The SMCCU has partnered with ZUKharareef Story Telling Club and Sheikha AlYazia bint Sultan bin Khalifa Al Nahyan’s ZOWD Foundation for the First Annual New Fairytales & Fables from the UAE Writing Competition. Last November, the contest idea won in the heritage category of the ZU Innovation Awards, and is the brainchild of ZUKharareef Club President Noor Abdul Hamaid. The SMCCU has provided its expertise to the implementation strategy of the contest, and details of the competition and school registration can be found on our website at www.cultures.ae/index.php/writing-contest . The contest is meant to celebrate the art of storytelling within the Emirati local traditions and our participation and support in this cultural literacy project and reading initiative are part The Mohammed bin Rashid Global Initiatives, and the Year of Reading Project.
The concept of the contest is meant to connect our educational communities, celebrate Emirati heritage and culture, and contribute to HH Sheikh Mohammed’s efforts to encourage reading and writing in Arabic. Students will be asked to compose their own “fairytales and fables” less than 500 words, in Arabic or English, that reflect the 40 themes chosen by the contest organizers. These themes will focus on Emirati values and character traits, encourage these values and/ or discourage values and behaviors inconsistent with Emirati culture. The competition will be held for grades 7-12 with groupings in English for grades 7-9 and 10-12 and the same categories will apply in Arabic. Schools are required to host an internal competition and we encourage them to include all their grades in that process. Topics and themes will be announced on February 19th, 2016, the opening day of the contest and submission deadline is March 19th, 2016 which coincides with World Story Telling Day 2016.
Winners will have their story illustrated and published in a short story book.
“Aiisha and the Gaf Tree”, a collection of short stories written by students at Zayed University
In honor of the Spirit of the Union 44th National Day Celebration, the SMCCU honors the winners of the its 4th Annual Treasures of the UAE Art Competition. Winners and their families attended a private viewing of the artwork that will be displayed in the SMCCU during the month of December 2015. The awards ceremony followed and included a cultural program and lunch, a tour of the Al Fahidi historic district and Diwan Mosque, and awarding of prizes. The winners took away a package of prizes worth 1000AED each, and their artwork is now featured in the 2016 Treasures of the UAE Calendar available at the SMCCU. Each month two winners will be featured in the Hijri-Gregorian calendar.
This year more than 550 students entered the competition from 53 schools across the UAE. Managing Director, Nasif Kayed hosted the event along with volunteers from the SMCCU. “Our aim is to spotlight the many historic sites and monuments across the UAE in an effort to bring about knowledge and appreciation of our rich culture and history. It is also an opportunity for students to express their creative talents.”, said Mr. Kayed.
The Emirates Fine Arts Society once again graciously donated their time in choosing our winning artists, and Yas Water World, Nestle and Explorer generously sponsored the competition this year.
The SMCCU has received 21 Universities from all over the globe in the first third of 2013 and has become a must visit and first stop for many educational institutions coming to Dubai. Students attend our programmes to get a firsthand look at the traditions and culture of the people of the UAE through our well established programmes which include Cultural Meals, Masjid Visits, and Heritage Tours of the Al Fahidi Historic District. The area, which houses the centre is unique and represents the humble beginnings of this nation in an interesting juxtaposition of old and new, with its historic landmarks and more modern galleries. The centre’s focus is to give visiting universities the opportunity to explore Dubai throughout its diverse history, and leave with an understanding of how the people’s resourcefulness and adaptability to their harsh living environment is unmistakably who the Emirati is and remains to be today. They value their rich past, and this enables them to retain and embrace their history and traditions, while using their experiences and skills to help catapult their small communities into a now burgeoning metropolis. Topics range from Arab history, Arabic culture, basic precepts of the Islamic faith and how they effect the economic, social, political, and religious standards and foundation of this region. The sessions as always start with the motto, ” Open Doors. Open Minds.” and students are free to ask any question on their mind with our promise to answer in a frank, open and honest way. . The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, and therefore students leave with a sense of having a truly authentic and enlightening experience.
From North American visitors included Boston University, California State University, Kogod School of Business, University of Maryland, Kenan Flagler (UNC), Duke University,West Virginia University, Robert H Smith School of Business, Harvard College, and Pacific Lutheran University. From Europe and Asia visitors included, Thunderbird School of Global Management, Utrecht University School of Law, The University of Utrecht School of Economics, Hogeschool Rotterdam, NHTV Breda University of Applied Sciences, Universite Nice Sophia Antipolis, Vrije Universiteit and University of Groningen, Leiden Law School, Bocconi University, Heinrich-Heine University.
Its been a busy first term for students, and SMCCU has been keen to host many of the local schools this year at our cultural activities. Since September, students have participated in more than 50 activities, from Cultural Lunches and Breakfasts, to Bastakiya Hertiage Tours and Mosque Visits. Some of our highlights are featured below in the photo montage. We hope to see many more of you in the coming new year! A special thanks to Jumeirah College, for their vision and dedication to our common mission, promoting cultural understanding between our young children and families in the UAE. We’re always excited when new schools join our programmes; and this term we welcomed Bradenton Prep, Modern High School and Philadelphia School.