Top ten blog posts in 2013 (1-5)

As I continue my top 10 list with the top 5 most popular blog posts I am reminded of the many wonderful memories I have from our field trips and action learning activities. I am also reminded of the amazing students I have had the pleasure to teach here in the UAE for the past four and a half years. I have learned as much from them as they have from me.

Number 5:

The blog post about one of my favorite areas of the UAE came in at number 6 with 216 views. Eco-tourism development in Dibba combines the results of two graduation projects about the possibilities of developing sustainable tourism hand in hand with small-scale locally developed (and locally run) activities that concentrate on the cultural, historical and natural beauty of the area. I was proud of the efforts they made to interview people living in the area to see what they would like to see developed as well as interviews with potential tourists - wanting to see the "real" UAE and experience its beauty first hand.

I love how much they love the UAE flag - they manage to place it everywhere in the mountains... look high up next time you visit and you will be rewarded with a tangible example of pride, ingenuity and no fear of heights!
Number 4:

The fourth most visited blog post brings back very bitter sweet memories. We were invited to a student's family mountain retreat to learn about the strategies of survival from the past (the ruins of old family dwellings are still there) and the strategy of maintaining traditions and heritage going into the future.  Hassan Shemali, his father and family welcomed us into their home and beloved mountains. Hassan passed away this past November when his truck was swept away in a powerful wadi (flash flood) - we were blessed to have known him and to have known his mountains. Strategy trip to the mountains of RAK provides photos of a largely undiscovered part of the UAE for expats and tourists and proves that young people do hold on and maintain their traditions... and enjoy passing them on to their friends and professors.

Hassan is on the far left - his father, cousins and friends join in the Nekbah - how the Shehhi and Shemali tribes communicated in the past in the mountains

Number 3:

I am Canadian - so when I saw on facebook that one of my former female students was playing ice hockey at a National and international level I had to learn more. Hockey Night in Abu Dhabi: Spotlight on an Emirati Hockey Queen was viewed 243 times and tells a story through photos of ice hockey in Abu Dhabi and how Fatima Al Ali became so enamored with the game she now plays on the National Team :) She is also the first Emirati sport's photographer and has had a documentary made about her accomplishments! (Click to view documentary)

Fatima in her uniform after the game!

Number 2:

Keeping with a female theme - the second most popular blog post in 2013 at 368 views was Characteristics of Female Entrepreneurs in the UAE in 2011. It contained information from the 2011 UAE GEM Report we published at the end of 2012 in a condensed form. The data and our analysis shows some challenges and also some hopeful signs for the future.

Knows someone who started a business in the past 2 years
Expected Job Growth of Established Business
Employed by others in Full-time work
Full-time Homemaker
Stage of Activity as Nascent Entrepreneurs
Stage of Activity as Baby Entrepreneurs
Informal Investors in the Last 3 Years

Number 1:

The most popular blog post of the year was about a wonderful trip to learn about the strategies and tactics used by ranchers of racing camels. At 808 views Camel racing farm visit - another adventure in learning strategy from traditional industries really was a clear "winner". The video we took of the robot jockey was also popular on youtube.

Eating really expensive hay!

Training as the day get cooler... 

It was a wonderful year of adventures in research and learning - I look forward to see what the next few months hold in store!

Smile and courage and best wishes for an adventurous 2014 to you all, Dr. Connie

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