GUtech’s Board of Governors met to discuss latest developments

To discuss the development of the University, the Board of Governors (BoG) of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) met recently. The BoG holds meetings at least three times per year at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s German partner-university or at GUtech in Muscat.

The meeting was headed by the Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger. Members of the BoG consist of representatives of the Board of Governors of GUtech, representative of the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman, the German Ambassador in Oman, and the members of Rectorate of GUtech.

Rectorate members gave presentations on the progress of the University in the past six months. They also discussed the Internalisation Strategy of the university and they reviewed existing Bachelor of Science programmes, in particular the BSc in Computer Science and BSc International Business and Service Management. The BoG also discussed the introduction of new MSc and BSc programmes and reviewed the financial statements of the University.

269 Graduates: The 8th Graduation Ceremony held at GUtech

“Graduation is not the end, it’s just the beginning”

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has celebrated the 8th Graduation Ceremony on its campus today evening. A total of 269 Omani and international graduates were honoured for their academic achievements. A number of dignitaries, the Board of Governors of GUtech as well as family members and friends of the graduates attended the ceremony held in the large amphitheatre. The students graduated from Bachelor of Science programmes in Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Applied Geosciences, Computer Sciences, International Business and Service Management, Logistics as well as in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University in Germany, one of the leading universities of technology in Europe. During the ceremony, three graduates were awarded Rectorate Medals for their academic performances and for non-academic related achievements. In the winter semester 2019/2020 more than 2,200 students have been studying at GUtech.

Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech welcomed the graduates and the whole audience. He said that GUtech graduates received a practical education. “We don’t just want to teach you subject-matter theory and textbook knowledge. We want you to experience real life. For instance, we want our Geosciences students to feel the rocks of Oman with their own hands during field trips. Our Engineering students worked on real projects in our workshop. I remember once hearing a comment that girls cannot handle machines. Yes, you can. You, our graduates, are the evidence that this is possible. Our Urban Planning and Architectural Design students built countless models that can be admired in our studios or in exhibitions and our International Business students organized large-scale professional events.” Prof. Armin also stressed that GUtech graduates learned to think critically and that they had significant international exposure through excursions and that they gained superior communication skills. “All of you, have managed to achieve at least IELTS 6. You can be proud. In any job interview, you will stand out because you have a level of language confidence that others do not have. All this has taught you independence, self-reliance, maturity, and the ability to deal with unexpected situations,” said Prof. Armin.

The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell said in his speech: “Today is a very special day: Having your certificate in your hands will let you enter a new period in your life. You will experience a new style of life, with new responsibilities and duties.” The Rector further advised the graduates: “Don’t stop to learn, be flexible and learn continuously with an open mind. I am sure that you will be successful whatever you will start and combined with the good education you received over the years at GUtech. All of us here are proud of your achievements. We are convinced that you will contribute to the development of Oman.”

On behalf of all GUtech graduates, Riyan Al Mahrooqiyah said: “From the details of my first day, I still remember my mother’s prayers for me, my father eyes looking at me with pride and the smile of my teacher in my first class. I also remember dreams and hopes I had, the fear in our eyes and the questions in our heads. I recall the long study hours at night, persistence and patience … then the pleasure of reaching our aim.” Riyan further stressed the importance of contributing to the development of the Omani society: “Our beloved country Oman, under the wise leadership of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, may Allah safeguard and protect him, has laid clear lines for a great vision, which is the Oman Vision 2040. This vision sought to involve young people in decision-making. Our role today is to be an active and positive element to achieve this bright vision for our dear country.”

Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances, said in his speech: “Some people dream of accomplishing great things, others stay awake and make it happen. With this graduation, I believe you made it happen. I am sure, all of you had some difficult times, but also I hope you had some fun at GUtech. You have not only learnt from being at the university but you have contributed as well, you have helped to shape the tremendous benefits of those who will follow you in your footsteps. Finally, remember, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little “extra”, so push yourself for this “extra”. We wish you the very best.”

