history of the region, and the Government is understand- ably eager to preserve and protect these sites. Best of Bahrain 91
    • “My art is an expression of my being, my soul and represents me in all international exhibits and studios.”
    • O ne individual seeking to unite this ancient civilization with the twenty- first century, however, is Rashid Al Oraifi; type of art, it tends to be far too ad hoc. However, it’s wonderful to witness that people are now more interested Equally at ease in artist and founder of the Rashid Al Oraifi in contemporary Delmon art, and this museum. His mission is to educate and is reflected in high demand and an diverse mediums, inform, by displaying Delmon sculptures increase in sales. For me, to expand is Al Oraifi brings art and artefacts as well as creating art to produce more art. inspired by this era. It is located in a city named Muharraq that is known for Can you briefly run through the it still preserved heritage, the museum individual themes of your art, your is an enclave of calm and a tribute to the Kingdom of Bahrain’s compelling operations and services, explaining the new trends and approaches in to life as it enriches the heritage; decorative gypsum designs your field? cover the walls and window frames, and a central courtyard paved with locally made bricks and enhanced with I derived all my inspiration and innovation from Delmon art. I’ve been researching and studied this school culture and heritage bronze sculptures adds to the sense of of art for over forty years. Most of my openness of the overall design. exhibits in the museum are inspired from that era, and I believe that visitors from When and why did you first start all over the world have appreciated it your operations in Bahrain? How of the region. and enjoyed it. has this environment inspired you? The idea was encompassing me as As the Bahraini economy and a dream for a long time. Where I am population continues to expand today was a result of compounded and diversify, is there any loss of struggle that eventually led to my ideas the unique heritage and culture being realized. The museum, by its belonging to the kingdom? If so, nature and its educational, social and what are you doing to redress cultural objectives, is by far my greatest this situation? inspiration as it includes 77 art pieces Bahrain has never underestimated and 26 statues, exhibited throughout 7 the importance of modernization halls. Everything represents the Delmon or the perseverance of architecture Civilization; I have been living this heritage. Many other countries sought traditional and authentic Delmon era as to renovate old houses and make an inspiration for a long time. them into a central tourism attraction within the tourism industry, which is what inspired Bahrain to set aside What changes have you witnessed old homes as cultural heritage. I have in terms of the Kingdom’s actually authored a book entitled Arab development as a Middle Eastern Architecture about the subject, which hub for Art and visual media? outlines the importance of architecture I have lived through and witnessed most in the Kingdom and how it should be of the political, social and economic utilized in tourism. events that have befallen this region. As an artist I am part and parcel of any What further strategies for progress positive changes in the Kingdom, whilst do you have? the Kingdom’s growth is part of my One of my strategies is to keep in cultural and artistic development. I give par with what developed nations and I receive. are doing and how they are progressing. In Bahrain we have witnessed many I also focus on exhibiting art properly great developments such as freedom and in a compelling way, for and reformation, both of which are example the jewelry exhibition is crucial for an artist as it moves him to closely linked to the Delmon era and contribute. Another positive event is the Delmon seal. the formation of the Contemporary Art Additionally, I’ve written books in Society which was formed as a joint order to educate others about Delmon effort with my colleague, Karim Art, as well as selling many of my prints Al Orayyed. and silverwork. What challenges do you face in Where does Rashid Al Oraifi go developing your Art? Do you plan from here? any expansions, if so, when, what Scenarios for the future? and why? Rashid the artist seeks a successful The greatest challenge I face as art piece that is in par with today an artist is to get proper media and deserves the modernization coverage regarding my achievements, of this society. My art is an expression of contributions and production. There is my being, my soul and represents me in not enough promotion regarding this all international exhibits and studios.
    • Health and Beauty “Where I am today was a result of compounded struggle that eventually led to my ideas being realised.” 94 Best of Bahrain
    • Al-Oraifi Gallery Gallery - +973 17 535 112 Museum - +973 17 335 616 Best of Bahrain 95
    • Muharraqi Studios Computer graphics (CG) and animation have become an integral part in all things creative - films, advertisements, cartoons and architecture. Mr. Khalid Abdulla Al-Muharraqi, Founder & Chief Creative, Muharraqi-Studios w.l.l While the field may be at its Houston. It was while working for hardware to ensure that operations up as I feel it would mean losing nascent stage in Bahrain, the advertising agencies in the Middle run smooth. When things get our edge and would not allow us talent is definitely available East that he grew disappointed awry like system installation, new to be flexible to try new things. and growing. Meet Khalid Al by the level of quality, ideas and hardware, his business partner This way, we are not restricted Muharraqi, the 38-year old design that has been accepted and a tech engineer pitch in to by having to carry massive animator who left behind a career in the market. Recognising an help. One of the challenges is overheads, staff or infrastructure.” in advertising and graphic design opportunity in 3D as the fine art of always safe storage of data and Even though the Gulf market is to immerse himself in 3D art. the future, Khalid made the switch secure back up. slowly waking up to the animation Son of Abdulla Al Muharraqi, a as the best path for him. Despite these challenges, he industry, the assumption that renowned artist in the Middle East, Working from his studio at maintains his work as creatively animation can be done in a jiffy Khalid studied photography and home, Khalid constantly updates as possible. “We have always with a few clicks of a mouse, still interior design at the Art Institute of the software and tests the resisted corporatising our set persists. Khalid finds it a regular 96 Best of Bahrain
    • Image Title: The return of the Great Talon task to dispel such notions among you feel that this is not just 3D, but his medium from oil, to chalk, to professional artists using 3D as his clients. is an art style. pencil.... I do the same here with their main tools, to upcoming CG different applications to get the artists and people who are just Future Trends Work Style results that I want to achieve.” starting out. As well as software Yet Khalid finds vast improvement Khalid uses around five Khalid has come a long developers and those in the film in the quality of CG since he applications that only work in 3D. way since he began. Today, and gaming industry are in contact started out. He foresees CG When asked why, he says, “There his services are sharp, carried with me regularly. I get hundreds diverging into two paths - the is no such thing as a perfect out according to the client brief of emails, fan mail; requests to hyper realistic animations and application, so I use the tools which makes him proud of his work with me, for me or just to images already started, as well as that I need when I need them on professionalism. And his work watch me work and give them the other highly stylised cartoons each application. So, just like a has not gone unnoticed. “Those guidance. I welcome that and do or animations; work that makes traditional artist that would mix that follow my steps range from my best to make a good Best of Bahrain 97
    • impression. I am always happy to help.” Drawing Awareness One way of creating an interest in CG and animation is to spread the word, and Muharraqi Studios has done just that and has placed Bahrain on the CG map through its work. The website also draws hundreds of people logging in per month checking for any updates, tutorials or new projects on the go and this helps people to gain awareness of the latest tools. Additionally, a boost arrives by giving support to films and 3D visualization of The Pearl of Qatar creative work produced in the development as presented to the client country. 98 Best of Bahrain
    • Image Title: Last Flight Image Title: Oryx 3D visualization of Al Khamis Mosque aired on Bahrain TV for Ramadan 2009 - Kingdom of Bahrain Focus key issues in the region and Khalid channels his efforts elsewhere, Khalid and his team towards creating projects that are considerate about utilising are innovative. To do so, he better performing processors understands his client’s needs and CPUs to achieve maximum and who the audience is. From performance, as well as leaving there, concepts, location, the least impact. “Although it storyline and presentation are all is more expensive, it keeps worked out. Then there are the us at the forefront of the latest Image Title: Burning Heart technical aspects like developing developments in the industry.” the 3D models, texturing them, painting the maps or the ground, Inspiration lighting the environment as well Nature, art and ancient Arabian as recreating day light features. stories are inspiring to him. “I am Finally animation and rendering always looking for things that 3D using Other, modo, LightWave-3D, Photoshop, ZBrus to ensure the right quality is make me think and transport was exhibited at CG-Germany show in 2008 obtained on the finished product. me to other worlds. I hope that my work will have that effect Sustainability on people and make them Tel: +973 39 689 933 With conservation and think and wonder about what is Email: khalid@muharraqi-studios.com sustainability evolving as possible.” www.muharraqi-studios.com Best of Bahrain 99
    • KSDi - Khalifa Shaheen Digital Images Technology in film and more contemporary pictures cinematography has grown by are required”, says Khalifa who leaps and bounds over the years. considers delivering excellence And Khalifa Shaheen has been a and creativity for his clients, a witness to all these changes ever constant responsibility. “Creativity since he started out in this field is an inexact process. I have in the 1960s. The most dramatic always strived to come up with one has been the C41 processing original ideas and that process, of film chemically to the digital I am not sure I can explain. format that is currently used. Sometimes I’ll be in the shower Today, he owns Khalifa or driving or walking my retriever Shaheen Digital Images, a and an idea springs fully formed company that has evolved into my mind. Other times, original to take care of photography, ideas are more illusive. Our video production as well as an standards are high and I intend image library. “Market demands that they remain so. This attitude determine what images are doesn’t always win me friends required and that depends on but it does mean that our work is who is asking. In the West, faultless.” traditional images are more And such work requires talent sought after. Whereas locally, that the region is capable of 100 Best of Bahrain
    • HM King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa producing. “We use local talent KSDI runs a 10-week training and offer greater value across the as much as possible. International course called “Screen Actors board. With consumer confidence professionals have their place Training program” to spur at an all time low, KSDI offers as well, but for local sensitivity, a creativity with the community media solutions to all manner of Bahraini wins every time.” and to prepare for the media business, with the intention of Also, KSDI offers film/tape projects that will soon be heading heightening that business’s profile conversion to DVD. There just its’ way. With the finance and and visibility, in a market obscured aren’t many 8mm projectors creative talent available regionally, by the mist of the credit crisis. or tape decks around anymore all that remains is distributorship. Further, KSDI uses Facebook to rendering old home movies With the market in Bahrain and promote its ancillary entertainment useless. “When we transfer the the UAE taking a mature turn, services and maintain direct footage we also have the ability to KSDI plans to extend beyond interaction with its clientele. It has a colour correct and fix the footage Bahrain to elsewhere in the Gulf. screen actor training page that has to a much better state than the Simultaneously, this has not over 200 members. There is also original. Film/video are a dated slowed its growth in the country. a live comedy competition, ‘The media that will eventually become “This year, we have added Funniest Person in Bahrain’ that brittle and break. We do this animation and digitization to our has over 300 Facebook members service to preserve your precious list of production services,” says and growing. memories for a lifetime,” says Khalifa. Khalifa. The current global volatility Tel: +973 17 593 993 With plans to expand further, has led KSDI to tighten its margin www. ksdibahrain.com Best of Bahrain 101
    • Bahrain House Arts & Culture of Photography More than 60 years behind a camera has done nothing to rob Mr. Abdulla Al Khan of his passion. Al Khan (or “Abdulla Mohammed Al Khan” as he liked to be called) has one of the richest photographic archives dating back from the 30’s up until this current day. His photographs document many of Bahrain’s social, historical and traditional contexts and events and trace Bahrain’s many important milestones and significant roles in the Bahraini society. Not only do his photographs act as documentation, but they also act as important memorabilia for the Bahraini people and remind our current society of what Bahrain once was. Abdulla Al Khan of Bahrain Al Khan started out his career he brought back with him from House of Photography has been at Bapco where he got a job his studies in photography at photographing the country since photographing mechanical Ealing Technical College. As a 1945. He now has an archive of problems, site developments result, Al Khan soon established more than 1,500,000 photographs and public relations events, himself in the Kingdom as the which are under the process of however this did not deter his official photographer for many being transferred to a massive passion for capturing Bahrain’s of the key events in the lives of collection of digital imagery. The richest cultural assets. Al Khan’s Bahrain’s royal family members, Bahrain House of Photography, studio walls are adorned with photographing everything where all the negatives are stored pictures of Bahrain’s past from from weddings to birthdays. Al is now in the process of being pearl divers to dhow captains. Khan also developed a special transformed into a photographic He is credited for introducing relationship with the late Amir museum to honor the royal family wedding photography to the HH Shaikh Isa bin Salman Al Abdulla Al Khan of the Kingdom of Bahrain. Kingdom of Bahrain, an idea Khalifa, who once described 102 Best of Bahrain
    • Abdulla Al Khan spent 30 years photographing the Kingdom's new developments from a helicopter - Diplomatic arial view shown here from 1976 to 1992 and 2008, shown here respectively Al Khan as “My eyes in the others, the first cables being laid hope is that he is still around to “So I do not have any photographs Kingdom”. In fact Al Khan acted for Isa Town. His most recent complete all the work. In five years which are my favorites. Though as an eye witness to the realities projects include monitoring only one third of his archives have I am proud of the photos I have of the nation, he recalls, “I went developments of Durrat Al Bahrain been documented digitally. taken of the royal family.” around taking photographs of and the Bahrain Financial Harbour Al Khan goes on to discuss Bahrain as it really was to show (BFH). the advent of digital photography Books by Al Khan: Shaikh Isa”. Today Al Khan’s most likening it to fast food in 1. Bahrain Old Houses Commercially Mr Al Khan daunting task continues to be the comparison to the manual art 2. Muharraq The Sea Rose continued to work with the Ministry digitalization of his vast collection that took more time but provided 3. Democracy of 1973 of Housing and Works for over at Bahrain House of Photography. the same sensations as quality 30 years, documenting the new He is the only person with the dining. He believes that although Al Khan also had several developments of the kingdom knowledge of the stories behind fast food exists that there is still a exhibitions in the Kingdom of from helicopters. Al Khan says each picture, so the work has to need for fine dining. His passion Bahrain and abroad and now has comically, “I have probably had be done himself. Whereby other for photography is resounding, as his own permanent exhibition at more flight time than any pilot countries reserve Government he understands deeply the value Bahrain House of Photography. in Bahrain”. His archives from spending to archive all of their of his work. He views each of his sky view chronicle in detail the history, Al Khan is doing this on pieces as his children and says changes in the country’s landscape his own expenses. He determines of his work, “You would not say I such as views of Isa Town as a that, “it is vital to remind the prefer this son because he is rich desert to the new developments at younger generation of what we or this daughter because she is Durrat Al Bahrain. The richness of were and where we came from, to beautiful, they are all your creations For further information please his archives document, amongst record history for them”. His only and they are equally valuable” and visit www.bahrainhouse.com Best of Bahrain 103
    • Ali Sharaf Photography Ali Sharaf is taking the photography industry in the Kingdom of Bahrain by storm, presenting a new digitally enhanced final output that is grabbing lots of attention. Focusing on both Editorial and his fellow citizens something new that he wishes to highlight is that photography. As a graduate from Commercial industries, Ali Sharaf to aspire to. Sharaf says of his the Kingdom of Bahrain has lots Manchester & London Workshops works with magazines and work, “people are often surprised of talent within its indigenous and seminars in the UK, he has advertising agencies that require that the images I create are the population. He notes himself as taken his profession back to his high quality images. work of a Bahraini. Many other being fortunate enough to work homeland, where when asked Recently Ali Sharaf outdid people believe that my work, closely with a highly skilled team about the comparison of freedom himself again with stunning along with the work of some other of Bahrainis, ranging from my to express in the Kingdom, Sharaf imagery for the launch marketing Bahraini photographers, is already special friend ‘Fahad Al Dossari’ answers that although Bahrain is a campaign of Viva, the Kingdom’s at global standards. This is of Director of Esthetics to stylists, more conservative culture he has most recent telecommunications course flattering but at the same who he believes to be as equally not felt himself to be excessively provider. Suffice to say, his work time drives us to continuously build talented as those in their fields limited in how he presents his speaks to the general public as upon our skills to remain at that internationally. work. He stoically acknowledges he himself is a Bahraini, born and global level”. Ali Sharaf goes on Ali Sharaf presents himself with that, “the concept of beauty is one raised who understands what is to add that his work showcases a mature outlook for his preferred that differs from one region to the required to grab attention and give a range of aspects however one field in art, fashion and beauty next so I actually consider myself 104 Best of Bahrain
    • fortunate to be able to address the challenges that come along with producing images that can be regarded as pleasing and beautiful to a varied audience be they conservative or otherwise”. Taking full advantage of the digital revolution and armed with his knowledge and skills in digital enhancement that he acquired from his former career in graphic design, when describing his work, Ali Sharaf mentions that, “we now live in the digital age whereby the process of editing a Best of Bahrain 105
