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Alumni of the month - April 2013

Talal Omar
BEng (Hons) Chemical and Process Engineering, 2006

Miriam Kennet

“What I have learnt over the past years is that there is no limit to achieving. If you are inspired and work hard for it, you can achieve what you once thought was impossible.”

As Country Manager for the Guinness World Records in the Middle East, Talal Omar knows a thing or two about the limitless possibilities one can achieve with spirit and dedication. Talal was recently chosen to head the Dubai Office for the company that publishes one of the world’s most popular books so he could be closer to clients as well as monitor and witness the records.

“In the past four years, I have travelled across the world representing my company to witness and recognise some of the world’s greatest achievements in different categories by individuals, groups, charities, corporates and governments. I enjoy travelling, so this kind of lifestyle suits me.”

It is a far cry from the BEng (Hons) Chemical and Process Engineering course he completed at LSBU, but Talal believes it is his natural curiosity in people that puts him in an ideal position to do this job: “My strong point is my ability to communicate. It’s a very important part of my job, dealing with different kinds of people in different countries, from different cultures. I was trained in communication, as well as how to deal with the media and how to go on stage to present programmes.”

So how many people think they're the best in the world at their special skill and how strict is the judging?

"We receive around 1,000 applications for records every week globally. I’m responsible for those for the Middle East. There are a few parameters for setting a record in any field. It has to be measurable, verifiable and breakable. And it has to be interesting, of course!"

The Middle East is one of the fastest growing regions in terms of records in the past few years. In 2012, there was a 250 per cent rise in the number of applications received by the Guinness World Records from the region.

We asked Talal if any particular record stood out in his memory from the hundreds of claims he has investigated: “This is a story of a record that was attempted in Saudi Arabia. Three girls aged 20-25 collected and donated four tonnes of school supplies to underprivileged students within 24 hours. The girls went around collecting supplies from people, sorted out the donations, cleaned them up and sent them off to orphanages and charities. It’s really inspiring to see people attempting to set records as well as doing good deeds for society. Such people really inspire me and are the reason I feel I have the best job in the world.”