Evolving Towards Regular Content

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: 2 minutes

Change is part of life, and any business that doesn’t adapt to changes nor set a growth plan will eventually fade away. And though change sometimes can be difficult, and letting go of what we’re used to can be intimidating, but stepping out of that comfort zone can be rewarding both on personal and professional levels.

For the past 5 years and few months, we’ve focused on publishing our monthly issues in a model that pushes all the articles of the monthly issue in one go at the beginning of the month. As part of our growth plan, we are changing this model into spreading the issue’s articles across the month instead of on a one go at the beginning of the month. This change is taking place for many business reasons, but mainly, to give our readers new articles to always come back for across the month, for them to enjoy reading.

Regarding the newsletter, as we know most of you have busy schedules, and getting a newsletter update every couple of days with a new article notification can be a nightmare for your inbox, so for now, we are shifting the newsletter to the end of the month, with links to all the articles that were published across the month. However, we’d recommend you follow our social media accounts, and perhaps turn on the notification for our Sail’s account on your preferred social media platform to always be notified when a new article or important update is released. Our twitter link is: @SailPublishing, instagram is: @SailPublishing, and facebook is: Sail eMagazine.

On a separate note, we’d like to invite you to an event we’re hosting on Tuesday 9th of June, 2015, at 7PM, in A4 Space – AlSerkal Avenue. We’re hosting a discussion panel with the authors whom we’ve published books for through Sail Publishing, to bring awareness on the creative process of their writing journeys, and how they were inspired to pursue publishing them.

Let us know your feedback and your thoughts on those changes. We hope with this change our readers will enjoy the magazine further and enjoy it across the month.

Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Here We Start – Issue # 62: May 2015

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: 5 minutes
Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

Artwork by Dana AlAttar (@DanaAlAttar)

This month, many students will be undergoing their final examinations, whether in schools or universities. Those exams can get hard, challenging, frustrating, and pushes many to give up and just aim to pass rather than excel. I believe this applies not only to exams but also to everything in life.

If life had taught me anything, it’s that each time I was about to just give up and quit whatever I was working on, after I’ve forced myself to have a mental break for just few minutes (or sometimes a week), and then went at it again, the results were remarkable, the success was mind-blowing, and I always feel so grateful for not falling for my moments of doubt or weakness, cause I would have missed out on all this.

So if that’s where you are: a moment of weakness, about to quit, settling to just pass when you can excel; just take a mental break, take exactly the length of the break you need to get back on track, and then get back to work and try harder. May success always be on your side.

With this issue, we are joined by two new members: Shurooq AlBanna & Farah AlBaloosh. Shurooq AlBanna joins us as a columnist. She has been on a journey of self-discovery, ever since she opted out of a career in Genetics and Forensic Science to work for the Noor Dubai Charitable Foundation for the prevention of blindness. She has found joy through her humanitarian work-travels in some remote villages in Africa and Asia. Her interests include: travelling, visiting museums, foreign films and reading. Shurooq’s column “Uno Momento” is influenced by her Toastmasters championship speech that made her reflect on those distinctive moments that give a deeper and different perspective on life.

Farah AlBalooshi joins us as an artist. Farah is a down-to-earth architect and photographer, with a passion to capture beauty in all things in their simplest form. She aims to inspire and create projects that will make a difference and help those in need through Art and Architecture. Farah is a minimalist at heart who posts religiously on Instagram to share and broaden her creativity.

And now to our 62nd issue for the month of May 2015:

Hats off to our great editorial team: Aida Al Busaidy, and Deena Rashid. Enjoy our reads, and don’t forget to check out the inspired artworks by our talented creative team: Aalaa AlBastaki, Amna AlSaleh, Dana AlAttar, Farah AlBalooshi, Hayat AlHassan, and Marwa Fuad.

To keep up with our monthly-published issues and to know about any of our coming events, make sure you register with us by clicking here

Help us spread the word about the magazine and share the articles with your friends!

Warm regards,
Iman Ben Chaibah
Editor in Chief

Interview with @Khayarat Founder: Najla AlMidfa

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: 7 minutes

Najla AlMidfa, recently was listed as one of the most powerful Arabs under 40, and that barely speaks to all her achievements in life, from being a Stanford MBA graduate, long experience in international consultancy companies, long involvement in entrepreneurship whether directly or through her work in Khalifa fund few years back, and now with her new company: Khayarat, through which she mentors Emiratis into the private sector, and helps international companies find the right Emirati candidates to work with them. In this interview, we get to know more about Najla, and what she does through Khayarat.

