Khalfan Hassan Al Matrooshi and Khalid Salem Ali Salem Ahmed Al Muhairi, both students of the Higher Colleges of Technology at Sharjah Men’s College, will join a team of 17 youths from 10 Middle Eastern and European countries, on a five-day trek, including to Jebal Shams – known as mountain of the sun – and at 3,000 meters, the highest area of Oman and Eastern Arabia.
According to Janet Jweihan, UAE Country Manager for DHL, which has been lead partner for the programme since its inception in 2005, Connecting Cultures in many ways is a reflection of the unparalleled synergy and planning which are at the core of DHL’s global logistics operations. “Connecting Cultures, just like DHL, works to bring the world closer and we are delighted to see the growing number of youngsters wishing to participate and most notably, the latest additions in our local representatives from the UAE, who are due to join the trip”.
Al Muhairi and Al Matrooshi are both eagerly awaiting the challenges of the expedition and see it as an extension of the educational and team activities they are so involved with at college. “As a management student I regularly attend group exercises and I am sure Connecting Cultures will help me to evolve as both a team player and a better leader,” Al Muhairi remarked.
Al Muhairi is a member of the college director’s trophy in football, table tennis and volleyball. He is also the only student currently on the staff and student tennis ladder.
Al Matrooshi, who has attended various youth camps and was also secretary of the Sharjah Men’s College Student Council, says such team activities have helped him to develop his motivational, problem solving and leadership skills. “I believe Connecting Cultures will also be a great learning experience and benefit me greatly in my efforts to build a strong career after college,” he commented.
Starting from their mountain camp in the early morning, the two boys and the team will cover varying distances each day, following old donkey trails in some of Oman’s most spectacular scenery.
Every team member will be paired with someone of a different nationality on each day and each pair will work together throughout the day’s journey.
During lunch time the entire team will gather for discussions and later to sum up the day’s experiences and share perspectives around a campfire at night.
Professional facilitators accompanying the youngsters will help them in team building and problem solving exercises.
Launched in 2004 in London, by HRH Prince Turki Al Faisal of Saudi Arabia, and founder Mark Evans, Connecting Cultures aims to promote intercultural dialogue between young people from the Western and Arab world, to create positive young role models for society, and to give young people key life skills to successfully enter the world of work.
“Dialogue and regular interaction between cultures are increasingly relevant factors in today’s world,” said Mark Evans, founder of Connecting Cultures. “Through the
Connecting Cultures programme, we are aiming to unify the leaders of the future and to go beyond all barriers of language, culture and race in an effort to share beliefs, convictions, hopes and aspirations, away from the hustle and bustle of the world outside. We hope this initiative will help to create a generation determined to make the world a better place to live,” said Evans.
An initiative supported by UNESCO and held in partnership with the Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, Connecting Cultures has an added importance this year, as 2008 has been declared the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue.
“Connecting cultures creates strong links between young people from various parts of the world, those who will run our planet tomorrow. As the local president of the EU, I am very proud to support this excellent initiative and I wish good luck to all of the participants,” said
His Excellency Marc Barety, French Ambassador and local president of the EU in Oman.
February 2008 also saw the first Connecting Cultures expedition for girls, when eighteen girls from ten countries completed the five-day trek across the Sharqiyah desert of Oman.
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