    • 106 Best of Bahrain
    • photo once it has been captured is commonplace amongst professional photographers and has actually developed into a high level of expertise in some respects. I cannot speak for other photographers but in my case, I use the post-production process to reinforce what I had envisioned for the image, identify things that were out of my control during the shoot, and move the image in the direction that it needs to go to”. In Sharaf’s opinion, retouching should be realistic in order to enhance the natural beauty of his subjects rather than radically altering them. To Sharaf there are many aspects of his work that he enjoys from the planning stages of a project all the way through to the post production phase and handover. Sharaf takes pleasure in addressing the unique challenges that come with every new project and feels lucky to have the support and creative input of a great team. “I was fortunate enough to learn from world class photographers over the course of my studies and at the same time it opened my eyes to the level of professionalism that exists in the field of photography outside our region. Photography as a profession and industry in Bahrain, and within the region, is still a relatively new concept on many levels. By way of a simple example, I am often approached to produce an advertising campaign for certain publications within a timeline of one week and within a limited budget; this is something that is far less common in Europe or the US where the photography industry is at a maturity level higher than our own and photographers are given months to put together an advertising concept for renowned publications and are working with sizeable budgets. This is something I anticipate will change as the industry evolves here”. On reflecting on the overall photography industry in the to a level that is consistently meaningful and relevant talent to maker of an international standard Kingdom of Bahrain, Sharaf at level with global standards, the industry overall. The world is has been very rewarding as has declares that, “there are few that together our work will open a much smaller place now than the opportunity to work with some Bahraini photographers that are doors for other Bahrainis to follow what it was 10 or 20 years ago well known global brands. I have able to pursue their passion as their dreams and become even so I look forward to the prospect my sights set on higher goals a full time career since this can more successful as professional of sharing our unique vision, beyond the region as the fashion be financially challenging as the photographers. In terms of and collaborating with a wider industry is one that plays out on a industry currently stands. I hope what I wish to give back to the audience”. global stage”. that as my work and that of international market, my hope is When asked about the pinnacle my fellow professional Bahraini that we as Bahraini photographers of his success, Ali Sharaf explains info@alisharaf.com photographers continues to evolve are able to be recognized as a that, “being regarded as an image- www.alisharaf.com Best of Bahrain 107
    • CHAPTER 5 Health, Beauty and Wellness 108 Best of Bahrain
    • “We want to be recognized by our clients as the Best Resort in the World”. Mr. Zee Bassila, Director, Sales & Marketing Banyan Tree Spa, Kingdom of Bahrain Best of Bahrain 109
    • The Beauty Beat Arab women have the world’s healthiest and youngest looking skin, reveals a research by Swiss-based Clinique la Praire. Various genetic and complexion is sure indication of consumed raw or cooked. Besides up into a paste by mixing with environmental factors contribute wellness, which certainly adds traditional medicine, beauty hot water and then allowed to to this ranking, which is to the beauty of a person. The treatments were also used to ferment. The design process is reinforced by the range of Kingdom of Bahrain has a rich maintain good health. Some of the done using a small cone that has traditional beauty regimens that history of using indigenous plants beauty treatments followed in the a hole from which henna comes Arab women have embraced for as medicine. About 20 indigenous country are outlined here.... out when pressure is applied. centuries, and which have now species have been known to Henna, which lasts about 12 days, grown in popularity worldwide. be used in the herbal remedies Hands on traditionally adorns the hands Bahrain is no different with a for numerous afflictions. These The art of henna painting has and feet of women during special history of using herbal plants in remedies that appear simple been practised for at least 5,000 occasions such as engagements, traditional medicine. include boiling, infusions, extraction years in the Middle East and weddings and Eid. Designs vary in It is well-known that the skin of milled dry or fresh leaves, Indian subcontinent. Henna is different regions with each baring is reflective of the health of an flowers, seeds or whole plants. made from henna tree leaves, a particular design according to individual. A flawless and glowing Also, certain plant parts were either which are collected and ground cultural tastes; for example unlike 110 Best of Bahrain
    • Image by: Haifa Hassan - haifa.yaseen@gmail.com Image by: Ezzat Alzurba ezzat.alzurba@gmail.com the Indian designs which are very with small dots drawn on the palm odour, blisters and minor cuts. intetricate, the Bahraini Henna style of the hand. Flowers or stars are When mixed with vinegar and uses a lot of white spaces and also used in this design. With a applied to the head, henna is Image by: Haifa Hassan - haifa.yaseen@gmail.com larger designs, usually of flowers thicker consistency, henna is also thought to alleviate headaches. and leaves or oriental geometric used to dye hair. The red-coloured shapes. henna is normally preferred and is A sweet body There are many types of applied for several hours to attain Halawa or sugaring is a traditional traditional henna designs, now only the desired look and lustre. Henna Arabic hair removal technique. popular with the older generations, is also noted for its medicinal Used by the Ancient Egyptians, including Al Ghammsa, which is properties. It is an antiseptic for halawa, which translates as hand painting up to the elbow. The soothing burns, eczema and ‘sweet’, is an all-natural mixture of Al Jutti style involves tinting two providing relief from bruises and sugar, water and lemon juice. It is joints of each finger, while the Bittat arthritic pain. Henna is also used also water-soluble and non-toxic, style is formed of four triangles to treat athlete’s foot, corns, foot which makes it mild on the skin, Best of Bahrain 111
    • Health and Beauty 112 Best of Bahrain
    • Image by: Haifa Hassan - haifa.yaseen@gmail.com as well as environmentally friendly. was exchanged. This centuries old burning furnace. After performing Fontaine Spa uses the concept The mixture is heated to the edge steam bath is seeing resurgence in a full body wash and receiving a of balancing all the forces of the of crystallisation and formed into popularity amongst locals as well massage, bathers finally retire to human body, namely the mental, a soft ball, flattened onto the skin, as tourists. the cooling-room for a period of physical, emotional and spiritual then quickly striped away. The hair Hammams have thick stone relaxation. – by using natural treatments for is removed at the root. walls and domed roofs. Once the face. With such a huge variety The lukewarm halawa only inside, bathers relax in a hot, Spas in the Kingdom of of beauty treatments available, it sticks to the hair and not the skin, humid marble chamber or room Bahrain is all the more reason to visit the so unlike other waxing methods, and allow the moisture to soften There is no dearth of spas offering Kingdom of Bahrain and leave with it does not irritate the skin and is and penetrate their skin. This top class rejuvenation treatments a relaxed smile. safe to apply to all skin types. It is room is known as the warm room in the Kingdom. Beauty treatments a gentler means of hair removal, and allows the bather to perspire from other countries including especially on sensitive areas freely. You may then move to an Thailand, India and Morocco are of the body and gives smooth, even hotter room known as the also offered at the various spas, silky results that last four to six hot room. An attendant wearing a here. Infact the biggest and most weeks; much longer than shaving traditional chequered sheet, called extensive spa in the Middle East, or depilatory creams. Sugaring a pestemal, then scrubs the body Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen is in diminishes hair growth rapidly and vigorously with an abrasive cloth, the Kingdom of Bahrain. Offering the more frequently it is done the removing dead skin and leaving an extensive range of treatments finer the hair tends to grow back. the layer beneath so smooth it including private steam rooms, gleams. This removes toxins from ice igloo, pelotherapy chamber, Get steamy the body and relieves muscular sanarium, affusion showers The hammam or Turkish bath aches. and brine cavern, the spa is a is closely related to the Ancient An invigorating dousing with must-visit for a spa aficionado. Roman’s bathing practices. It was water follows, and bathers are Another spa worth visiting is at developed in the Middle East as left to stretch out on the hot the Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & a means of cleansing the body marble stone at the centre of the Spa that has a Hammam with a as well as a place for socialising chamber, heated from beneath steam room and four pools along where conversation and gossip by air circulating from a wood- with two massage rooms. The La Best of Bahrain 113
    • Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen The Banyan Tree Spa has developed and branched out into the Best Spa Resort in the world today. 114 Best of Bahrain
    • Now, the challenge lies in located in different countries with the guests is the Royal know-how, after all Banyan Tree maintaining this image. The in Asia, where each therapist Banyan Package. first took root as a spa before 10,000 square metre Spa in studies 300 hours before she Celebrities, too, frequent the turning into a resort chain. Bahrain took 3 years to build starts handling any guest. This spa that places privacy as a top into what it is today. Over 35 allows her to be familiar with priority. staff members who come from the physiology, anatomy of the Little wonder then, that the different spas of Banyan human body and standard spa Banyan Tree Spa has been Tree work at this facility. They services. voted as the “Best Spa Resort have all been well-trained at Spa treatments include in the world”. The inspiration either one of the three Banyan several signature ones. But the comes from the Banyan Tree Tel: +973 17 845 000 Tree Spa training academies treatment that is most popular Hotels & Resorts culture and www.banyantreespa.com Best of Bahrain 115
    • CHAPTER 6 Training, Education & CSR 116 Best of Bahrain
    • “It is through the continued support of HRH Prince Salman Bin Hamad Al-Khalifa and the support of our endowment fund sponsors that the CPISP has grown into one of the most successful scholarship programs in the region.” Dr. Ronald Koller, CPISP Director Best of Bahrain 117
    • Training, Education & CSR Education paves a path to help one achieve goals and realise dreams. In acknowledgement of this fact, the Kingdom of Bahrain has made provisions for education in Vision 2030. HH Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Royal Charity Organization - Kingdom of Bahrain 118 Best of Bahrain
    • The Kingdom has always displayed recruitment and training, enhancing agent for change and has Corporate Social Responsibility its keenness to encourage the the managing of their performance, several successful initiatives to is taken as an essential employment of its citizens in improving their image in society showcase its efforts. Through responsibility in the country. As various capacities, especially and increasing the attractiveness of economic reform, training reform such, Islam calls for the individual in the public sector. And the careers in teaching, the standard and attitudinal change, to a to give a portion of his income private sector too, with its share of education could be raised a lesser level, Tamkeen organises to the society. However, charity of vast opportunities beckons notch higher. Other strategies and executes its initiatives that involves not only sharing money the Bahrainis. However, to be include providing quality training in are bound into the Labour but time too. The Migrant Workers able to compete for such jobs, world-class applied and advanced Market Reforms. The main Protection Society (MWPS) is certain skills like excellent English skills to meet new challenges and goal is to position the locals one organisation that supports communication are required. Such requirements. And regular review as top choices for jobs in the the rights of migrant workers and demands call for sustained training. the quality of performance of the private sector that is achieved seeks to resolve their suffering. The Vision 2030 calls for developing educational institutions to check through funds from the fees for members volunteer their efforts to an education system that will if they are at par with world-class expatriate work permits. These work collectively to eradicate abuse empower every citizen with standards. Also, research and funds pay for training and study of low-income workers and launch suitable educational qualifications development will be encouraged and to subsidise salary increase initiatives to uplift their rights. to meet his or her occupational to create the platform for a incentives for Bahrainis. Tamkeen MWPS has come a long way requirements. This calls for raising knowledge-based economy. not only has the freedom when it and tastes success when it comes the standards and performance of Another initiative of the comes to setting its own agenda, to combating human rights issues schools, vocational institutions and Government to create channels it provides freedom to those faced by low-income workers. For universities. In order to achieve that, of opportunities for Bahrainis enrolled Bahrainis to be employed it is them who have helped build properly-trained teachers must be is Tamkeen. Meaning ‘Labour not just in the Kingdom of what stands today as the Kingdom available. By way of improving their Fund’, the initiative is a powerful Bahrain, but elsewhere globally. of Bahrain. Best of Bahrain 119
    • The Crown Prince’s Internation- al Scholarship Program (CPISP) HRH the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, addresses the audience at the 2009 CPISP Graduate Recognition Ceremony at the Court of the Crown Prince. When and why was the Crown Prince’s universities and colleges. their summer and winter breaks to personally International Scholarship Programme The first group of scholarship recipients ask about their progress and development. established? included 6 students from the Ministry of CPISP officials also make trips during the year The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Education schools. However, in 2001, HRH to the US and UK to check on students and visit Program (CPISP) was established in 1999 by the Crown Prince decided to increase the total schools and universities to build and maintain HRH the Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme number of annual scholarships to 10, and include ties, and seek scholarship opportunities for future Commander, Prince Salman bin Hamad Al four scholarships for students from private candidates and recipients. Khalifa, with the aim of providing the opportunity schools. The Program encourages students to actively to Bahrain’s brightest, most talented and Scholarship recipients are free to choose participate in academic field trips, summer outstanding youth to study at top international their own majors and universities that they projects and other initiatives which enrich their universities and colleges. gain acceptance from. The Program requires learning experience and develop personal growth. His Royal Highness’ vision is to develop young its scholars to attend international universities CPISP students have proudly represented Bahrainis from all walks of life so that they can abroad, so that they receive cultural exposure and Bahrain by undertaking field trips and summer achieve their dreams and aspirations, and attain gain the most out of their academic experience. projects around the world including Borneo, key positions that will contribute to Bahrain’s Government school students are required to France, South Africa, Syria and Tasmania. development, through serving in the public or undergo two years of either prep or boarding Students are also required to partake in summer private sectors or through the international arena. school, where they attain a high school post internships so that they can gain work experience graduate diploma or A Levels, before applying and prepare for their future career plans. In terms of specific milestones and to University. This gives them the opportunity In 2004, the Program’s first group of scholars achievements, how has the scholarship to improve their English language and research graduated from university with Bachelors’ programme evolved since its inception? writing skills; the results have proven to be degrees and either began employment or As of 2009, The Program has awarded outstanding when it comes to obtaining a seat in continued with their post-graduate degrees, a total of 96 scholarships to outstanding prestigious universities. funded by HRH the Crown Prince. The Program Bahraini secondary school students. Ten The Program works hard to create a family places no restrictions on students on where they fully funded under-graduate scholarships are atmosphere among students, parents and work upon graduation. In fact, HRH encourages awarded on an annual basis to 5 young men staff, arranging for various activities and social graduates to obtain a job in the global arena and and 5 young women from both private and functions throughout the year. HRH the Crown gain international work experience and exposure governmental secondary schools, providing Prince meets students in small informal groups before returning to Bahrain. them the opportunity to study at top international twice a year upon their return to Bahrain during In 2005, the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) 120 Best of Bahrain
