The evening of the 2nd March 2011 was a special affair for the Emirates Environmental Group as they hosted their 14th Annual Gala Dinner amidst the beautiful scenery of the Al Meydan Hotel, under the honorable patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum – President - Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman and CEO - Emirates Group, Chairman – Dubai Airports.
The evening convened some of the most pro-active and supportive companies and corporations that have business relations in the UAE who continue to support and participate in EEG’s busy environmental schedule. The flamboyant affair represented a rare opportunity for EEG to express thanks and gratitude to those companies that have helped it achieve many of its accolades in the past year, whether it be through sponsorship, logistical help, media awareness or active participation.
The event also served as a unique platform for networking opportunities, allowing relationships to be strengthened and environmental solutions or issues to be discussed and debated. This aspect of the event was facilitated by a refreshing drinks reception that welcomed the expectant and excited guests. The integration and networking of new and familiar faces naturally flowed and flourished as the evening travelled on, and soon guests were ushered through to the dinning area that was glittered with subtle yet beautiful decoration.
Habiba Al Marashi, Chairperson of Emirates Environmental Group, took to the stage to officially open the event and welcome guests. She spoke about how the Gala Dinner holds a special place within her heart because it represents an occasion where EEG can give thanks to the corporate world for their support and help towards environmental preservation and protection. Mrs. Marashi reflected over the past year and spoke about EEG’s highlights and achievements attained. She gave credit to the corporate world and spoke about how their support is so integral to continued environmental protection.
She aptly thanked all for coming, but uniquely reminded the audience of why they were truly convened together on that special evening. It was because of the environment – she stressed that they were all on a journey together to shift into a sustainable way of life where the environment is at the heart and sole of their actions and business strategies. Mrs. Marashi continued to emphasize the need and importance of sustainability and how we can all create change from within our homes to larger scale buildings such as our offices, hotels and corporate empires.
This neatly led into the introduction of the evenings special guest speaker, Professor Christopher Charles Benninger, one of India’s most highly decorated architects and designer of award winning projects such as the “Suzlon One Earth” world headquarters and the Mahindra United World College of India. Through his work Professor Benninger has been pivotal and highly influential in the world of green building design and sustainable spatial planning. His presentation essentially focused on the ‘Suzlon One Earth’ building located in Pune; it is the greenest building in India, which has won 7 awards and several accolades for its sustainable design and contribution to environmental protection. Prof. Benninger spoke about the imminent need for sustainability to prevail, in every aspect of our lives, with special reference to green building design and sustainable spatial planning as a fundamental movement in creating a sustainable world.
A captivated audience listened inspirationally to Prof. Benninger, who could have kept the attendees entranced for the duration of the evening, however the agenda moved forward onto the Prize Giving Ceremony, where several honoured guests joined the EEG Chairperson on stage to award deserving companies their prizes for specific attributes.
With shards of applause and proud faces, a total of 43 awards were handed out; each winner received a specially designed and crafted glass crystal, individually marked for each company. Guests then mingled, talked and debated over delicious food that bought flavours from around the world into a tantalizing culinary collision. Entertainment for the evening continued as a talented musician serenaded the evening to a close.
The EEG Annual Gala Dinner for 2011 was yet another successful and tightly organized event, offering celebration and commendation to those who support EEG’s activities, but it kept the environment and sustainability at the forefront of the events objectives.