Global Citizen 11

Page 1

6 297000 388007

Fresh perspectives on the news and people that matter in the Middle East


Business 16 FIRST WORD

CEO’s weigh in on ambition

18 INVESTMENT DESTINATION Russia rebounds for high returns


Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah


23 Real Estate

Luxury homes in the US and UK

26 Business

Sponsorship and sports



Kofi Annan on life after the UN

36 Culture

Qatar lures visitors through Art

40 cultural diplomacy

Legendary Jazz musician Wynton Marsalis Enjoy the convenience of having Global Citizen delivered right to your door. We deliver worldwide to subscribers so be the first to get your hands on the latest issue.

46 retail

Patrick Chalhoub takes retail to a new level

50 Entrepreneurship

Yunib Siddiqui, CEO Jones the Grocer

52 Business

Banking on Bollywood

54 profile

Brioni CEO Francesco Pesci

56 Coffee at the club 2012 novEmbEr / DEcEmbEr

58 retail tourism

Gulf shoppers flock to Europe

60 E-commerce

investment rUssiaN retUrNs

Souq Fashion storms online market

business chaLhoUB’s New veNtUre

62 Global Citizenship

Art Brothers ramiN aNd rokNi haerizadeh

Skyfall © 2012 Danjaq, United Artists, CPII. Skyfall, 007 Gun Logo and related James Bond Trademarks, TM Danjaq.

Ashish Thakkar, Mara Group


Life after the UN

6 297000 388007

2012 november / december


UK Immigrant Investor options

excLUsive Jazz LegeND WyNtoN MarSaLiS

PLUS: London’s Newest Hotels, Ferrari’s F12 Berlinetta, Haute Cuisine in Dubai, Horology

10/18/12 5:25 PM

Cover image by Robert Wilson (The Times Magazine/ N.I Syndication)

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Lifestyle 66 GIZMOS & GADGETS


Hottest new releases


68 auto

Ferrari’s new Berlinetta

70 auto


Jaguar’s limousine

72 Yachts

Benetti’s super yacht


74 ART

The Haerizadeh brothers


Escape to Sri Lanka


London’s newest editions


78 82

London’s trendiest hideouts

88 Dining

Haute cuisine in Dubai

90 WELL BEING The sleep guide

92 Holiday gifts

Irrefutable gifts for her


Travel in high style

96 horology Stop Watched

LI TT LE BL AC K BOO K Lo nd o n




Looking forward with an eye on the past As we go to press on our last issue of the year it is naturally a time of reflection. Our cover story in this issue brings you a unique perspective on some of the political crises which the riveted world this year. Though it has been six years since Kofi Annan stepped down as secretary general of the United Nations, many of the issues he dealt with remain unresolved today. James Harding sat down with the diplomat and author of the new autobiography ‘Interventions: A Life of War and Peace’ to hear his reflections on a 10 year tenure at the helm of the world’s governing body. Despite the challenges, 2012 has also been a year of innovation here in the Middle East. We traveled to Doha, Qatar to meet Grammy award winning jazz great Wynton Marsalis, who is bringing what is perhaps one of America’s greatest cultural exports to the region. Read Tahira Yaqoob’s report on page 40.

The last quarter of 2012 also saw the launch of the world’s largest shoe store in Dubai. Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group gave us a tour of the unparalleled project and shared the entrepreneurial spirit that drives the region’s largest purveyor of luxury goods. In our lifestyle section this month we bring you a rare interview with two of the region’s preeminent contemporary artists, Dubai based brothers Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh. Also don’t miss this month’s Little Black Book where our lifestyle editor Aysha Majid shares her personal picks for must see places to visit. Even the most seasoned London visitors are certain to find a new gem. Wishing all of our readers all the best this holiday season. We look forward to sharing more stories of the people and places that make this region so unique in the new year. RITU UPADHYAY Editorial Director

Global Citizen


editorial DIRECTOR Ritu Upadhyay - Senior editor Natasha Tourish - Lifestyle Editor Aysha Majid - ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - CONTRIBUTORS Dania Saadi, Nina Glinski, Sara Hamdan, Heba Hashem, Shane Philips, Patricia Andrews, Nausheen Noor, Tahira Yaqoob, Matt Hamilton Printed by Raidy Emirates printing group MEDIA REPRESENTATIVE NEOPROMO FZ LLC Dubai Media City, Building 6, Ground Floor, Office G08, PO Box 118368, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 391 4842 Fax: +971 4 391 8022 Email:

REACH MEDIA FZ LLC publisher Armand Peponnet Advertising SUBSCRIPTION Dubai Media City, Building 8, Ground Floor, Office 87, PO Box 502068, Dubai, UAE Tel: +971 4 385 5485 Email: Copyright 2012 Reach Media. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the permission of Reach Media .Where opinion is expressed it is that of the author and does not necessarily reflect the editorial views of the publisher or Global Citizen. All information in Global Citizen is checked and verified to the best of the publisher’s ability, however the publisher cannot be held responsible for any mistake or omission enclosed in the publication.

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Nina Glinski

Shane Phillips

recently relocated to Dubai from New York, leaving a position with a social media startup to pursue a career in journalism. After earning her B.A. in Communications from the University of Pennsylvania, Nina worked as an analyst for Morgan Stanley and CLSA Asia Pacific Markets.

is a leading Executive Search Consultant in the region and is the Managing Director of Shane Phillips Consultants, a local boutique search firm. Given his passion for the employment market, Shane has his own show on Dubai Eye 103.8 every Thursday at 8pm called “Eye On Careers.”

Heba Hashem

Sara Hamdan

is a freelance journalist based in Dubai. She reports regularly on the solar and nuclear power sectors for CSP Today, and Nuclear Energy Insider. Heba grew up between Cairo and Abu Dhabi. She has a B.A. in Communications and Media Studies from Middlesex University, London.

is a Dubai-based stringer for the New York Times. She also regularly contributes to Rolling Stone and Variety. Fluent in four languages including Arabic, Sara has lived and worked in the region for five years – two as a banker with Merrill Lynch and three in the media industry.

Nausheen Noor

Tahira Yaqoob

is a freelance journalist and the author of the food blog, Dubai Bites. She is a frequent contributor to various publications including BBC Good Food, Esquire and Ahlan! Gourmet. Prior to moving to Dubai she worked in the nonprofit management sector in New York.

is a freelance journalist with 18 years’ experience in newspapers and magazines. She spent seven years at the Daily Mail as a news reporter and then deputy showbusiness editor before moving to the UAE in 2008, where she worked as a senior features writer at The National for four years before freelancing full time.

The ever changing Dubai skyline pokes through a blanket of dense winter fog as the sun rises over the emirate.

Image courtesy of Armand P

the Big Picture F l o at i n g h i g h i n t h e s k y


P e r s p e c t i v e s f r o m t h e to p

Driving success with ambition For most top executives, their greatest asset is exactly the same as their competitors. The main factor which sets them apart is ambition.The region’s top CEO’s weigh in. By shane phillips

His Highness Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi The ‘Green Sheikh’ “Keep away from those who try to squash your ambitions. The great ones among us make you believe you also can become great. Encourage your wildest ambitions, chase the impossible dream, redefine your boundaries, and never settle for the status quo. In this way the seed of greatness lies. My dream is to see the young people of this nation realize their dreams and for the next generation to far out perform the success of the current. Ambition is a powerful tool and should always be paired with sustainability to enable your success to endure the test of time.”

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first word

Abdulla Al Gurg Group General Manager, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group “In an increasingly competitive environment where differentiation is the key, ambition marked by a greater sense of purpose and an urge to create something beyond oneself is an essential skill. But just having the ambition to be better or greater will not ensure success. Strategies must always remain relevant and in line with the desired goals. Leaders who are ambitious, achieve their goals but they also have remarkable persistence, preparation, clarity of purpose and most of all the optimism to overcome roadblocks or obstructions. What sets most successful people apart is how they deal with adversity.”

Saleh Abdullah Lootah Managing Director, Al Islami Foods “The difference between having ambition and not having it is like a difference between a living person and a dead one. With this spirit you have a reason to be every day, and fight to achieve your goals. Without this spirit one asks himself “Why did I wake up today?” It starts building when your parents ask you “what do you want to become when you finish school?” In executives, it is even more important because you are a driving force for an entire company and everyone is watching you.”

Saeed Mohammadi Group CEO, Jaguar Energy Drinks “Ambition translates and manifests differently for every person. Its source and its foundation however can always be found in a person’s innate desire to improve and to rise. However the drive of ambition must always be regulated and inspired by a personal vision of success. I believe that one must always remain hungry and in pursuit of quality and better outcomes for the greater good in business and in life.”

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Investment destination

Russia emerges

as a modern business hub

The former Soviet nation offers superior returns for Gulf investors.

All Photos from Corbis /

By Heba Hashem

18 GC November / December 2012

Investment destination

CC companies with a firm eye on the Russian energy and mining markets have sent a steady stream of investments into the country in recent years; a move bolstered by the announcement of tax exemptions for UAE investors and government privatization plans. But it’s not just the burgeoning energy market that has caught their eye; Gulf investors are quickly expanding to cover the hotel, automotive and private equity industries. Last summer saw Russia enter into the World Trade Organization after 18 years of negotiations, which is expected to make the country a more accessible market for investors as the government lowers its import and export duties. Sharjah-based Gultainer, the Middle East’s largest private ports operator and a subsidiary of Crescent Group, is a heavyweight shareholder in Russia. Together with Russian partners Gultainer set up a $500 million logistics and port fund following a $275 million deal concluded last year to co-develop and operate Russia’s Baltic port of Ust-Luga. Russia’s commercial potential for port operations is huge, as only five ports currently manage 86 percent of the country’s total container traffic. GOVERNMENT INCENTIVES Last year UAE investors and sovereign wealth funds became exempt from taxation in Russia, having previously paid 20 percent tax on stock profits, 15 percent on interest profits, and 20 percent on capital gains. But long before this exemption came into effect, Mubadala, Abu Dhabi government’s investment arm, had pumped $100 million into funds managed by Verno, a specialist

fund manager in Russia’s capital markets, indicating the long-standing potential of Russia’s economy. The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), a $10 billion Russian sovereign fund launched in 2011, managed to secure multiple deals with GCC funds within a short time. “The first benefit (of the RDIF) is obviously risk-sharing, as there are challenges associated with investing in Russia, as in any emerging market,” explained Jafar. The RDIF is being capitalised with $2 billion a year over the next five years, injecting between $50-$500 million in deals as long as outside investors at least match it, dollar-for-dollar. “The optional co-investment nature has many benefits because it allows the investors to tailor the investments to their specific risk-return objectives,” says

Edward Eisler, head of global securities at Goldman Sachs. Kuwait Investment Authority (KIA) is the latest investor in the RDIF, having signed a $500 million co-investment deal in Russian companies through the fund. Like Crescent Group, KIA is interested in well-structured, long-term business. “This is not a short-term investment in the stock market prone to volatility; it is an excellent and fair partnership with the RDIF and there is Russian government

support for this partnership,” notes Bader Al-Saad, KIA CEO. LUCRATIVE ASSETS To stimulate greater foreign investment, the government plans to privatize a dozen state-owned companies by 2016. The government will reduce stakes in lucrative assets, like oil giant Rosnef and Moscow’s Sheremetyevo International Airport, with an aim of raising $33.5 billion. It’s not just the power and logistics sectors that are drawing investments. General Motors recently said it was spending $1 billion over the next five years to ramp up car and component production in Russia. The country was described as “one of the fastest-growing auto markets in the world” by Tim Lee, head of international operations at GM. According to HSBC Qatar, the Russian market has proven to deliver returns far superior than other markets because of the extra risks involved with the country. Olympics rush Russia was called a key hotel market at the 2012 Inter n ation al Hotel Investment Forum, where Michael O’Hare, managing director of Howarth HTL Russia, highlighted the undersupply of hotels in the country, especially in the midmarket and budget sectors. These conditions have created one of the few hotspots for hotel development outside of the Asia Pacific. “It’s no secret that there is a chronic undersupply of rooms in Russia and that demand will have to be met over the coming years. Add to the mix the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi and the World Cup and you have all the conditions for sustained growth,” he explains. Dubai’s Damac Group has already spent $300 million in 2010 on property projects in Sochi.

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SAUDI ARABIA's reform minded ruler Topping the 500 most influential Muslims list for three consecutive years, King Abdullah has been instrumental in guiding the kingdom to its current position as a regional economic powerhouse.

or decades, Saudi Arabia was entrenched in conformist thinking, with hard-line rules dominating society, deterring investors and decelerating the diversification of the economy. But things have drastically changed since 2005, when King Abdullah bin Abdulziz Al Saud assumed his throne. In the same year, he implemented a reform to the Saudi Supreme Economic Council, which encourages privatization and foreign investment, a position he still chairs today. “Since coming to power, the King has taken unflinching moves to encourage foreign investors to come and rally around to alter his desert wasteland and transform it into a blossoming oasis,” says Abdulrahman Alkheraigi, General Manager of GollinHarris Saudi Arabia, a global communications firm headquartered in the U.S. “This has been a daunting task and overwhelmingly audacious for a country whose conservative influencers regard the influx of foreign workers as one of the major destabilizing forces.” To breathe new life into an old monarchy and to accomplish muchneeded economic reforms, the kingdom required a new administration. And King Abdullah did not hesitate to implement a top-to-bottom restructuring of the country’s courts; reshuffling the Ministry of Education’s leadership by bringing in his pro-reform son-in-law as the new minister, and in a first move of its kind, he appointed Nora bint Abdallah al Fayez, a US-educated former teacher, as deputy education minister.