Najla AlMidfa - Founder of Khayarat

Najla AlMidfa – Founder of Khayarat

Sail: Tell us a little about your background and career.

Najla:   I grew up in Sharjah, did my high school studies in Dubai. At 18, I decided to complete my Bachelor’s degree in the UK. And upon my return to the UAE, I handled a few consulting roles with major international companies such as PWC & Shell. I then decided to go for my Master’s degree in the US, and after completing my MBA, I decided to stay in the US for a couple of years and get some experience at McKinsey, in strategy consulting, and then eventually came back to the UAE.

When I finally settled back home, I joined Khalifa Fund in 2010. I liked their mission to develop Emirati entrepreneurs, and thought this was my opportunity to use all the skills and experience that I gained over the years to give back to my own country and to my people.

Sail:     How did you get the idea of starting Khayarat?

Najla: While at Khalifa Fund, when I would talk with the entrepreneurs applying there about my experience they would ask me a lot of questions about my career. Questions like “how did you apply for this company?” “How did you get into this university”, etc. That was when I realized there was a gap over here in terms of mentoring and guidance, and I really wanted to fill it, especially since I felt I was in a position to do it primarily because of the experience that I’ve had. So I left Khalifa Fund and started Khayarat.

Sail: Tell us, what is Khayarat?

Najla:   Khayarat is an online career development platform targeting young Emiratis. The ones who are either in college or in their first job and thinking that this isn’t really what they had in mind. So I would say between the ages of 18 to 25. What I’m really trying to do is raise awareness about private sector opportunities.

Sail: Why only private?

Najla:   Choosing the private sector will be a great foundation for them, irrespective of what they decide to do later on. Most of my experiences were with international companies, and I would love to see more Emiratis at least start their careers over there, because it’s a great training ground, they have structured programs, and there’s a lot of investment in your learning.

Sail: So what are the main services Khayarat provides?

Najla:   The first service is to the companies by allowing them to have a page on Khayarat’s website. For example, KPMG is a company we worked with, which is an accounting, auditing, and consulting firm.

We take photographs of their offices, and videos of people working in KPMG in the different departments talking about their careers. The reason for this is: A) some students wouldn’t know there’s KPMG to start with. B) Chances are, the information you see on KPMG.com will be the main international offices, and you don’t really get to connect with the local team.

So now students or fresh grads have an online directory of all these private sector companies and can just have a one-stop shop instead of having to go to different companies’ websites like KPMG & McKinsy and so on when they’re looking for a job.

The second part of Khayarat is for students or fresh grads, if they’re interested in a company, they can apply at Khayarat’s website. But we’re not a recruitment firm, we’re not taking your resumé and giving it directly to KPMG – we’ll prepare you to apply to KPMG, so that you are prepared for their interviews. This is important because some of those companies have a very specialized interviewing approach, which if you’re not trained for specifically, you’d fail.



Sail: So what made you feel that that’s something our society needs?

Najla:   I studied abroad and I’ve seen the career guidance that I got when I was in the US. They would sit with each individual, and would make the students do an online survey which would take you about an hour answering different questions – kind of like your MBTI surveys – to understand who you are, what jobs would suit you, and then talk about your passions, and where your interest lies. They would help you in every aspect, and then if you had already identified what you wanted to do, they’d help you get connected to the right companies, prepare for the interviews, and that’s effectively what a career office should be doing in universities, which I don’t see much of here.

Sail: How do you select your students or fresh grads? Or do you accept anyone that applies?

Najla:   There will be an application form on Khayarat.com through the link “Apply to Khayarat”, and the application isn’t too complicated. I want them to express what their dreams, hopes, and ambitions are, and the challenges they’re facing. The fact that they’re willing to take the time to even answer the question is a filter, because a lot of people wouldn’t be bothered to take the time to answer the questions. That filters out 50% of the people. Then we interview the remaining 50% who do apply to assess them better.

Sail: How can one be a Khayarat employee/member/mentor?

Najla: We are always looking for mentors to help provide career guidance to young graduates. Whether you would like to share your story through a short video interview, or spend time mentoring students, you can get in touch through najla@khayarat.com.

Sail: What advice would you give to the fresh grads starting their career in the private sector?

Najla:   First of all, do your research. Don’t just go by the company’s brand name. Research more about the company and also the specific role that they expect you to do. Secondly, speak to as many people as possible, people who are working at the company and people who have worked at the company, and ask them why they had left. That will give you some indications. And don’t let money be your deciding factor.

Thirdly, ask very clearly what your learning and development path will be. The company shouldn’t be hiring you just because you’re an Emirati. You should be able to see the work you’ll be given and the skills you’ll be learning. And of course, once you’re in there, find a mentor.

