The red planet The UAE’s ‘hope’ mission to Mars pg 20 | Rise of the machines How will the development of Artificial Intelligence affect business and humanity? pg 26 | Slope off The best places to hit the piste this summer pg 40
Scene A CAPITAL CLUB DUBAI PUBLICATION
ISSUE FOUR . 2018
Live to win – the prestige of polo on and off the field
DUBAI : The Dubai Mall, Mall of the Emirates, Dubai Festival City Mall, Ibn Battuta Mall, Al Ghurair Centre, Mirdif City Centre ABU DHABI : Abu Dhabi Mall, Marina Mall SHARJAH : Sahara Centre AL AIN : Al Ain Mall, Al Barari Outlevt Al Ain FUJAIRAH : Hina, Lulu Mall
GM’S LETTER.JULY 2018
DON’T be misled by the perceived slow pace of summer – Dubai is booming! We’re the fourth most visited city on the planet and with Expo2020 on the horizon; the travel and tourism sector is still growing rapidly. That growth is definitely being matched in the business sector too; with the government recently relaxing rules on 100% foreign ownership in business (outlined masterfully by our expert panel in the recent Dubai 2.0 evening), the emirate is setting itself up as the place to do business for years to come. The boom has even had a knock-on effect on the private members’ market, with several clubs interested in following our lead and setting up in the city. At the Capital Club, we genuinely welcome the competition – because it shows the market for private members’ clubs is growing.
“The emirate is setting itself up as the place to do business for years to come”
And our Club is growing with it. We’re too busy looking to the future to look over our shoulder. Responding to interest from our members, we’ve developed two new levels of membership – social (see our news section for more information) and life (further details on page 10). With more and more people putting down long-term roots (see our light-hearted debate on the pros and cons of retiring here on page 62), we want to help our members create a legacy at the Club for the future generations of their family. It’s with the next generation in mind that we’ve set up our ‘Social Capital – Club’ every Saturday. We’ve been working with a number of global business councils, influential members and top universities to create an unprecedented networking and sounding board platform for young entrepreneurs. Drawing on his own impeccable connections, the Chairman of the Capital Club will be inviting some of the most exciting, dynamic and innovative minds from the world of business to come into the Club and share their knowledge. The aim of the series is to promote social capital, and invest knowledge into the next generation in order to better the global business community as a whole. Which brings me onto one of the most valuable parts of the Club – the sense of community we have here. It’s present in the conversations struck up in the Members’ Bar, and in the deals and friendships forged over our Club lunches. And it’s a spirit that definitely continues over the summer, as evidenced by the ‘Home Alone’ group for abandoned spouses that I’ve been invited to join. Another example of the Club’s camaraderie, I’ve been heartened by the knowledge that being part of the Capital Club means you truly are part of a Club of like-minded individuals with the same sets of aspirations and values, both on and off the premises. Wherever you are planning to be this summer, I hope you take that thought with you. I look forward to seeing you all in September.
GENERAL MANAGER Ian Palmer MARKETING & EVENTS MANAGER Charlotte Mak P.O. Box 506536, Gate Village Building #3, DIFC, Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Tel: +971 4 364 0111. www.capitalclubdubai.com PUBLISHER Chris Capstick email@example.com PROJECTS MANAGER Ingrid Valles A Motivate Connect Publication
EDITOR Polly Phillips
SENIOR EDITOR – CONNECT Lesley Wright
GENERAL MANAGER – PRODUCTION Sunil Kumar
SENIOR ART DIRECTOR Tarak Parekh DESIGNER Sanil Kumar Sadanandan
Media One Tower, Dubai Media City, PO Box 2331, Dubai, UAE. T: +971 4 427 3000. E: firstname.lastname@example.org. W: motivatepublishing.com
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CAPITAL CLUB NEWS The latest news and views
NEW LEASE OF LIFE The benefits of becoming a Capital Club Life Member
BACK TO THE FUTURE The Club’s ‘The Future of…’ tech mingle series under the spotlight
PLAYING THE FIELD
While mounted players battle it out for supremacy on the field, polo provides a perfect backdrop for business deals
SEEING RED With its first mission to Mars scheduled to blast off in 2020, the UAE is sending ‘hope’ to the red planet
40 44 45 46
SLOPE OFF The best places to ski or snowboard this summer
BOOK REVIEWS Need a poolside read? Here are our recommendations
I.ROBOT Artificial Intelligence is predicted to contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030. Should we fear or embrace the rise of the machines?
BAGS OF STYLE The sharpest bags for the office, a business trip or a well-deserved weekend away
SOUL SEARCHING With his exhibition currently on display in the Capital Club, Scene meets Ukrainian photographer Vadik Zibrov
MEMBER PROFILE Hamdi Osman, former FedEx Senior Vice President
CLUB DIARY Photo evidence from the Clubâ€™s 10th anniversary party and other social events
THE SPECIALS Guest chefs Galton Blackiston and Tony Singh dazzle our diners
HERE FOR GOOD? Would you consider retiring in Dubai?
Feeling social? In response to rising member demand, the Capital Club has decided to implement a ‘social membership’ stratum. Associates who will enjoy what the Club has to offer on a social level but don’t feel they can maximize its potential as a business venue can now avail themselves of a streamlined social membership. It gives them access to everything the Club has to offer (with the exception of the meeting rooms and the gym). The perfect package for anyone who likes good food and good company, please see our membership team for more information.
Over a barrel Members were treated to the inside track on the goings on in the oil market when Dr Nasser H Saidi, former Chief Economist of the DIFC, hosted a discussion on ‘oil, reforms and transition’. Giving his opinion on whether the current bullish market will turn bearish, Dr Saidi, recently named one of the 50 most influential Arabs in the world and author of the Club’s Weekly Economic Commentary, hosted a lively discussion on what’s next for black gold.
1. Back row (left to right): Stephan Degenhart, Stefano Ferretti, Jimmy Haoula and Mark Beer. Front row (left to right): Abdulhakim Binherz, David Mackenzie, Joyce Bijl & Marios Maratheftis; 2. Stefano Ferretti, Abdulhakim Binherz, David Mackenzie & Joyce Bijl; 3. Sophie Swart, Mark Beer & George Traub; 4. Marios Maratheftis; 5. Natalia Kohon & Jacob Cameron; 6. Tim Barnes, Mimoun Assraoui, Jon Green & David Regueiro; 7. Helena Hyde & Cara Nazari
In one of our most popular events to date, members enjoyed the insights of the Club’s carefully curated panel of experts discussing the recent changes to company ownership and the UAE’s new visa regulations. The event was a runaway success as members and their guests enjoyed the wisdom of the panel, before giving their own feedback and comparing experiences over complimentary drinks and canapés.
’Art stopping 8
This season saw the return of the DIFC’s popular ‘Art Night’ with the Capital Club taking centre stage for the first time. Culture vultures were invited to enjoy pieces by artist Robi Walters, whose work is currently exhibited throughout the Club. As the DIFC flooded with art aficionados, one of Walters’ pieces was displayed outside the Club, with the artist himself on hand to meet fans and answer questions.
1. Art lovers descend on DIFC for Art Night; 2. The DIFC bridge is given a makeover for Art Night; 3. Artist Robi Walters with a piece of his work
World Cup fever It’s impossible to ignore the World Cup and for those members who’ve caught World Cup fever, the Capital Club is screening matches throughout the football tournament. Don’t miss a minute of the action as the 21st FIFA World Cup reaches its nail-biting conclusion on 15 July. This is a great opportunity for active sports fans and armchair pundits alike to soak in the atmosphere of each match at the Club. Which country will lift the trophy this year? Join us to find out.
You get what you give
Best seat in the house Since its implementation, we’ve heard countless success stories of connections and friendships being formed across our Club Table. Last quarter we decided to step it up a notch, asking leading members to host the popular Thursday lunch sessions, giving members the chance to access their industry expertise in an informal setting. So far, we’ve had legal, publishing and diplomatic heavyweights including Ian Fairservice, Mark Beer and Frank Kane chewing the fat over lunches that have lingered into the evening. Check our newsletter and website to see which industry scions have lunches coming up.
Have a ball this winter Although the scorching temperatures make it hard to believe ‘winter is coming’, we believe in the value of being prepared. Plans for our inaugural ‘Winter Ball’ are already in the offing, so get ready to dust off your winter furs (or perhaps not) for an evening that will kick off the Christmas season in style.
