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Mahmood Al-Yousif’s Int’l Media Awards Acceptance Speech
International Media Awards

International Media Awards

I’m deeply honoured to have won the Outstanding Contribution to New Media 2013 award presented by the International Council for Press and Broadcasting at the Oxford and Cambridge Club in London last night.

Mahmood Al-Yousif receiving the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award from the Council for Press and Broadcasting in London, UK. Picture courtesy of Alwasat Newspaper
Mahmood Al-Yousif receiving the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award from the Council for Press and Broadcasting in London, UK. From Left: Dalia Salaam Rishani (Member of the Board of Trustees, NCF, Council for Press & Broadcasting), Mahmood Al-Yousif, Ian Black (ME Editor, The Guardian). Picture courtesy of Alwasat Newspaper

Accepting the award last night, in the presence of so many people I admire from all around the region and beyond, I first and foremost thanked my wife Frances, without whose unstinting support and understanding I would never have persevered. I also specifically dedicated the award to all the harassed bloggers around the world who strive to provide us with reel, immediate and unfiltered content upon which intelligent men and women can form their informed opinions. The raw information they provide is key to bridging the various gaps and cultural differences which only seem to widen as time goes by. Their work, efforts and dedication should definitely be appreciated, and they should be supported in any way that could be offered.

I further dedicate this award to my friend Zakariya Alasheeri who has been cruelly murdered under torture in Bahrain. Zakariya was a gentle person who’s only “fault” was to voice his concerns and criticism of what is happening in his own country. He worked tirelessly to try to ameliorate the deepening sectarianism in Bahrain and cooperated with me to create and launch the very first Bloggers’ Code of Ethics. Something that is completely trampled in today’s Bahrain, unfortunately.

Another person I dedicate this award to is my friend Ali Abdulemam, who was compelled to go into hiding for two years before escaping from Bahrain for simply exercising his constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech.

We have a very long way to go, and an awful lot to repair in Bahrain. I can tell you that I shall continue to offer whatever I can to help my country move forward toward a more peaceful, equitable and embracing future. One where all can be proud to be her citizens. And one where uncertainty, fear, suspicion and hate have no refuge.

Thank you Next Century Foundation and the International Media Awards for bestowing the Outstanding Contribution to New Media award on me. I am immensely grateful for being selected this year and shall use its energy to progress peace and understanding in my tiny piece of potential Heaven.

The International Media Council was established with NCF by journalists and opinion-formers to address concerns in the international media. The Council works to facilitate rights of access for journalists deals with problems faced by journalists ranging from imprisonment on one extreme to censorship on the other. The Council also deals with issues in relation to xenophobia and disinformation, and publishes a Media Ethics Code. The Council also grants annual international media awards for best practice.

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My learnings from my first large scale public speaking

My learnings from my first large scale public speaking

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mahmood-eo-manila

 

  • Reading from a teleprompter is much harder than it looks, it needs practice – and proper height adjustment
  • This is amplified even more when it stops working and is mis-synced with TV repeating monitors
  • At this stage, ignore prompter and screens and either follow the printed script, or as a last resort, wing it
  • This is where having had a rehearsal is so important!
  • Rehearsal will give you the opportunity to time the presentation AND ensure that the slides are correctly queued AND the other technological widgets work too
  • Repeat the above steps as many times as you need, this prevents – or at least lessens the chance of making a fool of yourself in front of hundreds of your peers

I didn’t do any of these things last night and got to make a fool of myself.

What I learnt? All the above will be my constant checklist for any other public speaking engagements and practice does make perfect.

It was a fantastic learning experience. Trial by fire it was. I’m better for it and here’s the thing: I can only get better. I’m looking forward to the next opportunity 😉

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Terrorism Will Not Win.

Terrorism Will Not Win.

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My thoughts and prayers are with all the families of the dead and injured as a result of this heinous crime against humanity. Terrorism doesn’t serve anyone and attacking the innocent doesn’t serve ANY any cause. The intention to do the maximum harm was quite evident in the selection of the Boston Marathon as a theatre of their hateful operations.

To all my American friends, you have my full support and sympathy. While I do not have the answers, I encourage you not to hate, because if you do, the dark forces behind this and other terrorism attacks win. I applaud the statement and reasoning of the US President who promised that “Any responsible individuals, any responsible groups, will feel the full weight of justice.” which shows the humanity of that nation and its respect for human rights and due process, rather than go into an automatic collective punishment.

I do hope that those responsible are caught and they do feel the full weight of justice. As I hope their sources of sustenance do too because they are just as complicit in this as the perpetrators of the crime themselves.

boston-blast

My complete and unfettered sympathies. This is yet another sad day for peace loving people.

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My 2013 BHAG

My 2013 BHAG

What’s your Big Hairy Audacious Goal for 2013?

