Here We Start

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Reading Time: 3 minutes


Dear Sail Readers,

A year before today, Sail Magazine was being launched into the online world, minimal team of writers with only 2 members, Shaima AlTamimi and myself.

A year back, we did not know where would Sail go, how long would its journey be, and how far can it endure.

A year ago, we started with nothing but a dream; a dream that Sail would grow miraculously in terms of readership and writers team.

We dreamt that Sail would connect with a large number of readers, who may have been discouraged from reading all along, and provide them with the content they would have loved to find and read. We dreamt that we would encourage people with hidden talents to come forward, polish their talents and have their opinions heard.

Today, we mark the beginning of the second year of publication. Growing from a team of just 2 writers, into a full-fledged team of 8 regular writers and 2 content reviewers. We started with 2 columns in society topics, now we have 8 columns in different categories such as: art, college life, life coaching, society, and technology. Proudly, we are constantly growing our team of writers, the topics being represented, and our readership is gracefully growing alongside to include readers from UAE, Saudi, Bahrain, Kuwait, UK, Canada, US, Australia, and more.

I could not end my editorial with a better quote than the below:

As for this month’s content:

  • Interview: The second part of the interview with Wael AlSayegh. This part will discuss in details intercultural intelligence, AlGhaf, and its future.
  • Just Another Undergrad: Fatma Bujsaim describes the thin line between knowledge and education. Only those who want to learn would notice its existence.
  • Living Through The Eyes of Art: Hamda AlHashemi argues that practicing a harmful routine unconsciously can result in massive destruction to us and to our environment.
  • Microscopic Me: Rooda AlNeama explores the journey of being aware of her negative thoughts and tries to zap them out.
  • Scenes from Life: Rawan Albina, a generation Xer, she takes us on a trip down memory lane to describe the technological metamorphosis, its side effects and outcomes.
  • Society of Tomorrow: Mohamad Al Junaibi expresses his observations and assessments of the current strides and movements involving Social Media within the Arab world
  • To the Point: Mohammed Kazim argues that UAE’s diversity can sometimes be a cause of certain types of inefficiency. He then demonstrates 3 ways of creating productivity and avoiding inefficiency in diverse environments.
  • Words, Observations, and Ramblings: Reem Abdalla sheds light on the mail-order bride service in the UAE and how it reflects on the Emirati culture. She also describes the effects and consequences of the UAE’s rate of marriage, divorce and spinsterhood.


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Scenes From LifeSociety of TomorrowTo The PointWords, Observations, and Ramblings


Enjoy the read.

With warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Founder/ Editor in Chief


Interview with Wael AlSayegh – Part 2

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)

Iman Ben Chaibah, founder of Sail Publishing, a digital publishing house for online magazines and ebooks, and editor in chief of the Emirati Sail Magazine, an online magazine about community and culture written in English by Emirati columnists. Iman is a multi award winner in digital publishing, entrepreneurship, and literature. Iman has also completed the Leadership Strategies in Magazine Media Course in Yale University. Besides her work in publishing, she also lectures in Canadian University in Dubai.
Iman Ben Chaibah (@ImanBenChaibah)
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Wael Al Sayegh is an uprising star in the skies of Dubai. He is a blend of many qualities, the owner of AlGhaf – intercultural intelligence consulting firm-, a poet, a publisher, an expert in martial arts, and much more. The last month’s issue included the first part in the interview, which talked about Wael’s background, personal life, and about his start. In this month’s issue, the second part of the interview, we discuss  AlGhaf in details, the meaning of Intercultural intelligence, and the potential future for AlGhaf.

Interviewed by Iman Ben Chaibah

  • Why did you choose the name “Al Ghaf” for your intercultural intelligence consultancy?

Al-Ghaf is one of the domestic trees that grow in the UAE’s tough desert. I have always been fascinated by how AlGhaf’s roots go as deep as 30 meters down the ground to find water and it can live for around 300 years. Even after it dies, it still serves the community with its wood, which is known as the best firewood by any camper you ask.