    • recognized HRH the Crown Prince for his efforts a CPISP applicant, students must be enrolled • Stanford University in setting up the CPISP and his commitment to in the 11th grade and have a 97 per cent or • Tufts University fund the program with $32 million over the next higher cumulative GPA for grade 10 and the • University of Chicago 10 years. first semester of grade 11, as well as Bahraini • University of Hartford In 2006, HRH launched the CPISP Endowment citizenship. The top 60 students are then • University of Michigan Fund, opening the door for sponsors to shortlisted based on their GPAs and English Test • University of Pennsylvania contribute to the Program’s continued operation scores. These candidates are then given the • University of Southern California and development through financial support. A opportunity to benefit from various educational • Yale University Board of Directors was established, chaired by workshops administered by the Program over HRH the Crown Prince, and six of the thirteen the summer and throughout their final academic UK Universities: seats on the Board have been reserved for year of secondary school. • Architectural Association sponsors. The Fund also enabled the CPISP Candidates are offered a series of courses, • University of Birmingham to provide its scholars with the opportunity to workshops and seminars commencing in March • University of Durham pursue post-graduate degrees and take part in and concluding in December. The candidates • Imperial College London specialized educational enrichment programs. begin with a course that prepares them to take • King’s College London The CPISP Action Learning Program was the IELTS and SAT. The CPISP registers the • London School of Economics and Political launched as a result, and has allowed CPISP candidates for the IELTS and SAT and organizes Science students to develop their leadership and team the administration of these assessments. During • Loughborough University working abilities, as well as learn from hands-on the summer candidates take part in a specialized • University of Manchester experience in a work environment by working on training program, which aims to develop their • Oxford University a real business challenge with top companies. leadership, communication, and critical thinking • School of Oriental and African Studies In 2009, the CPISP added a leadership, skills. • University College London critical thinking, and communication segment From September until December a variety • University of Bristol to its final selection criteria, organizing a 4 week of seminars relating to applying to university, • University of Cambridge training workshop for candidates vying for the selecting a career and exploring other options • University of Nottingham Crown Prince’s annual scholarships. Students for financing university education are available to • University of Warwick took part in activities and exercises aimed at the candidates. A local college fair is held at the developing their leadership, critical thinking, conclusion of these seminars. French Universities: and communication skills; and interacted with The final ten scholarship recipients are selected • Paris Graduate School of Management mentors from various organizations who also based on their GPA, scores on the SAT and • Sciences Po received training on how to assess the students. IELTS, and a score from the summer training The CPISP Alumni Association was also program. The selection process, including all How is your programme funded? And how launched, and includes 46 CPISP graduates who student scores and grades, is reviewed by an do you determine funding priorities? are either employed, pursuing post-graduate independent auditing firm to ensure accuracy The Program was initially funded solely by HRH degrees, or taking part in specialized projects. and transparency. the Crown Prince when it was established in The Alumni Association works to create a 1999. In 2006 the Program’s endowment fund lasting connection between the CPISP and its What are some of the international was launched, which has since attracted a total graduates. It’s objectives and duties not only universities that students have attended? of 27 sponsors who have pledged, in addition include organizing reunions and activities for Do you provide funding for post-graduate to HRH’s continued annual contribution of BD graduates, but will also involve assisting the education through master’s and doctoral 1.5 million to the Program, a combined total Program in developing beneficial programs and programmes? of BD 18 million over the next 5 years. The projects for current students. The CPISP currently provides both under- Program currently operates on a yearly budget As the CPISP celebrates its ten year graduate and post-graduate funding for its of about BD 1.8 million, and is supporting 48 anniversary, it recognizes that it is the Bahraini scholars, who are selected at the secondary students pursuing their Bachelor’s degrees, students themselves who can take credit for school level. CPISP scholars have gained 5 pursuing Master’s degrees, and 5 pursuing the Program’s success. As a result of their hard acceptance into some of the most distinguished their doctorates. The annual financial support work, outstanding academic performance, and international universities in the US, UK, and provided by HRH the Crown Prince and numerous personal achievements, the CPISP France. They include: sponsors goes into the CPISP’s yearly has earned itself a high reputation among operational budget and into investments that the educational institutions and international US Universities: will generate funding for the Program’s future organizations that it deals with. • Boston College operations. • Brown University The Program’s funding priorities include What strategic approach to education • Columbia University all student related expenses, followed do you adopt? Does your scholarship • Cornell University by promotion of the Program to attract programme focus on delivering assistance • Drake University sponsorship and support of its endowment to schools in certain geographic areas of • Emory University fund. The CPISP covers the costs of Bahrain? What is your selection rationale? • Georgetown University students’ tuition fees, accommodation, and CPISP has developed its own specialized • Harvard University health insurance. Students are given a yearly process to shortlist scholarship candidates and • Johns Hopkins University allowance which differs according to their select the final recipients. First, CPISP staff brief • Lake Forest College location of study, and are also provided with 11th grade students with high GPAs about the • Massachusetts Institute of Technology round trip airline tickets from Bahrain to their Program and its application criteria through • Michigan State University school or university at least once a year during presentations and school visits. Students then • New York University their holiday breaks. Upon their graduation from submit their applications to the Scholarship • Princeton University university, the Program provides two air tickets Office and sit for a Qualifying English Language • Purdue University to the parents or guardians of each student Test administered by the CPISP. To qualify as • Rochester Institute of Technology to attend their university commencement Best of Bahrain 121
    • Health and Beauty explore career and university options through of its scholars. The success and personal seminars and a college fair. accomplishments of CPISP scholars and alumni are a testament to the outcomes of a solid Is CPISP in partnership with other education. government or non-government Internationally, the CPISP has proven to be one scholarship initiatives? Do you work in of the most productive scholarship programs in tandem with them? the region. Program officials continuously work The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship to maintain ties with international universities and Program operates as a separate entity that educational institutions; and due to the students provides scholarships to select outstanding supported by the Program, the CPISP has earned Bahraini secondary school students, from both a reputable standing with top universities and private and governmental secondary schools, education-related organizations. on an annual basis. Qualifying students must apply directly for the Crown Prince’s scholarships How do you envision the Bahraini public and the year prior to their actual secondary private sectors benefiting from graduates Georgetown University, USA school graduation. Application forms can be who are recipients of your scholarships? Is downloaded from the CPISP website (www. ‘brain drain’ an issue? cpisp.bh) and submitted to the Scholarship Recipients of the Crown Prince’s scholarships Offices, which are currently located at the Court have proven to excel in their academic of the Crown Prince. environments, extracurricular activities, and in the To brief outstanding students about the workplace. During their internship and work- Program’s application process, the CPISP works related experiences, scholars have received high with the Ministry of Education and individual recommendations from senior officials in praise of private secondary schools to organize and set their performance and quality work. up presentations and school visits. The Program The CPISP aspires to see its scholars attain a also works with various business organizations substantial education, gain international cultural to provide scholarship candidates and recipients exposure, and secure employment opportunities with internships and career-related information. that will allow them to demonstrate their full Local organizations take part in the training potential and productivity. By attaining key programs organized by the CPISP, offering decision-making roles in the private or public candidates and recipients their guidance and sectors, CPISP scholars will contribute to Bahrain’s expertise as mentors and colleagues. A local development and future both nationally and college fair is also organized by the CPISP for its globally. Columbia University, USA candidates, which provides students with other Although the CPISP places no restrictions educational options in the region. on where students work after graduation, Applicants and candidates who do not earn students are encouraged to gain international the Crown Prince’s scholarship are able to work experience and exposure before returning earn other scholarship opportunities from other to Bahrain. Many students choose to return to organizations. Various government and semi- Bahrain upon their graduation to support the government organizations and ministries have growth of their country directly. Due to the quality approached CPISP candidates with scholarship performance demonstrated by their predecessors, opportunities as well. CPISP scholars are sought by major companies and organizations in Bahrain with promising job How do you help raise awareness about offers. the importance of education and what additional measures do you think could be Out of all the valuable work and scholarships taken to spread the word? you have provided, is there a particular HRH the Crown Prince’s vision regarding the high-achieving student that stands out Kingdom’s future recognizes the crucial role in your mind? Do tailor-made leadership of education, training, and youth and human programmes help foster exceptional talent? development. With the establishment of the CPISP takes great pride in the academic Princeton University, USA endowment fund, the Program has taken excellence and achievements of its scholars. measures to approach outside organizations To apply for the Program, students must have ceremonies. The CPISP also provides its from the private sector and business community a 97 per cent GPA at the secondary school recipients with the opportunity to take part in to support HRH in achieving the Program’s level. Most CPISP scholars continue to excel additional education enrichment programs in objectives. academically, reaching honor rolls and deans’ cooperation with other organizations, such as The CPISP strives to promote its objectives on lists of their chosen schools and universities; its in-house Action Learning Program and the a local community level, as well as internationally. many graduate with honors and distinctions. Academy of Achievement’s International Summit. Through its private school visits and government Scholars also become active members of The CPISP also funds various programs for school presentations, the CPISP calls on their student communities, pursuing various eligible candidates applying for scholarships, as outstanding students to take advantage of the extracurricular activities including sports, and well as its scholars. As mentioned before, the educational opportunities available to them, and teaching. Professionally, CPISP scholars receive CPISP provides its qualifying candidates with to benefit from international cultural exposure. high appraisals from executives for their exemplary SAT and IELTS training workshops, a specialized The CPISP also utilizes the local media and its performance in the working environment. The leadership, critical thinking, and communication own in-house Spotlight magazine, to showcase following are a few examples of some of the development program, and the opportunity to its message and highlight the achievements CPISP’s distinguished scholars. 122 Best of Bahrain
    • • Khalid Adnan Fakhro received the Crown Prince’s scholarship in 2001, going on to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Biological Sciences with specialization in Cellular Biology and Molecular Genetics at the University of Chicago, USA. Upon his graduation with Honors in 2005, Khalid received a scholarship from Yale University to pursue a PhD in Human Genetics. From 2006 to 2008, Khalid was accepted into the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Medical Research Scholars Program (HHMI MRSP) at Yale University, designed to encourage rigorous training in science to solve medical/clinical challenges. Khalid’s experience as a lab member of the Human Genetics Department at Yale University has included acquiring and implementing a variety of techniques such as high-throughput screening, fluorescence microscopy, cell Recipients of the Crown Prince’s 2009 scholarships. culture, PCR genotyping, microarray SNP chip analysis and biochemical assays. an ‘Outstanding’ teacher by the Office of confluence of a nation’s vulnerability and its Standards in Education. Lubna then joined risk of climate change can predict whether • Marwa Khaled Al Sabbagh earned the Crown Deloitte Consulting, London and in 2009 or not it will experience civil violence. As a Prince’s scholarship in 2001, after which she received an ‘Outstanding Contribution Award’. result Ahmed was invited to lead a panel was placed into Oundle Boarding School, UK discussion on the effects of climate change to complete her A-Levels. While pursuing her • Fatema Ghazi Al-Arayedh received the Crown on civil violence in Africa at the American Bachelor’s degree in Biology at Nottingham Prince’s scholarship in 2002, going on to Geophysical Union’s Joint Assembly in College, UK Marwa was awarded the Duke of pursue a high-school post graduate diploma Toronto in May 2009. Ahmed has also co- Edinburgh Gold Award and the British Council from Choate Rosemary Hall, USA. Fatema authored a proposal for the production of International Silver Award “Shine”. Marwa was then gained acceptance into Yale University, liquid hydrocarbon fuels using non-fossil fuel also awarded the Nuffield Foundation Science where she obtained a Bachelor’s degree in sources, and is a freelance 3D-modeler and Bursary for Undergraduate Research to work Political Science. During her undergraduate an amateur astronomer. Ahmed is a member in the Institute of Genetics at the University years at Yale, Fatema was a very active of the American Society of Mechanical of Nottingham in the summer of 2005, going member of the student body, taking part Engineers (ASME), American Institute of on to graduate with first class honors from in various student associations, including Chemical Engineers (AIChE), and Society of Nottingham. Marwa then went on to complete the Halal Food Committee and the Muslim Automotive Engineers (SAE). her Master’s degree in Biological Research Students Association; and launched a Yale from Imperial College London with distinction, Chapter of Operation Smile, which works to What plans and projects does CPISP have and received the Overseas Research Student provide plastic surgery for children with cleft for the future? (ORS) scholarship from Imperial College lips and tumors. She also helped co-found With the continued support of HRH Prince London to pursue a PhD in Reproductive the Arab Students Association at Yale, serving Salman, the CPISP hopes to draw in continued Biology: Uterine Biology. as a board member and vice-president. sponsorship from organizations dedicated Upon her graduation from University, Fatema to the Kingdom’s youth and educational • Lubna Al Tajir received the Crown Prince’s returned to Bahrain and began employment development. This will ensure the Program’s scholarship in 2001, after which she went on at the Economic Development Board, where continued operation, and allow it to gradually to graduate from the University of Bristol, UK she worked in cooperation with the Ministry increase the number of scholarships it awards with a Bachelor’s degree in Communication of Justice on the national economic reform each year while maintaining the quality of Engineering. She was awarded the Toshiba initiative Vision:2030 for the Kingdom of opportunities available to its recipients. The Prize for the most innovative final year Bahrain. Fatema is currently pursuing her Program also hopes to introduce further research project, entitled “Finite Difference judicial doctorate at Columbia University Law educational enrichment programs and training Time Domain (FDTD) modeling of Photonic School, USA. for its scholars, and open up its scholarships to Crystal Devices.” The project focused on graduates. how to find the optimum characteristics for • Ahmed Yusuf Abdulla received the Crown photonic crystals which can be highly efficient Prince’s Scholarship in 2005, going on What personal challenges and aspirations in electronic communications. After graduation to graduate from Princeton University in do you have for the future of CPISP target Lubna started teaching Mathematics at 2009 with a Bachelor’s degree in Chemical segments? Norwood School as part of Teach First, a Engineering – focus on Entrepreneurship The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship charity recruiting outstanding graduates to and Management. Upon graduation, Ahmed Program aims to equip Bahrain’s outstanding teach at challenged UK secondary schools. joined the Princeton in Africa Fellowship youth with the education and resources that In 2006 Lubna won first place in the Teach Program, where he will be spending a will allow them to succeed academically and First school projects ideas competition. She year in Burkina Faso developing a Carbon professionally. The success, accomplishments, proposed “The Apprentice Club” (based on Assessment Strategy for International and achievements of Bahrain’s talented youth “The Apprentice” TV program but modified Institute for Water and Environmental will lay the foundation for Bahrain’s future, for school environments). She later secured Engineering (2iE). Ahmed has been involved and allow the younger generation to take key funding from the charity UnLtd to set-up and in various projects, studies and papers. leadership and decision-making roles that will run the project. In 2007 she was graded as He co-authored a paper on how the contribute to Bahrain’s development. Best of Bahrain 123
    • Royal Charity Organization The Royal Charity Organization (RCO) was established by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa on July 14, 2001 with a decree to serve, donate for the cause of and help all the orphans of the Kingdom of Bahrain. His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa meeting with orphans in the Kingdom of Bahrain In November, 4, 2001, another Elderly and the People with Royal Decree was issued by Special Need. His Majesty King to assign the • Providing Social, Health organization with providing care and Educational Care, and for widows. Also in November, contributing in mitigating the 27, 2007, yet another Royal burden of Cost of Living in Decree was issued to re-organize respect of the needy families. the RCO, with His Majesty the • Contributing in setting up King as the Honorary President and developing Social and of the organization and HH Charity Projects. Shaikh Nasser Bin Hamad Al • Contributing in the Khalifa as the Chairman of the Sustainable Development Board of Trustees. activities. • Carrying out any other Our Mission directives that are made Royal Decree No. 33 for the by His Majesty, the Year 2007 has defined the Honorary President of Mission of the Organization as the Organization, and / or follows: carrying out duties that • Sponsoring the Widows and are ratified by the Board of Dr. Mustafa Al Sayed, Secretary General of the RCO Orphans and caring for the Trustees. 124 Best of Bahrain
    • Our Vision To Be… A leading Royal Organization in the field of Charity and Social activities in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Our Message Through the generous Royal Care and by the Distinguished Performance, we would commit ourselves to carry out Charitable, benevolence and gracious activities; and to put in effect a humanitarian, social and economical role that pays dividend to the citizens; and to contribute in improving the spirit of cooperation in order to raise the status of charity Activities; and to support the resources of the Needy People in the Kingdom. The Organization Provides The Following Our Values • Benevolent Deeds Social Care: • Integrity • Educational and Social trips. • Communal Cooperation • Summer Activities. • Fairness • Spring Camps. • Creativity • National Events. • Group Activities • The ideal mother award. • Respect for Others • Mothers and Orphans councils. The Organization Provides The Following Health Care: • Provide free medical Living Care : services. • Monthly Payment for • Health educational seminars. individual Orphans and widows sponsored by the Sociological Care: Organization. • Advice Centre. • Season Allowances • Periodical visits and (Ramadan, Eid..etc.). evaluation. HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales, honors the Royal Charity Organization (RCO) • Discount Cards. • Sociological treatments. on winning the worldwide Islamic Relief (IR) Award, in recognition of RCO’s charity work in the Kingdom of Bahrain and abroad. The Award in particular recognizes Educational Care: Development Care: RCO’s excellence in providing aid and assistance to Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, • Schools Uniforms and all • Employment Program. an initiative which is a part of the Kingdom’s larger role in national advocacy for the necessary stationery. • Leadership Program. Palestinian people during the Israeli war on Gaza. • Higher Education Scholarship. March 2009 • Education scholarship for Housing Rehabilitation & the disabled. Renovation Project • Additional Tutorial lessons. Tel: +973 17 313666 • Private institutions August 2009 Email: info@osc.gov.bh scholarship. Humanitarian Aid www.orphans.gov.bh/eng/ Best of Bahrain 125
