Students from Marmara University visited GUtech

HALBAN A group of students from Marmara University in Istanbul (Turkey), visited GUtech’s Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) recently. The Turkish students are currently studying at SQU for one semester. The visit follows a recent architectural field-trip of GUtech students to Turkey. „To strengthen the ties between Turkey and Oman, the Turkish Ambassador H.E. Ayse Sözen Usluer has invited our UPAD students for a gathering in their Residence recently,“ said Ercan Ağırbaş, Associate Professor at GUtech.

(c) GUtech: Text & Photo

 

“An Evening of Opportunities and Appreciation” – IBSM students organize an event at the Kempinski Muscat

HALBAN Under the patronage of H.E. Eng. Salim Mohammed Al Naimi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Transport and Communication, an ‘Evening of Opportunities and Appreciation’, organized by third year students studying Event Management at the Faculty of Business and Economics at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will be held at Kempinsiki Hotel Muscat tomorrow evening. Aimen Al Hosni, CEO of Oman Airports Management Company, will be present a keynote speech on the role of airports in realising Oman’s 2040 vision.

Dr. Heba Aziz, Dean of the Daculty of the Business and Economics, comments on this event: “I am proud of the efforts of the students in less than eight weeks they put together an impressive event; the organisation of the event and the event itself demonstrate GUtech’s commitment to bridge the gap between academic education and the business sector.” This year the students have chosen an event to recognise the efforts of the business sector in Oman, both public and private, for the opportunities that they create for the students and which complement their overall learning experience. Over seventy companies in the business sector have received students for their twelve weeks internship program, an industrial project – a consultancy project for the logistics sector, field trips and guest lectures.

The students’ event comes in fulfilment of the requirement for their module in event management where the students are supposed to organise an event with all its components logistics, finance, communication and programmein addition to passing and studying a theoretical component. Students were very successful in securing the sponsorship of two of the main business partners Kempinski the Wave and Petroleum Development Oman (PDO). The two organisations have been extremely supportive to the activities of the department’s academic and students activities.

The Faculty of Business and Economics currently offers two programmes of studies one in Logistics and the other in Business and Tourism. The faculty will launch its MBA programmes in October 2019. The event will take place at the Kempinski Muscat on 1 May, at 7 PM.

GUtech team wins Intercollegiate Maths Contest

HALBAN The GUtech Maths Team has won the first prize in the Intercollegiate Maths Contest held at the National University in Muscat yesterday. “We are proud of the students’ achievement and would like to thank everybody who contributed. Special thanks to Mr RK, Dr. Yathrib Ajaj and Mr. Ahmed Al Salmi,” said Prof. Bernhard Heim Dean of the Faculty of Science, who coached the winning team. More than 20 teams applied for the competition and ten teams qualified for the final contest, including teams from Nizwa, Sohar and Muscat. The winning GUtech Maths team consists of students from different academic departments including GUbridge: Shadhan Alrashdi, Loay Al Lawati, Ahmed Abdulla, Fatma El Sheibany, Shifa Al Hussaini.

The main objectives of the competition was to create a unique, competitive platform that promotes interest in Mathematics among students and to seek out and identify highly qualified students in the field of Mathematics. It focused on general knowledge in numerical aptitude, algebra, geometry, probability and statistics. The competition was conducted by the College of Engineering of the National University. “We would like to thank the Head of the Mathematics and Science Department Prof. Syed Mohd Rizwan and the Dean of the College of Engineering, Prof. Ahmed Hassan Al Balushi for their hospitality and the excellent organization of the competition for the youth in Oman. We are looking forward to further joint maths activities at GUtech,” said Prof Bernhard Heim while adding that the Faculty of Science at GUtech conducted a Science Symposium with the Oman Mathematical Society last year which has triggered a lot of interest in the academic community.”

 

 

GUtech’s Founding Rector receives the Pakistani National Award Hilal-e-Imtiaz

HALBAN The founding Rector of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, has recently received one of the highest national awards from the President of Pakistan, H.E. Arif Alvi. He received the Crescent of Distinction Medal, the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, on the occasion of the Pakistani National Day in Islamabad. The medal is the second highest civilian award. Prof. Jansen was bestowed in recognition of his services to the archaeological discovery of the Indus Valley Civilisation, at the Presidency on Pakistan Day, March 23, in Islamabad.
Already in 1987 Professor Jansen had been decorated with the Star of Distinction (Sitara-e-Imtiaz), the third highest honour and civilian award of the State of Pakistan. Professor Jansen thus joins the exclusive group of persons with two national awards and the only one in the field of the Indus Valley which bears testimony to his lifelong, passionate services to Mohenjo Daro, the jewel of the third millennium Indus Valley Civilisation.

