Mohammed bin Rashid: Arab Social Media Influencers Summit a New Phase in Evolution of Social Media
- 17 March 2015
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, said the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit has provided a platform for innovative ideas to establish a new phase in evolution of social media focused on its positive employment by tapping into the capabilities of young people in the development of Arab society. In this direction, His Highness called for coordinated efforts to overcome current challenges in the field.
His Highness said the Summit with its varied themes offers the means by which these channels can be transformed from mere hobby and passive use to an integrated work system that combines influencers, experts and funding sources. However, His Highness pointed out that social media is still at the beginning of this journey of transformation and much development can be expected in the coming years.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed said the UAE offers through the Summit innovative and proactive ideas to the world to explore the future and find the best practical processes that can contribute to the service of the community. His Highness said: "The world is moving at a very fast pace and technology is evolving dramatically. We all remember how the traditional media emerged modestly but it quickly gained momentum driven by technology to become a force that impacted governments, changing the course of their work. It transformed the world into a small village."
"We are witnessing today new horizons for a new media, and we must combine our efforts and work together to develop the frameworks and legislation to ensure the best use of social media platforms, which do not need the support of broadcast or print houses or large equipment. The significance of these channels lies in their ability to reach out easily to all members of the society through personal devices. It is our duty to help our young people and future generations by building a knowledge platform to protect them from any destructive and negative thoughts that affect their full potential and create constructive paths for Arab societies," His Highness Sheikh Mohammed added.
His Highness stressed the importance of the consolidation of the main pillars of the future vision for the optimal use of social media based on an integrated and comprehensive approach by increasing their positive impact and encouraging constructive interaction. In addition His Highness called for efforts to motivate creative thinking for the development of various sectors in the community, and to benefit from the views and experiences on the local, regional and global levels.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed commended the outstanding achievements of the winners of Arab Social Media Influencers Award and their valuable contribution to increase awareness about issues of concern in the Arab region. His Highness said the efforts of the winners have helped spread the best methods in the use of social networks and encouraged optimal and responsible use of these platforms to contribute to the development of Arab societies towards a brighter future.
Addressing the winners, His Highness said: "You are the pride of the Arab nation, because you sensed the needs of your community and you searched for the optimal usage of social media platforms to fulfil your noble purposes. We are proud of you, and this recognition you won today is a tribute for the Arab people, who do get deterred by challenges but look through them for prospects of excellence, achievement and innovation."
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed made these observations during the Arab Social Media Influencers Award ceremony to honour the positive contributions in social media in the Arab world.
Organised at the first day of the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit, the Awards ceremony was attended by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and H.H. Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai. The ceremony was also witnessed by H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, H.E. Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Minister of Cabinet Affairs, Khalifa Saeed Sulaiman, Director General of Dubai Protocol and Hospitality Department, Mona Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office as well as a large number of dignitaries and representatives of local and international media.
The summit continues until 18 March, at Dubai World Trade Centre.
Arab Social Media Influencers Award – Winners in Institutions category:
1. MBC Group: Winner in Media category. MBC Group is one of the leading Arabic media groups. MBC Group uses social media to raise awareness about social and humanitarian issues. Through its # Gared_balkheer, a Twitter campaign, MBC Group collected more than SAR 990,000 to provide food for Syrian refugee children.
2. ‘Bab Rizk Jameel’: Winner in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) category. Abdul Latif Jameel Community Initiatives launched ‘Bab Rizk Jameel’ as a social initiative to encourage people through social media channels to participate in volunteering activities as well as to offer employment opportunities. It also organises a variety of competitions on social media to encourage creative ideas from young people. The initiative offers loans up to SAR 300,000 for Saudi youth without interest and 5 years repayment period.
3. UTURN channel: Winner in Entertainment category. UTURN produced a number of famous TV series such as ‘Ashe Elly’ and ‘Ala Al Tayer’, and highlighted some major topics on its social media channels. UTURN is the most followed channel in the Arab world on social media with more than a million followers.
4. Hybrids: Winner in Blogs category. Ascia and Ahmad are the owners of the blog that focuses on fashion and is considered to be one of the most popular Arabic blogs.
5. THINK UP: Winner in Youth category. THINK UP helps Gulf talents, especially UAE citizens, in finding job opportunities in different companies. The company has started a hash tag on Twitter "#ThinkUPGCC" to encourage young people to serve the society, and the initiative has attracted huge social interaction.
6. SOUQ.com: Winner in Shopping category. SOUQ.com is the largest shopping portal in the Middle East that uses social media channels to market goods through short films that explain how to purchase the goods on the site. The portal has more than 6 million social media followers.