    • Bahrain Polytechnic Established in September 2008, high levels of critical thinking and Bahrain Polytechnic offers degree problem solving skills. Currently programmes in Engineering Business is the most popular Technology, Information & choice for students. Further Communications Technology, programmes are being developed Business and International in areas such as Design which are Logistics Management. The also high in demand. institution has been established in line with Bahrain’s Economic The programmes also focus on Vision 2030. enhancing students’ teamwork, communication, work ethics and With a mission to build a better English language skills. The use of future for each Bahraini by information technology in teaching providing improved training and learning is a key component and education opportunities, of the Polytechnic’s programmes. Bahrain Polytechnic offers and teaches internationally recognised The objective is to provide programmes that are fully graduates who are work-ready based on the application of new and have the range of both knowledge in real-life situations. applied skills and problem solving This helps the students acquire abilities to meet the current 126 Best of Bahrain
    • passing years. Currently, the majority of the faculty is involved in the teaching of English, a core element of learning at the Polytechnic. Industry-Ready Graduates Bahrain Polytechnic maintains a close relationship with the various industries, employers and professional groups, both in Bahrain and abroad. This ensures that the students receive continuous assistance and advice that will enable them to be ‘work ready’ and make a productive already enjoyed great success in The Way Forward contribution to Bahrain’s student recruitment. economic development. Exciting times are ahead for Challenges Bahrain Polytechnic with plans of Attaining World-Class introducing short-term courses, Recognition However, Bahrain Polytechnic is still certificate and diploma courses, and emerging challenges of a newly established institution and directed at upgrading the skills the work place. It is this depth With the aim to be a world class a new concept of higher education of those already in employment and breadth of skills which will institution, Bahrain Polytechnic has in Bahrain. The primary objective and those actively seeking equip young Bahrainis to both sourced most degree programmes of the Polytechnic is to create an employment. contribute to and benefit from the from reputed overseas awareness of its presence among achievements of the 2030 vision. universities and been subject to the Bahraini students, parents and The polytechnic will also work the accreditation regimes of the employers. For that, the Polytechnic towards strengthening and Faculty provider countries. Others are has a strong Marketing and Liaison developing existing ties within being developed by internationally team committed to “spreading the the industry, business and other The highly experienced and skilled recognised subject matter experts. word” about what the Polytechnic employers. This partnership faculty at Bahrain Polytechnic The Polytechnic also engages has to offer to Bahrain. is likely to foster sharing staff possess a mix of academic international quality assurance resources, student placements, qualifications, industry experience agencies to undertake periodic The challenge also remains to curriculum advice, graduate and teaching skills. The majority reviews to ensure academic ensure that all students have employment schemes, as well as of the faculty are from overseas programmes are of international the language skills to excel in scholarships. with large numbers of New standards. Thanks to the support their studies. The Polytechnic Zealanders, Irish, Australians, of the Economic Development has responded by putting great It’s certainly the way forward for British and others. These Board and the National Education emphasis on English language Bahrain Polytechnic! expatriates work alongside a Reform Project Board, the teaching throughout the whole group of Bahraini faculty that Polytechnic has obtained a high course of students’ study at Bahrain Tel: +973 17 897 000 is expected to grow with the profile in the Kingdom and has Polytechnic. www.polytechnic.bh Best of Bahrain 127
    • Migrant Workers Protection Society The development of the Kingdom Legally established in February of Bahrain that gained momentum 2005 at the invitation of the around the 1970s saw an exodus Ministry of Social Development, of migrants into the country, the Society that worked under particularly those seeking to work the umbrella of The Bahrain as labourers, the majority of whom Centre for Human Rights as came from countries like India, ‘Migrant Workers Group’, has now Philippines, Pakistan, Bangladesh, grown into a group of about fifty and Sri Lanka. Whilst it is true volunteers who contribute their that the Kingdom of Bahrain is personal time and effort to improve a land of opportunity and has working and living conditions for been the harbinger of wealth the workers and to offer them a and good fortune to many, it is a ‘voice’ when they suffer injustices. sad reality that not all have been The Migrant Workers Protection so lucky. Untold tragic stories Society (MWPS) now runs a have abounded, but not for long. shelter to house female domestic A small group of volunteers, workers who have left their place migrants themselves, of various of employment due to some form nationalities, initially started to of abuse. work independently to provide The main problems that are protection and assistance to low- commonly faced are: MWPS hopes to engage the whole of society to eradicate income migrant workers who have - Non-payment and irregular abuse and exploitation of low-income workers. been exploited and/or abused. payment of salaries 128 Best of Bahrain
    • - Underpayment of promised salaries - Workers not being given contracts / contract violations - False complaints by the employer - Physical and sexual abuse and harassment - Current labor law not adequately covering domestic workers - Withholding of CPRs and passports by employers - Language barrier (hindering all communication) Unfortunately, this has not affected the number of people desiring to come to work here due to a lack of awareness from the labor-sending countries and of course the level of poverty in which they live in their countries. And the most affected are the unskilled low-income Since 2005, MWPS has housed over 500 female domestic workers in its Shelter and helped them to address and resolve their issues and migrant workers and domestic complaints as well, not to mention offering aid to thousands of stranded workers across the island. workers. Fund Raising Committee: To addressing the different issues MWPS has established a The reasons are numerous, some raise necessary funds to support faced by migrant workers. strong relationship with various of which are: the activities carried out by the - Language barriers when dealing government entities. It is regularly - Lack of awareness of their society. with the workers and the consulted by various government rights government authorities. departments in the Kingdom of - Language barriers with The Government of the Kingdom - Slow judiciary and bureaucratic Bahrain and asked for its input and employers and relevant of Bahrain has been of tremendous processes that can take contributions through workshops government authorities support as well. In 2009, MWPS anywhere between 6 months to and conferences. It is one of only - Fear of reprisal when trying to received a generous donation from 2 to 3 years even. To a worker 3 non-governmental organisations defend their own rights HRH Prince Salman bin Hamad that can mean no salary and invited to attend the National - Inadequate knowledge of rules Al Khalifa, Crown Prince of the unemployment for the duration Committee to Combat Trafficking and regulations in the gulf Kingdom of Bahrain. The Ministry of the court case. in Personas at the Ministry of countries of Social Development and the Foreign Affairs. - Inadequate support from their Indian Embassy have pitched in Reaching Out They have also launched a embassies and communities as well. MWPS positions itself through Gas Stove initiative, which creates All other funding comes from regular mention in the press, awareness and identifies the To combat these issues, MWPS private donors and charitable by word of mouth, through dangers of using kerosene stoves has structured itself into four core organisations as well as their own constant communication with in labor accommodation and aims committees. fund-raising events. the embassies and through to in turn replace these with safer In addition, MWPS owes its government institutions such as gas stoves. Action Committee: To actively gratitude for the cooperation and police stations and hospitals. In time, they hope that the work support male and female migrant assistance provided by the Ministry Members are always available and living conditions of all low- workers round the clock who of Labor, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, to render their help 24 hours a day, income migrant workers can be are experiencing work-related Labor Market Regulatory Authority 7 days a week, sometimes long raised to an acceptable standard, injustices (LMRA), General Directorate after midnight even, accepting all safe for everyone. for Nationality, Passports, and complaints if any migrant worker Shelter Committee: To manage Residency (GDNPR), Ministry of is in trouble irrespective of caste, Vision the shelter that houses female Interior, Ministry of Health, Ministry religion, and race. MWPS hopes to help change domestic workers who have been of Social Development and the They are also approached by the general attitude of the public abused by their employers until media. various government departments towards these employees who their cases have been resolved and agencies and have built strong have made great sacrifices by by government institutions and Challenges working relationships with them. leaving their homes and families authorities. However, the members have a few behind to work in the country. challenges to contend with: Achievements After all, these people help make Labor Safety & Welfare - The lack of adequate MWPS is now a recognised lives easier and help to accomplish Committee: To work towards compliance with and society in this field nationally, more for the Kingdom of Bahrain ensuring that health and safety implementation of existing laws. regionally and globally who and its people. standards are being adhered to - Shortage of dedicated and regularly meet and interact in both the work place and in the committed volunteers to with many similar international Tel: + 973 17 827895 labor accommodation. contribute long hours in organisations. www.mwpsbahrain.com Best of Bahrain 129
    • CHAPTER 7 Real Estate, Construction & Design 130 Best of Bahrain
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    • Architectural Landmarks For the past few years, Bahrain has been undertaking a construction spree, with several major projects either just completed or on the verge of completion. Hanan Hassan Alkhalfia Projects comprise of residential apartments, materials are required for such projects landmarks in the country of the 21st century. mixed-use developments, villas, hotels and most of them are imported from GCC Designed by Atkins, the architecture and and even man-made islands like Diyar Al countries and Turkey, India and China. engineering consultancy that has designed Muharraq and Dilmunia. The latter is a With human labour coming from abroad as Burj Khalifa in Dubai and constructed by joint health-centric island with related facilities in well, mainly from India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, venture of Nass and Murray & Roberts, the resort style including cosmetic surgery, sports Bangladesh and the Phillippines. 50-storeyed twin towers offers panoramic medicine centre and alternative medicine The Bahrain World Trade Centre (BWTC) is views of Manama’s landscape. Featuring three centre. Significant amount of construction remarkably one of the most iconic architectural large wind turbines on it’s exterior, BWTC is 132 Best of Bahrain
    • interconnected with a five-star Sheraton in addition to Moda Mall. Many touristic projects are being developed near the Bahrain International Circuit in the South of Island, known as the Southern Governate, such as Durrat Al Best of Bahrain 133
    • 134 Best of Bahrain
    • Kingdom of Bahrain Pearl Roundabout a trophy upholding Bahrain Airport expansion plans to triple the pearl and six arms signifying the GCC nations passanger capacity in the next 30 years Bahrain and Expo City @ Bahrain initiated by Bahrain’s Exhibition and Convention Authority. Another note-worthy development is the Bahrain Financial Harbour (BFH), a water- front development located near Manama. Covering 380,000 square metres, BFH is a self- contained community offering high-end office space, luxury residential accommodation, hotel, leisure and entertainment opportunities. It takes about ten minutes to reach BFH from Bahrain International Airport. Modern architecture, like many other aspects in Bahrain, co-exists with the ancient. With a rich heritage of ancient civilizations, it is not surprising to spot forts that were built centuries ago. The Bahraini Fort is one such landmark in Manama. Known in Arabic as Qalat Al Bahrain, it was built in the 14th century and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2005. The Bahrain Fort is situated at the end of Karbabad village, on Bahrain’s central northern coast. Another building of historical importance is The Museum of Pearl Diving. Officially inaugurated by the late HH Sheikh Hamad Bin Isa Al Khalifa, in October 1937, it is the first official centre for the Bahrain Courts. At that time, the building was divided into four important sections, each of which represents the four Supreme Courts, excluding the three Directorates of the country. Today, it is a traditional heritage centre whose sections and rooms have been transformed into exhibition and presentation galleries. Other notable buildings are Bahrain’s National Museum and the Al Fateh Mosque with the world’s largest fiber glass dome. Best of Bahrain 135
    • Dilmunia at Bahrain to promote health, wellness and tranquillity Bahrain will soon be the home of an island dedicated exclusively to promoting and enhancing health and well-being. 85c 0m 10y 0k 71c 64m 1y 0k 80c 20m 100y 0k 59c 7m 0y 5k This manmade island, Dilmunia at Bahrain, is being created by Ithmaar Development Company (IDC), the developer and manager of Ithmaar Bank’s major development projects including real estate projects, infrastructure projects, resorts, hotels, medical facilities and commercial buildings. “Dilmunia at Bahrain is a master-planned development positioning itself as a global leader in the promotion and enhancement of health and well-being,” said 136 Best of Bahrain
    • IDC Chief Executive Officer and and the central health and environment that strives to prevent by the myriad shades of green Member of the Board, Mohamed wellness cluster in Dilmunia illness and promote healthy and and clear blue water, will serve Khalil Al Sayed. “Dilmunia aims to Health District. The manmade active living,” says Al Sayed. to complement the comfort and enrich Bahrain’s tourism offerings, island will be a mix of residential, “The project is being developed security of the dwellings. With bringing varied facilities and hospitality, leisure and commercial over an area of 125 hectares of expert healthcare and medical experiences to people living in or developments, surrounding a land reclaimed off the northeast facilities just a stone’s throw away, visiting the Kingdom.” core of comprehensive health seashore of Muharraq Island only a the dream of achieving physical, The Island is set to include and wellness amenities, which few minutes away from the Bahrain mental, spiritual and emotional three five-star hotels offering will together offer an alternative International Airport.” equilibrium will no longer be so alternative therapeutic services, a ‘balanced’ perspective towards life Inspired by ancient Dilmun, elusive. four-star hotel with a commercial and living. widely believed to be the Garden “Dilmunia at Bahrain will component, residential housing “Dilmunia will be the destination of Eden, the Dilmunia at Bahrain promote healthy and active of different categories, in addition for harried citizens of the Middle Island will be a lush green oasis. living through a combination of to the Island’s anchor theme; East and the world in search of an The peace and tranquillity offered beautifully landscaped serene Best of Bahrain 137
    • surroundings, health-oriented facilities in a resort-style leisure amenities and world- environment. In addition to class conventional, aesthetic specialist clinics, hospitals, spas and alternative medical facilities,” and other wellness facilities, it will says Al Sayed. “Residents include boutique hotels, residential will enjoy a lifestyle where the areas, leisure amenities, as well as seamless integration of nature shopping centres. and architecture provides the ideal Residing on Dilmunia will ambience for complete relaxation present a wide choice of housing and interaction with nature; options that have been designed paramount to achieving a healthy to enhance wellness. From one- work-life balance. Extensive and of-a-kind and unconventional creative landscaping will inspire secluded villas, to luxury residents to spend time outdoors, condominiums, waterside, pier whether exercising or strolling side and quayside living options along the tree-lined avenues and set to capture your imagination, waterfront paths. The intelligent as well as your hearts. Meanwhile, integration of amenities with life enriching hospitality will be residential living will maximize offered at the various themed opportunities to share quality time hotels, developed to cater to your with friends and family,” he says. every mood and craving; with Dilmunia will offer international- practices from traditional Chinese standard health and wellness concepts to Thai herbalist beliefs; 138 Best of Bahrain
    • French-inspired hydro remedies operated by a core group of lifestyle attractions, will motivate north east coast of Muharraq, to traditional hammam rituals. medical professionals and world- an awareness of wellness. It close to Amwaj Island, 500 meters In essence, world renowned renowned specialists, the Wellness will inspire a view of life that south of it, and 500 meters away practices to not only pamper, but Centre will provide treatment emphasizes the state of the from the Muharraq ring road,” says uplift you into a state of wellness. options through alternative entire being and its ongoing Al Sayed. “It will be accessible by a Woven into the texture of life at medicine, physical therapy, as well development. It affirms this simple bridge taking off from the ring road, Dilmunia will also be a multitude as through diagnostic tests, dietary truth of life: ‘an active mind in an some 500 meters before reaching of lifestyle experiences for you to control and conditioning for the active body’, in an environment the Amwaj Island access road.” indulge in. Lifestyle oasis, strips or body, mind and soul. that is both spirited and dynamic. “One of the unique pods will be available for shopping, Envisioned as an oasis of Reclamation work on US$1.6 characteristics of Dilmunia is the feasting, eating, relaxing or just secrecy and delight, the Wellness billion island was formally shield-shaped profile of the island,” chilling out. Specialized retail and garden of Dilmunia will co-exist completed on 31 May 2009 – and says Al Sayed. “As a result, the designer outlets, hi-tech Cineplex’s in complete harmony with the a new island was added to the Island is seven meters higher in or gourmet food and beverage concrete structures that form its shores of Bahrain. the centre, where the medical outlets will jostle for your attention. landscape. A milieu of themed With the Project quickly taking cluster is located, than it is at the In keeping with the philosophy gardens, waterways, wetlands and shape, IDC has already concluded shoreline. This will mean improved at Dilmunia, cherishing health parks provide the much needed deals for the sale of additional plots views for everyone as well as the and wellness is of prime concern. contrast for creating that feeling of on the Island, signed agreements ability to build underground parking With an access to world-class vibrant yet languid, the feeling of with a prestigious international facilities.” medical facilities and services, being one with nature. hotel chain and is now finalising the promotion of better living and Life in Dilmunia, amidst the negotiations with Dilmunia Health Tel: +973 17 584 600 the prevention of lifestyle ailments lush landscape, insightful designs, District partners. info@dilmuniaatbahrain.com will be achieved. Managed and professionally run amenities and “The Island is located on the www.dilmuniaatbahrain.com Best of Bahrain 139
    • DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ Welcome to DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ, one of the biggest mixed-use residential urban development in Bahrain! What is particularly significant development efficiency. Feasible property types, for institutions, about it is that this 12-square international alternatives are investors and home-owners alike. kilometre city is being created encouraged to be adopted The properties will be available entirely on reclaimed land off the when they meet or exceed the in luxury as well as cost-effective northern shores of Muharraq. current design standards. Since variants to further boost the Already, the first stage of meticulous research and planning community mix in the project. The reclamation is 97 percent complete had gone into the project during prices will be based on a numbers with handover of the northern the initial stage, it later enabled the of factors that still need to be islands in March 2010. Stage 2 developer to efficiently stand true finalised. reclamation is already underway to the planned costs during the A mix of luxury as well as and will begin staged handover of implementation stage. affordable housing products has land from the first quarter of 2011. While working with proven thus enabled the developer to Much of the land that’s available investors and developers, DIYAR successfully address the various for early access is focused on the AL MUHARRAQ discovered challenges posed by the short and local development market and is that there is a great deal of long-term cycles of real-estate particularly affordable. interest shown, particularly for development. To make the development more the affordable and mid-income affordable, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ targeted product. Environmental Commitment is working closely with design To meet the demands of the Speaking of challenges, DIYAR Aaref Hejres - Chief Executive Officer of consultants to challenge current market, the developer will offer AL MUHARRAQ has incorporated DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ design standards and optimise a wide variety of products in all environmental commitment as part 140 Best of Bahrain
    • The proposed public beach with a length of over a kilometre will be connected to the rest of the community via a pedestrian/ cycle path designed to interconnect the large beach and main park to the local neighbourhood park system planned throughout the development. of its corporate vision. Since its very inception, the project has set new benchmarks in the Kingdom of Bahrain with regards to the implementation and environmental monitoring of reclamation techniques. DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ has consulted with international expert environmental bodies as well as its master-planners, and locally, with the Directorate of Environmental Assessment and planning (DEAP) and Marine Resources Directorate (MRD), to ensure that the best options are selected. Many of these activities are being carried out for the first time in Bahrain. DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ can proudly say that these initiatives have helped to move Best of Bahrain 141
    • DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ will be uniquely positioned to provide housing for each sector according to the requirements in the marketplace. 142 Best of Bahrain
    • local employment, economic mosques have been identified. and incorporation of smaller investment and growth. In addition, there have been localised operations in tailored The regulations for DIYAR discussions with government commercial villas along with the AL MUHARRAQ have been ministries to provide a full-scale establishment of a dedicated developed to provide for a long municipal government complex service and logistics Centre for term sustainable community within the community. Open businesses of all sizes. This will that blends both traditional and space areas for recreation, give opportunities for residents modern architectural themes. For to be located in each of the within DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ to instance, parking requirements communities have already been live, work and entertain within the that exceed the current standards identified. same community. have been proposed. These But the main attraction for parking regulations have been the residents of DIYAR AL Vision developed by reviewing the MUHARRAQ and the Kingdom of DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ is very the environmental agenda forward regulations of many international Bahrain will be the public beach optimistic about the market and hope that other developers countries, such as the US, UK proposed on the south eastern over the next 5 years. From its will follow. and Australia. shore of the community. inception, DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ As a fully integrated mixed has included housing products use community, the developer Facilities Employment Opportunities for all strata of society, and while has ensured triple bottom line Recreational and public facilities Directly and indirectly, DIYAR the current focus is on the more sustainability by combining to benefit the residents of DIYAR AL MUHARRAQ will promote affordable products, other market environmentally sustainable AL MUHARRAQ are planned economic growth and segments will be prioritised as the development and providing throughout the development. development by facilitating development progresses. new homes for the people of Locations for health centres, business and employment at a Bahrain in a quality urban fabric, public and private schools, variety of levels, from the inclusion Tel: +973 77 155 555 whilst encouraging sustained police stations, fire stations and of a new Central Business District www.diyar.bh Best of Bahrain 143
    • The most perfect pearl The Kingdom of Bahrain’s landscape is changing as each building project shapes up. With Durrat Al Bahrain, the quality of lifestyle too is taking hold of a whole new meaning. Luxury takes a step further in the Kingdom. Durrat Al Bahrain is a jewel in named after the “most perfect The Islands boat mooring, lush gardens and the making to the crown of the pearl” in the Arabian Gulf, is a The most prominent aspect of breathtaking sea views. These country‘s development. And the US$6 billion joint development Durrat Al Bahrain are The Islands, fascinating islands are strung country is highly expectant of owned by the government of which carve an exquisite green together with a network of inter- this resort-style project. Located Bahrain and Kuwait Finance necklace atop the graceful, blue connecting bridges and a circular on the south coast of Bahrain, House (Bahrain). The project waters of the Gulf. Designed in arterial that connects The Islands this 21-square kilometre master is designed by W.S. Atkins & two circular rows of 11 islands, to either ends of The Crescent, the development has been created Partners Overseas, the world- The Islands are a glorious visual urban hub of Durrat Al Bahrain. across a cluster of 15 spectacular renowned design, engineering treat and undoubtedly, the “crown islands. It will host, among and consultancy firm, and project jewel” of Durrat Al Bahrain. The The Crescent others, beautiful beachfront managed by KMC Bovis Lend Islands are purely residential While serenity will dominate life villas, executive apartments and Lease JV, an international project and are designed to offer the on the Atoll and Petal Islands, offices, luxury hotels and spa development management firm. international urban community with the Crescent will serve as the resorts, parks and entertainment Upon completion, Durrat Al the serenity of island lifestyle. Just commercial hub of the island precincts, premier retail malls and Bahrain will be the region’s most over 1000 lavish villas of varying community. For those seeking restaurants, a 400 berth marina, prominent seaside resort city, sizes and styles adorn the islands, to combine the resort lifestyle and an Ernie Els-designed 18-hole putting Bahrain on the upscale with privileged lifestyle options with key elements of urban living, golf course. Durrat Al Bahrain, tourism map. like private beaches, marina and the Crescent will boast some 144 Best of Bahrain
    • 6,000 apartments and offices set each, with one school offering the houses, apartments, numerous health and well-being centres against the backdrop of a bustling UK curriculum and the other the cafes and shopping outlets lining and mixed-use sports centres. piazza featuring restaurants, International Baccalaureate. its winding paths and waterways. To facilitate ownership for all cafes, a large-scale modern prospective residents, innovative shopping mall, public beaches Durrat Marina The Golf Course financing schemes have been put and a host of community facilities, Tameer and Durrat Khaleej Al Spanning approximately 90 in place. A freehold ownership including masjids, health centres Bahrain, through a joint venture, hectares of lush green land with law has opened opportunities and schools. Connected to the will also develop a full-service the marina and the sea as the for investment by expatriates Crescent will also be the project’s 700,000 square-metre marina, backdrop, the golf course will be and well-thought out financing hotel island, which will have an Durrat Marina, which will provide surrounded by a club house, a structures, both Sharia-compliant estimated 600 rooms and a private berthing space for some 400 driving range, a 200-room 5-star and conventional, are also in place beach. boats and yachts along with hotel complex and 2200 beautifully to assist mid-level income earners Durrat Al Bahrain will possess day stack storage of 300-400 designed luxury residential villas to own the home of their dreams all the amenities expected of boats and marina maintenance and apartments. Ernie Els Design in Durrat Al Bahrain. a city and to this end, Beacon facility. Arranged over three is the company designing the Education, the UAE’s leading islands it will set the scene for course including waterways. provider of education services, will a canal environment, complete Community facilities around Tel: +973 17556999 run two schools with 1200 pupils with a yacht club, waterfront town The Golf Course include schools, www.durratbahrain.com Best of Bahrain 145
    • BAHRAIN INvESTMENT WHARF (BIW) The US$ 2 Billion Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) is the largest privately owned and managed mixed-use Industrial and Logistics Park in the Kingdom of Bahrain. Being Developed by Tameer through a unique Private Public Partnership the Park will develop large-scale industrial parks within Bahrain’s main industrial hub. 146 Best of Bahrain
    • A project by BIW Headquarters at the Wharf Covering an area of 1.7 million Bahrain’s main infrastructure square metres and located and roads network within the Salman Industrial • Utilising Bahrain as an City, BIW offers investors pre- export hub to the USA serviced plots supported by through the Free Trade world-class infrastructure and Agreement. Bahrain & services. BIW is ideally suited USA share a mutual for various sectors, which trade approaching US$ 1 include; billion per year, and this • Industrial landmark FTA will help • Logistics and Warehousing to open up further new Park export opportunities for • Business and Commercial US industries, not only in Park Bahrain but also the rest of • Residential Park the region. • Services Areas • Utilisation of skilled Bahraini workforce Why invest in BIW? • The diversification of • BIW’s strategic location Bahrain’s economy away within the Kingdom’s main from oil and the existence of industrial zone (Salman a tax free environment. Industrail City). • The stable currency of Aerial view of Bahrain Investment Wharf • BIW’s accessibility to Bahrain Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan, Chairman of BIW Best of Bahrain 147
    • The King’s inauguration of the Salman Industrial City with BIW’s Chairman, Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan – January 2010 Aerial view of BIW’s Labour Accommodation While speaking about BIW’s progress, Mr. Ahmed Al Qattan, Chairman of BIW says, “BIW is a sizable project with major developments yet to happen. Since it’s launch in 2006, the park received tremendous regional attention and as a result the park was marketed successfully. The land reclamation was completed 148 Best of Bahrain
    • at the end of 2008, and the completion of BIW’s two main being it as an industrial project BIW also encourages the start- infrastructure went under way substations each at 66kv at the that has also been looked at as up of small to medium business since then; this is also nearing Wharf with the third one also an opportunity to diversify away industries and believes that BIW completion with more than close to its completion.” from the harder hit sectors. can offer the platform for such 80 percent being completed. With the recent market BIW extends its support businesses to flourish in Bahrain During this time, tenants have downturn a number of sectors to the Government’s Vision and become the backbone of also started the construction have faced a great deal of 2030 to diversify the economy, Bahrain’s strong economy. of their facilities and there are impact, mainly those operating opportunities for partnerships a number of them who have within the real estate and with the Government and reached their completion. financial sectors, saying this initiatives for attracting foreign Tel: +973 17 468 500 Equally important is the BIW has pulled through steadily investments to the Kingdom. www.bahiw.com Best of Bahrain 149
    • CHAPTER 8 Banking, Investment & Finance 150 Best of Bahrain
    • Best of Bahrain 151 Planned new Headquarters of Al Baraka Banking Group in the Kingdom of Bahrain
    • Bahrain - Banking Hub in the Middle East The Kingdom of Bahrain has deservedly earned the distinction of being the nerve centre of financial services in the Middle East. 152 Best of Bahrain
    • With around 400 financial infrastructure ventures. According Central Bank of Bahrain establishments ranging from local to the Central Bank of Bahrain, The Central Bank of Bahrain, the lenders to specialised large-scale Bahrainis occupied 72% of the sole integrated regulator of the project finance investment banks 9753 financial services jobs by Kingdom of Bahrain’s financial in Bahrain, the country serves as a the end of 2006. The financial services, is responsible for gateway to Middle East’s financial sector is the largest single ensuring monetary and financial ventures like petrochemicals employer in Bahrain, with Bahrainis stability in the Kingdom of complexes, skyscrapers, offshore representing over 80 percent of the Bahrain and for maintaining the tourist developments and work-force. internal and external value of Best of Bahrain 153
    • the national currency. It is also (IFS) sector of Bahrain is the single integrated regulator certainly the largest in the GCC of Bahrain’s financial services region with 26 Islamic banks, industry. With a vision to mobilise including four of the five largest the country’s economy to a in the world, a wide range of higher platform, the Central Bank other IFS companies and sector of Bahrain works on ensuring a development organisations. growing economy in the country. As the global economic crisis unfolded, IFS was considered Islamic Financial Services as a sort of safety net for the The Islamic financial services overall financial sector. Since 154 Best of Bahrain
    • Sharia law prohibits interest- Islamic banks entered 2009 Kingdom of Bahrain is the dinar denarius. One dinar consists based financial products, cautiously. However, IFS is still which stands as the second of 1000 fils. The Kingdom of Islamic banks around the moving forward in the Kingdom highest valued currency, after Bahrain faces stiff competition world were not exposed to of Bahrain. In the current time of the Kuwaiti Dinar. Before 1965, from Dubai and Doha who are the subprime and other toxic economic lethargy, the country the year when the Bahraini vying to establish themselves assets. However, towards 2009 is striving to retain its crown of dinar was introduced in the as financial services centre in when the oil prices decreased glory as the undisputed leader country, Gulf Rupee that the GCC. Also, Saudi Arabia along with real estate prices, of IFS. was circulated by the Indian is keen to promote itself as a the effects of the economic government was used as the financial centre. crisis caught up with the IFS Currency Counts currency. The name ‘dinar’ is sector. Both conventional and The official currency of the derived from the Roman word Best of Bahrain 155
    • Islamic Banking Islamic banks operate in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and Africa. At the threshold of the 21st century, Islamic banks had about US $700 billion in funds under their management. What is an Islamic Bank banking has become a viable of grouping Islamic Financial 1960s concurrently in Egypt and Broadly speaking an “Islamic financial approach that attracts Institutions, but in terms of Malaysia. In 1962, the Pilgrimage bank is an institution that an increasing amount of capital services rendered, today Islamic Fund, TABUNG HAJI, was mobilizes financial resources investment. As a concept Financial Institutions can be established in Malaysia to accept and invests that money Islamic Banking was developed divided into the following broad saving deposits from persons who in an attempt to achieve as a result of the religious categories: intend to make the pilgrimage to pre-determined islamically - prohibition of the payment Islamic Banks, Islamic Windows, Makkah and invest the proceeds acceptable social and financial or receipt of interest. The Islamic Finance/Investment Banks, in accordance with the Islamic objectives. Both mobilization fundamental principles of Islamic Mortgage Companies, law. The Fund grew to provide and investment of money Islamic Banking go back over Takaful Companies, Mudarabah full scale banking services and to should be conducted in one thousand four hundred Companies & Islamic investment become one of the largest banks accordance with the principles years. They are set out in Funds. in Malaysia. Around the same time of Islamic Shari’a”. Shari’a law and are enshrined and completely independently a A few decades ago, in the Qur’an, the Hadith Evolution of Islamic series of small saving/investment modern banking and financial and the Sunna. Today, these Banking banks were established in Egypt’s institutions that encompass principles form the basis of the Although it draws inspiration countryside, beginning in 1963 in Islamic values within their contemporary Islamic Banking from practices and values that the village of Mit Ghamr. These principles and practices range of Islamic financial go back centuries to the dawn of small banks also practiced the seemed to be merely a remote products & services. Islam as inclined above, Modern same principle of interest-free dream. Today, however, Islamic There is no standard way Islamic banking started in the early banking. 156 Best of Bahrain
