DIHAD Concludes a Successful 2017 Edition
Mar 24, 2017

Dubai – United Arab Emirates, 23rd March of 2017: The 14th edition of Dubai International Humanitarian and Development Conference and Exhibition (DIHAD) had concluded its three days agenda today at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre.

DIHAD 2017 has witnessed a number of important initiatives, campaigns, events, and partnerships that coordinate stances and joint programs in order to alleviate the suffering of children in disasters, conflicts and wars.

“The UAE Government has been incredibly active in raising awareness for the global refugee crisis and in encouraging actors from all sectors to play their part. The #FlyForPeace campaign at DIHAD, in which Syrian orphaned refugees depict their vision of peace on kites, is Bilqees Sarwar’s Foundation answer to this call. It embraces the value of art as a therapeutic outlet to process trauma. Designing and flying kites is an empowering way of expression among child refugees. It is shown in research that flying kites in particular provides a sense of freedom; it represents a life without borders and is a powerful symbol of limitless possibilities”, says Oliver Freeman from the Bilqees Sarwar Foundation.

This year saw the first ever hackathon to be held at the Dubai International Humanitarian Aid Exhibition and Conference, was managed by the World Food Programme / UNHRD LAB Dubai.

Bunkering & Storage

Seventeen Computer programmers and behavioral neuroscience students jointly developed a unique software application for IOS and Android to aid children in crisis globally that they called SMILE. The developers worked skillfully under guidance of experienced professors from the Rochester Institute of Technology and WFP/UNHRD employees experienced in humanitarian and development aid.

The app ‘SMILE’ provides specific services for the educator working with children in the heart of the crisis. It will increase their awareness on several aspects of behavioral abnormalities that children in crisis suffer from.

Dr. Yousef Al Assaf, Dean R.I.T. said: “RIT Dubai is proud to support the DIHAD 2017 Hackathon, run in conjunction with WFP –UNHRD. It is an excellent initiative and as a long-term partner of WFP, we are very much aware of the important and life-changing working the program carries out. This initiative combines the academic and technical expertise of our faculty and students to offer real life solutions and research that make a difference in the world.”

From his side, Mr. Abdullah Al Wardat Director of the WFP UAE and GCC said: “World Food Programme (WFP) is pleased to have the opportunity to showcase at this hackathon, a life event that can impact the well-being of children in crisis. The app ‘SMILE’ will gradually counteract to various vulnerabilities and promote emotional intelligence as part of an all-encompassing education. Further, we are honored to play a role in preparing students to contribute to the sustainability challenges of the today.”

On the other hand, the winner of the Red Cross & Red Crescent competition on innovation was announced yesterday at DIHAD. The Lebanese Red Cross received the award from the IFRC Secretary General Elhaj As Sy for its creative proposal on “Using humanitarian values towards a culture of non-violence and peace”. The project will promote non-discrimination and social inclusion by engaging different NGOs and address tensions among migrants and their host communities through interactive training and role-play known as “Our village’s treasure” on behaviour change. The theme is extremely critical as Lebanon is dramatically affected by the civil war in Syria and hosts a large number of refugees.

In his award receiving speech Mr. Sarkiss from the Lebanese Red Cross quoted the well-known saying from Ned Nodding, “Attitudes and mentalities are shaped, at least in part, by experience (because) self-knowledge is much more powerful than the inert and the inactive knowledge of others that we gain from books and lectures.”

The conference this year have discussed critical topics that included: How To Better Address The Often-Time Irreparable Damage Caused To Children In Conflict Situations, Children; Abuse and Exploitation, Breaking the Spiral of Violence, Children and Hunger, and Education in Emergencies, to name a few.

DIHAD is organized yearly by INDEX Conferences and Exhibitions - member of INDEX Holding and supported by Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Est, the United Nations, the UAE Red Crescent Authority, Organization of Islamic Cooperation, International Humanitarian City, OCHA- United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Dubai Cares.

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Suzan Mounzer
Public Relations & Social Media Manager
Mob: +971 569070443
E-mail: suzan.mounzer@index.ae

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