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.

[email protected]


Saudi Arabia joins nations in Katowice as talks adopt ‘Rulebook’ to curb climate change

The Katowice Climate Package is designed to put into operation the climate change regime contained in the Paris Agreement. (Shutterstock)
Updated 17 December 2018
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Saudi Arabia joins nations in Katowice as talks adopt ‘Rulebook’ to curb climate change

  • Saudi Arabia showed how seriously it is taking international efforts to mitigate the global rise in temperature

DUBAI: Between December 3 and 14, about 30,000 people from around the world converged on the Polish coal city of Katowice for the United Nations Climate Change Conference. COP24 (Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) took place close on the heels of a special report by a UN panel predicting the increasingly severe effects of a 1.5C rise in global temperatures over pre-industrial levels.

COP24 was the third such meeting since the adoption in 2015 of the Paris Agreement, which outlined a joint roadmap for developed and developing countries to reduce greenhouse gas emissions starting from 2020. Naturally, the role of fossil fuels, greenhouse gas emissions and financial commitments in the battle against climate change were high on the Katowice agenda.

Governments have adopted a robust set of guidelines for implementing the 2015 Paris Agreement. The implementation of the agreement will benefit people from all walks of life, especially the most vulnerable. 

The Katowice Climate Package is designed to put into operation the climate change regime contained in the Paris Agreement. Under the auspices of the United Nations Climate Change Secretariat, it will promote international cooperation and encourage greater ambition. The Katowice agreement aims to deliver the Paris goals of limiting global temperature rises to well below 2C. 

Saudi Arabia was among the major participants from the Middle East, demonstrating the seriousness with which it is taking its own energy transition and international efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change. The ambitious targets the kingdom has set for itself are being seen as a message to other countries that also face a complicated transition.

“This year’s COP24 event was crucial in many ways, including its focus on people’s displacement because of extreme weather events and the impact on human lives,” said Dr. Taoufik Ksiksi, associate professor in biology at the United Arab Emirates University. “More people are now displaced as a result of climate-related extreme events than by wars and conflicts.”

Dr. Ksiksi says the need to limit the rise in global temperatures to 1.5C-2C adds pressure on all the Paris Agreement signatories to act faster. “All countries that signed on, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, are working hard to (reduce) greenhouse gas emissions, among other things,” he told Arab News. “For countries like Saudi Arabia, it is critically important to get ahead of many other countries.”

Pointing to growing concern in the Middle East over the possible impact of climatic change and its excessive reliance on fossil fuels, Dr. Ksiksi said: “Some sectors, such as transportation, energy use efficiency and land use change, are more likely to be at the forefront of mitigation and adaptation schemes.”

The concept of COP came from the 1992 Rio Summit where the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change was adopted, and aims to inspire countries to make good on their climate pledges. As for COP24, this is “an important year for testing the Paris model of gradually scaling up the ambition of targets through its five-year review cycle,” Emma Champion, EMEA policy analyst at BloombergNEF, told Arab News.

Champion sees the financing of energy transitions as a major issue in the battle against climate change. “Developed countries are behind on their commitment to sending $100 billion a year to developing countries to help them to achieve their individual targets, while developing countries are already facing budgetary pressure amid extreme weather events,” she said.

At the Katowice gathering there was a semantic disagreement over whether it should “welcome” or “note” the UN panel’s warning of dire consequences if global temperatures rise by more than 1.5C, with four oil-producing countries — the US, Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Kuwait — expressing their preference for the term “note.”

By all accounts, Saudi Arabia is playing its part in the effort to achieve the Paris accord’s goals and targets. According to Raed Al-Schneiber, from the Saudi Energy Efficiency Center, despite being one of the world’s biggest energy producers the Kingdom is committed to becoming a highly energy-efficient country in order to preserve its resources for future generations. In this spirit, experts from Saudi Arabia gave presentations in Katowice highlighting home-grown innovations and advances.

Saudi Aramco’s Dr. Tidjani Niass said: “The Kingdom’s national petroleum and natural gas company is making commendable progress on a wide range of carbon-dioxide utilization technologies, among other fields. The company’s work in environmental stewardship has resulted in the world’s lowest-carbon crude.” 

Organizations such as KSA Climate Change gave presentations on the sidelines of COP24 highlighting efforts to tackle water and wastewater challenges, sustainable development and creating value from carbon dioxide. The subjects were energy-efficiency applications in the Gulf, research and development for climate solutions, and the use of oil and gas technologies to address climate change challenges.

According to Dario Traum, a senior associate at BloombergNEF, as one of the countries whose economy will need to go through the most radical transformation as a result of climate-change mitigation efforts Saudi Arabia’s role in the negotiations is central. “Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that has an economy that is predominantly reliant on oil revenue,” he told Arab News.

“We have seen in recent years the kind of shocks to government revenue and savings a fall in oil prices can have. The Saudi government has started to respond to that with reform and through investment in new sectors at home and abroad, although this clearly needs to be scaled up in the coming years.”

One topic that was high on the COP24 agenda was clean energy technology, the applications of which are growing in a widening field of activities — power projects, transportation, waste management, energy efficiency and storage, and sustainable urban development, to name just five. If the trend continues, opportunities for unlocking investment in clean energy technologies will multiply, say experts.

“COP24 has further clarified the scale of the opportunity,” said Bader Al-Lamki, executive director for clean energy at Masdar, a UAE-headquartered company focused on the development, commercialization and deployment of renewable energy and sustainable urban development.

“The low-carbon economy is the new growth story of the 21st century. And through the initiative of countries such as the UAE and Saudi Arabia, which is wholeheartedly embracing the potential for renewables to meet its domestic power demand, it is a growth story in which emerging markets are actively participating.”

The overwhelming dependence of the Arab Gulf region on desalinated water means solar-based desalination technologies have a major role to play in helping countries meet their emissions-reduction targets.

In this context, Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) has come up with a host of initiatives, one of them termed “green desalination.” 

The need to meet the Paris Agreement targets is hardly the only worry for the Arab Gulf states, given the significant drop in rainfall received by the region in the last 20 years. “This drop will have an impact on natural vegetation, which is very much dependent on rainfall during specific seasons,” said Dr. Mohsen Sherif, director of the National Water Center in the UAE.

“It will also affect the phenomenon of natural groundwater recharge. If you have less rainfall, there will be less water filtering down to the aquifer system, which will reduce the amount of available groundwater. So there is a need to assess accurately the impact of climate change on the Arab Gulf region’s underground water resources.”