During his stay in Pakistan Prof. Jansen presented the outline of a ‘Heritage Management Strategy’, which aims at establishing vertical and horizontal national structures and integrated regional networks to preserve and promote Pakistan’s deep and diverse heritage including the 5,000 year old ‘Indus Valley’ and the 2,000 year old ‘Gandhara’ civilization.
At the recently held ‘Pakistan Day’ in Muscat, an unprecedented corporate event hosted in partnership with 16 local Pakistani businesses, the 500 guests could witness the symbolic presentation of the Award to Prof. Jansen here in Oman. Visiting Federal Minister for Religious Affairs and Interfaith Harmony Noor-ul-Haq Qadri and Omani Secretary of General Defence Muhammad Nasir Al Rasbi were assisted by Ali Javed, Ambassador of Pakistan to the Sultanate.

(c) GUtech

 

“Public Spaces – Urban Identities in Muscat”, exhibition opens at Bait Al Baranda Museum

MUSCAT Under the auspices of H.E. Thomas Schneider, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany to the Sultanate of Oman and Eng. Nasser Bin Ali Al Hinai, Director General of Technical Affairs of Muscat Municipality, the exhibition “Public Spaces – Urban Identities in Muscat” was opened today morning at Bait Al Baranda Museum in Muttrah (Muscat). The exhibition is held in cooperation with the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). It displays different perspectives of planning public spaces and their identities in Muscat. Tourism research, community-based designs and architectural sketches on Muttrah from students and faculty members of GUtech and partially in cooperation with the Scientific College of Design are on display. The main topics of the exhibition are: “Observations and drawings of Muttrah”, “CommunityBased Design in Muscat”, “WOW — Where Oman Walks” and “Mega-cruise tourism and its impacts on the local community in Souq Muttrah”.

The opening of the exhibition included talks on the development of urban spaces followed by a panel discussion with experts from the academia and the public sector in Oman. H.E. Thomas Schneider stressed in his welcome address, the importance of involving the local community in urban planning processes in order to create places that enhance networks within the community while respecting their everyday needs. Prof. Dr. Gustavo di Siqueira, Head of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech said that Muscat has witnessed a rapid urban development since the 1970, focusing on basic infrastructure and a car-oriented network. In their student project he focused on how the community perceives the walkability of certain areas and their suggestions for further improvements, e.g. in Al Khoud and Al Khuwair. Prof. Gazmend Kalemi, UPAD Department and his students display their sketches on Muttrah in the second part of the exhibition. “Drawing expresses our impressions and observations. The more you draw, the more you see and observe the tangible environment,” said Prof. Gazmend Kalemi, UPAD Department at GUtech, while adding that future architects need to have a basic knowledge about space and its aesthetics. Referring to the student and academic work on display, Malik Al Hinai, Director of Bait Al Baranda Museum said: “You created a special story that visitors will see in the coming week – urban spaces, walking spaces are on display for the community”.

During the discussion, the architect and urban planner Hilal Al Busaidi from Muscat Municipality said that he and his team have realized that the community is very willing to participate in public discussions. “We try to include the community in the planning and policy-making process,” he said. Shela Hussain and Mahmood Al Wahaibi from the Supreme Council of Town Planning, who are involved in the preparation of the Oman Vision 2040 and the Oman National Spatial Strategy Project, said that the use of ethnography is very important in exploring social values and personal experiences of space. “Especially in tourism, the charm of the country lies in authentic spaces,” said Mahmood Al Wahaibi. Referring to the walkability of spaces, one of the female GUtech UPAD students in the audience stressed that public spaces are rather male spaces and that it needs a general mind-shift. Currently, it is difficult and challenging for females to walk on their own in public. Dr. Manuela Gutberlet, academic researcher and PR Manager at GUtech showcases some of her ongoing academic research on the impacts of mega-cruise tourism on local life in Muttrah. In her talk she mentioned that in particular overcrowding, a marginalisation of the local well-established community and culture shock situations have triggered a silent resistance from the Omani business community and the residents. In addition, an increase in cheap imported souvenirs and social dumping of the labour force were observed. “The space along the corniche road and the main street in Souq Muttrah has developed into a ‘tourist bubble’, focusing on the needs of the mass tourist. My survey shows that most of the cruise tourists consume the place visually; they do not buy anything or very little in Souq Muttrah. Research conducted in other cruise destinations worldwide support these results. To increase the quality of life of the local community, she recommends to limit and control the number of cruise tourists arriving in Muttrah and to introduce a tourism management strategy.

The organizers of this special opening event wish that the workshop serves as a kick-off event for a continuous discussion on urban spaces and their identities, for the benefits of local communities in Oman.

