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ZHO disseminates sign language for deaf members of society, facilitate their empowerment and integration

ABU DHABI, 23rd September, 2023 (WAM) — On the occasion of the International Day of Sign Languages, which falls on 23rd September, and themed “Global language we speak with our fingers,” and within the efforts of the Zayed Higher Organisation for People of Determination (ZHO) to disseminate Emirati sign language among all members of society, and in order to disseminate the only method that facilitates communication with people of determination from the deaf category, ZHO is undertaking an initiative in cooperation with the Higher Colleges of Technology with the participation of students and staff.

This aims at introducing the deaf and their culture and encouraging normal people of all age groups to learn and use sign language.

The initiative is designed to spread awareness of the use of sign language and introduce the deaf category, enhance the mental, oral and gestural development of those with special abilities, support and protect their linguistic identity and cultural diversity and other users of sign language.

This is in addition to helping them integrate into society, and working to develop their social, cognitive and cultural relationships, as well as curbing the internal and psychological pressures suffered by those with lack of speech and hearing.

Initiative Scenario

The initiative is being carried out and documented in coordination and cooperation with the administration of the Higher Colleges of Technology, with the participation of students and staff, with the aim of introducing the deaf and their culture and encouraging normal people of all age groups to learn and use sign language for the deaf.
The initiative includes a number of scenes to monitor the reaction of the targeted students. The first is a collection of Arabic and American Sign Languages booklets, containing still and animated images that open using the code. They are placed on the reception table at the main entrance, and when students and staff enter, each picks up a copy of the booklet to satisfy their curiosity about sign language. They will have side conversations between them, review the booklet, try to imitate pictures with signs, and use the code to open it.

The second scene is in the outdoor courtyard, a dialogue between two students on the nature of sign language. They review the booklet and one of them goes with imitating the sign and asks a friend in sign language “How are you?”, who answers in sign language “I am fine”, with amusement, astonishment and curiosity appear on their faces.

The third scene is in the college canteen, between three female students conversing in American Sign Language (ASL) through a booklet. The first says in American English, “What is your name?”, the second answer by spelling her name in English letters, and the third also tries to spell her name in English letters, and signs of happiness to learn this language appear on their faces.

The scenes continue, varying in location, from classrooms to lecturers' and administration's offices, until they wrap up with a general scene in one of the places on campus, where a number of students and staff gather, saying in American and Arabic Sign Languages, "Together we celebrate on the International Day of Sign Languages."

Shaima Al-Hanaki, Director of the Hearing Disability Project at ZHO, asserted that that people of determination, especially the deaf, receive ZHO’s best care in implementation of the directives of our wise leadership.

She thanked the administration of the Higher Colleges of Technology and the students for their fruitful and distinct cooperation with ZHO to carry out the initiative, a matter which contributes to introducing students and staff to sign language as a means of communication between the deaf and members of society.

“Sign language conveys an effective message to everyone that pluralism and diversity in communication on this day is necessary for all. It facilitates communication between the deaf and others, conveys their mutual feelings, helps them express their different needs, reinforces their mental, oral and gestural development. It also curbs their internal and psychological pressures, develops their social, cognitive and cultural relationships, and frees them from fear, depression and frustration,” Al-Hanaki said.

Emirati Sign Language Dictionary for the Deaf

ZHO highlighted the importance of raising community awareness about the issues of people of determination of the deaf group and ensuring their rights in society. It works to disseminate the Emirati Sign Language among all members of society. In this vein, ZHO adopts a myriad of initiatives designed to integrate and empower the deaf group, including the launch of the Emirati Sign Language Dictionary for the Deaf, which contains local Emirati Sign Language terminology and documents them in an approved dictionary under the slogan “For Unified Emirati Sign Language Dictionary” to empower and integrate the deaf group into society and disseminate their language, especially Emirati vocabulary, in Emirati Sign Language, which is great achievement in the field of caring for people of determination statewide.

Sign Language Courses

ZHO delivered a series of training courses for employees of a number of government and private departments, institutions, bodies and companies, in addition to community members, to train and teach them sign language for the deaf. It also carried out an educational programme to train candidates from various departments and institutions of the Government of Abu Dhabi in sign language.
Cooperation with ADJD

Another initiative was launched by ZHO in cooperation with the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD) to provide a new service for the deaf customers and visitors of the ADJD, courts and prosecution offices, by providing simultaneous interpretation in sign language by linking ZHO and ADJD through a closed circuit television through which the assistance of ZHO’s sign language interpreters are sought while they are at their workplace without the need for them to move to the ADJD’s headquarters to deliver the service.

