My UAE: Bridging the culture gap with Mozah Al Samahi

The 24-year-old believes in this to such an extent that she has taken it upon herself to educate expats about Emirati culture by hosting regular meetings on the subject.
Mozah Al Samahi, 24, wants to bridge the gap between Emiratis and expats. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National
Mozah Al Samahi, 24, wants to bridge the gap between Emiratis and expats. Jeffrey E Biteng / The National

Mozah Al Samahi firmly believes that culture is the backbone of every country and every individual.

The 24-year-old believes in this to such an extent that she has taken it upon herself to educate expats about Emirati culture by hosting regular meetings on the subject. Her initiative, Yala Sarayna, is backed by the UAE’s Promise of a Generation programme, which is aimed at enabling girls and young women to have a positive effect on the community.

Al Samahi came up with the idea while studying for a master’s in London. Living away from home in a diverse city, where everyone was interconnected regardless of their nationality, race, religion or cultural background, gave her time to reflect.

“I’m always interested to share my culture with others, and to learn about other cultures as well. When I came back to the Emirates I realised there was a gap between nationals and non-nationals. I wasn’t sure why the gap existed, but I wanted to build a bridge,” Al Samahi says.

The meetings, which promote Emirati culture through activities such as fashion shows, historic storytelling, games and lessons in basic Emirati dialect, are held monthly between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and the demand for them is increasing. “It makes me happy to hear back from the attendees wanting me to host more events. This shows they are having fun and learning so much,” says Al Samahi, who grew up in Fujairah before heading off to Sharjah to study management at the American University of Sharjah, and then winged her way to the United Kingdom.

“Besides this, I love travelling — my friends call me life’s wanderer,” she says. “I enjoy walking around and exploring places, food, cultures, music and small pieces of every country. I learn a lot and it adds to my cultural dictionary.”

Al Samahi hopes to teach at a university here in the UAE. “I want to interact with the younger generation and feed them great knowledge,” she says.

What is your favourite travel destination and why?

I lived in London for two years alone which I believe gave me a sense of belonging. Besides London, Austria would have to be my favourite place to visit. I am used to going there every summer for its beautiful green natural scenery. It relaxes me.

What five things do you never leave home without?

My watch, hand cream, iPhone charger, water, and my smile.

Who is your biggest inspiration and why?

Our rulers and leaders are my inspiration. I see what they do for our nation and the nationals particularly and I get aspired to give more to our country. On a personal level, my father is my biggest supporter and inspiration. I look up to him for his wise words, constant support, and his willingness to help me whenever I need. I see what he does at work and how he balances work and life and it aspires me to do the same.

What is your favourite food and why?

I like to eat everything, I like to try new food every now and then.

What is your biggest achievement so far?

Completing my master’s degree is sure one of my latest achievements, and I aim to go further with my studies and get a PhD. Yala Sarayna is also one of my current achievement as it was my dream.

Where do you go when you just want to relax?

If I want to relax I go back to my house in Fujairah. I enjoy being at home with my family, having good food, laughing and just appreciating the moment.

Describe yourself in five words.

Positive spirit, dreamer, never gives up, passionate, and strong.

What CD do you currently have playing in the car or on your iPod?

Most of the time I just turn on the radio listen to both English and Arabic music. However, at times I like to listen to old Emirati songs that are played by Oud.

If you could have any three celebrities to dinner who would they be?

Julia Roberts, Salman Khan and Eddie Murphy.

Melinda Healy

Published: October 15, 2015 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one