The exhibition “Public Spaces – Urban Identities in Muscat” at Bait Al Baranda is open until 1st of May, from Saturday to Thursday between 9 am to 1 pm and 4 pm to 6 pm.

(c) GUtech; Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Olivera Petrovic

 

‘Ports and Trans-Ports in the Indian Ocean’ – An International Workshop and a Field-Excursion / MoU signed with Sindh University

HALBAN The “International Start-Up Workshop Ports and Trans-Ports. Evolution and Revolution(s) in the Indian Ocean World” exploring historical and contemporary networks and mobility on sea and on land within the Indian Ocean was held at GUtech recently. The workshop was organized by the Research Centre Indian Ocean (RIO) in cooperation with Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (Germany), the Max Plank Institute for Social Anthropology (Germany), Sindh University (Pakistan) and the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS). A large number of international scholars from various universities in Europe, the Middle East and Asia were participating in the three-day workshop and a field-excursion.

On the sidelines of the conference held at the History of Science Center at GUtech, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between GUtech and the University of Sindh, Jamshoro (Pakistan) in order to promote and encourage scientific research and academic collaboration in various fields. The MoU was signed by both the Rectors and by Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen (RIO – Research Center Indian Ocean) and Prof. Sarfraz Hussain Solangi (CIVIS – Center for Indus Valley Integrated Studies). Different Memoranda of Understanding with the Universities of Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Aga Khan University in London are under preparation.

The field-excursion of the conference was headed by Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, who is an archaeologist and the Founding-Rector of GUtech. The five day excursion included historical archaeological sites like Qalhat, Bibi Maryam Tomb and Duqum with its modern port developments, followed by Salalah, Khor Rori and the ancient frankincense port of Al Baleed. Sumharam (Khor Rori) and Al Baleed are one of the oldest historical sites in Oman, showcasing the rich maritime history and links within the Indian Ocean. Together with the “Land of Frankincense” Wadi Dokar and both the sides have been listed as one of Oman´s UNESCO World Heritage sites in 2000 as well as the ancient port of Qalhat in 2018.

Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, Director of RIO, explained that first interregional networks developed between the Indus Valley, Mesopotamia and Oman in the Third Millennium. Other networks developed along the river Nile, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean. Later on, many more networks developed out of which the Roman network connected the Roman Empire via the Red Sea to India, and Malakka to China.

(c) GUtech & RIO

Current Situation and Future Direction of Mineral Resources Education in Oman discussed during the Oman Mining Expo

During the Oman Mining Expo 2019 which is currently held at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech and Prof Dr. Frank Mattern from Sultan Qaboos University gave a presentation entitled: ‘Current Situation and Future Direction of the Mineral Resources Education in Oman’.

“With a growing mineral resources industry in Oman the demand for well-trained graduates and post-graduates in the field of geosciences will increase over the next years” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer. Therefore, applied geoscientists play a key role through the lifetime of a mining project that can take up to 20 years. Graduates in Applied Geosciences as well as specialist in Economic Geology, Geophysics, Geochemistry, and Geoengineering will have ample opportunities in the mining sector.

Over the next 5 years, approximately 70-80 graduates will graduate from both universities in Oman each year. According to internal surveys conducted at GUtech , up to 30% of these graduates consider continuing with Master studies abroad or in Oman. However, this number strongly depends on the availability of financial support for Master degrees. In countries with a developed mining industry, e.g. in the United States, the ratio between academically trained workforce in the mineral industry is 1 PhD-holder versus 2.2 Masters versus 6.5 Bachelor graduates. Taking into consideration that Oman’s basement is still underexplored, it is recommended that a high number of post-graduates can adjust standard mining methods and develop exploration programmes in largely greenfield settings.

“From a higher education perspective, a lack of mining engineers has been identified. This could be a bottleneck for future developments of the industry. During the last years, global employment rates of mining engineers were above 95%  which means there are limited open job opportunities on the global job market. From the side of the job seekers, Omani graduates are currently focusing on jobs in the oil and gas industry. It will be a challenge to create more interest in jobs in the mineral industry and attract the brightest minds” said Prof. Wilfried Bauer.

Currently only two higher education institutions in Oman, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), provide advanced education for the mining industry. The education in the mineral resource sector covers principal courses in Mineralogy, Mineral Resources and Mineral Exploration at the bachelor level. Courses in Ore Mineralogy, Orebody Modelling, Mineral Production & Processing are part of a recently introduced or running Master curricula at GUtech.

The objective of the two-day mining conference is to provide a venue for the industry as well as regulators to discuss various issues and challenges as well as to explore emerging opportunities and latest developments in Oman’s mining and minerals sector.