Sail: Any last advice you’d like to give?

Najla:   My only advice is to eliminate that sense of entitlement. Whether Khayarat, your university career’s office, or any mentor that you have along the way, they’re there to support you, but you have to do the hard work, which means researching, talking to people, doing your homework, and preparing as much as possible. So if you put in the hard work, everything else will follow.

Sail: How can people follow you to know more?

Najla: We are currently finalizing our social media strategy, and this should be activated by May. The accounts to follow on both Instagram and twitter are @khayarat

Middle East Film and Comic Con – @MEFCC 2015

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

Omar is an International Relations Student at the American University of Sharjah, with a passion towards politics and a devotion towards the rhythmic arts of poetry and prose.
Omar Al Owais (@OMSAlowais)

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Article in brief: the author gives us his review of exploring MEFCC for this year.

Last month, I attended the Middle East Film and Comic Convention (MEFCC), which ran for the fourth consecutive year from April 9th – 11th. MEFCC is the largest pop-culture festival of its kind in the Middle East, including a wide array of entertainment and pop culture globally such as Film, TV, Animation, Manga, Comics, Art, Collectibles and more. I was never a hardcore fan of comics and manga so it’s safe to say I was enthralled by the whole world of comics and cosplay (representation of characters through dress and performances) and watching the enthusiasm of those in costumes drew a smile on my face. There’s nothing I love more than positively directed passion.

Picture taken by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

Picture taken by Hayat AlHassan (@HayatAlH)

The Press Conference

I started my tour by attending the press conference, with a panel that had William Shatner, Karl Urban Kelly Hu, Sam J. Jones. Max Landis, Caitlin Glass, Vic Mignogna, Bryce Papernbrook, Alodio Gosiengfiao, LeeAnna Vamp, Angelica Bridges, Gillian Anderson, and Mitlos Yerolemou. The press conference was interesting and insightful; we got to know the speakers better on both professional and personal levels. When asked if she would be interested in creating an additional X-Men movie, Kelly Hu, X-Men actress, replied that she would be delighted to. Jokingly, she said she “also needs the money”.

Max Landis, screenwriter of Chronicle, said that he believed Dubai has a “tremendous opportunity” to host Moon Knight and other sci-fi movies.

Hayley Atwell, actress in the Captain America movie and its TV spin-off “Agent Carter”, believes her role in the show is one that empowers females. She said “It’s very rare that you see a friendship like she has with Angie [Carter’s friend in the TV show], for example. It’s not a competitive one, it’s not two women talking about men all the time. It’s an equal relationship where they look out for each other.” Additionally, she said “Continuing into season two I hope we can look into that more, the importance of women looking after other women. It’s not just a battle against the other sex, but more about women realizing that we need to support each other rather than compete with each other. I think that’s absolutely crucial.”[1]



Jobedu is a brand that started out in Jordan and is now available online and through their partners worldwide. They are an Arab brand with products influenced by Arab pop culture. They have a large web of graphic designers from a variety of Arab nationalities from all ages. Their aim is to promote Arab artists by including their work in their products and for Arab culture to have a more significant global appeal.

Jobedu - Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

Jobedu – Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

Saeed Arjumand(@Seeduality):

Saeed Arjumand is an Emirati artist who studied illustration in San Francisco for five years and became a comic book artist. He is currently a self-published author in the United States and is working on two comic book titles with another author. Saeed grew up with Batman comics, but as he got older, he was exposed to other characters. Nevertheless, Batman is his inspiration. When speaking about illustration, Saeed says that DC and Marvel characters, and pop culture changed his world! Through his work, Saeed aims to entertain his readers; “Happy readers make us happy”.

Seeduality - Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

Seeduality – Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

Amna Al Balooshi:

This is Amna’s third year in MEFCC, but this year her work has a slight twist. Her pieces juxtaposed DC villains and the Pokémon’s from Nintendo. Amna finds villains more interesting than heroes because she likes their backstory. Amna hopes to draw smiles on people’s faces through her work.

Moving Reflections:

Khaled bin Hamad is the founder and managing director of Moving Reflections Productions, which is an Emirati animation/marketing company. They mostly work on projects with government entities, with a great base of clients, ranging from oil fields to telecommunications and real estate companies. Moving Reflections has a deep appreciation for art, and their aim is to incorporate art into everything. They realize that art is not as understood by the average Emirati citizen, and thus, they often underestimate its value. Therefore, They wish to incorporate art in the UAE society more. In the long run, Moving Reflections wishes to “create an animated television series with an international concept and an Emirati identity.” They wish to fill the current void in Arab entertainment by producing shows that viewers watch “not because they want to support local talent, but because it makes them think, and because they love it.”