Metaphysically, this tree represents the model of a warrior to me. Whenever things get difficult in running the business, with having no support or resources, I would just remember the tree and how it does not complain. It just digs further till it finds water, so I fight. It constantly gives me good energy; that is why I named it that.

  • AlGhaf consultancy is mainly about intercultural intelligence. What is this discipline about?

Intercultural intelligence (ICI) is the science of dealing with people from different cultures and ways of thinking. This research-developed science was collaborated with Marco Blankenburg, Director of the Dubai-based KnowledgeWorkx. As an example, ICI allows you to pass the Abaya and Kandoora (The national UAE dress codes) and work directly with the person underneath. The quicker you can tap into the person’s culture and all the dimensions that exist there, the quicker you can really work with them genuinely.

  • Where does AlGhaf stand in terms of trade licenses?

AlGhaf holds a professional HR consulting license in addition to a book publishing and distribution license. I currently publish my poetry books through the latter license.

The latest poetry book by Wael AlSayegh published through AlGhaf. The book is bilingual and is called: "There is an elephant in the majlis"


  • How do you get organizations’ buy-in into AlGhaf services?

We show them the different levels of ICI and we inspect with them their business models. From there, many organizations would already know where their weakness is and would request the complimenting services for it.

The economic crisis was one of the main eye-openers for organizations; they became aware of certain losses and realized they need to cater for them.

One of the ICI potential examples we present for organizations is the example of international placements. 30% of international placements fail. Not because the placements failed or are not good, instead, it is because they could not adapt to the new culture they were placed in. This leads them to either terminate their contract or not renew it, which requires the company to invest again in a new placement with all the comprised costs.

  • How does a typical AlGhaf ICI consultancy proceed?

We offer a workshop with a mixture of training, consulting, and coaching. The workshop can take 1-3 days depending on the organization’s requirements, the level of business incorporation, and the level of the staff attending the workshop. We take the ICI into a very scientific method by passing the knowledge on so it is fully internalized and then it comes out as their own.

  • Do you think ICI embracement differs between countries and generations?

Just like math and sports, some people are naturally good at ICI while some are not.

In general, our generation embraced ICI more because it is a necessity; especially at this time in the highly multicultural UAE. When you work in UAE’s private sector, more than likely, Emiratis are very few and you are dealing with many different cultures. You are forced to develop ICI to survive and succeed in your life.

  • What does ICI give you?

I am an Emirati, born and raised in Scotland, married to a South African, and I live in the UAE. I live and breathe ICI. It gives me the ability to learn from every different culture there is. It gives me the attitude to be humble.

  • Where do you see AlGhaf going?

The next stage is to merge the consultancy license with KnowledgeWorkx to allow taking the ICI training to an international level. As for AlGhaf and its publishing license, we are looking into expanding it to a full fledge publishing house in which we encourage the craft of writing, creating content that is then distributed through any channel whether printed or digital. It would incorporate all sorts of content, e.g. the translated work for Geoff Thompson, the new uprising poets and authors, and take all the goodness of life and share it.

  • What would you like to leave behind as an advice?

The only thing I would like to add is what Geoff has taught me: there is no growth in comfort. So embrace the discomfort; you need to be out of your depth. If you are in a class where you are the top person, find another class because this one is not scaring you anymore. Many people would reach to the top, then they stay, they get addicted to being the top person, and then all of a sudden, any new thing is a threat. You become a big fish in a small pond. I choose to always be a little fish in a big ocean because that is where I grow and it is uncomfortable, but I am constantly training myself to get used to this discomfort again and again.

