Receiving Royalty

We chat to Deborah Wareham, PA to the Principal/CEO of GEMS Wellington International School about arranging the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Gold Award Ceremony.

Deborah WarehamHaving GEMS Wellington International School (WIS) host this event is quite an accolade. What did coordinating the event entail?
Organising this inaugural event was initially daunting, but as soon as I realised that the School Support Centre (SSC) was going to assist me, my worries evaporated. I was able to concentrate on the small details that would ensure that the event ran smoothly. From the onset the whole WIS team was involved in the organisation of the ceremony; at every stage of the planning from the initial meetings with the staff from His Royal Highness Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex’s office and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award representative in Dubai, Tom Shorrock, to greeting the guests on the day. Everyone’s meticulous attention to detail made the organisation of this event a fairly straight forward event to host.

Tell us about the added element of preparation that goes with hosting an event including a member of the Royal Family.
The staff of the Royal Household visited the school on numerous occasions to ensure that correct protocols were being followed and that all the Gold Awardees from across schools in Dubai would receive their Gold award with all the pomp and ceremony that could be mustered. The SSC event guide was invaluable and ensured I thought about every eventuality of running the event; as did my endless lists and action plans. Although I was nervous before this high profile event I was keen for everyone to enjoy the celebration and for everything to run as smoothly as possible. It was an honour to be involved in the planning of such a prestigious event, welcoming HRH Prince Edward, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), and our esteemed Chairman, Sunny Varkey, to our school.

I felt that the event was a huge success for our team at WIS; the whole school was involved in its planning, execution and enjoyment.

What was your highlight of the event?
Our Gold Awardee Obaid Al Jallaf’s speech was the highlight. It was lovely to hear his Duke of Edinburgh journey. The event afforded us a tremendous opportunity to showcase some of our extremely talented students who entertained our guests both during the event and afterwards at the reception. Our visitors were treated to pieces on the piano, violin, harp and vocalists. I felt that the event was a huge success for our team at WIS; the whole school was involved in its planning, execution and enjoyment.