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

By Heba Hashem


Pulling the economy together At 88 years old, King Abdullah’s efforts to revamp the economy are still ongoing, having changed the everyday life of many citizens as well as the economy’s external image. Under his reign, the government has pledged $400 billion by the end of 2014 to improve education, healthcare and infrastructure across the kingdom. “King Abdullah has taken care of Saudi citizens’ welfare by offering various categories of needy people free housing, and assigning a budget of over SR10 billion for international scholarships for Saudi students. For the first time in history, (we have) a government that finances housing, introducing more than 500,000 housing units for limitedincome people across the Kingdom,” Talal Badawi, CEO of Riyadh-based Atteil Trading Establishment, tells Global Citizen. In 2011, the King famously called for the formation of an Arab Common Market, stating that the Arab Customs Union would be ready by 2015, and by 2017 the common market would be in place. Not long after the announcement, construction began on the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) – where the Capital Market Authority, the Stock Exchange and the Commodity Market will all be based. The KAFD’s stated aim is to “ensure the sustained dominance of Saudi Arabia as the largest economy and financial centre within the region.”

An open market? Determined to set the market straight, last April King Abdullah ordered a crackdown on manipulation of the country’s booming stock market, insisting action should be taken if necessary, against improper trading by members of the royal family. As a result of his watchful administration, Saudi Arabia’s stock market soared this year and is projected to rise by 25% during the course of 2012, while trading turnover has increased several-fold due to strong economic growth on the back of high oil prices, hopes that the market will open to direct foreign investment, and an influx of speculative money. Today, Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest free market and ranks 11th out of 183 countries for the overall ‘Ease of Doing Business’, according to the International Finance Corporation/ World Bank’s 2010 Doing Business report. Foreign investors are guaranteed a decision within 30 days from applying to the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority (SAGIA), and are permitted

100% ownership of companies and properties. Restoring bilateral ties The King has strengthened international ties with several nations. In 2006, he visited Beijing to discuss energy and trade in the first visit by a Saudi head of state to China since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1990. Bilateral trade with China has more than tripled since, and China is on its way to becoming Saudi Arabia’s largest importer. The kingdom has also made significant investments in China, including the $8 billion Fujian refinery. At the same time, foreign relations are being maintained with the United States, as witnessed by the visits exchanged with President Barack Obama. “King Abdullah’s heart is definitely in the right place, but he has to put up with stubborn red tape. He is widely seen as a genuine reformer who has put into motion inexorable change”, states Alkheraigi.

Saudi Arabia is the region’s largest free market and ranks 11th out of 183 countries for the overall ‘Ease of Doing Business’.

An artist impression of King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) A new Aquarium for visitors inside KAFD.

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real estate

New York based broker Horacio LeDon helps ultra-wealthy investors buy the most prestigious addresses in the US.

Finding the right real estate Specialty brokers cater to Gulf investors who have their eye on prestigious properties in the US and UK. By Tahira Yaqoob

oracio LeDon was showing a female client some apartments to rent when she ran into an old friend, who pointed to her new home. “It’s one of the best buildings there is around here,” she boasted. LeDon says without missing a beat, his client turned to him and said: “Find me the best.” “She was not even planning to buy,” he says. The woman went on to spend $13 million on an apartment. It was an extreme case of keeping up with the Joneses - and somewhat more costly than the average impulse buy of a handbag

- but LeDon takes the demands of his clients in stride. As a broker for uber-wealthy clients investing in property in the United States, he is used to the whims of the rich and famous. The Cuban-American leans forward conspiratorially in his leather armchair during an interview at the Capital Club in Dubai, and with a twinkle in his eye, tells how one of his Middle Eastern clients dropped $10m in what must rank as one of the world’s most expensive phone calls: “There was a 5,000 sq ft apartment for sale in Los Angeles. “He called and asked if it was a good

investment. I said yes and he bought it over the phone.” While he is a great raconteur - his previous life as a Hollywood actor and scriptwriter gave him his storytelling skills - LeDon is utterly discreet when it comes to the identity of his clients. But if discretion is key, so too is charisma and in the broker’s field, it goes a long way to making important contacts and sealing deals. “My business is all referrals,” he says. “Everything is done by word of mouth.” It is that networking which has brought him to the UAE, where there is a rapidly expanding market for investors with a

November / December 2012 GC 23

real estate

high net worth who are keen to buy in both America and Britain. In his first year of business, LeDon has already closed multi-million dollar deals on apartments in New York and LA for three clients from the Middle East - one from Abu Dhabi, a Saudi national living in Dubai and one in Jeddah - and he is negotiating to sign up more. “For them, it is less about yields and more about cache,” he says. “I only deal with the very high-end. If you have someone who is super-rich and wants to buy the best of the best, there are only a few of those places.” It was while working for Related property firm, which is part-owned by Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, that he was approached by Middle Eastern clients asking for help in finding apartments for their children studying in New York. After passing them on to his contacts, he realised there was a gap in the market and set up his eponymous business 14 months ago to generate interest from foreign climes in US apartments. LeDon, who takes three per cent in commission from sellers, is on his way to completing $100m in sales, five times what he had envisaged for the first year of business. And he says it is because the market for overseas buyers is flourishing while

his clients, particularly those from the Middle East, are no-nonsense in getting what they want: “They are much more advanced, more mature and they do not negotiate. “They understand if they get too clever, they might lose out. They come in full price, telling me to get it whatever it costs.” They favour new apartments in exclusive locations with “understated opulence”. And with new developments meaning apartments can be as big as 10,000sq ft, sacrificing space is no longer an issue. Getting a return on their investment is not a priority; it is more about the prestige of adding to their portfolio and the cache of having an exclusive address. London calling Meanwhile interest has been stirring in Dubai for an exclusive new - and rare -

"London is still quite tax efficient for investors and the UAE has a good affiliation with the city."

A luxury living space inside an apartment in Tower Bridge, London.

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development in the saturated London market. UK-based Berkeley Homes had its first roadshow to promote One Tower Bridge on the city’s South Bank, where apartments are priced between $8.6m and $23.6m. While the developer is still waiting to close two deals, there has been a flurry of excitement about its Goodman’s Fields apartment block in the financial district of East London. Six were sold, the bulk to Indian and Arab expatriates living in the UAE. “London is still quite tax efficient for investors and the UAE has a good affiliation with the city,” says Piers Clanford, the managing director of Berkeley Homes. There is an emotional attachment too as a third of buyers have “either been educated or spent time in London, or their sons and daughters study there.” Will McKintosh from Olive Downtown, Berkeley’s agent in Dubai, says investors from the Middle East are typically entrepreneurs or executives in their 40s and 50s who prefer central prestigious areas such as Mayfair, Belgravia and Knightsbridge. According to the international property consultancy Knight Frank, buyers from the UAE account for nearly two per cent of sales of properties worth more than $2.4m in the British capital. The Emirates was ninth in a list of nations investing in London property, while Middle Eastern buyers accounted for more than eight per cent of new build purchases in the last year. When apartments of up to $135m in Knightsbridge’s One Hyde Park went on sale, one in four buyers were said to be from the Arab world. Chesterton Humberts was one of the first British estate agents to set up office in the UAE in 2009. Among the properties advertised on its Middle Eastern website are a $27m eight-bedroomed penthouse in Imperial Wharf and a $10.5m luxury apartment near Kensington Gardens. The firm’s chief executive Robert Bartlett says: “Abu Dhabi is still incredibly wealthy and we saw a demand here for properties in London.”


Sports and Sponsorships From Formula 1 to Football, sponsors in the Middle East are putting their money behind popular sporting events. By Sara Hamdan

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L-R Gianluca Meloni with Bernie Ecclestone and Frankie DettorI. Right: Enrico Zanarini

Everywhere is right. Abu Dhabi quickly followed suit, bringing Formula 1 to the city in 2007, building its own racecourse in Yas Island, and winning Grand Prix rights from 2009 to 2016. They even managed to get one of the country’s biggest sponsors, Etihad Airways, to

support the event. Outside the region, the Formula 1 concept has flourished as well; the US has won grand prix rights in a number of cities and there are plans to improve operations in India and China, with the Russian edition preparing for a first race in 2014.

.Image courtesy of Mercedes/ amg/ petronas

wo Italians sit in a dimly lit Capital Club at the Dubai International Financial Centre, speaking with musical accents about Ferraris and their favorite drivers. The spirited conversation about glamorous fast cars attracts the attention of others in the room. This interest is exactly what the two businessman had bet on: that the Middle East would be a good place to globally expand the Formula 1 Grand Prix concept outside of Europe and find sponsors. “Today, there are more Formula 1’s outside of Europe than in,” says Enrico Zanarini, chief executive of Media & Sport Management Ltd, which handles Ferrari drivers. “Quite early in 2004, Bahrain was the first Grand Prix outside of Europe. Now all of a sudden, it’s everywhere.”


to popular, global sports such as football. “Right now, all the major players are focusing on football,” said Meloni, business development manager of MSM Ltd, based in the UAE. “The major challenge is to create a multi-sport culture which doesn’t exist here yet.”

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

Manchester city owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan

KEEPING THE CASH FLOW It was all going smoothly until 2008, when the financial crash extinguished the sponsorship market for sports the world over. While conditions have slightly improved, Zanarini says there remain a few tough years ahead. “This past year and the next few will be difficult with the birth of new companies also after sponsorship,” he said. “We are facing at least another three years of a calm period due to the financial crisis, as sponsors remain cautious with the money they have to spend and opportunities are few.” In the Middle East, Formula 1 has attracted some of the biggest sponsors, including Mubadala and Etihad Airways. The Etihad Airways deal was a threeyear sponsorship contract that began in 2009. Aabar currently provides financial support. “We continue to see who is available in the market for sports, who is already present or looking for new clients,” he said. “People like ourselves presenting for a blue chip company with a track record have an edge over others. Ferrari is always Ferrari.” Still, he and his colleague, Gianluca Meloni, admit that the quest for financial backing is harder to secure for niche sports events like Formula 1, compared

FOOTBALL MANIA Football teams have received an incredible amount of attention over the last few years – as if the financial crisis had never happened. In 2008, Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi’s royal family, bought British football club Manchester City for $320 million, spending a further $600 million to bring in key players.

"the Formula 1 has more media value than football at the end of the day..."

The Qatar Foundation sponsor Barcelona FC.

While Arsenal FC has an agreement with Emirates Airlines in Dubai to sponsor their stadium and jerseys. Royal Emirates Group, also in Dubai, spent $130 million to buy Spanish La Liga club Getafe in 2011. Qatar has also made headway in the world of soccer, with plans to host the FIFA World Cup in 2020. Sheikh Abdullah Al Thani, a member of Qatar’s royal family, bought Spanish club Malaga for $52 million recently. The Qatar Foundation gave $196 million to F.C.

Barcelona for jersey naming rights. A report by Wharton’s research branch in the UAE noted that the value of football in the Mideast will increase by 52 percent to $14 billion by 2022 and another $10 billion by 2042, based on a study conducted by analytics firm Grant Thornton. The report and study state that television viewers of the FIFA World Cup in the Mideast has grown almost 350 percent since 1986, one reason why television broadcast rights in the region for soccer games are set to rise 30 percent to $550 billion. “What people don’t realize, however, is that the Formula 1 has more media value than football at the end of the day – soccer is not actually the most popular sport in the world,” according to Meloni. Chelsea fans follow Chelsea exclusively, while Malaga fans follow Malaga. Soccer teams are only grouped together during big events like the World Cup or Euro Cup, which happen every four years. By contrast, F1 events happen every two weeks at different locations around the world for an average of 800 spectators per race, according to Meloni. “The name of the game is sponsorship, which is part marketing, part advertising, and all about how successful and cost efficient you are,” he said. “Because of the F1’s enormous reach, it can indicate the lowest cost per reach factor.” So far, the business model has demonstrated growth, despite hiccups in the region. Bahrain’s races were cancelled in 2011 and faced controversy in 2012 due to human rights protesters who used the big event as a means of garnering international media attention. Zanarini confirms that everything is back on track in Bahrain and he is positive on the general Grand Prix outlook in the Mideast, with Abu Dhabi having celebrated another successful race in November. “We always try to be bigger and better, but we keep in mind that we are a medium agency with a focus,” said Zanarini. “There are bigger agencies that deal with most sports and have many people on staff; we are very specialized and elite.”

November / December 2012 GC 27

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

after the Un

KOFI ANNAN reflects on his decade long tenure at the helm of the world’s governing body and shares an insider perpective on Syria and why Tony Blair was the only person who could have stopped the war in Iraq.

By James Harding

e was the head of the UN when the Iraq war started. His last mission was to bring peace to Syria. He failed. So what exactly did Kofi Annan achieve? A few weeks before the start of the Iraq war, Kofi Annan invited half a dozen or so journalists for breakfast at the Jefferson Hotel in Washington DC. As I chased my chilled fruit salad around its crystal bowl, I remember thinking that I was witnessing something extraordinary: the Secretary-General of the United Nations had come to the capital of the Free World and, in that slow, soft baritone of his, was trying to marshal the weight of world opinion and harness the moral authority of his office to stop the President of the United States from going to war. He was firm but measured. He was diplomatic, but unambiguous. He had come to make an intervention. And he failed. “I think I did everything that a Secretary-General could have done or was humanly possible,” He tells me over a cup of tea, nearly a decade later. He doesn’t buy the idea that he should have been more assertive, more aggressive in opposition or even that he should have resigned in protest. The Bush Administration, he says, was “determined to go, the troops had been deployed, the summer heat was coming and they wanted to get it over before they missed that opportunity. In a way, the military logic was dictating the pace.” It is one of the tasteless oddities of journalism and, I suppose, diplomacy, too, that discussion of human rights violations, military invasions and civilian casualties often happen in plush hotels. This time, Annan is in a suite in the very nice Sofitel on Pall Mall. Like the Jefferson, its decor is elegant but unobtrusive, all dark wood, thick carpets and heavy drapes. It is a world away from what we are talking about.

nnan has come to London to discuss his memoirs: Interventions - a Life in War and Peace. It is the history of nearly five decades at the United Nations and it reads in part like a catalogue of modern massacres, and in part like a manifesto for diplomacy in a world of warmongers - and, inevitably, like a rebuttal of his and the UN’s legion of critics. Given the soft furnishings in the room and the body count in the conversation, the experience is, like a production of Richard III on the set of Mamma Mia!, jarring. When Kofi Annan looks back at the dynamics at play in 2003, he thinks one person just might have been able to stop the Iraq war: Tony Blair. “I think I will forever wonder what would have happened if, without a second [UN] resolution... Blair had said, “George, this is where we part company. You’re on your own.’ Would that have stopped Bush?” Annan asks. Perhaps not, he says, but then goes on: “I really think it could have stopped the war... It would have given the Americans a pause. It would have given them a very serious pause to think it through... All this would have raised a question: “Do we go this alone?’” Annan is not in the Desmond Tutu camp. He does not have any time for the idea that Tony Blair and George W. Bush should be hauled in front of the International Criminal Court. They were democratically elected leaders, he says, who acted in what they believed were the best interests of their countries and the world. Annan says he has not seen Bush since he left office, but is in relatively regular contact with Tony Blair. But, to be clear, you think that if you, as Secretary-General, had stepped down, it would not have stopped the war? “No.” If Colin Powell had stepped down? “I’m not sure it would have stopped the war.” But if Britain had spoken up? “Yes, because of the special relationship and also the fact that... when you think of the big countries, Britain was the only one that teamed up with him.” This is one of the surprises about Annan. He has such a gentle, melodic voice that if you listen just to the sound

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"I think I will forever wonder what would have happened if, without a second [UN] resolution...Blair had said, ‘George, this is where we part company. You’re on your own.’ Would that have stopped Bush?"

of what he is saying, it all seems rather soothing. His speech has the lullaby effect of the Shipping Forecast. The words, though, are biting. “Blair had the potential to be one of the most brilliant politicians of his time and really for a period was a star. And now you ask me the questions, “What went wrong? What changed him?’ It is very difficult to say.” His tone in conversation - the ruminations, the recriminations, the regrets - are echoed in the book. If there is a moral to these memoirs, it is a wearying one: a man really trying to make peace cannot stop men who really want to make war.