To know more about Wael Al Sayegh and AlGhaf visit the following links:
– Wael’s website:
– AlGhaf’s website:
– Twitter: @TheMartialPoet, @AlGhaf

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Turning Education Into Knowledge

Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim)

Senior Editor. Ex- Column: Just Another Undergrad

After graduating with a Bachelor degree in International Studies and a minor in converged media, Fatma still finds herself hungry for knowledge, which led to her enrolling in a postgraduate program. Her passion for both reading and writing has made her extend her stay in Sail eMagazine so that she can learn & develop her skills. When not buried in her books and novels, Fatma is found on tennis courts or in a classroom learning a new language.
She wrote her previous column: “Just another undergrad” hoping she can give what she didn’t have when she was a freshman: comfort and guidance, and also bring back memories to all those graduates out there. She wonders if things are going to be the same after graduation.

Latest posts by Fatma Bujsaim (@FatmaBujsaim) (see all)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Fatma Bujsaim (@Fatma_Bujsaim)

At some point in life, we have been programmed to believe/understand that everything we need to learn and know is either in the textbook or on the white/black board in the classroom. We went to school everyday at 8 am and attended our classes, at around 2pm we went back home, did our homework and that is that. After finishing our homework, we played, we had fun, we shopped, and we hung out with friends; and we avoided anything that would remind of us of school.

When we start university, and the first two semesters go by, we realize that the books and the board are not really enough in the process of learning. There is more to university than just doing projects, homework, and getting A’s in finals and midterms.

Wanting to learn could mean two things; either we want an education, or we want knowledge. But it could also mean that we want both. There is a very thin line that separates education from knowledge. In the Oxford Dictionary, Education is defined as “the process of teaching and learning (giving and receiving) systematic instructions”. So basically we are being told what to do and we just do it.

The problem with having an education alone is that we might forget it. It might slip away because it is just a set of instructions and guidelines. Education alone would not be able to survive and this is where knowledge comes in; it is defined as “facts, information, and skills acquired by a person through experience or education”.

So in other words, applying our education in experience turns it into knowledge. We do not only become aware of the information we gained in our education, but also become familiar with it and make it part of who we are, part of our experience.

The ways of gaining experience differs from one person to another. Some of us may volunteer in different events and conferences in their fields of interest; others may establish simple yet effective initiatives in order to practice and apply what they learned from their education.

We not only turn our education into knowledge by doing so but also get to learn new things while we are doing what we are doing. We meet new faces that teach us things from their own experience and enlighten us. We find support in other people and find ways of developing our future plans; one thing leads to another.

Some of us do not like any of the things mentioned above but we end up finding a way of creating our own experience, our own way of turning our education into a lifelong serving knowledge, and that might include traveling and exploring or conducting research.

So whether you are a freshmen, sophomore, junior, senior, or even an alumni, it is never too late to realize that what we learn from the classroom is not enough; there is more to life than what books teach us.

This, my friends, is what I found out while I’m on campus; I wonder if that’s going to change after graduation.


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Make A Difference, Take Action

Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi)

Column: Art of Living 101. Previously as: Living Through The Eyes of Art
Hamda AlHashemi is a 20 something year old interior design graduate, and an SZHP employee. She appreciates art, food, psychology and culture. For her, Arabic calligraphy is music for the eyes; beautiful and calming. She thrives to become an entrepreneur of her own furniture line and aims to get her Phd on the long run. Hamda’s articles revolve around how our psychological thoughts influence our actions, and how to use them to our advantage.

Latest posts by Hamda Al Hashemi (@Hamda_alhashemi) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

By Hamda AlHashemi (@Hamda_AlHashemi)

Every field of study has its own potential and role in contributing to society. Lawyers aim to protect the innocent, doctors aim to keep people healthy, and architects aim to develop and build their country. When I declared my major, which is Interior Design, people used to ask me, “and how is that going to help society? People do art for fun only.”  For a long time I asked myself that question, how do artists contribute to society and humanity? And I got a very satisfying answer after seeing the magnificent work of the photographer Chris Jordan. Jordan took a very important message and portrayed it in an expressive visual way. His artistic contribution inspired many people to develop a healthier, more sustainable life style.

