The Milken Institute Global Conference: The Power of Ideas

 

It’s inspiring when big institutes like Milken take the initiative and consistently set a yearly solid conference to improve lives.

Milken is a non-profit institute and an objective think tank that believes in the power of capital markets to solve urgent social and economic challenges. Its mission is to increase global prosperity by enhancing collaborative solutions that widen access to capital, create jobs, and improve health. The Milken Institute global conference is unique in the sense of its determination to drive change.

For the 18th year, the Global Conference will unite leading thinkers, decision makers, and visionaries to find solutions to common problems.  From April the 26th till the 29th more than 3,500 people from 55 countries and 41 states will gather at the Beverly Hilton for discussions on 11 content tracks. Some of these topics include, rebuilding housing finance, the future of higher education, building a global workforce, and more. In addition, the conference will focus on bringing the spotlight on issues that promote greater equality of opportunity for women.

“Our Global Conference builds relationships that turn powerful ideas into transformative action, especially in our core issues of access to capital, improving health care, and spurring job creation,” says Institute CEO Mike Klowden. “Our ability to bridge the worlds of business, finance, science, and policy has never been more in demand,” he adds.

Moreover, more than 650 speakers, including chief investors, CEOs, senior government officials, scientists, educators, philanthropists, and journalists will take part in more than 170 sessions at the conference.

There are many ways to experience the Global Conference without being there. For the first time, several Global Conference panels will be live-streamed. Videos of all panels will be posted on the Institute’s website. In addition to blog posts and videos, nearly all Global Conference panels will be live-tweeted. Follow and take part in the conversation with #MIGlobal and #better4women.

By: Alyaa Sadek 

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Palestine on a Plate

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Palestine on a Plate, a cooking phone application by Joudie Kalla, is all about the secret Palestinian recipes that have been passed down through generations and across a variety of tastes.

Palestine on a Plate takes a look at how food from previous Palestinian generations has been passed down from the women in the family of Kalla, the author of the application. In a recent press release, Kalla talks in-depth about her passion and experience and what drove her to take such an interesting step.

First of all, Kalla is a Palestinian chef; and a lover of Middle Eastern food. Kalla made Palestine on a Plate as a tribute to her family and her heritage. She explains that she couldn’t speak her own language fluently until the age of 21. “Everything changed for me; I became more interested in the food, the culture, and lifestyle and I developed a real curiosity about my Palestinian history and culture,” she says. Kalla became more aware of her westernized Arabic friends. The more she dug, the more it became clear to her that food was the main connection between them and what brought them together. It ignited a journey that she’s still embarking on.

Kalla clarifies that the recipes which will be represented will take classical Palestinian cooking to a new dimension, changing the methods, and most importantly, cutting the time it takes to cook the food.  She adds, “with today’s rushed lifestyle, I am trying to reconnect with our past but be mindful of our busy lives with that precious commodity, time, being ever shorter.”

Furthermore, from how she talks about food, it seems that cooking is more than just a passion for Kalla; it’s representative of a deep connection with her history and her childhood. This became even clearer when Kalla continues discussing the memory she has of her mother’s cooking. “I remember my mother cooking approximately five dishes a night for us all, which included some sort of salad or starter like Jarjir, Fattoush or Shakshoukeh, and two or four main courses like Maftoul and Daoud Basha, that she made seem so easy to recreate, as she did them with flair, love, and comfort.” She says that this memory-evoking home cooked food creates a wonderful sensation and automatically puts her in a good place.

The recipes were all created by her mother and she adjusted them to make them less fatty, less fussy, and less time-consuming.

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Ron Bruder & Education for Employment give hope to a new generation

 

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Ron Bruder, a former successful real estate developer, has dedicated the past 13 years of his life to establishing the Education for Employment (EFE) project. It aims to increase the opportunities for unemployed youth in the Middle East and North Africa region by providing them with the skills, knowledge, and opportunities needed to succeed in today’s workplace.

