4th EU-GCC Business Forum held in Muscat: ‘Technology and Education’ and ‘Women in Technology’

GUtech participated in panel discussions on ‘Technology and Education’ and ‘Women in Technology’

MUSCAT Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Ali Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, the 4th EU-GCC Business Forum was held at the Conference and Exhibition Centre in Muscat on 11 December. The Business Forum was attended by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Dheeb, as well as the Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce, the EU Ambassador in the GCC and Ambassadors from EU countries including Germany and the GCC. From GUtech, Dr. Manuela Gutberlet, PR Manager and Alyaa Al Shanfari, GUtech alumna in BSc Computer Sciences and CEO of Beennova Oman, participated in a panel discussion on ‘Women in Technology’. Dr. Manuela Gutberlet also moderated the first panel discussion on ‘Technology and Education’.

“We had an inspirational discussion on the role of technology in education and that educators should be trained continuously and embrace technology as a life-long learning tool. Using new technologies can mean to leave the comfort zone, while empowering people in education to change, disrupt and teach differently. It was an enriching event and a great opportunity to meet business people and policy-makers from EU and GCC,” said Dr. Manuela Gutberlet. The panel on ‘Technology and Education’ included Claudia Massai, CEO of Siemens Oman as well as Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary-General of the European Digital SME Alliance and Mervi Jansson, CEO of Omnia Education Partnerships in Finland.

During the panel discussion on ‘Women in Technology’ different topics were discussed, e.g. on how to promote more women to lead as role-models in the field of Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Alyaa Al Shanfari, CEO of Beenova Oman and the founder of the Google Developer Group and advisor to the National Youth Commission shared her experiences in setting up her own business in Oman and in networking with others. “We also spoke about diversity at work, which includes not only women but various nationalities, educational backgrounds and age-groups. To empower more women in STEM, the introduction of a female quota in companies, institutions and universities is suggested along with a family-friendly work-environment with child day-care and more flexible working hours would help to promote and encourage more women to pursue their dream careers,” said Dr. Manuela Gutberlet. At GUtech the majority of the students studying STEM programmes are females, whereas in Europe many STEM programmes are male-dominated. 

Overall, the EU-GCC Business Forum was entitled “Technology as an enabler for future growth and prosperity” and served as a major platform for EU-GCC B2B engagement. It was held in cooperation with the GCC Secretariat, the Omani Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Technology and Communications, Oman Supreme Council, Ithraa and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and all GCC Chambers of Commerce. The main objectives of the EU-GCC Business Forum were to facilitate an open dialogue between EU and GCC stakeholders, to improve mutual understanding of business practices and policy processes, to facilitate information on business and investment opportunities in the GCC and in the EU, to allow the sharing of information and expert recommendations among businesses and policy-makers as well as to facilitate market access and business cooperation. Moreover, to provide EU and GCC companies with a platform to facilitate networking and encourage them to identify and establish new and lasting trade and investment opportunities and to create an opportunity for participants to share, discuss and learn from other policy and business success stories and best practices. 

(C) GUtech: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

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