Two Common Myths: Hot Drinks & Black Clothing Make You Hotter

What bedouins and desert dwellers have known for centuries? Hot drinks cool you down, and black fabric protects us from the sun.Emirati Women  Still skeptical?  At the SMCCU, we strive to bust the common myths about the region.  With the help of pure science, what we have known from our own experience and traditions is unequivocally proven.  Take, for instance, the traditional drink of Emiratis and the GCC, Gahawa Arabia.  The Guardian writes, “Imbibing hot liquid can be cooling and warming. If you’re hot, it may warm you up a little, but when it reaches thermosensors in the oesophagus and stomach, these react as though the entire body is as hot as the drink, and turn up the sweat flow so much that, provided your clothing allows it to evaporate, you’ll end up cooler than when you started. Or, at least, this was deemed the most likely explanation for this effect in a study by Anthony Bain at the University of Ottawa’s Thermal bedouin ManErgonomics Laboratory.”

What about black robes in the desert?  This has been far more intriguing to the scientist who study human nature. There have been several published articles about why black is just as good if not better than white for the desert dweller.  Add the UV blocking effect that black has and white does not, and you can draw your own conclusions as we have.  (refer to the linked articles below).  Still not convinced?  Then why not visit the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and listen to our well-informed staff about the Emirati lifestyle and traditional customs that have survived our growth into a modern metropolis.  From daily tours and cultural meals, to the Iftar Dinner Events that will being in June 20th during Ramadan, guest are sure to leave with at least a better understanding of local culture through our “Open doors. Open minds.” programs.




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Astronomy Enthusiasts Enjoy a Free Lecture with Dubai Astronomy Group & SMCCU

Yesterday Astronomy enthusiasts attended a free lecture at the Jumeirah Majlis sponsored by SMCCU.  Dubai Astronomy Group’s founder Hassan Al Hariri, delivered an interesting lecture about how knowledge of the stars and planets and their position in the sky helped the Arabs navigate in the open deserts and by sea.  Mr. Al Hariri also brought with him an astrolabe, which was used for direction and calculating distances. Not only was the knowledge of the stars an important tool for navigation, it also was used to calculate and create the first calendars. The SMCCU is keen to provide opportunities for people to come together and learn more about the heritage and history in the region.

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Peace Concert in Zabeel Park Organized to Promote Unity

IMG_7305The rain didn’t stop the Salam Aleikum Peace Concert from attracting expats, visitors and locals alike from gathering together last night at Zabeel Park to enjoy music performed by artists from Africa and the Middle East.  From Zain Bikha’s contemporary Nasheed  to the hip hop rhythms of Arabian Knightz, the concert’s mission was to organize an event where people could come together and enjoy alternative beats and celebrate diversity and Dubai’s multi-cultural city.  Badiaa Bouhrizi, an indie folk composer and singer from Tunisia, with her song “Salam” got the crowd in the spirit of the event.  Delhi Sultanate & Begum X’s, wowed the people with their alternative beats, while Al Morabba3 a  poplar band from Jorden, Amani Yahya from Yemenand Malya Saadi from Algeria, wrapped up the show.  Graffiti artists painted a large Salam sign at the park and event goers were invited to write their messages of peace on a board near the stage.

The SMCCU  was keen to support such an event  and its organizer Hamida Aman, an Afghan-born and UAE-based media entrepreneur to help promote the ideas of peaceful coexistence and tolerance  among the people from all walks of life.


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Free Concert in Zabeel Park Amphitheater March 27th

Press Release
On March 27, 2015 there will be a free concert held in Zabeel Park Amphitheater where thousands of young women and men are expected to gather in Dubai to send a message of tolerance to the world.

Organized under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding, “Salam Aleikum” is a non-profit initiative aiming at mobilizing the youth for tolerance while celebrating togetherness and harmony.

Conceived as a musical dialogue between artists from different cultures and influences, “Salam Aleikum” will gather musicians and performers of the region.

The Venue: Zabeel Park Amphitheater, access Gate 1 or 2, door open at 6pm, show starts at 7 pm.?????????????

Hamida Aman – an Afghan-born and UAE-based media entrepreneur – initiated this project.
Having lived in exile most of her life and currently sharing her home between Kabul, Dubai and Paris, Hamida developed over the course of her life a strong sense of togetherness that she felt important to share in these times of great turmoil and confusion.
About the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding
The SMCCU is a non-profit organisation whose mission is to increase awareness and understanding between a multitude of cultures and nationalities represented in the UAE. Operating under the philosophy “Open Doors, Open Minds,” the SMCCU strives to remove barriers between people of different nationalities and raise awareness of the local culture, customs and religion of the UAE.
The artist’s are
• Zain Bhikha – a well-known songwriter & performer from South Africa
• Arabian Knightz, Egypt’s most prominent hip-hop band
• Badiaa Bouhrizi, an indie folk composer and singer from Tunisia
• Amani Yahya, a female Yemeni rapper
• Al Morabba3, an indie rock band from Jordan.
• Malya Saadi, “the Queen of Chaabi” from Algeria
• Delhi Sultanate & Begum X, an Indian dub / reggae band,
that participated in Kabul Peace concert, that Hamida organized in October 2013.