Image courtesy of Robert Wilson/ The Times Magazine/ N.I Syndication

Cover story

Cover story

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

True, of course, Annan and the UN won the Nobel Prize for Peace during his time as Secretary-General. True, too, the UN and he, personally, coordinated interventions in Kosovo and East Timor that saved countless lives. And institutionally, he drove an agenda of international justice through the establishment of the ICC, a greater spirit of openness at the UN and an ambitious agenda for dealing with Aids, with other diseases, with deprivation and with corrupt governments across the globe. But in Rwanda, in Bosnia, in Darfur,

in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Israel and Palestine, in Lebanon, in Iraq and, right now, in Syria, it has been the case, time and again, of inadequate interventions. Annan and the UN have spoken out against the killing. And the killing has continued. Dag Hammarskjöld, one of the few outstanding Secretaries-General, said in 1954 that the United Nations was not created to bring humanity to heaven but to save it from hell. By that measure, an uncharitable reading of Annan’s story would conclude that his UN fell short.

In conflict after conflict, the UN...found the world could not be saved from itself. Great expectations The expectations placed on the UN, of course, are heroically and unreasonably high. I still have fond memories of being taken, as a child on a trip to New York, to visit the UN headquarters. I remember thinking this is where the people who want to save the world go to work. When I read Annan’s book, I was reminded of that sense of higher purpose. But, within a few pages, the idealism gave way to the realisation that a career at the UN must be freighted with guilt, anger and exasperation. In conflict after conflict, the UN either thanks to the indecision of the Security Council or the unwillingness of the international community to take sides or the meagre military resources put at its disposal - found the world could not be saved from itself. And this is the central argument of Annan’s book. To paraphrase: it is easy to blame the UN, but if the international body is not given the mandate or the means to intervene, then it is just a talking shop of worthies. Over the course of Annan’s time at the UN, the world learnt this the hard way. When he started out in the field in 1973, peacekeeping was more of a monitoring mission. It typically involved sending 100 or so observers who had neither the arms nor the authority to intervene. But, by the

Kofi Annan (R) meets with former British Prime Minister Tony Blair at Downing Street in 2004.

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Kofi Annan (C) and his wife Nane pose with former South African President Nelson Mandela.

Nineties, this old model of peacekeeping had got the UN into ever more trouble. In Somalia and, even more so, in Rwanda, it learnt that, if it wanted to keep the peace, it needed to be able to deploy considerable force. Further, Annan came to the conclusion that the UN had to be willing to intervene to protect not only countries that were victims of aggression from other countries, but also individuals who suffered at the hands of their own states. And, then, the lesson he drew from Bosnia was not only that the UN had to have the muscle to intervene, it needed, on occasion, to take sides. This analysis would, logically, lead to a UN-mandated invasion of Iraq. This was a case of individuals needing protection from the arbitrary violence of their own state; of a tyrant who would only respond to the use of substantial force; and where the choice was between taking sides and, by not taking sides, acquiescing to Saddam Hussein’s continued rule of Iraq. Indeed, there are those who say that Annan’s failing in 2003 was not his inability to stand in the way of the Bush administration, but his unwillingness to stand up for it. Annan’s lesson from the deeply divisive

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"I walked into my peacekeeping work with the conventional wisdom that war is too serious a matter to be left to the generals. I walked away with another insight that the declaration of war is too serious a matter to be left to politicians and the diplomats."

argument over Iraq - divisions that, as we have seen in Syria, still paralyse the international community and have so eroded the raison d’être of the UN - is a different one. “I walked into my peacekeeping work with the conventional wisdom that war is too serious a matter to be left to the generals,” he says. “I walked away with another insight - that the declaration of war is too serious a matter to be left to politicians and the diplomats, because sometimes we allow words to fly away with us and we talk ourselves into war without asking the key and critical questions. In fact, in my experience, all the tough questions came from the generals. “Do you know the risk you are taking? Do you know what you are going to do to my boys? What is the exit strategy? Why are we doing this? Who am I to kill? And why?” In person, the thing that is most impressive about Annan is his temperament. He is shorter than he appears on television, but, no question, a trim, handsome man. He is dressed, as ever, in a navy suit and a smart, forgettable silk tie. But his most vivid and appealing quality is his composure. He is calm. To be more precise, he is not one of those men who has a mannered serenity that is born of a supreme, and quite annoying, self-confidence. I warm to him when I start asking him questions: he finishes a fair few of my sentences, as people in awkward situations sometimes do. And although I have seen him before in speechifying mode, he does not recycle the old rhetoric with me. He answers all questions directly, sometimes a little defensively, but always unflustered. He has never been a shouter, he says. Nor does he swear. “When things get really tough and pressured, I get calmer and cooler, which helps... Over time you learn to operate with some of these painful things, with a certain, not detachment, but healthy distance, so that they don’t eat you up.” Low blood pressure should surely be a prerequisite for the job of Secretary-General, which requires multitasking, on an epic scale, with murderous dictators and duplicitous politicians. Duping the UN became

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

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an art form during his time. In Blair’s Downing Street, Annan points out, to “Kofi someone” took on a meaning of its own - namely, to wrap military plans in humanitarian waffle, to “make loose promises to the Secretary- General that you don’t intend to keep”. The West, of course, has long talked up the UN, but liked to treat the S-G as more secretary than general. The politicians who select the SecretaryGeneral have opted for men they think they can push around. Annan, by the standards of UN Secretaries-General, was a political star. By comparison with the disastrous Kurt Waldheim, the sweet but inconsequential Pérez de Cuéllar, the hapless and eventually ousted Boutros Boutros Ghali, not to mention the generally invisible current Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon, Kofi Annan stands out as one of the few heavyweights in the history of the organisation. He remains the most famous African statesman beside Nelson Mandela. On Syria At the age of 74, Kofi Annan is just beginning to eye the possibility of spending a little less time on a plane, a bit more at home. His latest intervention, this time in Syria, is over. And, again, with little to show for it. Some would say that the diplomatic dance he led just gave Bashar al-Assad time - and a little political cover - to keep on killing his critics. But Annan is no naïf. When Ban Ki Moon asked him to act as the UN’s special envoy to Syria, most people, including Annan, knew the mission was more than likely doomed. Listening to him speak, it is clear that, despite the derision he got from the know-it-all armchair commentators, he well understood the ethnic tensions, historic hatreds and big power politics at work both within Syria and around it. In fact, he points out that one underappreciated dynamic in the West is that Iran is seen by the countries in the region as the real victor of the Iraq war. A Sunni regime has been replaced by a Shia one, tipping the local power balance in

"Assad has to go. It’s a question of when and how. You can not kill that many people and expect to remain legitimate and in charge of your people."

In his role as UN-Arab League special envoy to Syria, Kofi Annan meets with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

Tehran’s favour and putting Saudi Arabia on edge. Nor is Annan a softie. He does not mince his words. “Assad has to go. It’s a question of when and how. You can not kill that many people and expect to remain legitimate and in charge of your people.” So why did he try to mediate? “If you don’t talk to these people, if you don’t even try, how do you influence them? How do you get them to change their mind? How do you get them to understand what they are doing to their people and themselves?” But he now thinks that he arrived in Damascus both

too late and too early: too late to nip it in the bud, too early because both sides were not yet tired of fighting. Meanwhile, there is no agreement at the Security Council, which makes a UN mandate impossible. There are regional rivalries at play that make a neighbourhood solution impossible. And the proposal that some people have made of imposing a no-fly zone in the north would require taking out Syria’s air defences which, in effect, would be a declaration of war and, therefore, impossible. What, then, will happen in Syria? “Thousands will die.”

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qatar's cultural renaissance 36 GC November / December 2012

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

Qatar’s Museum of Islamic Art


For a country thats only been in existence since 1971, Qatar has remarkably emerged as a cultural leader in the Middle East. The natural gas rich kingdom has their own philharmonic orchestra, an opera house, several world reknowned art museums and hosts an internationally acclaimed film festival. But will these investments draw visitors? Tahira Yaqoob investigates.

All Photos from Corbis & Gettyimages


s the dying notes of Aida resounded in Doha’s amphitheatre and the cast of 135 took their final bow, something remarkable happened. The conductor may have been Italian, the soprano playing Aida Venezuelan, the chorus Hungarian and the set and costume designer a Polishman born in Germany. But the staging of Verdi’s classic tale of love, deception and betrayal, sung in Italian with English and Arabic subtitles, symbolised much more than a crosscultural performance. By bringing world-class artists, singers and musicians to perform in the country’s first opera last month, the message from Qatar was clear: this was not simply a nation with economic clout but a serious cultural contender. While this tiny Gulf nation might have lofty ambitions to compete on the same level as Paris, London, Rome and New York, can a country which has only been in existence for 41 years hope to compare with centuries-old legacies of art and culture? Where it is lacking in age-old heritage, Qatar certainly has the financial muscle. As the richest country in the world according to Forbes magazine, the GDP per capita is $88,222 - its wealth is built on petrodollars and the third largest reserves of natural gas on the planet. Those riches have paid for an impressive

art collection worth billions, museums, a publishing house and the Katara cultural quarter, a sprawling square mile opened two years ago. Funded by the Qatar Foundation, a government-run organisation with a mission to transform Qatar from “a carbon economy to a knowledge economy”, Katara houses an opera house with its own orchestra, fine arts and photographic societies, art galleries and artists’ studios, Doha Film Institute, a music academy and the vast 5,000-seater amphitheatre, opened in a lavish ceremony by Jeremy Irons and Chariots of Fire composer Vangelis. That it has sat empty since that extravagant launch in December last year and has only now, 10 months later, staged its first performance (albeit the first, it is hoped, of many) says much about Qatar’s aspirations and its philosophy of ‘build it and they will come’. “I see no reason why our artists would not be represented in international art fairs like Basel,” says Katara president Abdulrahman al Khulaifi. “The exposure we give them and the kind of exhibitions we are bringing here will enhance their way of thinking.” For the country’s goals are as long-term as they are far-reaching and its focus is not simply on buying in artistic endeavours from around the world but in ploughing resources into homegrown talent. The 4,000 tickets sold for Aida bode


3 1. Katara cultural village 2. Inside the stunning Museum of Islamic Art 3. Doha Tribeca Film Festival draws International crowds.

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well for future performances. And while the 35 Qatari-based residents playing slaves and soldiers in the show were limited to the roles of silent extras, they represented an attempt, according to Emad Sultan, Katara’s director of cultural affairs, to “engage locals and expats rather than keeping it distant”. It will, officials admit, be decades before Qataris can compete on the same level. The Qatar Philharmonic Orchestra - which provided a musical backdrop to Aida - has been heralded as a prototype of what can be achieved. It was assembled four years ago by Munich-born bassoonist Kurt Meister, the former manager of the Bavarian State Opera. With no limit to cost, he combed the planet for the best musicians and hired 101, of which 12 hail from the Middle East. There is, as yet, no Qatari in the orchestra but Meister says: “It will take time”. “The message to me was to bring the best musicians, regardless of the nationality,” he says. “A full Qatari orchestra would take a minimum of 25 to 30 years.

A concert at the Opera House in Doha.

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"If you do not have culture and tradition, you do not have a face; you do not exist." “The target is not to have a lot of Qataris but to find a bridge between western and Arab cultures and to give Arab composers, soloists and conductors the possibility of performing with a good orchestra.” It is not about “importing culture”, he adds, but merging the two cultures, with three-quarters of concerts performed in the opera house carrying an element of Arabic music. “Qatar understands we have a lot of people living here and they do not just need economy, they need culture,” he says. “If you do not have culture and tradition, you do not have a face; you do not exist.” Last month the legendary jazz trumpeter Wynton Marsalis opened

Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha - the club’s first international outpost - in a bid to introduce Qataris to the musical genre. And later this month acclaimed director Mira Nair will take to the red carpet at the fourth Doha Tribeca Film Festival, launched by the film institute in partnership with New York’s festival by the same name. As much of a star attraction at the event will be Made in Qatar, a showcase of 19 films from Qatar-based film-makers. Among them is a take on the Filipino community in Doha and reflections on the aftermath of the Arab Spring through the eyes of hip hop artists. It is, says festival vice-chairman Issa Al Mohannadi, a demonstration of the “concerted efforts in creating a robust film-making industry locally by


Image courtesy of Gettyimages

Doha’s Arab Museum of Modern Art.

identifying and nurturing local talent. “It offers glimpses of life in Qatar and will resonate with the local community.” Could they compete internationally though? Certainly the western world is starting to sit up and take note of the tiny nation with considerable political clout and astonishing wealth. Last year the Al Thani ruling royal family were the world’s biggest buyers of contemporary art. Over the last seven years they have added Francis Bacons, Mark Rothkos and Damien Hirsts to their collection while Sheikha al Mayassa bint Hamad al Thani, chairwoman of Qatar Museums Authority (QMA) and daughter of the emir, paid $250 million for Cezanne’s The Card Players last year, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. Headline-grabbing acquisitions like Harrods department store and the iconic Shard building in London, the football team Paris St Germain and, of course, that successful bid to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup mean it is no longer an outside contender when it comes to global politics. But simply investing in high-profile purchases is not enough. Sheikha al

Cezanne’s The Card Players was bought by the Qatari royal family for $250 million.

