On the 25th of January, 2020, the PMI-UAE Chapter held its Annual Gathering for the year 2020 at Mandarin Oriental Jumeirah, Dubai. Registration started at 9:00 am through 10:00am after which the welcome address was made. The gathering soon after continued with the introduction of the speakers for the day and a warm-up quiz on the new PMI logo, enquiring on the number of symbols and what each symbol depicts. The welcome address and announcement proceeded enlightening attendees on the benefits of Chapter membership in the year 2020 which were illustrated using mind-map tool in 6 broad categories as follows:

Career enhancement – through activities, meetings, educational programs; program for young professionals, career growth programs and PMI certification preparation programs.
Networking – The new and enhanced benefits in 2020 networking includes collaboration with Universities and Leading organizations, collaboration with other industry chapters, industry group communities
Events - includes tailored workshop sessions on diverse topics and latest trends, diversified webinars and events in more emirates.
Learning Opportunity – knowledge sharing; Learning and knowledge sharing includes online forum discussion groups, personal development enhancement for PMs, Mentoring Program
Course and further certifications – well-established partnerships with REPs in the UAE, earn 1 to 2 PDUs by attending seminar, earn 5 PDUs by delivering presentation in Chapter seminar
Volunteer Opportunities – free access to PMI Global events and Partner Events, benefit from volunteer recognition programs, purpose-based volunteering in conducting sessions, sharing knowledge, managing and participate in different chapter events, lead projects for PMI UAE Chapter
Have Fun

Youth Program was also a focus during the gathering with set objectives which included educating the region’s youth about the importance and value of Project Management; Making Project Management appealing to the younger professionals as an adaptable tool; Redefining Project Management and redirect the preconceptions about the rigidity of the field, making it relevant to all sorts of life activities for the target audience.

Another highlight was the participation of women in the chapter. The defined objectives of women in the chapter were: to empower women in the industry, help increase women participation in Project Management and to recognize top achieving volunteering women with a new annual award.

The next speaker Mr. Mohammed Al Harmi from Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) started at 10:30am describing the Space centre .The centre which was founded in February, 2006 as Emirates Institution for Advanced Science and Technology (EIAST) was changed to Mohamed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) in April 2015 with a Vision: To be recognized globally as a centre of excellence in the field of space science and technological innovation and a Mission: To enable the UAE to effectively create, use and exploit space science technologies and applications. MBRSC team is a 100% Emiratization team with more than 200 employees and an average age of 27 years in which 42% are women. He enumerated the Programmes of the UAE National Space which are:

Satellite Development Programme
Emirates Mars Mission Hope Mission
Mars 2117
UAE Astronaut Programme

Satellite Development Programme: The Satellite Development Programme which has launched 2 satellites; Dubai Sat – 1 with 2.5m resolution and Dubai Sat – 2 with 1m resolution in 2009 and 2013 respectively. The Emirati proportion in the development for Dubai Sat-1 was 30% and 50% in Dubai Sat-2. There is also the Khalifa Sat with 0.7m resolution developed by 100% Emirati engineers was launched in October, 2018

Emirates Mars Mission: Al-Amal Probe, the Emirates Mars Mission will be the first Arabic Mars space probe, the launch date is in 2020 and arrival date to Mars atmosphere will be 2021.

Mar 2117: The Mars 2117 was established with a vision to enable the UAE to contribute to humanity’s interplanetary endeavours and a mission to establish a lasting colony on Mars by 2117 with international collaborations. The pillars of Mars 2117 programs include: (i) Education – imbedding a culture of discovery and exploration, (ii) Research and Development – contributing to global efforts of colonizing the red planet, (iii) Collaboration – building effective and lasting international partnerships, (iv) Enable – enabling youth to play an active role in advancing global efforts

UAE Astronaut Programme was developed with the following objectives in mind:

Positioning the UAE as an internationally recognized participant in human space flight
Supporting the UAE’s vision of a future dependent upon a knowledge-based economy
Sending Emirati astronauts to space to carry out scientific missions
Promoting a culture of scientific endeavour in the UAE by inspiring new generations

The PMI-UAE Chapter President Mrs Laila Faridoon was the second speaker for the day who began her presentation on Digital Transformation at 11:30am. Describing the challenges and opportunities that are associated with the phenomenon, she answered the question on how much the world has changed using images to do comparative analysis of past and the present, examples includes – (i) 5 MB mainframe memory compare to 1TB memory in a SD card, (ii) just 5 pictures taken by an astronaut who travelled to the moon compared to a whooping 37 pictures taken by a lady who dashed into the convenience store.

She justified that reasons why the world has changed so much could be attributed to the evolution that is triggered by behaviours. In her presentation she characterized the industry into different versions according to the predominant technology that played a big role in each century,

Industry 1.0 – late 18th century; Steam Power
Industry 2.0 – late 19th and early 20th; Electricity
Industry 3.0 – 20th century; Computers
Industry 4.0 – Automation, IoT, Connection, Big Data, Cloud Computing and System Integration.

She continued that innovative, risky and distributive ideas can bring about radical, futuristic or breakthrough projects. We need to change our behaviours, we need new capabilities but is that enough, these have to be in tripartite – Country level, Organizational level and Individual level. Enabling these will be attributes such as Capabilities, Diversity, Resilience, High Risk Appetite, Analytical Thinking and Design/System Thinking.

Quoting the famous Walt Disney’s quote – If you can dream it, you can do it, she highlighted three factors necessary for this change as (i) Dream, (ii) Risk and (iii) Transform

Chapter Awards Distribution and Raffles followed with appreciation of sponsors, partners, and volunteers. Awards were given in the following categories and the winners as mentioned below:

Member with the highest membership years – Mohamed Arafa and Zouheir Chami
Member with the highest number of PMI Credentials – Muhamad Arafath
Chapter women volunteer of the year award – Sajeena Elayedath
Chapter volunteers of the year award – Nassim Abed and Nawaf Al Karnous

The gathering ended with photo shoots and a befitting lunch for all attendees which paved the way for networking.