‘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.

 

GUtech Held Triple Accredited MBA Information Session

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) hosted a general information session on its new Master of Business Administration (MBA) programme recently. Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU), the partner-university for the MBA programme, is one of the largest and leading business universities in Europe. The university was established in 1898 and founded as the Imperial Transport University.

“Our unique GUtech-WU MBA programme has a triple international accreditation from the most sought-after international accreditations: AACSB, AMBA, EQUIS. The 18 months programme will offer a double degree from GUtech and the prestigious Vienna University of Economics and Business (WU) in Austria. Our programme is suitable for professionals with at least three years of work experience who would like to enhance their management skills,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech while adding that only 10 per cent of the MBA programmes worldwide have a triple accreditation. The majority of the joint MBA programme, 75 per cent, will be taught by academics from the University of Vienna and 25 per cent by GUtech academics. “The programme offers specialisations in International Tourism, Entrepreneurship and in Logistics. To complete the MBA a total of 90 credit points are required and the majority of the class-work will be conducted in teams,” said Prof. Heba Aziz. The programme will be taught in a so-called 3-tier modular structure through GUtech’s e-learning platform. Entry requirements include IELTS 6.0 but language proficiency could be checked during admission interviews. The Bachelor degrees have to be recognised in Oman and in Austria. Prior to acceptance of the application, all candidates will undergo an interview with GUtech and WU academics who teach in the MBA programme. “Having worked in the private sector in Oman for several years, I would like to enhance my overall career opportunities and my management skills,” said one of the participants in the session.

Scholarships are also available. The first 25 applicants will receive a discount of 30 per cent. In addition, Bank Muscat offers the ‘Shahadati Educational Loan’, covering the tuition fees and other study-expenses. The educational loan will be based on the applicants’ monthly salary. Admissions for October 2019 intake are open till 15 August. More information about the courses and tuition fees are available at https://www.gutech.edu.om/academic/business-economics/master-business-administration/.

ends

World Water Day ce“We need to stop wasting water. The amount of fresh water is decreasing”

HALBAN Under the auspices of H.E. Ali Bin Mohammed Al-Abri, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, the World Water Day was celebrated at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). During the event Eng. Salim Al Khanbashi from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources spoke about the projects of the Ministry and its achievements in protecting Oman’s natural water resources including the falaj system.

During an exhibition outside the GUtech Research Hall, a number of high school students from different schools showcased their thoughts and inventions which were then discussed within a panel of GUtech professors from the Department of Environmental Engineering and Applied Geosciences. For example, Tariq from Mohammed Bin Sheikha School showed his thoughts about the use of grey water in agriculture and for power generation.

“The amount of fresh water is decreasing. We need to stop wasting water,” said Umme Habiba, from the Bangladeshi School while thinking about the use of water in homes as well as in industries. Thinking about the development of desalination plants to increase the water consumption, she is concerned that desalination plants dump the remaining salt into the sea, which then harms the natural environment. In her everyday lives at home, she and her friends try to save water. Saving rain water in a tank and using it for irrigation and agriculture was another student project. The students also addressed climate change and its effect on water resources worldwide.

“Global warming is increasing worldwide. We need cleaner solutions for our planet,” said another female student from the Bangladeshi School Muscat. In her project she highlighted that hydroelectricity can be a cleaner source of energy, compared to nuclear power, fossil fuel or coal. A theatre play by GUtech theatre group presented the negative consequences of disposing plastic in the natural environment.

 

 

Germany in Sketches: A Visual Journey by Omani Students – An Exhibition on 9 April

An exhibition at the German Embassy in Muscat

MUSCAT A sketchbook is a common possession for architecture students worldwide. The Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) of GUtech will showcase a large number of student works at the German Embassy in Muscat on the 9th April 2019 at 2 pm.

In November last year, a group of twelve UPAD students and Prof. Gazmend Kalemi conducted a field-trip in collaboration with Beuth University in Berlin and RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner university in Germany. The study tour was sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). “Drawing is a vibrant way of engaging with people and our natural and built environment. During the excursion, we followed the long tradition of travelers attempting to capture different places and atmospheres with their pencils and sketchbooks, collecting visual experiences and to bring them back to their home countries,” said Prof. Gazmend Kalemi, who initiated and supervised the two-week field trip. He added that the importance of advanced design software cannot be denied, but so-called free-hand drawings are essential to understand the environment. “While drawing, we spend considerable time in the physical field to enhance our perception and memory. Drawing involves internalising the object, feeling it in our being and starting a dialogue with it. It is, of course, a way of thinking with the hand,” said Prof. Gazmend.

Appreciating the students’ and professors’ efforts, the German Ambassador to Oman, Thomas Schneider, emphasized the vivid partnership between Germany and Oman: “Not only does our Embassy building itself stand as an example of a successful Omani-German partnership in the field of architecture – projects such as the exchanges  between GUtech und RWTH Aachen contribute to lasting, lively relations between people as well as between institutions”.