Mayassa, dubbed “arguably the most powerful woman in the art world today” by Forbes magazine, declares: “We aim to inspire local talent.” QMA sponsored the recent Damien Hirst retrospective at London’s Tate Modern for a reported $3.2m and plans to bring his work to Doha next year. Qatari cash has recently funded exhibitions in Doha from Louise Bourgeois, Takashi Murakami and Cai Guo-Qiang. Collectively, $25 billion is to be injected into art and entertainment to

transform the country into a worldclass destination in time for the World Cup - with much of the cash invested at grassroots level. At Qatar Music Academy, Qataris are offered free lessons on instruments ranging from the piano to the oud in a bid to foster a love of music from a young age. Anne-Marie Pigneguy, head of western music, says: “We are hoping in 20 years there will be Qataris enrolling and becoming professional musicians. “It is not about importing culture but education.” With a similar outlook is Bloomsbury Qatar Foundation Publishing, launched in conjunction with the British publishers with the aim of producing high quality literature in English and Arabic. Managing editor Anne Renahan says: “Our goal is to publish books of excellence. There is a huge pool of quality Arabic authors. “This is not about throwing money at something, it is a partnership. What is happening here is of Qatar and of the region.” The World Cup may be a decade away but the coming years will show just how successful they have been.

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wynton marsalis

jazzing up the middle east

Grammy award winning musician Wynton Marsalis speaks to Global Citizen at the opening of his Jazz at the Lincoln centre in Doha, Qatar. By Tahira Yaqoob

he sun is streaming in through arched windows and glinting off the Arabian Gulf beyond. It silhouettes the lone figure standing on stage, clutching a trumpet as an expectant hush falls among the seated gathering. There is a pregnant pause as the group of journalists, dictaphones in hand and pens poised above notepads, wait for a soundbite. It doesn’t come. Finally Wynton Marsalis says: “I feel I should have something important to say but I really don’t. So I’m just going to play.” And with that, the jazz maestro with three decades in the industry behind him puts his instrument to his pursed lips and does what he does best. He plays for 20 minutes straight at the press conference announcing the opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha and then, having barely spoken a word, he steps off stage. But there is little need for an explanation. For while this is not one of the smoke-filled basements and cellars where jazz first took hold a century earlier, the mournful, meandering notes of St James Infirmary Blues filling this brightlylit venue bring with them echoes of the funereal marching bands of New Orleans and haunting jazz melodies synonymous with Chicago’s Green Mill or the Blue Note in New York. And they speak volumes of Marsalis’ role as a cultural ambassador, bringing jazz to a part of the world where it is still relatively nascent.

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Wynton Marsalis, Trumpet; Walter Blanding, Saxophone; Carlos Henriquez, Bass.

Grammy award-winning Marsalis, 51, is one of the last surviving jazz greats, a bastion of a golden age in the musical genre. Born into a family of musicians in New Orleans, where the roots of early jazz first took hold, he first picked up a trumpet at the age of six and was playing with the New Orleans Philharmonic at 14. Today he is regarded as something of a national treasure and plays to audiences around the world. He has won nine Grammys and was the first jazz musician to win a Pulitzer Prize for Music for his epic work, Blood on the Fields in 1997. He was only a child when the likes of Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Thelonious Monk were playing but the swing jazz he plays with his band is faithful to those legendary figures, as much a tribute as it embraces a traditional strand of music which is struggling to remain popular. Yet here he is at the St Regis Doha hotel in Qatar, where a new purposebuilt club has been created for a reported $20 million as the first international outpost of Jazz from the Lincoln Center (Jalc) in New York, which he founded in 1987 and where he serves as artistic director. For 25 years the venue has operated singly on the fringes of Central Park with a mission to “enrich, entertain and expand the audience for jazz through

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"We know of the power of jazz to transform the world. It is going to be the same here in Doha as it was for all the people who first discovered it."

performance, education and advocacy”. Last month it ventured outside that home for the first time with the Qatar outlet - the first of five such venues around the world - opened at a special launch featuring Marsalis playing with a quintet of musicians from his orchestra. “In the spirit of jazz ambassadors Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Dave Brubeck and Dizzy Gillespie - we are continuing the legacy of bridging cultures around the world. “We know of the power of jazz to transform the world. It is going to be the same here in Doha as it was for all the people who first discovered it,” said Marsalis. Jalc Doha will operate year-round, flying in world class musicians to play up to three sets a night for a fortnightlong stint at the St Regis. Its New York home, which stages nearly 3,000 performances a year, has always had a strong educational element with an emphasis on introducing a younger generation to the music. As a not-for-profit organization, Jalc has struggled to recoup its $40m annual running costs, of which two-thrids comes from ticket sales. It is hoped the deal with St. Regis Doha will bring in another $1.5m a year within five years and help fund its educational programmes. Adrian Ellis, the former executive director who was key to striking the international deal, says: “It will have a light educational touch - not that we will turn the jazz club into a seminar but to just tell enough about the music as it is being played to make sure people see connections and have some idea of what is going on.” The idea was born after a chance conversation with Paul James, St Regis Hotels’ global brand leader. James had long been searching for a way to evoke a bygone era and golden age of the original St Regis Hotel, built in 1904 by wealthy businessman John Jacob Astor IV and hosting the likes of Duke Ellington and Count Basie at the peak of the swing years. Omar Alfardan, the Qatari president of the Resort Development Company,

Images courtesy of Jalc


Wynton marsalis

which holds the franchise for the St Regis Doha, completed the triptych of jazz enthusiasts keen to spread the message globally. They may have grown up thousands of miles apart but Alfardan and Marsalis share a strange quirk - both their fathers brought them up listening to Louis Armstrong. “Culture and the language of music is universal,” says Alfardan. “This is part of a long-cherished dream to bring some of the best in world culture to Qatar.”

That bridging of nations is manifesting itself in a unique project he is working on with Marsalis. He has given the jazz legend recordings of pearl diving songs, which Marsalis is using as the basis of original compositions. But nurturing a love of jazz among Qataris, many of whom have never encountered it, is going to pose a challenge. Before the opening of Jalc Doha - the first club of its kind in Qatar to feature international artists - the only other venue in the city playing live jazz

nightly was the Oryx Rotana hotel. For a genre which is fading in popularity in the western world, how will Marsalis persuade those who have never been exposed to it to become jazz lovers? “One venue is all you need,” he says. “The fact there are a lot who don’t [listen to jazz] makes me more committed. “When I was in my 20s, the audience was in its 70s and I was told they were going to die - that I would not have an audience in 20 years. “Thirty years later, I still have an audience.” Marsalis is not without his critics. He has been accused of refusing to evolve and focusing too singularly on a certain period of jazz. And he has become notorious for

"It is time for us to reap the benefits of all the groundwork and come together culturally in a meaningful way" objecting to rap and hip-hop, claiming they exploit young black people. The musician is unrepentant: “I have strong feelings about anything I think is ignorant or reductive of people. Kids need education and instead [they] get exploited by companies who are selling music as a commodity.” Talks are underway about opening other outposts of Jalc in the next five years in Malaysia, Argentina, Indonesia and China. Marsalis says the venue’s presence in Qatar shows the nation is “progressive”, adding: “It is time for us to reap the benefits of all the groundwork and come together culturally in a meaningful way - not just by coming and playing gigs then going home but having education and some sort of meaningful interfacing because something will come of it later that we cannot even see now.” The Wynton Marsalis Quintet playing at the official opening of Jazz at Lincoln Center at the St. Regis Hotel in Doha.

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Luxury retail

"I’m not an entrepreneur if I do not take risks and don’t take challenges."

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All Photos from Jack Dabaghian

Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group.

Luxury retail

Taking Retail to a New Level Patrick Chalhoub, CEO of Chalhoub Group, the region’s leading luxury franchiser, speaks to Global Citizen at the opening of their biggest project yet, Level Shoe District.

This is now considered the world’s biggest shoe store. Can you break down what that means in terms of numbers? We have 96,000 square feet devoted only to shoes. 250 brands, 40 of them in shop in shops. It’s an environment where you have 10-15 thousand models of shoes which are shown at once on the shop floor. That’s astounding. How did the idea of such a large project come about? The whole idea was to create a place for men and women who are passionate about shoes, who are addicted to shoes, who are obsessed with shoes. We wanted to create this lively, vibrant place where men and women will come and not only select their shoes, but spend the whole day if they want. We not only have a large collection of shoes, but also other services like the Vogue Café and coffee shop, a cobbler and much more. Why Shoes? We saw that the categories of shoes is developing fast. We’re in an era where people are paying much more attention to the

shoes they wear. The luxury market is doing extremely well on a worldwide scale because it’s very aspirational. People aspire to a better life, for luxury, for quality. It has been developing even throughout the crisis because people do not stop dreaming. How is this different from other Chalhoub projects? It is definitely for the Chalhoub group a milestone. Not only because of the size of the investment, but the fact that in many of the ventures in which we’ve been associated we’ve been a franchisee executing what the franchiser was giving. In this project we had to create the concept. For us the challenge was to create the right concept. To create something ourselves that is a house of brands rather than the execution of one of the specific brands. This seems to be a big risk to take? I’m not an entrepreneur if I do not take risks and don’t take challenges. For us it’s a question of making the right investment, qualitative, looking at what customers want and then having the best return on investment.

Patrick Chalhoub showing visitors around the new shoe district in Dubai mall. November / December 2012 GC 47

Luxury retail

Dubai is home to many suplerlative projects: the tallest building, the biggest mall. Is this the ideal city for Level? Dubai has positioned itself to encourage a lot of retail actitivites, from high street to luxury. There has been movement to create a place where people can come and discover the many choices the world has to offer in a single place. 1400 stores in Dubai Mall, 5 million square feet of leasable space...this is like an entire city of retail. When you have that to offer combined with 10 million visitors, obviously it creates a booming environment.

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Does Dubai fill a void in the market? From a retail and brand perspective there was an absolute need to be in developed cities like New York, Paris, London, Milano, but also to be in emerging cities of the world. From one side there is opportunity to grasp, on the other there was a place in Dubai which offered the right environment. Who is the ‘Level’ customer? Dubai is fantastic because we have a local market which is strong, but we also have a regional and international market. Level Shoe District is really a place for those customers where we want to offer them the choice and where they get selection. We are targeting our local market and our Indian, Iranian and Russian customers. All those who visit Dubai.Its very complex for our buyers because we need to give people the depth of choice but also things that are adapted to people of different nationalities. The store offers many ‘special’ services. Can you tell us about them? At the heart of the designer shoe area is a VIP room. The idea is to rececive customers who want a certain exclusivity. We also have stylists here. They know the trends, the selection, the availability extremely well. They are the advisors to the clients.

All photos courtesy of the Chalhoub Group

Presumably this is a long term investment? We don’t know for sure how much longer we will have our return on investment. Will it be five years, will it be 12 years? We are sure of our commitment to make it work and happen. Making it work is a reflection of not just financial indicators, but customer satisfaction. Just like any other company, or even a government, we have our financial indicators, but being a family owned business, we are very attached to creating sustainable business, to make the project work and persevere to make it work. We are confident this will work. It’s a question of giving it time and the right investment and the right adjustments.

Luxury retail

We also have colourists and cobblers, so customers can get exactly what they want in case they don’t find it. Very few places in the world could offer this. Not only do we bring western brands into the shoe district, but we also bring regional brands born in this part of the world, including regional shoe designers from Palestine as well as Emirati designers making luxurious sandals worn with the local traditional dress. So it sounds like there is something for everyone? Definitely. We have divided Level into four zones. The first is designer, with the luxury brands. Then we continue with more contemporary offerings, bridge brands, specialist brands, and a trend area which has a dedicated sneaker avenue. You can come to Level and find shoes even for your every day use. Do you personally do a lot of shoe shopping? Yes. I have a diverse collection of shoes. It depends on the moment of day. I do some shoe gifting also to my wife. (Smile). Women in the Middle East are perhaps more attached to shoes than anywhere else in the world. Shoes and bags, of course! Will we be seeing more ‘Levels’ in the future? Our ambition is to make this one successful, to offer the choice and to connect with our dynamic customers. We don’t have the intention to take it to many places in the world. We want it to be a unique destination, one of a kind and to ensure it remains a vibrant place within Dubai.

"Not only do we bring western brands into the shoe district, but we also bring regional brands born in this part of the world"

November / December 2012 GC 49


A Grocer's Growing Pains Entrepreneur Yunib Siddiqui discusses UAE success of gourmet food emporium Jones the Grocer, and outlines new strategic direction. By Nina Glinski

hen a company experiences explosive growth and success from the day it opens its doors, business operations can become chaotic. For Yunib Siddiqui, CEO of Jones the Grocer (JTG) UAE, who has built an impressive seven stores in two and a half years, it’s time to tidy up. Fresh on the news that L Capital Asia, a private equity fund sponsored by LVMH has taken a stake in the Australian-owned JTG, a gourmet food emporium launched in 1996 with a focus on delivering

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handmade and artisan foods using natural ingredients, Siddiqui is optimistic about the company’s growth. In a statement, Ravi Thakran, Managing Partner of L Capital Asia said, “The Company is poised to grow fivefold in five years. There are not many opportunities with this kind of potential. We are very excited about expanding this brand into new markets, especially North Asia, South East Asia and the Middle East.” The company currently has stores in Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Qatar and the UAE.

