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CURATING TIME SINCE 1950 2
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LET TIME SLIP AWAY He wandered the land and made marks in the sand, eventually slipping away from Time. Time watched and smiled at the daydreamer for a while before revealing his presence again.
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Big Bang Unico Italia Independent Green Camo. Designed in collaboration with the Italian lifestyle brand. Case crafted using green camo texalium and 18K red gold alloy. In-house chronograph UNICO movement. Military green chino straps stitched to rubber. Limited edition of 250 pieces.
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CALIBER RM 11-02 LE MANS CLASSIC
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18 INVESTMENT DESTINATION
32 SOCIAL ACTIVIST
48 SOCIAL IMPACT
STARTUP 20 Shapr app CEO Ludovic Huraux 22 Toil and Tinker
50 ENTREPRENEUR 52 FAMILY BUSINESS
24 SOCIAL BUSINESS
Charles Blaschke, Taka Solutions
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR 38 Audrey Chung 40 Paolo Diani
Ahmed Al Ameri
30 SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR
SOCIAL ENTREPRENEUR 44 SheFighter 46 Josephine Goube
Robert De Niro Jeans for Refugees
Evie Evangelou, Fashion 4 Development
Global Thinkers Forum
Kalongo Midwives Serge Becker
Worldâ€™s Largest Dhow
60 GLOBAL CITIZENSHIP Cyprus: EU Citizenship
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62 GADGETS & GIZMOS
88 LITTLE BLACK BOOK
DESIGN 80 Baccarat 82 Victor Hsu, FACTO
Otam Custom Range 35 Rolls-Royce Dawn
68 HANDMADE Etqaan
Best of Downtown Design
Latin & Caribbean Cuisine Coastal Retreats
Elixir Care Los Angeles
94 FASHION 96 HOROLOGY
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EDITOR’S LETTER GLOBAL CITIZEN EDITOR IN CHIEF Natasha Tourish - firstname.lastname@example.org DIGITAL EDITOR Varun Godinho - email@example.com LIFESTYLE EDITOR Nausheen Noor - firstname.lastname@example.org ART DIRECTOR Omid Khadem - email@example.com FINANCE MANAGER firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Daniel Bates, Ella Buchan, Ben Flanagan, Sheema Khan, Jessica Pepper-Peterson, Amanda Fisher, Tahira Yaqoob, Ryan Young PRINTED BY Masar Printing and Publishing
ith only one week to go (at the time of going to press), until either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton is elected the 45th President of the United States – two of the most unpopular presidential candidates in more than 30 years – it’s safe to say that most Americans will breathe a collective sigh of relief on November 8th when it’s all over. The polls have consistently put Clinton in the lead – albeit with a narrow one, so it’s likely we will witness history next week when the first female President of the United States is elected. And in that vein, we have dedicated our last issue of the year to strong, inspirational women who are breaking the glass ceiling everyday with their philanthropy, mentorship and entrepreneurial know-how. Our reporter’s have travelled to Nairobi in Kenya, Paris, London, New York and Uganda to hear from successful female social entrepreneurs who have become change makers in their respective fields. In October, GC broke its own glass ceiling by being the first publication to sit down with Robert De Niro hours after he landed in Dubai in his role as the special economic envoy for Antigua and Barbuda along with the country’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne. The veteran actor was in town to promote the twin island’s newest luxury hotel development Callaloo Cay to UAE investors. He was oblivious to the fact that his video, in which he lambasts republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, had gone viral while he was in the air. GC heard firsthand why the New Yorker is so riled up by the beleaguered candidate, and why he has no interest in binge watching even though he is making the move to the small screen this year, starring in the TV movie about disgraced banker Bernie Madoff, The Wizard of Lies, as well as a “family-type saga” TV series in the New Year. Read our cover story on page 26.
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Martin Schoeller/ AUGUST
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is an independent photographer, writer and producer based in Milan, Italy. Her passions are travelling and photographing people around the world whether for fashion brands or NGO's. She is currently developing a project on global motherhood.
is a British freelance journalist based in New York. He is a regular contributor to the Daily Mail, Daily Telegraph and Daily Express in the UK and has covered major stories in his decade as a reporter, from the BP oil spill to the Boston Marathon bombing.
based between London and California, Ella Buchan is a freelance travel writer and editor. In this issue she travels to Palm Springs, a place where time has seemingly stood still and old hollywood is alive and well.
is a Pakistan-based journalist who worked on an English daily newspaper before going freelance. She writes blogs for Huffington Post India and covers education, current affairs and terrorism.
started his career at the Observer in London. He writes about Arab affairs in the UK and Middle Eastern business for outlets including the Al Arabiya News Channel, drawing on 14 yearsâ€™ experience in journalism.
is a New Zealand freelance journalist currently based in Nairobi. She previously worked at the Philippine Star and Radio New Zealand before taking up a post as special correspondent at the Khaleej Times in the UAE.
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Entrepreneur of the Year OR PROFESSIONAL SWINDLER? We help you decide.
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2016 NOV / DEC 13
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Polls are tightening as the race to become the 45th President of the United States enters its last week. Will the US get its first female President?
THE BIG PICTURE
How powerful is your passport? Discover the world of passports, sorted, compared and ranked. Learn how you can improve your Global Mobility Score by investing in a second citizenship. PASSPORTINDEX.ORG
EMPOWERING GLOBAL CITIZENSHIPÂ® 2016 NOV / DEC 15
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Dubai Watch Week, Dubai
Gulf Concours, Dubai
Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, Abu Dhabi
It’s the Middle East’s most high-profile annual luxury watch event organised and curated by Ahmed Seddiqi & Sons. Expect watchmaking master classes with industry experts but the highlight will be the watches entered into this year’s Grand Prix d’Horlogerie Genève (GPHG) competition – considered the Oscars of the watchmaking world – on display during the watch week.
In a city where you’ll see the latest wheels from the world’s top manufacturers clip down Sheikh Zayed Road. Fittingly, the Burj Al Arab plays host to the city’s inaugural concours d’elegance where you’ll find classic gems like a ’51 Jaguar XK120 Roadster and a ’61 Aston Martin DB4. There’s an additional entry category of the best ‘modern bespoke’ for those who still can’t quite get over cars from the last decade.
The world’s fastest sport will see the concluding race from this year’s championship at the Yas Marina Circuit. It’s all but decided that Nico Rosberg will romp home with his first world championship victory, stealing the thunder from teammate and reigning world champion Lewis Hamilton. On the sidelines they'll be several parties headlined by some of the world’s biggest acts.
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Dubai International Film Festival, Dubai
Swan Lake: Paris Opera Ballet, Paris
Now into its 13th edition, this year’s festival promises to top previous years. What sets DIFF apart from similar events in Venice, Cannes and Toronto, is the Muhr competition and award for features and short films originating in the Arab world and the UAE giving a much needed platform to showcase the region’s dynamic cinema.
If you aren’t big on the traditional lunch, you could instead book yourself into the afternoon show on Christmas day at the Opera Bastille for a beautiful rendition of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake. The Russian composer’s first ballet has exquisite performances by a young cast with an average age of 25.
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2016 NOV / DEC 17
SWEDEN’S SUSTAINABLE FUTURE It has a storied past but the European Union’s most innovative country is writing its future with tech and renewable energy at the forefront
ith a population of just under 10 million, Sweden punches well above its economic weight. Its GDP stood at a healthy $493 billion last year, and it has pledged to become the first country to run entirely on renewable energy by 2040. With one of the highest economic growth rates in Europe, it’s an island of stability and prosperity tucked away in one of the northern-most corners of the map. But it is also facing the same twin concerns the rest of its European brethren are, namely the refugee crisis and the potential weakening of the European Union following Brexit.
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Sweden took in a national record of 163,000 asylum seekers in 2015 – less than 500 of who were able to find work, according to an investigation undertaken by Swedish public broadcaster SVT. Anti-immigration and Eurosceptic sentiment is flourishing in the socialist country, with the ‘Swexit’ movement gaining rapid momentum. Håkan Persson is Managing Partner at Stockholm-based international firm Experia Corporate Finance Advisors, which specialises in advising globally on Nordic firms. Despite the country’s current trials, he is full of measured optimism
Images courtesy of Getty Images
BY AMANDA FISHER
about its prospects given the long history of stability. From the time of industrialisation, Sweden shot out in the global economic standings thanks to export income from iron ore, wood products, chemicals and, later on, healthcare and motor vehicles – think AstraZeneca, Saab and Volvo. By the Seventies, the country was one of the leading global economies. Persson says it’s those old-gen sectors that laid the foundations for today’s entrepreneurial economy – one that topped the European Union for innovation according to the European Commission’s 2016 European Innovation Scoreboard. “We have a modern industrial infrastructure with all the old natural resources and things like that, all way behind us. We are a lot into technology – [sectors like] IT, software and gaming.” Some of the biggest technology companies were born in Sweden, from mobile company Ericsson to telecommunications maverick Skype and the app that revolutionised music consumption, Spotify. Persson says despite its European heritage, Sweden is very American in its bold and ambitious outlook, coming a close second to the technology super-economy in per capita so-called ‘unicorn companies’ – start-ups valued over $1 billion. The country is internationally facing by necessity, he says, given its small domestic market, while its citizens are well educated and well travelled, bringing back ideas from distant lands. “We are like a sort of satellite to the US by tradition – we’ve always looked very much at the US in terms of technology, development and culture.” Sam Myers is a principal at UKbased venture capital firm Balderton, which invests primarily in early-stage tech start-ups in Europe. Myers spends much of his time scouting for new talent in Stockholm. He says Sweden has become a tech hotspot thanks to fertile soil. “Past success breeds future success. Once you’ve had a few companies do well and become global companies, the founders tend to stay in their countries and reinvest or help with new networks. It’s very much an ecosystem that’s building these companies from an early stage into global winners.” Myers says such prospects are perfect for high net worth individuals to invest in as they require a lot of early capital, but the rewards can be vast. Myers says Sweden tends to be the best market in the Nordics to invest in thanks to high education levels and entrepreneurial verve. All the old sectors like health, automotive and communications are still great prospects but he says Sweden’s technological wand is lifting the economy across the board, through things like mobile apps. “It’s the most interesting sector to look at. The digital revolution is hitting every industry… it’s more new tools and new markets bringing many different industries to a new level.”
All of this means there are strong opportunities for Middle Eastern investors and despite the refugee backlash, Myers and Persson say the country remains tolerant and open – something affirmed by Swedish Ambassador to the UAE Jan Thesleff. “The refugee influx is a challenge. It puts this region and also Europe under unprecedented pressure. It’s unprecedented since World War II. However, if you look at receptiveness in Europe to immigration…Sweden is the most positive of all European countries.” Thesleff says the influx of refugees represent close to two per cent of the population, an “enormous challenge” to resources like housing and schooling. “But so far we are managing this. We still have a very healthy economy by European standards, we still have a low inflation rate and we still keep our budget in balance and we have proven so far – we’ll see what the future will bring – that we are sailing on the bumpy waters of this crises.” Refugees have been coming to the country for decades, he says, and, while it presents initial challenges, the net effect has always been positive. As for Swexit, a recent poll suggested 64 per cent of the population wanted to see the country remain in the EU. In terms of investment, Thesleff highlights the strong ties between his country and the region. “We have some of our major export markets in this region in countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates [and] Egypt.” Sweden and the UAE last year signed a three-year MOU to foster cooperation and create networks to develop small and medium enterprises and enhance research and development. Meanwhile, penetration of Swedish multinationals like Ikea and H&M (which some people “may not know are Swedish even though they are yellow”) is high across the Middle East. But there are many good reasons for investment to travel back in the other direction too, Thesleff says. “Sweden has proven since the early ‘90s to be one of the most economically and politically stable countries in Europe. The early financial crisis at the beginning of the Nineties brought with it a reform policy that has led to stability for the past 25 years. We have seen how we have weathered the storms in the latest crisis in 2008.” Sweden ranked eighth in the World Bank’s ease of doing business index, Doing Business 2016, while Thesleff points to the country’s high transparent governance and corporate tax rate of 22 per cent that is one of the lowest in the OECD. The country’s private enterprise, government and academic arms have a “very unique” symbiosis that works to boost the economy, given much of the success story is research-anddevelopment-based, he says. “That’s why we are where we are today.”
“We’ve always looked very much at the US in terms of technology, development and culture”
2016 NOV / DEC 19
THE SOCIAL NETWORK Parisian Ludovic Huraux has built an app that has been dubbed the ‘Tinder for Networking’ nderstandably, not everyone is a fan of the hit-andrun Tinder dating app. While Tinder promotes casual encounters, 33-year-old Ludovic Huraux set out to build a more meaningful career-focused networking app called Shapr. Think of Shapr as the ‘Tinder for Networking,’ he says. How does it work? “You sign up with your LinkedIn or email address and then fill out details like your job description, company name and location. You then add business hashtags like #startup, #datascience or #privateequity and personal interest hashtags like #tennis or #movies too. An algorithm uses that data to then match you with people of similar professional and personal interests,” says Huraux. The reason that the app is gaining significant traction is because its built on the robust LinkedIn platform and has an interface that’s achingly simple like that of Tinder. For example, when you log in, Shapr will ask you to select 50 people (your “Inner Circle”) who you know and trust and who will have access to all of your connections and you to their’s. Shapr will
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introduce you to five new connections everyday with matching profiles, and will show you who from your connections is a mutual link – a little like how ‘second connections’ work on LinkedIn. Then in true Tinder-style, you swipe left to reject or swipe right to accept that profile. If the other connection also swipes right on your profile, then it’s a match and the two of you can connect and facilitate a meeting offline too. Shapr has already mopped up 100,000 users worldwide and developed a vibrant demographic base. “Eighty per cent of our users are between 25-45 years old. Seventy-five per cent of our users are in the US – mainly in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco – while the remaining are located in European cities like London and Paris. But we hope to soon breakthrough into markets like Dubai where there are many people who shift there to do business and who need to connect with others.” Shapr has already secured $7million in funding in the last few months. This isn’t Huraux’s first entrepreneurial venture in the world of cyber matchmaking. Fresh out of business school a decade
ago, Huraux, then 24, dabbled in private equity. Three years in, he decided to start his own technology-based venture, and at 27 he founded French premium dating app called Attractive World. “I raised more than $6 million dollars initially through private investors for Attractive World. The venture quickly turned profitable and was among the top three dating apps in France.” The one thing that Attractive World didn’t manage to do was to break out of France. While massively popular in the country, it couldn’t scale beyond its borders. A little over a month ago, Huraux sold Attractive World to a German company that has plans to roll it out across the world. Huraux credits his success as a young entrepreneur to his curiosity and interest in meeting new people. He said, “I thought about the kind of impact I wanted to have with my next venture. Ever since I became an entrepreneur in my early twenties, I tried to meet one new person every week and I understood how important it is to meet with someone new where you can learn so much
from these encounters. That’s why I wanted to create Shapr because it isn’t easy to meet the right people in your career and personal life,” says Huraux. From the very outset, Huraux has planned to go international with Shapr – something that he hadn’t done with Attractive World. He simultaneously launched Shapr in France and the US two years ago, and is now rapidly expanding into other markets. He says, “The near-term plan for Shapr over the next 12 months is to communicate more aggressively in the US market and to also expand in Asia, South America and the Middle East. We are all set to raise another round of funding in the first half of next year.” He added, “The long-term mission of Shapr is for people to shape their network – to meet people that will inspire them.” So did Huraux find himself a match via his dating or networking app? He breaks out into a chuckle. “I met my girlfriend at a conference where I was a speaker. I didn’t meet her online,” he admits.