The students’ first destination was Berlin, Germany’s capital, located in the north-east of Germany, with a population of 3.6 million inhabitants. “Berlin is well-known for its rich history and architecture. It is a treasure to observe and draw. The arts scene and its diversity are significant and a magnet for young people,” said Prof. Gazmend. The group visited various historical sites, where they experienced how the old meets the new architecture, such as Alexanderplatz, Museumsinsel and Reichstag. The group also worked together with students from Beuth University. In spring 2016 students from Berlin, supervised by Prof. Gerd Sedelies, had visited GUtech and various sites in Oman producing beautiful sketches. “Now we have spent time working together and exchanging our experiences in Berlin. Another highlight was an invitation to Oman’s Embassy in Berlin where we enjoyed Omani hospitality and generosity. At RWTH Aachen University we worked intensively on a small urban design project, experiencing the morphology and the urban identity of the city and its surroundings, which is very different from Muscat. Of course, for Omani students the diversity in culture, people and life in Germany and in Europe was a new and challenging experience. I think after this trip Germany and European culture will be viewed differently by our students and this will reward them both on a personal as well as a professional level” said Prof. Gazmend Kalemi.

The students and Prof Gazmend extend their thanks to the German Embassy in Muscat for showing their sketches at the Embassy. They are also grateful that the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) provided them with the opportunity of a memorable drawing and sketching experience.

If you wish to attend the opening of the exhibition on 9 April, please register by e-mail to L-vz1@mask.diplo.de or by phone call to 2469 1218 ext. 819 with your name, e-mail address and/or mobile number.

 

(c) Text & Photo GUtech: Prof. Gazmend Kalemi and Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

 

 

 

The Institutional Standard Assessment of OAAA was conducted at GUtech

HALBAN The Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) conducted the visit for the Institutional Standard Assessment of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) last week. An international panel of higher education experts visited the university and conducted interviews with GUtech staff members. “Valuable contributions were given by representatives of the Board of Governors, Board of Directors, staff and students of GUtech as well as a number of external stakeholders including employers of our graduates, internship hosts, scholarship providers  and most important are our GUtech alumni,” said Dr. Alma Enriquez, Head of Quality Assurance and Planning Department of GUtech. The OAAA panel members were highly experienced experts from Australia, Austria, Portugal and Oman. The Standards Assessment determines GUtech’s ability to meet OAAA internationally benchmarked external standards and criteria. GUtech already went through the OAAA’s Quality Audit in 2013. The report of the audit is published online on OAAA’s website.

“The OAAA Quality Audit report already confirmed the high quality of GUtech, its programmes and its facilities. Now we are going through Institutional Standards Assessment, which looks into the details of nine different standards,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy-Rector for Academic Affairs. He added that GUtech found the preparation for this event useful in strengthening quality processes. Within a few months, the OAAA will provide GUtech with a detailed report of its findings.

The Oman Academic Accreditation Authority (OAAA) initiated a review and revision of the institutional standards which govern the accreditation of higher education institutions in Oman in 2011. Once a university has been accredited, the university is required to go through Standards Assessment every five years in order to maintain their accreditation status. The Standards Assessment is an extensive audit covering every aspect of the operations of an institution.

 

GUtech students win the third place in the AAPG Imperial Barrel Award

HALBAN Five Applied Geosciences students have won the third place in the prestigious AAPG Imperial Barrel Award semifinals that were held at GUtech in the past days. The students who are studying in the their final year in Applied Geosciences had to solve different geological tasks in groups such as analyzing a data set including geology, geophysics, production infrastructure, and other relevant materials for an oil exploration in the North Sea. “Our GUtech team with Anwaar, Jahina, Omer, Sara, and Shihab won the third place which is a great success, they worked very hard and achieved results that normally can only be expected on the level of Master Students,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences. The Department of Applied Geosciences has been hosting the annual event for the first time. On the second day, all students from competing universities participated in an excursion through the Oman Mountains, led by Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer and Prof. Dr. Ivan Callegari, where they had a chance to study typical reservoir and source rocks of the Arabian Platform and their structural styles in the field.

Each team had to deliver their results in a 25-minute presentation to a panel of industry experts and professors. Students had the chance to use state of the art technology on a real dataset, receive feedback from an industry panel of judges, network with potential employers in the audience, and win cash awards for their school. The judges selected the winning team on the basis of the technical quality, clarity and originality of presentation. The AAPG Imperial Barral Award is a hands-on opportunity for students to experience the creative process and the high-tech science that is the foundation of the Energy Industry today.

Students from Sultan Qaboos University (Oman) won the first place followed by the Lebanese University (Lebanon). The winning team will participate in the final competition to be held in Texas (USA). Students from King Abdulaziz University, Hashemite University, the University of Jordan, Kuwait University, United Arab Emirates University and Yarmouk University participated in the competition.

(c) GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and AGEO Department

Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector

“The Construction Industry meets University for Innovation”

MUSCAT The third joint SAP-GUtech/OES Industry workshop highlighting challenges and opportunities of the digitalization of the construction industry was held at the Crowne Plaza Muscat Convention and Exhibition Centre yesterday. GUtech assumed the task to set-up a SAP NextGen Chapter in 2018. SAP has been facilitating a SAP Dual Training for 25 SAP selected students.