Created in 2002, EFE now operates in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco, Palestine, Tunisia, and Yemen. Bruder chose Arab youth in particular because their region suffers from the highest levels of youth unemployment in the world. He cites that the needs of the labour market are not in sync with what’s taught in local educational institutions. As a capacity building initiative, it offers professional and technical training to assist Arab youth in landing a job.

EFE teams up with local nonprofit organisations from the different countries to provide the training to the students. One of their programs includes the Job Placement Training Program, which trains the candidates in the specific skills that are in demand by the local labour market. This program also assists the candidates to get hired once they’ve completed the training. Examples of professions that EFE graduates have gone to work in include construction management, teaching, and banking.

Another program that EFE offers is called Pathways to a Job. In this program, students are taught how to write resumes, cover letters, and gain interviewing skills. Students are also taught how to effectively search for jobs, and can end up getting internships at local organisations.

Entrepreneurship is EFE’s final program, which as suggested, prepares its students with the skills needed in starting and running small businesses. EFE provides its students with connections to financing and mentoring services, among others. Some of the skills taught include time management, leadership, communication, and goal setting.

All of the programs are run by nationals of the country they’re operating in, which have been trained professionally themselves. Despite the region’s tumultuousness, EFE has continued to grow, bringing the total number of trained students to 26,000 in the region.

 

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Supporting Gaza with Arab Idol

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In a private glamorous reception in London hosted by Mr and Mrs. Ayman and Sawsan Asfari, friends and guests gathered to listen to the live tunes of the talented Mohamed Assaf. The reception was held for Assaf and in support of Gaza.

Mohamed Assaf is a Palestinian singer who won the second season of Arab Idol. His success gave hope to many Palestinians and the Arab world. Throughout the airing of the show, Assaf won the hearts of the public with his bright personality and gentle voice. People who watched Assaf compared his voice and appearance to the famous Egyptian singer Abdel Halim Hafez, which definitely gained him more popularity.

Two years ago, The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) named Assaf as a goodwill ambassador for peace. He is their first ever regional youth ambassador. The UNRWA was created in 1949 and was originally intended for providing jobs to Palestinians who fled or were expelled from their homes during. Now, it also provides Palestinian refugees with services such as education, healthcare, and relief. UNRWA is the only agency committed to helping refugees from a specific region or conflict. According to the UNRWA website,  “we [UNRWA] are proud to work with individuals who can add their voice to ours, spreading the word about Palestine refugees and reminding people who may be far away that they are not just a regional concern or a relic of the past.”

 

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2015 BRIT Awards Highlights

 

By Alyaa Sadek 

The 2015 BRIT Awards took place in the 02 Arena in London on the 25th of February 2015. Taylor Swift opened the show with an incredible, energy-filled performance of her single “Blank Space”. Followed by Sam Smith’s performance, which was very emotional and strong as usual. Another heartfelt and moving performance was “Only Love Can Hurt Like This” by Paloma Faith. We loved the upbeat and uplifting performances by George Ezra and Take That. Ed Sheeran and Sam Smith bagged the most important trophies of the night. However the grand dame of pop music, Madonna, who performed at the ceremony for the first time in two decades, almost stole the show despite tripping off the stage in the middle of her new single “Living for Love”. English singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran was the biggest winner of the night, walking away with two of the four Brit Awards he was nominated for. The pop-heavy ceremony also saw performances from Royal Blood and Kanye West. Also, West was repeatedly muted by ITV during his performance for swearing. Finally Kim Kardashian gladly presented the BRITs Global Success award to Sam Smith.

 

Winners:

British Male Solo Artist – Ed Sheeran

British Female Solo Artist –  Paloma Faith

British Group –  Royal Blood

International Group –  Foo Fighters

British Breakthrough Act – Sam Smith

Critics Choice –  James Bay

MasterCard British Album of the Year –  Ed Sheeran

British Single of the Year –  Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars “Uptown Funk”

International Male Solo Artist –  Pharrell Williams

International Female Solo Artist –  Taylor Swift h

British Producer of the Year –  Paul Epworth

British Video- One Direction –  “You & I”

BRITs Global Success –  Sam Smith

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Performances:

Taylor Swift – Blank Space

Sam Smith –  Lay Me Down

Royal Blood –  Figure It Out

Ed Sheeran –  Bloodstream

Kanye West – All Day

Take That –  Let in the Sun

George Ezra –  Budapest

Paloma Faith –  Only Love Can Hurt Like This

Madonna –  Living for Love

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Le Tarbouche at Saatchi Gallery

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The Saatchi Gallery is a London Art Gallery for contemporary art opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 for exhibiting his collection to the public. The gallery attracts more than one million visitors a year, and has become one of the best galleries of contemporary art in Europe. It is the only free-entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world. In 2010, Saatchi announced that the gallery would be donated to the state, becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London.

We were excited to learn that Mouna Rebeiz, a French-Lebanese artist and painter, will be displaying her work at the Saatchi Gallery from 27 February to 3 March, 2015. She will be presenting what is guaranteed to be an exciting and stimulating exhibition entitled Le Tarbouche. In support of Innocence in Danger, a worldwide movement for the protection of children against abuse, Le Tarbouche is a development of Rebeiz’s current work with the female form, utilising the tarbouche as a traditional male symbol of strength and manliness in the Levant and across the Middle East, in order to express the complex role of women by combining nudes with the tarbouche as a complicated combination of the dominant and submissive, the sophisticated and the vulnerable.

Mouna was born into a family of artists and demonstrated creativity in abundance from an early age; she grew up between musicians, artists, and poets, which later influenced her work. The human being and its psych also intrigued her and so she went on to study psychology at the Sorbonne in Paris and Saint Joseph’s University in Beirut. She perfected her technique in 1995 at the Cepiade Studio where she met Alix De La Source, speaker at the Louvre and specialist of 17th and 18th century painting techniques. La Source introduced Mouna to the techniques of the Grand Masters and helped her to develop her style. As of today, Mouna mainly exhibits her work in Paris, with work shown in places like Salon des Independants, Gallerie Pierre Allain Challier and Foundation Paul Ricard. The Saatchi Gallery will be her first solo exhibition in London.

Designers such as Lanvin, Twiggy, Bay Garnett, Helen McCrory, Elie Saab, and Sandra Choi of Jimmy Choo will be recreating a tarbouche in their own style to be auctioned by Sotheby’s following the exhibition. All proceeds from these pieces, as well as proceeds from the sale of Mouna’s paintings, will go towards the charity, a world movement for the protection of children against all forms of sexual abuse, a charity close to Mouna’s heart.

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YOUR MENTAL HEALTH IS JUST AS IMPORTANT

We always hear people talking about physical health; eat well, exercise regularly and get enough sleep, but why don’t we put as much importance on our mental health? Mental stress is associated with heightened levels of inflammatory chemicals in the blood that lead to disease. It is important to fix the mind in order to improve physical health.

In order to improve our mental health we first must address what it actually is, most of us suffer some sort of mental illness such as anxiety, depression, or stress. To be clear, being emotionally and mentally healthy doesn’t mean never going through bad times or experiencing emotional problems. We all go through disappointments, loss, and change. The difference is that people with a healthy mindset have the ability to bounce back from adversity, trauma, and stress. This ability is called resilience, people with this ability have a positive outlook and know how to look beyond negativity.

Being free of these problems and having peace of mind is achievable with some dedication, here are some of the ways you can achieve this:

1. Yoga

Yoga is known to lower stress and improve your mood. Some yoga methods use specific meditation techniques to focus the mind on your breathing that silences the constant ‘mind chatter’, it relieves stress and allows you to feel relaxed. Practicing yoga can also boost oxygen levels to the brain, leaving you feeling happier and more content with everyday life. In addition, research has shown that yoga helps you draw your focus away from the stresses of life and makes you focus on your movements and breathing.

2. Treat yourself with respect

Treating yourself with respect can be achieved by attempting to understand yourself, this will allow you to grow and understand how unique you really are. Discover your principles, personality, and talents. Don’t wait for people’s approval and develop your own standards.