“The long-term mission of Shapr is for people to shape their network – to meet people that will inspire them”
2016 NOV / DEC 21
PRINT EVOLUTION How specialist Dubai print shop Toil & Tinker is tapping into our tactile needs
ver since our lives started moving steadily online, there has been an ever-growing cultural swing back towards the physical world. Vinyl sales have rocketed globally, Polaroid film is back in production. The printed word and image has taken on a new value and vogue. Analogue is, suddenly, everywhere. It's this human impulse for the tangible which Paul Green was banking on when he launched Toil & Tinker, the print shop-come-creatives' hang out which specialises in everything from art prints to corporate campaigns, one-off T-shirts to wedding invitations. Originally founded in 2014 as a small boutique business – little more than a corner stall in Dubai Garden Centre – earlier this year the brand moved to a new, markedly more visible spot in Al Quoz's Courtyard, a small, shady, thoroughfare in the midst of an industrial estate. The move upped the business floorspace nine-fold in the process. Green has put the room to good use; the 4,700sqm open warehouse is a veritable hipsters' paradise, littered with edgy and ironic decorations. “We print stuff – just about anything!” begins the business' “creative manifesto”, hanging proudly behind the welcome desk. Intimidating futuristic equipment is punctuated by vintage
Paul Green, founder of Toil & Tinker, the print shop-come-creatives' hang out 22
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furniture and ragged rugs. Art prints hang on the walls and action figures line the shelves; Transformer Optimus Prime rubbing shoulders with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. A pair of dogs scurry around the floor – the mood is anything but that of a business environment. “I was surprised at first, but now I understand why Toil & Tinker has been so successful,” begins Green, a 36-year-old British expat. “Because if you go to any other print shop, it's a very commercial environment – very clean, very uninspiring – I think we've just hit that niche for people who have that creative fire inside them.” Walking through the space, Green spiels enthusiastically about the specialist equipment on offer, worth $275,000. These include a 1.6metre-long, eight colour Roland, nicknamed “The Beast” which prints on 50 metre rolls – ideal for banners, largescale decals and fine art prints alike. His pride and joy appears to be the Japanese Risograph machine – reportedly the only one geared for colour in the UAE – cherished by designers for its soft retro hues. But as important to Toil & Tinker's success as the hard-tofind tech is, it's the communal, come-as-you-are atmosphere which impresses a first-time customer most. Visiting early
Images by Omar Dewan
BY RYAN YOUNG
on a weekday morning, a group of bearded guys hang around a long desk, studying a freshly painted T-shirt intently. A communal area offers desk space and free coffee to any thirsty creative passing through in need of free Wifi. A retail corner sells arty books, imported magazines and bespoke printed limited editions. During special events the space hosts exhibition launches, live DJs and street food stalls. The idea for Toil & Tinker was born because Green, a former fine art and photography graduate, was looking for somewhere to print his own work in the UAE, and came up with a blank. “I just wanted to make wrapping paper and greeting cards,” he remembers. Starting out with a staff of three, it was a hard landing. “We were buying equipment, turning it on and going, 'okay, now what?,'” he remembers. The business' current payroll of 16 has rather more expertise, he adds. Dressed in loud blue trousers, a home-printed yellow Dubai T-shirt, sporting a Toil & Tinker trucker cap, windscreen glasses and sculpted goatee, Green does not resemble your typical entrepreneur. So it is surprising to learn this creative endeavour comes after 14 years spent in the rather less exotic world of telecoms. Starting off at the bottom wrung of a retail store for UK phone network Vodafone, over seven years Green worked his
way to regional manager. Voted one of the company's top 100 employees, in 2006 Green won an all-expenses holiday to Dubai. It turned out to bite his employers in the back – through a mutual friend he met a recruiter for Du, and was offered a job on the spot. Green stayed with Du until 2012, before moving initially into consultancy. Before then, Green had already tried his entrepreneurial luck, founding the Book N Bean coffee chain in 2009, of which just two of five branches remain. “We made some very big mistakes,” says Green. “My biggest lesson was MVP – minimum viable product.” There is another acronym which leaps to mind when explaining Toil & Tinker's success – USP. In a world increasingly lived on screen, the tangible and touch carry increasing cultural cache. “Someone asked me the other day; 'everyone is going digital, why are you going analogue?',” remembers Green. “You just can't beat the way text looks, smells, feels – you can't replicate that on a screen. A print will always be something unique, for all ages.” Toil & Tinker is located at The Courtyard, Al Quoz, Dubai, toilandtinker.com.
2016 NOV / DEC 23
FULL POWER Charles Blaschke, MD of Dubai-based Taka Solutions, is making an offer no building owner can refuse. He’s willing to retrofit their structures with devices and technology that will reduce utility bills – and he’ll do it for free BY VARUN GODINHO
he energy savings business in the real estate industry has always been a classic chicken-and-egg case. Building owners and operators want to reduce their massive utility bills, but at the same time they do not want to spend money on putting in place systems and processes that will enable them to save that money. That’s where Taka Solutions, a three-year-old Dubai-based company that retrofits existing buildings with energy saving equipment and technology, is a game changer. “Whenever we upgrade a building, we pay all the costs, bear all the risks and finance the entire project ourselves – there’s no capital expenditure to the customer. When the customer begins to save energy, all we do is to take a small amount of that savings they generate [as our fee]. If we don’t save them anything on their utility bills, they don’t pay us. And they only start to pay us once they save,” says Charles Blaschke, co-founder of Taka Solutions.
Charles Blaschke 24 NOV / DEC 2016
There’s a sound socio-economic case to be made for retrofitting — which refers to the process of adapting existing equipment with newer technology in buildings in order to make them ‘energy efficient’. Buildings consume 40 per cent of the world’s energy in carbon. By implementing these energysaving measures, the consumption could easily be halved, says Blaschke. “If every building in the world signed up with us, in five years the world’s energy in carbon consumption would be cut by 20 per cent. If that happens, along with a small amount of solar supply, climate change will basically be solved. The world doesn’t need another building – not least a bad building. What we need are efficient, healthy and green buildings.” When approaching a new project, Taka – derived from the Arabic word for energy ‘taqa’ – tackles the project from both a technology and engineering standpoint. “At first we look at everything in pure engineering terms – changing light bulbs and thermostats, installing efficient ACs and water saving devices
Charles Blaschke and his team offer sustainable building solutions
and using solar panels. We could seal up an entire building if needed. But then there’s the technology side too. We enter into a five to ten year contract with the building owner where we operate and monitor remotely, do cloud-based analytics, and use machine-learning predictive energy platforms to measure and monitor the energy savings.” The savings, calculated on the basis of utility bills, generated of a ‘smart building’ are not only immediate, but they’re significant too. “Take a typical 30-storey apartment or office tower in let’s say JLT, Marina or Business Bay, for example. We can easily save them about one million dirhams ($272,000) a year. If it’s a bad building, or if we invest heavily, we can save up to two million dirhams ($544,500) a year. That equates to less than a dollar per year per square foot saving – which is huge.” Taka has already executed 30 projects in Dubai, and Blaschke says that they’ve already helped customers save up to $4 million. This isn’t Blaschke’s first entrepreneurial stint. He has an engineering and design background that he put to use in a startup he co-founded in 2011 with a couple of friends in Abu Dhabi. While that grew from a four-man operation to a few hundred, Blaschke saw the opportunity to take that learning and apply it on a far larger scale. “In the end, I wanted to use that technology to solve a bigger problem – climate change. The problem of inefficient, unhealthy buildings,” says Blaschke. In just three years since setting up, Taka has already amassed a $30million war chest to finance its projects. As he puts it, “We are our own bank.” The investment fund is under their management, which means from the time a project is drawn up
to the time the funds are approved is a week, if not less. We’re going to start offering financial products around investing and loaning money in energy efficiency insurance so that we can scale the impact not just in our projects but in other people’s projects too. “We are a social enterprise, but it’s also a moneymaking business with good returns.” Taking note of the company’s ambitious plans are global heavyweights like Microsoft and GE – the Seattle-tech major awarded Taka the Disruptive Entrepreneur Award earlier this year. Blaschke even won the Gulf Region leg of The Venture competition – a Chivas Regal initiative to search for the world’s most promising social entrepreneur. He made it to the finals in New York earlier this year but missed out on the top prize where the winner received $1million prize money. “The biggest thing the Venture did was allow us on a global platform to tell our story of how power efficiency can solve climate change. And both from a B2B and B2C perspective, it showed that every person has the ability to reduce their carbon footprint.” While the company has rapidly expanded in the Middle East, there are plans to go global in the near future with nearly 100 more projects in the pipeline. “We have projects in Abu Dhabi, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain – all of the GCC MENA region. We’d probably like to invest over a $100 million in the next five years in energy efficiency projects around the world including Europe, United States, and the Far East. Our goal is to reach every single building and every single person in every apartment in the world.” And there’s no building tall enough that will stop him.
2016 NOV / DEC 25
PLAYING THE LONG GAME Oscar-winning actor Robert De Niro has mastered every role from screen legend and director to investor and businessman. Global Ctizen got the exclusive first interview with him hours after his tirade against Donald Trump went viral
Image courtesy of Getty Images
BY TAHIRA YAQOOB
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obert De Niro’s private jet has not even touched down in Dubai when a storm erupts around his latest appearance. In the 13 hours it has taken him to fly to the UAE from the United States, a freshly released video in which he calls presidential candidate Donald Trump “a dog and a con” and “an embarrassment to this country” has taken the internet by storm and gone viral. As we meet in the Palazzo Versace in Dubai, De Niro — who has just landed — is oblivious to the millions who have tuned in to hear his thoughts on the most controversial American election in decades. But with just weeks to go before the fate of his country is determined, De Niro is taking no chances and does not mince his words. “He’s an awful person [who] has to be stopped,” he says now, a hardened glint in his eye reminiscent of Al Capone in The Untouchables or Travis Bickle in Taxi Driver. “No more ‘oh, he’s a clown, let’s just ignore him’— we can’t ignore him and America can’t ignore him. We have just got to stop him, period. It is disgraceful this guy was allowed to get as far as he has. I don’t understand how people could be seduced into thinking this guy has an answer. He has no answer. “There are things that Hillary [Clinton] does but she is a grown up and will be a good leader. She has to become president as far as I am concerned. I feel that with someone like Trump… if he becomes president, there will be mass protests and demonstrations. I hope to God it doesn’t happen.” The 73-year-
old actor and director was persuaded to weigh in on the deeply divisive and bitterly fought election contest for a VoteYourFuture advertisement produced by Anonymous Content, which asked celebrities what they cared about. De Niro’s contribution never made the final cut as it was deemed too partisan but when he launched into a tirade against Trump, saying: “He talks about how he’d like to punch people in the face. Well, I’d like to punch him in the face,” the producers decided to release the recording online as a standalone video. Hours later, the double Oscar-winning actor is in Dubai to promote his latest venture, a $250 million resort he is developing in Barbuda with Australian billionaire James Packer on the site of the abandoned K-Club, once a favourite haunt of Diana, Princess of Wales. The luxury 400-acre hideaway will include a five-star eco-friendly boutique hotel, a marina, yacht club and an airport for private jets. “It will be elegant and simple — a place I would like to go to myself,” says De Niro. “The intention is to make a beautiful resort that is simple — not ostentatious, not over-indulgent, not tacky.” This is not De Niro’s first foray into the world of investment. A savvy businessman, he was instrumental in persuading the chef Nobuyuki Matsuhisa to forge a partnership with him. The pair founded Nobu restaurants, opening the first in New York in 1994 and going on to win accolades with branches across the globe. De Niro is playing an equally long game with his
“As an actor, you try to be as honest as you can with the material that’s given”
Robert De Niro will star in Martin Scorsese's mob movie The Irishman, alongside Al Pacino due for release in 2018 2016 NOV / DEC 27
Barbuda project, dubbed ‘paradise found’. He decided to build the resort after first visiting Antigua’s tiny sister island about 30 years ago. “I went to Barbuda for a day trip and I never forgot it,” he says. “I always thought it would be worth it if I could do a beautiful resort and maybe make it a Nobu beach club or another hotel — but really Nobu was what I was thinking of. Finally I found this property and we got in touch with the owners. It was a long process but I did it because I love the place so much and the people are great. I like to do certain projects that take a commitment but it has to grab me.” Last year a public vote in Barbuda backed De Niro and Packer’s proposal. Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, named De Niro a special economic envoy and said at the time: “It is my belief your celebrity status will attract more American celebrities to the Caribbean. We expect this project to be one of the most exciting [in the region].” De Niro, a regular at the Jumby Bay resort in Antigua, admits not all his decisions pan out but says: “You have to believe in what you are doing
Callaloo Cay beach club and villas in Antigua and Barbuda, where Robert De Niro and billionaire James Packer are investors
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to put the time in, especially as you get older.” He adds with a chuckle: “When it comes out in five or 10 years, we can say it was 40 years in the making.” That is the thing with De Niro: for a man whose career stretches back more than four decades and who has been something of a chameleon in his roles—from the brooding intensity of Vito Corleone in The Godfather Part II and Jake La Motta in Raging Bull to the lighthearted comedy of Meet the Parents and its sequels— longevity is key. He plays a long game, whether it is investing in a business project or a role. Notorious for his method acting, he gained 27 kilograms and learned how to box for his role as La Motta and worked as a cabbie for Taxi Driver. His Falling in Love co-star Meryl Streep says of him: “He is relentless in his desire to find just the right detail, the little things that tell you everything about a man. I had the privilege of watching his process in a wardrobe test. For three hours, he tried on 37 identical little boxy jackets — windbreakers — that
to me looked identical but he was checking the cuff, the collar, the zip, until he found the right one. Details are important and Bob knows that. He changed everything for generations of actors.” De Niro simply shrugs as he says now: “I just like to do what I do. As an actor, you try to be as honest as you can with the material that’s given. I try to find out as much as I can about a character, the world around him and I use parts of myself — whatever I feel is relatable. With Jake La Motta and the deterioration of him physically, I thought it was interesting to actually do that to get the sensation. The first 15lbs were fun. After that, it was pure torture.” His iconic roles and 43-year acting legacy mean his fans are somewhat forgiving of some of his more recent film choices. His reputation can survive the odd knocks, such as the widely panned Dirty Grandpa, in which he starred with Zac Efron, released earlier this year and described by the Rotten Tomatoes movie site as a “Werther’s Original dropped down a sewer drain”. His upcoming projects are a melee of comedy, drama, television and even a musical, showing his extraordinarily diverse talents. In next year’s The War With Grandpa, starring alongside Christopher Walken, he takes on a comic role. “It’s more in the vein of Meet the Parents and is based on a nice book written by Robert Kimmel Smith that was actually required reading in certain schools in America. It is about the grandfather coming into his daughter’s home and his grandson is displaced in the attic. They have a kind of war, playing tricks on each other.” A father-of-six and grandfather-of-four, De Niro’s face cracks into a broad smile: “It’s great to act with little kids — they’re so cute.” Then there is The Irishman, Martin Scorsese’s $100 million opus and a decade in the making, in which De Niro will star opposite Al Pacino. In The Comedian, directed by Taylor Hackford, he plays a bitter, ageing comic alongside Danny DeVito, Leslie Mann and Patti LuPone. Sony Pictures Classics describes it as “De Niro at his very best”. Meanwhile in the boxing biopic Hands of Stone, screened at this year’s Cannes film festival, he played trainer Ray Arcel (having used his business nous to persuade the Panama government to offer filming tax breaks) and this Christmas, he will co-direct a musical adaptation of A Bronx Tale with Tony award-winner Jerry Zaks, based on Chazz Palminteri’s autobiographical playturned-film about the mob. “I like taking my kids to musicals but I don’t sing. I wish I could,” chuckles De Niro. “Jerry is really doing all the heavy lifting.” Not one to rest on his laurels, he is also appearing in the upcoming TV movie The Wizard of Lies, in which he plays Bernie Madoff, the disgraced banker behind a fraudulent Ponzi scheme, with Michelle Pfeiffer starring as his wife Ruth. De Niro is even linking up again with David O Russell, the director of Silver Linings Playbook and Joy, for a “long family-type saga” for the small screen. The move to TV might seem a surprising one but De Niro says: “The only real way you could do it is in television because
Robert De Niro during his visit to Dubai in the Palazzo Versace Hotel
“I went to Barbuda for a day trip and I never forgot it. I always thought it would be worth it if I could do a beautiful resort” you can take the time to tell all the little parts of the story that in a movie, you have to cut down. As a director, you always hate to lose that stuff. When I was younger, I was never really interested in television. Most actors who took themselves — I don’t want to say serious about everything — but they would want to do a movie in a theatre. Now TV is so different. There is a five-hour version of Bertolucci’s 1900 that I have never seen and want to see and now they can talk about whether that could be”—he pauses searching for the right word —“binge-watched.” Then he admits: “This binge-watching that they do, which I did not even know about — I was talking about it to one of my kids the other day — apparently you don’t leave for something like 10 hours as you watch something. Me, I don’t have the time.” And just like that, De Niro — living legend, multiple award-winner, Oscar holder and the face of some of the all-time greatest movies — is right back into dad mode, the role he has been practising a lifetime for.
2016 NOV / DEC 29
IN HIS GENES American fashion designer and artist Johny Dar persuaded some of the world’s biggest celebrities from Kate Moss to Elton John to donate a pair of their jeans that he then customised and auctioned to help refugees. But getting there wasn’t easy ou’d imagine that in a room full of wealthy celebrities, mention the words ‘refugee crisis’ and you’ll have an enthusiastic, unanimous show of hands raised high to support the cause. But you’d be wrong. What has now become one of the biggest migrations of people since WW2 over the last 24 months has also wrought consternation not only among the refugees, but also from the host country as well as the public figures who are called on to comment on the polarising issue.