The Club played host to powerbroker Vishal Agarwal this season when he came to share his insights on global leadership and the path to success. In an evening hosted by Riz Khan, Mr Agarwal, who is best known for his work in Kenya (he brokered the historic 2006 KenGen IPO amongst other billion dollar offerings), talked to members about the best ways to avoid burning out and how to climb to the top while others fall by the wayside – concepts outlined in his newly published book Give To Get.
Shaping T H E
The Club’s life membership offers the chance to mould the Club for the next generation
F U T U R E
WITHIN a week of the Club’s life membership announcement – even before its official launch – ten members had already signed up. And interest in the prestigious new strata continues to snowball, with members recognizing that – as only 200 life memberships will ever be available – time is of the essence. While the first 100 of the life memberships will come from the conversion of existing members into life members, the remaining 100 will be invitation-only, aimed at a select group of senior, high profile figures across Dubai. “We wanted to recognize the top 100 members of the Club by length of service or those who have been particularly committed or supportive,” General Manager Ian Palmer explains, as he lays out the finer details of the
new membership option. “While that is mainly by invitation, we’ve had a very positive response and a lot of interest so we’ve also decided to allow members to apply. “But we also want to enhance the Club’s ethos of business focus, so we’re currently curating a list of people that have been a driving force in shaping and developing Dubai. It’s people with that kind of outlook and those kind of ethics that we know will be a good fit for the Club.” That’s why, he adds, it’s so important for interested members to consider joining this additional echelon of membership – because life members will have a huge impact on the selection of the final 100. “That list of external people who we believe may have a part to play in driving the Club into the next era is currently being decided by the membership steering committee, shareholders, the board of directors and the first life members. We’re very keen for all of our life members to have a say in who should join their select group and we welcome all suggestions from the group.” In addition to steering the make up of future membership, life members will be offered an enhanced package, with a Dhs15,000 food and beverage credit against their membership for the first three years after joining, a monthly lunch with the GM to provide feedback on the workings of the Club (all of which will be reported back to the board), a business forum for investment opportunities and a golf day. For those charitably minded, life membership will also grant its members a direct involvement in the Club’s charitable initiatives, giving them the opportunity to throw the weight of the Club behind the causes they believe in. There are a plethora of other benefits still under development, but GM Ian Palmer believes that for most life members, the new membership opportunity is about what they can give, not what they can get. “The support of our life members is what will allow us to reinvest not just in the fabric of the building, but in the heart of the Club,” he says powerfully. “The idea of life membership is as old as the idea of private members’ clubs themselves – you could say I nicked the idea from the 19th century! “Then, as now, it was about demonstrating commitment by investing in the future of the institution you were a member of. Life memberships seem particularly relevant today, as we’re seeing the
old transience with which people approach Dubai translate into more long-term thinking. One of the great things about the new life membership echelon of the Club is that members can pass it down through the generations so that as more and more families commit to spending longer periods of time here, the Club becomes part of the framework of the future of their lives.” The first life members will be announced by the end of 2018, with 2019 anticipated to be a growth year for the development and initiation of the influential outside figures expected to join the Club.
Contact email@example.com for further details or assistance in becoming one of our elite group of life members.
Back EVENTS.TECH MINGLE
T H E
F U T U R E
Scene profiles the Club’s popular ‘The Future of’ tech mingle series…
OTHER than a demonstrable need for supersonic speed and an impeccable entrepreneurial pedigree, what do Hyperloop One Co-Founder Josh Giegel and Boom CEO Blake Scholl have in common? Both have spoken as part of the Capital Club’s popular ‘The Future of’ events, a series of discussions centered on the future of technology and the cutting-edge companies driving it. The series, which has also featured International Director of virtual healthcare provider Babylon Health, Olly Finding, and Director EMEA of Business Development at Tesla, Peter Bardenfleth-Hansen, aims to illuminate new business opportunities and keep members informed about developments across the sector. The talks, which are usually held over coffee and croissants (with the occasional evening event), are kept deliberately informal with plenty of time for attendees to ask questions and venture opinions. Numbers are also restricted to ensure that everyone gets appropriate access to the speaker. Whether you want to speak or to listen, why not come along – all club members are welcome. The future starts here.
Hyperloop One Co-Founder Josh Giegel (left) and President Colin Rhys (right) with the Club’s Tom Hudson
13 Tom Hudson is the founder of ‘The Future of’ series. Here he talks tech, gadgets and dream speakers Thanks for taking the time to talk to us, Tom. What gave you the idea for the series? “I am lucky in that for the last two years I have been working with some of the world’s most innovative individuals and companies, who are all coming to the UAE to plug into the various Dubai initiatives around the future. When we were brainstorming in the Club Events Committee about new interesting events, I thought this series would be a good theme to hear more about what is planned in Dubai for the future.”
that by the end it is an interactive Q&A. I think everyone who attended the TESLA event learned something new about the future of sustainable transportation.” Do you have any dream speakers in mind for the next ‘Future of’ discussions? “I think it’s not just the people who are imagining the future but the people who are actually building the future – that is why we have focused on the founders of the companies effecting the change.”
Who have you enjoyed working with the most? “Having Josh Giegel, Co-Founder of Virgin Hyperloop One, to kickstart the series really set the tone. He is 33, an ex-Space-X and Virgin Galactic rocket scientist and really plugged into everything that is happening on the West Coast. Having worked with both Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk, he has learned from the best. “Similarly Blake Scholl, formerly of Amazon and Founder of Boom, the company bringing back supersonic commercial flight, carried on the series well and kept the bar high.”
Come on, you must be able to give us a hint… “I’m trying to tempt an old school friend out who founded What3Words and who just gave a TED talk that went down very well. However, we are quite reactive to who is in town and what the current hot topics and themes are.”
Why would you encourage members to come along? “We try and choose topics that impact everyone, for example Babylon Health on the future of AI and healthcare. As it’s Chatham House rules, people can speak openly and they are purposefully small events so
As the technology king of the Club, whom do you call when you hit a technical difficulty? “I do love gadgets but I don’t pretend to know how they all work. Luckily, I have a good ‘phone a friend’ list!”
As someone with the inside track on tech, what do you consider the most important tech invention in the last 50 years? “Probably the World Wide Web attributed to Sir Tim Berners Lee – in fact, he’d be a good speaker!”
Playing THE FIELD
When it comes to making deals, the smart money’s on polo…
HORSES thunder past, hooves pounding the grass, while well-dressed women later follow in their wake, “stomping the divots” in sky-high stilettoes at halftime. Luxury concession stands bookend the polo field, selling everything from designer sunglasses to bespoke sarongs, while at the bar, champagne flows freely. It’s hardly the most traditional setting for a business meeting, yet while men mounted on horseback battle for supremacy on the polo field, million dollar deals are being done on the sidelines. Forget networking over a quick nine holes, those who want to get ahead in the business world know that the polo’s the place to go.
“We believe that polo provides the perfect platform to meet people in a relaxed setting around a shared passion point,” says Tom Hudson, Co-Founder and Chairman of luxury polo series, British Polo Day. “As we do more and more on our phones, the personal relationships and common experiences become more important. Certainly some big deals have been initiated and concluded through British Polo Day and the community is key to that. That relationship side of things underpins why our partners support us.” This access to the high net worth individuals behind the deals is something high-end brands are only too well aware of. British Polo Day partners with companies such as Hackett, St Regis Hotels & Resorts, Bentley Motors and Jaeger Le-Coultre, while, having sponsored events and teams for over 30 years; Cartier is almost synonymous with polo.
1. British Polo Day; 2. Polo is attractive to automobile sponsors; 3. Enjoying refreshments
Swiss watchmaker Richard Mille, who sponsors his own polo team and recently unveiled a watch designed exclusively for polo, explains the appeal. “The skill, speed and endurance needed in polo make it an exciting sport to be involved in,” says Mille. When questioned about whether the figures invested in polo sponsorship translate into an equivalent return, he says: “Not always but then it wouldn’t truly be a luxury product without some sacrifices.”
