"Emirati Stories" is an audio podcast that gives you the opportunity to discover the Emirati culture and society through individual life stories and subjectivities. In a calm and friendly atmosphere, Emirati guests from a variety of backgrounds speak about themselves at their own pace, sharing their aspirations, motivations and sometimes also their doubts, going back to the roots and key influences of the past.
Halfway between journalism and literature, away from the whirlwind of geopolitical news, this programme aims at providing a foreign audience with new tools to understand the way people in the Arabian Gulf think and see the world around them.
Sultan Al Hajji - Part 2
Is there an Emirati way of working or leading a team? How different are Emirati work ethics from other ones in the world? And how do Emirati nationals navigate multicultural company rules? Based on his experience as senior executive of oil and gas company Total, Sultan Al Hajji, who is also the President of Alliance Francaise in Abu Dhabi, shares his insights and observations.
In the last part of our conversation, Sultan also tells us about a personal loss in his life that had a profound impact on his future relationship with others and redefined priorities.
Music credit: ccmixter.org / ramblinglibrarian_-_Night_Has_a_Thousand_Eyes_(ft._Aussens_iter)
Sultan Al Hajji, the Oil and Gas Executive - Part 1
Sultan Al Hajj is the son of a self-taught oil and gas worker - who was also one of the last Emirati employees to strike against British leadership – and the grandson of a “medicine man” providing psychological relief to fellow villagers. Sultan grew up in the emirate of Sharjah, at a time when the UAE was not yet a country, and made it to the highest positions at the oil and gas company Total in Abu Dhabi. He is currently also the President of the language institute Alliance Française.
In this episode, which is part 1 of our interview with him, Sultan shares colourful childhood memories, including doing his homework on his belly in a tent with a kerosene lamp, and old days' special teaching methods at school. Sultan also recalls some of his family’s strong personalities who shaped his character.
Alamira Reem and Arsalan, a husband and wife team
Emirati architect Alamira Reem Bani Hashim came back from 12 years in California with a PHD in Urban Planning, becoming the 1st female Emirati with that distinction*. In this episode she explains why she left the UAE at 17 to study abroad on her own. Describing herself as an overachiever and perfectionist, Reem experienced depression, an imposter syndrome, but finally found herself and her own identity.
Her husband Arsalan explains how they met and what matters for them as a couple in the Emirati context. Both are also partners in business after founding an interior design company with an original concept and name that resonates with their lives: “The Native Bohemians”.
This episode was hosted by Nathalie Gillet, and was recorded in public at the French language institute Alliance française, by Fahim Benchouk from the company Fuzyo.
* Episode 10 of “Emirati stories” was dedicated to Reem's work on Abu Dhabi and the story of the UAE capital's development. We strongly recommend her recently published book “Planning Abu Dhabi”.
** Music: "Unbury Your Heart", by Snowflake
Alamira Reem Bani Hashim, the Abu Dhabi researcher (1/2)
Alamira Reem Bani Hashim explains how evolving political priorities and social realities in the UAE have shaped Abu Dhabi's development over decades, before and after the discovery of oil. Reem is an Emirati researcher and PhD holder in Urban Development who recently published "Planning Abu Dhabi", a book on Abu Dhabi’s urban history over the last century. This episode is part 1 of our interview.
Music: "All Together", by CSoul
Available at ccMixter.org http://ccmixter.org/
Sara Al Shorouqi, the executive woman
Sara Al Shorouqi, 41, is one of the most senior Emirati female executives in one of the UAE's biggest investment groups. Her father (a teacher and school director) and mother (an artist) played a crucial role in her building self-confidence and managing a career while raising 4 children as a single mother.
In this episode, Sara also speaks about her battles against stereotypes in the workplace - and outside the UAE in general - about Emiratisation, and how medical issues finally changed the perspective
A true feminist voice with an Emirati twist.
Music: credit to NiGiD - "Liberty Road"
(ft. Loveshadow Doxent Zsigmond)
Rashed Hassan, the Actor
Rashed Hassan is a young film actor in Abu Dhabi. His passion for movies and storytelling as a child took a new turn as a young man when national service gave him the opportunity to meet experienced actor Mohammed Ahmed, and audition for a role in one of Humaid Al Suwaidi’s feature films.
In this episode, Rashed speaks about his experience of the UAE's recently introduced national service, his family, his emotions when he is acting, his idea of the ideal life partner, and finally what his part-time job as a concierge agent at Rosewood hotel - an unusual job for an Emirati national - has taught him.