Ibrahim Project, June 9: Dimensions of old & new Dubai

← Previous: Ibrahim Project, June 8: Sociopolitics during an excursion to Abu Dhabi

This is part of a series of posts on my participation in the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project during June 2012.

This is an especially long post on an especially packed day, so here are some internal links if you want to navigate quickly to a specific section: (1) Tour of al Bastakiya village (2) The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (3) “Little India” at the Dubai souq (4) The pride of Dubai (5) One more mall & final reflections

Tour of al Bastakiya village

Our exploration of Dubai started in a traditional community that seemed out of place among the surrounding fast cars and glittering skyscrapers. This was al Bastakiya, one of Dubai’s oldest villages that has managed to preserve itself in the face of industrial expansion and development.

Continue reading Ibrahim Project, June 9: Dimensions of old & new Dubai

Ibrahim Project, June 8: Sociopolitics during an excursion to Abu Dhabi

← Previous: Ibrahim Project, June 7: Last thoughts in Oman & first thoughts in the U.A.E.

This is part of a series of posts on my participation in the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project during June 2012.

An introduction to the Gulf and the Arab world

Before departing for Abu Dhabi, Mark made sure to give us a good briefing on the Emirates and the broader region. Disclaimer: this is generally the case, but I don’t mean to relay everything here as fact—it is largely Mark’s interpretation, and my own interpretation of his account of his interpretation—thus not only may I misrepresent something he’s said, but there are always alternative analyses of the complicated events still unfolding in the region. And oversimplifications may arise from both mine and Mark’s need to quickly summarize. Basically, I am still learning and trying to wrap my head around the important intricacies of Middle East politics, so forgive me (and correct me) if I get something wrong—and if you’ve interpreted events differently, please share your own thoughts. Anyways…

Continue reading Ibrahim Project, June 8: Sociopolitics during an excursion to Abu Dhabi

Ibrahim Project, June 7: Last thoughts in Oman & first thoughts in the U.A.E.

[Note: After a long hiatus for the fall semester, I am finally resuming writing about my experience this summer; what our group saw and learned is as pertinent as ever, but as I’ve mentioned I also write largely in order to consolidate my own memories. Thanks for reading!]

← Previous: Ibrahim Project, June 6: Oman, from the mountains to the sea

This is part of a series of posts on my participation in the Ibrahim Leadership and Dialogue Project during June 2012.

Final moments and closure in Oman

During our final morning in Oman, we had one last meeting—breakfast with Dr. Abdulrahman Al-Salmi, who works at the Ministry of Religious Affairs and is one of the leading experts on Muslim-Christian relationships in the Middle East. In our discussion about interfaith issues, Dr. Al-Salmi described how Oman’s Port of Sohar was once a “Gate to the Oriental,” facilitating interaction and trade between Oman and various other countries and cultures during medieval times. He noted how, at that time, the country used to have a Jewish population that is largely absent now—although there is still considerable diversity in terms of Muslim sects. He also claimed that the Muttrah souq is emblematic of Oman’s diversity, as its shop-owners come from a large variety of religious backgrounds.

Continue reading Ibrahim Project, June 7: Last thoughts in Oman & first thoughts in the U.A.E.