7. #MyDubai: Winner in Tourism category. #MyDubai, an initiative launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, aims to explain to residents and visitors about the lifestyle in Dubai by posting images in social media channels. The initiative has received considerable attention from government and private entities as well as individuals with more than 1.8 million photos posted in a short period.
8. NAFHAM: Winner in Education category. NAFHAM is an innovative electronic online service offering free 5-20 minute educational videos based on school curriculum in Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Algeria. The initiative has so far broadcasted more than 8,000 educational videos.
9. Alhoush – Electronic Gate: Winner in Arts category. Alhoush displays the works of Arabic artists and designers on social media, offering purchase services through the internet. The initiative helps artists gain funding for their projects.
10. Bey2ollak: Winner in Safety and Security category. Bey2ollak application uses social media channels to share information about roads and traffic in all Egyptian cities. The initiative also gives the followers opportunity to chat about the existing projects in Egypt.
11. National Geographic Abu Dhabi: Winner in Environment category. The channel broadcasts movies and documentaries about nature, sciences, civilization and history, using social media channels to spread the best information in the Arab world.
12. Reyali Program: Winner in Economy category. Reyali is One of the most important programs launched by SEDCO Holding Company to promote financial awareness among Saudi society, especially young people, and develop their skills and provide them with the knowledge to face life’s responsibilities.
13. UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs: Winner in Public Sector category. The Ministry is responsible for the UAE’s foreign affairs initiatives. The ministry has set up social media channels to communicate with citizens, raise awareness about the ministry and respond to UAE citizens’ concerns all over the world.
14. Coca-Cola: Winner in Private Sector category. Coca-Cola, a global leader in the production and distribution of soft drinks, has launched many innovative social media initiatives such as ‘Sahrek Lebanon’ and ‘Free Calls’ initiative for workers in the United Arab Emirates.
15. Al-Hilal S FC: Winner in Sports category. Al-Hilal Saudi Football Club, one of the most prestigious football clubs in Saudi Arabia, publishes diverse news about the club through its social networking sites.
16. Web-Teb: Winner in Health category. Web-Teb is a website that aims to provide comprehensive medical information to the Arab community through the Internet. It publishes medical advice, articles and the latest health information and medical developments on its social networking sites which have more than 3 million followers.
17. Tech-Pills institution: Winner in Technology category. Tech-Pills monitors news coverage on technology around the world. Its social networking sites provide news and information on modern technologies, software, and applications and offer an analysis of the possible benefits to society from these technologies.
18. Emirates Center for Strategic Studies and Research (ECSSR): Winner in Politics category. ECSSR specialises in political studies and conducts research on issues related to national security and and the economic situation in the Gulf region and the UAE in particular. The Center uses social networking sites to present the latest studies and interviews with thought leaders and policy makers.
19. Fikr Jaded: Winner in Entrepreneurship category. Fikr Jaded is a non-profit initiative that sheds light on successful projects in the fields of entrepreneurship and innovation. It also offers opportunities to share success stories in entrepreneurship. The initiative established the Fikrstan platform to present ideas and contribute to dissemination of knowledge.
Winners in Individuals Category:
1. Turki al-Dakhil: Winner in Media category. Turki al-Dakhil is a Saudi TV presenter, journalist and column writer. He presents the Eda’at programme on Al-Arabiya channel and manages Almesbar Center for Studies and Research and Madarek Publishing House. He has a number of fans on social media channels with more than 2 million followers.
2. Fayez al-Maliki: Winner in Community Service category. Fayez al-Maliki is a Saudi artist, and ambassador of Insan Association for Orphans and also the ambassador of UNICEF in Arabia. Fayez employs social media channels to support a number of humanitarian initiatives, and promote awareness about rights in the community.
3. Rashid Al-Fawzan: Winner in Economy category. Rashid Al-Fawzan, director of Arab CNBC in Saudi Arabia, is a writer in Al Riyadh newspaper. He keeps his social media fans engaged on the latest economic developments and offers analysis on a number of topics related to economy.
4. Abdullah Almaglot: Winner in Tolerance category. Abdullah Almaglot, is the producer and presenter of ‘Yeshbahak’ programme on YouTube, which has succeeded in employing social media channels to promote tolerance among its fans.
5. Ghanim Almuftahr: Winner in Youth category. Ghanim Almuftahr, which is known as ‘Ghanim the Winner’, is a positive character and has won several achievements in sports leagues. He created Ghanem the Winner Association for Wheelchairs, and is the author of a book on his experiences.
6. Bader Saleh: Winner in Entertainment category. An artist with more than 2 million fans on his YouTube channel, Bader’s ‘Ish Elly’ has topped the list of programmes on social media channels, and is the most watched in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the GCC.
