Abu Dhabi is celebrating residents in the emirate through a series of short stories on social media.
Abu Dhabi Story offers a window into the lives of members of the emirate’s multicultural community who “push the boundaries,” says Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, which is behind the initiative.
First up is Dorian Rogers, a teacher and poet who first made Abu Dhabi his home in 2011.
“Welcome to Abu Dhabi, a majestic land, both traditional and modern. Known as home to over 200 nationalities, where proudly metropolitan, but make no mistake about it, this is the motherland of Emiratis,” he said, opening his story.
Rogers, a teacher who originally hails from Georgia in the US, moved to the emirate when its art scene was still developing.
He later started Rooftop Rhythms, a spoken-word poetry night connecting members of the Abu Dhabi community through their love for prose.
“It was a great opportunity for people with dreams and passions to bring them and to develop the scene as it was getting started,” he said.
Everything was amazing to him when he first arrived, he said, recounting how he would take pictures of McDonald’s written in Arabic in the mall.
“When I researched that Abu Dhabi was a very safe and tolerant place, it was an easy decision to move here,” he said.
“I was surprised by the fact that there are Emiratis who also love the tradition of poetry within their own culture and perspective. So although they may have been used to more traditional Arabic poetry, with them being bilingual and multilingual, they understood the same energy and vibes of the contemporary performance poetry.
“And after a few months you started seeing almost an equal amount number of Arabs and people from other societies, western and eastern cultures, just flowing in.”
The stories also explore in to the experiences of Khawla Barley who established Goals UAE, an organization that provides inclusive recreational activities for People of Determination, as well as Ahmed Al Blooshi, who was encouraged by Sheikh Saif bin Zayed to pursue a career in the museum field. He now works at Louvre Abu Dhabi.
Maryam Eid Al Mheiri, director general of the Abu Dhabi Government Media Office, said Abu Dhabi Story will feature people whose experiences speak to who we are, what we believe, and where we are going.
“These stories celebrate the people, personalities and hidden gems of our emirate,” she said.