Emirati-Chinese Joint Sign Language Dictionary

ZHO signed a memorandum of understanding with the China Disabled Persons' Federation (CDPF) on developing and exchanging experiences between the two sides with respect to services provided to people of determination. Within the framework of enhancing cooperation between the two sides, an initiative was announced to launch a joint dictionary page for the Chinese and Emirati Sign Languages, “The Emirati-Chinese Sign Language Dictionary Project”, as the first initiative of strategic partnership and the first instance of bilateral cooperation between ZHO and CDPF, aimed at achieving social and cultural communication between the deaf in the two countries. The initiative supports the initiatives to implement the Abu Dhabi's Strategy for People of Determination.

Study Disciplines for the Deaf in Universities

On the other hand, ZHO signed a number of memorandums of understanding with universities in the state, including Abu Dhabi University, Zayed University, Al Ain University of Science and Technology, and UAE University on coordinating their efforts to prepare a number of specialisations at the bachelor’s level for students of determination, including the deaf students, in a way that suits their inclinations and abilities, through which universities work to provide a friendly and nurturing university environment for them, and to develop local communities, with a focus on people of determination, their families, and their communities.

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Hamriyah and Deira ports record AED 12.133b in customs declaration value for first nine months of 2023

Dubai Customs plays a crucial role as the frontline defense for community security, consistently advancing its customs centers to safeguard and facilitate maritime trade. H.E. Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, Director General of Dubai Customs, CEO of
Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation, recently visited Creek Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center to evaluate progress and oversee ongoing efforts for continuous customs service development. During this visit, several executive directors, department heads, and customs center managers were present.

Ahmed Mahboob Musabih, accompanied by Rashid Al Dhabah Al Suwaidi, Acting Director of Seae Customs Centers Management, conducted inspections at Khor Customs Center, Deira Port, and Hamriyah Port Customs Center. Managers Abdulaziz Ibrahim Al Salman and Majid Salem Al Tawilah provided insights into workflow progress and accomplishments. Over the first nine months of this year, 62,454 customs declarations were processed, totaling AED 12.133 billion, with 19 seizures recorded during the same period. A visit to Hamriyah Port Customs Center showcased an advanced container X-ray inspection device, supporting increased inspection operations.

Subsequently, visits to Khor Customs Center and Deira Port highlighted achievements, including a notable seizure called the “Wheelhouse,” which successfully prevented an attempt to smuggle 243 kilograms of narcotics into the country. Commending customs employees, Ahmed Mahboob Musabih emphasized the pivotal role of maritime customs centers in ensuring community security and facilitating trade. The department collaborates for efficient goods clearance and acknowledges employee efforts
during the COVID-19 pandemic, contributing to the department’s support for global efforts to revive maritime navigation and international trade.

Musabih clarified that the department’s advanced capabilities in monitoring and inspection enable it to keep pace with the UAE’s rapid foreign trade growth. Supporting Dubai’s economic agenda D33, the department aims to double foreign trade and enhance economic partnerships with key global markets. Efforts to boost customs inspector efficiency continue through training courses, ensuring their ability to thwart smuggling attempts. Continuous development of X-ray scanning
devices and the K9 customs dog unit further enhances contraband control achievements. Rasheed Al-Dabah explained that the forthcoming period will witness the advancement of new initiatives and mechanisms in the realm of inspection and examination. These initiatives are grounded in a forward-looking perspective to introduce cutting-edge technologies utilized in examining maritime transport vessels, wooden ships, and ships engaged in fish trade.

He remarked, “Our endeavors are harmonized to enhance performance in sea customs centers, concurrently focusing on bolstering monitoring, tracking, and technical support activities to yield optimal outcomes through continuous and productive collaboration among all specialized teams within the department. The Customs centers in Deira, Al Khor, and
Hamriyah Port Customs Center shoulder their vital responsibilities in safeguarding society and facilitating maritime trade through Dubai Creek and Hamriyah Port, supporting the ongoing growth of the national economy.”

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Dubai Customs Hosts Sharjah Housing Delegation to Strengthen Government Communication Ties

Dubai Customs, represented by the Corporate Communication Department, warmly welcomed a delegation from the Sharjah Housing Department. The purpose of the visit was to familiarize the delegation with the duties and responsibilities of the
Corporate Communication Department and its affiliated divisions. The delegation also aimed to explore the awards received by the department, notably the recognition as the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award for 2023.