Cost is the one thing that it’s impossible to get away from when it comes to polo. Prices vary, depending on the quality of the players and ponies but it can cost upwards of AED2 million to sponsor even a mid-level team. Consequently the game relies on the patronage of a few extremely wealthy individuals and the eponymous corporate sponsorships, none of which, according to insiders, are close to breaking even when it comes to investment.
“As a patron you don’t make money, it’s all about a hobby” MOHAMMED AL HABTOOR, Vice-Chairman & CEO, Al Habtoor Group
4. Polo is considered one of the oldest sports in the world; 5. Khalaf Ahmad Al Habtoor (left) is an avid polo fan; 6 & 7. Luxury goods on sale at a match
8. Taking to the polo field at Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, Dubai; 9. British Polo Day has become an institution in Dubai
This year marked the tenth anniversary of British Polo Day and the event, which manages to be the perfect combination of popular and prestigious, is only getting bigger. Now in a string of cities from Singapore to St Tropez and stretching the corners of the globe, Co-Founder and Chairman of British Polo Day Tom Hudson admits the Dubai event will always be closest to his heart. “For me, as British Polo Day began in Dubai, it is the most special one,” he says. “Our partners here, the Habtoor family, have invested in such an exquisite property. We never could have imagined it growing to what it has when we started brainstorming ten years ago.” Although British Polo Day is a highpoint in the social calendar and has hosted 12 royal families, 100 independent billionaires and leaders in the world of innovation, like Richard Branson and Elon Musk, it retains a charitable element, which sets it apart. “Although BPD is a business we use the platform to raise money for charities that mean a lot to us,” says Hudson. “We have raised over AED7 million and have a target of AED40 million by 2030.” Dubai’s next British Polo Day is on 29 March, 2019.
“As a patron you don’t make money, it’s all about a hobby,” one of the UAE’s largest financial backers of polo, Mohammed Al Habtoor, told Arabian Business last year. It’s estimated he spends over AED3 million just to maintain his 35 polo ponies, let alone the seven figure salaries top polo players command and the costs incurred for running an event. Habtoor, who recently opened luxury hotel Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club and headed up the Gulf team in this year’s British Polo Day, continued: “It’s an expensive hobby but once you have your team and you play, whether or not you win or lose, it’s a game you can get really addicted to.”
“Polo is the world’s oldest sport; there’s something in each country we play in that resonates” TOM HUDSON, Co-Founder and Chairman of luxury polo series, British Polo Day
BEST OF BRITISH
JOIN THE RIDE As one of the fastest-growing polo markets in the world, Dubai is also doing its bit to ensure that the sport increases its appeal to the every man. Since 2005, Dubai Polo Academy has been offering polo tuition to both tourists and residents. The Academy offers an intensive three-day ‘Learn to Play’ course, which promises to teach its students every thing they need to chukka their hat into the ring on a polo field. “Dubai is one of the most aspirational destinations in the world, therefore it made perfect sense to offer a facility to learn one of the most aspirational sports in the world,” says founder Steve Thompson. Thompson, who has almost 25 years of experience in the industry, says the academy has been operating at full capacity almost constantly since it opened. “People arrive rather intimidated and can’t believe it when they’re riding a horse 15 minutes later. The horses are very well trained and obedient, so we kit people out and they get on the horse and it’s like having a go on a furry jet ski. “You’re just balancing, and then we give you a stick and a ball and you marry it all together. It’s all about balance and technique and the horse’s training, really: you’re not really learning to ride, but you have a good time, have a game, and when you leave you can say you’ve done it.” Which in a place as aspirational as Dubai is sometimes what it’s all about…
10. Relaxing off the field; 11. Polo is not a game for the feint-hearted
“It’s a unique model,” agrees Hudson. “Professionals play with amateur patrons – it’s like Roman Abramovich not just owning Chelsea, but playing for it as well.” And ironically, despite its reputation as one of the world’s elite sports, Hudson believes there’s something about the essence of polo that guarantees its universal appeal, regardless of culture of geography. “Polo is the world’s oldest sport; there’s something in each country we play in that resonates,” he says.
“Be it celebrating the Arabian horse in the Gulf, the Maharajas of India, the cowboys of America or the Tang Dynasty in China, polo taps into local history and heritage wherever it goes.” In a place like Dubai, where over 85 per cent of residents come from ‘somewhere else’, this shared passion for a common pursuit, regardless of your country of origin, feels particularly resonant. Whether for business or pleasure, when it comes to polo, we should all be champing at the bit.
SPACE.THE FINAL FRONTIER
Red S E E I N G
With its first mission to Mars, the UAE is sending ‘hope’ to the red planet and positioning the country at the forefront of a new future
SPACE.THE FINAL FRONTIER
SPACE.THE FINAL FRONTIER
1. Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency 2. In 2010, the government invested in Virgin Galactic and today it owns a 37.8% stake in the company that’s aiming to open up space for tourism
2. THE UAE is planning its first ever mission to Mars and, with it, will open up the stars to a new generation. Space probe ‘Amal’ – or ‘Hope’ – will blast off during a brief launch window in July 2020, in a mission timed to arrive on the red planet in 2021 to coincide the UAE’s 50th anniversary. The country is also set to launch its third satellite by the end of this year, while plans to colonise Mars by 2117 were announced last year. But while these achievements have been heralded as the culmination of a seven-year strategy that began when the UAE launched its own space programme back in July 2014, the
All 200 employees at the space centre are Emirati citizens, while the satellite that the UAE plans to send into space by the end of this year will be the first built entirely by Arab engineers
country’s race to space actually has far more historic roots. Founding father of the nation, Sheikh Zayed is known to have held at least three meetings on the future of space travel in the 1970s, while a piece of moon rock gifted to the UAE by US President Nixon and currently on display in Al Ain Museum serves as a reminder that today’s plans have been a long time in the making. “Space is a key and significant tool to any economy,” said Director General of the UAE Space Agency, Dr Mohammed Al Ahbabi. Meanwhile, President of the Mars Society, Robert Zubrin, highlights the contribution to the energy industry, medical research and technology that the UAE’s focus on space will generate. “Out of that challenge, you’ll get millions of young scientists and engineers,” he predicts. With the industry also set to spawn multiple business opportunities for start-ups in the fields of hospitality, engineering, science and technology, the UAE is no longer the only nation in the Middle East looking upwards. Inspired by the speed of the UAE’s advances and conscious of the economic impact of space exploration, neighbouring countries both in the Gulf region and beyond are beginning to express their own ambitions and move towards developing their own space programmes. India, which in 2014 became the first country in the world to place a satellite in Martian orbit on its first attempt, is planning a second trip in 2021, while China is preparing for a manned moon mission in 2036. Others, like Japan and Singapore, are focusing on ancillary space industries. “They’re eyeing support services such as space hotels for the future,” said author of Asian Space Race: Rhetoric or Reality, Ajey Lele. Closer to home, reports by Kuwaiti news agency Kuna suggest Kuwait could be snapping at the UAE’s heels in the space race. Professor of Physics at Kuwait University, Dr Hala Al-Jassar, told Kuna that establishing a space programme “is not a fantasy, it is a way of the future”. He continued: “We have
SPACE.THE FINAL FRONTIER
MINI MARS IN THE DESERT
3. Engineers working on the Hope probe at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre
WITH an ambitious AED500 million plan to construct a Mars Science City in the UAE desert, the mission to colonise Mars has already begun. The city, which is set to be 1.9 million square feet, will consist of several domes constructed out of materials that can block solar radiation (due to Mars’ lack of protective atmosphere solar radiation is significantly higher on the red planet than Earth). Much like Matt Damon in the Hollywood blockbuster The Martian, the city will test agricultural techniques in a giant greenhouse to be constructed on site, while there will also be huge laboratories dedicated to exploring how to store food, generate energy and produce water.