On the sidelines of the graduation ceremony, Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech, said: “The cohort of Applied Geosciences students showed an exceptional performance. Our students successfully competed in national and international competitions. We never had such a high proportion of excellent and outstanding Bachelor theses. I am convinced that many of our graduates will succeed in geoscientific Master programmes. Some of them are so talented that they can start an academic career and become successful researchers and/or academic teachers,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. “I am proud of our graduates. We challenged them every day and they made it,” said Prof. Dr. Tobias Buer, Head of the Logistics programme at GUtech.

Michael Smith, a graduate in International Business and Service Management (IBSM) said: “My time at GUtech has been enlightenment. I have received nothing but the highest quality instruction, and am eternally grateful for the continuous support given to me by all members of staff. I will be forever thankful for the many valuable opportunities that they have granted me. From projects in the classroom to international excursions across the world, I will remember my experiences at the university fondly.”

(c) GUtech/Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet




UPAD students study circular construction and examples of revitalization in architecture

HALBAN Sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), a group of 15 students from the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) recently travelled to Europe to study the potentials of reusing or revitalizing existing architecture built in Europe. The group led by Assistant Prof. Wayne Switzer, visited metropoles like Berlin and Brussels as well as smaller German cities like Cologne, Düren and Aachen. “Our students were encouraged to think in a circular, rather than linear way.  We identified and visited not only buildings but also architectural practices which are engaged in resourceful design to minimize waste and embrace historical change,” said Assistant Prof. Wayne. At GUtech’s German partner-university RWTH Aachen University, the students were involved in a three-day workshop along with Master students from the chair of Cycle-Oriented Construction, Department of Architecture. During this collaboration, the students experimented with natural substances such as reed, hair or clay as a building material, which reinforced creative solutions when regarding the sustainability of buildings. “No buildings ever disappear, rather they are either disassembled and re-used or they become someone else’s problem, in the form of waste,” said Assistant Prof. Wayne.  “It was great for us to see all the buildings in reality that we have been studying since the first semester. Every day we visited a different place. This widened our perspectives on the architecture and on sustainable construction,” said Noorayn Al Busaidi, 4th year UPAD student.

In the German capital Berlin the group visited a number of old and new buildings including the ‘House of Statistics’ (in German: ‘Haus der Statistik’), a multi-purpose building in the central district of Mitte that was used as the State Central Administration for Statistics of the GDR. A community action group that includes politicians, city planners and architects have regenerated the buildings that have been empty for over a decade. Now concerts, experimental theatre and exhibitions are conducted there. The group also visited the ‘Chapel of Reconciliation’ (in German: Kapelle der Versöhnung) built on the grounds of the former path of the Berlin Wall using earth from the very site of a formerly demolished church. In Brussels, the group met with a group of architects called ‘Rotor’, who sell salvaged building components and also reclaim buildings that are not used.

The group of students will exhibit their work and findings of the excursion during an exhibition held at GUtech’s architectural studios, from the 1st of January onwards. The exhibition will run throughout the semester.

(c) Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Wayne Switzer


Innovative Business Projects presented

HALBAN An innovative logistics application, an online platform for freelance services, a ‘clinic on the go’, a medical service website ‘I care’ or an online destination management company for tourists visiting Oman, students of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management have displayed a large number of innovative projects of the ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course’ during an exhibition entitled “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started”, held in the university’s auditorium on Sunday. ‘Fikra’ is the Arabic word for ‘idea’. “I am extremely happy to see the various results of the course and I hope the students will continue working on their ideas and realize small businesses. The Omani Academy for Small and Medium Enterprises has also supported the course with lectures on idea creation and idea evaluation. Many student companies are already online. These ideas will be further discussed and we will continue to promote their final realization,” said Prof. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department who supervised all the projects. Students were asked to create innovative ideas in three categories: websites, manufacturing and food & beverage businesses.

“It is great to see the enthusiasm of our students who developed their own ideas, their own concepts and the realization of the ideas. It is not only learning from the textbook but realizing a business project from beginning to end,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech.