Khalil Saqer bin Gharib, Director of Corporate Communication Department, along with department managers, extended a cordial reception to the Sharjah Housing delegation, which included Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication, Nada Sivan, Head of the Public Relations and Events Department, and Hamad Saleh Al Hamadi, Head of
the New Media Department. Bin Gharib highlighted the department’s commitment to strengthening communication with government entities to exchange practical experiences and knowledge. The delegation was briefed on Dubai Customs exceptional performance in customs operations and other facets.

The meeting delved into discussions on potential avenues for collaboration, with the Sharjah Housing delegation. Emphasis was placed on the crucial role played by Dubai Customs’ Corporate Communication Department, customs administrations, and centers in ensuring security and safeguarding society. The delegation was presented with an overview of the department’s working mechanisms, awareness campaigns, events, and activities conducted internally and externally, aligning with Dubai Customs esteemed reputation.

Furthermore, the Sharjah Housing delegation acquired an understanding of the best media practices adopted by the Corporate Communication Department, showcasing its outstanding performance in enhancing knowledge and media dissemination to all partners. This has resulted in the department establishing and fortifying relationships with local and international media
entities. The presentation also encompassed the factors contributing to the department’s receipt of the award for the Best Government Communication Team in the Sharjah Government Communication Award.

Dr. Ahmed Rashid Al Nuaimi, Director of Government Communication at Sharjah Housing, expressed appreciation for the efforts of Dubai Customs Corporate Communication Department, acknowledging its excellence and significant contribution to enhancing the department’s standing. Dr. Al Nuaimi affirmed Sharjah Housing’s commitment to fostering ongoing visits and meetings with Dubai Customs, aiming to achieve the highest level of coordination and benefit from the Corporate Communication Departmen’s experience in securing numerous local and international awards.

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Zayed Sustainability Prize opens submissions for 2025 cycle

The Zayed Sustainability Prize, the UAE’s pioneering global sustainability and humanitarian award, has officially announced that the 2025 cycle is now open for submissions.  Submissions will be accepted until 23 June 2024 through the Prize’s online portal. Small to medium enterprises (SMEs), nonprofit organisations (NPOs) and high schools with sustainable solutions are invited to submit an entry for consideration in one of the six categories of Heath, Food, Energy, Water, Climate Action and Global High Schools. Commenting on the launch of the 2025 submissions cycle, H.E. Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, Director General of the Zayed Sustainability Prize, and COP28 President, said: “Since 2008, the
Zayed Sustainability Prize has honoured the legacy of Sheikh Zayed by fostering inclusive sustainable and humanitarian development around the world. In this decisive decade for climate change, these values are more important than ever. I am optimistic that the Prize will contribute to global climate action in line with the UAE Consensus, which will pave the
way toward an effective response to the Global Stocktake decision.” In response to the pressing climate crisis, and to further support the UAE’s efforts to accelerate practical solutions needed to drive climate action and uplift vulnerable communities around the world, the Prize has increased its funds from US $3.6 million to US $5.9 million. The Prize will reward US $1 million to each winner in the organisational categories of Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action. Within the Global High Schools category, which is split into six world regions, each school can claim up to US $150,000 to start or further expand their project. The six world regions of the Global High Schools category are The Americas, Europe and Central Asia, Middle East and North Africa, Sub- Saharan Africa, South Asia, and East Asia and Pacific. The most recent Zayed Sustainability Prize winners were recognised at an Awards Ceremony held during COP28 UAE. To encourage a broader range of organisations and high schools to participate, the Prize will be accepting submissions in multiple languages, including Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish, and Portuguese. This will ensure that innovative solutions from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds can be recognised. For the Health, Food, Energy, Water and Climate Action categories, organisations should prove that they are improving access to essential products or services in their targeted communities and are able to implement a long-term vision for better living and working conditions. For the Global High Schools category, projects should be led by students, and must demonstrate innovative approaches to address sustainability challenges. The evaluation of each submission to the Prize consists of a rigorous, three-stage process. First, due diligence is conducted on all submissions to ensure that they meet the Prize’s evaluation criteria of Impact, Innovation, and Inspiration. This identifies the qualified entries and results in the selection of eligible candidates. Following this, evaluations are undertaken by a Selection Committee consisting of category-specific panels of independent international experts. From this shortlist of candidates, the finalists are chosen and then sent to the Prize Jury who unanimously elect the winners across all six categories.   Winners of the Zayed Sustainability Prize will be announced at an Awards Ceremony during the 2025 Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

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