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A World Redrawn: Iranian photographer sees chance for solidarity



Iranian photographer Gohar Dashti has created a body of work that explores the relationship between nature, human migration and the ripple effects of conflict and social upheaval.

The coronavirus pandemic presents, she believes, an opportunity to remind us of our mutual responsibility toward each other.

With the pandemic creating a collective sense of unmooring from the familiar, what is important is that “it will make us understand that we’re all in the same boat,” she said.

“This is a shared pain,” she told AFP from Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States, where she has been based for several years.

“I hope that from this situation, we will come to an understanding that the world is one. If a tree is cut in Africa, it impacts the life of someone in France,” the 40-year-old photographer and video artist said.

“It’s good that we understand the relationship between the world, economy and nature and maybe this epidemic has allowed us to think about all these issues again.”

Nature and its relationship to mankind trace a thread through Dashti’s 15-year oeuvre — exhibited worldwide and featured in prestigious permanent collections — with nature often acting as a foil for examining social issues and identity in her large-scale, staged photographs.

Dashti’s own life was marked by conflict and its legacy. She was born in Iran’s Khuzestan province at the start of the Iran-Iraq war that ravaged the oil-rich eastern region that borders Iraq and killed hundreds of thousands from 1980-1988.

‘Not separate’

Gohar Dashti explores nature and its relationship to mankind through her photography. PHOTO: AFP / Gohar DASHTI

One of her series, “Today’s Life and War”, placed a couple going about day-to-day domestic life — cooking, watching TV, hanging up washing — amid the trappings of a battlefield, with tanks and soldiers looming in the background.

Another series, “Stateless”, produced in 2014/2015, features scenes similar to those familiar in news coverage of refugees and migrants but rendered stark and semi-theatrical against vast and towering landscapes.

Touching on ongoing conflicts, she said she hopes people, particularly those in wealthy countries, will come to recognise amid the pandemic that they are not unaffected by the suffering of others around the world.

“What is much more important to me is the view of countries with high economic power. For them to understand that they are not separate … we all live in the same world,” she said.

“Sometimes we see something like war in the media and think that it has nothing to do with us — that’s Afghanistan’s problem or that’s Yemen’s problem.

“But what’s happening now shows that it has to do with all of us. If a war breaks out in Yemen or in Afghanistan, it also has an effect on our lives, so we can’t stay silent.”

She said her compatriots in Iran, which is facing the deadliest coronavirus outbreak in the Middle East, had rallied in solidarity in the face of the pandemic, drawing on resilience from previous crises.

“Iran, like all countries, was taken unawares by the virus and experienced very difficult conditions and continues to see very difficult conditions. But, really, with the cooperation between people and the commendable efforts of medical staff, they have been able to manage the crisis,” she said.

“In my opinion, the people in Iran have shown a lot of solidarity — one reason is that they are a people that have known crisis.”


Iranian photographer Gohar Dashti says the coronavirus pandemic should remind us of our mutual responsibility toward each other. PHOTO: AFP / Gohar DASHTI

Resilience to the anxiety triggered by uncertainty is something Dashti thinks we can learn from the pandemic.

“The conditions created by the coronavirus all over the world teach us how to live with instability,” she said.

“In my opinion, artists and migrants can deal with these situations better. They know how to live and work with an uncharted future.”

Thrown into her own state of uncertainty with exhibitions of her work “Land/s” — a meditation on finding the familiar in foreign landscapes — cancelled or postponed, Dashti is still working on a film about the project, but like many others around the world, experiencing a change of pace.

“I am spending a lot of time with my four-year-old son, giving him lessons. Really, I feel like I have never spent so much with him,” she said. “Another activity that I love is to take walks in nature.

“More and more I think I should pay more attention to and work on nature and its relationship with humanity.”

Reporting and photos: AFP


Emirates undertakes largest known fleet retrofit project



Emirates has kick-started its plans to upgrade the entire interior cabins of 120 Airbus A380 and Boeing 777 aircraft – two of the largest commercial aircraft types in service today.

This ambitious project, representing a multi-billion dollar investment to ensure Emirates’ customers “fly better” for the coming years, officially commences in November and is managed entirely by Emirates’ Engineering team.

The target is to completely retrofit four Emirates aircraft from start to finish every month, continuously for over 2 years. Once the 67 earmarked A380s are refreshed and back in service, 53 777s will undergo their facelift. This will see nearly 4,000 brand new Premium Economy seats installed, 728 First Class suites refurbished and over 5,000 Business Class seats upgraded to a new style and design when the project is complete in April 2025.

In addition, carpets and stairs will be upgraded, and cabin interior panels refreshed with new tones and design motifs including the iconic ghaf trees which are native to the UAE.

No other airline has handled a retrofit of this magnitude in-house, and there’s no blueprint for such an undertaking. Therefore Emirates Engineering teams have been planning and testing extensively, to establish and streamline processes, and identify and address any possible snags.