Moving Reflection - Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

Moving Reflection – Picture taken by Omar Al Owais

I have come across some vendors with awesome products but needed guidance in marketing. I am not an entrepreneurship expert, but I am a consumer, and I know what consumers want. It is necessary to have a long-term view; even though you might only be participating for the convention. “We want to exhibit our talents” is not an appropriate aim.

YOU decide the worth of your products. Your goods may be of high quality, but unless you properly advertise them through the various means and be a confident conversationalist with your customers, you won’t get the coverage you deserve. It saddens me to see talented artists who aren’t getting the coverage they deserve.

YOU are the product; invest in yourself. Attending workshops on marketing and public speaking can not only improve your performance in this convention itself, but it can for the the long term too.

Personally, I underestimated Comic Con. I wish I had taken advantage of my two days pass or stayed for the full day. Looking back, I wish I researched in advance for the events taking place to choose the best day and time to attend. Nevertheless I thoroughly enjoyed my four-hour experience! It was extremely congested, and the queues were seemingly endless, however, the great management team ensured it was a smooth process.


[1] http://www.thenational.ae/arts-lifestyle/film/future-is-bright-for-agent-carter-star-hayley-atwell-at-mefcc

[2] www.jobedu.com

My Reflections On a Social Media Detox

Alia Al Shamsi (@aliaalshamsi)

Emarati Author and Photographer from Dubai. After receiving a BA in Photography from Griffith University she worked as a photojournalist for local newspapers covering regional and international news. In 2008 she gained a MA in Photo-Image from Durham University and has lectured photography as an adjunct at the American University of Sharjah. Her photography has been exhibited internationally and holds awards including: EDAAD Scholarship 2007, British Council Cultural Leadership International 2010 and 2011 Emirates Woman Artist of the Year.
Al Shamsi’s recently published book Alayah by Sail Publishinghas been awarded the support from Dubai Culture part of their printing and publishing movement “Reading in Arabic Challenge”.

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Reading Time: 6 minutes

Article in brief: the author reflects on the phase she disconnected from social media platforms and how it changed her perspectives.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Remember that article I wrote a while back on social media suicide? Well, I don’t remember it either. The truth is, I’ve postponed writing this article for so long looking to add more experiences to my social media detox that somehow, I just got busy with life, away from sharing things on social media or online platforms.

Of course, there have been changes on many levels to share, from social engagements to simple things like battery life. Yet, the truth is, the addiction is curable and the detox creates a more aware user of social media platforms with some interesting surprises.

Firstly, I cannot stress enough on how much more battery life I have. Yes, my mobile still dies, but let’s say, I have it living long enough to be able to communicate during the decent hours, and I am more cautious on how I use the little battery left, by not wasting on web or social media browsing. For those techies who are proposing an external battery, I will say no. It’s too tempting to know I have an endless supply of battery life, and it will just cause me to relapse into my social media ways (like downloading more apps because I know I have enough battery to go through them all).

Secondly, the most appalling realization was how much time everyone, including my parents, spend on social media. Well, my parents are exempted as they have only just recently started with the whole social media experience, but I will not be as kind to my friends. We cannot sit down on in a café or restaurant without: “Don’t touch the food!”, “Move your glass out of my picture”, “Everyone say ‘Hi!’ to my snapchat list”, “Alia move to the other side of the table”, “Aida just WhatsApped me, she’s missed the turn again, can you share the location?”.

I cannot express how irritated I get when someone snapchats. I would order a latte just to drop their mobile into it. However, I don’t, because I am the reason a large number of my friends decided to join snapchat. So best I leave that alone.

Jokes aside, a serious difference I have noticed is the change in my gaze. The problem with using social media is I have a tendency of looking at palm level when using a mobile that I stopped looking at people at an eye level. Not only that, in waiting rooms or situations where silence is required, I immediately pull out my mobile avoiding any potential conversation with strangers.

So, with no apps(during my social media detox), I ended up talking to new acquaintances and the subject of the conversation was pretty much on social media. After introductions often comes the exchange of WhatsApp and Instagram accounts, which I then need to explain how I’m currently offline.

That in itself sparked up interesting conversations. Some outright told me that my detox was ridiculous and they did not see social media as time consuming, whilst others thought it quite essential and they themselves were considering a detox. However, what I found very helpful was conversations about social media users who had specific hours dedicated to social media and online chatting. What I personally started doing during waiting time in cues is either read a book, or strike up a conversation with those around me.