Chris Jordan is an American photographic artist whose work focuses on mass consumption in the US. He uses different elements in our everyday life such as water bottles, foam cups, mobile phones, and cars in large quantities to show statistics of excessive consumption. He uses one digital image and multiplies it many times to come out with an interesting composition; one has to look very closely to identify the elements used in that composition.

His work is also known to be very large in size to make the viewer understand how our life style choices can have a massive effect on the world we live in. Some of his latest work is over 10 feet high and 25 feet wide. “I want people to realize that they matter,” (Jordan, 2008). In other words, we can say that what we consider as little trivial things in our daily life can be of enormous value in a broader spectrum.

In his TED speech in 2008, Jordan said something that really got to me as a listener and a consumer. He said that we unconsciously harm ourselves and those around us; sometimes these things that we are unaware of can result in massive damage. For example, in one of his photographs that was of foam cups, he showed 6 million cups that form the shape of pipes, or a chemical plant. He said that 1 million plastic cups are used on airline flights in the US every six hours. None of these cups are reused or recycled. He also presented another photograph of 410,000 paper cups. The actual statistic was that 40,000,000 paper cups are used daily in the US for hot beverages, but since he could not fit 40,000,000 in the canvas, he went with 410,000. 

“Resist no temptation: a guilty conscience is more honorable than regret.” The first action for us to take is to feel guilty and acknowledge the harm we are causing, even though we are not aware of it. This first step will pave the way for the next one that is solving the problem. Simple actions we can do are recycle, reuse, and try as much as possible to limit our unnecessary consumption habits.

“We are not feeling enough, there is a kind of anesthesia. We have lost our sense of outrage, our anger, and our grief about what is going on in our culture,” (Jordan, 2008). Two valuable lessons I learned from Jordan are: 1. I can make a difference in this world through my field of interest. 2. I have to change and I have to care about the consequences of my choices.


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Destroying Negativity

Rooda Al Neama (@ThinkDubai)

Rooda joins Sail Magazine to explore the different viewpoints of current issues. She hopes to share her thoughts and experiences through her column. Passionate about writing, Rooda wants to build up her writing portfolio to eventually include a novel.

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Rooda AlNeama (@ThinkDubai)


Negativity.  It is a simple word, yet can mean so many unpleasant things, things we want to change, things that we would rather not think about or feel.  My mission of the month is to try to mentally ‘zap’ any negative thoughts that come into my mind upon realizing of course that they are negative.

The journey was anything but easy.  Being conscious of one’s train of thoughts is hard, especially since the stream of thoughts is filled with different topics, emotions, situations and people. I would like to share with you some of the things I learnt from purposely identifying negative thoughts and zapping them; hoping it will help others realize what their negative thoughts are doing to them!

Night and Day: I realized that when sleeping with a negative thought, waking up with a negative thought was inevitable.  Realizing this pattern made it easier to eliminate the morning negative thoughts by thinking of all the things that are planned for the day.

Waste of Time: Most of my negative thoughts stemmed from things that may not happen; in one word: WORRY.  Wasting time worrying caused a hole of doubt and scenarios that may not happen. Then one worry led to another worry and the negative thoughts kept digging the hole deeper. I found the fastest way to stop the negative thoughts is to ZAP myself back to the present and enjoying it NOW.

Subdued: Often when negativity takes over, I find myself being, well, not myself! Lacking the energy that I would like to bring to conversations, lacking the desire to engage myself with others, and eventually falling back into the hole of worry.  ZAPPING this was going to be hard because its more of a feeling that takes over rather than a single thought.

Exercise: definitely helped me regain my sense of self as I realized I have the power to change and push myself and not my negative thoughts! It was like the negative thoughts fueled the energy and watching them burn with aerobic exercise is a triumph.

