Talent Reunion: A platform for smart networking

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Updated 10 March 2015
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Talent Reunion: A platform for smart networking

Talent Reunion is a new lifestyle networking platform that brings together various talents in a healthy environment, enabling them to share thoughts and their experiences. Dwelling on different lifestyle-oriented themes, the meeting is held every month in different countries, including Saudi Arabia.
A wide range of Saudi and expat talents from different backgrounds, ages, and working sectors attend the reunions. With meetings being widely successful, it has built its reputation as a lifestyle networking hub in Saudi Arabia. Yazan Jamous, founder of Talent Reunion in an interview with Arab News speaks about its creation and the long journey.

What is Talent Reunion? How did it start?
Talent Reunion is a non-profit lifestyle networking platform. It involves events held periodically in different countries in order to bring individuals, enterprises and community leading figures together at one place to refine talents and enhance successful business partnerships. It first started in the year 2010 in the UAE as a reunion of American University of Sharjah alumni. Later, in 2012, the first reunion was held outside the UAE in Saudi Arabia. It was a huge success in terms of the attendees’ qualities and community figures who joined the reunion. Since Saudi Arabia needed such a concept, the Talent Reunion was launched as a monthly event.

What made Talent Reunion a successful concept in Saudi Arabia?
The success of Talent Reunion is mainly due to the members and their enthusiasm for attending the events and hanging out. Their diversity in education, professionalism, backgrounds and hobbies makes discussions and topics go on and on. Moreover, they are eager to learn and meet new people.

What topics are discussed at the gathering?
All topics related to lifestyle. Like this year, we started with “Innovation of Money Making” in January and “Innovation of Food” in February, where everyone contributed the best of the best ideas. However, in the coming months, several topics such as diplomacy, design thinking, coffee, reading, recycling, arts, advertising, human resources, industries and music will be covered.

Who are Talents? What is Innovation?
Talents are individuals with a diverse profile. They have a strategic development set of mind with an aim to increase the awareness of intellectual abilities and inspire other individuals around them. Talent is a trivia word created as a theoretical model to promote and target a quality of mindset leaders. Innovation is the process where new talents meet in a new place to share new ideas. Meeting or reunion is designed in a way that facilitates the generation of innovative ideas, projects or collaborations.

Saudi culture is known to be very social. Why networking now?
Well, Saudi culture is social indeed. However, we are taking care of networking now more than ever because nowadays, with the notable increase of multiple uses of technology and various ways to contact each other, people have no time to meet — virtually or in reality. This has its bad influence on individuals and on society in general. I think it is great to get together again with friends from childhood or from different stages in life, and connect with other new friends in order to enlarge the normal circle of people we know. Moreover, this has a very good impact on everyone’s life directly or indirectly in many aspects, including both professionally and personally.

Why multicultural talents and different backgrounds, ages, and occupations?
Having different backgrounds, ages, and occupations helps us achieve our goal to build the biggest non-profit lifestyle networking platform that brings all individuals together at one place to refine talents and enhance successful business partnerships.

How can Talent Reunion be helpful to individuals?
Meeting new people, discussing and sharing new ideas during the reunion enriches the outlook toward society and helps in gaining knowledge on different topics. One can be a part of Talent Reunion by visiting our website www.TalentReunion.com

How many cities does Talent Reunion cover?
We have regular meetings in Jeddah, Riyadh, Madinah and Yanbu at present. However, we have a plan to expand locally and abroad very soon.

What is the 2015 plan?
This year is going to be a fruitful one; full of meetings and reunions. Month after month our agenda will be full of activities that have rich and entertaining content for talents. After the expansion we are planning to hold similar meetings in the Eastern Provinces, Dubai, Amman, and Beirut.

How do you see the future of Talent Reunion?
We see it as an international organization that links talents together, where individuals meet from all walks of life, and help each other find business colleagues and consultants.