Mars Science City will also have its own piece of culture in the form of a museum to showcase all of the greatest space achievements so far, with educational areas to entice young students as part of the plan. The walls of the museum will be 3D printed, using sand from the UAE desert. A hand-picked group of scientists will be chosen to live in the simulated city for at least 12 months as part of the project’s plan to develop selfsufficiency techniques that would allow astronauts and colonists to survive on Mars in the future. As yet, it’s unclear how this specialist team will be selected, though we do know it will consist of field experts with a large array of complementary skills.
the budget, the talents, the expertise and outstanding graduates.” While the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research’s work with NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory means that should it choose to enter the space race, it wouldn’t be starting from scratch, the UAE is still rocketing ahead. Since the inception of its Space Agency in 2014, the UAE has invested AED20 billion in its space programme and is close to launching a satellite entirely of its own creation into space. In 2010, the government invested in Virgin Galactic and today it owns a 37.8% stake in the company that’s aiming to open up space for tourism. The UAE has also signed a Memoranda of Understanding with space programmes in countries including China, France, Russia, the UK, India and Japan, as well as signing an Agreement to Collaborate with NASA in 2016. The collaboration, which involves the two parties sharing spacecraft, scientific instruments, research facilities and information in a bid to explore the red planet will advance the UAE’s plans to colonise Mars by 2117. “The UAE aims to be part of the world consortium in establishing the first
SPACE.THE FINAL FRONTIER
settlement on Mars,” explained Dr Al Ahbabi. “We are unique in our region because we are setting the highest and most ambitious goals. We want to inspire young people, we want to educate them and solve the challenges that we are facing on Earth today. By having the finest scientists in the world, who may help solve the challenges on Mars, we could find solutions on Earth.” Developing homegrown scientists has been key to the success of the project. When the UAE launched satellites in 2009 and 2013 they had to be developed with South Korean partners. Before the formation of the space programme, it was hard to find local engineers with the expertise. “These days it’s easy for us,” said Assistant Director General for Science and Technology at the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Centre, Salem Humaid Al Marri. “We definitely have more inquirers than positions available.” All 200 employees at the space centre are Emirati citizens, while the satellite that the UAE plans to send into space by the end of this year will be the first built entirely by Arab engineers.
4. ‘KhalifaSat’ was built in space laboratories in the UAE and worked on entirely by Emirati engineers, from design stage to manufacture
‘KhalifaSat’ was built in space laboratories in the UAE and worked on entirely by Emirati engineers, from design stage to manufacture. The UAE has also been developing its own astronaut programme, with four trainee astronauts due to be selected imminently from over 4000 applications made last year. “The high level of expertise that Emirati scientists and engineers have developed creates a strong foundation for the future scientific and technological development of the UAE,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai, when he inspected the progress of the KhalifaSat project earlier this year. “We are confident that the nation’s space industry sector will continue its strong growth, and emerge as a key component of our economy. The development of KhalifaSat is not only a source of pride for Emiratis and Arabs, but also a global achievement that will benefit humanity.” Echoing Sheikh Mohammed’s sentiments, His Excellency Dr Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, UAE Minister of State for Higher Education and Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, elaborated: “Space exploration is a necessity not only because of its tangible benefits to our everyday lives, but because of its potential to inspire and uplift mankind in ways we can only imagine.”
“The high level of expertise that Emirati scientists and engineers have developed creates a strong foundation for the future scientific and technological development of the UAE”
HIS HIGHNESS SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID AL MAKTOUM Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai
These strong sentiments about the morale boosting impact space will have on mankind as a whole speaks to an additional underlying motivation – the chance to fire up a new generation of Emiratis and position the UAE at the forefront of a new future. And with support for the project at every level from the top down and a nation of people behind it, the sky really is the limit.
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i.Robot Is there anything to fear from the rise of the machines or is the development of Artificial Intelligence good for business — and humanity? ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE – the great conundrum of our time? Proponents of ‘computers that think’, like Bill Gates, believe that “AI can be our friend” and lead to increased productivity, medical marvels and more quality leisure time for all. On the other side of the fence, fears are growing about the narrowing divide between human and artificial intelligence. Elon Musk is perhaps the most outspoken critic, warning that AI “poses a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization”, while even the founder of Google’s AI’s company DeepMind, Shane Legg, has stated: “I think human extinction will probably occur and technology will likely play a part.”
As the debate rages, the vast majority of the population blithely taps away on its smartphones, allowing them to predict everything from our preferences to our personalities. All the while, technology grows stronger and the artificial intelligence revolution marches on. Now, as experts predict over 800 million jobs could be automated within the next 20 years, Scene asks – is artificial intelligence our friend or our foe? “We need to separate the way sci-fi movies have depicted AI until now – from futuristic thinking caps up to humanoid robots – and
1. realise that AI is embedded in an entire series of regular aspects of our lives and it is improving them, for the moment incrementally, very soon, exponentially,” says Salman Yusuf, Managing Director of technology agency Takeleap. “As we collect data about all the aspects of our lives, from daily routes to health to education to business productivity and finances, machines can read this data and start observing
patterns. This is why our browser searches, map directions, social media feeds or our e-commerce recommendations are becoming more tailored for each of us. As machine learning algorithms receive and analyse more and more data, AI interfaces will observe more and more patterns and generate better solutions.” “We should view AI not as something competing with us, but as something that can amplify our own capabilities,” agrees Professor of Robotics at Carnegie Mellon University, Takeo Kanade. This, he explains, is because AI has a tolerance for tedium far beyond human capacities, which it uses to identify and analyse patterns that human boredom and brainpower would simply tune out. Which means the possibilities of what AI can achieve are endless. It has been tipped as a possible solution for everything from cancer to gun crime, and the industry is worth billions. Recent analysis by management consultancy firm PwC found that AI could contribute up to $15.7 trillion to the global economy by 2030, while spending on AI in the UAE hit AED33 billion by the end of last year alone. The research also found that the UAE, which
1. Dubai Police robocop 2. Elon Musk
is fast becoming a hub for technological developments, is expected to enjoy the most significant gains in the region from AI – an anticipated 14 per cent of its GDP by 2030. “We want the UAE to become the world’s most prepared country for artificial intelligence,” said His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, speaking last year following the appointment of His Excellency Omar bin Sultan Al Olama to the position of UAE Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence – the world’s first such cabinet position. While the move generated headlines around the world, locally it was seen as the logical next step in line with the UAE’s Strategy for Artificial Intelligence. Conceived as part of the UAE Centennial 2071 Project, the plan aims to position the UAE at the forefront of the worldwide AI movement. Since the
“There is still a long way until the fortress of the human brain’s creativity and understanding of complex concepts will be matched by AI” SALMAN YUSUF, Managing Director Takeleap
announcement of the strategy, the UAE has also formed the UAE Council for Artificial Intelligence to help implement it. By extending AI’s reach into every government department, the strategy aims to reduce traffic accidents, cut the cost of education, increase renewables and productivity and minimize chronic and dangerous diseases. It is perhaps the broad reach of these possibilities that contributes to the fear factor that one day we’ll eventually be replaced by machines.
By 2030, almost 30 per cent of the Dubai Police force will be made up of robocops, while late last year Saudi Arabia became the first country in the world to give a humanoid robot, called Sohpia, citizenship. “The tech world is divided into two groups on this – one that is very pro AI and believes it’s the future, and one that thinks if we push it too far 3. AI systems in action at the Museum of the Future tour at Madinat Jumeirah
we’ll end up in The Terminator movie,” says Paul Roy, CEO of entertainment company Riva Group. “There’s currently not an outlier on either side to say what’s right. But I think as long as we are putting enough controls into our machines, it should be OK. “And although a lot of things will be automated, there are some things that machines can’t replicate,” he says. “You may be able to teach them maths but you can’t make them creative. Technically, a machine can’t feel emotion.”
A NUMBER OF MAJOR ECONOMIC POWERS HAVE LAUNCHED LONG-TERM AI STRATEGIES AND INITIATIVES Source: pwc via @mikequindazzi
JAPAN: • Artificial Intelligence Technology Strategy (Mar 2017) • New Robot Strategy (Feb 2015)
USA: • Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS) • Big Data: a report on algorithmic systems, opportunity and civil rights (May 2016) • AI, Automation and the Economy (Dec 2016) • Preparing for the Future of Artifical Intelligence (Oct 2016) UK: Growing the Artificial Intelligence Industry in the UK (Oct 2017) Recommendations to: • Improve access to data • Maximize UK AI research • Improve supply of skills • Support uptake of AI
GERMANY: • Ethics Commission: Automated and connected driving (Jun 2017)
UAE: • UAE Strategy for Artifical Intelligence (Oct 2017)
CHINA: • Next Generation AI Development Plan (Jul 2017) with key focus areas and key guarantee measures addressing science and technology as well as regulations and competitive policies
THERE may be great debate about how far artificial intelligence can – and should – go, but it’s impossible to deny some of the positive steps it’s already taken to combat significant problems facing today’s society.