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No one is more aware of that than 38-year-old artist-cumfashion-designer Johny Dar. Earlier this year he initiated Jeans for Refugees, a fundraising project to get 100 celebrities to contribute one pair of jeans each. He would then paint them and auction them online with the money going to help refugees. The first task though was to get 100 celebrities to part with a pair of jeans. “I contacted a lot of people I knew personally and the scary thing is that those people initially turned their backs
on the project. I can understand why they said no – I don’t justify it, but I understand. It takes bravery. People really need to realise that these celebrities aren’t just giving their jeans, they’re giving their name, they’re giving their support,” he explained. Dar studied fashion in LA in the late 90s and soon after launched his first fashion label Johny Wonder in 1999. It wasn’t long before he broke into the top-tier fashion circuits of New York, London and Berlin. His calling card since has become body art and to this end he has not only published the first of a six-volume book exploring the subject titled Dar The Book, but teamed up with A-list photographer Rankin to create the limited-edition calendar titled Tuuli by Dar. He also collaborated with Lady Gaga on her video G.U.Y three years ago. Jeans for Refugees is Dar’s most ambitious project yet – artistically as well as on a personal front. “I believe that the refugee crisis has political and religious background – there’s a lot of tension in this matter beyond just the obvious human suffering. Before I even entered the project I definitely had many reasons to say no. I live in Germany so the refugee matter is quite present in the media. I recall the image of the Syrian boy Johny Dar at the now domolished 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais [Alan Kurdi] who was found drowned on one of the Turkish beaches and that image just tipped it for me. I thought to myself, Dar held fashion shows in New York and Berlin, as well as ‘When do you say enough?’ ” exhibited them at the Saatchi Gallery in London in a bid to draw The roll call of those that signed onto the Jeans for Refugees up more support for his online campaign. He also volunteered at project was impressive. Kate Moss, Elton John, Emma Watson, the notorious jungle refugee camp in Calais just before French Pink, Sharon Stone, Victoria Beckham, Harry Styles and Usher, authorities demolished it. among dozens of others. But then there By the time the online auction came were those that chose not to. “A really “I contacted a lot to end on October 30th, the 100 dear friend of mine, a pop star, said ‘Oh of people I knew jeans notched up a cumulative total of at the moment I don’t have any jeans.’ $352,000. However, it wasn’t Moss’s And I was like, ‘Hold on a second, the personally and the jeans that racked up the top donation, last time I checked, you had four trailers scary thing is that it was a coat donated by Her Highness of clothing, and you don’t have a pair Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad Al of jeans to spare?’ One other really big those people initially Qasimi of Sharjah – the official patron singer apparently had only three pairs of turned their backs on of the project – that sold for just over jeans, so we were told that we had to wait the project” $122,000. The profits from the entire until at least one of his jeans gets old. The auction were donated to the International responses would just want to make you Rescue Committee (IRC). cry.” Dar is now toying with the idea of building on the momentum Initially, Dar hadn’t planned on painting the jeans himself. that the Jeans for Refugees project has drummed up as he “The original idea was quite different. It was to go to three has the support of the Big Heart Foundation, which was refugee camps and have the refugees participate in the painting launched by Her Highness Shaikha Jawaher Bint Mohammad process. But it didn’t end up taking this direction,” says Dar. Al Qasimi.“We can create jobs for poor women and single Instead, he hand painted them and tried to bring a little bit of mothers where they’re making pieces of clothing that can be each celebrity’s personality onto their jeans. “The theme was sold around the world in support of their situation,” he said. to get a sense of the celebrity’s art of either singing, or acting Through his Jeans for Refugees project, Dar might have or directing documented as art on their jeans. On the Kate unintentionally shown the world on which side of the divide Moss jeans you can see the movement of moss going up and many of the world’s most famous people stand, igniting a social building on forms and surfaces that are tough to exist on – like commentary that’s larger than the money raised. her personality. She’s dynamic and able to reinvent her presence The self-deprecating man though says, “I’m not this billion in the media.” Her jeans eventually hammered at $7,159 in the dollar company. I’m just an artist that’s wild and free who wants online auction. to see this world as a happy place.” However, before the jeans went to auction online last month,
2016 NOV / DEC 31
VIRTUALLY UNSAFE GC speaks to the founder of Digital Rights Foundation Nighat Dad who is helping Pakistani women fight online harassment BY SHEEMA KHAN
ong before the Taliban attacked Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai in 2012, several Facebook pages were set up condemning her work. Yousafzai was one of the many female victims of online harassment in Pakistan. According to the country’s Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), there were 3,027 cases of cybercrime reported in the 2014-2015 period. Of these reported crimes, 45 per cent related to the online harassment of women by men — including cyber stalking, bullying, trolling, blackmail, extortion, revenge porn, and invasion of privacy. Thirty five-year-old Nighat Dad, a lawyer by profession, founded NGO Digital Rights Foundation (DRF) in 2012 in an effort to stem the on-going problem and offer support to women in Pakistan. DRF educates Pakistanis, particularly young women, on how to respond to cyber harassment. Yousafzai herself attended one of the early workshops conducted by DRF a few months before a Taliban gunman attacked her. The nonprofit is also taking a stand on a larger societal level when it comes to policing the Internet and access to information. It has campaigned against legislation that gives the Pakistani government powers of online surveillance and also the distribution of personal information collected by telecom firms of its customers to sell onto foreign and domestic state agencies as well as businesses. With the increased use of surveillance technologies, DRF also provides training and workshops for media houses, independent journalists and bloggers for their own safety. In 2015, Dad was named one of TIME magazine's next generation leaders, for her role in helping Pakistani women fight
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online harassment. She founded DRF to make online spaces safe for women and provide training to ensure that they are aware of the risks involved when posting online and can use the Internet without the fear of being constantly harassed. Dad is also an advocate for stronger measures to be taken against those who engage in cyber harassment in the name of honour. “Pakistani society is under a patriarchal system where men make all the important decisions and women rarely speak for themselves,” says Dad. Adding, “When men in the family bar a woman from using the Internet, this is when she secretly creates an account on a social networking website to connect with the world.” And this isn’t just happening in the rural areas or among families who aren’t well educated. She believes that 95 per cent of online harassment comes from individuals known to the victim. “These perpetrators are well-aware that she [the victim] won’t go up to her family or any law enforcement agency for help.” Eventually, the woman is blamed, she says and “this gives him [the perpetrator] the brazenness to continue harassing the victim.” It’s common in Pakistan for male cyber bullies and indeed for those men who follow through and commit violent assault or murder women, to receive leniency when their defence is given as ‘protecting honour’. Qandeel Baloch, a 26 year-old rising social media star and women’s rights activist was strangled by her brother earlier this year in a so called ‘honour killing’. Baloch became a household name in the conservative Muslim country after she posted controversial photographs, videos and comments online. While her parents have disowned their son for their daughter’s murder, others in the country have been
less vocal. More than 500 people, almost all of them women, die in Pakistan every year at the hands of relatives who believe shame has been brought on their family. But it isn’t just women under patriarchal pressure who are attacked online, says Dad. Various other public figures have faced similar experiences; the acclaimed Pakistani author and columnist Bina Shah became a victim of online harassment in 2014 when someone created a fake Twitter profile with her name and pictures (taken from Google and Facebook), and began to post them with degrading comments about her. The person messaged people on Twitter who were connected to her in person or online, and used the fake profile to harass and abuse them. Although these fake profiles were taken down, Shah took steps to protect her Twitter account and deactivate her Facebook profile while also limiting the content she uploaded on her personal blog. Dad advises women to be cautious of privacy loopholes on websites. “Virtual life isn’t unreal and is very much connected to real life,” she explained. “You have to be cautious of privacy settings and know what’s at stake. Know who has access to the personal data that you share online and also whether those people are trustworthy. If not, that data may be exploited.” The law and online harassment In October this year, an assistant professor at a government university was arrested by FIA’s Cyber Crime Cell for harassing a female teacher online. The teacher claimed that the harasser had set up five fake social media profiles impersonating her in
2015 and a few months later she lodged a complaint. The assistant professor was arrested under Section 21 of the recently passed Prevention of Electronic Crimes Act 2016, which contains a special provision for the protection of women online. Under this article, there is up to one-year imprisonment or a fine of up to Rs1m ($9,500) for forcing an individual into immoral activity, or publishing an individual’s picture without consent, sending obscene messages or unnecessary cyber interference. Dad says that contacting the FIA is helpful, but one needs patience. “It usually takes up to two weeks for them to respond. Action thereafter depends on the case.” When speaking of cyber harassment, victims do not usually have so much time and require immediate help. “This is where FIA and government need to work on speeding the process of attending to complaints.” Still, the professor’s arrest is a strong message to harassers that action will be taken once the victim lodges a complaint. Way forward DRF is working on the country’s first cyber harassment helpline as well as a mobile app. “What happens is that whenever a person faces cyber harassment, he or she does not know what to do. Through the helpline and app, we will attend to victims and guide them accordingly,” says Dad. “I feel that if a girl wants to survive in such a society, she should take informed decisions. She should know what she is doing and what it may lead to in the future.”
2016 NOV / DEC 33
Evie Evangelou, president and founder of Fashion 4 Development
Bali Indonesia – Priyo Oktaviano who works with Cita Tenun hand woven fabrics by women
FASHION FORWARD New York philanthropist Evie Evangelou is leading the charge for sustainable fashion alongside a few famous faces
Fashion has a loud voice,” says Evie Evangelou, explaining the idea behind Fashion 4 Development. “We’re about using it with fashionable people that the public look up to.” Those people include Victoria Beckham and Donna Karan. They are the two honorary ambassadors alongside model Lily Cole and HRH Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway. Evangelou is president and founder of F4D, an organization that aims to channel the fashion and beauty industries to further sustainable development issues like ethical sourcing in the developing world. She founded F4D in 2011 after doing a series of spontaneous interviews at the UN General Assembly in which she interviewed designers about what they were doing to help the Millennium Development Goals. She has a long association with the UN going back to her 20s when she was just starting out as an entrepreneur fresh from
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the Fashion Institute of Technology and New York University. During her work with the UN she was at one point an adviser to former Secretary General Kofi Annan, but ultimately quit. “I came in very sort of visionary – ‘Oh we can change the world’ – but then when I really saw what humanity does, I was shocked and appalled and had to take a step back to rethink. “I love the UN because without it we’d be in big trouble. People don’t understand what they do but there are so many things they do and mitigate so many issues...but for me the bureaucracy and certain things I encountered with certain countries – I walked in thinking I was going to save the world, but I felt like my shoulders were beginning to crumble,” says Evangelou. F4D, which has the slogan: ‘Giving back is the new luxury’, hosts an annual First Ladies Luncheon at the Pierre Hotel in
Manhattan during the United Nations General Assembly. The regular guest of honour is the First Lady of the UN, Madam Ban Soon-Taek. Chris Collins, the face of Polo Ralph Lauren, is the founder of their League of Gentlemen, which also honours men at their annual luncheon. Another big event is the Leading Ladies Luncheon where celebrities and diplomats mix to promote the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria. F4D and the UN have worked together to reach the Millennium Development Goals by getting beauty and fashion leaders to commit to more ethical ways of doing business. Over the summer Evangelou hosted an event at the UN where celebrity chef Chloe Coscarelli cooked vegan food for guests including director James Cameron and his wife Suzy. Apart from the UN, F4D is also partnering with Sustainia, a Danish think tank, and will host an event for 2,000 people in Copenhagen later this year. Evangelou wants people to re-examine their consumption habits and see the virtue in buying fewer, higher quality items.
The idea behind roping in celebrity voices is simple. “When Kim Kardashian says ‘I bought this shirt’ to all her followers, they are going to go buy that shirt too. That’s the idea. How do I make it fashionable [for others] to do that?” F4D has an annual budget of around one million dollars, which comes from individuals and companies who have signed up as sponsors. It has a full time staff of three, with dozens more who are brought in for specific projects. The social entrepreneur tells me about F4D at CORE: Club in Manhattan, a private members club where the joining fee is $50,000 and the annual membership is $15,000. One of the main draws of the club is its wealthy members, but Evangelou says she has yet to tap them for funding. Once a year F4D publishes a magazine, ModaVIE, and it has its own online TV channel with occasional broadcasts that Evangelou wants to expand. She decided to keep F4D as a private venture rather than a non-profit because she wanted sponsors to be fully on board with the mission. “I didn’t want
“Fashion has a loud voice”, says Evie Evangelou, explaining the idea behind Fashion 4 Development.
Iconic African brand Tiffany Amber employs women in need and uses handwoven African textiles 2016 NOV / DEC 35
Angelo Lambrou who employs women that are HIV positive in Africa
them to come in because it’s a tax write-off. I built it as a brand.” In her early years as an entrepreneur, she began by organising events that showcased artists, designers and filmmakers at the prestigious Lincoln Centre in Manhattan. The first one took two years to organise and in the beginning everyone completely ignored her pitch for sponsorship. Eventually, she had Saks Fifth Avenue and Gucci on board, an achievement she puts down to her being relentless when she needs to be. By the time F4D happened, she had already honed her entrepreneurial skills. One of F4D’s early successes was persuading Franca Sozzani, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue Italia to do an entire issue on Africa. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon agreed to do a six-page interview and the magazine promoted dozens of African designers who were brought to Milan and New York where their work was showcased. Evangelou says that the magazine gave African fashion the lift that they needed and they rolled with it. “I think that was one of our most impactful beginnings because it was the first time ever a fashion magazine went to Africa and interviewed
“We’re about using it with fashionable people that the public look up to”
presidents, prime ministers, first ladies and mixed it with fashion designers, architects, entertainers,” says Evangelou. In 2012 the UN announced its collaboration with F4D on reaching the Millennium Development Goals – the partnership appears to have been one of their shared aims rather than specific projects. F4D also has a foundation called ModaCARES which each year selects emerging designers and helps them grow their business in line with UN development goals. Evangelou says that the aim of F4D is to make sustainable living which is why next in her sight are retailers like H&M and Zara who favour a more disposable form of fashion. One of the F4D’s ambassadors, actress and philanthropist Olivia Firth, has been forthright in her criticism of their business model, something Evangelou agrees with. “I feel that if they don’t start to make those changes in the next decade or so they’re not going to be relevant because the new generations are not going to buy it. The whole mindset it changing and we are responsible to change that mindset,” adds Evangelou. Franca Sozzani, Editor in Chief of Vogue Italia and UN Secretary Ban Ki-moon with Evie Evangelou at the launch of Fashion 4 Development
NOV / DEC 2016
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STAR PUPIL Audrey Cheng is helping Kenyan students code their way to a new future BY AMANDA FISHER
t age 11, the inveterately precocious Audrey Cheng Fund, Africa’s pioneering seed capital funder. This led to a year had already begun trading stocks – so it perhaps isn’t of pro bono work for the fund whilst she juggled five other jobs surprising that by 20 she had opened up a school. at university, before an eventual invitation to come to Nairobi. And not just any school; the American set up a school teaching What started out as a three-month stint has changed the computer coding in Kenya’s capital Nairobi. direction of her life and dozens of others. Once on the ground, When Cheng opened the school in 2014, she treated the the indefatigable Cheng worked to zero in on the key problems venture like any other carefree twenty-something: with a can-do the Savannah team was facing. “Every single week without fail attitude but if it failed it wouldn’t be the they would say ‘We’re still looking for a end of the world. developer, we’re still looking for talent and She recalls, “When we started I wasn’t we still can’t find it.’ ” “The biggest challenge really thinking much about it. I was like Just months after first arriving in Kenya, ‘I have enough saved from my jobs. I can Cheng launched the Moringa School with I wanted to give myself make this work for at least a year. If it fails her Kenyan co-founder Frank Tamre. was how do I create an it fails, at least I put in the time’.” What’s more is they did it without ever As a journalism and global health student raising any funding. “The biggest challenge organisation that doesn’t at Chicago’s Northwestern University, I wanted to give myself was how do I need money” Cheng got hooked on how technology create an organisation that doesn’t need intersects with health. She saw the money, which is really hard especially in problems with the typically inefficient the beginning.” humanitarian sector and decided social entrepreneurship was Social media advertising drew students in and Cheng says the the way forward. school was able to turn a profit within the third month. More “How do we bring that to emerging markets so people can than two years later, the 23-year-old presides over a school that solve their own problems? I was really excited about it, I had has produced 110 graduates from its main programme – with a 95 per cent employment rate, something radical in a country done no research at all but I was like, ‘Wow this is a great with a regional-high youth unemployment rate of 17 per cent. idea,’ ”Cheng laughs. “People can create their own possibilities without reliance on others.” Moringa Core, the flagship programme, is a 19-week fulltime, After talking about her dreams at length with her friends, one immersive course where the students, from a range of different of them eventually sent her a website link to Kenya’s Savannah backgrounds and aged primarily between 19 and 25, attend
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classes up to six days a week. This is part of Cheng’s vision of a whole new education system, one that she hopes to pioneer in Nairobi but take to the world. “I started going to universities and training programmes to understand how computer science is being taught and it’s super outdated – students write code on paper. They are learning old technologies that aren’t applicable to today’s market.” Moringa School’s approach to teaching is an integrative system where students guide classes as much as the teachers do, Cheng says. “Instead of being the people who are like ‘I know everything’, teachers are constantly learning with the students as well. We already have the content built so when students get to more advanced topics or when they’re thinking outside the box and building projects, teachers get involved and they co-create that together.” Cheng intends to both expand Moringa School across Africa, and also its offerings to include other skill sets that are in shortage, such as finance and data sciences. Changing the face of education is all part of her grand plan of helping improve lives in the developing world. “For me, education is definitely a huge part of that. Giving people truly world-class skills will elevate them to a level where they can build high-end, successful companies.”
