Riyadh hosts Dilmah’s School of Tea

A group picture of Dilmah’s School of Tea participants in Riyadh.
Updated 07 November 2018
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Riyadh hosts Dilmah’s School of Tea

Dilmah’s School of Tea held its first session in Riyadh on Monday, attracting individual tea lovers, members of the hospitality sector, the retail sector and the media to a day-long presentation of the ins-and-outs of fine tea. 

Dilmah, a purveyor of pure Ceylon tea, is the only vertically integrated tea company in the world, owning components of the entire tea process from tea fields to distribution.

As part of its goal to educate the public on the taste of pure Ceylon tea and reintroduce it in a big way to the Kingdom, Dilmah brought its School of Tea to Riyadh for the very first time. “Education inspires passion and that is what we hope to achieve,” said Merril Fernando, the company’s founder. “We want to elevate tea to the same level as the finest cuisine because it is just as complex and satisfying as any gourmet offering.”

The School of Tea was established through a partnership with Institut Paul Bocose, an international culinary institute known for educating and training students who want to pursue careers in the culinary arts. In its fullest incarnation, the School of Tea takes place in Sri Lanka and extends across five days.

The School of Tea in Riyadh explored all components offered by the five-day program. After an introduction to Dilmah itself, visitors learned about the history of tea, the many varieties of the drink and the manufacturing process. The session ended with a tasting of four fine teas: Ceylon Silver Tips, Ceylon whole green tea, First Ceylon Oolong and Brilliant Breakfast.

This was followed by an overview of the tea producing regions of Sri Lanka and an explanation of why Ceylon tea is so valued by tea connoisseurs the world over. The day then segued to a demonstration of how to brew the perfect cup of tea, a task visitors tried their hand at.

The lunch hour was accompanied by instructions on tea pairings, demonstrating which teas should be served with certain plates. Afternoon sessions focused on the ethical issues involved in tea production and distribution as well as the health benefits tea offers within a modern lifestyle.

“Given Saudi Arabia’s long history of pure Ceylon tea, a tradition that has been interrupted by tea traders’ profit concerns, the country will be happy to become reacquainted with it. The School of Tea is not just a step in that direction, but it will also serve to reaffirm that tea is a fine beverage, not a cheap soft drink,” said Dilhan C. Fernando, Dilmah CEO. 

“I thought I knew something about tea, but I found out that there is so much more to lean,” said one of the tea lovers.


Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

Updated 17 April 2019
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Top CEO Conference & Awards wraps up in Bahrain

The Top CEO Conference & Awards 2019, organized by TRENDS magazine — Mediaquest and international business school INSEAD, has concluded at the Al-Areen Palace and Spa in Bahrain. The event, held on Thursday, included seven key panel discussions under the theme “Growth in a Volatile Future” as well as the Top CEO Awards 2019 ceremony, which recognized the region’s most successful and trendsetting CEOs from more than 700 companies listed on GCC stock exchanges.

Top business leaders and more than 30 speakers from across the GCC shed light on the Middle East’s dynamic but volatile region and the burning issues facing the corporate world today. This year’s theme focused on a score of relevant issues, such as oil price fluctuations, tech disruptions, armed and political schisms that pose new risks, and opportunities. Speakers such as renowned economist Professor Nouriel Roubini provided growth solutions and road maps for businesses in the GCC region.

Alexandre Hawari, CEO of Mediaquest, said: “In its fifth edition, the Top CEO Conference & Awards fully encapsulated the theme of ‘Growth in a Volatile Future’ by acknowledging and exploring the growth transformation that the region is undergoing through digitalization and the fourth industrial revolution amid geopolitical tensions, looming trade wars and a rapidly evolving business environment. Building on the huge success of the previous years, the Top CEO Awards 2019 recognized CEOs and companies who have raised the bar by navigating challenges, implementing new strategies, and have demonstrated unquestionable growth, profitability and excellence in corporate governance.”

The conference kicked off with an opening keynote from Jassim Al-Seddiqi, CEO of the Abu Dhabi Financial Group and chairman of GFH Financial Group, who delved into the potential of transforming the region into a fintech hub and the importance of jumping on the digital bandwagon. 

The prime panel discussion on the “Future of Growth Amid Volatility” brought together five CEOs who explored methods to create future-proof strategies that can not only tackle challenges but also boost growth in a tough geopolitical and economic climate. 

Hisham Al-Rayes, CEO and board member of the GFH Financial Group, said: “Investing in the future in areas such as fintech, education and technology, the foundations for strong, enduring knowledge-based economies, is a priority for the group and the governments of the region in which we invest.”

“The Blockchain Opportunity” and “The Human Factor and Tech Innovation” panels brought together industry experts from Facebook, the Bahrain FinTech Bay and King Abdul Aziz University. 

“The Future of Women’s Business Leadership” panel discussed positive strides taken by GCC governments and businesses in leveling the playing field for women professionals.