Under the Patronage of HH Sheikh Mohammed DIFC Celebrates World-Class Achievements in World-Class Style

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, a world-class extravaganza was held this evening at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

His Excellency Dr. Omar Bin Sulaiman, Governor of the DIFC, said:: "A vibrant financial sector is the backbone of any successful economy. We are witnessing this success in Dubai, where local, regional and international financial institutions are working together to shape the development of the financial industry. The DIFC is a strategic element of Dubai''s future growth plans. I am confident that the DIFC and the financial sector will continue to play an extremely significant role in the development of the economy of Dubai, the UAE and the entire region. Today, the number of global financial institutions based in the DIFC proves the region's success story in becoming an international financial hub. And this is just the beginning of our achievements, as we diversify our industries to drive the growth of the region."

"The DIFC is the one place where the worlds of finance, the arts, culture and education come together to speak for Dubai and the region, with one voice that is being heard in every financial community across the globe. Recognising that people are our most valuable asset at the DIFC, we are focused on nurturing talent which will not only strengthen our financial sector, but will also build the region's knowledge economy. Having attracted so many local, regional and international companies to the DIFC, our priority is now to ensure their integration into the region enabling them to tap into the wealth of available opportunities and fuel the development of the region" His Excellency Dr Omar Bin Sulaiman added.

This year has seen a number of landmark achievements for the DIFC, including the launch of the DIFC family office, winning the International Award for Best Government Initiative at STEP Awards 2007, the establishment of Waqf Trust Services, the official opening of the DIFC Courts, DFSA winning the Best Regulator for Islamic Funds award, the launch of 'DIFX TraX' platform with 14 new structured products, the DIFX becoming the world's largest exchange for sukuk in terms of value and the DFSA Securities Regulation receiving a highly positive IMF-World Bank assessment. DIFC Investments also had a monumental year, becoming the largest external strategic shareholder in Deutsche Bank and issuing the largest rated and the largest Straight sukuk to come out of the region.

The evening's entertainment was headlined by Il Divo, the contemporary international operatic quartet, and included live performances from a number of prestigious regional and international artists. They performed to an audience of business and financial leaders from the region and across the globe, Government representatives and DIFC employees.

Tonight's event, which culminated in a gala reception, featured entertainment from some of the most distinguished regional and international names in the world of classical music, including Amal Maher, The Armenian Philharmonic Orchestra, The State Academic Choir of Armenia, Mozart in Arabic, and Talar Dekrmanjian.

The highlight of the evening was a finale performance given by Il Divo, performing for the first time in the Middle East. The fusion of four exceptional voices, bringing the passion and virtuosity of their classical training to the interpretation of romantic and popular songs, has brought a sense of opera into the mainstream. Since releasing their first album in October 2004, Il Divo has achieved 36 number 1 chart positions internationally, sold over 18 million albums, and won over 100 gold and platinum awards around the world.

Mozart in Arabic is a courageous venture undertaken by two Lebanese artists, Maestro Harout Fazlian and Poet Henri Zoghaib. The goal of this endeavour was to provide the Arab speaking public the opportunity to acquaint themselves with the art of opera sung in their native language and to demonstrate to international audiences that the rich legacy of the Arabic language can be adapted to the highest form of Western art in the form of classical music. Through their masterpiece, Fazlian and Zoghaib aim to bridge East and West, proving that good art can be translated and sung in any foreign language without losing its artistic value.

Talar Dekrmanjian, the Syrian soprano, began her musical studies in Syria and then continued them in Europe at prestigious institutes in Holland, Belgium and France. Her international career has led her to perform and participate in festivals in Jordan, Tunisia, Lebanon, Italy, Germany, USA and Japan. Directed by the likes of Jakov Kreisberich, Marc Soustrot, Jan Stulen and Jean-Bernard Pommier, she has also performed with the Syrian National Orchestra, English Chamber Orchestra, Orchestre de la Monnaie and the National Symphony Orchestra of Lebanon.

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