Cheng says if the market is infused with a skilled labour force, companies will start investing in Kenya – bringing even more employment opportunities. And Moringa’s graduates are a prime example of skilled labour, with a minimum of 30 apps created within its walls – the mandatory projects they undertake are now available on the App Store. Part of the reason the students have been so successful according to Cheng – herself still a student with just one credit outstanding on her journalism degree that she must complete when back in the US – is because they are filtered during Moringa’s preparatory five-week course. During this phase, staff seek attributes like creativity and dedication. And these are skills in oversupply in Cheng herself. Raised in Maryland by financially struggling Taiwanese immigrants, the forceful young woman learned a wealth of self-reliance, helping to pay for her parents’ mortgage as a teenager after learning to trade stocks at 11 “just to play around”. While she acknowledges the difficulties she faced guiding her parents through an America that wasn’t always accepting of immigrants, she says it is partially responsible for her successes today. “I learned whatever I wanted to do in the world, I can create.”
The next Steve Jobs? Students at Moringa School in Nairobi are being taught coding
2016 NOV / DEC 39
NEVER BACK DOWN Italian entrepreneur and author Paola Diana has led a fierce and successful campaign to change the laws in her home country to reduce the gender gap in business. Now, she’s casting the net even further BY NATASHA TOURISH
My mother was a strong character but she didn’t inspire me and she isn’t the reason I am the person I am today,” says Paola Diana, an Italian-born entrepreneur and equal rights campaigner. “In fact, she inspired me to be the opposite of her. She was very traditional and so I grew up thinking that I didn’t need a husband and I didn’t have to quit my job for my kids.” The 41-year-old single mother now lives in London with her two teenage children and travels regularly between her offices in Notting Hill, Rome, Milan and Dubai where she partnered with a local firm who oversee her boutique lifestyle company Sigillus in the UAE. Sigillus offers high-end lifestyle concierge services to the world's elite, everything from organising private viewings for art collectors to securing rare artwork for clients to providing security services.
Paolo Diana, founder of Nanny & Bulter and Sigillus
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Diana is a firm believer that having a working mother benefits both parent and child, “Children need a strong role model and that comes with seeing their mother working outside of the home,” she told Global Citizen. And this school of thought certainly played into her first business venture, Nanny & Butler, which she launched a decade ago in Rome after she struggled to find a British nanny for her own children, Eduard and Sophie, who were seven and four at the time. In the decade since launching the high-end nanny and household staff agency, she has seen a 60 per cent increase in demand for nannies in London, where the average annual salary for live-in help is $43,000, climbing up to $3,000 per week at the higher end of the scale. The entrepreneur recently took part in a British documentary for Channel 4 called Too Posh to Parent described as an inside look at the parental outsourcing available for the super wealthy, where she explained the evolving role of women in today’s society. “Women want freedom away from motherhood. Even if they don’t have a career they might be involved in charity work, have an intense social life or want to travel with their husband,” she explained. She also believes that hiring a nanny “is the key to restoring harmony in a marriage”. Diana says her latest enterprise, Sigillus, differs to other wellknown lifestyle concierge services by their bespoke approach, and she plans to maintain the “family office” feel even as the company expands globally. “We know our clients very well, we know their kids and what their needs are so we manage their lifestyle in all senses.” Diana wouldn’t disclose corporate membership fees, saying only that they were “tailor-made” depending on a company’s needs, but for individuals she said they offered a three tiered membership option with the most expensive being gold, which costs just under $100,000 per year followed by platinum and silver. So what does this gilded membership get you? “Open doors to VIP events and private members clubs whether its in LA or London,” according to Diana, but of course there is often a separate fee to actually get through the door of these events. Aside from running Sigillus, Diana who holds a BA in Political Science and an MA in Communications from the university of Bologna in Italy, is a tireless campaigner for female welfare and employment rights. She founded PariMerito (meaning Equal Merit in English), a network and think tank that lobbies and campaigns for female empowerment via policy change across sectors in Italy.
She was instrumental in getting a law passed in Italy that stipulated that women must make up 30 per cent of every boardroom in the country. Norway is the only other country with a similar law, where they require 40 per cent of company boards to comprise of females. She says the European commission is currently studying the Italian landmark decision as a case study and she is hopeful that it will soon be integrated into European law. “This law should be implemented everywhere because we are facing a monopoly against women in society, especially in powerful positions, it’s so difficult for women to break this glass ceiling,” she said. Adding, “The law should represent the other half of the population, women can think differently to men and we can add diversity and a different perspective to every situation in every country.” Proving that she can do it all — with the help of a nanny of course, Diana has penned her first book, The Salvation of The World, which looks at the role of women throughout history and while she’s satisfied that the course of history is likely to change imminently with the election of Hillary Clinton as the first female President of the United States, meaning that for the first time in history there would be female leaders running three of the world’s superpowers, it isn’t good enough. Speaking about the possibility of having female leaders in power in the US, Germany and Britain simultaneously, she said, “I’m very happy about that and I’m sure it will change for the better in the future but of course three is not enough, its not just in politics that we need more female leaders, there should be more women in top positions in finance, at the top of banks and at the top of universities.” When asked to address the argument that people should be employed on merit as opposed to gender, she pointed to the gender gap in society. “Our politicians have a duty to fill this gap and stand up for the part of society who are underrepresented and discriminated against.” She acknowledges that these mandatory quotas should be temporary and in place only until “the glass ceiling is lifted” for women. “Let’s say it’s for the next 10 years until we fill in this emergency gap and see that society is improving by itself.” But her battle doesn’t end there; Diana is campaigning with Equal Merit to address the lack of female representation on public television in Italy where she says only 15-20 per cent of primetime TV shows in the country feature women in leading roles. Diana says this sends out a dangerous message to the public and in particular young people, “who will assume that leaders are only men if they see only male leads in their TV shows.” As it’s a public service and women are paying for this, she believes women should be represented equally to men. How does this compare to her new adopted home in Britain? She says the UK is much better because society is much more open to women in power.
Sigillus is a boutique high-end lifestyle concierge service
“Its not just in politics that we need more female leaders, there should be more women in top positions in finance, at the top of banks and at the top of universities” “They have the Queen and now the Prime Minister, they are used to seeing powerful women.” But it’s far from perfect, she says. “They have this horrible pay gap between men and women, we have the same but unfortunately in Italy the salaries are so low the difference isn’t as much. Again this should be a law to ensure both sexes are paid equally. Why should two people be paid differently for the same job only because one is of a different gender?” Diana compares the gender pay gap to racism; “When you treat people differently because of the colour of their skin that’s racism, so why is it acceptable to treat people differently because of their gender?” she asks. It’s an ongoing battle but if Hillary Clinton is to be believed, then the battle may be won at least in the US on November 8th.
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GO GLOCAL Elizabeth Filippouli, founder and CEO of Global Thinkers Forum, has royalty, business leaders and public policymakers on-board who are shaping the role of accountable leadership and philanthropy in society. BY VARUN GODINHO
hree years ago, London-based Greek journalistturned- social entrepreneur Elizabeth Filippouli took to the stage in Turkey for a TEDx Talk to explain why just months earlier she had set up the Global Thinkers Forum (GTF). She spoke about the key influences that led her to create the Global Thinkers consultancy in 2010 and non-profit Global Thinkers Forum two years later in 2012. These included people — her father a journalist and author who had a troubled childhood and became a sailor in his teens so that he could see the world; places — a conference in Kazakhstan where during some free time she visited the nearby areas and photographed a woman with an infant who was living on less than $3 a day; and experiences — coming across a homeless family in, arguably one of the world’s most advanced nations, Japan. Speaking to Global Citizen from London, GTF founder-andCEO Elizabeth Filippouli explains the genesis of her project. “The idea behind Global Thinkers is that we live in a world that is so inter-connected and inter-dependent that we need to have a perspective that can benefit larger society while at the same time
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promote good governance and ethical business practices. The mission goals are three fold – promoting accountable leadership and value-based decision making among incumbent and future leaders, women empowerment and youth development.” Filippouli’s entrepreneurial venture is also divided into three main segments. The first is the Global Thinkers Forum, a non-profit organisation launched in 2012 under the patronage of Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan. The second is the Global Thinkers Mentors programme, an eight-month mentorship programme set up in 19 different countries where the organisation connects youth between the ages of 18-29 with international mentors who are experts in their respective fields. The third is the Global Thinkers – a consultancy that helps companies update their decision-making processes that Filippouli started back in 2010 when she decided to quit journalism and become an entrepreneur. “Entrepreneurship has been in my blood. I’ve always been fascinated with taking an idea into the market and helping it flourish. I come from a family of publishers and journalists –
my family goes back 100 years in journalism. I had a career and background in international journalism with Al Jazeera and CNN, among others. And so I went back to school to do two masters degrees at the same time between 2009 and 2011 – one in Transnational Media and Globalistation and the other in Strategy and Innovation in a Globalised World. Global Thinkers was incubated inside the Oxford business school,” says Filippouli. From the idea of Global Thinkers consultancy, came the idea of the Global Thinkers Forum dedicated to the idea of philanthropy. “The very idea of GTF is that we need to pay it forward. Philanthropy comes from a Greek word that means ‘love for the human being.’ GTF creates international gatherings and trainings and works with entities like the Arab Foundations Forum where we conducted a seminar on value-based leadership for the King Khalid Foundation in Saudi Arabia last June on the advantages of philanthropy for the private sector and how it can be very profitable to their business.” GTF has a well-defined management leadership structure in place. The advisory board consists of 28 members – “Sadly, we lost one of our most dynamic members, Ameera bin Karam, a very prominent Emirati lady and the head of the Sharjah business women’s council who lost her life in a fire in October.” Then there’s the global growth board with business leaders and those that share GTF’s vision and lastly there’s the non-executive directors board with members similar to the growth board but which also include award honourees from Global Thinker Forum’s annual gala event. This year’s Awards Gala will be held in London on December 8th. Past awardees include some of the biggest names across business and public life including Arianna Huffington, Sir David Frost, the late Zaha Hadid and Nouriel Roubini. This year, one of the organisations that GTF is awarding is the Alwaleed Philanthropies — Prince Alwaleed bin Talal of Saudi Arabia has pledged his entire fortune to philanthropy. “We find this to be an example that ideally needs to be followed by other billionaires globally,” says Filippouli. The other is the International Red Cross because of their work in the global humanitarian refugee crisis. And the third is One Heart World-Wide Foundation launched under the auspices of the Dalai Lama by a lady who has had tremendous success in reducing the number of deaths among women in labour. Apart from giving the awardees international recognition, the awards also act as a network that furthers the core goals of GTF. For example, Egyptian journalist Shahira Amin teamed up with Slovenian politician Sonja Lokar – both of whom were GTF awardees – to conduct a series of workshops for Egyptian women in Cairo furthering one of the organisation’s core goals of empowering women. But for now, Filippouli’s biggest focus area through GTF is youth development especially in the Arab population, where
“The very idea of Global Thinkers Forum is that we need to pay it forward”
(L-R) Muna AbuSulayman, Elizabeth Filippouli and Becky Anderson, at the GTF 2014 Awards For Excellence
there will be millions entering the job market over the next decade. Filippouli believes that this can be solved by policy makers and through the educational system, “ they need to understand new trends around job creation and help train young people for jobs and expertise that will be in demand 10-20-30 years from now so that they could be part of a global market.” GTF create workshops to help young people become entrepreneurs to teach them how they can launch their startups. She also underscored the importance of creating “knowledge based economies and societies that have developed human talent.” Filippouli knows better than to resort to a cliché. So when it comes to one – ‘thinking globally, acting locally’ – she isn’t repeating it, rather she’s living it.
2016 NOV / DEC 43
FIGHT CLUB Jordanian entrepreneur and women’s rights activist Lina Khalifeh has set up the Middle East’s first self-defence studio
The government has not been supportive at all, and it’s funny because I was even praised my Barack Obama. But I don’t do it for the praise; I do it for the social impact. I don’t wait for recognition from anybody,” says Lina Khalifeh, the founder of SheFighter, the first selfdefence studio in the Middle East designed to empower women both physically and physiologically. Khalifeh started SheFighter in 2012 in her native Jordan after she learnt of the physical and emotional abuse that a friend was being subjected to from her husband. Her anger and frustration manifested into not only a successful business, but also an educational movement empowering women in Jordan and beyond. However, she had had to rely on NGOs such as Oxfam and the European Union to fund the nonprofit side of her business. Khalifeh describes SheFighter as a “hybrid business” comprising a profit making self-defence studio that trains women in martial arts and a non-profit entity that receives funding to help empower women through teaching them self-defence techniques as well as delivering workshops and seminars that teach women to become “more confident, secure and healthy.” Khalifeh’s extensive background in martial arts allowed her to transform an idea that she conceived in 2009 into a social business by beginning to train women in her parents’ basement; setting the foundation of SheFighter, which opened three years later in the capital, Amman. The studio not only has been able to implement projects that aid local women, but also offers classes to
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men to help educate them on domestic violence as well as train countless students in schools and universities around the world. With an all-female staff working for her in Jordan, Khalifeh has ambitious plans to expand SheFighter throughout the region, as well as the UK, Canada, US and Latin America by franchising the brand to savvy business partners or NGOs. She has already created training manuals for prospective business partners to ensure the same level of training is delivered regardless if it’s to vulnerable women in the inner city of London or to Syrian refugees in Jordan or Germany. “I have the systems in place to be able to franchise SheFighter so the same rules will apply whether the training is delivered in Jordan or the US,” she says. “I’m actively looking for partners in the UAE, Kuwait and Turkey but they have to be businessminded,” she says, to ensure the franchise is sustainable. Khalifeh has delivered self-defence training and educational workshops to over 2,000 refugees in Jordan and Turkey. However, despite following a self-developed curriculum, she says that they do have to alter their approach depending on their location. “We change the way we deliver our message at times, especially to Syrian women in refugee camps for example because they are different culturally to women in Jordan. They believe in early childhood marriage and that women should obey their husbands no matter what so we try to educate them in a non-aggressive way and let them love the training. “We empower women about the importance of having work in life and being financially independent. If you want to
empower them you have to teach them about life, if they are women reported violence by an intimate partner and/or nonnot financially independent they will go back to their abuser,” partner, and the country has a high incidence of ‘honour she says. killings’. Despite Khalifeh’s efforts over the past four years, she Khalifeh was in Dubai in October to receive the female says there are still a lot of vulnerable women, especially teenagers entrepreneur of the year award at the Global Women in in Jordan and this is why she says she believes that Middle Leadership Economic Forum. She says the award came Eastern leaders must step up and start supporting movements like hers. as a surprise even though since launching her company in 2012, she has received a slew of prestigious awards including, “The governments in the region don’t touch violence first place in the UN’s Women Business Global awards in against women, they focus on speaking out about subjects Geneva in 2014, the Laureate Global Award in Brazil in 2013, like education for example. I feel if they support me, it would acknowledging SheFighter as become a bigger movement “one of the best social business because lots of people support ideas in the MENA region.” She our King and the leaders in the was also part of the One Young Arab world. But I won’t wait for World Summit 2015, giving a them to show me recognition,” speech about the story of how says Khalifeh. she founded SheFighter. After She says that there is a marked picking up the award in Dubai, increase in the numbers of she was en route to Prague to parents who are signing their deliver a TEDx Talk. daughters up for self-defence classes in Jordan. “I can see But perhaps the greatest that parents are now more testament to Khalifeh’s efforts was when the President of the aware that they need to teach United States, Barack Obama their daughters self-defense and give her a shout out in the I’m getting more requests from briefing room of the White schools and universities to come House during a global youth in and do workshops and help them to adopt SheFighter into entrepreneur summit: “So far, their curriculum.” Lina has helped about 10,000 women learn how to protect While the private school themselves; thank you Lina, sector has been relatively “easy we want to be your partner in to access”, she notes that the public sector is still sceptical helping women to live with dignity and safety.” of her training methods. “We Although Khalifeh earned have done training in a couple of “I can see that parents are now more her degree in French Literature schools for females but we had aware that they need to teach their to stop because the minister of in 2007 from the University education told us that we were of Jordan, she went on to get daughters self-defence” promoting violence for women certified as a personal trainer in martial arts. She’s keen to point and we are teaching women how to be violent,” she says out that SheFighter is a serious martial arts training centre, women must pass a certain level but she intends to “get to it later” once she has the proper before they can move up the ranks and it costs roughly $90 per paperwork in place. month to train four times a week. But Khalifeh says it much Khalifeh’s fight will continue this November in the Canadian more than training a few nights a week. “There is a community University in Dubai and later in the American University in feel, we celebrate events together and we party together.” Dubai where she will hold workshops for students in the hope of In 2012, UN-Women said that 32.3 per cent of Jordan’s raising awareness and growing her movement to protect women.