HEALTH Not only was the world’s first robotic operation carried out in Oxford, England, in September 2016, when a surgeon used a remote controlled device to treat a damaged retina in a patient’s eye, but clinics in San Francisco have also unveiled a team of robo-nurses that use AI to remind patients to take medicines and help doctors to track their progress. It’s impossible to overestimate the impact AI can have on the healthcare sector. AI agencies like Deepmind are currently using machine learning to catch early signs of heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s, while in the UK healthcare provider Babylon uses chatbots to help diagnose isolated or incapacitated patients’ symptoms remotely. SAFETY In the US, an AI system known as ShotSpotter is being trialed to detect the sound of gunshots within a certain radius. The system is able to analyse the distinctive ‘pop’ of a gunshot to reveal the number of shots and determine the location to within 25 metres. Ninety cities are already using ShotSpotter and smaller versions of the system have also been deployed on nine college campuses. FAMINE Researchers at a university in Uganda have developed an automated system aimed at combating plant diseases in impoverished countries. Eight hundred million people worldwide currently rely on the cassava root as a source of nourishment and the Mcrops project, developed by Makerere University, has been trained to spot signs of the four main diseases capable of ravaging the crop. The system can diagnose the diseases with 88 per cent accuracy. SECURITY In the UAE, AI is being used to boost national security with the Ministry of Interior recently revealing that immigration officers at airports in the country could be phased out entirely and replaced by AI systems as early as 2020.
The human factor is one that Salman Yusuf also emphasizes. “I see a time when the majority of jobs that are based on repetitive tasks will be automated, yes,” he says. “But not the majority of jobs. There is still a long way until the fortress of the human brain’s creativity and understanding of complex concepts will be matched by AI.” The more positive viewpoint is backed up by research from McKinsey Global Institute, which found that very few occupations could currently be automated in their entirety. While certain activities and roles may be redefined, fewer than five per cent of occupations can be entirely automated using existing technology. Instead, traditional industries and jobs are likely to have their workforce augmented by AI – with up to 30 per cent of tasks in some occupations likely to be automated, the research found. And rather than being an area of concern, this lightening of our workload could actually be a positive. “We need a massive education push to get this workforce to reorient themselves and become
4. Saudi Arabian citizen Humanoid Robot Sophia is seen during the Discovery exhibition
“We want the UAE to become the world’s most prepared country for artificial intelligence”
HH SHEIKH MOHAMMED BIN RASHID
productive in a world where humans will have time to do what only humans will be able to do,” says Yusuf. “I perceive a bright future where our healthcare and education systems become more advanced and efficient and improve our quality of life, while the other systems of society – from financial to legal structures and more – will be transparent and automated to such a level where we enjoy much more living and evolving together.” While it’s hard to deny that a world in which machines could become cleverer than we are could be a daunting place and one that will require constant monitoring and vigilance, it also seems like perhaps the ultimate nod to evolution that the tech world’s most divisive topic may actually end up bringing people closer together.
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BAGS OF STYLE Whether you’re travelling to the office, heading off on a weekend break or jetting off for business, make sure your briefcase, holdall or carry-on marks you out as someone with impeccable style
TUMI CFX Coleford Briefcase AED7320 Walking into a boardroom with this carbon-fibre briefcase signals a state of mind capable of handling even the toughest of negotiations. Tumi’s wet infusion process means that the carbon, although tough, has been softened so that even when it takes a few knocks, it won’t crack.
MULBERRY Clipper Leather Holdall AED6060 Crafted from fine leather and lined in suede, this tanbrown holdall from Mulberry will age beautifully, and is just the ticket for a weekend away.
PAUL SMITH Signature Stripe Leather Weekend Bag AED2885 Designer Paul Smith’s story is one of success – from humble beginnings in Nottingham to running a flourishing global empire. This signature stripe leather bag is both understated and elegant and perfect for young entrepreneurs on the move.
BERLUTI Un Jour Mini Leather Briefcase AED10,900 ‘Un jour’ roughly translates to ‘one day’ and this Un Jour Mini is ideal for overnight business trips, with flat pockets on the outside and enough space inside to throw in a laptop and a few folders.
VALEXTRA Pebble-Grain Leather Carry-On Case AED20,480 Show you mean business when you board a flight with this elegant suitcase made from navy pebble-grain leather and detailed with brushed-silver hardware. This Italian-made design is lined in quilted black canvas and features dual buckled straps on the inside to keep everything in place. Set on two wheels, it also boasts rubber-grounded protective feet.
TOM FORD Large Alligator Buckley Duffle AED152,400 Nothing says you’ve made it quite like Tom Ford’s iconic duffle bag created from the most luxurious alligator skin with gold zips detail. Reach for this elegant piece once the ink is dry on that multi-million dollar deal and as you head off to your newly acquired beach house.
PAUL SMITH Textured Leather Folio Case AED2993 If you’re looking for safe and conventional (read: boring), you’d better look the other way. This flaming red briefcase will draw attention your way as soon as you enter the room. Its embossed pattern is inspired by the façade of No. 9 Albemarle Street, the brand’s global flagship store. With dual-zipper fastening and a spacious multi-compartment interior, it’s as functional as it is stylish.
BRUNELLO CUCINELLI Leather-Trimmed Suede Carry-On Suitcase AED17,380 Make your mark as the king of the carry-on with this beautifully crafted suitcase made in Italy from butter-soft suede and reinforced with thick leather in the areas that’ll receive the most knocks. Its internal zipped pocket and buckled straps will keep your belongings secure.
MONTBLANC Meisterstück Soft Grain Document Case Slim AED3380 Montblanc has pulled out all the stops to ensure that this document case is crafted from the finest Italian full-grain cowhide. Inside, there’s room for a few folders, a laptop, a mobile and three writing instruments – one of which we’ll take for granted will be a Montblanc Meisterstuck pen for signing those important business deals.
MONTROI Warfield Single Briefcase AED4950 Headquartered here in Dubai, Montroi products are made in Spain and Italy although countries in the East heavily influence the hand-applied artwork. With its global outlook, the brand appeals to those who consider the world to be their office.
MAXWELL SCOTT BAGS Brown Leather Pilot’s Case AED3050 Delightfully retro and made from robust Italian leather to stand up to wear and tear, this pilot’s case if the perfect companion for high fliers. The largest in the range, it offers plenty of space for your documents and equipment and features a barrel lock.
BERLUTI Jour-Off GM Leather Holdall AED13,460 Berluti’s signature Venezia leather is meticulously treated by hand to create its unique patina and shine. Ideal for weekends away, this piece has an external zipped pocket for travel documents and a cavernous interior with ample room for your belongings. A matching strap allows you to go hands-free.
Soul ART.VADIK ZIBROV
S E A R C H I N G
Artist Vadik Zibrov tells Scene he wants to inspire other people to follow their dreamsâ€¦
VADIK ZIBROV is intense to say the least. That much should be obvious from his photographs, currently on display in the Members’ Bar. The moody, evocative shots, designed to make their viewers forget their surroundings and lose themselves in the image, have been causing quite a stir. Visitors and members alike have been left wondering about the man behind these visceral images, so detailed that from a distance they appear to be painted on canvas. When Scene meets 36-year old Ukrainian photographer Vadik Zibrov,
the mysterious artist behind them, he doesn’t disappoint. His answers are as enigmatic as his work. The nomadic photographer, who spends his life on the road searching for the next subject, sums up his style as “torn out footage from the film of the lives of every person who I’ve taken photographs of. I only work with people because the human soul is the most important to me. It contains a life.” Zibrov’s provocative shots, all of which feature a central figure in an unusual location or surround, have
an otherworldly quality – as if they’re inviting viewers into a dream. It’s this elusive quality that both sets his work apart and informs who and what he works with. “I see the person from the inside and try to show his emotions in the moment when the pictures are being taken,” he continues, before citing actresses Gwyneth Paltrow and Cate Blanchett as his dream sitters. Although five years ago working with such high profile stars might have been out of reach for the intense artist, who’s only been working in Dubai for 18 months, his star is definitely in the ascendency. As well as the Capital Club exhibition, Zibrov has shown work in 12 countries and has exhibitions in London, New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles in the pipeline. Not bad for a man who spent a decade honing his craft in a tiny photographic studio in his hometown of Krivoy Rog. And that’s
the thing he’s keen to impress upon Scene: the importance of self-belief and striving to reach your goals. “First of all you need to believe in yourself and your life work,” he tells us earnestly. “The rest is just time and passion. I started work as a video operator but I always felt inside me that this was something I wanted to do. Now I’ve been making pictures and projects in 12 countries and my pictures have appeared in magazines around the world. “Having my work hanging in the Capital Club is a personal achievement and I hope my exhibition will inspire other people to achieve their own personal goals and dreams. “Our team has been preparing this exhibition for about four months – it’s been a long and tough process but the result has surpassed even my expectations. While my style might not suit everyone, I hope that everyone
who sees it in the Capital Club will be pleasantly surprised. Telling people’s stories through photographs on such a big scale has such power.” Almost as much power as the power of believing in yourself; it would seem. Zibrov’s works are available for sale through the Club. Due to the uniqueness of each image, only one will ever be printed so do hurry to make sure you don’t miss out.