Declining to comment on the deal, Siddiqui is waiting for the dust to settle and tightening his operations in the meantime. Following the news, Siddiqui cancelled immediate plans for expansion to a new commercial site near the Dubai Mall, in order to strengthen his internal business operations, making them a formidable example for future JTG franchise efforts globally. “We hope [L Capital Asia’s] acquisition will strengthen our franchisor and allow it to build its business to catch up with UAE’s stage of growth,” he said.

All Photos supplied by JTG

Homemade and organic delicacies on sale in JTG.


As a business that had originally been contracted to build just four stores over five years, a new strategic direction makes commercial sense. “We realized that we were carrying a super structure, designed to grow the business explosively. Now that we’ve completed our growth phase, temporarily or at least in this transition period, it’s important to reign it all back in,” said Siddiqui, whose initial business plan included becoming the regional growth partner for JTG. Delving deeply into business operations was sidelined during the growth phase of the UAE business, and he believes it is time to maximize efficiency of each franchise. Siddiqui plans to examine operating efficiencies, labour costs, training levels, and equipment issues, for starters. Siddiqui, who did not have a food and beverage background prior to starting JTG in Abu Dhabi in 2009, was drawn to JTG based on a 2008 Wallpaper Magazine article, and recognized it as a “great opportunity to look at something different.” The five-year, four store contract was inked during a meeting in Singapore, making Siddiqui the proud CEO of JTG’s UAE operations. With little exposure to the UAE market, the London-based entrepreneur moved to the country and took a proactive handson management approach to getting the business going. “Part of the problem in the UAE is that people rely too much on intermediaries to do things,” he said, citing paperwork delays he encountered when working with a PRO. “I did a lot

of the initial running around myself, and that saved a lot of time. I think people respected me for that.” Now a judge on entrepreneurship for Gulf Capital’s SME awards, Siddiqui is well versed in the challenges of starting up a business in the Emirates. “There are barriers to entry that stop the small entrepreneur from coming here in the first place, and from growing his business without utilizing entrenched contacts and relationships to facilitate that growth process,” he said. Noting that while underfunded startups may not be a natural fit for the tough to break UAE market, the level of opportunity in the Emirates for the right kind of business with sufficient resources is undeniable. For Siddiqui, with even an underestimated budget allocation, the

Yunib Siddiqui, CEO of Jones the Grocer UAE.

"Now that we’ve completed our growth’s important to reign it all back in." first JTG UAE store raked in double its projected revenue within its first two months. The demand for JTG was simply insatiable. “We realized we had to ramp up very quickly,” he said. For JTG, growth came at the expense of highly tuned operations, something that had not been accounted for in the budget. With an emphasis on familiarity and consistency, Siddiqui and his staff worked to build a unique culture and customer experience. “We want people to feel they’re coming somewhere familiar and are able to share that experience with anyone they come with. We want our staff to put out that message to customers that it’s almost like coming home.”

Inside Jones the Grocer’s store in Dubai, located on Sheikh Zayed road. November / December 2012 GC 51


Banking on Bollywood As demand for Indian content grows, MTV India launches in the Middle East aiming at tapping into a market worth nearly $40 billion.

Image courtesy of Corbis /

By Nina Glinski

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nlocking the value of the notoriously fickle youth demographic has presented a challenging opportunity for marketers globally for decades. But one brand has managed to capture the attention of that market for generations. “MTV as a brand is beyond music; it’s music and youth. There are enough people out there wanting more and more of it,” said Anuj Gandhi, CEO of IndiaCast, the distribution arm of MTV India. Gandhi has just launched MTV

available program styles, and MTV’s programming formula resonates with young populations universally. IndiaCast has a huge syndication business, delivering western-formatted content to hundreds of countries, including those in Europe and Western Asia, but having a dedicated youth channel in the Gulf will prove lucrative for the group. Offering MTV India to international markets “as-is” had its shortcomings, including the inconveniently scheduled live airing of reality programs; with the launch of

IndiaCast has a record of success in the region’s saturated market. When Viacom18’s Indian flagship brand, Colors, was introduced to MENA in 2010, nobody thought there was room in the market. As the fourth channel in the space, Colors differentiated itself by offering a demographically diverse programming lineup, inspired by western shows like “Big Brother” and driven by major Bollywood starpower. The resulting growth has been “phenomenal,” said Gandhi. Not only has it grown-

"The opportunity is humongous, as you recalibrate that percentage that should go to Indian television fundamentally on the

basis of quantity of people here." Anuj Gandhi, CEO of IndiaCast.

in the UAE, eager to tap into not just the youth popularity, but the growing demand for Indian content outside of India. The numbers are compelling. The overseas market for Indian content is about $190 million, and the Middle East accounts for up to 20 per cent of that, or about $37 million. Furthermore, advertisers are currently spending a disproportionately small amount on the Indian market. “The opportunity is humongous, as you recalibrate that percentage that should go to Indian television fundamentally on the basis of quantity of people here,” said Gandhi. Over time, second and third generation Indian expats are becoming increasingly attuned to internationally

Gaurav Gandhi, IndiaCast’s COO.

MTV India in the UAE, the live shows actually air at the right time, capitalizing on a hungry audience. Breaking into MENA MTV India was introduced to the UAE to cater to the underserved Hindispeaking market. There were other channels under the MTV banner already established in the region, including MTV UK and MTV Arabia, but MTV India filled a cultural void. “One of the reasons we brought MTV India here is because that [youth] community is underserved from an Indian standpoint,” said Gaurav Gandhi, IndiaCast’s COO. The introduction of MTV India to the market has been long anticipated, but due to the lengthy deal making process, IndiaCast had to bide its time.

Colors has surpassed the nine-year incumbent number one channel. Riding on the coat tails of Colors’ resounding regional success, IndiaCast has the team in place to elevate MTV India to dominant market share in MENA. “We had advertisers from day one. Deals are getting done. It’s going to be much easier for MTV India than it was for Colors,” explained Gandhi. Highlighting India’s recent digitization mandate and the regulatory lift on foreign investment caps, Gandhi anticipates a lot of incoming new business. “As more money flows back in the value chain to the content providers, they’ll spend more money on high quality and quantity of content. Which means more will travel outside of India,” he said.

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Brioni strongest in Dubai CEO Francesco Pesci speaks to GC about the brand’s expansion in the Middle East, its PPR takeover and James Bond. By Natasha Tourish

ince the French conglomerate PPR acquired Italian luxury menswear brand Brioni last year, the company have been named the most prestigious men’s fashion brand for the second time by the Luxury Institute in New York and have been quickly expanding throughout the Middle East with boutiques opening in Riyadh, Qatar, Kuwait, Abu Dhabi and Dubai. GC talks to CEO Francesco Pesci in Brioni’s new mono brand store in Mall of Emirates.


rioni was named the most prestigious men’s fashion brand last year and named as one of the top three brands most deserving of charging premium prices along with Canali and Ermenegildo Zegna. What challenges does this bring with it, considering the highly competitive nature of the fashion industry? When I joined in 1994, the market was less competitive; the challenge for Brioni today is to resist the temptation to look for shortcuts to maintain its market share. On the contrary, what we need to do is to increase the level of quality but the most serious challenge for me is on a communication level: to get our message across and to convey the fact that Brioni is a different quality of product than a decade ago. When you think of the average quality of the other two brands that you named, Brioni is in a different league. We have to fill the gap between the real quality and the perceived quality of these brands. Are all your products still made in Italy? How important is it to you to keep ‘Made in Italy’ competitive? Yes everything is made in Italy and we intend to keep it that way. ‘Made in Italy’ is still functional and can offer clothes at a higher level of quality for sure. The fashion sector forecast a 5.6 per cent drop in revenue for 2012 to 60.2 billion euros ($79 billion), down from an earlier 5.2 per cent estimate. Does Brioni sales figures echo this decline? No, our business this year is growing in all continents, with the exception of Western Europe where we are seeing a slowdown because of the economic downturn in general. How has Brioni performed in this region this year? I cannot share any sales figures with you as they will come from PPR directly but I can tell you that Dubai is the strongest performing market in the region. You have to remember that the luxury fashion industry nowadays relies on 70% tourists and 30% on local consumers and the Dubai market is reflective of this. How has the economic crisis in Italy affected homegrown sales? Italy isn’t a growing market at the moment. I’m not optimistic about selling to Italian customers because there has been a

weakening of the middle class in Italy and it’s therefore more difficult to sell them luxury goods. However, to kick start our sales in Italy we are planning on upgrading our retail presence in the Italian cities that attract the most foreign tourists such as Milan. This will boost sales in Italy but not necessarily to Italian customers. Do you agree with Silvio Albini’s, proposal for fashion leaders in Italy to put aside long-standing jealousies and competitiveness and “team up” to overcome the challenges the industry is facing? I think he’s completely right but if you look at any history book you’ll see Italy is a country with internal rivalries for centuries, I don’t think it’s going to be easy to amend this mentality in the short term. However, certainly the moment has come to understand that Italy is a small country and to succeed in globalization we all need to become more co-operative not just in Italy but on a European level. However, I don’t think its up to the big luxury fashion names to change the destiny of the Italian fashion industry as a whole. It’s up to the smaller companies to understand that the moment has come to grow bigger and to do this they need to accept a certain degree of consolidation. Which region is performing best for Brioni currently? The US is still our number one market followed by Russia as number two and Western Europe would be number three. However, in terms of the fastest growing markets, it would be China and also Japan, we have steady growth in Russia, which is a nice surprise considering it’s not a new market for us, we’ve been there for 15 years and it’s still growing. The Middle East is also growing, but obviously it’s never going to become a huge market for us in terms of size. Do you think that Brioni will ever get to dress Mr Bond again? We would like to but I don’t consider this as a life or death issue. If it comes I’ll be happy but I wouldn’t proactively seek it at the moment.

November / December 2012 GC 55

Coffee at the Capital Club

Nurturing African businesses Ashish Thakkar, one of Africa’s youngest business leaders, has created an eco-system for young African entrepreneurs to thrive. By Natasha Tourish

shish J. Thakkar, Founder and Managing Director of the Mara Group, was named by Forbes as one of the ten young African millionaires to watch. With no formal education, the 31 year old businessman has taken the Group from the humble beginnings of selling computers from his garage, to a global firm employing over 6,000 people across 19 African countries. Thakkar is a British citizen of Asian descent and has been living in Dubai, where his company is headquartered for more than half of his life, but says his heart will always belong to Africa. At 13, he moved from the UK to Rwanda with his family, only to find themselves a few months later caught up in the Genocide. After escaping with the help of the UN inside Hotel Rwanda, Thakkar and his family started over in Uganda. When he was 15, Thakkar’s entrepreneurial spirit propelled him to drop out of school and take a $6000 loan from the bank to help set up his first company, Raps, which sold computers. In 2010 the Mara Group was identified by the World Economic Forum as a dynamic high-growth company with the potential to be a driving force for economic and social change in Africa. He divides his time between the Mara Group and Mara Foundation, the former concentrates on investing in diverse sustainable commercial projects in Africa, including IT solutions, tourism services, agriculture and agro processing and manufacturing. The aim is to create local jobs while reducing the need for importing materials from overseas. The latter is his

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philanthropic initiative; the Mara foundation was set up to create a new, modern venture capital firm designed to support the needs of entrepreneurs. It consists of an online entrepreneurial mentorship platform, online jobs site and even a dating website, designed to enable like-minded young African entrepreneurs to meet. When chatting with Thakkar, it’s easy to see his genuine passion for the development of the continent he calls home. “All work is geared towards creating an ecosystem of support for young African entrepreneurs,” he says. Thakkar drew upon his own experiences and what he believed was the missing links for young Africans to succeed in business: funding, physical work space and professional guidance to launch the online mentoring platform. The service is free, connecting local and international business leaders with young entrepreneurs. While the Mara Launch Pad is a base for growing business, an innovation and enterprise center for young businesses, useful as a professional office space, offered for as little as $20 per month – “this is important for visibility and credibility” according to Thakkar. “It’s sexy to work from your home in Europe or the US but in Africa no one will take you seriously unless you have an office space.” Thakkar also uses his expertise to influence and advise several heads of state in sub-Saharan Africa and is a team member of the Commonwealth Business Council and COMESA. He will be representing East Africa on Virgin Galactic’s first mission into space next year, making him Africa’s second astronaut.

retail Tourism

Shop 'til they Drop Wealthy Gulf shoppers spend millions in Europe.

inger for long enough on a street corner in Knightsbridge and it won’t be long before you see a parade of GCCregistered cars extravagant enough to take your breath away. The ‘season’ may be long gone when Gulf Arabs traditionally flock to Europe to escape the summer heat, but traders in the West are noticing a new trend for Middle Eastern residents to shop there year-round. In what has become the new Grand Tour of Europe, shoppers from the Middle East are flitting between London and Paris, Madrid and Milan to snap up the latest fashions and enjoy a break from the oppressive heat. Lured by hefty discounts on designer gear, tax refunds and the promise of goods they cannot get at home, a soaring number of shoppers from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Qatar are choosing to splash the cash abroad.

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L to R: Mark Henderson, chairman of the London Luxury Quarter Jace Tyrrell, director of the New West End Company

In the first six months of the year Chic Outlet Shopping, a collection of nine European shopping hubs with designer boutiques offering discounts of up to 60 per cent, saw an increase of 70 per cent in visitors from the Middle East - with Emiratis and Qataris among the biggest spenders. Those from the UAE spent 82 per cent more than they had done in the same period of time last year while spending by Qataris more than doubled.