3. Take breaks and don’t overload your mind

When you feel overwhelmed with too much information, take some time to clear your mind. Even a short break can relieve stress and give you a fresh perspective. If you can’t get away at all, simply turn aside from your work and do some mindful breathing. Overloading your mind with unnecessary worries is just as bad as an overworked body; neither will produce the desired end result. Try practicing letting go of the need to control and direct the outcome.

4. Keep in touch with your loved ones and care for others

Show your loved ones how much they mean to you, the results may surprise you. Whether you have problems with any of your family members or life has pulled you apart, keeping in touch with them every now and then will definitely make you feel better. “I love you” has become a common phrase, but keep on saying it anyway.

5. Laughter relieves stress

For some, laughing and smiling can boost their mood almost instantly. Even if you have to force yourself out of a bad mood by faking laughter it can help. In other words, just the act of smiling or laughing can lift your spirits.

6. Listen to inspiring music

The power of music is well documented. Not only is positive music enjoyable, but music with a fast tempo can really get us going when our energy is low. Music also engages one of our five senses. For a fun mental exercise, listen to your favourite music and then consciously take note of the various smells around you. Training your brain to be fully aware of two mental stimuli at the same time is a good way to exercise the brain.

7. Stay hydrated

In a study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, it was found that even mild dehydration is a reliable predictor of impaired cognitive status. Remember to get plenty of fluids throughout the day. If you consume a lot of  caffeine, make sure to drink extra fluids to counteract caffeine’s diuretic effect. Staying hydrated is another great way to keep your energy level up and you mental focus sharp.

8. Talk about your feelings

Talking about your feelings isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s part of taking charge of your well-being and doing what you can to stay healthy. Just being listened to can help you feel supported and less alone. And it works both ways. If you open up, it might encourage others to do the same. It’s not always easy to describe how you’re feeling. If you can’t think of one word, use lots.

9. Alternate nostril breathing

Press your right thumb to your right nostril to close it and then inhale through your left nostril. Using your ring finger on the same hand, close the left nostril, lift your thumb, and exhale through the right. Reverse the pattern and repeat several times to feel the calming and balancing effects. Something so simple can increase your productivity significantly, especially when you are working on something monotonous.

10. Be around positive people

Research and numerous studies have shown that people who are positive and associate themselves with positive people benefit from these interactions in so many ways. By being around positive people, you will be healthier, more successful financially and you will be involved in better relationships. Being around positive people lowers your stress level and it enables you to relax more.

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Will.i.am Making a Difference at WEF

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On the 21st of January 2015, the seven time Grammy winner, musician, and producer, Will.i.am was at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting in Davos to discuss how education could help close the equality gap and provide more opportunities for young people. Will.i.am is best known for being a founding member of The Black Eyed Peas. He is actively engaged in the worlds of technology, business, fashion, and social activism.

In an interview with Maria Bartiromo, the musician spoke about accelerating youth entrepreneurship in underprivileged communities through technology. He began by saying “I was born and raised in East Los Angeles, a pretty poor neighbourhood, there were gangs, drugs etc. I was rescued because I was part of a magnet program ever since I was 7 years old and was blessed with a great education. My family made sure I understood that getting a good education and hard work were key to turning my dreams into reality and beating the odds that come with growing up in a disadvantaged situation.”

The Black Eyed Peas frontman started a number of community outreach programs across the globe, including the I.am.angel Foundation, which helps disadvantaged children through “education, inspiration and opportunity”. When asked about how the kids in these programs are doing, he said “our kids have gone from 1.0s and straight Fs to 4.0s and some of our kids are going to MIT.”

He continued to talk about the differences between the private sector and public sector; he explained that there needs to be more focus on education. “There’s a private sector for prisons but not for education. There’s an imbalance between opportunities in inner cities around computer science engineers, mathematics and prisons,” he went on to say, “It hurts my heart and my soul that there is such a thing as private investment in prisons in America and not education. It’s a human rights issue.”

His main goal is to get as many underprivileged kids as possible equipped and skilled around the biggest thing in the world right now which is technology, putting their minds in things that allow them to connect and live fruitful lives.

