Mövenpick Jordan organizes campaign to help needy families

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Michael Nugent Accor VP operations, Levant & Pakistan
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About 700 kilos of clothes were collected for distribution.
Updated 15 September 2019

Mövenpick Jordan organizes campaign to help needy families

For the sixth year in a row, Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts Jordan partnered with Charity Clothing Bank operated by the Jordan Hashemite Charity Organization, for its annual charity initiative to support the local Jordanian community.
The initiative — “A Kilo of Kindness” — coincided with the International Day of Charity (Sept. 5).
Both guests and employees donated clothes, books and even toys to the less fortunate communities and families in the country.
About 700 kilos of clothes were collected for distribution.
“Mövenpick is always looking to deepen its partnership with the communities in which it operates, helping them reach their full potential, and ‘A Kilo of Kindness’ is a natural fit for us,” said Michael Nugent, Accor vice president operations, Levant and Pakistan. “We are pleased to be working with Charity Clothing Bank on this initiative. The combination of our properties and their network will help us reach out to even more people.”
“A Kilo of Kindness” is part of the hotel’s global corporate social responsibility program, which aims to support and encourage further development of the communities where Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts operates.

KAUST research to boost global date fruit production

Updated 16 October 2019

KAUST research to boost global date fruit production

Today on World Food Day, a team of plant scientists from King Abdullah University for Science and Technology (KAUST) has begun a major project to improve global date palm production and protection.

This project is the first time that the date palm genome has been studied so comprehensively. Dr. Ikram Blilou, professor of plant science at KAUST, and her research team in Saudi Arabia have collected samples from ancient date palms in the historical farm of Al-Dabeta, by the Quba Mosque in Madinah. 

“Our main goal is to improve date palm fruit production and quality in the Kingdom. With more than 2,000 existing varieties globally from which 400 grow in Saudi Arabia, we are concentrating on the ‘Ajwa’ date variety, because of its important societal and religious value for Saudi Arabia in particular,” said Dr. Blilou. 

Earlier this year, Dr. Blilou published in the scientific journal Plant Cell, findings that provide an insight into how desert plants are able to thrive in hostile habitats. The research teams within KAUST’s Center for Desert Agriculture are creating molecular and biotechnological tools to improve date palm agriculture by sequencing the genome of the Ajwa date palm.

“The date palm is one of the few fruit trees that, remarkably, can grow in the desert, a habitat with an arid climate where extreme temperature changes and drought conditions limit plant growth,” said Dr. Blilou. 

“Within KAUST’s Center for Desert Agriculture Research we are studying date palms using advanced genome sequencing techniques and have begun to develop new breeding strategies to help palms grow faster and healthier as well as making them more resistant to pathogens and pests like the red palm weevil.” 

According to the National Palms and Dates Center (NCPD), Saudi Arabia produces an estimated 1.1 million tons of dates per year, 15 percent of the world’s date production. In addition, export of dates from Saudi Arabia grew by 11.7 percent in 2018 compared to 2017.

“Despite this economic importance, basic research into the date palm, including understanding mechanisms of growth and adaptation to the desert environment, is still in its early stages mainly because of the lack of molecular tools and the challenging nature of the plant. It requires a long generation time for flowering which can be four to five years and setting fruits that take 10 to 15 years,” said Dr. Rod Wing, professor of plant science and director of the KAUST Center for Desert Agriculture.

The next step for researchers at this center is to work on generating high-quality genomes for a large number of other varieties of date palms, bringing further potential benefits for date palm agriculture around the world.