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Syria rebels dig in for Daraa fight

Updated 7 min ago
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Syria rebels dig in for Daraa fight

  • The city is split between rebels, who hold the southern Old City, and regime forces who control the modern districts and government posts to the north
  • Far away from geopolitical interests, civilians are worried about what the escalation could bring
DARAA: On a tense urban frontline in Syria’s Daraa, rebel Atallah Qutayfan has been steadily reinforcing his defensive post for weeks in anticipation of a looming assault by government troops.
The 25-year-old spends his days stacking sandbags to shore up his post overlooking a market in the southern city, and monitoring the amassing regime forces nearby.
“Their reconnaissance planes are constantly above the city. There are daily clashes and they try to infiltrate our positions, but we’ve stopped them,” says Qutayfan.
“Our commanders told us to be ready for an attack by regime forces — and we’re on high alert.”
As loyalist forces mop up the last pockets of resistance around the capital, President Bashar Assad appears to already have set his sights on his next target: Daraa.
The city is split between rebels, who hold the southern Old City, and regime forces who control the modern districts and government posts to the north.
Opposition forces still hold more than two-thirds of the surrounding 3,730-square-kilometer province which borders Jordan.
Seizing the border area could bring the regime both military and economic security, analysts have said.
And a victory in Daraa city would carry symbolic weight — it was the cradle of Syria’s seven-year uprising against Assad’s rule.
The resurgent regime just this month dealt rebels their biggest blow yet by recapturing Eastern Ghouta, the former opposition stronghold outside Damascus.
That freed up troops who had spent years bombing the Ghouta front.
“After Ghouta, the regime escalated its bombing against us with surface-to-surface missiles, machine-gun fire, mortars, tanks, and heavy artillery,” says rebel fighter Fahed Abu Hatem.
In response, Abu Hatem says, his forces reinforced their positions, dug trenches and erected fresh barricades.
Gritting his teeth, rebel field commander Ibrahim Musalima, 27, insists the extra measures are necessary.
“It’s not fear, it’s readiness,” says Musalima.
“We’re setting up lines of defense and attack, and upping our coordination with the Quneitra rebels to the west, all the way to the border with Suweida to the east.”
Quneitra is the province directly to Daraa’s west, and Suweida neighbors it to the east.
Sections of the three provinces make up a “de-escalation zone” agreed in May 2017 by rebel backer Turkey and regime allies Russia and Iran.
The US and Jordan have also backed the zone, announcing alongside Russia in July that a cessation of hostilities would begin in the southern sliver.
Despite the steadily increasing violence, Musalima says the south’s rebel factions had been “advised” by their foreign backers not to provoke the regime or its loyalist militias, and to preserve the de-escalation zone.
The subtle warning belies the region’s importance to rival actors in Syria’s complex war.
Assad is keen to recapture the strategic Nasib crossing with Jordan, which the regime lost to rebels in 2015 but whose recapture could generate desperately needed income from cross-border trade.
Meanwhile, the presence of Iran-backed militias in southern Syria, including Lebanon’s Hezbollah, has irked neighboring Israel.
Far away from these geopolitical interests, civilians are worried about what the escalation could bring.
Umm Mohammad Al-Baghdadi, a 45-year-old nurse in a field clinic in Daraa, describes a constant stream of wounded from shelling and bombing.
“We can’t say we’re not scared of more escalation. After the end of Ghouta, of course the regime is going to go for any area that opposes it,” she says.
“It wants to snuff out the uprising generally, and in Daraa especially.”
Around 30,000 people live in rebel-held parts of Daraa city, according to the local opposition-run council.
Its head Mohammad Abdulmajid Al-Musalima, 38, says residents struggle to cope with severe shortages of water and electricity, and widespread destruction.
“Women and children will bear the brunt of any military escalation, because they’re the main pressure point used by the regime against opposition groups,” says Musalima.
Rebels and local opposition officials alike insist Daraa’s fate will not resemble Ghouta’s, where a five-year siege had worn down rival rebel groups.
“We’re saying to the regime: Daraa is not Ghouta. The armed opposition here is holding it together,” says Mohammad Al-Masri, 60, a member of the local council.
“Here, the front lines are holding on. Our popular base and the rebels are in agreement: Daraa is our city, and we will stand firm in it,” says Masri.