As I literally started with negativity, ending with positivity seems just right.  We know many things but fail to implement them in our lives until we consciously decide to make a change and that is what I learned from my negativity ZAP journey. As promised, an ending with a positive quote that fits this journey of awareness: ‘There is a choice you have to make, in everything you do. So keep in mind that in the end, the choice you make, makes you.’ – Coach John Wooden


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A Witness of Time- Generation X

Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

Rawan, CPCC, ACC, is a Professional Certified Coach, owner of Leap Coaching & Training whose life’s mission is to help women achieve their dreams.
Her strongly positive nature and calm demeanor enables her to gently draw out a person’s full potential as she helps them get in touch with their passions, find their purpose and LEAP into a truly fulfilling and extraordinary life.
Women who are at a crossroads in life, young women ‘Entreprenettes’ and teenagers have all found a strong guide in Rawan who has helped them discover the life skills needed to begin the new phases in their life with confidence.

Latest posts by Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina) (see all)

Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Rawan Albina (@RawanAlbina)

Generation X is a term coined by Douglas Coupland to define the generation of people born between the year 1965 and 1980. Being part of this generation, I had the chance to witness many great changes and inventions in the world. I consider this generation to be very lucky. We escorted the old world out and saw the dawn of a new one that we grew up with. What you’re about to read is a trip down memory lane.

I remember as a little girl, my grand-father’s Cadillac had an 8-track in it. We used to listen to Elvis, Feyrouz and Magida El Roumi on our road trips every week-end. In my teenage years I would receive mixed tapes with love songs on Valentine’s Day and I would get really upset when one of my tapes got chewed up by the cassette player. Today the iPod has taken the world by storm.

There were the Betamax and VHS video players with NTSC, Pal and Secam standards. Recording your own programs on video tapes was the optimum of modern living until everyone started having cable TV. Today is the age of TV on demand.

Owning a video camera was quite a luxury. So I only had a still camera until early 2000. When I went on school trips or travels, I would take as many pictures as I could without knowing what they would look like. Of course there was no display in the camera and you had to develop the films not print the photos at home.

I saw the metamorphosis of TVs from the small black & white screens to the color TVs to the flat LCDs and now HD and 3D. Who would have thought that videotapes would be replaced by DVDs and Blue Ray and cassettes would be replaced by CDs and downloadable tracks. In today’s world, everything has become electronic; even books, newspapers and magazines.

I miss the days of the phone dial before wireless, mobile and smart phones came about. I was relatively a late adopter of technology as I only bought my first mobile phone in 2002 and created my first email address in 1994! The only way to stay in touch with friends in other countries was by either calling them, which was very expensive, or writing letters. Now I can’t even remember when the last time I received a letter from a friend was. There was no email back then, no Skype and no VOIP. Just regular old communication channels.

As technology changed, the world started losing some of its charm. It became more connected but much faster. We are now so wired that we are not allowed to miss a call or take more than 24hrs to answer an email. Even the fax machine is on its way out.  The days of the telegrams and telex are long gone. We’re in the instant communication era. SMS, BBM, etc. Our life is very full and we suffer from constantly feeling overwhelmed and stressed. There is always something on our mind; it’s constantly working and doesn’t get to rest.

We take our music and information with us wherever we go and don’t allow our minds to wander even when we’re waiting for a taxi, a train or a plane. There’s no such thing as idle time but there used to be such comfort in it. The “art of doing nothing” has changed into the “art of doing everything at once”. We forgot about it that now we have to re-learn it. Meditation, yoga, bubble baths and massages are vehicles to take us there but what has been undone is not easily re-acquired.

The best conversations we have today are most of the time virtual. Social networks have taken over and we remember to update our status on Facebook more often than we remember to call a friend. Even our vocabulary has changed to include generation Z words. I sometimes wonder about the fate of communication. Will we always value face to face social interaction?

