The Omani Expo
Today it’s an idea, Tomorrow it’s a vision and Then a reality.
Zumurda Ahmed Al Rawahi
It started with a spark of realisation and a simple question; how do we help Omani students studying abroad implement their great projects here in Oman?
As a group of undergraduate Omani students studying in the USA, we all understood the mission; to promote the Omani youth potential to innovate and channel their creativity; to increase awareness of the importance of pursuing careers in research and development; to provide the incentive to start new projects, small and medium sized businesses. We just hadn’t yet come up with the how – until The Omani Expo.
The Omani Expo provides a platform for students studying abroad to be heard in Oman and then facilitates a framework for further support for their projects or initiatives. The Expo has 4 main categories; Engineering, Economics, Health & Environment and Science & Mathematics. Students present their ideas in front of a judging committee and a live audience with prizes awarded to the top three projects in each category.
There are so many interesting projects that Omani students are working on outside of Oman, but we need to find a way to utilize those ideas. The Omani Expo encourages young Omanis to be confident and optimistic in transforming their ideas into a reality and to take that next step. There is a sea of opportunities out there. You might start small but trust yourself and trust your abilities.
The rules of success have changed. Before you just needed to graduate and get the job – we see that as outdated definition of success. Nowadays, success is being creative, success is having the ability to innovate. You need to be resourceful, imaginative, clever and smart. As John Spencer said ‘Not every student will become an entrepreneur. But they will all someday need to think like one’. Entrepreneurs don’t wait for their turn, they create their turn, they make their own rules. They innovate! Of course, not all students will start their own business or company, but they will always need to embrace an innovative mindset whatever career path they pursue. We, The Omani Expo team, believe that the unit of success is being innovative.
We have had two Omani Expos. The first Omani Expo was in 2016 which was held in Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), the event sponsor was His Excellency the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Oil and Gas Eng. Salim Al Aufi. The second Omani Expo was in 2018, hosted in The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), sponsored by His Honourable Deputy Chairman of State Council Dr. Sheikh Al-Khattab bin Ghalib Al Hinai. Both Expos attracted over 1200 people. There were many notable VIPs, the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, members from Council of State and industry leaders. The audience also consisted of students, parents, tutors, professors, doctors, facilitators and companies searching for talents to hire.
The next Omani Expo was supposed to be scheduled in 2020 but because of the COVID-19 situation we had to delay it to 2021. To ensure we still connect with our audience, we’ve launched a series of short videos (IGTV) in Instagram discussing a different topic every week. The topics chosen are of interest for students, such as online learning during COVID-19. We hope these short videos will reach Omani students who are now away from their families, connect with them and assure them that we are here and still listening to them, even from afar.
As His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said said; ‘we believe in the role of Omani youth in building the country, we call upon them to set a good example in adopting a responsible sense of duty and in seeking perfection in their work.’
Our aspiration is to be the linkage, bridge, connection and platform to Omani students abroad, so that their ideas can be heard and implemented here in Oman. We are a non-profit group of graduates who have studied all around the world, convinced that we have the obligation and commitment to make our beautiful Oman prosper and flourish. With this Omani Expo, we believe that our dream could be a reality, we hope you do too.
And as we say in the Omani Expo team: Today it’s an idea, Tomorrow it’s a vision and Then a reality.