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President Sisi at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2015

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In the world Economic Forum Annual Meeting, in Davos-Klosters, Switzerland on the 22nd of January 2015, President Abelfattah Sisi of Egypt vowed to address national and regional challenges and make Egypt a hub of economy.

Sisi said that although Egypt faces many challenges, this would not distract him from the vitality of meeting the demands of the country’s twin revolutions. He promised to bring in widespread developments in the subsidies in the next five years to get the country back on track of economic recovery. “We will make use of our geographical position and infrastructure to make Egypt an economic hub. We will expand our reliance on renewable energy to 20 percent by 2020,” says Sisi.

In a special conference, he told the members that this entails completing the renewal of national institutions through parliamentary elections in March 2015, fortifying the social contract through economic development, and addressing violence and extremism. The President also said that his government would play a constructive international role in working to relieve the growing misconceptions about Islam.

Moreover, on Islam, Sisi confirmed remarks he made recently at Al-Azhar University in Cairo. He said, “Islam is a religion of tolerance yet over recent years it has become associated with violence and extremism. It is time to stop and think and consider a religious discourse that sets aside the elements that can lead to misunderstanding. No one has the monopoly of truth.”

He adds, “we need to secure Egypt through private sector-led growth. This means providing social justice, reducing red tape, creating equal opportunities for all investors, and ensuring sound fiscal and monetary policies,” he continues by saying that the goal is to achieve 7% growth in the economy and provide new opportunities to what he defined as the courageous, resilient people of Egypt. Given their role in the revolution and the problems of youth unemployment, a particular focus is on the 60% of the population which are under 40 years old.

More generally, Egypt will work with its international partners to deal with the trials they share. “No country can achieve its goals alone from the world but, in turn, the world has an obligation to create the conditions for successful integration into the global economy,” he said.

 

 

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A Valentine’s Day to Remember

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At the JW Marriott Cairo and Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel, you’ll be spoilt for choice this Valentine’s Day.

Mandara Spa at JW Marriott is offering your loved one the gift of a blissful 50-minute massage of choice, in addition to an invigorating facial lasting 60 minutes. All this for the special price of LE 1,050. Alternatively you can both get a relaxing experience by enjoying a trio of soothing treatments side-by-side in one of our luxurious double spa suites. This package includes a rejuvenating 30 minute Aromatic Sea Salt Bath, a relaxing 30-minute Aromatic Steam Ritual, and a calming 50 minute Aromatic massage. This romantic couple’s package is for only LE 1,950. As an added bonus you will also get a 25% discount on retail products from Phytomer with any of the Valentine’s Day packages which are valid from 13 – 15 February 2015.

To satisfy your tastebuds, there are plenty of options at the JW Marriott. They include the romantic ambience of Mirage Cafe, the delightful Italian flavours available at Cucina, JW’s Steakhouse’s decadent 4-course set menu, the warmth and hospitality of Lebanese dining at Ahlein, or the exotic elegance of Lemongrass. Lemongrass Restaurant is offering home-made steamed and fried dim sums, raw papaya salad, soy-glazed chicken satay, and marinated beef salad. Discover their spicy Tom Kha Kung soup followed by a ‘Surf and Turf’ main meal. Your dining experience will conclude with a ‘to-die-for’ dessert!

At the Renaissance Cairo Mirage City Hotel, make Valentine’s Day memorable for all the right reasons by treating yourselves to an opulent candle-lit 4-course international set menu within the chic, contemporary surroundings of Citron. Choose from their ‘Surf and Turf’ or ‘Veal and Beef Medallions’ main courses and complete your meal with your choice of seasonal fresh fruits, Lemon Millefeuille or a warm Chocolate Fondant.

For a more Asian-inspired experience, sweep your loved one off their feet with a lavish 4-course set menu at Chinoix. Commence your dining experience with a delicious Dim Sum starter followed by a soup course. Select from two mouth-watering main courses, Half Beijing Duck served with pancakes or Grilled Lobster Beijing Style. A delectable dessert will conclude your romantic meal together!

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