Dubai, United Arab Emirates: The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation organized several diverse knowledge events on May 24 and 25 at the 31st edition of the Abu Dhabi International Book Fair. The events shed light on the enhancements of human progress and cognitive shifts in the Gulf region. It also discussed the remarkable impact of the Arabic language in prosperity and development.
A delegation from the Ministry of Education visited the Foundation’s pavilion, to learn about the latest developments of the Digital Knowledge Hub. The team provided a detailed explanation about the Hub- an open Arab platform that includes 1.7 million digital materials, provides solutions for building digital libraries, and shares content for universities, schools, and government institutions. Creating this platform has allowed it to make content available without having to incur the costs of building an independent platform.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, in cooperation with the United Nations Development Program, held several panel discussions within the Knowledge Dialogues series. The first session discussed ‘Cyberbullying’ and methods for prevention. The session was carried out with the participation of Dr. Hessa Al Kaabi, Head of the Child Protection Unit – Emirates Foundation for School Education. The panel was moderated by Khadija Al-Sharif, Child Protection, Mental Health, and Psychosocial Support Consultant at ChildFun.
Al Kaabi presented an overview of the concept of bullying, which is the act of repeated verbal, physical or any other form of abuse. She noted that bullying exists mainly in schools, and how cyberbullying has grown considerably due to a trend of remote studying.
Al Kaabi confirmed that the increase in cyberbullying is due to the lack of awareness among students regarding privacy. She pointed to the sharing of information about their accounts with peers as a major cause for bullying to turn into threatening and blackmail. She then reviewed some accounts of bullying by students during the distance education period; and spoke about the role of the Child Protection Unit in the Ministry of Education in combatting this by formulating awareness, rehabilitation, and treatment programs for students who have been bullied.
Al Kaabi explained how family plays a very important role in combating cyberbullying. They must protect children from electronic practices that violate privacy- an increasing practice due to social media and electronic games. She noted that the family is required to actively follow children’s activities on these platforms through technical programs built to monitor and control their uses. Al Kaabi stressed that a child under the age of 18, whether a bully or bullied, is still a victim, and their condition must be examined from all sides. Family plays a key role in this matter by strengthening children’s personality and building strong relationships that encourage them to disclose practices of bullying, exploitation, or electronic blackmail.
The second panel, entitled ‘Geospatial Data: Expanding Human Progress’, discussed solutions for the use of geospatial data across many industries and sectors. The panel also discussed the impact of geospatial data on policymaking. It was carried out in the presence of Ali Al Sammarraie, Urban Integration Expert; and moderated by Mona Al-Shalkami, Assistant Professor, Muhammad Bin Rashid School Government.
Al Sammarraie delivered a comprehensive presentation on geospatial data with detailed examples of its various uses. He explained that geospatial data is data collected from a specific place or about a particular race. They include many variables, including time and geography, which can be used for analysis and forecasting to make decisions.
Al Sammarraie further emphasized that the outcomes of geospatial data are useful if the inputs are highly accurate. There must be enough precise and clear data to be sufficiently applied in general policies. He noted that such data holds a significant impact over all aspects of life, noting that crime rates could be reduced by helping countries discover areas with higher crime rates, and then set a future preventive strategy.
These geospatial data, Al Sammarraie elaborated, could be used in any city around the world to offer high-quality services to the people. This could be achieved by determining the level of available services so that decisions and future plans are made to achieve prospective goals. He additionally highlighted examples from the USA and other countries that used geospatial data to bring forward future policies and strategies.
He added that geospatial data are major pillars to the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2030, as they would expediate the achievement of these goals. They further assist in combating the challenges faced while trying to achieve clean water, limit emissions, improve air quality, as well as guaranteeing rapid response in taking proactive measures against immediate challenges. He stressed the necessity of enabling broad data accessibility for the civil community and promote its participation in decision making and provide continuously updated data to promote their credibility.
Moreover, Al Sammarraie emphasized that having the private sector access geospatial data paves the way for better planning. Providing data of a specific area would assist investors in acquiring better understanding of the place and its needs for the upcoming 10 years; upon which plans and strategies relying on future needs are being developed. He further noted the significance of having regulatory measures to prevent such data from being abused, in line with the companies’ serious efforts in acquiring as much of data as possible, which are considered profitable assets.
The third session witnessed the participation of Dr. Hany Torki, Chief Technical Advisor, Knowledge Project – UNDP. Dr. Torki addressed key cognitive concepts by highlighting discrepancies between data and cognitive information, knowledge economy and knowledge community, as well as shedding the light on knowledge challenges and the role of decision makers, youth, and community.
As part of the Dubai International Program for Writing, the Foundation also organized a panel discussion addressing the comic book ‘Ajeen Al-Haneen’ published by Qindeel Printing, Publishing, and Distribution- an investment project by the MBRF.
In line with Knowledge Lounge initiative, which aims to promote the culture of reading as a daily lifestyle, the Foundation conducted two panel discussions. The first, themed ‘Reading from a cognitive perspective’, with the participation of Prof. Turki Al Zaabi, and moderated by Sara Al Absi; whereas the second themed ‘A new approach to knowledge in the Arabian Gulf Countries’, with the participation of Dr. Hasan Madan, and moderated by Rola Al-Bana.
The MBRF Pavilion further organised various panel discussions regarding the latest trends in the publishing industry. The first session, themed ‘The Publicist Writer… an independent experience’, held under the participation of the Author Fahad Alfalasi, Amir Al Baqali, and Khalifa Al Raisi, moderated by the journalist and writer Hussein Darwich. The second session entitled ‘From the Village to the World … the Journey of a Word’, was held in the presence of Author Mohammed Alnaas, winner of International Prize for Arabic Fiction 2022, and the novelist and writer Iman Humaidan, and was moderated by Rola AL-Bana.