Being a generation Xer myself, I am lucky to have seen the world go through so many facelifts in just 34 years. There are concepts I am sure my children will not even begin to grasp. We know what invention and hard work mean but how do we explain that to a generation that believes in the power of a mouse click? I guess we don’t. We just allow them to learn it their own “e-way”.

Rawan Albina is a Dubai-based professional coach. You can learn more about her and her work by:

– Visiting her website
– Follow her on Twitter @RawanAlbina
– Or join her Facebook Fan Page “Life on a Treadmill


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Welcome to Arabia 2.0

Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi)

Mohamed, an IT Professional with a background in web development, database administration, technical support, and project management. His work includes enhancing corporate systems and designs, and further enhancing current business strategies and processes.
Mohamed enjoys reading literature and political commentary, with a love for Sci-Fi reading and writing. He’s also a big Formula 1 fan, and also heads the Mercedes GP UAE Fan Club based in Abu Dhabi.

Latest posts by Mohamed Al Jneibi (@maljunaibi) (see all)

Reading Time: 3 minutes

By Mohamed Al Juneibi (@maljunaibi)

“Social media can be an enabler and an accelerator of existing core capabilities, values, attributes and plans. It can even be a catalyst for change. But it ca not magically create what does not exist.”  Denise Zimmerman

Many of the previous events that had been shaping up the current changes in geo-political landscape had much to do with the previous regime’s policies towards their citizens. With a significant number of disenfranchised youth in both Tunisia and Egypt; there were many analysts who had predicted an upcoming display of discontent from disgruntled and jobless youth. This article is not aimed at discussing the policies of those regimes. It is about the empowerment of average youth via technology. The revolutions taking place are not something new but the pace in which they have occurred is.

The unemployed along with a large percentage of the population wanted a better life. This, along with other issues within the society, i.e., rampant corruption, ambiguity of laws and even the violation of citizens’ right have all added to the accumulated resentment towards the status quo.

The People were always aware of this. After all, no one could understand it better than those affected. Social media (whether via Facebook, Twitter or even YouTube) played a significant role in the last set of uprisings, in which Twitter has represented a new source of information, Facebook has become a virtual mass assembly point, and YouTube has documented many of the visuals.

Social media has empowered common people to speak out their unanimous views, challenge the status quo, and garner tremendous support and sympathy from the rest of the world.

In my last article (January 2011), I have pointed how current advances in communication technologies allowed many people become journalists in their own way, and record history as it continues to move forward at a rapid pace. I have followed on twitter: @sultanalqassemi, @monaeltahawy, @dima_khatib, and @sandmonkey to name a few of those I believe were the key in reporting the overall news and events that were taking place on the ground. They were the ‘eyes’ through which we have witnessed events unfold.

Twitter has given a new collaborative face to journalism within the Arab world. It is this sense of collaboration that governments are now adapting. Accordingly, “open government” initiatives are now starting to sprout in the Arab world. These initiatives are steps to providing the “involvement” aspect in the required communication.

This is a natural and necessary evolution, as we, in the Arab world, become more enabled and empowered with the information at our disposal.

Wael Ghonim (@ghonim), who is considered the face of the Egyptian revolution, labeled the new Egypt as Egypt 2.0. In reality, what happened is upgrading the rest of the Arab world to 2.0.

I simply see all of this as the precursor to Arabia 2.0.


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Aligning Interests in the UAE’s Diverse Environment

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Mohammed, an Emirati involved in healthcare business development, comes with a background in biomedical & clinical engineering, technology management, finance, and business setup related project management. Mohammed has a keen interest in relevant social, religious, economic, and cultural affairs.
Mohammed’s bi-monthly column aims to openly and honestly target issues around the native culture, society, religion, economy, and policy that have resulted as a consequence of the constantly changing demographics of the region. The column is characterized by a point-like articulate approach that gives the reader a comprehensive understanding of the discussed issues.
Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

By Mohammed Kazim (@MAKazim)

