Why You Should Take Your Children To A Museum?

Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

Dr. Mona Al Ali works as a museum expert and consultant. She worked as an assistant professor and the coordinator of the Art History and Museum Studies Program at the University of Sharjah.Prior to her academic career, she worked in the museum field for several years. Dr. Al Ali has a strong passion for museums, Islamic history and art. She has written few publications and has been giving talks related to the history of museums in UAE, impacts of social change in museum development, museum and identity, and strategies to attract visitors to museums.
Dr. Mona Al Ali (instagram: @Monany, twitter: @monabinhussain)

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Reading Time: 3 minutes

Museums are great spaces for learning and getting inspiration. Children who visit museums with their parents are more likely to visit museums in adulthood. 

Artwork by Ghadeer Mansour Mutairi (Instagram: @ghmutaiiri, Twitter: @ghsasud)

To visit a museum in the weekend or on holiday might not be the first option parents choose for their children, especially in the United Arab Emirates. Parents would consider places that include entertainment programmes, and spaces for kids and young people. They also want a “diversity” of restaurants, shops, and cinemas. But this is why some museums do consider all of the above to attract families to museums. So parents need to do a little bit of research and find out what museums are offering.

People visit museums to meet all kinds of needs. Some are straightforward, such as getting information, meeting friends, or taking their children on holiday. Other reasons are more complex, like discovering the history or heritage of a place, or finding a sense of personal identity and exploring the museum collection. Visitors might want to seek social and recreational experiences from their visit, mostly to satisfy their general interest and curiosity and for social interaction. So why would you want to take your child to a museum?

A visit to a museum would provide a memorable experience through interactive exhibitions and hands-on activities. Moreover, these visits help with critical thinking, creativity and provoke the imagination. Reading labels, looking or touching the object (if allowed), and asking questions helps to develop these cognitive skills. However, it can be challenging as most children have short attention spans and no prior knowledge of the subject. Therefore, parents and guardians should put in some extra effort to explain to their children about the museum and its exhibitions or collection. Parents and children are encouraged to learn and explore together. They can discuss an art object or a painting, which creates valuable learning experiences for them as a family.

Here are a few tips to ensure that your trip to the museum with your children goes smoothly:

  1. Visit the museum website and check their opening hours, cafes, parking, entry fees, museum location and what is the best time to go to avoid rush hours.
  2. Check museum rules and regulations.
  3. Know what type of museum you are visiting to be able to explain to your child.
  4. Ask the reception if there are any family activities they provide.
  5. Take advantage of the educational programmes, as many museums provide family-friendly tours and workshops.
  6. Create a vocabulary list for kids, so that they can learn new words like “relics” or “artifacts”.
  7. Create your own art session for the child. For example, they could draw shapes or letters or find similarities and differences between paintings.

There are a wide variety of museums to visit in the UAE. Many of the historic houses, dhows, forts, schools, and airports were transformed into museums and opened to the public. In Sharjah alone, there are around 20 museums that cover different topics and interests. From art museums, to heritage museums, archaeology, Islamic civilizations and more. Moreover, Louvre Abu Dhabi is expected to open in November, and other museums will follow such as Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim Abu Dhabi. Think about your child’s interests and take him/her to the museum of that subject. That would make a great starting point to inspire other museum visits in the future.

#BookReview Captive by Jere Van Dyk

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

Jumanah is a Media and Communication graduate from King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Her fields of interest lay in the studies of humanities and through her articles she seeks to create a bridge between sociology and social media.
Jumanah Salama (@Juma_nah4)

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Although religion is their claim, it is clear that culture validates blood, and vengeance, an act that is forbidden in Islam, is an attractive factor to feuding tribes who join the Taliban.

Picture provided by Shof Elmoisheer

In 2007, Jere Van Dyk, an American journalist working for CBS News, had planned a trip to Afghanistan in hopes of crossing secretly into Pakistan for research on his book about borderlands and the northwest Pakistani tribes, which meant he would be going where many western journalists failed to enter due to its ongoing border conflict and dangerous inhabitants, the Taliban.

