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MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series: “A Legacy of T.E. Lawrence – The University of the Desert” by Mark Evans MBE

Mark Evans MBE, Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman
Mark Evans MBE, Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman

The fifth lecture of the 2018/19 MBI Al Jaber Lecture Series was presented by Mark Evans MBE, Executive Director of Outward Bound Oman, at the MBI Al Jaber Seminar Room, SOAS University of London.

In his presentation, Mark Evans described the initiatives that he has been working on for the past decade – Connecting Cultures and Outward Bound Oman. He started by introducing the motivations and objectives behind Connecting Cultures – a project that was supported by both the MBI Al Jaber Foundation, which Mark Evans thanked for engaging with them, and UNESCO.

Mark went on to describe the formula which Connecting Cultures is based upon: 18 young people from 18 different countries (from both the Arab World and the West), with diverse cultural backgrounds, spending 5 days together in the desert in order to take part in powerful and inspiring dialogue with their fellow travellers. Throughout their stay in the desert, these young people have the chance to ask themselves ‘What unites different cultures?’, ‘How can we challenge stereotypes and extremism?’, ‘What actions can an individual take to preserve this type of dialogue?’. Mark’s presentation was accompanied by videos of interviews with the participants, who testified to how Connecting Cultures changed their perspective on intercultural dialogue and helped them to remove their prejudices.

Another project that Mark discussed was Outward Bound Oman, the first branch of Outward Bound ever to be established in an Arabic-speaking country. In the past ten years, Outward Bound Oman has greatly increased the number of courses that it offers. It engages with local schools in Oman and tries to improve the opportunities for Omani youth with a focus on academic inclusion and employability. Thanks to their staff and their patrons’ (which include the Prince of Wales and Duke of Edinburgh) efforts, Outward Bound Oman is now an NGO operating under the Ministry of Social Development of Oman and works closely with the Ministry of Education. Furthermore, 92% of their staff is Omani, thus offering employment opportunities to locals.

The remarkable achievements that Mark Evans presented and the vision of these two projects caught the audience’s attention and a number of interesting questions arose during the Q&A session. The MBI Al Jaber Foundation wishes Mark and his team the best for their future activities and would like to once more express its pride in being a partner and sponsor of such amazing initiatives.

For further information, please contact:
Director of Public Relations
[email protected]



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