    • Image Contributed by: Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA) The Idea continued to develop By the mid 1980s, this new reasons, but also because 1. Prohibition of Interest or Usury theoretically until 1974, when species of ethical banks, they provided professional The principles of Islamic finance the first Islamic commercial based on Islamic principles and friendly services to their are established in the Qur’an, Islamic bank was established became an established part customers. which Muslims believe are the in Dubai, the United Arab of mainstream banking in the exact Words of God as revealed Emirates. The same year also Middle East and South Asia. Principles of Islamic to the Prophet Mohammed. These witnessed signing the agreement They continued to sprout Banking Islamic principles of finance can be to establish the Islamic across South and East Asia There is no standard way of narrowed down to four individual Development Bank IDB as an in addition to Turkey and the defining what an Islamic bank is, concepts. inter-governmental pan-Islamic Arab countries. Subsequently, but broadly speaking an “Islamic bank. The IDB’s main objective ethical banks and financial bank is an institution that The first and most important is to finance development institutions, based on Islamic mobilises financial resources concept is that both the projects in the Muslim countries principles, spread in countries and invests them in an attempt charging and the receiving of in accordance with the rules where Muslims are minorities, to achieve predetermined interest is strictly forbidden. This and ethics of Islamic finance, such as UK, Luxemburg, islamically - acceptable social is commonly known as Riba1 followed a short time later by Denmark, Australia, India and financial objectives. Both or Usury. Money, on its own, Faisal Islamic Bank in Egypt and and the United States. Many mobilisation and investment of may not generate profits. When Sudan (1977), Bahrain Islamic Muslims flocked to these funds should be conducted in Riba infects an entire economy, Bank, and Jordan Islamic Bank new banking institutions, not accordance with the principles it jeopardises the well-being of (1978). only for ethical and religious of Islamic Shari’a”. everyone living in that society. Best of Bahrain 157
    • When investors are more - Muslims, Christians and Jews - rules, certain regulations as to the form of profit-free loans or Al concerned with rates of interest deal with Usury.” how Muslims should go about Quard Al Hasan. and guaranteed returns than participating in these activities. An Islamic bank’s business they are with the uses to which 2. Ethical Standards For example, in share trading or includes certain social projects, money is put, the results can The second guiding principle the securities market, Islam looks as well as charitable donations. only be negative. concerns the ethical standards. at the activities of the companies, Islamic banks provide profit- When Muslims invest their money to establish whether or not free loans. For example, if an Adherents of Islam believe that in something, it is their religious the companies are involved in individual needs to go to hospital the Qur’an is the final book of duty to ensure that what they activities which are in line with or wants to go to university, God’s word following both the invest in is good and wholesome. Sharia’a. we give what is called Quard Torah and the Bible. As a result, It is for this reason that Islamic Al Hasan. This Quard Hasan is there are a number of similarities investing includes serious 3. Moral and Social Values normally given for a short period between the Islamic, Christian consideration of the business The third guiding principle of one year and the Islamic bank and Jewish faiths. to be invested in, its policies, concerns moral and social does not charge anything for the products it produces, the values. The Qur’an calls on all that. Quoting Shaikh Saleh Abdullah services it provides, and the its adherents to care for and Kamel, Chairman and Founder impact that these have on support the poor and destitute. 4. Liability and Business Risk of Albaraka Banking Group; society and the environment. In Islamic financial institutions are The final principle concerns “Usury is forbidden in all the other words, Muslims must take expected to provide special the overarching concept of three religions, Judaism, a close look at the business they services to those in need. This is fairness, the idea that all parties Christianity and Islam, but it is are about to become involved in. not confined to mere charitable concerned should both share the people who forget the rules In all facets of the financial donations but has also been in the risk and profit of any of Allah. All societies, nowadays system, Islam has certain institutionalised in the industry in endeavor. To be entitled to a 158 Best of Bahrain
    • Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif President & Chief Executive with H.E. Amro Moussa - Secretary-General of the League of Arab States (2008) Last year Group Strategy Meeting - held in the Kingdom of Bahrain (2009) advisory council known as a Differences from conventional banks: Sharia’a Board. The members of Sharia’a Boards can include bankers, lawyers or religious Islamic Banking Conventional Banking return, a provider of finance scholars as long as they are must either accept business trained in the Islamic law, or risk or provide some service Sharia’a. such as supplying an asset, otherwise the financier is, from a In 2001, the Industry witnessed Focus on Investment Focus on lending Sharia’a point of view, not only a remarkable development in an economic parasite but also a this regard by the initiative of sinner. This principle is derived the Accounting and Auditing from a saying of the Prophet Organization for the Islamic emphasis on soundness emphasis on ability to repay Mohammed (May Peace be upon Financial Institutions or AAOIFI. of project Him) “Profit comes with liability”. At that time, AAOIFI’s standards What this means is that one were enhanced to include becomes entitled to profit only elements that aim at broadening Coordination with partners Dependence on borrowing when one bears the liability, or the role of the external auditor. in resource mobilization in resource mobilization risk of loss. By linking profit with Now according to these new the possibility of loss, Islamic law developments the external distinguishes lawful profit from all auditor is also required to look Apply moral criteria in other forms of gain. for compliance with Sharia’a Apply only financial criteria Investment rules as defined by the Sharia’a In order to insure that these supervisory board of each bank principles are followed, each and in accordance with the Islamic institution must establish Sharia’a standards AAOIFI has For more information about Al Baraka Banking Group and its and provide itself with an begun to issue. Subsidiaries please visit www.albaraka.com Best of Bahrain 159
    • Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President & Chief Executive Interview with President & Chief Executive The Kingdom of Bahrain is home to more than 400 banks and financial After all it is our job to contribute to the community and to promote institutions. In face of such heavy competition, Al Baraka Banking Group Bahrain as the financial centre of the region. continues to grow at an enviable pace with more than 300 branches in 12 countries within the MENA region and around the globe. Not Adnan Ahmed Yousif, President and Chief Executive surprising, when we work to create a win-win atmosphere. Based on www.adnanyousif.com Shari’a principles – Partnership and Ethics, we ensure that all parties involved in a transaction receive an added value. Our dedication holds true even when a large opportunity with a lucrative return has to be missed. Our intention is to grow worldwide while gaining confidence of our investors. Through technology and innovation, the network is growing with a prospective of 350 branches by end of 2010 and 500 branches worldwide by 2014. Also, Al Baraka Banking Group has established Islamic banking principles in England, setting up the Islamic Bank of Britain and the European Islamic Investment Bank of which we hold shares. We are encouraged to build our next branch in France as we have seen demand grow. Individuals, globally, come to us for three main reasons, first because they are satisfied with our products, second because of our service quality and third because of the good returns on our transactions. And we are simply happy that our efforts have been recognised. We are honored and humbled to receive the title of the World Islamic Banking Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif with the Prime Minister of Egypt - Conference (WIBC) Islamic Banker of the Year in both 2004 and 2009. Dr. Ahmed Nadhif in Sep 2009 160 Best of Bahrain
    • Al Baraka Banking Group The Group offers retail, corporate and investment banking as well as treasury services strictly in accordance with the principles of the Shari’a. General Managers of Al Baraka Banking Group in 12 Subsidiaries in Nov 2009 Al Baraka Banking Group is benefits with the customers, staff or are associated in any way with considered a pioneer in Islamic and shareholders who participate gambling, pornography or the Banking with one of the largest in our business success.’ abuse of children, women and banking groups worldwide, minorities, or any other morally managing 12 Subsidiaries and Corporate Social questionable practices are providing the following types of Responsibility (CSR) forbidden. products: Al Baraka Banking Group is committed to the society and Second: - Investment Products its needs. Through sponsoring All Islamic banks and financial - Commercial Banking educational and social projects institutions refrain charging Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif receiving the - Retail that boost the living conditions of or paying of interest as Islam Long Service Certificate Award in Al Baraka Banking Group in Jan 2010 - Treasury services the local community, we make all prohibits it. Instead, Al Baraka possible efforts to apply one of Group’s banking subsidiaries, Vision the important philosophical pillars like all Islamic banks; accept ‘We believe society needs a fair of Islamic banking: the concept deposits on an investment and equitable financial system: of “construction of land”, which basis whereby depositors share one which rewards effort and means adding tangible value to with the bank in the actual contributes to the development of assets. results of the realisation of the community.’ their investments. Financing Islamic principles are followed in all is provided to businesses in Mission countries that Al Baraka Banking turn mainly on the basis of ‘To meet the financial needs of Group operates in. They are: installment sale, leasing or equity communities across the world participation. Nevertheless, Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif receiving the by conducting business ethically First: customers share with their prestigious title of ‘Islamic Banker of the Year’ (WIBC) at the 16th World in accordance with our beliefs, Investments that contribute depositors the profit received Islamic Banking Conference - from practicing the highest professional to the production of alcoholic from the partnership between the Governor of the Central Bank of standards and sharing the mutual beverages, tobacco or weapons, investors and entrepreneurs in Bahrain (CBB) in Dec 2009 Best of Bahrain 161
    • Planned new Headquarter of Al Baraka Bank subsidiary in Durban, South Africa 162 Best of Bahrain
    • which both the risks and the Al Baraka Banking Group rewards are shared. Returns on is a leading bank with invested capital are based on Standard and Poors long profits actually generated rather than predetermined interest and short term credit rates. ratings of BBB- and A-3 respectively. It is listed Third: All contracts entered into by on the Bahrain Stock Al Baraka Group’s banking Exchange and NASDAQ subsidiaries, and all their relations Dubai. The authorised with businesses and depositors, must comply with the ethical capital of Al Baraka standards of the Shari’a. Banking Group is US$1.5 billion, while the total CORE VALUES equity amounts to about PARTNERSHIP US$1.7 billion. Our shared beliefs create strong bonds that form the basis of long-term relationships with customers and staff. DRIVEN We have the energy and perseverance necessary to make an impact on our customers’ lives for the greater good of society. NEIGHBOURLY We value and respect the communities we serve, our doors Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif meets are always open, our customers EU High Representative Mr. Javier always experience a warm- Solana in March 2009 hearted, hospitable welcome and accommodating service. Planned new Headquarters of Al Baraka PEACE OF MIND Banking Group in the Kingdom of Bahrain Our customers can rest assured that their financial interests are being managed by us to the highest ethical standards. SOCIAL CONTRIBUTION By banking with us, our customers make a positive contribution to a better society - Mr. Adnan Ahmed Yousif with their growth and our growth will H.E. Sheikh Saad Hariri, Prime Minister of Lebanon at The Annual Arab Banking benefit the world around us. Conference in Nov 2009 Although the Al Baraka Banking Group is relatively new, its antecedents go back almost 30 years. The Planned new Headquarter of Group has come about as a result of a consolidation Al Baraka Turk Participation Bank subsidiary in Turkey of various interests of Shaikh Saleh Abdullah Kamel in 10 Islamic banks, with the objective of adding strength and purpose to his vision of creating a global Islamic banking group. Tel: +973 17 541 122 www.albaraka.com Best of Bahrain 163
    • CHAPTER 8 Oil, Gas & Manufacturing 164 Best of Bahrain
    • Best of Bahrain 165
    • Bapco When was Bapco established and how has its position in the regional oil and gas industry changed since then? Bapco lies at the heart of the Bahrain economy. For 78 years it has been the main provider of wealth to the nation. Since 1932, when oil was first discovered on this island, the progress of Bahrain has been based largely on the growth and development of the oil and gas industry. As the economic base of the Kingdom diversified into the financial services sector, aluminium smelting, petrochemicals and now tourism, Bapco has continued to play the key role as the provider of fuel for all energy users. In the same way, the Company has led the way by energetically raising standards in business planning, technical innovation, and manpower development as well as environmental, health and safety issues. 11 Best of Bahrain 166 Best of Bahrain
    • Highlights of 2009 • Bapco receives Her Royal Highness Shaikha Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa on 21 May in an inspirational visit which highlights the Company’s environment and female empowerment initiatives; • The landmark US$151 million Refinery Gas Desulphurisation Plant (RGDP) is commissioned in January, delivering major environmental benefits; • Bapco upstream employees are seconded to the joint venture Tatweer Petroleum, developer of the onshore Bahrain field; • A new shutdown technique is pioneered on the Low Sulphur Diesel Production (LSDP) complex, resulting in reduced downtime and cost savings; • A 49-day Turnaround & Inspection (T&I) shutdown on a fluid catalytic cracking unit is one of the biggest in Bapco’s history; • A new drilling rate record is set on a Khuff gas well using advanced directional drilling techniques; • The Refinery Laboratory receives the Air BP Performance Excellence Award for the outstanding quality of Jet A1 fuel test data; • Work begins on the US$430 million Lube Base Oil Plant (LBOP); • 306 Bahrainis benefit from on-the-job industrial training programmes at Bapco; • Bapco donates US$2 million to community, social and charitable organisations. Tel: +973 17 704040 www.bapco.com Best of Bahrain 12 Best of Bahrain 167
    • Aluminium Bahrain Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) consistently ranks as one of the largest and most modern aluminium smelters in the world. Known for its technological as a 120,000 tonnes per annum strength and innovative policies, smelter. Alba enforces strict environmental Alba intends to grow regionally guidelines, maintains high track and globally to the benefit of its record for safety, and is widely shareholders by exploiting the regarded as one of the top ten regional energy advantage, its performers on a global scale. operational excellence, the regional It supports numerous talent and the local customer base. community oriented programmes The company will continue to and social activities that have expand its position as the leading underlined its status as one smelter in the Gulf region as well of Bahrain’s leading industrial as raising and strengthening its organisations that remains profile on a global platform. committed towards upholding its In doing so, Alba outperforms corporate social responsibilities. international environmental Alba’s inception marks the standards and always meets local, beginning of Bahrain’s strategy to regional and global regulations. diversify its economic base and The company has been at the reduce its dependence on oil. The vanguard of ecological concerns aim was to establish an industry and its investment in protecting that would provide valuable export and preserving environment earnings, develop the country’s exceeds $ 600 million in the past resources and create training 17 years. and employment opportunities Alba’s material management, for a large number of Bahrainis. casthouse maintenance & Alba was therefore incorporated instrumentation and marketing by Charter in 1968 and officially were recently certified to the ISO commenced operations in 1971 9001:2008 Quality Management 168 Best of Bahrain
    • System standard. It has also won five reduction lines, three cast the prestigious Royal Society for houses, a dedicated carbon plant, Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) a 600,000 mtpa coke calcining and the British Safety Council plant, a water desalination plant, Award for three consecutive years. 11 fume treatment plants, a Customer focus is at the heart marine terminal, and a 2,200 of Alba’s operations, and provides MW power plant, consisting of the key incentive for developing 4 power stations. The plant also new and innovative products and features a 10 hectare ‘green’ services, expanding into new oasis, with more than 4,000 trees marketing territories, and making and shrubs, a fruit and vegetable operational efficiency a key priority garden, and an artificial lake. for everyone at the company. Alba’s early success Alba today produces more than established a blueprint for other 870,000 metric tonnes per annum non-oil industries to follow, of the highest grade aluminium, including a thriving downstream with products including standard aluminium industry. Today, Alba and T-ingots, extrusion billets, is a major contributor to the rolling slab, propertzi ingots, and social, industrial and economic molten aluminium. Around 45 development of the Kingdom of per cent of output is supplied to Bahrain, employing over 3,000 Bahrain’s downstream aluminium people, of whom around 90 per Aluminium Bahrain industry, with the rest exported cent are Bahrainis. PO Box: 570, 150, King Hamad to regional and international The shareholders of Alba Highway, Askar 951 customers in the Middle East, are Bahrain Mumtalakat Kingdom Of Bahrain Europe, Far East, South East Asia, Holding Company, SABIC Tel: + 973 17 830 000 Africa, and North America. Investment Company and Breton Fax : + 973 17 830 083 The Alba plant comprises Investments. www.aluminiumbahrain.com Best of Bahrain 169
    • CHAPTER 10 Media, Communication & Technology 170 Best of Bahrain
    • Bringing ideas to life Best of Bahrain 171
    • Communication Horizons Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco), the leading integrated communications provider in the Kingdom of Bahrain, is a significant force among the region’s key telecommunications’ players. With an ongoing strategy to grow overseas, the Batelco Group incorporates joint venture operations in Jordan, Kuwait, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and India. Batelco Group Chief Executive Peter Kaliaropoulos explains the vision, mission and strategy underpinning his group’s success. Batelco serves both the corporate and consumer markets in the most liberalised and competitive environment in the Middle East and remains committed to delivering cutting edge communications to its customers in Bahrain and all the geographies 11 which it operates. The Company’s management and staff are driven by an enthusiasm for delivering the best customer in Best of Bahrain 172 Best of Bahrain experience based on innovation, affordability and reliability of products and services.