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TECHFUGEES Joséphine Goube is roping in the global tech community to help find innovative solutions to daily problems that affect refugees BY BEN FLANAGAN
he West seems full of flat-white-slurping startup workers talking tech with few of them promoting the rights of refugees. But Joséphine Goube, a 28-year-old Frenchwoman living in London, has made her name by doing both. Goube is chief operating officer at Techfugees, which – as its name hints – encourages smart tech types to help solve, or at least ease, the myriad problems faced by refugees. It is one of several posts held by Goube that combine her two key roles, if you were to clumsily label her, as migration campaigner and tech evangelist. Many people view the refugee crisis as an intractable problem. But Goube sees a concrete role for technology in helping empower refugees – many of whom have access to smartphones – and the non-governmental organisations (NGOs) struggling to assist them. “Basically we’re in the 21st century and charities and NGOs have been operating on a 20th century model,” says Goube. “People at sea have been able to be rescued because they were on WhatsApp, so they could [send] their location. So it’s a totally different game, as a NGO or charity that you’re navigating. We 46
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provide tech support to NGOs and refugees.” Goube speaks breathlessly over the phone from Paris. Her schedule is busy – her emails are certainly short and snappy, with one clocking in at two words – and she travels a lot. Her work has seen her visit refugee camps in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and France. She has seen the impact of the crisis up close – and recognised the need for more help on the ground. “They’re desperate. The sector is not getting any funding any more, because the funders don’t think they’ve been successful,” she says. Techfugees is based in London but has global chapters across the world, from San Francisco to Dubai and Sydney. Its focus is more around advocacy – organising conferences, workshops and ‘hackathons’ – rather than creating technology itself. It has built an online platform called Basefugees, a kind of Crunchbase – the online entrepreneur and investor database – for refugee technology. It lists challenges faced by NGOs and hopes to connect them with tech-minded volunteers that may be able to provide a solution.
So for example, an NGO may use the service if it is looking for an engineer to install a low-cost Internet service in a camp, or a software coder to create an app to aid education. Techfugees has five main focus areas, namely infrastructure – providing access to the Internet and technology – education, identity, health and inclusion. Such work is undeniably valuable, not least because of the reported signs of “donor fatigue” in the ongoing refugee crisis. According to press reports before the 'Jungle' refugee camp in Calais, France was domolished, there was a shortage of food, tents and blankets, as public donations dwindled. So why focus on promoting technology, when such basics are so badly needed? Goube says she gets asked this question often – and has a good response for it. “One of the projects we follow in Jordan provides 3D-printed limbs to refugees. When doing this, they teach the refugee how to become a 3D-printing designer. So when that happens you create a job for that person, you create a skill. And that’s very different from the traditional approach [of] ‘I’m going to give you food and blankets’,” she says. “This is the core of what we do. Whatever we create, we create it with the refugees, and refugees get the job through helping build technology.” Goube’s LinkedIn page reveals a string of roles since graduating from the London School of Economics in 2011. Prior to joining Techfugees she was head of Partnerships & Communications at Migreat, which provides information for those looking to settle in new countries, using algorithms to guide them through often complex immigration processes. Other previous roles included Co-Directing Manager of Girls In Tech UK, which held monthly events designed to help women advance their careers in the field. Goube continues to work as an ‘Technology Evangelist’ for YBorder, which helps European tech workers find jobs abroad, and also advises the European Commission on immigration issues. All this has helped her pick up several honours, including being named by Forbes as one of the ‘30 Social Entrepreneurs Under 30’. Marie Claire magazine, in its Women At The Top Awards, called her “one of the ten game-changers who have shaped 2015”. It’s a busy CV for a busy woman, spanning the areas of technology and migration she knows so well. But while Goube
“Basically we’re in the 21st century and charities and NGOs have been operating on a 20th century model” speaks the lingo of the former – it’s all “disrupting” this, or “scaling” that – it is on the latter topic that her language becomes more emotive. She describes meeting a Syrian woman in Jordan. The woman, who had been a software engineer in her home country, was desperately looking for a job. She ended up taking a coding course with ReBootKAMP, a San Francisco based non-profit organisation focused on providing technical training and employment to refugees. What was key in that case was that the woman was treated as a person, not a ‘refugee’ ”, says Goube. “We looked at her as someone capable. And that’s what most people don’t do. And I think this is where they suffer the most. They don’t want to be labelled ‘refugee’. They’re proud of what they are and what they’ve done in life.” But although technology, as promoted by groups like Techfugees and ReBootKAMP, can be part of the answer here, even Goube, a millennial through and through, acknowledges it has its limits. Many of the refugees are extremely enthusiastic about such tech initiatives – without immediately realising it is not a quick fix to all their problems, she says. “Their expectations are not going to be met in six months or a year. And then they’re going to realise that what we said from the beginning – ‘we provide tech support, we don’t create magic’ – is a reality,” says Goube. “But we’re getting there. It’s not rocket science we are working on, we are just making it more efficient, and more accountable and more transparent.” And there are positive stories coming out of the promotion of technology in such difficult environments. Just ask the young Syrian coder in Jordan. “She was having nightmares that would make her wake up at night,” says Goube. “Now she wakes up to build apps.”
2016 NOV / DEC 47
THE MIDWIVES OF KALONGO Sister Carmel Abwot is not just training midwives in Uganda – she’s empowering them too BY JESSICA PEPPER-PETERSON
Pictures by Jessica Pepper-Peterson. Photos: www.jppfoto.com
Sister Carmel Abwot
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ister Carmel tells us her surname, Abwot, means ‘I escaped’. Her mother, who had lost several babies before her, chose it in celebration of her father escaping from attackers on the day she was born. She believes it to signify escaping problems, everything shall pass and it is clear by her disposition that this is true. She is a survivor, a truly selfless woman whose mission is to alleviate suffering and bring joy. Kalongo is a village in North Uganda below the South Sudanese border. It is situated under Mount Oret in a remote area about two hours drive on bumpy dirt roads from the nearest town. Sister Carmel Abwot came here in 1992 to live with the Comboni Sisters when she was assigned to Dr. Ambrosoli Memorial Hospital as a midwife and subsequently a teacher at St. Mary’s Midwifery School. During the civil war when the rebel insurgencies were attacking the village, the then acting director of St. Mary’s fled leaving Sister Carmel in charge. She remained out of her dedication to the students and to let them know they were not alone. She has continued that dedication during her 25 years as director. The burden on African women is enormous and in Northern Uganda it is no exception. They are often married at a young age and expected to produce as many children as their husband requests. They are also the breadwinners of the family, working in the fields and providing food and paying school fees for their children. Women are chief in African culture, yet they don’t have a voice. They are often not well cared for and are especially vulnerable when pregnant. A refusal to come to the hospital to give birth for cultural or logistical reasons makes maternal mortality in Uganda exceptionally high. Sister Carmel has an enormous respect for culture and tradition but also a desire to evolve and create lasting change that she says can only come through education. “When you educate a woman she will be able to stand on her own and make her own decisions,” she tells Global Citizen. Adding that, she tries to instil in her students not only midwifery skills but to teach them self-worth and dignity. Her work is not only to train, but to empower. Her classroom often breaks into fits of laughter and applause.
She expects much from her students and has earned their respect by what she gives back to them. Many of the girls come from desperate situations and may have even lost their parents. The majority rely on scholarships to cover their school fees which amount to around $2,000 for all three years. The students say that once they enter school, Sister Carmel becomes their mother too. She teaches first and foremost by example, assisting in the labour and delivery room or out in the community where she trains the village health teams on subjects such as responsible fatherhood, the importance of hygiene and giving birth in the hospital. “Training more midwives is crucial to saving mothers and babies,” she says. The midwife handles all prenatal care, labour and delivery and post-natal care. A doctor intervenes only in case of an emergency," she explains. The students are also trained in general nursing because in the future they may find themselves in situations where they are the only trained medical personnel so they need to be as prepared as possible to deal with any crisis. While at St. Mary’s they do rotations in all of the hospitals wards – surgery, paediatrics, HIV clinic, among others. Sister Carmel says, the result is “very competent strong women” who know they have a lot of work to do to make a difference. "These students come from the same backgrounds as the women they are trying to help so they are able to convince expectant mothers to follow their instructions for a safe pregnancy." Sister Carmel speaks with immense joy about the success of her students, of which there are 150 currently attending, and of the school, which is the most prominent Midwifery School in Sub Saharan Africa. There is a high demand for midwives in Uganda and many students are already booked for jobs around the country in health centres and clinics even before they graduate. Her message to the diploma students is that the letters in Midwife stand for what they must strive to be: Motherly, Intelligent, Dedicated, Worthy, Innovative, Foresighted, Efficient. Her students are taught to be women of principle and character. www.kalongomidwifery.org
The burden on African women is enormous and in Northern Uganda it is no exception
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Miss Lily's in New York
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THE CULTURAL ENGINEER New York nightlife impresario Serge Becker opens Miss Lily’s in Dubai BY NAUSHEEN NOOR
erge Becker has made a career out of being effortlessly cool. He was responsible for creating the concepts behind a slew of New York hotspots before setting his sights on the Gulf by opening the first international location of Jamaican restaurant, Miss Lily’s, in Dubai this summer. But despite their reputation, it was never his intention to create fashionable venues solely for people in-the-know, says the entrepreneur. “The simple truth is, I do what I like. I pick places that I would like to go to. And then I think, well, I’m not that unique so my friends will probably like what I like, and their friends, and so on…” They did more than just “like” it. Becker’s career spans three decades earning him the title of a “night-life impresario” whose involvement in a project guarantees attractive clientele and discerning doormen. Famed hotelier Andre Balazs has called him a “cultural engineer.” Becker was born in Paris to a Swiss mother and Vietnamese father and spent his early years in Zurich. After attending art school, he moved to New York City at 21. He worked briefly in advertising then spent four years as an art director at Area, a legendary club in TriBeCa. New York City, and all of its dynamism, has provided Becker much of the inspiration behind his entrepreneurial endeavors. “When you move to New York, and you live there and absorb it, it wasn’t really work, what I did. It was just an extension of my life. I partied every night. But I also went to galleries and museums. I was interested in art and politics — a million different things. And somehow, I began to connect the dots between everything in hospitality, nightlife and restaurants. They were all just part of the bigger picture.” His establishments have included, The Box a nightclub that mixed bottle service with burlesque, on which The Act in the Shangri-La Dubai is modeled and La Esquina, a taco stand that propelled the speakeasy trend with a hidden bar that one had to reach by walking through the kitchen. Prior to that there was Bowery Bar, Fez and M.K. However, despite a career in nightlife, Becker exhibits little of the bravado that one normally associates with that industry.
When he was in Dubai in the early summer, Becker, now in his early 50s, was soft-spoken and dressed casually in jeans, sneakers and a fedora as he oversaw the build-out of the new Miss Lily’s in the Sheraton Grand Hotel. A known aesthete, with a fastidious eye, Becker was concerned about the signage above the bar in the restaurant as it did not quite mirror that in the original Miss Lily’s (the situation has since been resolved.) The original restaurant is on West Houston Street and modeled after the jerk-chicken joints of Crown Heights, Brooklyn. When the Dubai location launched this past summer, the doors were not exactly flung wide open. No one seemed to answer the phone for reservations before 7PM. And still, people lined up to enter. They still do. That is the draw of a Serge Becker establishment even if it’s not his aim, “My concepts weren’t born from the idea that I wanted to keep people out. I did all my places in a very small radius in New York and everything was in walking distance from where myself and my friends lived, so that was just our playground. It was more out of proximity, and a certain personal intimacy rather than, ‘Oh, you’re not cool enough.’” Keeping a close circle helped promote the air of exclusivity of the restaurants and bars but in a more grassroots, down-to-earth iteration. “I didn’t really use mainstream press to promote these things,” he explains. “It was just tell a couple friends, tell your neighbours, come by, we’re opening up soon… And then it created a little bit of an insider core. And when you have a record of creating cool places, you get a cult like following. But we were never really in the business of creating a space that would rope everybody else off. I wasn’t really into that.” As for Becker himself, now a father of three, you probably won’t be catching sight of him hitting the town anytime soon. He’s somewhat branching out from hospitality and currently working on a project as Creative Director for cultural center Hong Kong, among others. “To be honest, I’m a little past my nightlife years. I no longer go to clubs,” he says. “I’m generally on my computer at the hour that most people are out and dancing.”
“My concepts weren’t born from the idea that I wanted to keep people out.”
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UNBREAKABLE BONDS ichel Bernardaud, the scion and CEO of the 153-year-old porcelain brand that shares his name, could have had a career flipping burgers. “When I travelled to the US in the Seventies, I was very impressed by the fast food industry,” says the businessman. “At the time there was still not a single fast food restaurant in France. And I thought, maybe I should bring them over.” Although he clearly didn’t follow that direction, it wasn’t necessarily his plan to join the family business, either. Michel was two years out of university and working in the construction sector when his father, Pierre, asked him to join Bernardaud. “I was shocked,” says Michel. “My father never talked about business at home. I had no idea of the size and sales of the company. I knew we were doing porcelain, but I was not raised with the idea that I would work with him.” Michel joined the company in 1979 and became CEO in 1994. He represents the fifth generation of family leadership in the privately owned business that was established in Limoges, France in 1863. Under his aegis, Bernardaud has grown into
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a workforce of over 400 people with an annual output of four million pieces. Seventy per cent of the brand’s output is designated for export markets. Michel was in Dubai in October for the opening of the new Bernardaud boutique in Dubai Mall. One of Bernardaud’s core values is to stay closely attuned with design movements. “The ethics of my company, at least business wise, is never compromise quality and stay very close to the world of creation,” says Michel. “We are a product that is very old, but simultaneously, it needs to be of the time.” This meant that Michel’s great-grandfather, Leonard, was instrumental in the Art Nouveau movement. His sons, Jacques and his brother (also named Michel), took a boat from France to New York to see what was happening with Art Deco. Pierre commissioned Raymond Loewy to design the first contemporary porcelain dinnerware service set. In Michel’s case, there isn’t a particular adherence to a singular style or form. “We have a range from traditional to contemporary,” he said. However, by establishing the Bernardaud Foundation in 2003, Michel has connected his
copyright Jean Baptiste Millot
Michel Bernardaud is the fifth generation to lead his family’s porcelain business
The new Bernardaud store in Dubai Mall
brand with contemporary artists. “We wanted to promote porcelain as a medium for artists to express their talent,” explains Michel who is “a modest art collector” himself. Past collaborations have included Jeff Koons, Sophie Call and David Lynch. But don’t ask Michel which was his favourite, “That’s like asking a parent to pick their favourite child,” he says with a laugh. “But working with artists now is much easier than it was in my grandfather’s time. Now I can take a plane to Tokyo and meet Murakami the following day, or fly to London to meet Damien Hirst in the afternoon.” In 2006, Bernardaud was awarded “Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant” by the French Ministry of Economy, Industry and Employment. This honour, designated as part of the living heritage of France is given to French companies that preserve cultural legacies with their reliance on traditional crafts and industrial processes to create products of excellence. This dedication to handcraftsmanship is something that Michel is extremely passionate about. “In the Western world, it can be difficult to find people to work in this industry. Young people are more intellectual; there are fewer that want to work in factories. But the problem is that the intelligence of the hand is not recognised well enough.” Adding, “A human being can
express their intelligence or their talent through their hands in addition to the brain. It’s important to recognise that and to bridge that gap. It is difficult to find people who still care about these things.” Michel says that the challenges to his family-owned business are the same that affect all family businesses. “The challenge is to grow the company despite everything that can happen in life, accidents, or taxes while trying to maintain unity in the family. But this is the story of the typical family business. You have to try to be smart. You have to avoid nepotism.” To the executive, these issues are far more manageable than what his ancestors had to deal with, “We were invaded three times by the Germans and we had to deal with the 1929 Depression at a time when 90 per cent of our production was going to the US.” Michel, who has two siblings who also work in the family business, is still unsure whether his children, nieces and nephews will follow in their footsteps. “You have to be capable of finding the right leader. Yes, if they are from the family that’s wonderful, but they also have to be capable business wise and on the human side too. Family businesses are always based on relationships, and managing those are very important.”