GET THE BRIEF FANS of Zibrov’s images will be pleased to know that not only is the work on the walls of the Club for sale, there’s also an accompanying limited edition leatherbound book, featuring all the pieces in the exhibition, for those who can’t decide which print they prefer. Club members are entitled to an exclusive 10 per cent discount on the price of the book, which comes in a specially designed Zibrov briefcase.
Slope TRAVEL.SUMMER SKI RESORTS
Scene’s pick of the best places to ski this summer…
TRAVEL.SUMMER SKI RESORTS
TIGNES, FRANCE Hit the slopes at this French favourite, where a funicular train provides access to 20 kilometres of lift-served slopes for the whole of July. Although the accessible slopes will be significantly reduced from their winter offering, there are plenty of other activities to keep snow bunnies busy this summer. From golf to biking to a host of water sports on Tignes Lake, there really is something for everyone.
TRAVEL.SUMMER SKI RESORTS
HINTERTUX, AUSTRIA Hintertux is one of the few remaining glaciers that’s open for skiing 365 days a year, making it perfect for those who can’t get away until August. Up to 60 kilometres of runs are open during summer, offering a decent range of runs for all levels. Skiers in the know go for the steep, challenging terrain at the top of the glacier but those less confident will still find plenty to amuse themselves – from the Ice Palace inside the glacier, which is filled with crystals to explore, to the mountain biking, ice climbing and hiking available across the resort. And while it might not be the weather for a hot chocolate, there’s nothing better than Austrian schnapps at the bottom of the slope.
PORTILLO, CHILE Portillo is on every ski fanatic’s bucketlist and for good reason. Not only was it the first South American resort to host the Alpine World Ski Championships in 1966, it’s also where the US, Norwegian, Austrian and Canadian ski teams train every August. Tucked in the Andes, it’s open to mere mortals too (the ski school is excellent) and boasts some of the most stunning vistas you’ll ever encounter as you hurtle down the mountain towards the lake. Rustic accommodation only adds to the charm.
TRAVEL.SUMMER SKI RESORTS
CORONET PEAK, NEW ZEALAND Popular due to its proximity to Queenstown (just a 25-minute drive away), Coronet Peak has a range of slopes to appeal to every level. The resort is known for its high-speed chairlifts (hold onto your helmets) and offers night skiing three times a week for those who really canâ€™t get enough of the white stuff.
PERISHER, AUSTRALIA Turn the concept of skiing only being a winter sport on its head by flying Down Under. Perisher is the largest ski area in the southern hemisphere, offering skiers access to seven mountain peaks. Famous for its super pipe, half pipe and terrain parks, Perisher is a six-hour drive from Sydney. Prone to powder dumps mid-season, the resort is also serviced by 240 snow guns to ensure the slopes are crisp and fresh all summer long.
BOOK REVIEWS Scene’s pick of the best poolside reads this summer
THE SEVEN DEATHS OF EVELYN HARDCASTLE STUART TURTON Agatha Christie meets Inception by way of Downton Abbey is the best way to describe this rollercoaster of a read. Perfect for making sure your synapses stay firing during your summer break, the twisted tale follows the fortunes of a mysterious main character trying to solve a 1920s murder in the British countryside. There are just two problems – he doesn’t know who he is, and who he is keeps changing. Sounds confusing? Imagine what life is like for said narrator – who wakes up as a different guest each morning with scant recollection of the days that have gone before. The narrator, whose real name is Aiden Bishop (don’t worry we’re not giving too much away!) has eight days and eight different characters to solve the murder of Evelyn Hardcastle or he’s doomed to repeat the circuit. But with two rival searchers and every guest hiding his or her own secret, Bishop’s got his work cut out for him. Arm yourself with Post-it notes and a pen if you want to have any chance of solving the crime – but even without, the book is a pleasure to read.
FACTFULNESS: TEN REASONS WE’RE WRONG ABOUT THE WORLD – AND WHY THINGS ARE BETTER THAN YOU THINK 44
HANS ROSLING If you’re after a little positivity before you head off on your summer vacation, this is the book for you. Having rapidly gained a cult following (Bill Gates called it one of the best books he’s ever read), Factfulness is just what you need to overcome any summertime blues. It’s written by Swedish scientist Hans Rosling – published posthumously – and turns the idea that things are going from bad to worse on its head. While the book can’t deny that there are many mad, bad and dangerous things going on in the world (terrorism, school shootings, extreme weather), it argues that on a wider scale things are actually improving. The percentage of people living in extreme poverty has almost halved over 20 years, access to education has improved and – despite the terrifying headlines – less people are being harmed by natural disasters and it’s getting safer to fly. This point forms the crux of Rosling’s argument – that it’s bad news journalism and a media-driven narrow worldview leading us to believe that things are much worse than they are. It might sound a bit ‘fake news’ but Rosling makes a compelling case for looking on the bright side of life and he does so in an engaging, example-led way. Definitely worth a read.
BE EXTRAORDINARY, THE SPIRIT OF BENTLEY ALINE COQUELLE Perhaps too weighty a tome to be read by the pool, this stunning edition, published with Assouline’s trademark elegance and flair, would be a great addition to the tables at any summer gathering. Tracing the history of Britain’s most prestigious car, from its humble origins in the suburb of Cricklewood, north London, in 1919, to its sweeping victories at Le Mans, the book is a stunning homage to ‘the spirit of Bentley’. Featuring inspirational images from some of the world’s leading photographers, details of the engineering trademarks that make Bentley such an iconic car, as well as insider information on some of Bentley’s most notable owners and collectors, this book is not just for car enthusiasts – it’s for anybody who appreciates the extraordinary.