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

By Tahira Yaqoob

retail Tourism

Overall, spending at the outlets in the UK, Italy, Spain, France and Germany by customers from countries eligible for tax rebates went up by 56 per cent, with each shopper spending an average Dh1,418 per transaction. Easy access for travelers With Etihad Airways now offering direct flights to most of the locations and Chic Outlet Shopping laying on a chauffeurdriven service to connect its villages to airports, halal fare and VIP lounges, consumer tourism has rocketed. Ian Stazicker, head of tourism for the outlets, says: “With an increase in the number of direct flights available to most countries in which the villages are located, the number of visitors from the Middle East has undoubtedly been bolstered.” Equally McArthurGlen, which has similar European outlets offering up to 70 per cent off designer labels, saw a surge of 64 per cent in international travellers last year. Middle Eastern travellers were treated to VIP lounges, prayer rooms and play areas for children. Jace Tyrrell, director of the New West End Company which represents Bond Street, Oxford Street and Regent Street in London, says the Middle East, China and Russia are the driving forces for international spending and make up a significant chunk of the Dh44 billion pouring into West End tills every year. Last year customers from the Middle East spent Dh705 million in a preRamadan spree but that figure has been soaring since. He adds: “There has been a 15 per cent year-on-year increase in sales by Middle Eastern shoppers.” According to the research company Global Blue, Middle Eastern shoppers account for more than one in four international sales in the British capital. Mark Henderson, chairman of the London Luxury Quarter which oversees 42 central shopping streets, says the district has “significant international appeal, thanks to the presence of more than two-thirds of the world’s biggest powerhouse brands”. Across all the organisation’s stores, spending by GCC shoppers has risen by

nine per cent every year, peaking during both Eids and Ramadan. Shopping holidays But why are countries offering tax refunds or heavily discounted goods such a draw, particularly when those who fly in to shop, often with their Rolls Royces and Lamborghinis in tow, are rarely on a budget?

brands are Chanel, Hermès, Cartier and Louis Vuitton. The department store has added incentives to lure customers from the region, from hiring Arabic speaking staff to staying open later during Ramadan. A Selfridges spokeswoman describes them as “savvy shoppers” and adds: “The Middle Eastern market is a stable and important one for us. Luxury and

" everything to the Middle east customer and the latest pieces are often not available in their home countries."

Chic Outlets in Kildare, Ireland

According to one group of five male Emirati friends, who go on crossEuropean shopping expeditions every summer and winter with a budget of Dh60,000 each, it is as much about enjoying the social scene as shopping. Relaxing in the Noura coffeeshop in Knightsbridge, where all the staff speak Arabic, they are taking a break from buying Cartier sunglasses and Prada bags to people-watch and be seen. “There are some exclusive brands here that we cannot get in Dubai,” Rashid, 20, says. “It is as much about spending time with friends and enjoying the cooler weather. “The shopping is better and we like walking because we do not get to do that at home.” A spokesman for Qatar-owned Harrods says Middle Eastern shoppers’ favoured

exclusivity is everything to the Middle Eastern customer and the latest pieces are often not available in their home countries. “There is a keen appetite for fine accessories, jewellery, watches and shoes, especially in recognised brands like Chanel, Hermès, Dior and Mulberry.” The United Nations World Tourism Organisation says nearly one in six Arabs spend their holidays outside the region and inevitably, a large percentage plan their trips around shopping. According to Visit Britain, 232,000 visitors from the UAE went to the UK in 2008 and spent Dh1.7bn, amounting to an average Dh7,322 each. Another 222,000 tourists from the rest of the GCC splashed out another Dh2.7bn the same year. But it is not simply Britain which is reeling in shoppers. More than 330,000 GCC tourists flock to Switzerland and Austria each year. Tourism officials say the number of Gulf visitors has risen “phenomenally” and brought in millions in revenue. The worldwide shopping spree, it seems, is showing no signs of abating.

November / December 2012 GC 59


Online fashion retailers

get a boost in the middle east An inside glimpse into an industry that is finally beginning to gain steam in the region. By Natasha Tourish

he region’s largest e-commerce platform Souq. com is filling a gap in the market with the recent launch of their online fashion site targeted at 18-34 year olds who want designer labels at more affordable prices. Fashion and retail in the Middle East is a 30 billion dollar industry, according to Mary Ghobrial CEO of Souq fashion. com and the online part of this is less than half a percent, compared to 11% in the US and 11% in the UK. “Obviously there’s a huge opportunity for taking fashion online and especially in our region where everyone is so into fashion and love to look different,” Ghobrial told GC. Shoppers in the Emirates spent an estimated $2.8 billion (Dh10.28bn) on products and services purchased

60 GC November / December 2012

online last year, according to data from Visa Middle East in partnership with IMRG, an independent researcher. And Visa forecasts a 40 per cent rise in e-commerce spending this year in the region, yet according to the latest global online shopping report from Nielsen, one-third of web users in the Emirates twice the global average - say they have never bought anything online. However,, a global online retailer who recently entered the Middle Eastern market believes that young and Internet savvy Middle Eastern consumers are ready for a change. “The internet has created a dynamic environment where you can shape the way people shop, bringing each item to life through photography, editorial and inspirational features. Being able to maintain a personal approach through

a knowledgeable and easy-to-reach customer service team, can recreate key parts of the shop floor experience,” said David Worby, Industry experts cite a lack of trust in online credit card transitions and the Arab tradition of visiting malls as the main deterrents for older Middle Eastern consumers, especially while dealing with a local or regional e-retailer. Mikky Jethani, founder of nieshonline. com, says the biggest challenge they have faced, as an online store is to give UAE residents a reason to buy online. “As we all know, the UAE as a country has a very strong mall culture. Having said this, people have limited time to shop since everyone is trying to balance a work and home life schedule. We as retailers want to fit into their schedule and help them obtain what they want.”


"The fashion industry in the Middle East is a 30 billion dollar industry, and the online part of this is less than half a percent..." Mary Ghobrial, CEO of Souq Fashion and Ronaldo Mouchawar, CEO of

Souq Fashion have partnered with celebrity stylists Rob Zangardi and Mariel Haenn who have styled Jennifer Lopez and Rihanna among others, to offer free online consultations to attract clients. But what really sets Souq Fashion apart from other online fashion retailers like ASOS and Net-a-Porter is that they are bringing designer brands to the region for the first time. “We’ve collected new designers from around the world who have a celebrity following but don’t yet have a retail presence in the region,” explained Ghobrial. “We can bring fashion much faster because we don’t have to go through the whole cycle of regular retail; we get the fashion directly from the brands so we can offer it at a lower cost online.” Fast delivery has become another way to stand out from the pack. “A lot of people in the region don’t like to use their credit card online, especially in Saudi Arabia for example, so for us to penetrate such a market we have to offer cash on delivery and free returns,” said Ghobrial. This is where Souq Fashion has an edge over their global competitors. British online fashion retailer ASOS offers free delivery to the Middle East within 3-6 days but insists on upfront credit card payments. “No one outside of the region would be able to offer this cash

on delivery model for logistical reasons,” Ghobrial added. When first started up it initially focused on promoting an eBaylike business model in which goods could be auctioned to the highest bidder. But as shopping habits changed, they started setting fixed prices last year and let businesses ship goods once shoppers made their purchases. More recently, it has invested undisclosed sums in warehousing goods in the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, as well as new technology and employees to

manage the logistics side of its business. These warehouses are now key to the company’s strategy for slashing shipping time, which mirrors an approach taken by Amazon. With approx. 8 million online visitors per month (more than Dubai Mall and MOE combined) Souq Fashion intends on adding one new designer per week to their existing 100 designers, in addition to working with Arabic designers to help them expand into the prêt-à-porter market, poising them to become an online market leader in the coming year.

Mariel Haenn and Rob Zangardi, stylists to celebrities like J Lo, offer free consultations to visitors on

November / December 2012 GC 61

Global citizenship

£1m buys foreign investors right to live in Britain Wealthy foreign businessmen are increasingly using Immigrant Investor Programs to gain permanent residency in the UK.

ealthy businessmen from Russia, India, Pakistan, China and the Middle East are increasingly turning to Immigrant Investor Programs to secure a second passport and residency in the UK. “Investor visas” allow wealthy foreigners to effectively buy the right to live in the UK in return for investing at least £1m of gilts or shares and bonds in British companies. The most recent figures from the Home Office show that more than 400 people applied to use the investor visa scheme in the 12 months to the end of June. This compares with a total of 331 people in 2011 and fewer than 200 in 2009- representing a 50 per cent increase

62 GC November / December 2012

in applications in just three years. Armand Arton, chief executive of Arton Capital, a global financial firm that advises wealthy foreigners on investing and financing solutions in Britain amongst other countries, said political instability in the Middle East, as well as demand from China and Russia had driven the spike. “People want to take out a second option, similar to an insurance policy so that if the need arises they are free to relocate with their children to the UK,” he said. There is already a large expatriate community living within the UK, with more than half of the resident population of Westminster, Kensington and Chelsea - the prime real estate boroughs- being from overseas, with a high percentage

Bianka Hellmich, Gherson Solicitors.

Image courtesy of Gettyimages

London’s iconic Shard building in the horizon.


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Global citizenship

from the Middle East according to Bianka Hellmich, senior relationship manager at Gherson Solicitors, a leading British law firm that advises on immigration in conjunction with tax and property acquisition as well as assets structuring. Hellmich says that although her client’s business interests remain in their country of origin, there priority is to give their children the best possible education, whether that is in the UK or Europe. “ Our clients recognize that the UK has a prestigious education system. Eton, Harrow, Cambridge, Oxford-these are all names recognized instantly worldwide and their children can benefit from this at a lower cost than a non EU student.” She added: “Clients who invest in Britain are thinking long term and are planning for their retirement, they want to enjoy it between the Middle East, UK and Europe while at the same time maintaining a very beneficial tax status.” As per new policies being implemented by the UK immigration authorities, the British government is to prefer foreign investors and entrepreneurs to all other types of migrants from non-European Union (EU) countries. Although the initiative is being taken to reduce the net migration rate in the country, wealthy foreign nationals are eligible to speed up the process by investing greater amounts. “Investments of more than £5m and £10m mean permanent residency could

"People want to take out a second option, similar to an insurance policy so that if the need arises they are free to relocate with their children to the UK." Armand Arton, President of Arton Capital.

be gained within as little as two years,” said Arton. Firms such as Arton Capital in collaboration with FSA regulated financial institutions, offer different financing packages that are designed to leverage the capital of the required investments. And it’s not just new arrivals that will be entitled to this “accelerated settlement” – investors who are already in the UK and want to increase their investments will be able to benefit from the changes as well.

There is no language requirement for the entry clearance to be granted and increased flexibility means that the number of days that investors can spend outside of the UK has risen from 90 to 180, without impacting on their right to residency. “This level of mobility, together with the close proximity of the UK to the Middle East and the convenience in travelling from the UK to the rest of the world is seen to be crucial for investors, who tend to need to travel a lot,” noted Hellmich.



Financing GBP

Mid Financing GBP

Full Investment GBP


5 years

250,000 Not returned

500,000 400,000 returned in 5 years

1,000,000 returned in 5 years


3 years

750,000 Not returned

2,500,000 2,000,000 returned in 3 years

5,000,000 returned in 3 years


2 years

1,000,000 Not returned

5,000,000 4,000,000 returned in 2 years

10,000,000 returned in 2 years

Note applicants choosing financing or mid financing investment option must be able to demonstrate personal net assets which must be double the investment tier level. Meaning that a person choosing 1M must demonstrate net assets of 2M, 5M investment must demonstrate 10M and 10M investment must demonstrate 20M of net personal assets. Also, financing options and conditions will vary between UK banking institutions and could change due to credit conditions and UK Home Office regulations.

64 GC November / December 2012

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Arabic, Cantonese, French, Hebrew, Mandarin and Russian.


Gherson is nominated as a member of Arton Capital’s certified partner network for Immigrant Investor Programs.


Nest Thermostat The brainchild of Apple exec Tony Fadell, the Nest Learning Thermostat is famed for being the sexiest thermostat in the history of household automation, with WiFi connectivity, mobile apps and an iPod-like click wheel for adjusting the temperature. They’ve just released the new model which is noticeably slimmer and will work with a wider array of heating and cooling systems. New features include AutoAway, which uses your scheduling patterns to predict when there won’t be anybody at home and System Match, which learns not just your schedule, but the idiosyncrasies of your home. Available from Price 915 AED

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gizmos and gadgets

GOPro hero 3

Ipad mini The equally priced yet definably diminished iPad Mini is upon us. Available in black or white- the black version has a dark, smokey colour while the sleeker white edition has a lighter, silvery back. It is far and away the glitziest smallscreen tablet with exceptional build quality and rich details like chamfered edges that give the frame a pleasing finish. Available from Istyle Dubai Mall Prices 1,208 AED

The Wi-Fi enabled HERO3: Black Edition is the most advanced GoPro camera, ever. No expense was spared during its development, resulting in a GoPro that is 30% smaller, 25% lighter and 2x more powerful than previous models. Wearable and gear mountable, waterproof to 197’ (60m), capable of capturing ultra-wide 1440p 48fps, 1080p 60 fps and 720p 120 fps video and 12MP photos at a rate of 30 photos per second. Built-in Wi-Fi, GoPro App compatibility and the included Wi-Fi Remote. Available from Price 1,470 AED

WiFi Smartpen The Sky WiFi Smartpen works with proprietary physical notebooks to preserve and record your handwritten notes and linked audio files on 2GB of onboard storage, and then sends them directly to your Evernote account via WiFi. Livescribe’s new stationery is printed with connection buttons that guide you through the procedure in a few seconds. The latest notebooks also have buttons for sending your captured thoughts to Google Drive, Dropbox and Facebook. Available from Price 625 AED

BENTLEY’s BACKGAMMON Designed by Geoffrey Parker Games – one of the best luxury board game makers in the world these bespoke Bentley backgammon boards draw on 50 years of beautiful craftsmanship. From the hand-bound leather casing to the subtle Bentley branding on each and every checker, absolutely no detail is overlooked. Available from any UAE Bentley shrowroom Price 17, 220 AED

November / December 2012 GC 67


Ferrari F12 Berlinetta Ferrari’s fastest ever road car launches in the UAE

he first deliveries of the Ferrari F12 Berlinetta, Ferrari’s replacement for the 599 GTB, will hit the roads of the UAE in December. The company has thrown everything at this model to ensure it is vastly faster than its seminal predecessor, but also more enjoyable at low speeds. It is considerably smaller (50mm shorter, 60mm lower, 20mm narrower and 70kg lighter), producing more downforce and a much lower centre-of-gravity. Although the F12 Berlinetta is the highest performance Ferrari ever built, the car is still able to achieve impressive

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efficiency while delivering benchmark fuel consumption and emissions levels that are 30% lower than the previous generation. The F12’s innovative body style featuring typical Ferrari 12-cylinder styling cues with aggressive and sleek lines is a result of the collaboration between Ferrari Style Center and Pininfarina. Despite its compact exterior dimensions, this car offers adequate occupant space. With lowered driver’s seat and engine placement, combined with a shorter wheel base than the 599 GTB Fiorano, this car promises style, class and comfort in a compact package.


