DHL Connecting Cultures All Girls Expedition Returns to Tell Stories of Adventure
The third DHL Connecting Cultures expedition has successfully returned from the Sharqiyah desert sands on February 12th. This unique journey has helped to unravel to its participants not only lesser known facts of the Middle East, but has also contributed towards a collective effort strengthening international understanding among different cultures.
Mark Benton, DHL Oman Country Manager said, “We are very happy to welcome the Connecting Cultures girl’s team back after they have completed this incredible educational as well as cultural experience. DHL is proud to support all the efforts which have helped make this expedition an enriching experience for all the partcipants. As the world's leading express delivery and logistics company, DHL has a responsibility to the communities in which we live and work. By partnering with people who share our corporate values, DHL leverages its expansive network and shipping expertise to support important initiatives that make a difference in our communities. The Connecting Cultures team has proven yet again that co-operation, tolerance and understanding of each others cultures are phenomenal building blocks towards an all rounded personality of a growing individual.“
The team left Muscat on February 7th aboard a coaster bus for the Empty Quarters Tours Thousand Night campsite in the Sharqiyah sands. During their five day journey in the desert sands the young girls walked in pairs alongside eight camels. By sunset they sat together around a campfire establishing links to what they had experienced during the day. Team building exercises and initiatives working towards understanding different cultural issues were their tools of exchange and dialogue.
“The expedition marks the end of one journey and the beginning of many more for all those who have been a part of the DHL Connecting Cultures expedition,” said Mark Evans, founder of Connecting Cultures at the welcome reception held at Grand Hyatt on the evening of February 12th. ‘The young people have discovered that whilst they may see things in different ways, they share the same core values have more in common than in difference. All were outstanding young ambassadors for their respective countries, and we hope they will return home to play more informed roles in their respective communities.”
“Although culture is a main factor of conflicts between nations, we all agreed that it should also be an instrument to understand others and improve. During our discussions the understanding of the word “culture” ranged from culture being a unique tradition experienced by a society which could be carried along through different times and areas, but we all unanimously agreed that in today’s world, nations and societies focus on a narrow sphere of bettering themselves rather than the world at large,” said Rifaa Al Harthy a participant from Oman.
Dr. Madiha Al Sheibania, Secretary General, Oman National Commission for Education, Culture and Science further elaborated, “The Commission welcomes the return of the young participants after their exciting, cultural expedition. Such significant initiatives are advocated by many international organisations such as UNESCO and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ISESCO), and the Arab League Educational, Cultural and Scientific Organization (ALECSO). These organisations realise the significance of supporting platforms that enhance intercultural exchange, and promote world peace”.
2008 is the European Year of Intercultural dialogue, explained His Excellency Marc Barety, French Ambassador and local president of the EU in Oman. “In a world plagued with tension and war, a sense of solidarity is more important than ever. We have to promote contact and dialogue, improve mutual knowledge and understanding. This is why the Connecting Cultures project is of vital importance, it creates links between young people, those who will run our planet tomorrow.
“For us, such initiatives are very encouraging and I wish to express my gratitude to Connecting Cultures 2008, to Mark Evans, to the Omani authorities and the sponsors for organising this journey and including a French student, in this fascinating and useful project. The EU Commission has declared 2008 the European year for intercultural dialogue and dedicated 10 million euros for this purpose”, he concluded.
Land Rover/MHD, has been the supporting partner for the Connecting Cultures Desert Crossing Expedition.