Abeer Al Kharousi, Shurooq Al Busaidi and Shamsa Al Balushi created an online application for  renting out warehouse spaces. “We offer three services within one application. Our goal is to help warehouse owners advertise their renting services, to locate the best warehouse for traders, to satisfy their requirements, to work as third party to link buyers and sellers and to reduce the gap between the customers and the service providers,” said Nama Al Balushi while explaining their mobile application ‘Rent Me’.

Another business idea is “E-lancers”, an online platform that offers various small services and support for the local community in Oman like babysitting, tutoring, house cleaning and technical fixing and repairing. Another idea was presented by Ohood Al Hammadi, Mohammed Al Fazari, Fatema Al Riyami, Huda Al Jahwari and Hiba Al Waili. They presented their business idea on supporting and branding small and medium enterprises in Oman through online marketing, designing and consultation tools. The ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation Course’ aimed to introduce students to various aspects of entrepreneurship and starting their own businesses with a focus on the support of the Omani ecosystem for start-up companies. The course included finding new business ideas, linking creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing a business model, writing a business plan and presenting the final project to fellow students and professors.

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet


Creating Cardboard Structures: An Interaction between Sculpture & Space

As part of the course ‘Introduction to Project Design’, students of the 1st year, BSc Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD), have created cardboard sculptures and displayed them on campus. “During our course, the students learn about proportions, colours, materials, scales and textures. Each student has to design a sculpture by using folding techniques. The last project is teamwork which is more challenging as the students have to design and share ideas in a group,” said Associate Prof. Gazmend Kalemi, UPAD Department.

“In the beginning we had a paper model. Now a 1:1 model made of three layers of cardboard was produced. We have worked on the final sculpture for three days,” said Amna Al Balushi, UPAD student. She worked along with seven fellow students on her structure. Another sculpture entitled ‘The Golden Gangway’ was designed by a group of students as a walkway and set-up outside the lecture hall building. The students perforated the cardboard designing Arabic calligraphy within the sculpture, creating light and shadow effects.

“The Quads” is the theme of another structure shaped like large triangles. “We tried different angels. From each side it looks different,” said UPAD student Al Gawaris. Another structure resembled white, empty pages that are waiting to be filled. “We wish to create space for thoughts. These pages show that the longer we study the more knowledge we accumulate,” said Bushra Al Mukhaini. “I am impressed with the students’ ideas and their projects. Their visual concepts are clear and strong,” said Prof. Gazmend Kalemi.

Fostering creativity and entrepreneurship among GUtech students

HALBAN GUtech students of the Department of International Business and Service Management will display their results of the ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation course’ during an exhibition entitled “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started” on Sunday, 5th of January. ‘Fikra’ is the Arabic word for ‘idea’. Throughout the course, students were asked to create innovative ideas for websites, manufacturing and for food & beverage businesses. “Our course aims to introduce students to various aspects of starting a business with a focus on the support of the Omani ecosystem for start-up companies. Our course includes finding innovative, new business ideas, linking creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing a business model, writing a business plan and presenting the final project to fellow students and professors,” said Prof. Dr. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management, who supervised the projects. The final presentation of their projects allows them to receive real feedback on their ideas. External guests from the Oman Academy of SMEs as well as from the local industry are invited to evaluate the student projects and to guide them to further develop their ideas. The exhibition will comprise three sections, divided according to a certain theme.

The student exhibition “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started” is open to the general public and will run from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm on 5 January.

German Poetry Competition and Learning about Christmas Traditions

HALBAN The German Language Unit (GLU) of GUtech has invited a group of students from Al Amal School in Barka to meet with GUtech students and learn more about Christmas traditions in Germany. The visit of Al Amal School to GUtech is part of GUtech’s continuous efforts to connect with the community in Oman. “Our GUtech students and students from Al Amal School were involved in a German poem competition. I am also very proud to welcome Lubna Al Balushi, an Omani poet, who has been writing German poems since she started to learn the language. Lubna accepted my invitation to read the first poem of her book to our students and staff,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt, German Lecturer and Coordinator at the GUtech German Language Unit.

