25 March 2012

Magical Experience for a Lifetime Ahead


All good things must come to an end. Yet why so soon? Nevertheless, we can feel confident that MELA has successfully left its stamp on Yas Island during our eleven days here. Ferrari World is still talking about us. In fact it plans to name its new heart-stopping roller coaster ride "The MELA." It's the same story at the Yas Hotel, where the shisha servers can be overheard saying, "It's no fun now that the MELA people have gone."

Most importantly, however, we are sure that MELA has indelibly stamped our minds and hearts with the ideas, memories and friendships which we shared here, and which we are taking away to share and cultivate for a long time to come.

Omar Samra (Founder and CEO, Wild Guanabana) pulled together many of our workhop's themes -- leadership, teamwork, goal-setting, strategic planning -- and translated them into practical use in the most punishing setting imaginable, as he describes how he became the first Egyptian and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest.

Omar gathers new Egyptian recruits for upcoming expeditions: Nahla, Ali.

As you carve your leadership path, don't weigh yourself down with unnecessary baggage. Free yourself from habits and assumptions that breed an unconscious fear of change -- Jim Crupi's message to the group on shaping the future.

MELA's life savers: Walid, Muzaffar, Omar. Ginny recognizes and thanks the key program staff with MELA Life Saver awards.

Basma receives the Star of MELA award for her indefatigable efforts in making the program a success in UAE.


Participants are awarded a certificate of completion for the MELA Academy, and are officially inducted as members into MELA as a regional network organization.

Dan calls Abdullah onto the stage to receive his certificate from Meisa Batayneh and Nabil Alyousuf.

The Photogenic Mr. Adel.

So, what are the comments from the floor about Ali Fadhlani?
"Good dresser"!?

Asma encourages the audience to use more imagination in its choice of adjectives!

(How about: Aerodynamic?)

Thumbs up from Asmaa.

Falah has a couple funny stories he would like to relate...

Hind's smile lights up the room.

Khadeeja reflects on her experience with her MELA peers.

Dan and Noura have obviously got something very special going. -- Lights! Music!

Pierre coins the acronym of the day with the observation that MELA is a Magical Experience for a Lifetime Ahead.

"Fabulous smile!"

And a fabulous person.

Jordanian elegance x 2: Reem, Meisa.

"And for my next song..."

Thamer is Nabil's kind of guy.

Youssef is everybody's kind of guy!

A great many gardeners labored behind the scenes to bring MELA 3 to glorious fruition. Andrew is pushed to the stage to take a well-deserved bow.

As Faculty Coordinator, Bill Starnes was the man who laid out the garden's paths and flower beds.

Adam collected exotic seeds from all over the region.

Nothing would have grown, however, without Ginny's watering can.

We salute the hard-working facilitators: Meade, Anu, Ernst...

...John, Susan, Brice...

Special gratitude to our Master Gardener Jim Crupi.

Abdullah Alkasabi is one of the two MELA 3 members elected by their peers to join the MELA Board.

Sami Ammous is the second new Board Member.

Gentlemen, we heartily congratulate you!

Congratulations to each and every one of the Marvelous, Extraordinary, Laudable and Amazing members of MELA 3!

24 March 2012

Brain Storms


MELA teams continue work on the Capstone Project begun yesterday.

Calm before the (brain-) storm. Members of Breakout Group 2 get ready for business.

Wearing one's MELA shirt is an important part of the exercise.*

*MELA shirts are saturated with special vitamin supplements which have been proven to elevate mental activity. It is a scientific fact that wearing a MELA shirt makes you more intelligent.

Under certain circumstances, wearing a MELA shirt can help you defy the laws of gravity. Watch Abdullah levitate.

Nahla, by contrast, has her feet firmly on the ground.

Adel and Halah pattern the room: white on black, black on white.

Yes, Tala, we all agree that Joe's unremitting enthusiasm can be trying sometimes...

Sadly, the Reunion officially ends this morning and it is time for some goodbyes. Cinderella and Ginny.

More goodbyes. Victor and Dania. Oooh, that Victor is a mischievous man.

That Victor is a very mischievous man!

Battle hero Feras takes lunch surrounded by admiring companions. Yesterday in the desert, Feras was savagely attacked by a quad bike.

The teams have concluded their analyses and reassemble in plenary session, prepared to pitch their strategies to members of the MELA Advisory Board.

Board Members Soughit, Andrew, Jim. Basma and Firas make five.

Breakout Group 5 in the wings. Saif, Dina, Hind await their turn.

Go, Dina, go!

Industrial espionage!?

Let the record show that the air conditioning in the ballroom was frequently adjusted to the needs of penguins and polar bears. Steven and Ginny have devised a solution.


Princess Tala......................................................................Princess Leia

Receiving feedback on the group's ideas and presentation.

Breakout Group 3 wheels out Feras for the sympathy vote.

Obay and Talal report on the results of their impromptu survey of the participants. Yet as we move (too soon!) to the final day of MELA 3, and look beyond it to a vibrant network of partners and friends, Obay and Talal's rubric reverberates with a wider resonance:

Are you ready to join?