Trials began on an A380 in July, where experienced engineers literally took each cabin apart piece-by-piece and logged every step. From removing seats and panelling to bolts and screws, every action was tested, timed and mapped out. Potential impediments to completing the installation of Emirates’ new Premium Economy Class or the retrofit of the remaining three cabins in just 16 days were flagged and documented for expert teams to review and address.

As part of the programme, new purpose-built workshops will be set up at Emirates Engineering to repaint, re-trim and re-upholster Business and Economy Class seats with new covers and cushioning. First Class suites will be carefully disassembled and sent to a specialised company to replace the leather, arm rests and other materials.

From the trials, Engineers discovered several unexpected solutions for instance: that existing food catering trucks could be easily repurposed to move parts destined for refurbishment from the aircraft to the workshop for their refresh, as these vehicles had doors of the right width and offer sufficient space.

Until the retrofit programme starts in earnest in November, a cross-disciplinary team has been assembled to regularly review the planning process, address any issues, and track updates on various aspects of the project such as procurement, staffing, and training.

Emirates’ new Premium Economy cabin class, which offers luxurious seats, more legroom, and a service to rival many airlines’ business offering, is currently available to Emirates customers travelling on popular A380 routes to London, Paris, Sydney. More customers will be able to experience the airline’s new Premium Economy cabins starting from year end, as the retrofit programme picks up momentum.

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Eleanor helps over 30 Maldives hotels elevate guest services



Eleanor has been named as one of the top 10 concierge software providers globally.

Based on accurate, timely reviews from real users, the HotelTechAwards rank the world’s best hotel software firms and products and it also provides hoteliers direct access to a growing network of hotel technology professionals and decision-makers.

“The guest experience is the cornerstone of our platform. Our unified resort wide solution, Eleanor, has been built for resorts off the back of many years working in the industry and addresses the needs of both Sales and Marketing departments and perhaps just as importantly, the operational requirements of the team on the ground at the property. The days of resorts working with disjointed systems are now behind us,” says Darren Caple, co-founder and CEO.

“We are on a mission to make the guest’s resort experience as easy and as frictionless as possible. Whereas traditional providers in the market have come at this purely from a guest communication perspective, our background in resorts has allowed us to combine this basic requirement with the streamlining of operational processes. The result is truly a resort wide solution that removes the need for countless different systems to be deployed.

Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. More than 30 properties in the Maldives use our Eleanor platform to help butlers and guest services elevate the guest experience. These properties are seeing an increase in incremental revenue by over 30% and operational efficiencies of 600+ man hours per month. We are also beginning to roll out the platform in some Caribbean properties!”

Eleanor is making waves in the hospitality industry by pushing the conventional limits of what a resort guest app can achieve through its unique ability to facilitate direct bookings for services and activities. The traditional ‘request to book’ feature that is common amongst almost all other hotel apps is removed by a power booking and operational platform sitting at the heart of the solution that covers all the resorts’ departments. It’s this module which realises enormous operational benefits and insights for the resort.

“We, at Eleanor, are humbled and honoured that our clients have provided such positive reviews. Feedback from our clients, partners and hoteliers are incredibly valuable for us and we will continue to improve our offering and services”, said Caple.

To celebrate this success, Eleanor is currently offering resorts a free one month trial, together with free setup and training and discounted monthly fees.

Eleanor, founded in 2018 and has its headquarters in the United Kingdom. Created from over 15 years of hands-on expertise, Eleanor allows resorts to deliver consistent, superior service levels to its guests across all stages of their journey with contactless features helping to alleviate sensitive touch-points in the post pandemic period. Eleanor also helps to unlock operational efficiencies and boost incremental revenue and guest loyalty.

Hotel Tech Report’s Best Concierge Software 2022 Runner Up, reviewed as a preferred and reliable hotel software product by the global hotelier community.

For more information, visit

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Emirates’ recruiters scour the world for cabin crew talent with 30 city stops



Emirates, the world’s most global airline, is seeking talented people with a passion for service to join its award-winning cabin crew team.

As air travel returns with a vengeance, the airline’s recruiters are busy meeting and hiring candidates in 30 cities from now until the end of June. In this latest drive, Emirates’ teams will travel from Australia to the UK, and dozens of European cities in between, as well as Cairo, Algiers, Tunis and Bahrain.

Abdulaziz Al Ali, Emirates Group’s Executive Vice President for Human Resources said: “There’s no more exciting airline than Emirates for anyone interested in a flying career, and we’ve received tremendous interest since we began our recruitment drive for cabin crew in November.”

“While parts of the application process are done online, we always make the effort to meet our candidates in person whenever we can, and that is why our Talent Acquisition team is doing a whirlwind 30-city tour over the next 6 weeks to assess prospective candidates.”

Emirates’ truly global cabin crew team represent 160 nationalities, reflecting its customer mix and international operations in over 130 cities on six continents.

All Emirates crew are based in the exciting cosmopolitan city of Dubai, with company-provided accommodation, tax-free salary and more benefits.

Interested candidates can read more about the Emirates cabin crew role, and apply online at:

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