Among the winners of the poetry competition was Aisha Al Nasseri from Al Amal School, 12 grade. She wrote a poem about herself. “My mother encouraged me to write and it was a great experience to write in German,” she said while adding that she would like to study abroad, maybe in Germany and to become a medical doctor or a pilot later on. Arwa Al Farsi, Environmental Engineering Student at GUtech wrote a poem about the sea: “The sea is my favourite place to relax,” she said. “All poems of the students were really good, it was difficult for us to select the winners,” said Dr. Florina.

The German lecturers prepared different activities for the students. On various locations within the German Unit, the students used their different senses and learnt more about German traditions during Christmas time such as baking cookies, singing Christmas songs such as “Oh Tannenbaum” and smelling typical ‘Christmas spices’ used for various food preparations and throughout winter-time such as cinnamon and cardamom.

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Umaima Al Zadjali



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

GUtech Commemorates 7th Anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Visit

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) commemorated on Tuesday 24th December the 7th anniversary of the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to its campus.

The 24th of December marks the private visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to GUtech campus in Halban. The commemoration of the private visit of His Majesty is annually observed by GUtech community. Students and staff remember the day to reflect on the importance of the visit in GUtech’s history and on the vision of His Majesty the Sultan for Oman’s academic and research development.

In the late afternoon of December 24th, 2012, the founders of GUtech and members of the rectorate welcomed his majesty to GUtech campus and its facilities, few weeks only after its opening.

In visiting GUtech campus and meeting the founders and the rectorate, His Majesty confers upon it an unusual distinction. “We welcome His Majesty’s private visit to GUtech campus as a gracious expression of his trust in our university and a vital catalyser enticing us to work harder and faster for further progress” proudly declares Dr Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finance.

The significant and ever-lasting contributions His Majesty has made to Oman and to the lives of its people are universally known; not less impressive than the wise introduction of far-reaching reforms which has promoted the development of the education system, and the prosperity of the country in general.

As more as 3000 male and female students enrolled in the university in the last 12 years. More than 400 male and female students graduated from it while there are more than 2200 male and female students are currently pursuing their studies.

(c) GUtech/Text: Fatima El Madkouri

“Color is Life” – Designing a Mosque for the Local Community in Muscat

HALBAN Under the supervision of Mr Petrit Pasha and Mr Dawood Al Salmi and Ms. Sadmira Malaj, second-year students of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), had the task to design a community mosque located in Muscat. Yesterday morning the group of 13 students presented their design ideas to a committee of UPAD professors and external architecture experts as well as to their fellow students.

UPAD student Shefa Al Zeidi presented the design of a colourful and open mosque for the community. “Color is life,” she said, inspired by one of her visual arts professors at GUtech. Her mosque features modern Islamic architecture from Yemen and Iran. The mosque includes a large courtyard for gatherings, as well as a Quran school, a library as well as a courtyard with a fountain and a Majlis area for men. “I like the idea behind her project. She was mainly concerned with the social aspect and gathering the community and especially females within the mosque area,” said Petrit Pasha.

Students Manal Al Bahrani, Lulwah Al Riyami and Khadija Al Sawafi designed a mosque just beside GUtech’s main campus. “We were inspired by the National Mosque in Malaysia and used the blue tiles,” said one of the students. The students used columns adopted from the Al Alam Palace in Old Muscat and Arabic patterns from the History of Science Museum on the GUtech campus. Arabic ‘mashrabiyas’ were used to filter the light. They also integrated soft features like a courtyard with a fountain and flowers, symbols of purity.

UPAD Student Hussain Al Lawati presented his model of a mosque named “Al Hadi Mosque” inspired by the design of an Iranian mosque with blue tiles and the mirhab (prayer niche), dome and minaret aligned in one symmetry. Ali Al Ajmi and Asila Al Busaidi designed a mosque for around 300 male and 50 female spaces having a futuristic design and shape. Their mosque includes a majlis area for men, a garden space and male prayer area with a carpet in blue and gold.

(c) GUtech/ Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & UPAD Department