Students learn from top businesswoman from Middle East’s biggest convention centre
By Melanie HallShare post:
Read time: approx 4 mins
Dozens of students on University College Birmingham’s hospitality and tourism-focused master’s degrees have received a rare insight into running a global convention centre hosting everything from cyber security summits to jewellery expos with a guest talk from an award-winning expert.
Dr Debbie Kristiansen, general manager of Exhibition World Bahrain and winner of a 2022 Top 150 Global Women in Leadership Award, delivered the online session with members of her team to 67 Hospitality with Tourism Management MSc and International Hospitality Management MSc postgraduates as part of a key course module.
The brand new Exhibition World Bahrain – the biggest exhibition venue in the Middle East – is this year’s case study for the Management of Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions (MICE) module assignment, which tasks MSc students with producing a feasibility study on the aims, objectives and rationale for the venue.
"It was really eye-opening and inspiring for our students, giving them the chance to learn and appreciate different perspectives and professional backgrounds."
Senior lecturer Leila Edwards, who facilitated the talk alongside lecturer Faisal Mustafa, said: “It was fantastic for our students to get to hear from Dr Debbie and her team, testament to the sheer quality of speakers our students at University College Birmingham get to learn from, bringing the theory we teach to life.
“Passionate and enthusiastic, they provided a wealth of contextual information, not only on the destination of the Kingdom of Bahrain, but also on this iconic venue, clearly explaining the rationale, mission and vision for this impressive new facility.
The guest speakers (Clockwise from top-left): Ali Toorani, Huda Al Shamlan, Dr Debbie Kristiansen and Muna Mohamed
“Imagery and video clips helped us to appreciate the sheer size, scale and magnificence of the centre, the high level of customer service and diverse range of events held there.
“Dr Debbie and her team also shared stories about their respective roles and experience, which provided invaluable insight into different potential career paths and was really eye-opening and inspiring for our students, giving them the chance to learn and appreciate different perspectives and professional backgrounds.”
Dr Kristiansen, who has 30 years’ experience in the industry and counts the 2022 UN Women USA Rise & Raise Others Award for innovation among her many accolades, presented alongside Muna Mohamed (executive assistant), Huda Al Shamlan (director of marketing, communications and partnerships) and Ali Toorani (event manager).
They all contributed to a case study overview of the impressive new MICE facility, which opened in November 2022 as the newest venue of its kind in the Middle East.
Since opening, Exhibition World Bahrain has hosted a number of large-scale events, including Jewellery Arabia and Scent Arabia 2022, City Scape, the Arab International Cyber Security Summit and the Autumn Fair.
Owned by the Bahrain Tourism and Exhibitions Authority (BTEA) and managed by ASM Global, the vast venue won the 2021 Global Innovation Award from Eventseum Hall of Fame for Convention and Conference Centres and is described as a ‘stunning piece of architecture that embraces the rich Arabic art and culture within its design’.
An ‘innovative, flexible and adaptable space’, it caters for everything from large conventions and exhibitions to meetings, entertainment, concerts, gala, events and celebrations.
University College Birmingham offers a range of postgraduate courses for students interested in work within the fields of hospitality and tourism.
The master's courses are accredited by the University of Warwick – ranked 8th in the UK by The Guardian league table 2023 – as part of a wider partnership to open pathways and meet the regional skills gap.
Explore our full range of postgraduate courses for students interested in work within the fields of tourism, hospitality, events and aviation. Find out more here.
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