Watching a promotional video about Dubai in an Emirates Airlines flight gave me goose bumps to say the least. From breathtaking views of the modern skyline of Dubai to smiling faces portraying traditional hospitality as well as diversity, the message was impactful.  To the outside world, the UAE is a place where diverse people from all parts of the globe work together efficiently.  The UAE’s success in establishing a robust infrastructure, foreign direct investment, tolerance of different religions, and diverse demographical population, are used as evidences of that very statement.  In addition, promotional videos, written media, and global forums repeatedly portray that this diversity acts collectively towards the shared goal of the country’s progress

While this statement may be true in many cases, the UAE also faces a unique challenge in achieving certain objectives due to its diverse nature. The latter may often lead to an inability to act as a single body towards shared goals; this has created a level of inefficiency that comes at a significant price. In reality, records have showed that the UAE has witnessed a great amount of inefficiency in processes, decisions, and as a result in growth. This is realized on a daily basis by entrepreneurs, employees, policy makers, as well as social servants.

Whether it be different nationalities, organizations, or contracted parties working together, there will always be some factors contributing to the resistance of each party to work with the other.  Some examples of the inefficiency that has negatively impacted progress in the UAE include lost revenue from licensing delays, brand weakening due to inappropriate customer care, and disregard for local processes and customs.  Although the list can continue forever, what is important to focus on is transforming these inefficiencies to productivity and managing the UAE’s diversity wisely.  In my opinion, the inefficiency in businesses may be caused by the country’s diversity and it can be addressed through aligning the interests of all involved parties. In order to do so, 3 factors need to be met:

First, there needs to be a clear goal defined by the parties working together and roles should be explicitly defined. When the goal is unclear, the sense of creating value is lost. In a diverse environment, this lack of clarity and absence of a common drive can create different perceptions of what the end result should be. Therefore, having a shared clear goal and explicitly defining roles can significantly transform inefficiency to productivity.

Second, after the goal has been established and clearly defined, there needs to be clear incentives that motivate individuals to work towards the goal. These incentives can be pertaining to personal beliefs or preferences or the incentives can be financial. I recently witnessed this when working with the health authorities to establish a medical center in the UAE. At first, the employees I was interacting with were unwilling to cooperate with me. However, after I highlighted the projects’ benefits to the nation and as a result to their families and friends, I had their full commitment. Furthermore, financial incentives can also be a good way to ensure compliance and timeliness. For example, if licensing authorities or government entities were responsible to reimburse companies for the lost revenue caused by delays, the situation would be very different. Having such fair incentives or disincentives helps align diverse environments’ interests hence transforming inefficiency to productivity.

Last but not least, there needs to be recognition. This is often forgotten about by most corporations or individuals trying to achieve team work. The effort put in by each individual needs to be appreciated and the appreciation needs to be shown.  This factor is especially valid in diverse environments where Fair appreciation needs to be maintained to avoid the perception of prejudice. Appreciation can be expressed in the form of a simple thank you or tokens such as gifts, promotions, etc. It is crucial to maintain a standard level of recognition. The existence of such a system may ensure the maintenance of productivity.

Although the UAE is a place of opportunity that attracts people from all around the world to its fruitful environment, we have witnessed that the diversity could also be a serious cause of the expressed above inefficiency. We can choose to either live with this inefficiency and proceed or strive to improve to produce even greater results that will benefit not only companies but also the society and the nation. In order to improve, I believe this inefficiency can be transformed to productivity through aligning interests by clearly defining the goal, placing the correct incentive schemes, and recognizing efforts.


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The Trend of Mail-Order Bride

Reem Abdalla (@Reem096)

Reem, a 24 years old Emirati female who will stand up for any cause she believes in and is curious by nature. She believes in connecting the dots and coloring the world with her magic markers. As a marketer, she likes to sell her ideas. As a female, she tends to listen and support. As a UAE National, she stands by her country and religion.
Reem aims through her quarterly column to explore issues in society and discuss emerging new trends. Listen to other people’s thought and view their perspectives about the subject. Then raise questions and form unbiased conclusions about it.