    • “We have built and managed significant fixed and wireless advanced infrastructure, allowing Bahrain to showcase global events such as the Formula 1 Grand Prix, in addition to linking Bahrain, the financial capital of the Middle East, with global banking, insurance and financial hubs”, Peter Kaliaropoulos, explains. Peter Kaliaropoulos, Batelco Group Chief Executive Officer Batelco is now one of experience to our customers, capital of the Middle East to the three telecommunications especially for the high value global banking, insurance and companies in Bahrain. How consumers and businesses. financial hubs. has the loss of monopoly Batelco’s excellent affected business and do you What is your vision for the infrastructure is also underpinning think that competition has Batelco group in 10 years’ the Kingdom’s “Business Friendly” helped Batelco improve its time? How do you think drive. We have convinced many services? telecommunications has corporate and global companies Has competition helped transformed Bahrain’s profile to place their IT hubs, data centres Batelco improve its services - globally and what role do you and call centres in Bahrain. Emphatically yes! Competition think Batelco has played in Companies such as BNP, DHL forces companies to continually this development? and Cisco would not take the risk innovate and differentiate. Our vision is driven by our desire if Bahrain didn’t offer world’s best Consumers benefit from the to create a company of reference class infrastructure. increased focus on customer in the MENA region, India and experience and development Asia compared to our peers. Our What lessons are you learning of relationship management. growth strategy is transforming about the best way to enter Ultimately, competition leads to an Batelco to a regional mobile, the other geographic markets, increase in the buying power of broadband and ICT company now that you are so integral the consumer. Competition also across 10 countries serving more to telecommunications in stimulates creativity within the than 10 million customers by the Bahrain? organisation as new perspectives end of 2010. We aspire to have Understand more than just the are visualised and normal modes 80% of our revenues from our normal statistical and historical of operations are challenged to overseas operations to ensure we information about the new markets “get things done better, faster, have significant diversification. and/or companies. We do a lot cheaper, for the consumer and Longer term the Batelco Group of “homework” before and during the company. will be a key member of a regional the transaction. Get to understand Loss of the monopoly some and global strategic alliance with the peculiarities of the local market years back has also helped us. another telecommunications by spending time on the ground Loss of market share is inevitable company, known for its innovation talking to as many relevant people by definition, but we have grown and service excellence. as possible. Understand the our business in Bahrain because Telecommunications provide strengths of the local management all the telco companies have the backbone for the growth of team. Understand what’s behind grown the market – 1.5m mobile any economy and in Bahrain the numbers and what will drive customers, 90,000 broadband we have witnessed massive sustainable growth. If you don’t customers, double the IDD growth and development in have a strong, local partner, you minutes and turn key solutions recent years. Batelco continues are setting yourself up for lots of for buildings and many more new to be the builder of national and hard work ahead of you. We listen services continue to drive growth. international digital highways and to internal and external advisors Competition has focused knowledge hubs linking Bahrain but challenge them. Transfer us with some “considerable to our global village. We take this knowledge quickly and realise obsession” on improving the responsibility seriously and with economies of scale or revenue customer experience. We pride – we have built and manage synergies even quicker. Finally, if measure service levels for various significant fixed and wireless the local management team has customer segments and product advanced infrastructure allowing hunger and passion to succeed, performance and we continually Bahrain to showcase global back them up. If not, we do improve our processes to deliver a events such as the Formula 1 (unfortunately) micro-manage till better quality and more consistent and linking Bahrain, the financial the right team is in place. Best of Bahrain 173
    • Batelco’s Hamala Headquarters integral do you consider and advertising are important this to be to the continued and relevant to customers. Our development of Bahrain? new re-branding campaign in We invest significantly to ensure Bahrain has proved to be very we continually deliver the popular with customers and most up to date products and employees. However, all our services. Investment in emerging people and processes need to technologies is naturally a key deliver the brand promises day component in the development of after day otherwise customers will the Kingdom of Bahrain. With our see through the gimmicks and Next Generation Network project promises versus the substance. complete, we are in a position to roll out advanced products and With massive and sustained services that will change the face investment in diverse spheres of telecommunications in Bahrain an integral part of Batelco’s and further serve to enhance the strategy for growth, what Kingdom’s development. We have innovative means of financing also invested in Kingdom-wide have you gone in for, and with 3.5G wireless HSDPA technology, what success? fixed ADSL2+ and many other In April 2007, Batelco signed an technologies. Technological agreement with a consortium of innovation is important and a regional and international banks What are the critical Pick the best leaders you can key differentiator for Batelco and to secure a loan of US$485 million components of creating a afford who share the need for Bahrain. However, what is more to fund the Company’s regional successful telecoms group success and growth and are critical is the translation of such expansion. The last payment for that gives value and creates passionate about leading and technology to products and this loan is in April 2010. Today, value too? Do you think that developing other people and services that allow businesses we have a strong balance sheet this model can be successfully continually challenging and to increase their productivity and and operating cash flows. We can implemented in countries other improving what we do. competitive advantage. raise debt of around $1.5 billion than Bahrain? As the Group grows, attention should the opportunity arise. We Three things really: needs to be given to any “silo” From a consumer standpoint, will explore all options, debt and Clarity about the way forward. For or “tribal” behaviours. The Group what is Batelco’s true value equity, conventional and Islamic example, our “Expand 2010” was needs to learn from examples of proposition, or is it merely products should we require to an easily understood strategic brilliant in-country initiatives and a matter of which telecoms fund a major acquisition. orientation to drive profitable scale share them with other operations, operator wins the brand by delivering value and innovation whilst in-country operators need to building and advertising race The establishment of Batelco to customers irrespective of where ensure they don’t suffer from any in order to win market-share? and its increasing success we do business “not invented here” symptoms. Batelco’s proposition is “back- is helping to put Bahrain on Obsession with operational to-basics”. Deliver consistently, the global telecoms map, excellence driven from the How does Batelco work to deliver value, deliver innovation, positioning it as a force to be customer experience perspective. continually deliver the most be responsive to customer reckoned with. How is this Set goals, measure, improve, raise up to date technological needs and lead in product/ progress being fostered in the bar and start all over again. advancements and how service development. Branding an increasingly competitive 174 Best of Bahrain
    • environment where consumer increasing the penetration for loyalty is based on familiarity such services. and not necessarily cutting edge offerings. Outline your CSR programme Local familiarity is important to and how integral is this to the our strategy. In all markets we success of the company? operate we now have a local At Batelco Bahrain and across brand – Sabafon in Yemen, other companies we have invested Umniah in Jordan, QualityNet in in, we understand that we are an Kuwait, etc. Whilst we have the integral part of the community in industrial strength of the Group of which we operate and as such our companies and enjoy synergies, Corporate Social Responsibility we clearly differentiate via our programme is an inherent part local brands to be more relevant of our daily lives. We take this to the local based consumer responsibility very seriously and clients rather than a monolithic believe our sponsorship and brand and be perceived as a donation strategy helps us to foreign company in emerging be more familiar with the local markets. communities and contribute to their development whilst preserving What further innovation can and growing shareholder be expected from Batelco in value. During 2009, In Bahrain, the medium term? for example, we committed Our marketing and product approximately BD4 million to a development teams are always variety of causes and this year we delivering new services. For continue to extend our support to competitive reasons we can’t be a wide range of health, education, too explicit now, especially with cultural and sports initiatives. Our Saudi Telecom just launching contributions in 2009 included their services in Bahrain. BD200,000 to the Shaikh However, in Bahrain expect Mohammed Bin Khalifa Bin Salman convergent solutions based Cardiac Centre, to enhance the on our fixed and wireless NGN medical care and services for infrastructure, expect higher cardiac patients, BD100,000 in speed broadband services support of Palestinians in Gaza to consumers, new content and BD200,000 to the Crown delivered over wireless and fixed Prince Scholarship Fund to IP services, SLAs to business support the 3rd level education customers and innovation on of some of Bahrain’s brightest service management processes. students at overseas universities. In other markets it is about Batelco has invested US$1.4 billion in Bahrain’s telecom infrastructure since 1981, including delivering mobile and broadband significant investment in NGN (Next Generation Networks) infrastructure which has reinforced services to youth segments and www.batelco.com the Kingdom’s position as a leading communications hub. Batelco offers complete, end-to-end telecommunications solutions for its residential, business and government customers. The comprehensive solutions portfolio covers mobile services, international roaming, Broadband Internet, satellite services, WiFi, and MPLS IP-VPN based network services utilising our Next Generation all IP Network providing Datacoms services over fixed and wireless platforms in addition to managed services including systems integration and management. Best of Bahrain 12 Best of Bahrain 175
    • A full service integrated communications agency with a difference, providing outstanding creative solutions and inspiring communications to high profile organizations in Bahrain and beyond. Miracle’s clients include: Established in 1993, Miracle offers a broad the Miracle treatment, including Toyota, Virgin, across Miracle internally where clearly defined range of professional communications services BlackBerry and H & M. roles and established working practices pave from brand development to publishing through Combine this with a long history and finely the way for fully coordinated production to digital and print media production. Over the tuned expertise in brand identity design, strategies. past fifteen years the organization has grown advertising and client side marketing and the This carefully planned, creative and into a major entity across all media touch result is a fully rounded body of professionals professional approach has resulted in a large points within Bahrain and the GCC. “Miracle and services. number of successful campaigns and very has developed a reputation as a strategic Another secret of Miracle’s success lies in satisfied customers across the board. Miracle is and innovative solutions provider for modern, its deep rooted black and white philosophy. made up of three main divisions; BRANDING, complex and evolving businesses, which helps The essence of this philosophy is that open, PUBLISHING and PRINTS, which work them to meet and exceed their communications honest and direct relationships lead to well- together to provide a fully integrated offering. requirements,” commented founder and CEO informed, accurate results. This understanding The brand communications division, Khalid Juman. Its client base reads like a Who’s enables Miracle to design outstanding creative Miracle BRANDING, produces some of the Who list of Bahrain, having worked with brands solutions and inspiring communications that most inspirational creative work in the Middle such as NBB, menatelecom, Inovest, Durrat are positive, defined, sensitive and targeted. East. The dedicated BRANDING team work Al Bahrain and the Economic Development It’s a philosophy that not only applies to client with existing and new brands to deliver and Board. International brands have also received relationships, it is also adopted successfully strengthen their messaging across all touch 176 Best of Bahrain
    • points. From through-the-line advertising campaigns to digital media, collateral, annual reports, promotions and exhibitions, Miracle BRANDING will make sure the brand works anywhere it is expressed. As a leading book publisher in Bahrain, Miracle PUBLISHING specializes in high quality publications. Each publication, whether coffee table book, magazine or exhibition, is approached with diligent attention to management and detail. Capturing Bahrain’s colour, diversity and enviable social fabric has been PUBLISHING’s raison d’être for many years now. Its most recent offering is the extremely successful DURRAH magazine, a Durrah Magazine quarterly, high quality lifestyle magazine for One of Miracle’s prestigious Bahrain and the Middle East. quarterly publications. Best of Bahrain 177
    • Another prominent force in the communications the technology is not enough in an emerging as much as we can about the client and align market is Miracle PRINTS, Miracle’s large market, education on the benefits of such ourselves with their needs in order to provide format digital printing facility. Guaranteeing high innovations and developments is key and this them with the best solution possible. Often we quality imagery for advertising, presentation, is where Miracle steps up to the mark. Through must meet them half way, they do have the final building wraps, signage and fleet graphics, a carefully planned structured process and say after all, but our track record for turning they deal with all printing requirements from its open and honest approach with its clients, around and/or developing revolutionary new photographic quality mounted prints to they have managed to maintain the position of brands has been very impressive”. printing on glass and metal. Fast, flexible and being the pioneer in creativity and innovation in One such example that stands out for economic, Miracle PRINTS brings the brand to Bahrain. Mr. Juman is the design and development of the target audience with dramatic results. But how does Miracle cope when a client Bahrain’s ‘Spring of Culture’ event brand and Bahrain has always been at the forefront of doesn’t agree with Miracle’s creative, innovative collateral. The patron of the event, HE Shaikha the media and publishing industry in the GCC, vision for its brand or communications needs? Mai bint Mohammed Al Khalifa, asked Miracle and is a competitive and fast moving market “We believe that the service we provide should to create a timeless brand with longevity place. Miracle has always been a pioneer in this follow a detailed process of education,” that would last and withstand change as the vein, being the first to introduce the industry to commented CEO, Khalid Juman “In a sense brand and event evolved. All of the campaign high-spec technology, most notably with design we build a case for the direction or strategy collateral also had to be developed for the first interface tools, with large format printing, and we recommend and the brand or piece of annual event. The timing to come up with an also with Miracle’s Digi-Smart Digital Asset communication should follow. At the end of innovative solution was extremely tight, but a Management system. But simply introducing the day, it’s a give and take process. We learn motivated Miracle team worked against the 178 Best of Bahrain
    • clock to come up with a brand that the event reinvigorating its recruitment drive to bring the Our Clients Include: still uses today 5 years on. A brand that has most talented individuals in the industry on National Bank of Bahrain; Menatelecom; become the most successful and renowned board. “We are confident about the future” Economic Development Board; Durrat Al events brand in the Kingdom of Bahrain. At commented Miracle Deputy CEO, Bernard Bahrain; Durrat Marina; Royal Arabian; Toyota; the time of printing this article, Miracle has just Guly, “The secret is not to rest on our laurels Lexus; BlackBerry; Kuwait Finance House; delivered the eye catching and lively collateral but to always strive to do the best we can and Royal Court of Bahrain; Ministry of Information and advertising for the Spring of Culture event continue to provide innovative solutions and and Culture; Bahrain National Museum. 2010. superior customer service. It’s simple to grow Miracle has continued to evolve over the in a sustainable way if you are confident in your years into one of the most well-established skill set and in what you can achieve”. Future and recognized integrated communications plans for Miracle are positive and promising, agencies in Bahrain. However, the recent global “we will continue to grow, innovate and expand crisis has not left the media industry unscathed in a disciplined way and move into areas and has made clients’ deadlines tighter and that complement our core business of brand budgets smaller, making the understanding communications’’ says Mr. Guly. With this of clients needs even more crucial. Miracle focused strategy and positive outlook, Miracle has dealt with the downturn by restructuring has continued to be a strong and leading and becoming more efficient and providing a contender in this competitive industry and Tel: +973 77 022 222 more focused and personalized service, while clearly has a lot to look forward to in the future. www.miracle.com.bh Best of Bahrain 179
    • www.TradeArabia.com Trade Arabia is a Bahrain-based online business news and information portal covering various trade and industry sectors in the Gulf Region, Middle East and the Levant. Founded in 1999, it has been online for more than 9 years delivering business information and trade news updates to millions of online readers worldwide. Trade Arabia’s content is also being syndicated by various news organizations in the Middle East, Europe, Asia and the United States. With a Google Page Rank of 7/10, the portal is organized into news channels, market trends, business directory and calendar of events, which is being accessed by millions of visitors per month. 180 Best of Bahrain
    • The portal also includes a network of publication websites such as Gulf Daily News, Akhbar Alkhaleej, Gulf Weekly, Travel and Tourism Middle East, Gulf Construction, Gulf Industry, Middle East Interiors, The Gulf, Oil and Gas News and a number of industry events and exhibition websites. The winner of Bahrain 2009 eContent Award (eMedia Category), the portal is being visited by more than 3.2 million visitors per month and its pages/sections/news/ Best of Bahrain 181
