As part of their itinerary in Dubai, the 17 interns of the DSS Apprenticeship Program 2014 were recently awarded with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to meet and interact with key executives of Facebook at their regional office located in Dubai Internet City, Dubai.
The 9th edition of the award-winning destination marketing internship program, organized by the Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment (DFRE), an agency of the Department of Tourism and Commerce Marketing (DTCM) and organizers of Dubai Summer Surprises (DSS), is hosting its largest-ever group of 17 students this year, each representing a key market from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), with three first-time participants including Yemen, Tunisia and Libya.
The participating students this year include Sarah Makki (The Emirates Academy of Hospitality Management, UAE), Aya Jardaneh (Jordan University, Jordan), Eddie Zentani (American University of Libya, Libya), Ali Al-Farsi (Sultan Qaboos University, Oman), Ahmed Median (Mediterranean School of Business, Tunisia), Dounia Boujrada (Al-Akhawayn University, Morocco), Nagham Sous (Birzeit University, Palestine), Nadeem Amary (American University of Beirut, Lebanon), Nouran Salah Osman (University of Khartoum, Sudan), Shawn Chomani (American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, Iraq), Fatemah Jamal Al-Lail (Dar Al-Hekma University, KSA), Abdulaziz AlSabah (Australian College of Kuwait, Kuwait), Shereen Juhani (Arab International University, Syria), Maryam Taqi (University College of Bahrain, Bahrain), Najla Al-Thani (Stenden University, Qatar), Nouran Mahfouz (The British University in Egypt), Zahra Mohammed (Lebanese International University, Yemen).
During the high-profile visit, the apprentices were welcomed by Jumanah Anter, Head of Corporate Communications, Facebook CEEMEA and offered an exclusive tour of the office, followed by a series of stimulating, thought-provoking and informative talks led by the organization’s top regional executives.
“Our goal with the DSS Apprenticeship Program has always been to give the young students a comprehensive platform, featuring a two-week long journey driven by unique and constructive avenues of professional growth and development. Facebook, as we all know today, has become a global social media phenomenon and we are delighted to have our students take advantage of this excellent opportunity to visit Facebook’s office in Dubai and to learn about the tactics that have shaped the success of this leading online social media network,” said H.E. Laila Mohammed Suhail, Chief Executive Officer, DFRE.
The students had the opportunity to meet, interact and learn about Facebook’s global strategy and focus, regional growth story, and its significance to marketers and advertisers in reaching out to the masses. Jonathan Labin, Head of Sales – MEA; Narain Jashanmal, Head of Retail & eCommerce – MENA Region; Terry Kane – Head of Travel & Auto – MENA Region; Ashraf Zeitoon – Head of Policy – Middle East; and Fergus O’Hare, Creative Strategist were among the key executives who shared their knowledge and expertise with the apprentices.
“Facebook’s mission is to make the world more open and connected by giving people the power to share. At the same time, Facebook today is making marketing better and giving people the tools to use marketing more effectively. Today we are at a unique point in history when people can be targeted personally and on a large scale as well. By focusing on mobile marketing, Facebook with 71 million monthly active people and 54 million mobile monthly active people in the MENA Region, is making marketing personal again. People-based marketing is what we are focused on regionally and globally, as marketing has to be relevant and personalized”, added Jonathan Labin, Head of Sales, Facebook MEA.
“Facebook is growing rapidly in the MENA Region and with the youth comprising a high percentage of its population, it was a pleasure to host the young and dynamic students from across the region at our offices in Dubai and to discuss with them new ways of how we can enhance our engagement in these key markets. We would like to thank the students for their participation and wish them continued success with the DSS Apprenticeship Program,” added Labin.
The 9th edition of the DSS Apprenticeship Program kicked off on 15 August and will run until 28 August, offering students from 17 markets the opportunity to share their creative ideas on engaging new audiences from the MENA region to Dubai’s iconic summer festival, DSS. More than 100 universities were invited to participate this year, which is a step forward in DFRE’s broader strategy to take the program global by 2015, when it will reach its 10-year milestone.