Images supplied by Ferrari

Technical Specifications Price: 1,335,000,000 AED Engine: 6.3-litre V12 Performance: 0-62mph in 3.1 seconds, 0-124mph in 8.5 seconds

Top speed: over 211 mph

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Jaguar XJ Saloon

The Jaguar XJ has been refreshed with new technology and most importantly – an all-new 3.0-litre supercharged V6. he Jaguar XJ is lighter than other luxury saloons, thanks to its all aluminum construction, making it remarkably agile. It’s also easy to maneuver the car with pinpoint precision thanks to the car’s accurate steering – you’ll quickly forget you’re driving something well over five meters long. A limousine has to impress inside, and the XJ still does, even though Jaguar hasn’t changed the design. It’s a great mix of modern style and traditional luxury; a suite of enhancements to the interior and options list includes a new rear seat comfort package, which incorporates electric recline, lumbar adjustment and massage functions to reinforce the ultimate executive limousine experience. However, Director of Design for Jaguar Ian Callum says that the XJ is much more than a limousine. “Its power and potential mean it can out-perform many so-called sports cars. The new Sport and Speed Packs allow customers to enhance that sporting dynamism even further and create an XJ that looks as good as it drives,” said Callum. This car has been set up to be as good to drive as it is to passenger in. The only drawback is that rear headroom is tight, due to the coupé-like low profile. However, in terms of performance this car can move for an oversized saloon; it feels even faster than the 0-100 time of 4.9 seconds would suggest, creating a smooth drive with a gradual rise in engine noise.

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All XJ variants are now available with an Illumination Package derived from that offered as standard on the Supersport model. This comprises of illuminated treadplates, boot latch and front and rear air vents. Price: 309,000 AED Engine: 3.0 liter V6 Top speed: 238Km/h Performance: 0-100Km/h is 8.7 Transmission: 6 speed auto with sequential shift Weight: 1,736Kg (Kerb) and 1,300kg (Gross)


Imposing Luxury

Benetti bowls over critics with its new line of super yacht

warded the Best World Trophy 2010 in Cannes for its innovative design, the Benetti Imagination is a solid yet lightweight yacht with an optimised hull, offering excellent performance as well as long range. The 47 metre line is a new range of semi-displacement mega yacht, constructed entirely in aluminium. Its bulb hull has water lines designed to enable the boat to

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reach high speeds (calculated at around 23.5 knots in average load conditions) and technical fittings have been cleverly combined with Stefano Natucci’s concept and exterior design. Accommodating 12 guests and nine crewmembers, the outer lines of the yacht run fluidly, forming soft, sleek curves that blend the hull with the colossal structure. Like the exterior, the internal fittings of the FB 501 are consistent with the modern spirit of the yacht, exclusively interpreted in the interior design of François Zuretti. (Art Marine, Dubai 04 338 8955)

November / December 2012 GC 73


THE Impressionists The Middle East’s most controversial artists, brothers Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh, are making an impression on the contemporary art scene. By Sylvia Byatt

Rokni and Ramin Haerizadeh

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Above: Ramin Haerizadeh, Mangy Lion, 35.5 x 25.5 cm Below: Rokni Haerizadeh, Tracey Emin, 36 x 27 cm


hile Dubai’s art scene is steadily growing with the emergence of local, regional and international galleries laying roots in the emirate, the metropolis also plays home to two controversial artists who were forced to flee their homes in Tehran. Brothers Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh are currently taking refuge in the urban (and flourishing) art area, Al Quoz, after being threatened with imprisonment in their native Iran in 2009. Ramin’s partially naked self-portraits from his “Men of Allah” series had Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and National Security knocking while the pair were in Paris and the two were advised to seek refuge somewhere else. Dubai became their savior and has been their home ever since. “It’s a safe city, and we have a great space to live and work,” the brothers collectively answer. “We can build something here in the U.A.E and we want to stay here as long as we are allowed.” Ramin Haerizadeh, Mangy Lion, 35.5 x 25.5 cm

Seemingly inseparable (choosing to be depicted as one in our interview) living and working together in the same non-descript modest warehouse, Ramin and Rokni are two very different artists by style. Ramin (the bearded one), 37, produces work characterised by photographs layered over controversial pictures of himself and religious and political imagery. While Rokni, by contrast, is a painter influenced by European greats such as Francis Bacon and Pablo Picasso. And it’s 34-year-old Rokni who exhibited at Art Basel with Gallery Isabelle van den Eynde this past the summer, the first U.A.E-based artist to present at the fair. Rokni, who has work included in public and private collections all over the world including the Tate Modern, the British Museum and the Rubell Family Collection, presented his series “Fictionville, Life is Perhaps That Enclosed Moment when My Ramin Haerizadeh, Shole Zarde Nazri, collage mixed-media on canvas, 200 cm x 220 cm

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Ramin Haerizadeh, Untitled, mixed media, collage and found oil painting on canvas, 100 x 80 cm

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Rokni Haerizadeh- Bedtime Fairy Tale, Oil on Canvas, 150 X 200 cm

Vision Destroys Itself in the Pupil of Your Eyes” and “Just What is it That Makes Today’s Homes so Different, so Appealing?” a project on paper and with video animation. The work incorporates media images of the demonstrations in Iran in June 2009 (when the brothers fled) and raises questions about the culture of popular protest by illustrating the police and protesters as animals. “Controversy belongs to the audience, not the artist,” the brothers simple reply when asked about the common controversial thread in their work which is undoubtedly producing some of the most provocative art to currently come from the Middle East. “We never tone it down; we just remove it from sight. If you censor yourself, after a while you get tame. You need to be brave as an artist. [The political situation in Iran] is influencing our lives. The reason we’re here is directly related, naturally it is continuously shaping our existence.” But while the two artists continue to criticise the Iranian regime, another common thread is their sense of humour (Ramin describes Rokni as a “Philippino make-up seller with a fox tail” while Rokni describes Ramin as a “bearded snail”). From Rokni’s exaggerated depictions of flawed dignity to Ramin’s mullah’s dressed in drag, the pair refuse to see themselves as political anarchists or religious rebels. “We would never put these titles on ourselves. As soon as you do, you cripple yourself,” they explain. So what’s next for the duo? “We’re going to build Noah’s Ark.” Ramin Haerizadeh, Untitled, 35.5 x 25.5 cm, Mixed media on paper

November / December 2012 GC 77

Stunning views from Apa Villa, Thalpe fashion

Sri Lanka’s splendours or more than a quarter century, Sri Lanka seems to have been plagued by misfortune. The tsunami and a brutal civil war kept tourists away. The end of the conflict in 2009 has ushered in a more peaceful era, revealing to visitors a country rich in natural beauty and cultural splendours. In many ways, Sri Lanka is a soft entry to the Subcontinent. While the rest of South Asia can be quite manic, Sri Lanka remains idyllic, unpolluted and not overpopulated. Most of the country is still undiscovered by tourists and easily accessible. The central countryside is filled with lush hills; as if someone has amped up the color saturation on a high definition television screen. Tea plantations scallop the landscape. Virescent mountain peaks emerge above ethereal mist. It is ideally suited for natureloving walkers, trekkers, or even those who passively want to take in the spectacle from the window of a car. No matter which direction one goes, the path will always end at the coast. Thick mangroves and lagoons alternate with 78 GC November / December 2012

pristine, white sand beaches, encircling the entire island. Fishermen perched on stilts are an iconic image of the country as are the thatch-roofed beach bungalows that dot the shores. The fertile land lends itself to an abundance of produce, and the diverse cultural influences yield a unique cuisine. The street markets abound with fresh tropical fruits. In a color reversal, there are piles of bright orange ‘king’ coconuts and green-skinned oranges. Sri Lankan cooking is similar to South Indian food (beware the fiery curries), but with a more Indonesian and Malaysian influence, which is perhaps a legacy of the Dutch colonisers they once shared. Part of Sri Lanka’s endearing charm is its ability to make palpable the varied layers of its 2000-year-old history. The temples offer solace and peace. Former colonial towns display a quaint charm. Colombo has all the modern trappings of any other global city— trendy restaurants, chic hotels and quirky boutiques. The struggles seem to be a distant memory.

All Photos from Corbis /

By nausheen noor


Buddhist statues and stupa in Gangarama Temple on Beira Lake, Colombo.

Stilt fishermen are a common sight in Sri lanka.

Sigiriya rock in the central Matale District of Central Province, Sri Lanka.

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Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage near Kandy.


WHERE TO STAY Heritance Kandalama, Dambulla This hotel, designed by the famous architect Jeffrey Bawa, is an architectural marvel. Suspended on a hill in the middle of the jungle, the all glass building blends the indoors and outdoors seamlessly. Do not be surprised if you have to fend off monkeys while dining in the outdoor canteen. 11, Dambulla From AED 550 per night

Amangalla, Galle The Former New Oriental Hotel (the oldest hotel in Sri Lanka) used to service the Dutch and then English naval officers. The Aman luxury chain retains the influence of the bygone colonial era— high ceilings, dark woods and antique furniture. ‪ 10 Church Street, Galle From AED 1,836 per night

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Paradise Tintagel, Colombo This stylish boutique hotel located within a tiny residential area in the heart of Colombo was once a former a governor’s residence. The lovely outdoor garden surrounded by high walls covered in flowering vines is also home to a fabulous fine dining restaurant. 65 Rosmean Place, Colombo 7 From AED 735 per night

sri lanka’s must see destinations Galle Built on a former colonial fort, the city exhibits a distinct old-world charm. The churches and buildings may retain a patina, but the town’s cobblestone streets are full of trendy boutiques, cafes, and art galleries.

Tangalla This stretch of the island’s coastline is regard-

Kandy The cultural capital of the island; the Sacred Tooth Relic is the holiest spot for the Sinhalese and said to contain a tooth of Buddha himself.

Dambulla This town is home to a series of cave temples

Yala National Park Perfect for animal lovers, this

Anuradhaphura At the centre of this town is the world’s oldest tree, Sri Maha Bodhi. It has been cultivated for more than two thousand years by diligent recordkeeping custodians.

park is a National Geographic special brought to life. It is a relaxed place to explore ‘the big four’— leopards, elephants, sloth bears and the wild Asiatic water buffalo.

ed as one of the most heavenly. The tranquil scenery belies a not-so-distant tragedy; it was one of the areas hardest hit by the Tsunami. filled with paintings and statues depicting the life of Buddha. It is one of eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites on the island.

November / December 2012 GC 81


London’s Hippest New Hotels

Corinthia, Trafalgar Square Opened May 2011, Corinthia London has quickly established itself as part of the city’s hotel elite. Just a stones throw from Trafalgar Square, this grand Victorian building with colossal pillars, vast ceilings and gargantuan crystal chandeliers— blending art deco opulence with contemporary chic— plays sanctuary to the urban hustle. The hotel’s plush penthouses have some of the most awesome, panoramic views of the London skyline. Boasting eateries, such as the sophisticated Northhall— serving all-day British cuisine— and the fine dining Massimo Restaurant and Oyster Bar, as well as an a la carte menu created around sustainable sourcing. The hotel’s cutting edge wellness facility— spanning four floors— offers the ultimate in bespoke treatments, with two pools, a steam room and amphitheatre style glass sauna. Our favourite touch: No check in stipulations! Inform of your arrival and leaving times and they will do their best to meet your needs. From AED 1,943 per night

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The Bulgari Hotel, Knightsbridge One of London’s newest additions launched in June 2012, occupying one of the city’s most sought after addresses, with Harrods and the trappings of Knightsbridge just around the corner. The hotels showcases 85 rooms boasting spacious, sleek interiors, marble bathtubs, Italian silk fabrics and minibars resembling travel trunks. Among the richly upholstered chairs and velvet bed frames, guest can help themselves to the Nespresso coffee machines and Bulgari toiletries. There is no escaping the overtly masculine feel of polished black granite floors and grey furnishings. Robbie Pepin (opened Alain Ducasse’s Italian restaurant La Trattoria in Monaco) headlines Il Ristorante, with a Brit-influenced/ Italian menu. The building sinks six floors underground to encompass a spacious ballroom, 47-seater cinema, hi-tech gym and an elegant 25m swimming pool decorated with glittering green and gold mosaics. A two-storey spa with 12 treatment rooms makes the hotel a perfect escape for the weary business traveller. From AED 3,800 per night

November / December 2012 GC 83

City Guide

W Hotel, Leicester Square With room categories like Cool Corner and Wow Suite, this ultra modern urban sanctum is sister to a chain of hotels whose trendy name preceeds it. The youthful heavyweight launched in March 2011, sporting a Sweat fitness centre and minimalist Away Spa. A Whatever/Whenever service claims a bold mantra of “we’ll wave our magic wand” and a 24-hour concierge is at hand to grant your every whim— be that a pair of limited-edition Prada pumps for a preview, personalised bottle of bourbon or a pimped up proposal in Leicester Square. The hotel’s bar sports a hotspot reputation and is open until 2am. Spice Market restaurant offers a sharing concept (perfectly suited to the sociable surrounds) with a Southeast Asian sensuality, inspired by street food and continues to serve up until 12am on Fridays and Saturdays. With 24-hour in-room dining and Wyld nightclub at hand, it’s clear London’s W Hotel is no shrinking violet, more of a wild Walter… From AED 1,707 per night

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little black book: London


LONDON Long-term London resident, GC Lifestyle curator and Cherry Pick Dubai Editor Aysha Majid, gives us an insider’s look at one of the world’s most cosmopolitan cities…

and The Victoria m is such u Albert Muse ing ild bu l a beautifu the of e m so s and host og ot raphy world’s best ph n shio showcases, fa d events.” an exhibitions ton, (South Kensing d) oa R l Cromwel


The Nightjar This dapper little speakeasy style bar and live music lounge concocts potent, fanciful cocktails, serves a tapas menu of snackie morsels, meat and cheese boards, and stays open late. (129 City Road, Old Street)

London’s depth of character and compelling history are its best qualities.