In 1980, Jere had lived amongst the Mujahideen, an Afghani rebel group fighting the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan during the Soviet War in Afghanistan (1979–1989). As a journalist who brought their story to America in a book tilted In Afghanistan: An American Odyssey, he had planned to do the same with the Taliban in 2007, but a major turn of events was to unfold.

As he landed in Afghanistan and drove down the streets looking out the window watching children beg, where schoolgirls once wore miniskirts with long socks to school in the 70s, Jere thought to himself: “Afghanistan lost its soul, at least the one that I know”. He later meets up with a translator and a guide, who promises to lead him to his destination, but things do not go as planned and Jere is captured by a prideful Pashtun Taliban affiliate for forty-five days up in the mountains of Pakistan in a dark mud baked house with his team of three and a suspected conspiracy. Although he is a prisoner, his capturer had promised to protect him under Pashtun Law, as it falls under their culture and religion.

During Jere’s captivity, he learned about the depth in which animosity, culture, and blood are deeply ingrained in these lawless lands from his interactions with his imprisoner and long conversations with his fellow prisoners. Although religion is their claim, it is clear that culture validates blood, and vengeance, an act that is forbidden in Islam but is an attractive factor to feuding tribes who join the Taliban.

Jere was labeled the Golden Goose as his imprisoners had hoped to gain millions in ransom from the American government, which reflected on the simplicity of their mindset and their ignorance as the government does not negotiate with terrorist nor is it possible to transfer huge amounts of money without arising suspicion.

Throughout the book, the author shows much love he has for a land he once knew and his immense knowledge of the conflict between religion and culture, and the clashes between Pakistan and Afghanistan to great detail.

He wasn’t tortured as many would assume, but only to those who don’t take mental torture into account. I don’t by any means believe this was due to cultural values rather desperation and greed as the Taliban do not have a steady flow of income and live poorly.

In the end, Jere shows conflict himself, aside from his reflections on God during his captivity. When released, he feared the sun, and when he reached safety in the American military base he reluctantly removed the tribal outfit he had worn to fit in and sadly shaved his hair and beard. Even in his New York apartment, his lingering fear was nothing but posttraumatic stress, a result of the constant manipulation and threats he had received during captivity and promised after release if he were to speak negatively of them, they told him: “We will be watching you.”

The Self: The Human Mind’s Greatest Act of Creation

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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The writer explores the mesmerizing development and manifestation of the self.

Artwork by Hamda AlMansoori (Instagram: @Planet64, twitter: @planetsixtyfour)

The self is the human mind’s greatest act of creation. A creation molded to fit a specific time, place and cultural landscape with a spark of free-will, allowing some freedom of self-expression and to some extent uniqueness in the manifestation of that self.

The formation of the self commences far before the parents punitive/reward teachings of yes and no. As humans, we carry our ancestor’s perks; aka personality traits embedded in DNA. After all, how many times have we heard: “You’re just like your mother, stubborn. You’re like your father, never satisfied…” to loosely quote Prince.

Before proceeding into a swift presentation of what the journey of the self is, starting from newborns to young adults, the following comes with a fine writing: this is not by any means an account of what every individual passes through. There are variations (in the manifestations of the self), just as there are variations in personality, situations, and culture.

The birth of the self has little room for self-expression in its early stages of infancy. Newborns are entirely dependent on their parents, and their understanding of the self as separate and independent from their parents only happens in the latter years of infancy. In its simplicity, the self ensures its livelihood and so remains compliant, unless it is suffering and survival mode kicks in.

Fast forwarding through childhood, we reach the wonderful world of the self during the teenage years. This brings with it rebellion and the experimentation of diverse selves, forming ideas and opinions to ultimately come forth with a self that declares itself rightfully here.

Friends and cultural influences and trends all play a part. Perhaps one of the most painful years, but equally exhilarating, is finding out who this self is. This stage is not always linear, and for many it lasts throughout their twenties. The development of the self slows down, and the self reaches a form of stability.

