Responsibility, self-dependence and endurance are the magic keywords: the example the Sultanate of Oman is setting this December is of a practical but none-the-less spectacular nature. Predominantly addressed to young nationals, an adventure of Crossing the Empty Quarter previously undertaken in 1930, will now be reenacted to detail. The intended benefit: to symbolically illustrate to the young generation how to adopt the requirements of a rapidly changing world and to pursue their goals with ambition.
The most astonishing lesson for adolescents to be learnt may perhaps be, that survival is actually possible without an almighty digital device glued to one’s cheek. In all likelihood, internet reachability is limited in a quarter as empty as the one named Rub al Khali.
But then again, in recognition of our cyber reality, an Instagram competition is running for youngsters alongside the Omani exploration exercise. The prizes awarded perfectly enhance motto and purpose of the expedition and are of an educational quality. More details at the bottom of the page.
Back in 1930, it had taken British explorer Bertram Thomas and his local companion Sheikh Saleh bin Kalut sixty days to reach their final destination Doha in Qatar, navigating their way through an unforgiving environment with its typical climatic challenges. Scorching heat, chilly nights and blazing sandstorms demanded utmost physical and mental perseverance, combatting hostile tribes a refined strategy and a good deal of courage. Relying on a meager diet of brackish water, dates, dried meat and instant soup, they succeeded in conquering the Rub al Khali – the legendary Empty Quarter.
The Sultanate of Oman’s lesson to its youngsters
His Highness Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said, Minister of Culture and Heritage of the Sultanate of Oman:
“This journey represents and recreates a significant event in the heritage of Oman, and underlines and celebrates the long standing ties and friendship between Oman, UK, Saudi Arabia and Qatar. In this, the 45th year of the rule of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Al Said, I also hope that this journey will serve as an inspiration to young people, and demonstrate that little can be achieved in life without hard work, determination and tenacity. I wish the journey team the very best of luck in their efforts, and look forward to welcoming them safely back to Muscat.”
Crossing of the Empty Quarter: Strong support by patrons and the media
The expedition has received the blessings of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said. Patrons of the enterprise are HH Sayyid Haitham bin Tariq Al Said in Oman, HRH The Prince of Wales in the United Kingdom and HE Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani in Qatar. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s patron has still to be announced.
A media team will accompany the expedition party’s first leg of the journey from Salalah to the Saudi border for footage. An intensive awareness campaign is launched in schools and the media, employing traditional and social channels, commercial malls, cinema screens, Muscat and Salalah airports and Oman Air inflight screens.
Digital device required after all: Instagram competition for young Omanis
Simultaneous to the expedition there will be a ten week Instagram competition for young Omanis to join in. Winners will receive one of 36 free places on a life-changing Outward Bound Oman “Skills-for-Life” course giving youth the tools to achieve their future dreams and goals (14-17 years category), or one of six places on the UNESCO Connecting Cultures Course held in Oman, where winners will represent Oman on the international stage (18-25 years category).
For more information, please visit the expedition’s website at crossingtheemptyquarter.com
All images are at the courtesy of ©Crossing the Empty Quarter