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Sultan Al Hajj is the son of a self-taught worker in the oil and gas industry – who was also one of the last Emirati workers to strike against British leadership – and the grandson of a “medicine man” providing psychological relief to fellow villagers. Sultan grew up in the emirate of Sharjah, at a time when the UAE was not yet a country, and made it to the highest positions at the oil and gas company Total in Abu Dhabi. This episode focuses on his childhood.
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 2nd part of our interview Reem explains how she left the UAE at 17 to study abroad all alone and the challenges she experienced facing depression and an imposter syndrome, before finding her identity. Her husband Arsalan also came on stage to explain how they met and what matters to them as a couple.
Emirati researcher Alamira Reem Bani Hashim explains how evolving political priorities and social realities in the UAE have shaped Abu Dhabi’s development over decades, before and after the discovery of oil. Reem holds a PhD in Urban Development and recently published “Planning Abu Dhabi”, a book on Abu Dhabi’s urban history over the last century. This episode is part 1 of our interview – recorded in public at the French language institute Alliance Française of Abu Dhabi.
Sara Al Shorouqi, 41, is one of the most senior Emirati female executives in one of the UAE’s biggest investment groups. In this episode she recalls how her father (a teacher and school director) and mother (an artist) played a crucial role in her building self-confidence and a successful career, while raising 4 children. Sara speaks about stereotypes affecting Emirati women in the workplace, and outside the UAE in general. She also explains how a divorce and medical issues changed the perspective.
Rashed Hassan is a young film actor in Abu Dhabi. His passion for movies and storytelling as a child took a new turn as a young man when national service gave him the opportunity to meet experienced actor Mohammed Ahmed, and audition for a role in one of Humaid Al Suwaidi’s feature films.
In this episode, Rashed speaks about his experience of the UAE’s recently introduced national service, his family, his emotions when he is acting, his idea of the ideal life partner, and finally what his part-time job as a concierge agent in Rosewood hotel – an unusual job for an Emirati national – has taught him.
Thabet is a 36-year old entrepreneur who runs a family business. Two years ago he decided to build a space observatory on the family farm in the desert.
This episode is about: stargazing; Al Sadeem Observatory; Emirati women and astronomy; how the loss of a younger brother can change the path forever; experiencing 9/11 as an Emirati student… in the USA; running a family business in the UAE as the eldest child; spirituality and the universe.
Often referred to as the “Green Sheikh”, Sheikh Abdulaziz bin Ali Al Nuaimi is a nephew of Ajman’s current ruler, and therefore part of the royal family of the UAE’s smallest emirate.
This episode is about: being a sheikh / what a majlis is in the UAE context / falcon hunting / preserving the environment / leading a charity organisation / the Ajman emirate / the ruling family of Ajman / parents’ influence / good vibes
Talal is a 40-year old poet from the emirate of Sharjah. As a child, he liked to go to the sea with his father for diving and fishing trips – precious moments that inspire his poetry until today.
In this episode, Talal speaks about Arabic poetry, morning inspiration, consciousness, Sharjah as a culturally focused emirate, his father, how a trip to Nigeria changed the perspective, how Twitter has changed his poetry.
Hanady, 31, discovered her passion for mountains and mountaineering five years ago, after starting to hike through… the desert. Since then she has climbed 4 of the world’s Seven Summits – the highest peaks of each continent.
This episode is about: climbing the 7 summits / being the first Emirati women to make it to the top of Denali / personal challenge and training / taking care of your body / meditation / family support / personal takeaways from a trip to the USA.
Jalal Luqman’s name today is internationally known but his journey to becoming the UAE’s first digital artist in the 1990s was not a walk in the park.
In this interview, Jalal remembers life as a child in the UAE, as his father worked as one of the first lawyers in the nascent country.
This episode is about: Being the school child in the corner / Surviving Business studies in the USA without any money / imposter syndrome / being the first Emirati Digital Artist / self-teaching computers in the desert in the 1980’s / dark emotions / Invisible giants / Why nobody is too insignificant in a society / Opening a gallery for Emirati artists / Writing a first book on napkin corners / The Armagondas volume 1 / Old times in Abu Dhabi
At the time of the recording, Suhaila was a law student at Sorbonne Abu Dhabi. At 21 she had already run elections and represented her peers in various organisations. In a country that little more than a decade ago has organised the very first parliamentary elections of its history, Suhaila is part of this new generation contributing to the UAE’s journey towards more public participation.
This episode is also about Female Role models in the UAE / being an Emirati student at an international university / self confidence / the Emirates Youth Council / bedouin family roots in Al Ain / family farms in the desert / embracing societal changes and digital transformation / differences between generations / multiculturalism
Two years ago, Leila lost her mother to breast cancer. Her “The Power of Pink” art installation, is a way of building on her experience in a creative way, while raising awareness about breast cancer in the UAE.
This episode is about: Growing up as an Emirati woman / The colour pink throughout a woman’s life / Barbie in the UAE / The Pink Ribbon / Leila’s mother and father and how they met / Mother-daughter relationships / Making last moments count / Breast cancer / Femininity / Pop-art mixing international icons and traditional Emirati features.