Then, life happens. Whether it’s becoming a parent, or the death of a loved one, a divorce or any life-changing situation. This deeply affects the self, regardless of whether one sees it as positive or negative. This is the point I find most interesting and intriguing. The power of the mind and the malleability of the self. They form a symbiotic relationship where it is capable of recreating a self when all sense of the self is lost.

In year 2015, like Alice in Wonderland, I heard the caterpillar’s asking, “Who are you?” The only difference to Alice was that I was both Alice lost in wonderland and the caterpillar. I had always known my self as being strong, confident and very much sure of who I am. But life happens, and when it happens, it can shake you up to the core. My divorce very much did cause my existence to tremble and fall. While writing this article, I overheard on a talk show that divorce impacts a person either as an event or as a role, mine was the latter. The self is not just an outward persona we set up for the world; it is an active participant, it anchors us within a reality and helps us navigate throughout life experiences.

For the next two years, I redefined and rediscovered who I was and who I wanted to be, at times adopting an alter ego as a form of protection or a façade to test out with my new definition of selfhood. This phenomenon is not only restricted to recent divorcees but equally can be seen when, for example, pop stars adopt alter egos; a temporary mask to wear for the world. Without judgment, this is equally a solution to test and try to be someone else. A new self, and why not become Sasha Fierce like Beyonce? But that very act of creation and recreation of the self has set me off in utter awe and admiration of the capacity of the human mind. With every fall there is a form of adaptation of morphisms and the concept of the evolution of the mind is infinite. We may fall but we can always come back up to become anything and whoever we want to be. We carry on.

This phenomenon of the recreation of the self is what mesmerizes me alongside the human mind and faith. With these three elements, the self can be created and recreated to be anything or anyone dreams it to be. An existence that is both fluid and capable of recovering, in time, from a fall and to start a life every day on a new chapter until one is capable of reaching to the closest truth they could ever reach: their own truest self.

Genericide: Brands’ Worst Fear

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

Shof holds a Master’s degree in Marketing and a Bachelor in English literature. Avid reader of classic literature, her preferred type of fiction, along with psychology and marketing. Skilled at drawing, created a comic book, not yet published. Dedicated her Instagram feed to bookish recommendations. Fond of language learning, taught herself Japanese. In her column Thoughts of a Reader she reviews books, writes short stories, and talks Marketing.
Shof Elmoisheer (Instagram: @Bookish2525)

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What is Genericide, and why is it so bad and how marketing can help in preventing it.

Artwork Miriam Koki (Instagram: @mir_madeart, Twitter: @miriamzk3)

You’d think a brand would love it if people used their brand name as a word describing the whole category it belongs to. Like when you ask someone to hand you a Kleenex when the tissue box near the person is not even a Kleenex brand. Or for the brand Google to see its brand name as a verb with the other fancy verbs in the English dictionary. I thought it was cool, I thought this reflected unprecedented popularity and success of that brand in its category. However, while you and I call it cool, brands call it certain death.

Genericide is what’s it called, and it’s defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “The process by which a brand name loses its distinctive identity as a result of being used to refer to any product or service of its kind.” Shifting its position from “it’s a dominant brand in that category” to “it IS the category.” A brand’s name is not just a name, it is its identity and built up trust. Elizabeth Ward, a trademark lawyer, says “You have to see it in context of how much they spend on advertising… Once it (the brand) becomes just a word, it erodes the value of that brand.” (Duffy, 2003).

Brands spend big money making that name recognizable to the masses. Sometimes that name becomes too big, too recognizable that it gobbles up the whole category to which it belongs. A big brand that became a category no longer poses an option in the consumers’ minds. Quality, affordability, innovation any sort of association that the brand spends so much time and money on creating will be gone (Marsden, 2011). The way language develops is to blame, we instinctively pluralize a brand name like Oreos, or use it as a verb like Photoshop (Marsden, 2011). This damages the brand because over time it starts to blur, we will no longer remember its origin. Oreo will mean any dark cookies, and Photoshop can be said when using any photo editing program.