More than just a concert, this event will aim at creating a festival spirit, where people, cultures and arts can meet.

In addition, A VJ will animate the show with a stunning visual performance, mixing Arab street art, calligraphy and geometry, while graffiti and stencil artists will be invited to paint & spray tolerance messages and illustrations on the stage’s background.

Food trucks and stalls will serve Middle-Eastern food / fusion cuisine and beverages around the premises, creating a friendly and festive atmosphere around the event.
MD of SMCCU Nasif Kayed, says “There are many doors open for us to connect and get to know one another. Music is one bridge we can cross to come closer to each other and better connect. Let us enjoy our differences and share our cultures with each other through this initiative. Join us in listening to good music, good lyrics, a good gathering promoting tolerance and peace.”

For more information, please contact:
+971 56 640 96 56
+971 56 413 99 68

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The Arabian Horse

Pure Breeding Techniques
While the Arabian horses’ exact origins are obscure, it was the Bedouins of the Arabian peninsula, through meticulously line breeding and in-breeding practices that made her the most sought after horse in the history of mankind. First known as a warhorse, the Arabian horse is mentioned as far back as the days of King Solomon. She is brave and steady, fast and resilient. She has a bulging forehead or Jibbah, broad nose and about 14 to 15 hands high. These characteristics are said to have been preserved throughout the centuries.

Breeding Lines
Every pure bred Arabian horse came from three original classifications, the Kehilan, the Seglawi, and Hamdani. Today, these lines are credited with producing the best Thoroughbred horses in the world. Arabian horses were introduced to Europe in the 1730’s. Prior to this it is said that the Arabs rarely parted with a pure Arabian horse, and felt it a duty and an honour to keep the bloodlines pure. “ The Godolphin Arabian horse was imported to England in 1730 as well as The Byerley Turk (1683) and the Darley Arabian (1703). These three “Eastern” stallions formed the foundation upon which a new breed, the Thoroughbred, was to be built. Today 93% of all modern Thoroughbreds can be traced to these three sires.” Arabian Horse Association Issue 29 African Story, Winner of Dubai World Cup Race 2014.United Arab Emirates' Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai Rashid al-Maktoum poses with his horse African Story after winning the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai March 29, 2014.

HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Part in Thoroughbred History
HH Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin Stables have won Group One races in 12 countries. His love of the Arabian horse began at the age of 9, and he has continued to be instrumental in development, growth and success of Godolphin Stables. In the early 1990’s he made what was thought of at the time as a bold move in bringing several horses from the then famed stable in England to Dubai. His decision proved itself with many winning Group One horses, included the Sheikh’s personal favourite, Dubai Millennium who won 9 of his ten starts and the Dubai World Cup in 2000.


In 2012, Monterosso,  from Godolphin Racing won at the Dubai’s famed race the World Cup.  In 2014, Godolphin Racing produced another winner, African Story ridden by famed jocky Sylvestre D’Sousa.  This year, the World Cup will be held on March 28th and it will also be celebrating its 20th year.


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Emirates Earliest Achievements: The Pearling Trade

One of the Emirates earliest achievements was from the sea. The pearl (qamashah) industry was an asset that was internationally recognised, and individuals and companies sought after them from many parts of the world. The pearling industry started long before the discovery of oil. Pearl oysters occur naturally on relatively low sea beds throughout the gulf. It is not clear as to when the trade of pearls and diving started in this region but pearls have been discovered by archaeologists in the region dating back to well over 7000 years ago.diver
Weighing pearls in the 1950’s Early on, pearling offered stable employment to the locals in the area and this was sometimes a seasonal business. Men would engage in pearling throughout some of the year and then return home to tend to the date palms and herd camels as an extra source of income until they could return to the sea. It is noted that over time the men that were employed through pearling eventually moved to the coastal regions around the UAE including Dubai, Sharjah, Abu Dhabi and Ras al Khaimah. It is also well known that only locals were generally allowed to be employed in pearling. Divers from other countries had to have permission from the ruler of the area to participate in pearling. Permission was granted but they were required to pearl with tradition local methods, and not with any new modern tools. By the beginning of the 20th Century there were over 1200 pearling boats operating around the UAE. These boats would employ around 15-18 men per boat. Eight divers or (ghasah), then haulers (siyub) and the remaining staff if any were there to cook, clean fish and prepare the coffee for the divers and haulers.

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