I’ll start:

Restore Bahrain’s equilibrium through highlighting what’s good about us and by God also exposing the bad and inviting resolution and what a better future will look like for all and shall help as many SMEs to achieve sustainability and growth through good communication strategies.

Now it’s YOUR turn.

My BHAG for 2013 will be to: ______________________

(Please leave a comment below

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Season’s Greetings!
Bahrain, this is probably a good time to change your lens

Bahrain, this is probably a good time to change your lens

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A few weeks ago I attended an “EO University“, an event organised by the Entrepreneurs’ Organisation for its members from all over the world, this time, in the fabulous city of Istanbul. The University is a intense learning experience in which attendees get to listen to world-class speakers for three days and be inspired by their vision. Apart from that, there’s a lot of networking through many opportunities that every single attendee leaves enriched with new world views and many new and lasting friendships.

One of the speakers I particularly liked is Shawn Achor, the Happiness Professor, as I like to call him, who’s opened up new horizons for me and truly inspired me to think of new ways in which to view our situation in Bahrain. In fact, since my return from Istanbul, I have resolved – and generally succeeded – in adopting a more positive attitude.

My view now is basically this: being negative will NEVER resolve a situation. To achieve resolution, one’s lens through which a situation is viewed must change and be replaced with one that has a patina of positivity and belief in a shared and successful future in order to envisage a resolution in the first place. Further, every Bahraini has a duty to seek out an equitable resolution through positive, rather than insular and myopic views. We should actively choose to replace that opaque negativity smeared lens to one that is clear and which allows positivity and a belief that a resolution is possible.

Shawn Achor talks about this, and many other aspects associated with positive thinking and happiness and how those impact positive outcomes and even achieve better efficiencies and guarantees of success. Please spend less than eight minutes listening to Shawn Achor speak about this phenomenon. I welcome your positive comments and actions to resolve Bahrain’s situation and get us to move forward as one society happily living in one cohesive nation.

Peace!

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Not in MY name!

Not in MY name!

The events in Libya attacking an embassy and killing some of its inhabitant simply for a stupid movie is not only a heinous act and completely inhuman, but does Islam a complete injustice. Allah and His Prophet do NOT need anyone’s help and assistance, thank you very much, so keep your violence and your disgraceful attitudes and criminal behaviour out of peoples’ lives.

My condolences to the family of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and all of those who died in this heinous act, and my sympathies are with those who suffered from this in any way. To those who perpetrated this act do get my complete and unfiltered condemnation.

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Let the sun shine through…

Let the sun shine through…

Fed up of politics… yes I know that today is an important milestone for Bahrain jurisprudence with the impending Appeal Court decision regarding the 21 political leaders and other assorted activists, but even with that, let’s just pose a second and enjoy these flowers… and the calm.

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Rewarding incompetence

Rewarding incompetence

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Can someone explain to me why the hell the government’s picking up the tab on this one?

Isa Town market gutted by fire

Bahrain’s prime minister has promised “immediate compensation” to traders whose livelihood has been impacted by the blaze which destroyed Isa Town market last month.
Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa also said that the market would be rebuilt in “record time”.

He made the comments during a follow-up visit to the scene of the fire on Thursday, Bahrain News Agency reported.

He was accompanied by Dr Jum’a bin Ahmed Al-Ka’bi, the Minister of Municipalities Affairs and Urban Planning, who urged authorities to provide an alternative location for traders to use until the market has been reconstructed. [Continue reading…]

Unless the government started this fire deliberately, why the hell is it now throwing money at this? Or is it an inherent admission of guilt?

For anyone who’s been to that decrepit market over the last ten or more years, they would be either blind or stupid or even both together for not deducing immediately that the place will burn down. It was a ramshackle, dangerous, narrow, completely unhealthy environment where nary a single safety precaution was taken. And if you just see what they’ve been selling there: from illicit and “hot” goods, to endangered animals put in disgusting cages and other assorted enclosures, to bare electrical wires to unsanitary surroundings, the government – if it was interested in doing it’s job – should have shut that place down a long time ago. It should have gutted it completely and threw the stall owners out! They should never have been allowed to set up “business” in such a manner.

Of course, none of those “businessmen” had any insurance against possible loss of income or other exigencies, and we know now that it wasn’t necessary at all in any case. Why expend some money when you know that the government’s going to come and pay good money – which could easily be employed in more worthwhile causes – to “rescue” you from your own ignorance. Why? I see absolutely no reason for this largess.

I – as do many people I know – budget for business insurance to cover for extraordinary events and treat that as a business expense. But I see now that I was, once again, severely mistaken and that I should simply await a knight in shining armour to come and rescue me and my business if anything unfortunate happen to either of us. In fact, I shall demand that my auditor insert that line in the balance sheet the next time I have to pay him for his professional services. Oh wait! Maybe the government could pick up that tab too!

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