An everyday word that you’ve long been using could be a dead brand and you don’t even realize it. An escalator used to be a brand, due to the company’s own misuse of its brand in its advertising, the company lost the trademark in 1950. Because in their ads the first letter of the word “escalator” was not capitalized, the same way as ‘elevator” which is an actual generic word. So in that regard, escalator is typed as a generic word and so it is perceived as such (Marsden, 2011).

When a mosquito makes its life’s purpose to bother you, tired of swatting it, you go with an intent to kill, looking for a flit. In the GCC consumer’s mind “Flit” is a synonym to insecticide, but they don’t go looking for Flit, they’re looking for a flit. When you look up pictures of Flit, the results will show Pif Paf or Raid, the most known “flits” here in the Middle East. Those two brands dominate the search results. Flit became a category no longer recognized as a product but as a descriptor of the two. The only proof I found of its existence as a brand long ago are old advertisements from between the 1930s and 1940s.

Brand: Flit, between 1930 and 1940 Dr. Seuss Advertising Artwork.
Source: Special Collection & Archives, UC San Diego Library

Also, in the graveyard of brands is the Band-aid. People started using the brand to refer to all sticky plasters, but to be fair, the brand did try to fix this mass misunderstanding. In its American advertisements there was a song that used to be “I am stuck on Band-Aid, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”, but when the brand was getting blurry to the public in the 1980s it was changed to “I am stuck on Band-Aid Brand, ’cause Band-Aid’s stuck on me”. Maybe the brand would have survived if only this clarification was made sooner (Marsden, 2011).

Here are brands that are not dead but got paranoid and took a more blunt approach to their marketing. The gaming brand Nintendo produced the ad below to discourage its consumers from calling its video game products by the brand name itself (Marsden, 2011).

Brand: Nintendo of America Inc, 1990. Source: reddit

Kleenex too has its issues, as people started using it to mean any facial tissues. Consumers probably don’t even realize it, but if this habit continues, Kleenex will get wiped. Adamant on protecting the brand name, the company sends letters to whoever wrongfully uses it (Duffy, 2003).

In 2005, Google aware and wary of its popularity, released a “rules for proper usage” for its brand. A list of do’s and don’ts, such as to capitalize the G and never use it as a verb. Still, in 2006 Google entered Merriam-webster dictionary, now this is bad, but it could have been worse. Because it was not defined in a broad sense but limited the action to obtaining information using the Google search engine specifically. Earlier this year there has been a lawsuit against the brand. It was aiming to cancel the trademark on the basis that it has become a verb. However, there was no way of determining that the consumers didn’t have Google search engine in mind when they say ‘Googled it’. Because of that, Google won the lawsuit (Justia US Law, 2017). What also helped Google in court was the relentless actions it took against misuse of their brand. Which shows that the brand was never careless about its name and so shouldn’t be held accountable for this misuse.

Coke is not so chill when it comes to protecting its brand from genericide. The brand has filed a suit against a local restaurant in the U.S. for underhandedly replacing customers’ orders for coke with a non-coke beverage. The restaurant defense is that Coke has become a generic name to all cola beverages. The court noted that despite the fact that the customer used the brand in a generic sense saying “a coke”, no one can prove if they had Coke in mind and not any other brand. Based on that, the court was in favor of the Coca-Cola Company (Justia US Law, 2017). Now you might think: “but this is no big deal, it’s a win against a small time restaurant”, but what took place was marketing. Doing this, the brand managed to hit two targets in one go. It’s setting an example to all not to misuse their brand and its spreading awareness of the problem.

Brands can spread awareness and protect their brand in a smart way instead of telling people to knock it off. The previous examples of blunt brands, can come across as being bossy instead of clear. However, we can only see how effective that is in years to come. I think brands should be less blunt and more creative. The band-aid ad was the best in my opinion, but I think that in their case, it was a matter of bad timing. They were clear in their distinction and they did it in a fun creative way, the only fault is that it was too late. Genericide can be avoided by careful and consistent marketing. Highlighting the distinction not only from competing brands but from the category itself.