A pleasant and unexpected surprise of going offline has been seeing more of everyone. Having no access to messaging programs, my mobile started ringing more often. I heard from my friends more and saw them more frequently. The best part is, I actually reconnected with a lot more people on a face-to-face meeting! I know some would think this experiment will prove who is really my friend and who is not, but I am not quite sure how or why I got more calls from all my closest and oldest friends more frequently. I might leave that explanation to pure chance or perhaps to the law of attraction.
Coming close to my conclusion, I will proceed to the question many have been asking me. Did I eventually end up going back to social media?

Yes I did. I relogged to my Instagram, tumblr and whatsapp but with a new approach. I opened a new Instagram account and decided to make a few changes on how I post. I decided that I should carry my camera at all times and 90% of my posts are actual images taken by my camera vs my mobile camera. Why? Because I learnt to slow down and savor life. How? By shooting with a camera, I switch to manual settings and I take my time to frame and to capture. I also reduce the amount of images I take and increase my focus. I also decided to start sharing my poetry and writings, of which the outcome has been a pleasant surprise. Suddenly my Instagram feed was linking me to wonderful accounts of users who had taken similar approaches to mine. I discovered the positive side of social media, the one of awareness and creativity. I now have a feed that suggests my next read, poetry and links to creative projects.

In the end, this little experiment of mine just proved that like everything else, social media and its applications are to be used with awareness. Have a reason to why you want to share what you are about to share, and every now and then, put down your mobile and just enjoy the moment. Not everything needs to be recorded – life really needs to be lived and experienced.

The Effects of Childhood Obesity

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

Dr. Mariam Ketait is a general practitioner specializing in family medicine, with masters in quality in healthcare and various alternative healing certifications including Theta Healing, Spiritual response therapy, Pranic healing and Access consciousness.
Mariam looks at health from a holistic perspective and believes that our bodies respond to our thought patterns and emotional behaviors. She also believes that health is attainable and that a happy life is a healthy one. Mariam created the concept of "ebb and flow" to reflect how we can deal with the various tides of life by flowing in harmony with our inner wellbeing to achieve health. The column will cover common health topics with an approach to conditions in a mind body spirit framework.
Dr. Mariam Ketait (@ebbbndflow)

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Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: An insight on childhood obesity, its impact and ways to prevent it.

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Artwork by Amna Al Saleh (@Tepingi)

Obesity and being overweight are defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as excessive or abnormal fat accumulation that can result in health problems.

We measure and classify obesity by measuring the body mass index (BMI), which basically compares your weight for height. A BMI of 25 is classified as overweight and above 30 is obese. However, this classification is only used for adults. For children and adolescents various measurements are used and charted to take their growth into consideration.

When addressing the issue of weight in children, we need to know that childhood obesity is one of the most serious health concerns as numbers are on the rise at an alarmingly high rate. In 2013, according to WHO, overweight children under the age of 5 were estimated to be over 42 million, 31 million of which were living in developing countries. In the UAE, it has been estimated that around 40% of the children in schools are overweight to obese till date.

This is why the matter has to be taken seriously, as overweight and obese children are highly likely to stay obese into adulthood and develop medical conditions associated with obesity such as blood pressure problems, blood sugar problems and high cholesterol levels. But in addition to increased future risks, obese children experience breathing difficulties, increased risk of fractures, insulin resistance and psychological problems.

The good news is: it is preventable.

When we talk about childhood obesity it is important to note that children are mirrors of their environments. The ecosystem, which provides nurture and nourishment, is where the child develops his or her eating habits: this starts at home, then at school, and lastly the community.

First and foremost if your child is obese or overweight you need to look at:


Being overweight is usually a cause in an imbalance in the energy intake and expenditure: this means that either the child is eating a lot of unhealthy fatty foods and snacks or he (or she) is not moving enough.

Having regular small meals 5 times a day ensures the metabolism is healthy and the child is getting his nourishment adequately. Portion control is also important here. Unhealthy snacks can be replaced by fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on colour and health benefits when being replaced.

Increasing outdoor activities or physical exercise is also very important as “old habits die hard”, and it is vital for the child to build his or her stamina and love for movement at a young age.

From a medical perspective it is important to have a look at the growth parameters, and ensure all hormones are balanced.


Children are easily influenced by their surroundings, so providing an environment that promotes a healthy lifestyle is important. Parents must set a good example when it comes to healthy eating habits and exercise.

Also, parents should refrain from using food as reward or punishment as it develops unhealthy associations in the child’s mind.


Food represents nourishment; children can be taught how to appreciate healthy food from a young age as it nourishes their bodies to grow and get stronger. Being grateful for health and food and movement can be embedded at a young age.

