Students participate in International Architecture Summer Academy in Berlin

BERLIN/Germany. To develop their architectural and urban planning skills, a group of enthusiastic students and their professor from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) participated recently in the International Architecture Summer Academy – ars 16 Berlin. Architecture students from New York City College (USA), Iowa State University (USA) and Beuth University of Applied Sciences and Technology in Berlin (Germany) participated in the one month summer academy that was held for the 16th time.

 

The German capital Berlin has been developing as a hub for international real estate investment in the past decade. The Summer Academy developed strategies to meet some short term and long term goals. “During different workshops special software for energy efficient designs were introduced and practiced. Moreover the students participated in field-trips to energy efficient buildings in Berlin, Hamburg and Dessau. This gave the students an insight about how these strategies could be implemented in projects that were already built. Further visits to architectural offices in Berlin gave the students an opportunity to understand what life of a professional architect could be,” said Prof. Alexander Kader, Head of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech. Various experts and professors also presented lectures, thus building up the knowledge of the students further. The students results were finally exhibited to the public at an art gallery in the center of Berlin.

 

The team of five GUtech students, one GUtech alumni and intern and their professor worked intensively on the design proposals for developing energy efficient buildings while filling a gap between buildings at two different sites in the city of Berlin. “Protecting the interior against the heat from the sun yet bringing in light to living spaces were major aims of our design proposals. One group worked with creating various angles with their roof to direct the sunlight to required spaces. Another group worked with creating an atrium in the centre of the building and installing a mirror system which would then reflect the light into various spaces of the building. Designing creative circulation spaces were also the aim of one of the student groups where they placed the circulation at the periphery of the entire structure therefore being able to create spaces between their building and the neighbour’s. These spaces further acted smartly like light vents to bring in light to usable rooms in the building” said Shaharin Annisa, GUtech alumni and intern at the UPAD department.

 

Apart from workshops, presentations and field-trips related to architecture, the students also learnt more about the history of Germany. “We got the chance to visit the Berlin Wall, a Concentration Camp Memorial Site, a police academy and various districts in Berlin. Moreover, we attended German classes two to three times per week at the university,” said Shaharin Annisa. In future, the UPAD department at GUtech might conduct a similar international workshop in Muscat.

GUtech Geosciences students conducted Geological study-excursion to Germany

BARKA The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at GUtech, recently conducted a two weeks international excursion to Germany with a group of 18 students and their professor and an assistant. The study-trip was part of the curricula, with its main goal to learn more about the geology of Germany and the regional development of a region. “The students had to familiarize themselves with different aspects of applied geology such as the development of natural resources or the usage of ground- and sub-surface water as well as natural stones in the lower Rhine district. With a focus on the presentation of thermal springs, coal and base metal deposits as well as volcanic rocks, we gave the students an overview of topics that cannot be presented here in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, who organized and headed the excursion along with his assistant.

In the second part of the excursion the students learnt more about the socio-economic development of a region, that developed from a coal mining region to a more diversified economy today. Throughout the excursion the group also visited the geological garden and the mining museum in Bochum. “During our visit to the mining museum the students got an impression about the coal-based economic rise of the Ruhr region,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, who is specialized in mining sector. “Although coal mining will be closed in two years, the production of metals will continue with cheaper imported energy resources since the skills and know how is still there.”

The students visited different cities like Cologne, Bochum, Xanten, Krefeld and Aachen. At GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University, they had the opportunity to attend a lecture in the MSc programme in Applied Geosciences. A number of AGEO alumnis are currently studying in the MSc programme at RWTH Aachen University.

Workshop: Tourism & Green Economy – June 14th at GUtech

Please refer to the project website for more details.

The Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management, with the support of The Research Council and the Ministry of Tourism organizes tomorrow June 14, 2016 at 5 PM at GUtech Campus  a workshop on Tourism and the Green Economy: “an integrated approach to sustainable tourism development in Oman” to present the preliminary outcomes of the scoping study carried out by a team of researchers from GUtech headed by Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz acting dean of the faculty of Business and Economics and head of department.  This scoping study aims to identify the regulatory framework, the policies and incentives that aim to support the implementation of the sustainable tourism development in Oman in an integrated approach.  The researchers reviewed policies, laws, regulations, incentives and challenges that govern the implementation of sustainable principles in over 17 governmental and semi-governmental organisations via comprehensive stakeholders and opinion leaders’ consultations, including but not limited to Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of the Environment and Climate Affairs, Ministry of Municipality and Water Resources, the Supreme Council for Planning, Ministry of Manpower and other authorities of relevance to the issue of sustainability in the tourism sector for example the Public Authority for Electricity and Water, Public Authority for Handicrafts Industries,  Reyada, Rafd Fund, Oman Development Bank, Information Technology Authority, Capital Market Authority, Oman Centre for Governance and Sustainability, Haya Waters and Be’eah.   The project focused on specific indicators that are relevant to three pillars of sustainability: water and energy consumption, waste management, employment of the local community and encouraging entrepreneurial initiatives. The goal of the project is to conduct a critical assessment of the existing environment enabling the implementation of sustainability in the tourism sector. The Importance of the tourism sector is its ability to deliver on many of the Global development Goals MDGs and the role of the National Committee of the Global MDG housed by the Supreme Council of Planning. The paradigm of integration is crucial for the study of sustainable tourism. In this study this paradigm will concern integration across the three pillars of sustainability namely, environment, economy and socio-cultural domain.  Integration will be approached from a destination perspective looking at how all components addressed above can be managed in a way that creates a sustainable destination where all environmental resources are managed carefully, where the community is involved and benefiting economically and where the culture is communicated responsibly to the tourists.

This project comes within the wider framework of adapting towards sustainable development and other projects like sustainable waste management, sustainable mountain management, and human resource management. The project also complements the TRC Eco-house project which can be a model for future sustainable tourism development projects.   The research project comes timely to provide an implementation framework for the Oman National Tourism Strategy 2040 where sustainability is one of its main axes. 

The research team:

Prof. Dr Heba Aziz: Research Project Leader, Professor of Sustainable Tourism, Head Department of Logistics, Tourism and Services Management, German University of Technology Oman. heba.aziz@gutech.edu.om

Dr. Corien Hoek, deputy project leader corien.hoek@gutech.edu.om

Ms Amjaad Al Hinai, MSc, Researcher: amjaad.alhinai@gutech.edu.om

Ms Magdalena Mustapic, MSc, Assistant Researcher: magdalena.mustapic@gutech.edu.om

AGEO students successful in competitions at the GEO 2016 in Bahrain

The 12th Middle East Geoscience Conference (GEO 2016) is held every two years in Bahrain’s International Exhibition and Convention Centre. It is an event that attracts participants from industry and academia. It has a strong focus on hydrocarbon geology, geophysics and regional geology of the Arabian Peninsula.

 

The GUtech conference presentation “Designing and Implementing Applied Geosciences Bachelor and Master Programs Tailored for the Gulf Region” by Wilfried Bauer, Michaela Bernecker, Bernhard Heim, Ekkehard Holzbecher and Wiekert Visser was well received, discussions with several young professionals and industry representatives showed an interest in the design of our planned Master program.

 

A group of six AGEO students attended the conference together with the GUtech staff Haifa Al Salmi, Wilfried Bauer, Michaela Bernecker and Wiekert Visser. The students were prepared and guided by the professors and the success in various competitions reflects that our BSc graduates can play in the top league of Geosciences in the Middle East.

 

The AAPG (American Association of Petroleum Geologists) Imperial Barrel Award is a prospective basin evaluation contest for geoscience students around the world. The teams of many Universities analyze geological, geophysical, economic and production data in a real world scenario. The GUtech IBA team consisting of final year BSc students: Sabra, Ahlam, Jamla, Atiya and Harith received the bronze medals (3rd prize). The students were supported by GUtech and PDO staff in their challenging tasks.

 

Student Ahlam Al Jabri also received the Student Poster Award: 3rd prize. The poster “Variations of Oil API Gravity across the Sultanate of Oman” is the result of her PDO internship project in Geochemistry and is co-authored by Wiekert Visser and Mohammed al Ghammari (PDO).

 

Finally, three of our students Sabra, Ahlam and Al-Muhanna won the 1st prize in the on-site Geo-Quiz of EAGE (European Association of Geoscientists and Engineers) and received a travel grant to visit the next EAGE convention in Vienna in May/June 2016.

UNICODE workshop to be held at GUtech in February

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), located in Halban, will hold a special Unicode Workshop focusing on the Middle East, Africa, Central and South Asia between 14-16 February 2016. The Workshop is organized by GUtech and sponsored by The Research Council (TRC). A group of top-level computer scientists from Silicon Valley (US) and other countries will give presentations on the creation of Unicode for the internet.