Speaking Out Loud: Afra Atiq (@a_afra) Ignites the Stage with Poetry

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

Interview with the Emirati Spoken Word Poet Afra Atiq to learn about her process in writing her poetry and performing it.

Picture provided by Afra Atiq

Afra Atiq has just concluded her performance for Literaturhaus, a program launched by Al-Serkal Avenue at Nadi Al-Quoz that features an array of authors. It is one of the many stages Atiq has been asked to recite her poetry; it’s safe to say that the first Emirati spoken word poet is a national sensation. Atiq leads the movement of spoken word poetry with an air of confidence only an expert could bear. Her talent and ability to entrance the audience with her poems about discrimination, food, feminism, and family is a wonder to witness. We interviewed her to know more about her process and how she performs.

Sail: Why did you choose the spoken word poetry as your medium?

Afra Atiq: I don’t think I chose spoken word poetry, it chose me. I love living in the moment and seeing how the audience responds to a poem. It’s not the same as writing it down. You’re not there all the time. With performing to an audience, there is more resonance to it.


Sail: Can you describe your writing process?

Afra Atiq: The words don’t come to me immediately. I’m a poet with a scientific mind, so I have a mathematical formula that I use picking words, and so far as the structure of the poem goes, I have to decide which words go in and out. Inspiration is everywhere. When you know that spark hits you and you think “Ok, I can turn this into a poem.” Most of the time I’m not very disciplined in the same way that you need to be when you’re writing a novel; it is more spontaneous.


Sail: What are the recurring themes of your poems?

Afra Atiq: Food! Well, I talk about different things; I like to make my poetry relatable. I don’t believe in art for art’s sake. I have a unique responsibility to tell my story and a lot of the time when we don’t tell our story someone else is going to come along and tell our story for us. It’s not going to be accurate or even in our voice, and I think it is vital to write in our own voice.


Sail: What do you think of the new wave of Emirati female poets?

Afra Atiq: I’m so excited for the future and so optimistic because we have all these amazing Emirati poets coming out: we’ve got women like Shahd Thani, Hessa Al-Banafsaj, Shamma Al-Bastaki who are paving the way…there are so many artists out there.


Sail: What type of feedback do you receive from your audience?

Afra Atiq: With every art form you always get feedback; for me, it’s been positive. I love interacting with the audience after the show; those are my favorite moments. When someone tells you your poetry relates with them on a personal level.


Sail: Have you ever considered other art forms?

Afra Atiq: Well I dabbled in theater and music for a while. But they all center on the power of words and the life you can give to these words, which is why I settled on the spoken word.


Sail: Do you get nervous before performing?

Afra Atiq: Yes, and I think it reminds me that I love it.


Sail: What are your pre-performance rituals?

Afra Atiq: I normally eat something before I go on stage! I have to remember why I do this and it’s that thought of being in the moment that pulls me together.


Sail: Have you ever improvised in any of your performances?

Afra Atiq: So many times, because sometimes during the performance I have to make some changes. Sometimes I forget the words and I have to improvise. It’s a skill to be able to do that.


Sail: What poetic elements do you incorporate into your performance?

Afra Atiq: A lot of it is rhythm. Spoken word poetry is content and form; it needs to be appealing as far as the sound goes. There’s a lot of moderation in wordplay; ups and downs, like how does this word look when it is turned inside out? How can I combine it with other words? What words sound like it?


Sail: Have you ever considered writing poetry in other forms?

Afra Atiq: I probably would at some point, but I’m sticking to spoken word for now. There are a million ways you can go with it.

Rebirth of a Vision: Sustainability under Sheikh Zayed’s Legacy

Maryam Almheiri (@inkofhers)

Maryam holds a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Sciences and Sustainability. From forests to forensics, her upbringing as a reader developed various interests and a passion for learning.

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The alignment of the Founding Father’s vision with a global sustainability initiative presents a great opportunity for the progress of sustainable development.