7. Areej Al-Kharafi: Winner in Shopping category. Areej has established a website specialised on shopping in 2007 and established a series of online shops called "Fortunate Cookie", which includes the most prestigious brands. Through her social media channels Areej has highlighted her experiences in the field of entrepreneurship and shopping, utilising her brand to raise awareness about goods sold in her stores.
8. HE Dr. Tawfiq Al-Rabiah: Winner in Public Sector category. HE Dr. Tawfiq is Minister of Commerce and Industry in Saudi Arabia and has been an assistant professor at King Saud University, Director General of Information and Communication Technology in the Arab Authority for Investment, and Director General of Saudi Industrial Cities. Through his account on Twitter, HE Dr. Tawfiq has raised awareness about the activities of the ministry and other events, in addition to providing economic advice supported with studies and statistics. He has more than 800,000 followers on social media
9. Omar Samra: Winner in Tourism category. Omar is the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest and has been chosen by the AXE Apollo Space Academy for a trip to space. Omar founded the Wild Qguanabana company for trips and adventures around the world and is working to organize a number of humanitarian and social initiatives in conjunction with these trips. He is also working to shed light on these trips and activities through his social media channels.
10. Dr. Anwar Al Hammadi: Winner in Health category. Dr. Anwar is a consultant and head of Dermatology Centre at the Dubai Health Authority. He has authored a book titled ‘300 Q & A for Skin Diseases’ and is working on his second book in the same field. Dr. Anwar devotes part of his time in educating members of the community through social media channels.
11. Ghada Ghoneim: Winner in Education category. Ghada is a Saudi Arabian student who is doing doctoral study in the United States. She is one of the founders of the site ‘Saudis in America’, which aims to help Saudi students on scholarships to integrate into the American society by offering a comprehensive guide to the most important universities and institutes in the US. The site works to enhance communication between the Saudi students in America and provide them with support and advice.
12. Abdul Rahman Mohammed: Winner in Arts category. Abdul is a Saudi artist and musician who offers through his YouTube channel a number of songs and poems in an innovative way, accompanied by music on the guitar. His performance of the musical poem ‘Osabk ishkan’ by Yazed bin Muawiya achieved more than 10 million views.
13. Fadi Ghandour: Winner in Private Sector category. He is the Founder and Vice Chairman of Aramex, and the Co-Founder and Director of MENA Venture Investments, a seed capital investment company focusing on early stage tech companies in the MENA region. He is also a member of the Board of The Abraaj Group. He participated in many initiatives to support digital content and social media channels. He is also the Chairman of Wamda and Founding Investor in Maktoob.com.
14. Sami Al Jaber: Winner in Sports category. Sami was the manager of Al-Hilal football club, and a well-known player in the Saudi national team. Sami Al Jaber is one of the most followed sports star on social media in the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. More than 3 million people follow his posts about sports news, specially football, and Al-Hilal football club.
15. Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa: Winner in Politics category. Sheikh Khalid was one of the first Arab politicians to have a Twitter account. He posts his political opinions as well as discussions and personal photos in his Twitter page, and interacts with more than 200,000 followers.
16. Amine Raghib: Winner in Technology category. Amine is the owner and founder of Almohtarif blog, which won Best Morrocan Blog 2012/2013. It is also ranked as one of the best 10 Arabic blogs according to ICFJ. Through his YouTube channel, Amine presents weekly lessons about various sectors related to technology.
17. Kaswara Al-Khatib: Winner in Entrepreneurship category. Kaswara is a Saudi businessman and Chairman & CEO at UTURN Entertainment. He is one of the top entrepreneurs and founders of innovative and successful creative projects in Saudi Arabia. Kaswara presents on YouTube many professional and interactive programs. He was chosen by Forbes Middle East as one of top entrepreneurs in the kingdom.
18. Abdullah Al Dhaheri Blog: Winner in Blogs category. The Blog been launched by Mira Ahmed Al Dhaheri in the name of her brother, Abdullah, who suffers from Down syndrome. The blog provides specialised information in Arabic to raise awareness about Down syndrome, and carries stories of this disorder from around the world. The Blog has championed several campaigns, including ‘Do Not Let Me Down" campaign which aims to promote community awareness on this disorder.
The Arab Social Media Influencers Award attracted huge participation from all over the Arab world. The Organising Committee of the Summit said the largest percentage of individual and institutional participations were in the Corporate Social Responsibility category, which honours optimal use of social media in providing services to the society. It was followed by Blogs and Media categories.
The Committee said nominations were submitted from 22 countries of which 77 per cent were Arab countries. The award received submissions from Arabs living in foreign countries such as Germany, Canada, Britain, India and Italy.
The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia figured top in the list of countries with the largest number of participations in all categories. Institutional participation for the award was biggest from the UAE, while the largest number of individuals participated from Saudi Arabia.