The Irish Academy of Public Relations and Orient Planet

First ever Online PR & Communications Academy launched in the Middle East by 
·       Middle East’s e-learning market valued at USD 44 million in 2013
·      Region’s e-learning revenues projected to reach USD 561 million by 2016 at average growth of 8.2 per cent per year
·       197 million people in the Arab World will have internet access by 2017, with internet penetration expected to jump to over 51 per cent over the next three years

UAE, October 27th, 2014 – The Irish Academy of Public Relations today (Monday 27th October, 2014) revealed in London its joint venture with Orient Planet PR and Marketing Communications to create the first ever online PR and Communications Academy in the Middle East. Orient Planet Academy ( will exclusively provide the Irish Academy’s courses to students in the Middle East, Levant and North Africa regions.
The signing of the agreement between Ellen Gunning, the Irish Academy’s Director, and Nidal Abou Zaki, Orient Planet’s Managing Director, took place recently in London. Orient Planet Academy will facilitate internationally recognized certificate courses in public relations, marketing, journalism, event management and English grammar. Offering a wide degree of flexibility to its prospective students, Orient Planet Academy’s courses – all of which have been localized for the Arab World – can be completed in a time span of 10 to 20 weeks. A student is required to finish 10 to 12 modules and pass all requirements before a certificate is awarded.
Comprehensive textbooks of the Irish Academy will also be available at the new Academy’s bookstore to help potential learners in their studies. The textbooks are specifically chosen to complement the course syllabus and to serve as additional references for students. Visitors of the Orient Planet Academy website may also browse through videos to watch renowned communications experts in action.
In 2013, the value of the Middle East e-learning market was placed at USD 44 million as a result of concerted efforts to digitize education in the region. The sector also witnessed an average growth rate of 8.2 per cent per year, with revenues projected to reach USD 561 million by 2016. The expansion can be attributed to several fundamental factors, one of which is the region’s move to transform itself into a knowledge-based economy.  
One of the major drivers of the growing online education market in the Arab World is the increasing number of internet users in the region. According to Arab Knowledge Economy 2014, a first-of-its-kind report jointly produced by Madar Research and Development and Orient Planet, the Arab World recorded the largest growth in internet users compared with other regions in the world since 2001. Th­e report shows an exponential increase in the number of people accessing the internet from the region. By 2017, the figure is expected to increase to about 197 million, while internet penetration is projected to jump from 32 per cent in 2012 to over 51 per cent in 2017.
Ellen Gunning said: “The Irish Academy has an ever-growing footprint across Europe, the United States, Latin America and Africa. Over the years, we have seen the immense potentials of the online education market in the Arab World, and we believe now is the ideal time to establish our presence in the rapidly expanding industry. We entered into a joint venture with Orient Planet to form Orient Planet Academy to mark our expansion in the Middle East and serve a market of more than 314 million people through our comprehensive courses. Orient Planet Academy will be an added value to the growing industry. Initially, the courses will be taught in English with a view of offering them in Arabic in the coming few weeks.”
Nidal Abou Zaki commented: “Although the Arab region’s PR and communications industry has been continuously growing, we realized that there is no online platform in the region that provides professionals and students alike the chance to further develop their skills in PR, communications, marketing and social media. Orient Planet Academy not only aims to provide flexibility but it also offers employed individuals and young students an opportunity to earn an internationally recognized certificate. We have localized all courses in order to address the cultural requirements of the region.  We will offer a modern educational platform to enhance and inspire a new generation of communications experts capable of meeting the needs of the Arab and global markets.”
The Irish Academy of Public Relations is an international online education provider of courses in communications disciplines, while Orient Planet is one of the Middle East’s most rapidly growing PR marketing and communications consultancies. All five courses of Orient Planet Academy have been designed by the Irish Academy and will be tutored by communications professionals in the Middle East.

HBMSU launches first-of-its-kind ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014’

Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program, Learning and Teaching Centre Macquarie University, eTechan International, Bahrain Institute of Public Administration, Dubai Airports, win accolades at ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Award’

UAE, October 20th, 2014 – Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) has kicked off ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014,’ the first-of-its-kind event that encourages the exchange of best practices in smart learning in international educational, academic and training institutions to boost smart education. The event’s first edition attracted a wide global participation including delegations from the United States, Australia, Russia, Italy, Greece, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain and the UAE.


H.E. Lieutenant General Dahi Khalfan Tamim, Deputy Chairman of Police and Dubai General Security and Chairman of HBMSU Board of Governors, led the opening of the HBMSU Smart Campus, one of the key pillars of promoting smart education through the use and integration of modern technology.The Smart Campus offers modern, high-tech services that meet the needs of learners and faculty and administrative staff, including submission of proposals and suggestions, exchange of information, access to courses, submission of assignments, registration in assessment exams, and access to grades and academic records through smart devices. The Smart Campus also provides a smart platform to promote effective communication between new and existing students and report technical malfunctions. It also allows users to conduct an online inquiry of e-wallet balance as well as an electronic follow up outstanding financial transactions and payments.

HBMSU launches first-of-its-kind ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014’

H.E. Dahi Khalfan Tamim was pleased with the launching of ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014,’ which provides a strategic platform to discuss steps to advance the education system through the integration of the latest smart technologies. “Organizing this prestigious international event falls in line with the efforts of the Dubai Government to position the emirate as a premier destination for most prominent and largest global events. It is also aligned with the ‘Smart City’ initiative of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai. We are delighted to launch Smart Campus, which reflects HBMSU’s commitment to promote smart learning as a means to achieve sustainable development and as an essential element that will re-shape the future of education in the Arab World.”

The “Smart Learning Best Practice Award” was held on the sidelines of the ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014.’ International jury composed of academic professionals and leading experts in developing and transferring best practices and smart learning systems in information technology and academic fields comprised the panel of judges. The winners were Mohammed Bin Rashid Smart Learning Program which bagged an honor in the Smart Learning Technology Exploitation category; the Learning and Teaching Centre – Macquarie University and Bahrain Institute of Public Administration of Smart Partnerships category; eTechan International, Technology Exploitation category; and Dubai Airports got an appreciation award of Smart Learning category.

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor, HBMSU, said: “We are privileged to honor these leading institutions that have demonstrated outstanding excellence in the application of international best practices that aim to boost smart education. The “Smart Learning Best Practice Award”  is the first initiative which centers on the efforts to integrate best practices into educational institutions’ procedures and processes in order to promote smart education and sustainability. The first day of the event witnessed a series of breakout sessions tackling seven key themes, namely ‘Smart Learning,’
‘Learner Centricity,’ ‘Excellence Orientation,’ ‘Smart Partnership,’ ‘Technology Exploitation,’ ‘Resource Utilization,’ and ‘Process Innovation.’ A workshop session, titled ‘Middle East e-Learning Quality Framework ‘MelQ’: Standardizing quality in technology enhanced teaching and learning” was also held.

The ‘Smart Learning Best Practice Forum 2014’ provides an ideal platform to encourage the exchange and sharing of best practices in smart learning in educational institutions and corporations across the world. It strives to support continuous growth and development of smart learning. Smart learning includes the ability of learners to acquire innovative ideas, evaluate their relevance, subject their ideas to scrutiny to gauge their innovativeness, and guide them through a rigorous, systematic process of implementation to ensure tangible and intangible benefits.