Mark Gillett

Come back frequently……

Leaders in Arts and Culture

with 2 comments

Grand Mosque in Muscat, Oman... A masterpiece in architectural design.

I have travelled and worked in the MIddle East since 1983. First for a long period, then expeditions and now I find myself travelling back and forth to a region I love for many reasons. It has changed much since the 80’s and continues to change at an unbelievable rate and in a way that the World can learn so much from.

It has obviously been a region of much controversy for many years. Mention the Middle East and people think of Beirut wars, Palestinian conflicts, Israel and Gaza. Oil, OPEC, Sheikhs and and huge money. Most, though know very little about it. Yes, it produces much of the worlds oil and therefore has gained huge financial wealth but that is really a small part of this world

The wealth has undoubtedly helped with the progress but what is important is how the Middle East or Gulf states have dealt with wealth. For many countries money just encourages corruption and only a few get to gain from it. In so much of Africa there has been as much opportunity as there has been in the Middle East; Diamonds, gold, minerals and so on but the wealth is directed into a few pockets and the masses continue to suffer. Or it is directed out of the country by those who mine it….. Not here in the Gulf. The wealth has been used to educate the population, maintain a local business infrastructure that benefits the nationals and not sell out to corporates from abroad or allow them to remove most of the revenues out of the country. It invests cleverly in western business and property and then uses that to boost its revenues from oil and underpin its already healthy economy.

Where the middle East stands out now is the amount of energy and time being spent on arts and culture. I see it every day. I read about it frequently. The tourist boards are all driven to get people to understand the Middle Eastern heritage. Oman is surging forward. Abu Dhabi is on a mission to change and invest in its heritage. Dubai is Dubai! Its like the region has grown up, caught up and even over taken the world in many respects. There are universities everywhere. Schools, libraries, internet centres, book stores, museums and cultural centres, theatres and now Oman has its own Opera house nearing completion. The medical centres are so well equipped that it makes our National Health look like a dinosaur…..

I am here in Kuwait and it has got to me. Its people are lovely, its welcoming and fast developing in the same way. Arts culture and education are at the forefront of the development. Its safe, people are working hard, business has suffered like the rest of the world but they are rebuilding, working new strategies to get out of the crises. It is not unique and has not missed the recession by any means.

Having wealth is only important if you use it well and will only last if its nurtured and used to educate. If not it will be short lived. This region is showing up the rest of the world in so many ways…….It is also at the forefront of developing new technologies in renewable energies too.

Here is a report on Abu Dhabi and this stuff is happening everywhere here… http://bit.ly/aznuIU

I will watch this region grow for many years. It has always interested me and I know I will travel here on and off for many years to come. And the call for prayer always makes me feel good too, I hear it right now…..

Written by markgillett

May 3, 2010 at 10:01 am

2 Responses

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  1. nice thoughtful post mark, have been offered a place on an expeditiion to the musamdam peninsula, this just makes it seem even more attractive

    nice one

    kes

    May 6, 2010 at 8:04 am

    • Take it. Great place and stunningly beautiful

      Mark

      markgillett

      May 6, 2010 at 9:36 am


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