Artwork by Eman AlRaesi (Instagram: @emanalraesi, Twitter: @emanalraesi)

The year 2018 has recently been declared in the UAE as “The Year of Zayed” in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the UAE’s Founding Father’s birth. As an environmentalist, this decision not only redirected my thinking to the common values of this society like progress and charity, but also to the underlying concern of this world: sustainability.

We are currently in the final quarter of the Year of Giving. Prospering on a national scale in promoting its pillars, corporate social responsibility, the culture of volunteering, and serving the nation. The accomplishments of the year are growing. It is expected to follow in the success of the years before it. The Year of Reading, for example, had a tangible impact on the Emirati society and the region, with over 150 million books read as one result of its initiatives (Moukhallati, 2017).

The projections are hence promising. The progress of leadership, humanitarianism, citizenship, security, heritage, education, health, and the environment, is to be initiated, according to the Dubai Media Office (2017), to pave the way into a society of security and stability for all.

An essential common factor that brings these themes together is sustainable development, which by definition means meeting the current economic needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Social, economic, and environmental pillars support sustainable development, and they clearly integrate the issues that the Year of Zayed will resolve through innovation. This puts forth a massive opportunity to embed plans that provide guidance on incorporating sustainable strategies on a national scale.

There is no better time to further involve the steps towards sustainable development in the UAE than the coming year. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that constitute the agenda of progress set by the United Nations all correspond to Sheikh Zayed’s vision. An example can be given by the first six goals, which are humanitarian and health-related, aiming to eradicate poverty and hunger, promote health, well-being, and gender equality, and provide accessible clean water to all. Other goals urge leaders to work towards securing a planet for future generations through innovation, justice, and partnership. SDGs have been adopted by 44 nations in 2015 to be achieved by 2030.

The UAE Cabinet established a National SDG Committee in early 2017. It strives to develop a national implementation plan that aligns SDGs with the UAE’s Vision 2021 through the engagement of entities and stakeholders across the country, according to Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Chairwoman of the UAE National Committee on SDGs. The efforts and initiatives taken by the country to fulfill SDGs are measured and reported by the committee. To name a few of the current and ongoing projects that contribute to the SDGs, Dubai Cares aims to fulfill SDG #6, clean water for all, through its water sanitation and hygiene initiative. MASDAR City’s Green Initiatives, also, play a role in the country’s sustainable development by ensuring the progress of sustainable cities and the affordability of clean energy. As for the eradication of poverty and the Zero Hunger SDGs, they have been made attainable through the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the UAE Food Bank, respectively (UAESDG, 2017). The National SDG Committee has also released the first SDG publication to guarantee that awareness is spread amongst the society and stakeholders alike (UAESDG, 2017).

However, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, in the SDG Report that was released in July 2017, stated that progress must be intensified for the 2030 agenda to be met. Globally, advances in the eradication of poverty, peacemaking, and sustainability, all require additional efforts. Guterres emphasized that bringing these agendas to reality by governments and stakeholders is essential, and so is the main challenge currently. The UAE, according to the SDG Index & Dashboards Report of 2016, ranks at # 55 out of 149 in terms of SDG fulfilling progress.

The dedication of a pillar with the theme of sustainability in the Year of Zayed will provide substantial impact, not only to the awareness of the public, but also to the degree of sustainability involvement in the country. The UAE will continue its success in achieving world-leading policy reforms under Sheikh Zayed’s name, to provide security and stability for all.


Dubai Media Office. (2017, August 07). PCFC launches “Year of Zayed” lab with participation of 4,000 employees and 200,000 clients. Dubai Media Office. Retrieved August 08, 2017, from http://mediaoffice.ae/en/media-center/news/7/8/2017/dubai-customs.aspx

Guterres, A. (2017, July). The Sustainable Development Goals Report 2017 Foreword. UNSTATS. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://unstats.un.org/sdgs/report/2017/

Moukhallati, D. (2017, April 10). Reading prize puts young winner on the write track. The National. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from https://www.thenational.ae/uae/education/reading-prize-put-young-winner-on-the-write-track-1.88878