Having a nurturing environment emotionally where the child feels loved, accepted and acknowledged is very important to avoid developing emotional eating habits in the future.

Lastly, remember that excessiveness is never the answer to anything and moderation is key.

UAE as a Travel Destination

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

Column: Emirati Reflections
Abdulla holds a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Master’s in Business Administration. His abstract passion for history and literature with a hint of photography adds to his noble enduring quality. Abdulla enjoys visiting museums, art exhibitions and likes to spend his spare time in the outdoors. His column “Emirati Reflections” is a mixture of stories from the past and insights of the present, which blend together and formulate his understanding of the UAE’s culture.
Abdulla Alwahedi (@Alwahedi)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Article in brief: The author calls for making the UAE a summer holiday destination instead of traveling abroad given all the tourist attractions it has.  

Picture taken by Abdullah AlWahedi of an old pool in RAK that looks like Sheikh Rashid's pool in his farm

Picture taken by Abdullah AlWahedi of an old pool in RAK that looks like Sheikh Rashid’s pool in his farm

I must admit that I am always late in arranging my summer holiday plans. However, this year I decided to change my usual habit of being tardy and properly plan my holiday. Before making any arrangements, I first asked my three kids where they wanted to go in the summer. My eldest daughter Fatima, who is 12 years old, said she wants to go to Italy. My seven years old son, Mohammed, said he wanted to go to Austria. And finally, my youngest daughter, Noora who is five years old, wanted to go to the USA and fly there in the aircraft that has big seats. In other words, she wants to fly in business class!

Their answers surprised me as none of them want to spend their summer holiday at home, despite the UAE having a variety of activities and places to go to. I guess the summer heat does affect one’s decision in selecting a holiday destination.

As I recalled my childhood, I don’t remember asking my parents to travel outside the UAE. What I remember is asking them to take us to Khat Natural Spring and Fujairah, and the farthest place we went to was Hili Park in Al Ain. Within my hometown of Ras Alkhaimah, going to an old pool in His Highness Sheikh Saeed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s farm was a fascinating experience. Traditionally, pools were not equipped with filtration systems which led to algae formation on side walls of the pool. However, this didn’t stop us from jumping in the pool as it was the only escape from the summer heat.

Today, the UAE is becoming a tourist destination for people from all over the world. Each Emirate has a different offering that makes tourism in the UAE so unique. For example, Sir Bani Yas Island, a sanctuary off the cost of Abu Dhabi, and Liwa desert have become a destination for ecotourism. Dubai Mall and Ferrari world on Yas Island are great shopping and entertainment destinations. A visit to the UAE is not complete without visiting Sharjah, which distinguishes itself through its educational and cultural festivals, such as the Sharjah Book Fair and Sharjah Heritage Days. Finally, the beautiful beaches and mountains which the Northern Emirates offer can be a great destination for a relaxing vacation.

Given all that, I feel that there is a strong need to establish a unified tourism authority which will promote the UAE in general as a tourist destination instead of each Emirate promoting itself and in directly creating competition between the Emirates. As I mentioned earlier, the UAE has various attractions and promoting them through a unified approach will make the offer very attractive. The variety of activities will attract more visitors and will have a positive impact on the economy.

Kilimanjaro Through the Eyes of an Introvert

Haleema AlOwais (@haleemaalowais)

Haleema AlOwais (@haleemaalowais)

Column: Bringing out the Rumi in you
Director of Bin Owais Holding since 2007; overseeing construction, project management and real estate management, master’s student in Urban planning in the AUS with a two-year stint in Sharjah TV.
Unconventional working mother, avid traveller, introverted bookworm, background in psychology, a great believer in the need for continuous soul searching and self-discovery.
Bringing out the Rumi in you will be exploring the philosophical views of current societal paradigm shifts, revelations and everyday experiences.
Haleema AlOwais (@haleemaalowais)

Latest posts by Haleema AlOwais (@haleemaalowais) (see all)

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: A reflection of the author’s mountaineering journey.

Picture taken by Haleema AlOwais on the top of Kilimanjaro Mountain

Picture taken by Haleema AlOwais on the top of Kilimanjaro Mountain

Having our personalities dissected and neatly compartmentalized by the MBTI personalities have done wonders in figuring out each of our personal uniqueness, all 16 types with variances on the degree of each component. Focusing on the first category, Myers-Briggs classifies you as either an Extrovert or an Introvert; you either gain your energy from being around people or from being by yourself reflecting your thoughts in your own inner world.

