University of Bahrain Hosts ICT Talent Cultivation Forum

During the Huawei ICT Competition 2023-2024 regional final awards ceremony, the University of Bahrain organized an exclusive forum on ICT talent cultivation, featuring senior speakers from prominent ICT industry organizations and renowned regional universities. Serving as a partner for the Huawei ICT Competition 2023-2024 regional final, the University of Bahrain hosted the official closing and awards ceremony for the program.

The forum's panel discussion included Dr. Jassim Haji, President of the International Group of Artificial Intelligence; Dr. Hessa Jassim Al-Junaid, Dean of the College of Information Technology at the University of Bahrain; Dr. Tilda Karkour Akiki, Associate Dean of the School of Engineering at Holy Spirit University of Kaslik (USEK); and Amr Hashem, Policy Director at GSMA MENA. The discussion, moderated by Ammar Tobba, VP of Public Affairs and Communications at Huawei Middle East and Central Asia Region, delved into challenges and future opportunities in building the ICT talent ecosystem.

Key topics included the value of Public-Private partnerships in nurturing ICT talent innovations, supporting university curricula with practical skills and training, and driving socio-economic growth in the region. The panelists also emphasized the importance of gender equality in technology. The forum attracted attendees from university students and tutors, government partners, ICT professionals, academia, and media representatives from 11 Middle East and Central Asia participating countries.

Dr. Hessa Jassim Al-Junaid highlighted the need for open collaboration between universities and the public and private sectors to develop curriculum and upskill students on technologies like 5G and Cyber Security. She emphasized how the Huawei ICT Talent initiative provides students with practical skill development opportunities, fostering critical thinking and confidence-building.

The forum also featured insights from Dr. Jassim Haji, who discussed the transformative impact of AI on undergraduate engineers, providing guidelines to the job market and curriculum advisory. Dr. Tilda Karkour Akiki emphasized the contribution of ICT students to industrial digital transformation and the urgent need to narrow the ICT talent gap, especially by encouraging more participation from women.

Amr Hashem from GSMA MENA shared remarks on cultivating young talent for the telecommunications industry, particularly in light of the accelerated deployment of 5G. He stressed the importance of investing in ICT talent development for the future success of the telecommunications industry.

Ammar Tobba, VP of Public Affairs and Communications at Huawei ME&CA Region, highlighted the role of ICT talent development programs like the Huawei ICT Competition in bridging the digital divide and narrowing the digital skills gap. He reiterated Huawei's commitment to supporting regional governments' plans for building a knowledge-based digital economy.

The Huawei ICT Competition, launched in 2017, has become the largest and most influential initiative in the region for cultivating ICT talent. Endorsed by UNESCO and supported by over 20 regional ministries, operators, and industry partners, the competition has seen significant growth, with more than 27,500 students from over 600 universities across 21 Middle Eastern & Central Asian countries participating in the latest edition. The regional finals hosted 22 teams from 11 countries, marking the highest level of participation in the competition's seven-year history.

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