Hamdi Osman The former FedEx boss talks about success in business, finding your passion and overcoming the odds… “I nearly got fired on my second day at FedEx,” business mogul Hamdi Osman confesses over coffee at the Capital Club. “My brother-in-law at the time was a manager at FedEx in New Jersey and he got me the interview,” the former FedEx Senior Vice President of Middle East, Africa and the Indian subcontinent laughingly admits. “I went in my best suit, thinking I was going to be a manager like him. Instead, they handed me the yellow overalls and a bucket and told me to start washing trucks. “My brother-in-law said, ‘Don’t embarrass me – make sure you do things properly. Wash the trucks inside and out’. My English wasn’t good so I took him literally – after I’d finished the exterior, I stuck the hose in through the window and hosed the inside of the truck down. All the electrics were ruined. On 15 trucks. Luckily, management saw something in me. They knew I’d tried to do the right thing; I’d just done it the wrong way. But it was a hard lesson – I started improving my English straightaway.” After the shaky start, Osman threw himself into the job. “I wanted to know absolutely everything. I taught myself how to drive a tractor-trailer; I spent hours sitting with the mechanics. I was happy to drive three hours from Newark Airport in Jersey to the airport in Philadelphia every night but I learned all the other routes too in case anyone called in sick. Remember, this was before Google maps!” he laughs. “I became what they called a ‘floater’ – I could do anybody else’s job as well as my own. “Within three years, my brotherin-law was working for me. I was the youngest managing director in the history of FedEx at 27. To say that Osman is driven is an understatement. An Egyptian by birth, it was playing professional football that initially took him to America, and he credits that competitive edge and ability to focus with propelling him up the ladder at FedEx, firstly in the States and then in Dubai, where he moved in 1991. “One of my mentors at FedEx, James Barksdale, who was COO of FedEx at the time, once said to me, ‘Make sure you
keep the main thing the main thing’, and it’s something I’ve tried to stick by. “So often people forget that main thing that drives them – the reason they asked the girl to dance, hired that employee, you name it. It’s easy to get lost in the detail. That’s what makes the Capital Club successful – it was created with that ‘main thing’ of providing a quiet place for business people to mingle among their equals.” Osman, who sits on the Board of Governors at the Club, welcomes its drive towards supporting young entrepreneurs, which mirrors his own interests. After his retirement from FedEx in 2011, Osman took up positions on the board of several non-profit organisations, and also founded an investment company designed specifically to support young entrepreneurs. Osman is a self-confessed embodiment of the American Dream, a man whose hard work and financial nous pulled him up by the bootstraps from an “average family” to the higher echelons of the business world, with awards like ‘Businessmen of the Year’ and ‘Lifetime Achievement’ vying for space on his shelves. But while it would be easy to mistake Osman’s life as a charmed one, much of his strength comes from a tragedy that he refused to let beat him. “Fourteen years ago, my eldest daughter was in a car accident so terrible that the emergency services had to cut her spinal cord to get her out,” he confides. “Doctors told us she had a five per cent chance of living.” Osman’s daughter beat those odds – despite being a quadriplegic, she’s able to move her neck and her arms, more than doctors ever thought possible, and has an active life, working as a voice-over artist, actress and Ambassador for the Triumph Foundation. “About a year after the accident, my daughter’s neurosurgeon explained the stages of ‘DADA’ to us,” he
says. “Denial, anger, depression and acceptance – we went through them all without knowing it. Now it’s my mission to try and share what we’ve learned and overcome.” For Osman, reaching out to help others up is something that comes naturally.
CLUB DIARY.10TH ANNIVERSARY
was the night
Drinks flowed and conversation sparkled as the Capital Club celebrated its 10th anniversary with a ‘Midnight in Paris’ themed birthday bash. From men in 1920s moustaches to femme fatales turned flappers in feathers, it was a night that Fitzgerald and Hemingway would have been proud of – with our members and their guests pulling out all the stops to give the Club a birthday to remember.
1. Raza Jafar, Ian Palmer, Guy Guillemard, Ian Fairservice & Daniel Forster; 2. Cynthia Trench & Patricia Trodd; 3. Meryem El Harouz; 4. Gallery during speeches
5. Emma Wright, Rhiannon Vallis, Joanna Deuskar & Felice Hurst; 6. Ivana Okereke, Lani Jashanmal, Eveline Jashanmal, Shefali Jashnmal & Tony Jashanmal; 7. Julia Kerschbaumer; 8. Jean Collins & Ian Palmer; 9. Marasri Maksud & Gordon Robertson; 10. Michaela Marcoli, Camelia Zaal, John Barron, Steve Davis & Syed Summer; 11. Natalia Kapchuk & Natalyia Bondarenko; 12. Robi Walters, Olga Blomnik & Vadik Zibrov
CLUB DIARY.10TH ANNIVERSARY
13. Refreshments; 14. Rashid & Ali Al Nuami; 15. Charlotte Mak; 16. Albina Ayukhanova; 17. Alexandre De Damas & Brendan Bilgen; 18. Dr Frank Mayer & Ulrike Maria Mayer-Renner; 19. Martin and Veronica Bowie; 20. Christelle Haddad & Gabriel Georges Khoury
21. Charlotte Mak, Nick & Amanda Edmunds with flapper girls; 22. Enter through the vintage car; 23. Oana Matei & Cynthia Trench; 24. Rajvi & Karim Rahemtulla; 25. Vimla & Shyam Bhatia; 26. Valliabh Chadha & Pradeep Sagar; 27. Burcu & Federico Tauber; 28. Stephanie Robert & Will Robert
CLUB DIARY.10TH ANNIVERSARY
29. Nassim Abu Ershaed, Wessam Haddad & Grant Fairbairn; 30. Shuja & Lani Jashanmal & Aqeel Munawar; 31. Carlotta Pretti, Edoardo Riccio & Sofie Bager; 32. Henry Okereke; 33. Rita & Jan Bladen; 34. Live cooking station on the terrace
CLUB DIARY.10TH ANNIVERSARY
35. Mihaela Nina, Michela & Stefano Lorini with flapper girls; 36. Gayene Avendikian & Harsh Kamani; 37. Ian Palmer, Mille Rostock, Janus Rostock & Anna Hope; 38. Natalia Zvonareva & Dr Heinz Pley; 39. Olga Buyakovich, Ryan Bayman & Venera Zaripova; 40. Sana & Humair Maniar
Sponsors of the spectacular night included Lamborghini, Virgin Mobile, The Art of Shaving, Arton Capital, TCA, The Langham and Desert Palm
CLUB DIARY.MEMBERS’ IFTAR
Members’ Iftar The Club enjoyed the opportunity to celebrate Ramadan at our Members’ Iftar this May. The event, which was a sell-out success, gave members the chance to break fast together over a delicious menu, including freshly squeezed juices, dates, hot and cold mezze, the finest grilled meats and sweet pastries fresh from the kitchen.
1. Setting the tone; 2. His Excellency Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori; 3. Krishna Natarajan
CLUB DIARY.MEMBERS’ IFTAR
4. A full house; 5. Elena Schildgen; 6. Nawar Abdul Wahed; 7. Ebonnie and Graham Martin & Mihaela Nina; 8. His Excellency Khalfan Al Mazrouei; 9. Lucy O’Brien; 10. Wanda Bronkhorst
CLUB DIARY.LAST TUESDAY
54 1. Kutyba Alissa, Oliver Whyman, Soukalin Ghosh, Jean Collins, Priyanka Lakhani, Amy Stafford, Sanjit Gill, Priya Ramchandani, Deepa Swamy & Shushant Godambe; 2. Leah Tedrow, Oana Matei & Sinnthya Macek; 3. Shushant Godambe & Deepa Swamy
Last Tuesday Tradition Members took the chance to get together over drinks and canapĂŠs during our popular Last Tuesday Tradition. The evenings, sponsored by the Collinson Group in April and DeLonghi in May, were particularly lively affairs, giving members the chance to enjoy the last of the good weather and catch up with each other before Ramadan.
CLUB DIARY.LAST TUESDAY
4. Shahzad Waraich, Hanem Hadi & Brendan Bilgen; 5. Oliver Whyman, Jillian Donnelly & Nancy Clark; 6. Marasri & Gordon Robertson; 7. Anders Wennerholms, Gemma Davies & Amir Ashrafi; 8. Mike Samways & Natasha Howe; 9. Lee Ali, Brett Smyth & Martin Bond; 10. Max Girombelli & Julia Kerschbaumer; 11. Daniel Forster, Ian Palmer & David Seccombe
CLUB DIARY.WINE SOCIETY
International winemaker of the year, Neil McGuigan hosted a stunning four-course dinner for members as part of the Clubâ€™s Wine Society. Each course was matched with a complementary McGuigan grape, and members were treated to anecdotes from McGuiganâ€™s 30 years in the winemaking industry, as well as insider tips on up-andcoming grapes to invest in. 2.
1. Setting the scene; 2 & 3. Good wine to match the flowing conversation
CLUB DIARY.WINE SOCIETY
4. Host Neil McGuigan entertains diners; 5. All set; 6, 7 & 8. Members enjoy another great Wine Society evening
F&B.GALTON BLACKISTON & TONY SINGH
IN the culinary world, The Capital Club is developing something of a reputation for being the place to cook. Over the past year, our members have had the chance to dine on dishes by Michelin star winners Umberto Bombana, Riccardo La Perna and Augusto Valzelli to name but a few, and this season, hot on the heels of British TV favourite Brian Turner, the Club welcomed Michelin starred chef Galton Blackiston and MBE holder Tony Singh into the kitchen to dazzle our diners. Scene caught up with both chefs and discovered that although their style of cooking – classic French and Asian fusion – couldn’t be more different, they have a surprising amount in common, beginning with their attitude to Dubai. “I’d like to come back and cook at the Club,” says Galton Blackiston. “It’s a very enthusiastic team in the kitchen and they all bent over backwards for us.” “It was just like being in my own restaurant,” Tony Singh agrees. “The team was amazing – everyone from Executive Chef Andy to GM Ian was really helpful and everybody knew exactly what they were doing. I would love to have stayed longer – I’ve already been speaking to Andy about organizing something else.” Both chefs also praised the ability of the Club to get hold of all the ingredients on their complex menus. “I thought some things were going to be banned,” Tony Singh laughs, before adding: “The produce that was available was second to none – the supply chain was so well developed.” For Galton Blackiston, the experience was more of an eye-opening one. “I hadn’t realised how much produce has to be sourced from elsewhere – that must be one hell of a challenge. But we were very happy with what went out and how it all came together.”