In recent years, widespread studies showcased the unfairness in the usage of the word Introvert. For clarity purposes, introverts are not antisocial and do not dislike people, they just have other tools of functioning in this world, and these studies sharpened personalities to find their own unique way in flourishing in this world rather than following a universal fit-for-all manual.

Earlier this year I joined a group of friends on a trip to climb mount Kilimanjaro, a notion I wouldn’t have fathomed a few months earlier, but following my intuition, it turned out to be exactly what I needed at that time.

Due to health issues that required me to go slower to acclimatize at my own pace, I would spend a big chunk of the day walking with my guide, Paul, a patient wise man who shared my inclination towards comfortable silence or would go into deep reflections of life.

From my point of view, it was an Introvert’s dream, the beautiful miraculous nature of the African route made the best background for this journey. It was sincerely a journey of challenges on so many scales.

Nothing prepared me for the shift from a life of luxury to survival mode in a matter of days except a friend’s advice to “Go with no expectations and know that it will be over in a week. And pack a lot of Snickers.” The hours of reading climbers’ reviews and training in the gym did little compared to the encouragement of people who become our family for the week: the local guides and other groups on the trail. Everyone had something positive to say to keep us on the move on the slipperiest of trails. On a path where scaling down a wall with snow melting into little streams, making an ill-placed stumble can be a life-threatening one.

Nonetheless, I cherished the journey that pushed me to cut off all methods of communication and left me with hours lost in my thoughts, reassessing priorities and values. Things that seemed so important became so trivial, what I projected as pillars of life became flimsy and withered away.

Along the trail, one footstep at a time, I shed, reexamined, uncluttered a perception at a time. How does it serve me? Does it suit me? Does it matter to me? Where did it stem from? More importantly, the journey made it seem so possible, allowed me to give myself permission to shift my views unapologetically.

The epiphany of self-realization came on day 5, the summit day that started at 1 am. Starting out in pitch dark, in an unimaginably cruel cold and windy weather, with nothing in view except the headlamps and stars. It was surreal; at one point I broke down thinking, why did I put myself through this? I thought it was too much, and it seemed easier to just sit down and give up, as you can do in life when challenges seem bigger than you.

Then the sun came up, and gave me a view I earned all on my own by not giving up; I was literally and metaphorically above the clouds welcoming the sun. And I did this myself through believing I could. With life’s ups and down, how many times were we faced with hurdles that seemed impossible to overcome, but managed after believing we could, not necessarily unscathed, but carrying reminders of how strong you proved to be?

“Everyone wants to live on top of the mountain, but all the happiness and growth occurs while you’re climbing it.” – Andy Rooney

In a way, everything can be perceived as a journey, but the goal is not just the end of the journey but what insights and growth you gained along the way.

What a waste it would be if we didn’t take the time and patience to observe ourselves inwardly and allow ourselves to accommodate the changes forming in us from the experiences we’re going through.

The Dazed Scene That Is Fashion Forward

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)

Column: Habillez-Moi (which means “dress me” in French)
Reem is a fashion fanatic. She used her talents of critiquing to start a blog called “We Voice Fashion” along with a partner that shares her views on the world of fashion and design. Through her column, she likes to explore fashion in a philosophical way at times.
Reem Al Suwaidi (@LumeiRee)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: the author discusses Dubai’s own fashion week through Fashion Forward.

Setting of Fashion Forward Season 5  - Picture taken from fashionforward.ae

Setting of Fashion Forward Season 5 – Picture taken from fashionforward.ae

One aspect of Fashion Forward (FFWD) for me is the hot rush I used to get from hopping off the car and frantically walking inside the hall of the convention center at Minaa’ Al-Salam, in Madinat Jumeirah, to attend a show or a talk in the nick of time. Punctuality after all is needed in such situations; the alternative is arriving, as the show is about to start, and finding no seats whatsoever.

Fashion Forward is often considered to be a Middle Eastern Fashion Week, rounding up the region’s top designers such as Toujouri or Rami Kadi to showcase their collections. Having wrapped up its fifth season, Fashion Forward has generated wide international acclaim and it looks like it’s going full force with growing; with its drive to position itself internationally as a prestigious platform for fashion, a lot can be said about Fashion Forward at this point of time.

Fashion Forward was founded by Bong Guerrero, and launched its first season in 2012. What differentiated Fashion Forward from the rest of its international peers are the activities taking place whilst people waited for the shows. For instance, you have The Garden, where accessories, jewelry, and bag designers can showcase their products to show-goers. Often The Garden is suitable for designers who are just starting out, like New York-based Nathalie Trad. Her structural and defining clutches were precisely laid out in her space, as I remember when passing by in Fashion Forward’s third season.

