Barakabits

With all the chaos and upheaval in the Arab world, I decided that it was time to stop watching the news. Around the same time, I was pleasantly surprised to learn about Barakabits, ‘Baraka‘ meaning blessed in Arabic. After sitting with the incredibly inspiring Rama Chakaki – Founder of Barakabits – (who coincidentally advised me to not put on my tv) I realised that the Arab world has … Continue reading Barakabits

A Life Beyond Boundaries: Artist Fatma Lootah

Some may describe her as bohemian, others eccentric and controversial. Today artist and activist Fatma Lootah lives in Italy but her Emirati heritage that was very much a part of her childhood, remains a central part of her life today. Her desire for art drove her beyond boundaries as she struggled to exist in a society that at the time questioned her career choice. Her … Continue reading A Life Beyond Boundaries: Artist Fatma Lootah

Tracing the history of my country

This article was first featured in Gulf News on 25th November, 2011 As we all know, certain points on a map become sacred because of their history — but articulating the details of that history is not always easy. As we celebrate the UAE Federation’s 40th anniversary, the country’s history is incredibly central to my thoughts and reflection. For one, over time it has been … Continue reading Tracing the history of my country

Becoming an Aspen Institute Fellow

      Think creativity, values-based leadership, and change. These words describe the Aspen Institute Fellowship program. My experience with the Aspen Institute started upon receiving a call at the start of 2011 saying I was nominated to be a Fellow. At the time,  I was not quite sure what it meant, though after some research and conversations with past Fellows I was pleased to hear … Continue reading Becoming an Aspen Institute Fellow

Egyptian bedouins face a minefield of problems

This article was first featured in Gulf News on the 4th March, 2011 Desert people losing limb and life to World War II landmines for years lament the lack of government support and compensation. Egyptians eagerly took their cue from the grassroots revolution of neighbouring Tunisia and succeeded in toppling their long-time president Hosni Mubarak. But the topic of this column traverses a much longer timeframe and … Continue reading Egyptian bedouins face a minefield of problems

Less is more during Ramadan

This article was first featured in Gulf News on the 20th August, 2010 Begging, gluttony and extravagance should not be part of the month of fasting. I recently visited a superb exhibition in Washington, D.C. by a Korean artist and came away intrigued by her work, which depicted three quite shocking human characteristics — begging, gluttony and extravagance. As I made the return journey home to Dubai … Continue reading Less is more during Ramadan

The pragmatic hub of art in the region

This article was first featured in Gulf News on the 2nd April, 2010 Dubai isn’t quite there yet, but with a bit of fine-tuning there is no reason why it shouldn’t seize the initiative. After a week of taking in all the art at Art Dubai and Bastakiya Art Fair, I felt quite invigorated to say the least. Both fairs were extraordinary — one very … Continue reading The pragmatic hub of art in the region