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21 June, 2011

VCUQatar Alumni Relations Office Hosts Arabian Market Networking Event

Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatars Alumni Relations office hosted Arabian Market, a ladies-only networking event for VCUQatar alumni, in collaboration with Qatar Professional Womens Network, on 15 June at the Sharq Village Hotel and Spa.

The evening began with a welcome and introduction by Sana Al-Buainain, director of Alumni Affairs at VCUQatar and was followed by a motivational talk by VCUQatar alumna Reem Al-Thani. Ms Al-Thani graduated from VCUQatar last year with a double major in Fashion Design and Interior Design and presently works as a junior exhibition designer at Mathaf (Arab Museum of Modern Art). Through her presentation entitled "The Challenge and the Belief of the Real World vs. Design" she addressed from her own experience the role design played at her job, which, especially recent graduates, found to be inspirational.

This was followed by another motivational speech by Carolin Zeitler that encouraged the audience to live the difference they want to make. Ms Zeitler is the director of Arcata Interactive Communication Coaching and the Founder & Initiator of the How Women Work Conference. She has dedicated her professional life to inspiring, encouraging and empowering people to make a difference.

The ladies then participated in ‘Arabian Market’ a fun, fast-paced negotiation game that encouraged networking while highlighting the value of shared information as well as open honest communication. The premise for the game was the trading that took place over the last century between the various tribes in Arabia. Each team representing a tribe was given a bag of goods – dates, pearls, fish, spices, water, etc. – and information, including value, related to the goods to trade with. Each 10-minute round that represented a decade for example, saw the various tribes exchanging and trading goods according to their needs and wants. At the end of each round, the value of the goods would be declared. If there was a drought in that decade the value of water would be high, followed by the value of fish. The goods would then be exchanged for money at the bank. The tribe with the most money in the end were declared winners. Sarah Al Hashimi and Paola Ortizo’s tribe won.

The young winners said they were initially skeptical and not sure what strategies would work. But they soon caught up and had fun analyzing others and negotiating. They also agreed team work helped them clinch the title. Maryam Al-Beshri, VCUQatar alumna and general manager of biz-events, the company that organized the team-building activities for the evening, said the goal of the activities was to teach participants how to build and maintain good relations, network and connect with people so as to help them achieve their dreams and goals. “I would love to see more people get engaged and understand the objectives and impact team building activities can have on their organizations,” said the dynamic entrepreneur who credits her four years as a student at VCUQatar for teaching her to be innovative, “which helps one come up with interesting and fun ways to be interactive as well.”

“It was an exciting evening to meet old friends and make new ones as well,” said VCUQatar alumna Sahar Mari who graduated last year. “The part of the evening I enjoyed the most was the networking game hosted by biz-events; it was fun, engaging and educational. I’m looking forward to the next VCUQatar alumni event and hope to see more graduates join the event.”

Ms Al-Buainain said she was happy with the success of the event as this was a wonderful opportunity for VCUQatar alumni to network with the QPWN, who are very active in Qatar. “Our alumni need people who are able to understand what an education in design means, and QPWN do. Their experience combined with the knowledge of our alumni provides avenues for projects to collaborate on. Networking events like this and the recent ‘How Women Work’ conference are incredible occasions for our alumni to meet other women in business and learn of potential business opportunities,” she said.
 

Some of the participants at the Arabian Market networking event

VCUQatar alumni and guest participating in the Arabian Market activities

Sana Al-Buainain, director of Alumni Affairs at VCUQatar welcoming guests to the networking event