Fashion Forward Talks - Picture taken from fashionforward.ae

Fashion Forward Talks – Picture taken from fashionforward.ae

Another central aspect of Fashion Forward are the fashion talks, which is another attraction for industry insiders or even a non-fashion related audience. Usually consisting of panels discussing fashion-related topics such as the “How to get your brand into stores: A Retailer’s Perspective” talk or the “Fashion and Film: the cross-pollination between” talk, they happen to be quite informative and interesting. On the other hand, interviews also take place within the fashion talks, such as interviews with American designer Ben Malka of Halston Heritage and Kuwaiti blogger Ascia Al-Faraj, not to mention designer Nanette Lepore, who also gave a walk-through of her label’s history.

Despite its flaws, one can ultimately note how far Fashion Forward has come in terms of not only elevated designer prospects, but also organization and commitment. It’s no wonder that well-known figures in the industry such as Fern Malice and Olivier Rousteing have paid a visit to the bi-annual event in past seasons.

Already making headlines internationally at Vogue Magazine and locally at The National and other media outlets, it is with no doubt that next October will see Fashion Forward welcoming more international industry personnel while also receiving resident visitors. What I personally admire about the people working to make Fashion Forward happen is their devotion to the designers. It is after all very important that regional designers get all the assistance required with growing their brands, and placing their trust with the team behind Fashion Forward; it just comes as a natural instinct.


A Classroom Too Big

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)

Column: Hidden Promises
Alia is an AUS student double majoring in International Studies and English literature. She is also the author of Alatash fictional novel. Her main goal is to make a change and empower the youth. Her column is meant to help the younger generations deal with tough situations. It was given that title as hidden promises is what us teenagers often believe; false promises.
Alia Al Hazami (@AliaAlHazami)
Reading Time: 4 minutes

Article in brief: The author discusses the disadvantages of students attending lecture halls.

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Artwork by Marwah Fuad (Twitter: @marwah_f1, Instagram: @ElMeem_Artistry)

Last year, I made the transition from being a high school student to a university student. The change wasn’t that hard, but the most difficult part was the extra workload. Now, even though my freshman year has been pleasant so far, I can’t help but think of the similarities and differences between schools and universities.

The main point that caught my attention is the lecture halls. At my high school, classes never exceeded 35 students. With 35 souls in class, it was a little bit difficult to engage in discussions but it was still manageable. However, with taking courses in lecture halls, things can get a little too hectic.

I’ve taken a course in a lecture hall only once and it was the most unpleasant experience I have ever had. I know that having lecture halls spares universities a great deal of money, but at the end of the day, spending for the sake of their students is worth it. In all the small classes I’ve been part of, I was able to interact with the professor and other students, and I actually knew the names of almost everyone. But in lecture halls, it’s hard to grab the chance of participating in intellectual debates in a class that contains over 75 students.

The number of students in a class is very important. People have different paces and ways of understanding, and if they can’t ask questions in class, then how will the information shared sink into their brains? Plus, being around so many students makes it tough to develop an actual relationship with the professor, making students uncomfortable with asking questions and clearing doubts.

Though I am not saying that attendance is the reason a student should attend class, but it motivates them to go to classes when they don’t feel like attending. Besides, you can’t really pass a course with poor attendance. In lecture halls, it takes a good five to ten minutes to take roll, so the professors rarely bother to take it in order to use that valuable time in explaining the lesson assigned for the day. As such, one can be tempted to skip class because no one would really notice, and that act itself can become frequent when feeling that your absence will go unobserved.

When thinking about it, professors try to organize graded in-class quizzes and activities to lure students to attend so that they don’t get their grades deducted. Nonetheless, living at such a modern age, professors who teach in lecture halls save themselves from the hassle of giving so many students a test, and instead, they simply assign online activities and quizzes that usually take a week to complete.

In addition, the no cellphone rule is ignored. Yes, it is the students’ responsibility to pay attention, but in a class so big, who would notice if their minds drift off for a while? The big number makes it so easy to lose focus. I’ve reached a point where I was looking to my left and right, and noticed that everyone around me is busy with their phones or having a conversation with a friend, disregarding the presence of an educator. What makes it even easier to use cell phones is not fearing the embarrassment of being asked to leave class and the irritation of losing grades for breaking a rule.

Holding a lecture in a hall or a classroom has both its advantages and disadvantages. But in my opinion, smaller classes are more beneficial to the mind and soul. It is refreshing to be recognized by your professor and definitely more motivating to pay attention and attend. However, they are not the only learning space that should be offered, but lecture halls should be avoided to spare the student the difficult experience.