    • The Bahrain eContent Award 2009 Organising Committee would like to thank H.E. Sh Mohammed Bin Mubarak Al Khalifa Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Supreme Committee for Information and Communication Technology for his patronage of the event and attending the award ceremony. Congratulations to the winners of the Bahrain eContent Award 2009 e-Government e-Media • Bahrain Economic Development Board (EDB) • Akhbar Al Khaleej • Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MOIC) • TRADE ARABIA • Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) • Al Wasat e-Health Special Mentions • Manama Gate • International Hospital of Bahrain • Al Waqt • Ministry of Health e-Inclusion e-Entertainment • Batelco "O" Portal • Women Gateway • Tarbya Net Special Mentions • Ministry of Interior - Traffic Kids • Adhari Park e-Science e-Learning • Bahrain Center for Studies & • Ministry of Education - Multimedia Enrichment Research (BCSR) • Teacher Anwar e-Business • Arab Open University • Arab Shipbuilding and Repair Yard Special Mentions Company (ASRY) • Science for 6th Grade • Riffa Views • Wasmia • Global Tourism Club e-Culture Special Mentions • Moda Mall • Jehat Al Shi’r • Folk Culture of Bahrain e-Banking • Arabic Culture Café • Bank of Bahrain & Kuwait (BBK) • Bank Muscat International (BMI) business directory are generating Middle East, Levant and the world. Trade Arabia Web Services Division more than 15 million page The portal also sends EDMs for • Domain Registration views per month based on the various clients to industry specific • Custom Web Design site’s December 2009 statistics and geo-targeted audience. • Website Development generated by WebTrends web • Database Driven Web Sites server measurement and analysis. Directory • Custom Web Applications Some of Trade Arabia’s major Trade Arabia’s directory of • Search Engine Optimization advertisers include General Electric, companies covering contact • E-commerce Websites Gulf Air, Emirates Airlines, American and activity details of more than • Dedicated / Shared Hosting Express, Visa, Mercedes-Benz, 500,000 companies from the GCC • Website Maintenance Riffa Views, Emaar Properties, and the Middle East, China, East • Banner Advertisements Tamdeen, CNBC to name a few. Asia, Europe and the United States. • Email Direct Marketing www.TradeArabia.com has also been optimized to be accessed via Events calendar The Trade Arabia Network and smart phones as it tries to ensure Trade Arabia’s searchable events Online Services Director Rana visitors a consistent and optimized database holds information on Lababidi talks about Trade experience on their mobile device. current and upcoming events in Arabia and the future of internet the Middle East, from exhibitions, and online news: Services forums, seminars and conferences. Trade Arabia portal offers a wide- With much of the print media range of Middle East business- Online Banner Ads and television channels going related online services such as: Trade Arabia’s online banner online, how does Trade Arabia e-Newsletters and EDMs advertising is one of the greatest position itself at the forefront Trade Arabia sends a daily sources of traffic that can be used to attract maximum ‘clicks’ or e-newsletter to subscribers in the in an organization’s niche market. ‘hits’? 182 Best of Bahrain
    • Trade Arabia carries business visitors is coming from the United What recognition has Trade The challenges of retaining news a nd trade information on States and the Levant, particularly Arabia received so far in the viewership lie on the upload GCC and MENA. The portal also the GCC. However, we have industry? of fresh news and other carries world news including noticed that visits from the Indian Trade Arabia received the 2009 business information. In technology and economy. Sub-continent and China are on Bahrain e-Content Award for addition our daily Search To attract maximum visits on a the increase. e-Media Category Engine Optimization efforts daily basis, news is being updated - various search engines have on an hourly basis which print and As a gatekeeper, how do you Your business depends been updating their source television media cannot duplicate. ensure that the content on largely upon IT applications and algorithms the portal is factual and also infrastructure. How does without informing the online Several countries in the GCC interesting? What kind of Bahrain fare in terms of publishers and netizens or region vie to become the stringent standards have you online set-up and services? internet users. ideal centre for conducting set for yourself and the editorial Bahrain fares fairly well when business. How does Trade team to maintain the integrity of it comes to IT infrastructure, How does the future of Arabia help Bahrain retain the content? however, internet connectivity/ online news appear for the and maximise its position Trade Arabia with its own editorial carriers must be continuously next five years? regionally? department is also getting support improved for the Kingdom to In five years, we envision online Since the editorial and technical from other Al Hilal Group member compete with the big leaguers usage and news readership to components of the portal is publications such as Gulf Daily such as the U.S., India and increase dramatically as IT and headquartered in Bahrain, News, Akhbar Alkhaleej, Gulf other countries of Asia with mobile infrastructure particularly important news that promotes Weekly and The Gulf that are well developed internet in the Middle East becomes Bahrain as GCC’s business hub to known for their editorial integrity facilities. more mature coupled with the the region and the world, is being and honesty. propagation of IT education at given detailed emphasis by the These journalistic standards In the face of severe the grassroots’ level. portal. have also been set by Trade Arabia competition from other While Trade Arabia reaches a editorial department. publishers, what challenges wide section of readers from As always in the news do you face in retaining worldwide, in which region business, content is double your readers and driving is the maximum number of checked and sources traffic upwards? What kind Tel: + 973 17293131 readers based? confirmed before uploading of data do you have on the adsonline@tradearabia.net Trade Arabia’s large number of them online. user’s profile? www.tradearabia.com Best of Bahrain 183
    • Emerging Digital Agency 4SPOTS Key Professional Team How has the environment changed in your Information architecture plays a key role in Do you outsource any part of your field since you first started business? developing a website which is targeted to its services? If so, to where? When we first started out, Online media was audience. Over the years we have developed certain not at it’s peak in the country. Many of our A well-developed website always meets procedures of development and determined clients then needed reassurances about the target audience’s expectation and what works for our client and what does investing in online media as websites were generates returns for your investment.If you not. It is very difficult for someone not part not given much importance. Competitive ask me frankly , any site which provides good of the team to understand these procedures rates for Internet services were not offered ROI to our client is bound to be in our good easily. Hence we do not prefer to outsource either which did not help the development books , however it is important to keep your our important services , however certain of the industry. However as time went by website trendy which gives unique experience services e.g Hosting, requires specialisation. companies in the region began to see the to the user. Hence we have business partners as we benefits of online media. Today there is a Present trends like full screen websites, feel it is more feasible for us to leave it to healthy growth in the industry, companies are print like design elements and unique specialists for those particular services. getting returns from their online investment. navigation allow for a better depth of Websites are treated as important for a better penetration and an increase in positive Throughout your years of operation, what brand perception. perceptions. challenges have you faced in delivering Internet is growing at a rapid rate excellence and creativity to your clients? especially in Bahrain , nearly about 420,000 You provide various professional web Bringing ourselves to par with strong internet users are active in comparison services and solutions. Which area is most international agencies in other markets such to mere 40,000 in 2000. This has given financially rewarding? as the west was a challenging aspect of something for the Bahrain corporates to think Costing models can be fairly tricky for our work. In order to achieve this we have about and the growth is a reflection of that. agencies as it is rather difficult to put a price constantly forced ourselves to keep our on creativity. This is partially a reason for such finger on the pulse of the industry. From Can you briefly describe the new trends a difference in pricing between agencies. a development perspective, we have had in website design and how a more Here at 4SPOTS we follow a resource to constantly update our work with newer sophisticated interface can realistically utilisation model, which essentially means that browser standards for example and the add value to your clients in terms of their various services are irrelevant because every changing face of the internet. bottom lines? project requires a specific set of resources. From a design perspective however, we Beside content , a website heavily relies The utilisation of these resources determines have always had to push harder, research over user experience , which generates the cost. This is also another reason we and understand the client’s perception of perception about the company or product are able to provide our services to potential the brand. In addition to this we have to it is representing. Business analysis and clients at a very reasonable rate. filter through various elements of brand 184 Best of Bahrain
    • Once the website is designed what specific after sales services do you provide? Once the project is completed, we then work closely with the client in monitoring the site, analysing activity within the site and recommending further additions to the site in terms of content and features. We also take responsibility for the management of the website through a retainer which reduces the load on the client in keeping the site upto date. Given the current global volatility, have you faced financial constraints from Srusti Ranjan your clients in terms of the production value of your websites? How do you see yourself in In what specific ways are Oddly enough we have not yet the Middle Eastern Online you extending your brand faced any real change in the media Industry? What future in order to capitalise on the market as many of our clients contributions do you hope to current New Media craze that have not reduced their online provide? has taken the shape of social budgets. It is important for We are growing quite fast networking platforms? guidelines to achieve the most companies to step up their in Bahrain and are now In a recession based economy; visually appealing product. At communication strategy during expanding our client base organizations realize the value the end of each day, we make the recession and we are quite across the Middle East. of accountable digital media. As sure that any work that crosses happy that many of our clients This is largely due to the a digital agency, we’re ready to our desks is ground breaking have realised this and are levels of satisfaction of provide unique solutions. with regards to both technology pushing full steam ahead with our clients and our focus We’re looking beyond and design. our recommendations. on quick turnarounds and corporate websites. With the quality offering. We hope to onset of social media, people What type of website design How do you see Bahrain contribute to the industry by influence other people. 85% is most popular amongst developing in terms of the increasing the focus on quality will make a point of telling other your clients? How long is the regional online media industry? and creativity. people about a product that design process? Adoption of new trends is natural impresses them. The fact that Full screen designs or sites with in the Kingdom. Bahrainis stand With such a vast and cost they pass on your message liquid resolution features like out as technophiles and this is effective pool of Web and influence others multiplies those used for Portamoda, are what makes it so exciting to be professionals at hand in your message and makes your quite popular with some of our here. The infrastructure within the India, are plans for regional money work harder for you. clients. Innovative navigation country is improving and with the expansion realistic? Bahrain has a strong internet like the one we created for influx of talented and qualified While it is cost effective to penetration but the area that is Majaal (www.Majaal.com) and professionals I don’t see any outsource a lot of work to growing within the digital market GBCorp (www.gbcorponline. reason why Bahrain shouldn’t India, I think a company has to is the mobile industry with over com) is something that brings a take the place of being at the decide between agencies that 130% penetration and so it is fresh user experience. Print- forefront of the online media understand the region and only right for us over 2010 to alike designs are back !.Though sector in the region. agencies that do not. extend our services into social we love to design graphics Also most part of the media and the mobile market. intensive sites, it is important Are there any plans for website development We have been responsible for a not to get carried away and expansion of the services you requires person to person few very successful social media stick to the brand guideline provide? If so when, what and interaction and understanding campaigns. For example, we are and requirement of the client why? of client’s requirement and responsible for creating one of and design accordingly. We are actively looking into SAAS the brand perception of the the fastest growing Facebook Each design process varies (Software as a Service) and will team towards the same , page in Bahrain for a retail client. depending on the requirements be investing in more portals in hence I would think regional of the client. the future. expansion is realistic. www.4SPOTS.com Best of Bahrain 185
    • BEST OF THE WORLD Welcome to the world’s premier platform for showcasing and Growth and Opportunity networking governments, leading companies and entrepreneurs in business, tourism and lifestyle. Through our Best of publishing Exchanging knowledge, skills and economies of scale in media series and gvpedia.com we showcase an ever expanding Atlas of Success and Sustainability across multiple continents and With regional head offices in 5 continents, the organisation is currently industries. involved in more than 30 territories where the ‘Best of’ series is published. GVP has a 5-year growth plan to develop a further 150 economic territories organically, through each continent’s regional head Brand Image office, and through partnerships with companies and individuals that have the expertise to showcase their city, state or country. Branding a Nation, a City and its People GVP brands and builds the image of the world’s most exciting Corporate Social Responsibility economic regions to affect a change in the perception of a nation, a city and its people by the rest of the world. This then promotes the region There is no success without ethics and sustainability in terms of its investment opportunities, key industries, innovations, people, culture, tourism potential and international objectives. The best of world business, travel and lifestyle within the Global Village is dependent on more than monetary profit. There is no success without core values such as sustainability, integrity and Corporate Product - The Books Social Responsibility (CSR). GVP’s exclusive client base is selected by invitation only based on these criteria, with the added focus of Celebrate your success dedicated chapters covering CSR, sustainability, green innovation and giving back to the community. The ‘Best of…’ publishing series produces annual maxi format book publications in over 30 territories, from Bangalore to Belgium. These detail success stories of people and companies making positive inroads into the commercial fibre of both mature and emerging markets. The books showcase entrepreneurial spirit; establishing powerful global networks and the creation of individual brand awareness by bridging cultures. The result is the ultimate interactive corporate gift and P.R. marketing tool for governments, companies, hotels and business people providing leading products and services for their region. REGIONAL HEAD OFFICES l Bangalore l Brussels l Cairo l Casablanca l Copenhagen l Dubai 186 Best of Bahrain
    • GVPedia.com Success, Sustainability and Culture Add Your Business Join the Global Village Business Network We are identifying leading companies and organisations across 100 industry sectors that are able to profile their economic and environmental sustainability in order to provide a global network of the most reliable companies to do business with. Please apply by adding your company profile online to the Global Village Business Network: Full Company Profile includes: - 100 word summary / value proposition - 2 large images or logos - 1000 word company description - full contact details and website link - company address pin pointed on a google map - anti-spam contact box - search engine optimised categories and key words linked to your company site - use of the "Top Company" widget library to enable links to your profile from any website or email Product - www.gvpedia.com Connecting the world’s most interesting people and organisations The portal provides GVP customers an interactive Public Relations Box managed by a user friendly ‘Enterprise Content Management System’ that allows clients to upload their value proposition, photos, fast facts and management profiles. The latest networking add-ons and social media applications are integrated within the site providing maximum reach and feedback. The value proposition for subscribers to gvpedia.com essentially covers four elements: exposure, expertise, exclusivity and networking. Success is a Choice! l Johannesburg l London l Santiago l Singapore l Sydney l Washington DC Best of Bahrain 187
    • Participators Index 4 Spots 184 Al Baraka Banking Group 160 Ali Sharaf Photography 104 Aluminium Bahrain (Alba) 168 Bahrain Exhibition & Convention Authority (BECA) 74 Bahrain House of Photography 102 Bahrain International Circuit (BIC) 68 Bahrain Investment Wharf (BIW) 146 Bahrain Polytechnic 126 Bahrain Telecommunications Company (Batelco) 172 Banyan Tree Spa Al Areen 114 Café Italia 60 Dilmunia at Bahrain (Ithmaar Development Co.) 136 Diyar Al Muharraq 140, IBC Durrat Al Bahrain 36, 144 Economic Development Board (EDB) 4, 32 Gulf Air 34, 72 Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen 52 Ithmaar Bank 1, 3, IFC Khalifa Shaheen Digital Images (KSDi) 100 L’ Hotel 48 Memories of China 58 Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) 128 Miracle 176 Muharraqi Studios 38, 96 Porsche Design 40 Rashid Al Oraifi 90 Señor Paco’s 62 Solidarity Group 1 The Bahrain Petroleum Company (BAPCO) 166 The Court of HRH The Prime Minister 12 The Crown Prince’s International Scholarship Program (CPISP) 120 The Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa 44 The Royal Charity Organization 124 Trade Arabia 180 Photography Credits Promotion Credits Abdulla M. Al-Khan - www.bahrainhouse.com 4 Spots Abdulla M. Khan of Bahrain House of Photography Bahrain Art Society - www.bahartsociety.org.bh Ali Sharaf - www.alisharaf.com Bahrain Polytechnic - www.polytechnic.bh Bahrain Airport Company - www.bac.bh Bougi - www.bougilife.blogspot.com Bahrain Exhibitions & Convention Authority (BECA) - Hotel Banyan Tree Al Areen - www.beca.bh www.banyantree.com/en/alareen/ Haifa Hassan - haifa.yaseen@gmail.com Jashanmal Books Division - www.jashanmals.com Hanan Hassan Al Khalifa - hananhassanali@yahoo.com L’Hotel - www.lhotelbahrain.com Hasan Al Khunaizi - hasan-alkhunaizi@hotmail.com Middle East Media (MEM) Khada Khunji - www.ghadakhunji.com Ministry of Culture & Information - www.moci.gov.bh/en/ Khalid Al Muharraqi - www.muharraqi-studios.com Miracle - www.miraclegraphics.com Khalifa Shaheen - www.ksdibahrain.com Mr. Karim - La Ventana Restaurant - Adliya, Bahrain M. Salman - kookiee@gmail.com Ritz-Carlton, Bahrain Hotel & Spa - www.ritzcarlton.com Mazen Al Maskati - contactmzn@gmail.com The Economic Development Board (EDB) - www. Toufic Beyhum - www.touficbeyhum.com bahrainedb.com Weal Yousif Ahmed - weal.ahmed@gulfair.com http://photos.bna.bh/ Market Essential Downloads The Economic Development Board Bahrain Talent Contributors Baraa Abdulla - baraa.abdulla@qafza3d.com - www.qafza3d.com Danny Lawless - lawlessdesigns@hotmail.com Elgin Vandewiele - elginm@gmail.com Faika Al Hassan - alhasanf@hotmail.com Ghada Khunji - www.ghadakhunji.com Jose Romualdo “Rom” B. Cumagun - romcumagun@yahoo.com BEST OF bahrain Latifa Al Shakar - alshakar@gmail.com Moosa Silwadi - www.knotconstruction@gmail.com Rana Tabbara Photography - rskaini@gmail.com Sowsan Hassan - sowsanwest@hotmail.com 188 Best of Bahrain