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By Reem Abdallah (@Reem096)

Imagine sitting in a room filling a form on your likes and dislikes amongst other personal preferences. Then you get introduced to a woman whom you will marry that is compatible to what you filled earlier in that form.  Well, it seems this can be possible nowadays as a new mail-order bride company introduced their services in the UAE. This news mind-boggled many people including me as this is very new to the UAE and it does not match our customs. Most of these women live in other countries, mostly Eastern European and get “couriered” to the UAE according to the customer’s orders.

Will women have a similar choice of getting mail-order groom service? It would be interesting for women to choose whom they want to marry by filling a form and reviewing everything about him before being introduced to him. Will this type of mail-order wedding work in societies such as the UAE? What happened to the traditional way of being introduced to a man/woman?

When I read the article about the mail-order bride, the owner of the company Mr. Wiener commented on the type of women he brings by saying “unspoilt by feminism”. As a woman, this comment shocked me. What is he referring to when he said the women he brings in are “unspoilt by feminism”? How are the other women in the world “spoilt” by it?

What is feminism? Is it when a woman fights for her rights and stands for her thoughts? Does feminism refer to education and working to earn an income? If that is so, then I’m a proud feminist. Living in year 2011, do men still want a Barbie doll? Pretty from the outside, empty from the inside? Or are they looking for a woman with a substance, who is educated and understands the value of work & money?

Who is the target market of this mail-order bride service? Are there any Emiratis interested in such services? What will we have next as services? As we are approaching the new century, many shocking services are being introduced and made available for us.

According to statistics the rate of Emirati men marrying foreigners has seen an overall increase of 20%. In 2010, a total of 30.7% of marriages where between Emiratis and Foreigners.  The downside to this is that the rate of spinsterhood of women in the UAE has greatly increased. According to Jamal Obaid Al Bah, Chairman of the Arab Family Organisation,: “The UAE culture also did not do justice to Emirati women, where the case of an Emirati man marrying a foreign woman is reluctantly accepted. Emirati women are forbidden to marry foreign men. This injustice and the rise of Emirati men marrying foreign women have forced 30,000 Emirati women into spinsterhood” (source: GulfNews).  In addition, the UAE also saw an increase in rate of divorce which peaked to 4,315 in 2009 from 3,855 in 2008 and 2,783 in 2007.

What is the correlation between the phenomenon of Emirati men marrying non-Emirati women and the increased rate of divorce? Does it have any underlying factors between the two valuables? Will the mail-order bride solution help in this? I’m certain it will help increase the marriage rate in the UAE but will not help in the spinsterhood factor.

It seems that many Emirati women are now open to marrying non- Emiratis with the permission of her family. Will the Emirati law allow Emirati women to marry a non-Emirati without the hassle of special permissions?  Will the Emirati law allow the children of Emirati women married to foreigners obtain the Emirati citizenship? While marrying foreigners have many advantages, one of the main disadvantages is the language issue. As kids grow up in a mixed marriage home, the Arabic language is lost or is not perfected if the mother is not an Arab. Many kids from mixed marriages are not fluent in Arabic. However, there are always exceptions to this rule. Awareness seminars should be held to discuss the different pros & cons of both, marriages of Emiratis to Emiratis and marriages of Emirati to non-Emiratis. This will help manage expectations and reduce the rate of divorce.

This mail-order bride service adds to the global diversity that is witnessed in the UAE and other parts of the world. This diversity is influencing many of the UAE traditions and customs. Are we adapting to these customs and making them part of our daily lives or is it just a phase that will pass by. As an Emirati, I have witnessed that I have accepted many customs and traditions that are not part of my upbringing. Is this a curse of westernization or is it a blessing in disguise?

* Original Article: Mail-order bride business sets up shop in the Emirates


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