11 – Reem and Arsalan, the husband and wife team

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Emirati architect Alamira Reem Bani Hashim came back from 12 years in California with a PHD in Urban Planning, becoming the 1st female Emirati with that distinction*. In this episode she explains why she left the UAE at 17 to study abroad on her own. Describing herself as an overachiever and perfectionist, Reem experienced depression, an imposter syndrome, but finally found herself and her own identity.
Her husband Arsalan explains how they met and what matters for them as a couple in the Emirati context. Both are also partners in business after founding an interior design company with an original concept and name that resonates with their lives: “The Native Bohemians”.

This episode was hosted by Nathalie Gillet, and recorded in public at the French language institute Alliance française, by Fahim Benchouk from the company Fuzyo.

* Episode 10 of “Emirati stories” was Part 1 of our interview with Reem, dedicated to her work on Abu Dhabi and the story of city’s urban development. We strongly recommend reading her book “Planning Abu Dhabi.

** Music: “Unbury Your Heart”, by Snowflake / http://ccmixter.org/

About the Author
Nathalie is based in Abu Dhabi and develops communications strategies for companies based in the region. Prior to that she worked as a business journalist specialised in the Middle East for over 15 years for a variety of English, French and German-speaking media, including France 24 TV, Radio France International (RFI), Jeune Afrique, La Tribune, Marchés Tropicaux et Méditerranéens and The National (Abu Dhabi). She also speaks fluently Arabic and has visited, worked or studied in each Arab country
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