In re­view: the CommsMEA Awards

The telecoms in­dus­try so­cial event of the year has come and gone. And this year, we did things a bit dif­fer­ently.

Comms MEA - - News -

We did things a lit­tle bit dif­fer­ently this year. Here’s ex­actly what went down

for the 2018 edi­tion.

Guests were glammed up. Con­grats were given. Speeches con­ducted. Fancy food was con­sumed. Net­work­ing was done in spades. A good time was had by all. An­other year, an­other CommsMEA Awards has come and gone. The an­nual fete has been go­ing on for a num­ber of years now, and each year con­tin­ues the tra­di­tion: that of hon­our­ing and cel­e­brat­ing the very best of the in­dus­try over the past year, while look­ing for­ward to the next.

While glitz, glam, fun, food (and not too shabby fash­ion) are req­ui­sites of the event, this year marked a bit of a change for the Awards. While the things that are be­ing cel­e­brated (and the afore­men­tioned glam­our) were still front and cen­tre, the for­mat for what was the 13th edi­tion of the awards changed dra­mat­i­cally.

In­stead of a din­ner in a cav­ernous ho­tel or event cen­tre, this year’s awards con­sisted of an in­ti­mate lunch at the swanky Rhodes W1 restau­rant (the brain­child of none other than British celebrity chef Gary Rhodes) in­side the Grosvenor House in Dubai.

Strictly in­vite-only, the new for­mat cre­ated an “in­ner sanc­tum” of the bright­est lu­mi­nar­ies from the telco and tech in­dus­tries from through­out the Mid­dle East and Africa, in­clud­ing top ex­ec­u­tives, movers, shak­ers, long­time le­gends, ris­ing stars, and more. The crowd of sev­eral dozen were treated to a multi-course menu em­pha­sis­ing fresh and lo­cal in­gre­di­ents com­bined in cre­ative ways – not to men­tion the afore­men­tioned net­work­ing, cel­e­brat­ing their own and the achieve­ments of their peers, and the chance to see and be seen.

Fol­low­ing some pre-event net­work­ing, win­ners took part in video in­ter­views dis­cussing their wins and what could come next for their busi­nesses (check out those on commsmea. com and on YouTube). Fol­low­ing an in­tro­duc­tory speech by ITP group sales man­ager An­drew Cover and plat­inum spon­sor Huawei, lunch be­gan and ap­petites were sa­ti­ated with co­mestibles such as scal­lops and prawn with soft quail egg, pan roasted corn-fed chicken with cour­gettes and spring onion risotto in hazel­nut pesto, and pineap­ple chi­boust with blue­berry poached pineap­ple and caramel syrup for dessert.

Oh, and in be­tween it all, Zain Su­dan CEO El­fatih Erwa re­ceived spe­cial recog­ni­tion for his ser­vice to the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions in­dus­try. Dur­ing his speech, Erwa – who prior to join­ing Zain Su­dan used to be Su­dan’s Am­bas­sador to the United Na­tions, as well as State Min­is­ter of De­fence among many other roles – spoke of the im­por­tance of em­pow­er­ment, par­tic­u­larly women’s em­pow­er­ment. To say the au­di­ence was en­rap­tured would be an un­der­state­ment.

While this was the first time host­ing the CommsMEA Awards over lunch, the proof ap­pears to be in the prover­bial pud­ding: when guests fi­nally be­gan to trickle out, there wasn’t a frown to be seen.

Need­less to say, ex­pec­ta­tions for next year are now some­what high.

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