UAESDG. (2017, April). From Goals to Reality, UAE and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. United Arab Emirates Committee for Sustainable Development Goals. Retrieved August 10, 2017, from http://uaesdgs.ae/UAESDGs/report1/en/files/assets/basic-html/page-1.html

3 Lessons from Thomas Edison

Alia Nasser (Instagram: @3alya.nf)

Alia is an avid reader, a passionate dreamer, a travel enthusiast, and kind of a lazy writer; this is basically her life in one sentence. She loves writing and it all started with her and a pink journal at 6 years old. Alia has been a constant reader from a very young age as well. She loves telling stories, mostly through writing, but also through pictures as well. Through her writing, she wants to inspire people to be more, to do more. Alia wants to give hope and motivation to people. Everyone deserves to know that their dreams can come true.

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Reading Time: 5 minutes

Three lessons from the life and words of Thomas Edison that will give you a mini inspirational boost.

Artwork by Ghadeer Mansour Mutairi (Instagram: @ghmutaiiri, Twitter: @ghsasud)

Thomas Edison is one of the greatest innovators in history. He invented the incandescent lightbulb, the phonograph, and the earliest motion picture camera, among many other creations. His name has gone down in history as one of the world’s true legends, especially in the world of science. While people know about his prodigious inventions and successes, most people do not know about the many challenges that came along with those successes. He only went to school for a short while, later being homeschooled by his mother. He was also an avid reader, which he says contributed to most of his knowledge. He sold newspapers and vegetables on the street until he was 16. Every free minute he had was spent on conducting experiments. I believe he was, and still is, an inspirational man; specifically, because of how he overcame all the missteps, all the failures, with nothing less than enthusiasm and determination. His life is a vital lesson for everyone, which is why I chose to write about him.

There is a lot to be learned from Edison’s perspectives on life. My favorite lesson comes from his attempts to invent the lightbulb. Edison reputedly failed a thousand times before finally succeeding in creating the light bulb. A thousand times! That’s like life saying no a thousand times. Most individuals would give up on the tenth time, some even give up on the fifth failure! This man tried a thousand times. Some reports say he failed ten thousand times, either way, this man had a willpower of iron. This depicts the power of perseverance, the power of never giving up. Edison even makes it clear in this quote: “Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time.” Always try one more time; this is the way to do it. Never give up on your dreams or yourself. Failure is not your enemy, it’s only there to test your willpower and your determination. The greatest people in history have all made it because of their determination, their strength to move forward despite all the obstacles. Against all the odds, persevere. If Edison did not always try one more time, he would not have invented the light bulb! People told him it’s pointless to try, it will never work, but he didn’t listen to those people, he believed that if he persevered through it, he will make it work, and he did.

“If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.” This brings me to my second favorite lesson from Thomas Edison; we are capable of so much! But why can’t we see it? I have met so many people who go around saying that they’re just not good at anything, but that is not true. Look around you, look at what we human beings have built! That alone should inspire you to know that we are capable of so much. Each one of us has the ability to change the world, to change the lives of others. Do you want an impossibility in life? This is it: There is no such thing as a person who is not good at anything. Don’t let fear or self-doubt stop you from all that you are meant to be. Don’t let fear rob you of your greatness. Doubt is a well-known dream killer, don’t let doubt kill your dreams!

Another lesson from Edison I like is this: “When you have exhausted all possibilities, remember this – you haven’t.” The possibilities in life are endless. Some moments in life will make you feel like there is no way to solve something, to get through something, or to reach something. I think it is common these days to find folks who say “there is no use” or “I tried everything” or “nothing works I know”, but the real truth is; there is always a way. As another famous saying tells us: “If it is important enough, you will find a way, if not, you will find an excuse.” So, step back, take a long breath, and look again, because there is always a light at the end of a tunnel. There is always a way, and Edison simply says, that even when you think you have tried everything, you still haven’t tried everything.

There is more to learn from the life of Thomas Edison. The ones I mentioned are merely a few of them, but they are my personal favorites. I think he is a great source of inspiration, he has contributed a lot to science. The man invented the light bulb, that alone is an incredible feat.