“[In family business] You have to try to be smart. You have to avoid nepotism”
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THE DRIFTER Emirati drifting champion Ahmed Al Ameri may have imported his craft from Japan, but heâ€™s perfected it right here and is the founder and lead driver of the Toyota Emirates Drifting Team
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hmed Al Ameri, the 32-year old Al Ain native, isn’t your typical race-car driver. Granted, like his contemporaries he has a perennial obsession with cars, but it was whilst studying for a Bachelor’s degree in Japan that the now father-of-three first got the taste for competition. “In 2005, while getting my BA in Japanese economy and business management, I got the best foreign Japanese speaker award,” the gregarious Al Ameri rather incongruously said as an opening gambit. We were talking at a Dubai road-safety event, a cause he is constantly promoting. A wide grin permanently adorning his face, Al Ameri, again contrary to his media-trained Formula One counterparts, couldn’t be more accommodating. “It was because I could speak the language that I feel I was accepted more there and learnt more about the culture and racing,” says Al Ameri. Al Ameri was quickly immersed in the famed indigenous high-speed car scene in Tokyo, where he started out by participating in drag racing events. “In 2005 I got fifth overall in Japan for the drag racing championships.” Though, eventually the cost of forever coaxing increased horsepower from his car’s engine, essential to stay on top in the drag racing world, forced Al Ameri to look elsewhere for his kicks. The answer came to him in the most unlikely of places. “The racers like to do social things together. We were always going to sing karaoke. I don’t sing well, but they had to listen to me. “One of my friends asked why I’d never been to the drifting meets. So, we went to the mountain roads soon after. It’s not the proper place to do this, but this is the Japanese culture. I went there and I tried to drive the car. That was the best feeling.” Coming to prominence in the late 80s, drifting involves oversteering or essentially controlled skidding round the corners of set courses to the extent that the front wheels are often pointing in the opposite direction to the turn. It’s the kind of universe immortalized in cult Japanese film, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift. “I quickly bought a car, changed the set-up and within 15 minutes of racing, I crashed it. Then I went back home without a car for six months. That’s life.” Yet that initial exhilaration never left him. Al Ameri returned to the UAE in 2010 where the sport was still in its nascent stages despite the Dubai Autodrome having hosted a number of international driving series since 2004, including the European FIA GT Championship. However it was the opening of Abu Dhabi’s German-designed Yas Marina Circuit in 2009, bringing the lucrative and glamorous world of Formula One from the
streets of Monte Carlo and Montreal to the country for the first time, that propelled the UAE’s motorsport scene to the international level. “I told myself that I’m going to build a street fighter drifting car just for fun on the weekend. I had no idea there would be a drifting family here.” Then at the end of 2010, a radio announcement about a Formula D exhibition taking place at Yas Marina changed everything. “I called them and told them who I was, that I drifted. They obviously had never heard of me. I begged them to let me compete because I was too late to enter. I auditioned for them. They put a layout for me. I did the course and they clapped. From that day I have been part of the group. We were just seven then. Now we are more than 60,” says Al Ameri. In 2011, Al Ameri was the founding member, and now the lead driver, of the Toyota Emirates Drifting Team – a wholly Emirati operation regularly competing in the Drift UAE series and other regional and global events. The fact everyone in the company hails from the emirates is an obvious source of pride. “We are all from this country – from the manager to the engineers, to the logistics people. This is a new generation of young Emirati guys, competing with the best from around the world and winning. It’s something really special.” Earlier this year in January, Al Ameri added to his stack of trophies by winning first place at the international Federal Tyres King of Nations World Championship UAE leg that came to the Middle East for the very first time. Despite it no-longer being his fulltime occupation – Al Ameri is a consultant to the General Manager of Al Ain Municipality since his family grew to three children – his final anecdote revealed the extent of his passion for the sport and that there are no thoughts of retirement on the horizon. “During the championship in 2015 we had the second round in Oman. I was talking to my wife just before she was about to have our third child. She said to me, ‘I have a feeling you are going to go to Oman and I will have the baby.’ I told her I wouldn’t go. It was a tough decision, because of course she is more important. Before we went to sleep, she said, ‘I will let you go, but you have to promise me you will come back with something…the first place.’ I told her it was a deal. I was just about to start qualification when I got a call from my mother. She said, ‘Congrats son, you have a third daughter.’ I had to win. And I did. The next day I came back with the trophy and dedicated it to my daughter. My mother always tells me I won’t give up and I feel that way too.”
“This is a new generation of young Emirati guys, competing with the best from around the world and winning. It’s something really special”
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SALAH’S ARKS Salah Bin Touq is fighting against a tide of commercialism to keep the tradition of dhow building alive BY AMANDA FISHER
tanding deep inside the bowels of the shell of his mammoth dhow, there is something slightly epic about the weathered face and determined countenance of Salah Bin Touq. For the past eight years he has been building dhows of freighter proportions, some of the largest in existence, in a humble shipyard in Dubai’s Al Khor, to ferry trade to and from the Horn of Africa. Much like the prophet Noah who built his fabled ark, Bin Touq’s venture may seem slightly redundant in an age of steel shipping containers; but, unlike Noah, the only flood his vessels could be said to be guarding against is a deluge of multiculturalism. Once upon a time dhows were the UAE’s lifeline, he explains.
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“[Historically], everyone worked on the dhows, even the Bedouin. When the summer came they would go on the dhows for pearl diving and for trading – to bring rice, to bring food, to bring materials for their lives. There were no planes at that time, no trains, no ships, nothing. People needed food, clothes, medicine, everything and the only way they could get it was by going out to sea.” But he acknowledges the glory days of the dhow seem a relic of the past. “Emiratis now are becoming lazy because they have everything and they don’t think about [traditional] enjoyment. We know so many families who have money, they have everything but they don’t have boats,” the irreverent father-of-five explains with unexpected forthrightness.
“They are sitting with the computer. Even if I go to my house, three or four children are sitting with their phones, chatting, checking Instagram, watching movies.” And that loss of connection to the old traditions is a detriment to society, he says. Life at sea is a great allegory and preparation for life. “When you go out on the boat you have to be fit enough, you have to learn from the sea. You face the wind, you face the waves, this is life. Sometimes you get nothing to eat. This new generation, with their mobiles and computers seem perfect – but they cannot swim.” It’s clear that Bin Touq’s motivations for dhow-building, which he does with his brother Huraiz, are not guided by profit. The current model under construction, spanning 52 metres long, 15 metres high and 15 metres wide, has been two years in the making and Bin Touq estimates it will take another year to complete. It is just short of the record 60-metre Fazza the brothers finished in 2012. He says he expects to start turning a profit on the 1600-cubic tonne capacity dhow, which will have cost about $2 million by the time it is completed, between five to 10 years after it starts sailing – depending on the market. This is the reason Bin Touq’s boats have few peers, except for the dhows that run between Deira and Iran.
"This new generation, with their mobiles and computers, they seem perfect – but they cannot swim”
“People want profit. Dhows do not make the same profit as hotels, towers or malls. The people who have money will invest their money in good businesses.” So why is the former UAE naval officer of 20 years engaged in such a pursuit? “We are crazy. I am retired now, what else will I do? Go sit in a cafe drinking coffee? When I wake up in the morning, where will I go?,” he asks, tongue-in-cheek. The charmingly roguish Emirati says his occupation is similar to gardening; people grow tomatoes even though they can buy them for marginal cost at a market. “This garden gives you energy, it gives you hope to do something. I am coming here running around every day. Yes I make myself tired, but I enjoy it.”
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The passion for boats evidently runs through his veins. “This is our family business. My grandfather, my father, my ancestors are all in this kind of business, from both my mother and father. Back then, they were building boats to dive for pearls.” From the age of seven, Bin Touq and his siblings – he is one of nine – started building boats out of empty cooking oil cans and corrugated iron. “We put [the iron] in the road to let the car pass it and make it straight.” They would affix masts to their creations and built them so
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big they could be sat in. Later, once he was married, he built a boat for his wife when they didn’t have the money to go on a honeymoon. It is this traditional way of life Bin Touq is hopeful the government will get behind, similar to initiatives in Qatar that support dhow-building. “We need to make a place just for the traditional dhows to save this kind of work and teach the next generation.” But whether it happens sooner or later, one thing is clear for Bin Touq – he’s not going anywhere. “I must be near the sea. This is home for me.”
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Limassol Marina, Cyprus
A RISING STAR IN THE EASTERN MED alk down one of the quiet streets in Paphos on the south west coast of Cyprus and it’s likely you will see a local property developer’s for sale sign in Chinese in the window. The soon to be crowned European Capital of Culture for 2017 along with Aarhus in Denmark, is one of the country’s most diverse cities and its home to an influx of wealthy Chinese immigrant investors. After the Eurozone crisis in 2008, property prices in Cyprus dropped by around 15 per cent, this was followed by more doom and gloom in 2013 with a local banking crisis that forced the government to close down Cyprus’s second largest bank, inflicting huge loses on those with deposits exceeding €100,000 and restructure two more, in a bid to keep Cyprus in the Eurozone. But despite the negative prognosis at the time, the country today has reemerged with a clean bill of financial health. That’s not to say that it hasn’t been a troublesome few years, according to the IMF, the Cypriot economy only started growing again in 2015 after annual declines of 2.5 per cent in 2014, 5.9 per cent in 2013, and 2.4 per cent in 2012. However, the outlook for this year remains positive with the economy
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projected to expand by 2.9 per cent, and by another 3.2 per cent in 2017, according to the University of Cyprus. Cyprus’s housing market is also expected to continue to improve in the coming months, amidst continued economic recovery, improvements in the banking system, and increasing investor confidence due to the passing of new laws that offer tax incentives and protect homebuyers from fraud. The economic recovery is most evident in Limassol, where a new casino resort will be developed in an area west of the city, close to the city’s waterpark and shopping mall. Paphos also has redevelopment plans over the next 10 years, including a new marina, a new port and a network of new roads around the city. Another marina project is being developed in Ayia Napa in the east of the country. Its been reported that these projects alone will inject €1 billion into the local economy over the next 2-3 years, a major boost to an economy with a GDP of €17.6 billion, according to the World Bank. Cyprus has been a global business centre since the 80’s. Thousands of foreign companies are registered and operating on the island due to favourable taxation for offshore entities —
Image courtesy of istock photo
Cyprus is one of the quickest ways to get residency or citizenship in the EU
made available to all companies with the accession of Cyprus to the EU in 2004. “It’s also considered the safest country in the world among countries with a population of less than a million, this coupled with the year-round pleasant climate and a legal and business system based on the Anglo-Saxon model are all contributing factors to the rise in foreign investment in recent years,” says Akis Kyradjis, vice president of Arton Capital Cyprus, a global advisory firm that specialises in Immigrant Investment Programs. Substantial natural gas discoveries in the Eastern Mediterranean, some of which are in the exclusive Economic Zone of Cyprus have also resulted in companies like Exxon-Mobil, Total, ENI, Qatar Petroleum to set up offices on the island, in the hope of further exploration for gas and possibly oil. “Cyprus is becoming a regional energy hub owing to its membership of the EU and the fact that it is a peaceful patch of land in a very rich but turbulent area,” said George Tsielepis, Managing Director of Costas Tsielepis & Co Ltd, a boutique tax and business advisory firm in Cyprus.
Apart from the energy sector, Cyprus’s hospitality sector has also benefitted from foreign investment with Limassol — home to the country's main port, attracting shipping magnates of German and Greek origin. The latter are a late addition to an already bustling business community due to the problems of the Greek economy. Yet despite all of these profitable sectors, one of the most valuable is the country’s citizenshipby-investment programme, which was established in 2013 to attract foreign investment. The programme was revised in September 2016 and is attracting considerable interest among wealthy foreign investors, as it is the fastest path to EU citizenship — three months to approval of citizenship applications. Moreover, the investment threshold for investment in residential property has been reduced to €2 million thereby making it more attractive. To obtain permanent residence in Cyprus, investors from outside the EU have to spend at least €300,000 on a property. They must also prove that they have no criminal record and are in good financial standing and agree to deposit €30,000 for a minimum of three years in a local bank account.
“Cyprus is becoming a regional energy hub owing to its membership of the EU”
The Cyprus Citizenship by Investment Programme, launched in May 2013 to raise funds after the local banking crisis, is one of the quickest ways to get residency or citizenship in the EU. Cost: • Applicants must invest a minimum of €2 million in residential property of which €1.5 million can be liquidated after three years. Higher investment thresholds apply for investment in shares, bonds, financial products and other types of property. • A residential property with a contract price of €500,000 has to be kept by the main applicant for life • The programme now allows parents of the main applicant and/or the spouse to secure citizenship as well by accompanying the application of the main applicant and by making an additional property investment of €500,000. Criteria: This is a flexible plan with no need to live in Cyprus, provided you arrange your investments correctly. Benefits: Citizenship gives you a Cypriot passport and the freedom to work, travel, and live anywhere within the EU. You also have visa-free travel in more than 150 countries, although Cyprus doesn’t belong to Schengen.
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LIFESTYLE MB&F BALTHAZAR ROBOT CLOCK This isn’t the first time that Max Büsser has gone full Mad Max with his mechanical creations. This 40 cm tall mechanical robot clock with a 35-day power reserve and a moonphase display is built with a dual personality. One side appears to have a smiling face, but pivot the torso 180-degrees and you’ll see a menacing skull with bared teeth and angry red eyes. The clock is limited to 50 pieces each in black, blue, silver or green armour. When you ask to see it at the gallery, remember it’s name is Balthazar – not Annabelle.
All prices approximate
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MONTBLANC URBAN SPIRIT MOTORCYCLE HELMET Unless you’re Daft Punk, you wouldn’t team a helmet and a tux. However since its party season you may make an exception and if you had to choose one, then this would be it. The stylish Montblanc headgear uses perforated leather, comes in open-face and full-face variants and has an exterior design inspired by racing helmets from the Seventies. We say: Go hell for leather.
Price on request, montblanc.com
DJI MAVIC PRO It’s about time drones were made lighter, faster and downright meaner. Stepping up is DJI with this Mavick Pro drone that weighs just below 800 grams and is easy to fold and slip into a regular sized handbag (or man purse, as the case may be). In sport mode, it hits a top speed of 65kph with an ascent speed of 16 feet per second and strike out at a range of 13km. The downside is that in sport mode it won’t achieve its maximum flight time of 27 minutes. The drone is fitted with a 4k camera to capture stills and videos. Keep it in sport mode though, and all those images will be one happy blur.
THE RIDE ON MCLAREN P1 Perfect for your mini-me, this all-electric toy car built by McLaren has detailing similar to the original full-bodied P1 sportscar. Because this toy is for your actual five-year-old – and not your inner five-year-old – top speed is limited to about 5kph. Note that it hits that in under 2 seconds.
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Otam reveals its new custom-range 35-meter yacht, Gipsy
he showcase boat of the Monaco Yacht Show 2016, Gipsy is the debut of the first Otam Custom Range 35 unit, a three deck 35 meter long, 7.8 meter beam yacht, ordered by an experienced Italian owner who was searching for a full custom aluminum yacht, tailor-made to fit his lifestyle. The Otam Custom Range 35 offers a unique amount of living space onboard envisioned by Tommaso Spadolini, the famous international yacht design office. Fully custom built, like a bespoke suit, the client was very adamant that the layout would totally reflect his personal approach to life at sea. The main deck is completely dedicated to her guest's daily activities, and their leisure or business/corporate entertainment. The large spaces available include a nearly 40 square meter main salon with movie theatre and a full beam dining area forward. The
main deck also hosts the service areas, with a fully furnished galley and a 25 square meter pantry with separate access for the crew guaranteeing the best quality of life for the owner and his guests. The four VIP cabins with twin and double beds and en-suites baths are on the lower deck with a hallway that leads to separate crew quarters. The full owner's upper deck, offering exclusive views and complete privacy, was expressly requested by the client, re-launching a popular concept among experienced owners who desire exclusivity and a more intimate connection to the sea. When it comes to performance, this newbie has maximised the yard's engineering capabilities combined with their long-standing partnership with naval architect, Umberto Tagliavini. The design has an efficient semi-displacement hull that gives it a top speed of 20 knots and a range of over 2,000 nautical miles at 11 knots.
