Open your mind to Emirati culture

The UAE is unique because its tolerant and welcoming of all people, and is adept at striking a balance between modern progress and its traditions.

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Published: Sun 22 May 2016, 12:00 AM

Last updated: Sun 22 May 2016, 10:10 AM

To understand and appreciate Emirati culture, you must have an open mind to reach out, to seek; and a heart to accept and be understood. The UAE is a confluence of people and cultures from over 200 communities, who work and live together. Some are friends, many are strangers. The movement of people and goods is 24/7 in one of the most connected countries in the world. Dubai and Abu Dhabi are cosmopolitan cities, which continue to grow and expand. People are in a hurry and businesses cannot wait to expand. Tourism is thriving, bringing more visitors who look around, shop and stay behind to live the expat life. They are part of this country's march towards development and excellence where only the best will suffice. In this rush of life, many expats have no time to stop and appreciate finer Emirati culture, the people of this land, their vibrant community ties and the rich heritage that binds them.
The UAE is unique because its tolerant and welcoming of all people, and is adept at striking a balance between modern progress and its traditions. His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, believes prosperity can be in harmony with the UAE's past if there is tolerance. What other country in the world can boast of a tolerance minister? Shaikh Mohammed said expat residents would truly appreciate Emirati culture if they learn more about the UAE. Back in 1998, he established the Sheikh Mohammed Center for Cultural Understanding. It was novel for those times, but the initiative is more relevant today when the world is being 'divided by narrow domestic walls', to quote the Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore. Development is nothing without the understanding of varied cultures. It took vision to pave the way for cultural education in the UAE back then. It takes wisdom to keep it going even today. Expats find programmes offered by the centre interactive and interesting. "We want to educate expats about UAE traditions and customs in a calm and friendly ambience away from the typical lecture format,'' said Abdullah bin Eisa Al Serkal, the director of the center in our report. The center organises tours, discussions, cuisine, music and Emirati cultural fetes under the theme 'Open minds, open doors'. Like all things in the UAE, this is an innovative idea. It will keep expats involved in the UAE's progress and more appreciated by the hosts.



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