Unicode has facilitated the transcription of different languages for the internet usage. “This tutorial workshop is a three-day event designed to familiarize the audience with Unicode and the concepts of internationalization. It is the first Unicode event in the Middle East and Asia,” said Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finance at GUtech.

Unicode provides a unique number for every character in the internet – no matter what the platform, no matter what the program, no matter what the language. Linguists, cultural experts from different countries and many others contributed to the success story of the internet Unicode. According to Lisa Moore, Vice President of Unicode, Unicode the code is developed by the worldwide internet community. It started in 1991 with 7000 characters, today Unicode has encoded more than 130,000 different elements of writing.

Throughout the three day workshop experts will give an insight into Unicode. Richard Ishida of W3C Internationalization Activity Lead will give a talk on the many unique characteristics of non-Latin writing systems, and illustrate the problems involved in implementing such scripts in products. His talk will not provide detailed coding advice, but provide the essential background information to understand the fundamental issues related to Unicode deployment, across a wide range of scripts. Unicode also created the bidirectional algorithms, so that the Arabic language can be transcribed into English characters.

Addison Phillips, the principal engineer and internationalization architect of Amazon.com will speak about internationalization and how to incorporate internationalization into the design, implementation, and delivery of a software product? Amazon.com’s internationalization architect demystifies it for you. This session provides an introduction to the topics of internationalization, localization and globalization.

 

For more information and registration please check out the website: www.unicode-oman.org

 

 

Experiencing Tourism Studies at Sea

BARKA To promote intercultural communication and tourism studies in a ‘live tourism laboratory’, Professor Dr Nevenka Čavlek has initiated the International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea (ITHAS) in Croatia in 2005.

As part of the series of Tuesday Tourism Talks (TTT) held at GUtech, Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management, Dr Nevenka Čavlek gave a public talk entitled “Experiential Learning for tourism education; the case of International Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea” on 15 December. Professor Dr Nevenka Čavlek is Head of the Postgraduate Studies in Tourism Management of the Faulty of Economics & Business, University of Zagreb in Croatia. The Tourism Department is part of the UNWTO Education Council and Dr Nevenka is also Editor-in-Chief of the scientific journal Acta Turistica, published twice per year.

„In Croatia tourism accounts nearly 20 % of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and today all business students at the Faculty of Economics & Business have to study a compulsory tourism course,“ said Dr Nevenka about the importance of tourism in her home country. „Prior to my work in academia, I worked in tourism,“ she said while adding that the idea to initiate a special programme for students to get first-hand experience in tourism, conducted outside the lecture hall and outside the traditional vocational training practices grew. „The uniqueness is that the programme differs from common practices. Our main goal was to create an exciting opportunity to travel and to study at the same time,“ she said.

In 2005 Dr Nevenka initiated the first 7-day intensive study module at sea in Croatia, entitled „Island Tourism Management“. Since then Dr Nevenka has organized various trips and under various topics, e.g. on cruise tourism on the river Danube, but also in Croatia and other topics along the Adriatic coast (Montenegro, Albania). „During sail students have lectures lead by well-known academics of the International Academy for the Study of Tourism. Last year we had 26 different nationalities on board. Between 80-130 students participate and are well selected in advance and according to their study achievements. The lecturers circulate and the students stay on board,“ she said. The programme combines real life experiences, reflective observation, abstract conceptualisation and they learn about the most important aspects by tourism by active experimentation. „At the end the students see tourism in a different light“ she said.

To find out more about the perception and expectations of the student participants. Dr. Nevenka together with Dr Charles Arcodia from the Griffith University in Australia has conducted research about the short and long-term expectations and experiences during that academy on sea; they applied two questionnaire surveys during and after the experiential learning trips. Their results show that the majority of students had a positive perception of the learning outcome after having participated in one of the academies. „We mix on purpose undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students and different nationalities, so that they all learn also from each other,“ she said. Professor Dr Heba Aziz confirmed: “The academy is a multicultural learning experience, So far we have had two groups a total of 18 students from the tourism department attending ITHAS and students rated this as one of the most enjoyable learning experiences they have had”.

Currently Universities in Finland, Slovenia, Germany and GUtech in Oman are partner universities of the annual tourism academy at sea. „GUtech students have been an asset to the programme“ said Dr Nevenka while explaining that they helped to overcome prejudices and create strong bonds. „At the end of the trip they have a different identity. They identify themselves by the group culture of the ship,“ she said. A number of tourism representatives attending the talk suggested to Dr. Nevenka to conduct the Tourism and Hospitality Academy at Sea here in Oman and in the region in the future.