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A NEW DAWN
GC gets behind the wheel of the Rolls-Royce Dawn— the new convertible is arguably the luxury automaker’s most important launch in the last decade BY VARUN GODINHO
o get behind the wheel of a Rolls-Royce is always a sense of occasion – to do so in the brand’s only third convertible in over half a century even more so. In a mark of ultra exclusivity, the Goodwood marque releases just one new model annually – that includes variants like Coupés, and long-wheel base of the existing cars in its portfolio. So when the all-new Dawn launched earlier this year – joining the brand’s current line-up of the Wraith, Ghost and Phantom – expectedly, the car world spiralled into a state of feverish excitement. Just months after its global launch earlier this year, we landed our very own Dawn in Dubai. This car is for the one per cent of the one per cent – a fact that isn’t lost on us as we pull open the coached doors that are hinged at the back instead of the
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front and sink into bright orange leather seats with veneered fine-grained rosewood and polished-to-a-fault chrome that is generously proportioned across the cabin. We start our test drive with the top pulled over. Crank the engine and you’ll hear the sound of nothing. The cabin is as silent as a crypt. I need to tap the throttle twice just to check that the car is indeed switched on. Slipping the eight-speed automatic ride into go-mode, there’s a sense that you aren’t just driving a car – you’re commanding a land yacht that’s wide, long, beautiful and a real head-turner. The Dawn is built on the platform of the Wraith and uses a detuned Ghost engine – but the convertible feels far from a hatchet job of repurposing something that Rolls-Royce already owns. In fact, quite the contrary. It feels nothing quite like anything
else from the British brand, and there’s a certain palpable sense of youth that comes through the handling of this vehicle – it’s clearly marketed to a much younger target group than previously. The average buyer of a Roller a few years ago was 55, today it’s 45. As we navigate down Sheikh Zayed Road in Dubai towards the Palm Jumeirah, I’m well aware that on light cruise mode it’s using only about 93 per cent of the 563 horses at its command. But burying the throttle into the soft carpet and hustling it is sorely out of character for something as regal as this ride – so I don’t. But know fully well that with a massive 6.6-litre twin-turbo V12, this one’s capable of clipping at full lick if the urge ever strikes. With air sprung suspension, I don’t feel the road one bit. With satellite aided transmission, the Dawn very cleverly uses GPS data to anticipate the road ahead and pre select the right gear so that by the time I hit an apex or long straight, the car knows exactly whether to downshift or upshift to lend a seamless drive that always draws the right kind of power.
As we park along the kerb in the Palm and peel away the soft roof that stows away neatly in 22 seconds, the interior is flooded with sunlight and the details starting from the stitch along with orange Mandarin leather begins to pop. Then there’s that pinstripe that matches the seats and runs along its side – in true fastidious RR style, it’s hand-applied using a squirrel-hair brush. I can begin to count the 16 speakers that make up the high-fidelity sound system that envelopes the cabin. A microphone picks up the ambient noise and automatically adjusts the individual volumes of each speaker so that roof up or down – you’ll never miss a faint James Bay riff. This $350,000 convertible has struck upon an idea that wealth and fine taste need not be incongruous (as is sadly often the case among the newly minted). For the millennial who has hit the big time, he’s going to be rolling around in the same brand his granddaddy rode – just a new model that’s positively 21st century.
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TREASURED PIECES Etqaan preserves and modernises centuries-old Middle Eastern craftsmanship
n Arabic, Etqaan loosely translates to “mastering” and that’s exactly what this company has accomplished with their stunning pieces of furniture, accessories and custom installations. Etqaan is a partnership between the Egyptian holding company Iwan Crafts and the Cairo-based Hossama, a family business whose craftsmen have been producing heritage furniture since the 18th century. Hossama was involved in landmark restoration projects in Cairo including the Hanging Church, Amr ibn Al As Mosque and Al Ghouri Market. They were also part of the team that transformed a royal palace into the Mena House Hotel. Quintessentially Middle Eastern, the tradition originates in the Levant and North Africa, frequently using materials such as ebony, camel bone and mother-of-pearl. Though linked by tradition, there are distinctive regional differences in the final products. “Work like this originates in many places in the Middle East, but each area has its own touch, feel and culture,” says Ahmed Samy, co-founder of Etqaan. In Morocco there is more of a focus on woodcarving. In Syria, they have perfected the mother of pearl inlay, but the wood is barely visible. In Egypt, the craftsmen balance both, using smaller inlays to showcase gleaming walnut wood. “This is our identity. We believe that by supporting this industry and the artisans, we are promoting Islamic culture and the Arabic
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artistic way of presenting ourselves. We don’t want it to fade by riding the wave of the modern and the fast-paced environment,” says Samy.Furniture pieces, similar to those produced by Etqaan, have been featured in top interior design magazines such as Elle Décor and Architectural Digest, equally at home in contemporary and more traditional settings, adding a hint of the Orient. The natural materials themselves require vast amounts of times to prepare before they can even be used. For example, sourcing the mother-of-pearl required for one item of furniture can take up to six months. Then comes the painstaking process of diluting the natural build-up on each shell. Followed by the meticulous process of carving and inlaying the materials. Thusly, a mirror can take 440 hours to produce. A bridal trunk, 800. Custom installations can require months or even years. Several of the company’s artisans were in Dubai during Design Week for a series of workshops entitled, “The Time Traveller Designer.” These craftsmen are part of a trade that is becoming increasingly difficult to preserve. “For many of the artisans, they invest their soul in their work. It’s difficult finding that younger generation of craftsmen. The younger generation doesn’t want to spend the time required to perfect the job. It can be difficult to find people with the right mentality,” says Samy.
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DOWNTOWN DESIGN The annual design fair showcased the best in global and cutting-edge design
Peacock Chair, Bend Goods, $800
Bell Chair, Pallavi Dean Interiors, $3,500
Duka Stool, Addis Ababa Design Week, $500
Beirut Design Week, ‘Second Skin’ by Tamara Barrage, price on request www.tamarabarrage.com
Taiwan Designers' Week, ‘Flexible love marble and earth,’ $640
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Bend-wood Light Fixture, Beba Creations, $2,400 Design Reykjavik, Candleholder, $450
Design Interlaced panels, Vii CHEN, $5,750
3-in-1 table, Beba Creations, $17,500
Betula Chair, Apical Reform, $2,722
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Spice things up with these South American and Caribbean hotspots
TING IRIE Ting Irie is everything one would expect from a neighbourhood Jamaican joint, itâ€™s casual, heavy on design and has a laid-back hip vibe, thanks to the animated Jamaican staff. While the atmosphere is set to Caribbean chill mode with local beats and gilded chicken statues propping up the mocktail bar, (its not yet licensed), the food is a little more on the serious side. The Jerk pulled chicken fried rice is served in a freshly hulled pineapple. The homemade nachos are impossible to resist with charred beef patties topping creamy avocado, tomato and a
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fiery salsa. The humble sandwich's Caribbean iteration comes in the form of Oxtail cocobread, made with slow cooked braised oxtail meat served in homemade, faintly sweet Jamaican buns. In keeping with the sweet and sour note, we ordered the fried chicken which was, as expected, crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside and accompanied by a tangy sauce and pickled vegetables. It's the perfect venue for an entertaining business lunch. Souk Al Manzil, MBR Boulevard downtown Dubai, +971 4 557 5601
ZOCO Zoco is one of a handful of trendy new eateries that has opened in the Atrium, Al Habtoor City, sandwiched between St. Regis, W Dubai, and the Westin Dubai. Exposed brick walls and a series of metallic furniture including a long cocktail bar gives this Mexican cum Latin American restaurant edge. Low-level lighting, dark wooden tables and soft brown leather seats afford a cozy atmosphere to this otherwise energetic cantina, which blasts out soulful Latin tunes every night until the early hours. The menu is designed for sharing and has signature dishes like guacamole but with a Zoco twist, using chunky avocado pieces to
add texture, as well as variants with mango, pineapple and chili. The scallop crudo packs a punch with thinly sliced raw scallops lathered in passion fruit puree and decorated with sprigs of chili and green tomatoes. If you prefer more heat than zest, opt for lobster tacos with spicy Sriracha, a more refined take on the Cali Baja taco. Desserts are typically South American with Dulce de Leche puff pastry and sugary cinnamon Churros playing a starring role. Al Habtoor City, Dubai, +971 4 437 0044
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MUCHACHAS The latest concept from the Bull & Roo group (the team behind Tom & Serg, The Sum Of Us, Common Grounds and Brunswick Sports Club) continues to fill a much-needed void in the Dubai dining scene – the cool, neighbourhood restaurant that’s also licensed. At present time, it’s a bit of a conundrum to reach, due to the Dubai Creek construction. But those venturing in the daytime will not be disappointed; the restaurant is a sun-lit, cheerful, quirky
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oasis serving Mexican fare with a refreshing Australian twist. Taco choices with unusual fillings such as grilled octopus abound, but save room for dessert such as the corn cake piled with corn ice cream, caramel popcorn, and berry granita. Cool, creamy, tart, salty and sweet – it’s a delight for the senses. Holiday Inn Safa Park, +971 4 327 5878
TOTORA CEBICHERIA PERUANA Enter Tortoro’s restaurant via an Inca style rope bridge which leads to a cool basement lounge complete with Machu Picchu-like stonewalls and turquoise seating that pops brightly – the interiors have been designed by Lebanese architect Fadi Sarieddine, which sets up a huge ask for the food. But after trying the Ceviche it doesn’t disappoint. The raw seafood is lightly tempered with fresh citrus flavours. The Quinotto – Portobello mushrooms and
Parmesan cheese drenched in white wine and truffle oil, is a failsafe option. For an unfussy but delicious dessert try Tres Leches – sponge cake with whipped cream – but if you prefer your dessert in a glass, know fully well that the bar will stay open for an hour after the restaurant closes. Gate Village, Building 7, +971 4 399 9666
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NOV / DEC 2016
BY THE SEA Melt away stress in these blissful resorts
COCOA ISLAND BY COMO THE MALDIVES There is no shortage of spectacular resorts in the Maldives. The country’s pristine cerulean waters and platinum sandy shores on isolated atolls draw thousands of visitors each year with the promise of a few days of uninterrupted bliss. But Cocoa Island, by Singaporean chain COMO is exceptional in achieving that elusive feeling of being entirely at home while miles away from one’s point of origin. The rooms exude understated elegance — teak floors, gossamer linen curtains and white accents. The large casement windows provide uninterrupted views of the sea, and once opened,
position you just at the edge of its precipice; the room becomes a delicate cradle suspending you over endless blue. The COMO spas are famous for their holistic treatments and the resort also offers daily yoga classes and superb healthy cuisine. But what cannot be underestimated is the uniquely restorative power of falling asleep to the sound of waves gently colliding into the stilts of your over-water bungalow. Double rooms from $900, www.comohotels.com/cocoaisland
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AMANPURI, PHUKET, THAILAND The Aman experience starts when stepping off the plane or speedboat in Phuket and a chauffeur driven BMW 7 Series arrives to whisk you away to the hilltop oceanfront resort. The luxury hotel group has such a cult following among the globally well heeled that they refer to themselves as “Aman junkies.” Amanpuri is the flagship resort and, like its sister Aman resorts, the design is strongly influenced by its natural surroundings. Pavilion rooms, which dot the former coconut plantation, are decorated with rich dark wooden panels and have spacious open-plan bathrooms scented with fresh flower bouquets. Each
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pavilion has its own private deck with a sunken dining table that overlooks the Andaman Ocean — perfect for a sunrise breakfast. If you prefer to step out to dine, you can still enjoy a cool breeze as all of the restaurants avail of ocean views. Whether it’s a casual lunch on the rocky beach terrace, which overlooks Amanpuri’s private beach or dinner in Naoki, the resort’s Japanese-French inspired beachside restaurant, the seafood is some of the freshest to be found. Double rooms from $1,000 per night www.aman.com
2016 NOV / DEC 79
CRYSTAL CLEAR CEO of Baccarat, Daniela Riccardi talks about the evolution of the brand
n 1764, King Louis XV issued a royal warrant to establish a glass-making factory in the village of Baccarat in the Lorraine region, eastern France. Initially it only produced glass and mirrors but in 1816, it started manufacturing crystal. In 1823, Baccarat received its first royal commission for a complete service of crystal glasses for Louis XVIII — an order said to have started the fashion for using different glasses for water, white wine, red wine and champagne. For decades now, Baccarat’s clientele has grown to include global royalty, heads of state and celebrities. But CEO Daniela Riccardi is not satisfied with resting on the laurels of this storied legacy. “I want to lead the brand into its next 250 years,” she says. “My challenge is to bring the brand into the modern environment by using its unique savoir-faire to integrate its products into today’s lifestyle.” The executive studied classical ballet at the National Dance academy in Rome before attending university to study diplomacy. “I was passionate about knowing the world and making a contribution as a global citizen. But ultimately, I decided to not pursue that career path – it was probably too narrow for my ambition.” Riccardi went on to work at Proctor & Gamble for 25 years in numerous senior operating roles including as Vice President in Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela, Vice President and General Manager for Eastern Europe and Russia and finally as President of Procter & Gamble for Greater China. She joined Baccarat in 2013, a year before the company’s 250th anniversary which saw a year-long celebration aimed at attracting a younger demographic while preserving its luxury image. Events held across the globe included the publication of the history of the brand, a glittering party in Milan, a retrospective exhibition at the Petit Palais in Paris, a light show at the Yebisu Garden Place in Tokyo, and finally the opening of the spectacular Baccarat hotel in New York City. “The hotel was a way to show that the spirit of a
Baccarat Hotel in New York
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Baccarat boutique in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia maison particulière can be transferred to the heart of Manhattan without losing any of its elegance, glamour and modernity. More Baccarat Hotels are foreseen,” says Riccardi. With a presence in more than 80 countries, Baccarat retains strong distribution in Europe, Japan and the USA while expanding their retail distribution in key luxury cities and fast growing markets like the Middle East, Korea and China. Baccarat has recently opened three new boutiques in Paris, Jeddah and Beijing and
the first Maison Baccarat in Asia in Seoul. At the same time Baccarat, which is synonymous with special occasion entertaining, is expanding their product range to include “everyday” items including glasses, espresso cups and sets of tumblers in different colours and patterns. “Glamour, the art of entertaining and worldly sophistication are all part of the DNA of the brand,” Riccardi says. “Baccarat is an investment that gives you pleasure forever.”
The lounge inside the Baccarat Hotel in New York
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SNEAKERS FOR THE SILVER FOX Luxury shoe brand, FACTO is appealing to the ‘badass older gentleman’ says designer Victor Hsu BY NAUSHEEN NOOR
n Japanese “choiwaru oyahji” loosely translates into “slightly shoes in my mid-20s. What I was looking for, as someone in my badass older gentlemen.” Victor Hsu, a US native, was living mid-30s, was different. I wanted to wear cool sneakers, elegantly, and working in Tokyo when he discovered a select group of without feeling like I was trying to wear cool sneakers, if that affluent, stylish men who frequent exclusive VIP establishments makes sense.” in the city’s hip enclave of Nishi Azabu. Later, these men would He also set out to create something that could be timeless. become the unconventional muses for Hsu’s “I felt as a consumer, we were becoming hip, new shoe brand, FACTO. increasingly conditioned to like things based It’s possible that what 30-something Hsu on hype and being herded into a commercial “We’re taught to love saw in the “choiwaru oyahji” was a reflection cycle of planned obsolescence and waste. it, leave it and then of who he aspired to be in a few more years. We’re taught to love it, leave it and then move move onto the next Hsu studied Finance and Marketing at NYU onto the next thing. To me it’s a wasteful before starting a job as a buyer for American practice, albeit profitable, but something I thing. To me it’s a department store, Lord & Taylor, followed by wanted and even felt obligated to distance wasteful practice, albeit time as product developer for Express, then myself from as a creator of a new brand,” he profitable” part of retail conglomerate, Limited Brands. says passionately. He immersed himself in the design process, and despite not having He first became involved with footwear while working for sneaker brand, JUMP, initially as a design background, began sketching and their Director of Marketing and also, later, as a licensee opening understanding sneaker craftsmanship. stores in Japan. While living abroad, Hsu was introduced to the Hsu launched FACTO in 2015 with a collection that hinted at a country’s relentless fixation on perfection and customer service, mix of vintage and futuristic references. The sneakers are made a discipline that stayed with him. “In every aspect of Japanese in Italy, in the same factory Lanvin and Louboutin are produced, life, the attention to detail, quality and customer satisfaction was but offered at more accessible prices, starting at $450. The initial different from anything I’d ever experienced. Whether you’re at offering for the Fall/Winter 2015 included a limited release of 700 pairs that were signed by Hsu himself. a convenience store or having highbrow sushi in Ginza, there “It was almost too easy,” says Hsu of the positive response to is an understood expectation for service and quality,” he says. his shoes, as though he’s still surprised by it. After he finished At the same time, Hsu’s personal taste in accessories started his first collection, he had already missed fashion week season, maturing. “My sensibilities changed from when I started designing
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so he set up meetings with various buyers. His shoes are now carried at some of the most exclusive stores in the world including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman in the US, Holt Renfrew in Canada, Harvey Nichols in the UK and Level Shoes in Dubai. Life came full circle for the young designer, “I came from that buying background. It was my proudest moment to have developed something from scratch and then seeing it get accepted by my peers.” It wasn’t too long before celebrities followed suit. R&B singer Usher purchased several pairs from Fred Segal in Hollywood.