F&B.GALTON BLACKISTON & TONY SINGH
Guest chefs Galton Blackiston and Tony Singh talk Dubai, dining with the Queen and the surprising benefits of staying married… As were the diners? “I think so,” Blackiston chuckles. “I watched the plates come back to the kitchen – I do at every service – and they all came back empty!” It’s paying attention to tiny details like this that make Blackiston such a formidable chef; one whose country restaurant and hotel, Morston Hall in Norfolk, has held its Michelin star for over 20 years. Attention to detail, and a serious amount of hard work. “There isn’t an excuse not to do the hard graft,” says Blackiston, who also owns a phenomenally popular seaside fish and chips restaurant, No.1 Cromer. “It can be madness. Our fish and chip restaurant did 2000 covers last weekend because of the sunshine. If you want to succeed as a chef, you’ve got to have two basic things – enthusiasm and common sense. I can see it in the young ones coming through – enthusiasm and not being afraid to ask the question. That’s what makes them stand out.” Tony Singh, who has launched dozens of award-winning restaurants and received an MBE for services to the food and drink industry in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List last year, also credits not being afraid to roll his sleeves up with the meteoric rise of his own career. “It’s a horrible job but I wouldn’t change it,” he says. “Cooking is a full contact sport and the most important thing is hard work. You’ve also got to taste and try everything. Be broadminded. Some people say they only do French cooking – I say it’s fine if that’s what you’ve trained as but you’re a chef. You can do anything – be open to a mix of cultures.” Mixing cultures is something Singh can certainly speak on with authority. Born into a second-generation Scottish Sikh family, Singh has made the marrying of fresh Scottish produce with Indian spices in unusual flavour combinations his trademark.
F&B.GALTON BLACKISTON & TONY SINGH
“Cooking is a full contact sport and the most important thing is hard work” TONY SINGH
“Scottish food being unhealthy is a misnomer,” Singh defends. “We’ve got some of the best food in the world – nuggets of salted caramel that are much nicer than deep fried Mars Bars, and fresh seafood. I love cooking with seafood [like the ‘my mum’s recipe for Punjabi salmon’ that featured on the Capital Club menu] – it’s so delicate
and you have to be the best handler of spices and sauces.” It was Singh’s mother that taught him how to cook and even now, despite the wealth of food and cuisine available to him, he says his last meal would be something she made. His father, on the other hand, would have preferred him to follow a slightly different path. “My father opened his own corner shop and he would have liked me and my brother to follow him but I became a chef and my brother joined the RAF. He let us do what we wanted to do – I’m going to do the same for my children.” Blackiston’s mother too was instrumental in his early career. “I left school at 17 and went to college but one thing led to another and I had a six per cent attendance record,” he admits. “I found all sorts of things I’d rather do than go to college so my mum sat me down and asked me what I was any good at. She said I liked cooking and suggested I start selling homemade produce – pastries and cakes – on the market stalls. I did and it went well – I started selling out every week.” After a few months of
F&B.GALTON BLACKISTON & TONY SINGH
sell out success, Blackiston made the decision to abandon his dream of being a professional cricketer – “I was alright but I wasn’t good enough” – to work in a kitchen and from there, a (Michelin) star was born. It is perhaps the influence of these strong maternal figures that explains that while acknowledging the respective career heights they’ve reached, neither chef considers his greatest achievement to be born out of the kitchen. “Being married to someone I work with,” jokes Blackiston when Scene asks him what he’s most proud of [Tracy, his wife of 31 years, runs and manages Morston Hall]. “That’s the biggest achievement. We have our ups and downs but at work Tracy keeps out of my way and I sometimes keep out of hers. She’s the brains behind everything we do. I just cook.” Singh, who laughingly confides his own beloved wife Bechan won’t let him cook in the kitchen because “I’m too messy – lucky she’s a good cook” tells us the moment he’s most proud of involves another strong female. “It was amazing to get my MBE,” he says. “But I’ve also actually had lunch with the Queen. Four times a year she invites people she’s interested in meeting to lunch – I was lucky enough to be invited. It was amazing.”
Singh, who can still recite the menu for that lunch from memory, sounds almost starstruck as he recounts the tale. As someone who has cooked for the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince Albert of Monaco and the Sultan of Brunei, we wonder how he avoids letting his nerves get the better of him in the kitchen. “They’re just like any other diner,” he says firmly. “That’s the way I look at it. Everybody is equal. In your restaurant you could have a high-flying businessman or someone who has saved up for years to have that experience. It’s always special for somebody.” Having tasted both Blackiston and Singh’s food and witnessed its reception during their stints at the Capital Club, we think it’s safe to say that both chefs created something that wasn’t just special for somebody – it was special for everybody. We hope they’ll be back.
says NIGEL NEVER-GOING-TO-LEAVE, who considers himself the ultimate lifer
EVEN if life wasn’t good here, in today’s terrifying geopolitical climate, what have most of us expats got to go back to? Europe’s imploding, America’s facing the greatest political divide in a generation (and they’ve got Trump!) and Brexit rumbles on, claiming more business casualties by the day. Meanwhile, life in Dubai goes from strength to strength with economy and opportunity thriving and the standard of living getting better and better. Living tax-free (don’t mention the VAT!) has allowed me to make some canny property investments (both at home and away) that will allow me to enjoy my retirement here and I’d encourage others to do the same.
With increased globalization there’s scarcely anything to miss about home anymore – all of my favourite brands, bars, shops and restaurants have set up shop in this sandy oasis. Occasionally I miss my family, but even a short visit is enough to cure those pangs of homesickness. I’ll admit the weather in Dubai is unbearable during summer but the local geography (and the AC!) more than makes up for it – there are so many culturally-rich destinations within a four-hour flight away, and living in Dubai puts us in a prime position to explore them. That certainly beats the soggy sandwiches on Brighton Beach that my own parents enjoyed in their dotage.
HERE FOR GOOD? Would you consider retiring in Dubai? No,
says TINA TENYEARPLAN, who thinks that Dubai is a just-for-now kind of a place…
SLIPPING into the summer months is a timely reminder that I’d never consider settling down in Dubai long-term. Why? Three words: Too. Much. Sun. Unless you want to end up resembling one of the designer handbags proudly positioned on the arm of everyone from your MD to your maid, you’re best off clocking in five to ten years in the sandpit, then over and out. Don’t get me wrong, Dubai offers a great way of life but it’s certainly not for everyone, and it’s certainly not forever. One of the best bits about the city is how young it is – everything from the restaurants to the beach clubs is geared up around the body beautiful. Seeing a pile of Zimmer frames stacked up next to the sunloungers by the (getting as old as) infinity pool or watching slick ladies’ nights become old ladies’ nights would give me a serious case of the sundowners, no matter how glamorous your granny is. Then there’s the fact that – despite living ‘tax free’ – I just can’t afford to grow old here. Staying here a few years should generate just enough cash to grab and run and score myself a better deal in my home country, but staying too long in a city built on malls, my shopping habit is definitely going to get the better of me. That’s another one of Dubai’s big issues – the chronic affluenza going around. I’m as guilty as the next shopper and that’s one of the reasons I won’t be drawing my pension in Dubai. Then there’s the fact that I don’t actually get a pension here! Add in shrinking packages and rising taxes and you’ve got a perfect pecuniary storm that I’d rather not get caught up in. Forget the luxury villas, fancy restaurants and fast cars – I’d rather spend my retirement having a pint and a pie down my local pub. And from the revolving doors of my Dexiteering friends (half of whom left Dubai in the last year alone) plenty of people feel the same way.
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