 

GUtech campus building awarded with the International Design Award

HALBAN The main campus building of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), designed by Hoehler & Partner Architects, has been awarded internationally with the Design Award 2016 of the German Design Council in the category Excellent Communications Design – Architecture. “We are proud to receive such a prestigious international award for the architecture of our building. In the last couple of years GUtech building was awarded several times – by the Construction Week Magazine as the Best Commercial Building in Oman and later it was awarded in the same category in the whole Middle East in 2013, and in 2014 the building was awarded as the best Social Building in Oman,” said Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finance at GUtech.

In a statement its jury members Mårten Claesson, Dr. Michael Peters and Stefan von Terzi mentioned: “GUtech, with its characteristic grid structure, has become a sight to see in the area of Halban, Oman and is an important part of the location’s cultural and economic development. The project was finished under budget in just 18 months and meets the highest standards of quality. It combines the cultural heritage of Oman with the high standards of German engineering, and is a wonderful example of the current and future identity of Omani architecture.”

GUtech architects are awarded among other international architects who were awarded for their design such as the ‘timber structure’ of the sports hall of the Kogakuin University in Tokyo, the exhibition ‘ITAMI JUN: Architecture of the Wind’ of the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in South Korea and ‘Luminary’, the interior of an exceptional cinema in Hong Kong as well as a Split View Mountain Lodge in Norway.

GUtech is the only German University of Technology in Oman, located on the Arabian Peninsula. GUtech is the partner-university of the Rheinland-Westfälisch-Technische Hochschule – RWTH Aachen University. In 2007 GUtech started with 60 students and 30 staff members in two villas in Muscat and in September 2012 the university moved to its own campus in Halban. The campus is spread over 500,000 m², including three accommodation buildings. Currently around 1300 students are studying at GUtech. The university is planning to expand its campus with further faculty buildings, construction will start this year.

GUtech Foundation Year students win in Microsoft Office Specialist Championship

GUtech is the overall champion of the 1st Microsoft Office Specialist Championship which was held at, 27th of October at Exceed,

Tilal Complex Muscat Grand Mall .

“Our students have done a great job! We are proud of them. We are the champion in three categories. Our students have shown that they can now compete at the international level, which is the Microsoft World Championship 2016 to be held in Orlando Florida,” said Revinson Martin, IT Lecturer in the Foundation Year at GUtech.

“Achieving beyond expectations is the core mindset at GUtech. I am personally pleased of our performance at the MS Specialist Championship. Congratulations to our participating champions and their mentors,” said Ahmed Al Salmi, General Manager of the Foundation Year Programme at GUtech.

 

Seven educational institutions in Oman have competed in the finals and GUtech students were the champions in three different categories:

  • 1st place Microsoft Word – Shima Al Saadi
  • 1st place Microsoft Excel – Reem Al Mushikhi
  • 1st place Microsoft PowerPoint – Aseel Al Salmi

Also, GUtech students achieved top positions.

  • 3rd place Microsoft PowerPoint – Aisha Al Balushi
  • 5th place Microsoft Word – Saba Al Balushi

 

The competition is 1st in Oman and in the Middle East (according to KUDOS). The competition is used to test the skills of the Omani students in Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. At first, 60 GUtech students participated in February 2015 , who are also IC3 certified. They underwent series of assessments until we got the five best students who competed in the finals, said Revinson.

 

GUtech Geoscientist received TRC National Research Award

HALBAN For his research on natural hazards in the Sultanate of Oman, the geoscientist Prof. Dr Gösta Hoffmann from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Department of Applied Geosciences, was awarded with the National Research Award of The Research Council (TRC) yesterday evening. Prof. Dr. Gösta received the Award from H.H. Sayyid Shihab Bin Tariq Al-Said. The award ceremony was held at the Shangri-la Barr Al Jissar Resort.

“The award is an appreciation for our constant efforts to boost research at GUtech and in the Sultanate of Oman. We are very proud to have such a brilliant scholar like Prof. Gösta amongst us. This will encourage all colleagues to conduct research activities in Oman,” said Dr. Jürgen Werner, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech.