P Diddy owns a pair which then got Kanye West’s creative collaborator, Tracy Mills, interested in purchasing a few. The future for the brand includes collaborations with Mills and with California based fabric brand, Matiere. He is also intrigued by the process of combining phone technology with his footwear using NFC (near field communication) where a chip inserted in the shoe sends out a radio signal and holding a mobile phone over the product can do a number of things, including offering information about the style, inspiration and provenance of the shoe itself. Badass, indeed.
2016 NOV / DEC 83
Award-winning photographer Gérard Rancinan talks about what its like to photograph world figures and the inspiration behind his art BY NAUSHEEN NOOR
The truth is, I don’t care for the terms photojournalist or artist. I am a photographer,” says Gérard Rancinan humbly, despite being one of the most accomplished photojournalists in the world covering wars, riots and natural disasters before pursuing portrait and fine art photography. “I think a photographer is a witness. If you are a wedding photographer or a war photographer, you are the same witness. There is no difference or hierarchy.” Born in France in 1953, Rancinan started his career in the photo department of a daily newspaper at just 18 years of age. As a photojournalist, Rancinan has travelled the world covering everything from war to international sporting events. “I learned a lot in those years. In those situations, you are very close to the skin of what’s happening in the world, the real issues,” says Rancinan who was in Dubai in October for an exhibition of his work at the Opera Gallery in DIFC. “But sometimes, it can be too much. Its impossible to be objective, you are human after all. And to go
Above: Portrait of Alexander Wang; Right: A piece from the Batman Series 84
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from shooting Israelis to Palestinians and then flying to Lebanon, it’s complicated and overwhelming.” His work has appeared in some of the most prestigious publications in the world including TIME magazine and Sports Illustrated and Vanity Fair. He is the only person to have won the World Press Photo of the Year six times. But despite these accolades, Rancinan took a step back from photojournalism to pursue portrait photography, an endeavour that saw him shoot world leaders such as Yasser Arafat, Hosni Mubarak and Pope John Paul II among many others. However, the artist did not find it the least bit intimidating. “I don’t mean to be impolite, but I don’t care about these people,” says the artist humorously. “To me, it’s still kind of like an art performance. All of the portraits are done in an artistic way.” His work shows an uncanny ability to equalise and humanise these larger than life figures. On a trip to Cuba, he brought Fidel
Castro to the cliffs overlooking the ocean, glancing towards America, in defiance. The Dalai Lama smiles warmly at the camera in front of a stunning Himalayan backdrop. Alexander McQueen, enrobed in the Union Jack, looks off pensively into the distance. Though Rancinan mostly remains inured to the celebrity status of his subjects, the one exception in all these years was when he photographed Peter Benenson, the founder of Amnesty International, before he passed away in 2005. “I wanted to meet him and he accepted. His house was very small, just one bedroom, two or three books on a shelf, and a map of the world. I thought to myself, here is this incredible guy, so powerful, more than any politician I’ve met, but he’s so modest,” says Rancinan reverentially. “And he’s so witty,” he adds. “He really made me laugh.” Rancinan asked the human rights activist, “What makes people free?” His response was, “People can never be free, because they always live in fear of something.” The meeting proved lifechanging for Rancinan, altering his perspective on human nature and strongly influencing his work. “My work today is about that conversation,” he says. In the past two decades, Rancinan has been channelling his creativity towards fine art photography. In his carefully composed shots, with elaborate sets and costumes, he draws from his years as journalist and observer offering criticism on modern-day life. But, Rancinan doesn’t see it as a large departure from his early
career. “What I’m doing with my art is the same as the work I did as a photojournalist. Only a blind guy can shoot a truly objective photo. You choose the subject, the frame, you choose the time when you shoot. It is still an interpretation of reality, it’s a filter. Conflict photography is not better just because it’s dangerous,” says the artist passionately. Indeed it's not. Arguably, Rancinan’s fine art photographs are as shocking and thought-provoking as the finest examples of photojournalism. The Batman Series indicts the contemporary picture-perfect family that is obsessed with consumerism. The Metamorphosis series reinterprets masterpieces. Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper transforms into The Big Supper, a commentary on fast-food addiction and obesity. “The goal of the art is to mirror our society. I saw an American family walk into the gallery, look at [The Big Supper] and laugh, but after 30 seconds, they stopped smiling, because they saw themselves,” he says. In one particularly arresting photo, The Feast of Crumbs, black-winged punk angels, representing humanity, fight for scraps at the last supper table after Jesus Christ has left. “An artist has to be a witness, involved with our society. Otherwise it’s just decoration, it’s just expensive decoration.” Gérard Rancinan’s work is available through the Opera Gallery, DIFC. www.operagallery.com
The Feast of the Crumbs 2016 NOV / DEC 85
FASHIONABLE FRAGRANCES Luxury brands unveil their latest fragrances
“If you walk along the street, in any city or metropolis of the world, you realise there’s a kind of marvelous anarchy that characterises youth," says Gucci Creative Director, Alessandro Michele. This sense of millennial blasé explains the hashtag, #GuiltynotGuilty. The fragrance opens with lavender and lemon and moves to orange blossom, cedar and patchouli. Jared Leto is the face of the new campaign. 90ml, $107
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Launched at the same time as La Femme Prada, Miuccia Prada intended for the scents to be interchangeable as “there isn’t a single icon representing the dream of a woman or a man.” Iris and amber, two emblems of the fashion house are united together for the first time in a Prada fragrance. It also blends classic ingredients of men's perfumery, but reinterpreting them a modern way. 100 ml, $135
L’Envol de Cartier
Inspired by ambrosia, the mythical nectar of Greek gods, perfumer Mathilde Laurent has developed a scent with accents of honey, wood, patchouli, and a hint of musk. The bottle is a capsule contained within a detachable glass dome, which strategically captures the light to make the perfume look like honey. The capsule can be carried independently and is refillable. 100 ml, $132 and capsule refills, $92
Chopard Amber Malaki
A unisex fragrance inspired by the brand’s jewellery, the scent features amber, papyrus, incense, orange blossom, bourbon vanilla and labdanum, capturing the essence of the Middle East. The glass bottle, is faceted like a gemstone, and the design of the label, with its delicate mashrabiya, evokes the architecture of an oriental palace. 80 ml, $129
KICKSTARTER Whether youâ€™re a workout fanatic or a travelling CEO in need of a boost, the Elixir Clinic offers vitamin drips to the busiest of people
his sleek new clinic, with locations in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, has magic potions to help you recover after a grueling session with your personal trainer. Administered intravenously, the clinic offers a range of tailor-made infusions that can improve energy, boost immune function, decrease inflammation and even help prevent sports-related strains and injuries. The Elixir Clinicâ€™s Fitness VitaDrip contains L-carnitine and is particularly effective when coupled with regular physical training. L-carnitine is a biologically active nutrient that acts as a catalyst for weight loss and also aids with muscle recovery post workouts. Relief just in time to hit the gym, once again. www.theelixirclinic.com
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LITTLE BLACK BOOK
LITTLE BLACK BOOK LOS ANGELES Lee Maen is one of the founding partners of Innovative Dining Group and helped create some of the coolest restaurants and lounges in Los Angeles, including Boa Steakhouse, Sushi Roku and Katana. Maen opened his first restaurant, Sushi Roku Hollywood, six months after graduating with his MBA from UCLA's Anderson School of Management. IDG now has 15 restaurants, and just opened a second location of LA hotspot, Blind Dragon, a high-end karaoke bar in the Atrium Al Habtoor in Dubai.
Caffeine Fix I usually make coffee at home but Alfred's, Inteligentsia and Urth CafĂŠ are the go-tos in the city for the perfect latte.
Reading Nook I usually download books from iTunes, but Book Soup on Sunset Blvd is pretty well known.
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Images courtesy of Getty Images
erty and I love the Getty but mainly for the prop the The to go the architecture. I am excited to er. summ this ed Broad museum that open
LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Strolling Where to Rest Sunset Tower is one of the older properties on the strip. The glamour and privacy makes it a great local hang out place.
I love the flats of Beverly Hills â€” architecture, beautiful calm streets, trees â€” it is the old Beverly Hills class. I also enjoy Abbot Kinney in Venice, as it is full of fun stores, surfers, skateboarders and cool culture.
The weather and the diversification are the best things about Los Angeles. There is always something to do. You have the beach, the snow in the mountains and the desert all within a two hour drive.
Fashionphile I like a few of the stores on the Western Side of Melrose Avenue, John Varvatos and G-Star are cool brands that epitomise that laid-back LA style.
Celebrity Spotting Any of our restaurants are great for celebrity spotting. Mainly Boa or Roku on Sunset. We see Mick Jagger there pretty often.
2016 NOV / DEC 89
(Clockwise from top) Highway: The road from Palm Springs to the San Bernadino Mountains; Models walk the runway for the Louis Vuitton Cruise 2016 Resort Collection in one of the city's luxury hideaways; Elvis Presley's 'Honeymoon Hideaway' house in Palm Springs
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Once Hollywood’s favourite playground, Palm Springs is still the perfect desert oasis
Image courtesy of Getty Images
BY ELLA BUCHAN
anging out in Palm Springs in the Sixties, encounters with Hollywood royalty were an everyday occurrence. You could have been twirling seafood spaghetti in Frank Sinatra’s favourite restaurant, Johnny Costa’s - Ol’ Blue Eyes doing the same in the next booth. Or perhaps you would have found yourself shoulder to sharkskin-suited shoulder with Sammy Davis Jr. and his fellow Rat Packers in a piano bar. You might even have spotted a loved-up Elvis and Priscilla, who honeymooned here after their 1967 wedding. Nowadays, visitors have to be content with following these A-listers’ footsteps and forkfuls, sampling their favourite dishes and touring their former homes. Surrounded by the Coachella Valley - famous for its star-studded music festival each April located in the Sonoran Desert and sheltered by the San Bernardino mountain range, the Californian city really does feel like an oasis. Or rather, a chic, modernist mirage. No wonder it became a prime playground for Hollywood stars, especially being less than two hours’ drive from LA. Sinatra, Liz Taylor, Liberace and Dean Martin had homes here, while Elvis and Priscilla leased their ‘Honeymoon Hideaway’ from 1966-67, using it for entertaining and generally escaping the glare of fame. A Walk of Stars in downtown has the names of famous residents etched in pink and gold squares. The Palm Springs Historical Society has
walking tours around Hollywood homes and mid-century modern architecture, characterised by flat lines, large glass windows and open designs. Look out for Bob Hope’s home, shaped like an oyster shell. Frank Sinatra’s Twin Palms estate is available for private tours and rentals for the truly monied — rates start at $2,600 per night. Guests do have the privilege of swimming in his piano-shaped pool, though. Those with shallower pockets can wander around the Presleys’ Honeymoon Hideaway, also known as the ‘House of Tomorrow’ thanks to futuristic touches like the space-age conical chimney flue and kitchen appliances built into the worktops. Comprised of four perfect circles with glass and peanut brittle stonework, was built by lauded developer Robert Alexander, who shaped the city’s modernist architecture with his father George. Thankfully, there are still opportunities for avid star spotters to encounter a star or two. Coachella Festival attracts hip young things from Rihanna to Taylor Swift, while the International Film Festival each January has brought many big names to town, including Clint Eastwood, Leonardo DiCaprio and Dakota Fanning. And of course the city is also a movie star, providing the location for Sean Connery’s Bond classic Diamonds Are Forever and, more recently, Ocean’s Eleven. It is still a Hollywood playground, after all.
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WHERE TO GO
UPTOWN DESIGN DISTRICT
PALM SPRINGS ART MUSEUM
Arriving at this national park, less than an hour’s drive from Palm Springs, you could be forgiven for thinking you have somehow landed on another planet. Named for the twisty, bristly Joshua trees, which seem frozen mid-dance, and scattered with bizarre rock formations that could have been sculpted by the surrealists, it’s certainly other-worldly. The landscape is even more ethereally beautiful at night against star-carpeted skies. www.nps.gov/jotr/
Image courtesy of Getty Images
The world’s largest rotating tramcar glides two and a half miles up the sheer cliffs of Chino Canyon, taking riders from Mexico to Alaska in the space of 15 minutes. At 8,516 feet above the arid desert floor, the temperature plummets by between 30 and 40F. At the top are 50 miles of hiking trails, regularly dusted with snow. www.pstramway.com
On North Palm Canyon Drive is a dream cluster of boutiques, tiny galleries and high-concept design stores, embracing the city’s kitsch image but polishing it with a glossy coat of chic. Pick up tchotchkes (decorative trinkets) you never knew you wanted, invest in pop art and statement lighting at Just Modern, and prepare to lose hours in Trina Turk’s trio of boutiques.
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With 28 galleries and two sculpture gardens, it’s easy to lose a few hours in this impressive art museum. The permanent collection includes works by Roy Lichtenstein, Pablo Picasso and Andy Warhol, with sculptures by Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore. There’s also a fascinating array of ancient Mesoamerican figures from pre-Columbian times. www.psmuseum.org
WHERE TO STAY PARKER PALM SPRINGS
This luxe resort sits just on the edge of downtown Palm Springs, and has plenty to keep guests occupied on site. Two saltwater pools, for example, including the adults only Gene Autry pool, open until 2am. There’s even a lemonade stand and fire pit in the grounds. Rooms are far from standard, with vintage furnishings and Peruvian weavings. Book a Lanai or Patio room for private poolside lounge areas with basket chairs and hammocks. Rooms start at $370 per night www.theparkerpalmsprings.com
Perfectly placed for exploring the boutiques and galleries of the Uptown Design District, ground level rooms surround the saltwater pool and courtyard - think retro motel style, given a glossy upscale makeover. Rooms are blazingly white, from the Italian linen sheets to the walls, with cushions and framed wall art providing pops of colour. Some have verdant private courtyards and Jacuzzi tubs. On-site restaurant Cheeky’s is a popular brunch spot and locals’ hangout. Rooms start at $222 per night www.alcazarpalmsprings.com
The debut ARRIVE property was cofounded by one of Facebook’s original employees, Ezra Callahan. And the hotel’s ethos is as millennial as one might expect, with check-in at the bar and services requested via text message. In the Design District, its midcenturymodern design at once catches the eye and seamlessly blends with its desert backdrop, ringed by skinny palm trees and the San Bernardino mountains. Rooms start at $496 per night www.arrivehotels.com
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Velvet bow-tie, Lanvin, $120
Velvet, silk and embroidered embellishments prove that luxe is no longer just for ladies
Dries Van Noten, A/W 2016 Velvet slippers, Alexander McQueen, $1,145
Velvet and satin quilted bomber, Dries Van Noten, $1,775 Embroidered velvet sweatshirt, Gucci, $3,680
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All prices approximate
Images courtesy of Getty Images
Enameled 18-karat gold ruby cufflinks, Deakin & Francis, $3,915
Dolce & Gabbana, A/W 2016
Floral embroidered sweatshirt, Alexander McQueen, $1,115 Double-breasted silk jacquard blazer, Ralph Lauren Purple Label, $4,995
Velvet tuxedo jacket, Tom Ford, $3,445 Embroidered denim jeans, Dolce & Gabbana, $995
Silk pocket square, Rubinacci, $115
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RADICAL MACHINES Watches from the 22nd century that are here now
DEWITT ACADEMIA TOURBILLON FORCE CONSTANTE À CHAÎNE JEWELLERY
CVSTOS CHALLENGE MINUTE REPEATER TOURBILLON SPORT TITANIUM Your thoughts are probably racing towards Franck Muller when you see the tonneau-shaped case, curved crystal and oversized tourbillon at 6 o’clock – but Swiss haute horologist CVSTOS who have been in the business since 2005 have really come into their own, their avantgarde timepieces are acquiring cult status among collectors.The manual-winding watch has an additional complication of a minute repeater worked into it, making this a technically accomplished timepiece that commands a price just over a quarter of a million dollars. $272,000
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REBELLION PROMETHEUS T3000 If Transformers were to ever live on your wrist, this is what it would look like. Made from grade 5 titanium and limited to 25 pieces, it’s take-noprisoners level tough. The threedimensional movement that rises from below the sapphire crystal is made from the same aluminium used to make fighter jets. There are six chain linked barrels within that movement that explains why you get nearly 1,000 hours – or 42 days – of power reserve on this timepiece (on an average, most mechanical watches have a reserve of 7 days). $1.2million
The founder of eponymous watchmaker DeWitt, Jérôme, is a direct descendant of Emperor Napoleon. Jérôme was a businessman who set up his own watchmaking unit in Geneva when he realised that he could create timepieces that were as beautiful and technically sound as the ones he used to collect. This timepiece is a piece of high jewellery as much as it is a statement piece of mechanical mastery – which explains the 24 ‘imperial columns’ motif on the bezel of the 43mm timepiece with an 18k rose gold case that frames a tourbillon with a chain-and-fusée transmission arrangement visible on the dial. $632,500
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