Mohamed Al Mubarak
Mohamed Al Mubarak

DIAFA awards attract A-list, prove UAE’s endurance

Distinctive International Arab Festivals Awards celebrate contributions to societal betterment


David Light

Published: Mon 30 Nov 2020, 5:18 PM

Last updated: Mon 30 Nov 2020, 5:24 PM

AS THE REST of the world has to make do tuning into virtual award shows, only in the UAE could you find the perfect conditions in which to host a successful in-person edition that was not only situation-compliant, but also sartorially remarkable. An outdoor event on Sunday evening, the DIAFA red carpet adorning The Pointe, Palm Dubai promenade was a star-studded as the crisp night sky. Impressive names from across the region including Pakistan’s Sajal Ali and Italian Netflix sensation Michele Morrone joined fellow UAE luminaries thrilled the 2020 ceremony was taking place.

“It feels fabulous. To pull out something like this in a pandemic is an achievement, ” said digital marketing company NFINITY8 CEO Mohamed Al Mubarak, the awards’ title sponsor. “We couldn’t have done this without Dubai. Support from the government and entities here came in without any hesitation and without that it could have never taken place.”

This being the trophy giving’s fourth year, Al Mubarak has witnessed DIAFA expand exponentially since 2017’s inaugural gathering.

“This event gives a lot of appreciation to people who have achieved a lot and sometimes are forgotten about. We highlight these people and appreciate them: celebrities and people who have helped others in different areas.”

Examples of award recipients Al Mubarak gave included an organisation that provides artificial limbs for conflict victims. He also mentioned the high-tech nature of the evening stating his company had patented an artificial intelligence programme, which was being employed to broadcast the DIAFA ceremony live simultaneously on three social media platforms.

“Half of the (broadcast) crew are here, but with the help of AI we managed to... stream over Facebook, Instagram and YouTube and this is the first time this has happened in the MENA region.”

Lina Mane
Lina Mane

“It’s the first award function I have been to after the Corona period, so it makes me feel very happy to be here and breathe fresh air,” L’Mane fashion label designer Lina Mane told us upon entering the venue. Hailing from the couture industry, the decade-long Dubai resident had a keen eye on attendees’ style.

“Fashion changes everyone’s mood. If you are happy, you wear something with playful colours. It is so important what you wear.”

Afra Al Abdulla
Afra Al Abdulla

The excitement was echoed by Emirati fashionista Afra Al Abdulla, head of her eponymous brand.

“Life is getting back to normal and who doesn’t want to be in DIAFA?” she said. “I have never been previously but I watched it all the time on TV. It’s something where you see action and beauty.”

The designer, who focuses on luxury women’s and menswear, believes her country is the epicentre of clothing innovation.

“I’ve been in the fashion scene 18 years. It (the UAE) is the hub of fashion. We have many cultures and it is the place where we hug everyone with love and fashion.”

Ahmed Ragab
Ahmed Ragab

“Today I think is a new page for a new Dubai,” said Ahmed Ragab one of the awards’ sponsors. “We are all happy we returned back to our life. Thanks to DIAFA and thanks to all who made this event successful.”

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