Prof. Gösta was the principal investigator of a TRC project titled “Short- and long-term coastal evolution along the coastline of Oman”. The research team included Dr. Sultan Al-Yahyai (Public Authority for Civil Aviation, Dr. Ghazala Naeem (Disaster Risk Reduction Consultant & Architect, Resilience Group, Pakistan), Miss Mareike Kociok and Dr. Christoph Grützner of the Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards at GUtech’s partner university, RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

“In my view the greatest challenge is to combine research and teaching in Oman. Therefore, in the frame of the project, I take our BSc Applied Geosciences students to the field-work, so that they are part of the research and can experience state-of-the art technology. Therefore the students are at the frontier of science and innovation and it is a win-win situation for me as a researcher and teacher and the students,” said Prof. Gösta.

“Oman is a natural laboratory we can use to test our research hypothesis,” said Prof. Gösta. The tsunami effects on the coastal zones in Oman were documented in a scientific paper which was recently published in the highly ranked, peer-reviewed scientific journal “Geology”. The Omani-German research team conducted their research analysis on rock deposits left behind in the past by tsunami as well as by storms when in September 2013 they were surprised by a tsunami wave in the middle of the project. “The tsunami reached wave heights of around 1 m at the Omani coast. We conclude on a submarine slide off Pakistan as the likely trigger mechanism” said Prof. Gösta. On 24 September 2013 a magnitude 7.7 earthquake occurred in Balochistan, Pakistan, the quake caused intense ground motions and had dramatic consequences – hundreds of people died, and more than 100,000 lost their homes. “A secondary effect which caught much attention in the international media was the birth of an island off the Pakistani coast – Zalzala Jazeera or Earthquake Island,” said Dr. Gösta.

To document the tsunami effects in Oman the researchers interviewed local fishermen in Sharquiyah region and asked if they observed any strange wave behavior. “The interviews followed the UNESCO-IOC International Tsunami Survey Team (ITST) protocol. The Omani eyewitnesses reported unusual waves during low tide, a change of water colour during the event, retreating sea before larger waves approached, strong currents they hadn’t observed before, and an unusual large amount of fish they could catch the next morning. The fishermen were so impressed by the spectacle that they recorded several videos which can be found at paleoseismicity.org.” said Dr Gösta.

http://paleoseismicity.org/an-indian-ocean-tsunami-triggered-remotely-by-the-onshore-m7-7-earthquake-in-balochistan-pakistan-on-2013-09-24/

“This tsunami was a very special earthquake environmental effect: An earthquake triggered a submarine slide, which in turn triggered a tsunami,” said Gösta. This kind of cascading effects is currently not included in any tsunami hazard assessments. The study emphasizes the need to better incorporate such mechanisms in order to better protect the public.

This tsunami study was part of a much larger research program on the coastal evolution of Oman led by Prof Dr Gösta Hoffmann (GUtech). More than ten scientists from six countries (including Oman, Sweden, UK, Germany) are involved in the project, studying the dynamic and changing coasts of the Sultanate. While being funded by TRC, the main foreign support comes from RWTH Aachen University, where Prof Dr Klaus Reicherter leads the Institute of Neotectonics and Natural Hazards. He and his team have provided equipment, knowledge exchange, and scientific support for the work in Oman. The team is currently supported by TRC in a new research project entitled “Quaternary sea level changes”.

A great success is the exchange of international scientists and students, including from Oman. Since 2011, dozens of GUtech students visited RWTH Aachen University and more than 16 German students carried out research in Oman. Last summer, Prof. Gösta conducted a two week practical laboratory course on natural hazards for GUtech BSc Applied Geosciences students at RWTH Aachen University. In addition, two BSc students graduated recently by carrying out parts of their research at RWTH Aachen, for three months, co-financed by DAAD.

His international research team of geoscientists is currently supported by TRC in a new research project entitled “Quaternary sea level changes”. “Research has started this year and we expect first results by the end of the year as the field season has just begone” said Prof. Gösta.

GUtech won 2nd place in the Regional Microsoft Competition in Bahrain

Oman’s Team Kitabi, from the Computer Science department of GUtech, won the second place in the World Citizenship category for its project Readathon – a revolutionary mobile application that allows users to read books online in a smart, marathon-like manner. The Regional Imagine Cup Competition, a Microsoft Global Competition, was held in Bahrain earlier this month.

To inspire people to read books on their mobile phones, the students have invented and designed a mobile reading app, called ‘ReadAthon’ – Regain the Joy of Reading. “We believe our app will encourage people to read more books,” said Alya Al Shanfari, Computer Science student at GUtech. “Beauty of knowledge lies in the mist of reading and so ReadAthon is the way to attain this greatness. Imagine Cup is a great vessel for students to express their imagination” said Dr. Basel Dayyani,  Computer Science Professor at GUtech who was accompanying the group to Bahrain.