du supports largest global Twitter event in Dubai

Published March 23rd, 2010 - 09:48 GMT

Dubai Twestival to take place on Thursday March 25th; part of a global fund
raising initiative in support of education for disadvantaged children

Dubai, UAE - 23 March 2010: Dubai will join more than 175 other cities worldwide later this month when it hosts Dubai Twestival Global, part of a global fund raising campaign to help millions of children around the world who don’t have the opportunity to go to school. Based around the social media service Twitter, the Twestival™ (or Twitter Festival) uses social media for social good. Dubai Twestival will take place on Thursday March 25th at the SKYYline lounge, InterContinental Hotel Dubai Festival City and is supported by the UAE’s integrated telecom service provider du, a keen promoter of both innovation and charitable activities in the region.

"This is the second time that Dubai takes part in Twestival Global  and gets the chance to demonstrate how powerful 140 character Twitter messages can be," said PK Gulati (@PKGulati on Twitter), one of the co-organisers of the Dubai Twestival. "Whilst last year's event was held in support of Charity:Water, 2010's Twestival Global turns its focus to education and the 72 million children in the world who are not able to attend school due to extreme poverty. And so we're very proud to be part of Twestival Global, as it supports Concern Worldwide."

Concern Worldwide (@Concern on Twitter) was selected by the Twestival global team and local organisers around the world to be this year's charity because of its comprehensive and well respected approach to education. Education in areas of extreme poverty is an issue complicated by many different elements including hunger, clean water, teacher training, building of schools. Twestival Global hopes to use the power of Twitter and social media influence as a vehicle to give people insight into this cause on a deeper level. All donations to Concern Worldwide are being made directly by individuals and organisations online via twestival.com.

Hala Badri, EVP Brand and Communications, du, said: "We are an innovative brand and we not only help our customers stay connected but also believe in giving back to the community by means of our corporate social responsibility initiatives. We use all possible mediums to reach out to customers and communities, and Twitter is an important and fast-growing social media platform. Since our own dutweets account has been a success and this is an extremely worthy cause, we are very pleased to join more than 175 countries around the globe to support Twestival Global Dubai and the work of the Twitter community in bringing people together to raise funds and promote global education for disadvantaged communities.”

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In support of the event, du will be running a special online media campaign by providing regular updates on @dutweets, YouTube and Facebook®. du will also set up facilities for avid Twitter users to go online at the venue itself. The highlight of du’s presence will be a giant tweet-screen that will enable visitors to tweet directly into it and share their thoughts, Bios, tweet name and Q&A. Eco-friendly flogos – logos that float and disappear will entertain visitors. A du customer representative will be available at hand as well to answer queries about products and services.

Twitter is the online service that allows people to share short messages of under 140 characters. Usage of Twitter grew 579% last year from a total of 2.7 million unique visitors at the start of 2008 to 18.9 million unique visitors worldwide at the end of 2009. The UAE's Twitter community now numbers about 15,000 at present, out of an estimated 40,000 Twitter users across the Middle East and North Africa.

The first Twestival Global was held in 202 international cities last year to support Charity:Water, a charity helping people across the world that don’t have access to clean and safe drinking water.  Over 1,000 volunteers and 10,000 donors fundraised $250,000 in just a few weeks, which resulted in more than 55 wells in Uganda, Ethiopia and India having a direct impact for over 17,000 people. Organisers hope that 2010's Twestival Global will raise even more funds for this year's worthy cause.

“Twitter and other social media have provided brands, such as our hotel (@InterConDFC) with an exciting new platform to engage with their customers,” said Rob Singleton, Online Marketing Executive for the InterContinental Hotels Group properties in Dubai Festival City . “However, social media is all about the community and brands have to remember that if they want to interact with the community, they also have to be a part of it. Dubai Twestival is a great opportunity to bring together the UAE’s Twitter community for a good cause and the InterContinental team is looking forward to hosting a great event.”

Concern Worldwide's education programs target the poorest people in the poorest countries in the world, with particular emphasis on reaching out-of-school children such as girls, orphans, street children, working children, children affected by conflict, children affected by HIV and AIDS, and children with disabilities. Concern’s education programs currently reach over 700,000 people in 25 countries across the regions of Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean. Twitter users can follow @concern to gain an insight into Concern's work, with staff tweeting from around the world.

"Information often moves faster across Twitter than any other platform and also tends to bring people closer together in times of crisis, such as recent events in Haiti and Chile," said Gulati. "And this helps to make Twitter an ideal platform for crowdsourcing help and fund-raising for worthy causes."

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