Hawksmoor Seven Dials Serving some of the best steak in town (sourced from Longhorn cattle traditionally reared in North Yorkshire by multi-award winners The Ginger Pig). The breakfast is also a winner and the staunch, elementary menu is inhabited by crowd-pleasers of lobster rolls, sticky toffee, lemon curd with short bread and perfectly crafted cocktails to boot. (11 Langley Street, Covent Garden)

Milk & Honey A sultry, reclusive cocktail bar and private members establishment, with a games room and mini rooftop terrace. (61 Poland St. Soho)

little black book: London

J Sheekey When I first moved to the city this was my home away from home. The venue is low key, classic old English, with a debonair oyster bar. Famous faces frequent the place, but the integrity of the venue and subtle efficiency of the staff ensures no starry-eyed favouritism. I highly recommend the fish pie and lobster thermidor. (28-32 Saint Martin’s lane, Leicester Square)

The National

Portrait Gallery

A huge fan of impr essionism and renaissance art, I ca n spend all day he re ogling the paintin gs beautifying the NPG’s solemn wa lls. (Trafalgar Square) “With a two M ichelin star rest aurant, and the Gallery — expansive ga strobrasserie— Sk etch caters to al tastes. The Gla l de hosts great parties with a New Y ork vibe, while the Parlour is perf ect for relaxed and intimate cockta ils. Every area is a work of art with rooms created the likes of M by artin Creed, C arolyn Quartermaine , Didier Mahie u, and designer N oe Douchafou Lawrance— w r ho famously co nceived Sketch’s tr ippy pod bathroom cubicles.” (9 conduit street, Mayfair)

East London


Brompton Bar & Grill Originally one of the first brasseries in London, famous for their excellent game dishes, BB&G boast a great location and loyal following, with a thrifty lunch prix fixe and a menu of well-crafted drinks and killer absinthe concoctions. (243 Brompton Rd. Knightsbridge)

For similiar picks on the best in Dubai, visit where a scrupulous team of ‘lifestylers’ led by Aysha handpick the emirate’s best, sifting the diamonds from the sand.

I moved to East London over ten years ago. It has changed so much but I still love it for its grittiness and fascinating past— from Jack the Ripper and Joseph Merrick, to its cultural diversity and scandalous, eerie Brick Lane tales. William Blake is buried in Bunhill Fields cemetery, right next to my first apartment in the city. Also if you appreciate graffiti the streets exhibit some of the best works of the world’s most elusive artists, including numerous pieces by Banksy.


Haute Cuisine Discover Dubai’s finest dining establishments By Nausheen Noor

Titanic Chef Marco Pierre White’s larger than life personality is well documented. Credited for inventing contemporary English cuisine, White has been dubbed the first celebrity chef, the enfant terrible of the UK restaurant scene and the Godfather of modern cooking. At 33 he was the first Briton and the youngest chef ever to have been awarded three Michelin stars. Gordon Ramsay and Heston Blumenthal have both succeeded under his tutelage. Given his flamboyant reputation, the menu at Titanic is surprisingly straightforward— serving refined, classic English dishes. The restaurant’s décor is perhaps more true to his character. A copy of the ancient Greek statue ‘Winged Victory’ anchors one end of the restaurant. Coffered ceilings lined with drop crystals, rich curtains and white leather seating scream Art Deco opulence. Melia Hotel, Bur Dubai +971 4 386 8111

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Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire Less than a year after its opening, Reflets Par Pierre Gagnaire was named on the San Pellegrino list of the Top 100 Restaurants in the world. At the time, it was the only restaurant in the Middle East to receive the accolade. Gagnaire’s strength is his eccentricity, presenting heretofore-unknown combinations that cannot be experienced elsewhere. It also means that, even at Reflets, one never has the same meal twice. Each dish is presented exquisitely on an artist palette. Intercontinental Dubai Festival City +971 4 701 1111

At.Mosphere The highest restaurant in the world, At.Mosphere sits 442 metres up in the Burj Khalifa. Restaurant goers are whisked into a private elevator, arrive in a lobby with stunning panoramic views of the city and then go on to experience, quite literally ‘haute’ cuisine. It’s one of the few restaurants in Dubai that has a Josper (a special charcoal grill that can be heated to more than 400 °C and creates perfectly seared steaks with no loss of moisture). The rest of the menu is imaginative and well executed. Burj Khalifa +971 4 888 3444

STAY As head chef of Le Meurice in Paris, Yannick Alléno earned his restaurant three Michelin stars and himself the reputation of “le prince des palais” by his peers. His restaurant STAY, which stands for Simple Table Alléno Yannick, is as it claims— unfussy, comfort French dining with creative twists. The Pastry Library is a highlight for those with a sweet tooth. Guests are invited to participate in the creation of their desserts by selecting the final ingredients and observing the preparation by the chef de patisserie. One & Only Palm Jumeirah +971 4 440 1030

November / December 2012 GC 89


Staying fit, means getting Sleep ts James Heagney, exercise specialist and certified spor sleep nutritionist explains why getting the right amount of is key to staying fit and burning fat.

deep, restful night of sleep is a busy executive’s dream, which can become reality very quickly when you understand the biological reasons why you are unable to get that valuable shut-eye. If you fail to obtain 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep per day your body and health suffers. Travel schedules and work are not always to blame as we frequently choose to spend more of our leisure time at the expense of sleep; this is termed voluntary sleep delay and is well worth a self-assessment.

Do you... Have a problem falling asleep? Have a problem staying asleep? Feel exhausted when you wake? Take prescription medicines to sleep? Suffer as a result of lack of sleep? If you answered yes to any of the above then you have an issue with sleep. The more yes’s the bigger the problem.

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UNABLE TO FALL ASLEEP EVEN WHEN TIRED? The answer lies with the mismanagement of the stress hormone cortisol, which is secreted from the adrenal glands; situated on top of the kidneys. Cortisol secretion is perfectly normal and should be highest when you wake in the morning. Peaking around 8am, slowly reducing throughout the day and lowest when you go to sleep. Your cortisol curve should resemble the bodies natural Circadian cycle which works in alignment with sunset and sunrise. Sleep problems occur when your natural cortisol curve becomes altered by the frequent release of stress hormones throughout the day. If this persists your natural cortisol curve becomes inverted which results in lowest cortisol levels in the morning and highest at night. The stress hormone adrenaline is also responsible for your disrupted sleep pattern. Adrenaline is known as your fight or flight hormone and is the bodies response to a highly stressful situation (getting chased by an animal). The body has evolved exceptionally well to cope with this hence the release of adrenaline to get out of this situation and live another day. Fast forward to modern day living and the human genome has only evolved 0.005% in the past 10,000 years. So effectively we have the exact same stress response mechanism operating today as we did in the Stone Age and here lies the problem. The human body internally does not distinguish the difference between stressors — for example the stress of getting chased by a lion, the stress of an impending deal closure or even getting stuck in traffic. The level of stress response may differ but the mechanics and negative effects on the body are exactly the same. Which is why you may be unable to sleep on an evening and struggle to get going in the morning without a strong coffee to kick-start you adrenals.


ways to ensure a good night’s sleep

Image courtesy of Corbis /

• No caffeine after 4pm • Sleep in a pitch-black room • Reduce artificial lighting on an evening • Eat magnesium rich foods or supplement with magnesium • Monitor your alcohol intake • Switch off TV and computers two hours prior to bed.

Links between sleep and loss of body fat Sleep length and quality play a significant role in the metabolism of stored body fat due to hormonal responses. Natural growth hormone (GH) levels are highest in deep stage three and four sleep. If you do not enter or stay in phases 3 and 4 your GH levels will be naturally lower. GH is not only a potent fat burning hormone but also an effective anti-ager. To loose weight we are conditioned to exercise harder and longer whilst restricting calories. However, quality of sleep is actually a hidden gem in the quest for body fat reduction, especially in the navel region. One of the reasons for this is the emergence of the hormone Ghrelin. Ghrelin is affectionately known as the hunger hormone, whilst triggering hunger it also reduces energy expenditure. Studies show that sleeping fewer than 6 hours per night result in double the amount of fat gain over a six-year period compared to individuals who sleep 7-8 hours per night. However too much sleep can be detrimental to results. Aim for 7-8 hours consistently. Missing link: Magnesium Magnesium is the fourth most abundant mineral in the human body and present in over 300 biomechanical reactions. Magnesium deficiencies are estimated to affect up to 73% of

the population. Studies have shown electrical activity within the brain becoming altered due to magnesium deficiencies— this is your brain going into sympathetic overdrive and the reason you cannot switch off. Elevations of hormones cortisol (stress) and insulin (carbohydrates) also severely deplete magnesium. It is also important to note that magnesium is known as the mineral of the heart. Magnesium plays a vital role in muscular contraction and your heart health is compromised if lacking in this vital nutrient. In fact leading cardiologists suggest that magnesium deficiency allows calcium deposits to accumulate in the cardiac wall, which drastically increases your chances of cardiac arrest. A standard Western diet is estimated to be 80% deficient in magnesium, so if you suffer from sleep deprivation I would recommend to supplement. The advised intake for magnesium is 400mg per day for an adult male. However, if you are symptomatic and have sleep issues I would slowly titrate your dosage up towards 1000mg per day and watch your sleep improve.

James Heagney is a Certified Sports Nutritionist and 5 Dimensions Practitioner at the Capital Club, Dubai.

November / December 2012 GC 91


Irrefutable Gifts for Her Jacket, Alexander McQueen Dubai Mall, AED 7,340

With the winter holidays near, pick something from GC’s guide of infallible gifts for your special lady. Earrings, Harry Winston Emirates Towers and Dubai Mall, P.O.A.

Clutch, Alexander McQueen Dubai Mall, AED 8,600 Rolex Watch, select Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons stores, P.O.A.

Christian Louboutin MOE and Dubai Mall, AED 4,390 92 GC November / December 2012


Bracelet, Pomellato Emirates Towers, AED 185,000

Pyramid Bag, Prada Mall of the Emirates, AED 10,860

Chocolates, Debauve & Gallais, DIFC, AED 850 per kilo

Bustier Dress, Esteban Cortazar, AED 4,490

Gloves (AED 2,770), Garden Party Bag (AED 9,600), Hat (AED 2,040), all Hermes Burjuman Centre

November / December 2012 GC 93



Bespoke tailoring and accessories to channel your business traveler look‌



Cufflinks Circle Saks Private Label, AED 1,030

Classic tailoring with Tom Ford

Hat, Hermes Burjuman Centre and Dubai Mall, AED 3,840 5




1: Scarf Fawn Blue, Salvatore Ferragamo MEO, AED 1,199 2: Shirt Charvet,, AED 1,487 3: Shoes Brown, Salvatore Ferragamo MEO, AED 7,800 94 GC November / December 2012

4: Santiago gonzalez black croc briefcase, AED 25,430 5: Glasses Lanvin Black, Harvey Nichols, AED 1,300 6: Pens Monblanc, Montblanc, AED 12,500



Tom Ford day suit for sartorial luxe






14 9

7: Satchel, Dolce & Gabbanna stores Dubai, AED 4,500 8: Notebooks, Paul Smith stores, AED 100 9: Shoes Black, Salvatore Ferragamo stores, AED 7,335 10: Suitcase Grey, Salvatore Ferragamo stores, AED 5,259

11: Wash Bag Santiago Gonzalez,, AED 5,225 12: Bag Tan, Tom Ford Dubai Mall, AED 24,000 13: Pen Tateossian Silver, Saks Fifth Avenue, AED 375 14: Glasses Lanvin Brown, Harvey Nichols, AED 1,300 November / December 2012 GC 95


Stop Watched 1 The Changing Face of the Chronograph





Baume & Mercier Capeland Flyback, automatic with hands in rose gold, a 44mm case, power reserve of 48 hours. Water resistance 50 metres. AED 68,100 (Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons)


Carl F. Bucherer Manero Perpetual Calendar in18K rose gold. Self-winding with a power reserve of 50 hours, case 42.5 mm. Water resistance of 30 metres. AED 179,100 (Rivoli Stores)


Longines Gents Flagship Heritage Chronograph, automatic with silver date-set dial, stainless steel 39mm case and brown crocodile leather strap.Water resistance 30 metres. AED 10,040 (Rivoli Stores)


Jaquet Droz SW Chronograph, automatic with stainless steel, 45mm case and reserve of 40 hours. Water resistant to 50 metres. AED 73,950 (Rivoli Stores)

96 GC November / December 2012


Now Available in Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi - Rivoli: Abu Dhabi Mall • Marina Mall • Khalidiyah Mall • Al Wahda Mall. Dubai - OMEGA Boutiques: BurJuman • Deira City Centre • Dubai Mall • Mall of the Emirates Mirdif City Centre • Sahara Centre • Wafi and at select Rivoli Stores. Toll Free: 800-RIVOLI

Skyfall © 2012 Danjaq, United Artists, CPII. Skyfall, 007 Gun Logo and related James Bond Trademarks, TM Danjaq.


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