“The construction industry contributes with 9% to the Oman’s GDP and is the country’s largest employer. The sector has a huge potential for job perspectives related to Intelligent applications. Our intention with this workshop is to create solutions that enhance socio-economic growth values for society and for its citizens,” said Heiderose Moossen, Manager Vocational Training and Industry Relations, GUtech, TSSC Department and main organizer of the event. Especially Building Information Modelling, Augmented Reality, the Internet of Things, in-memory and graph computing could provide new business value and operational excellence.

To link the academia and the industry, GUtech has set-up a NextGen Lab in collaboration with SAP last year. “We wish to listen to students, our future employees and build up their skills for the future,” said Mohsen Al Lawati, Accounts Manager at SAP who introduced SAP to the audience. The construction industry is one of the least digitalized sectors worldwide,” said Mohsen Al Lawati.

Challenges and opportunities of digitalization for the construction industry are diverse, including empowering females and reducing the gender gap in the construction and engineering field. “We female architects would like to go to the construction site” said Rafia Al Bahlani, a young architect who works for Atkins. Intelligent technologies could facilitate more female employment opportunities in operations.

Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur from the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech said in his presentation on the “Intelligent Construction from the Sky” that there are many opportunities for the application of drones in the construction sector in Oman. These opportunities include enhancing operations while facilitating communications between decision-makers and workers, monitoring the daily progress of the construction site, 3D modeling, volumetric measurement, thermal imaging, optimizing costs for project management and maintenance, reducing health and safety threats, to improve the quality of work.

Jobin George, Business Development Manager from Bauer Nimr Oman introduced the application of the SAP Business One Software in Project Management. Bauer Nimr has been using SAP to streamline operations and to simplify processes, multiple cost units and to optimize the overall user productivity while creating more transparency.

The Industry workshop closed with an open forum and a discussion, where the audience discussed and collected their vision on challenges, opportunities and the way ahead for Intelligent Technologies in the Construction Sector. Most feared is the high investment for systems, that digitalize and re-engineer operations of an organization and support its Project Management processes. However, these systems can also help save money: ARAMCO logged in their accounts 80 Mio USD / anno by introducing a customized SAP systems, that run its operations streamlined, efficiently with regard to cost and time savings. The opportunities would be found in safer construction sites, raise skill levels, gender equality, as site progresses can be monitored by women from their office desks. Eventually smart industries will become the norm and facilitate life and work quality for blue- and white collar employees alike.

(c) GUtech; Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Heiderose Moossen

Students receive German language certificates

HALBAN A group of eleven GUtech students has successfully passed the German language certificate, Language Exam A1 of the Goethe Institut, the German Language and Culture Centre. “The certificate is the first internationally recognized German language certificate that has been issued by the Goethe Institut,” said Myriam Steinbock, German lecturer at GUtech.

Studying German is part of the curricula at GUtech; students study the language for three semesters. However, the language of tuition at GUtech is English.

The 90 minutes exam evaluates the speaking, writing and listening skills of students. Some students had the chance to already practice their language skills in Germany. Although English is widely used in international companies and at universities, it is an asset to speak and communicate in German on a daily basis. GUtech fosters exchange between Germany and Oman, especially through its German partner-university RWTH Aachen University. Each year a number of GUtech students from various departments participate in language courses, laboratory courses or field-excursions to Germany.

German is one of the most important languages worldwide and the most spoken language within the European Union. Around 103,5 million people are German-native speakers in Europe; German is the official language in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.

Photo Exhibition on the Aga Khan Award for Architecture opens

‘Architecture is an approach to solve a problem’

HALBAN Under the auspices of Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) of GUtech has opened a special photo exhibition about the Aga Khan Award for Architecture on campus today. The exhibition has been sponsored by Argan Towell.

“Architecture is an approach to solve a problem,” said Farrokh Derakhshani, Director of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture, in his opening speech while adding that architecture is a way of changing and impacting the life and well-being of people. He has been associated with the Award since 1982. Farrokh Derakhshani trained as an architect and urban planner at National University of Iran and later continued his studies at the School of Architecture in Paris (UP1). His main field of specialisation is contemporary architecture of Muslim societies. He has served as a jury member at various international competitions, schools of architecture and collaborated on a large variety of publications on architecture.

Some of the awarded architecture and urban planning projects that are on display in the exhibition are the ‘Issam Fares Institute’ in Beirut (Lebanon), ‘the Superkilen’, a public space in Copenhagen (Denmark), the Friendship Centre in Gaibandha (Bangladesh), a rural training centre inspired by an archaeological site and the Tabiat, a pedestrian bridge in Tehran that connects two urban parks. “This exhibition shall inspire students to submit and participate in an architecture competition,” said Prof. Nikolaus Knebel from the UPAD Department.

The Aga Khan Award for Architecture has been given to a total of 116 projects since 1977. The award is given every three years to projects that set new standards of excellence in architecture, planning practices, historic preservation and landscape architecture. Through its efforts, the award seeks to identify and encourage building concepts that successfully address the needs and aspirations of societies across the world, in which Muslims have a significant presence. The current prize fund is a total of US$ 1,000,000. The exhibition at GUtech is open to the public and will run until April.