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Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Chairman of the Executive Office of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and Chairman of the Organising Committee for the Arab Social Media Influencers Summit (ASMIS), said the summit is in line with the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, to make it the first platform of its kind to enable young Arabs to employ their innovative ideas to serve the Arab community through optimal use of social media channels.
Announcing the agenda of the summit, which will be held on March 17 and 18, 2015, Al Gergawi confirmed the presence of a group of top influencers and experts in social media at the event featuring more than 20 interactive sessions and workshops.
The summit will look at potential ways to enhance the use of social media platforms in serving the Arab community. It will offer the right environment to stimulate the positive use of social media through networking opportunities with key social media influencers with the aim of turning innovative ideas into initiatives that can contribute to community development in all areas.
Gergawi explained that the Summit will have a large and distinctive participation with more than 1,500 influencers, experts and specialists in social media, providing engagement opportunity for all segments of the society keeping in mind the increasing role of social media in development within the Arab World.
The Organising Committee of the Summit has announced the agenda of ASMIS which includes a number of interactive sessions participated by top Arab and international influencers.
The sessions include topics such as ‘Positivity as a method of communication’, ‘Impact of social media platforms on human beings’, and ‘Overcoming challenges through social media’.
In addition, the agenda will focus on the relationship between traditional and new media in shaping the future.
The list of speakers include international influencers such as Brandon Stanton, author of the blog ‘Humans of New York’ whose Facebook page features more than 12 million likes; Lewis Cole, one of the most active and well-known influencers on YouTube, who has more than 1.2 million subscribers on his channel; Cole Rice, a professional photographer and instagrammer; and Chris Messina, inventor of the ‘hashtag’ used across social media channels.
The speakers also include a number of prominent Arab influencers such as Ali Jaber, Director of MBC Group and Dean of Mohammed bin Rashid School of Communication, and Ahmed Shihab-Eldin, independent journalist and social media expert, who will together deliver sessions on the advent of social media vs traditional media.
Omar Samra, the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest and the first Egyptian to travel to space, will also speak during the summit, on the role of social media in addressing challenges.
Influencers Forum will be organised on the sidelines of the Summit as the first event of its kind featuring more than 500 active Arab influencers on various social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. The Forum will discuss the most important issues facing these channels.
The second day of the Summit will include a number of specialised workshops led by top international and Arab social media influencers to discuss best practices and how to take advantage of the expertise available in the field. Nicholas Christakis, an international expert on social networks, will participate in a workshop entitled ‘Hidden power of social media’ which will highlight the role of social media in building networks of influential relations, while Alexis Ohanian, founder of Reddit, will speak on content creation across new media.
There will also be a workshop for influencers on Facebook, entitled ‘Achieving international Status’, led by Brandon Stanton, who will speak about his experiences of becoming a full-time professional on Facebook with more than 12 million followers.
Another session for influencers on YouTube will be presented by the YouTube Academy, and will shed light on Louis Cole’s experience as one of the biggest YouTubers in the world.
Other workshops include two sessions for influencers in fashion and food, which will be led by Arab and international experts.
Arab Social Media Influencers Awards
On the first day of the Summit, the winners of the Arab Social Media Influencers Awards, launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in June 2014, will be announced. The Award honours individual and institutional innovators across social media channels who have helped establish a positive environment for creativity.
Winners will be recognised in 20 categories which are Government Sector, Private Sector, Blogs, Media, Sports, Tolerance, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), Education, Youth, Technology, Entrepreneurship, Environment, Economy, Politics, Health, Arts, Safety and Security, Shopping, Tourism, Entertainment, in addition to the Personality of the Year category.
The Arab Social Media Influencers Award attracted huge participation from all over the Arab world, with the largest percentage of individuals and institutional participations coming in the “Corporate Social Responsibility” category, which honors optimal use of social media in providing services to the society. This was followed by large participation in the ‘Blogs’ and ‘Media’ categories.
The Organising Committee of the Summit explained that nominations were submitted from 22 countries, of which 77% came from Arab countries. The Award received submissions from Arabs living in foreign countries such as Germany, Canada, Britain, India and Italy.
The UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia had the largest number of participations across all categories. Institutional participation for the award was biggest from the UAE, while the largest number of individual participants came from Saudi Arabia.
'Buthoor Initiative' to turn innovative ideas into reality
The ‘Buthoor Initiative’ will be launched during the Summit for new projects and initiatives across social media channels, by providing a unique platform that brings together business incubators and institutions to support new projects from young entrepreneurs. The initiative will select new initiatives and projects and provide financial support to them via a live competition. The support will be provided by a number of business incubators in the Arab world such as Dubai SME, the Silicon Oasis Founders, Oasis 500, Flat 6 Labs Abu Dhabi, and IN5.
Arab Social Media Report
The Summit will also see the launch of the Arab Social Media Report which will provide comprehensive statistics of key social media channels across the Arab world. The report will also provide detailed information on the use of social media channels in various Arab countries and the latest trends in this area.
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