We thought you would like to hear what visitors think about our centre. If you have visited us, please feel free to post your own comment!
“Great! A must do!”
Heritage Tour and Cultural Lunch
“The best thng to do in Dubai, especially if you have visitors coming!”
This is an absolute must, whether you are a Resident, or even just a short term visitor. I have been 3 times now, and learn new things each time. I would recommend doing the tour first, followed by the lunch. That gives you a few hours of real education, entertainment, and a great overall experience. I also did the Iftar last Ramadan which was fantastic. This really opens your eyes to the local and Regional culture, in an environment where it is easy to ask questions without the risk of offending anybody. It helps to eradicate so many negative perceptions of the Middle East and Emirati’s. It really is an absolute “must do”. I will be taking all future visitors, friends, family here when they come to visit me in Dubai. Everyone I know that has been here has only had positive things to say about it. If you want to make a day of it, you are close by to the Dubai Museum and the Souks as well. It is the kind of thing you can do several times as well, so a great option if you are a Resident and you need some ideas to entertain your visitors!
From TripAdvisor, May 22, 2016
Jumeirah Mosque Visit
Please accept this kind thank-you for the very informative visit to the
Jameira Mosque. We were privileged to take part in your seminar on January
4th. The speaker was captivating and held your interest throughout the
entire visit. We have been fortunate to travel extensively over the past few
years and have visited many mosques, temples, churches, cathedrals and other
religious and cultural venues, but never have had such an impact as this
short visit to the Jameira Mosque. This was the first time we have visited
this part of the Middle East, and look forward to a future visit. We will
definitely add your programs to our list of things to do.
Paul Schmidt, William Boston, February, 2016
Pocomoke City, Maryland, USA
Thank you again for such a wonderful visit in March! The students thoroughly enjoyed Nasif’s engaging presentation about culture in the UAE and the Middle East.
I just completed grading the students’ journal entries. They had such wonderful things to say about the visit, I wanted to go ahead and share a few of their comments:
– “Not only did this experience allow me to learn about the history of Dubai before its rapid ascent into a global powerhouse, but I found Nasif Kayed to be one of the best speakers I have ever had the privilege to listen to in my life. He was both engaging and knowledgeable, and seemed to have a unique ability to connect with and find common ground with every single one of the students in our group.”
– “The SMCCU helped me get a glimpse into the real culture of Dubai. It is difficult for a nation undergoing such rapid changes to preserve its culture, and this center is doing an excellent job of just that.”
I hope these comments leave you with a better understanding of how much my students valued this experience. For reference, attached is a student journal.
Robert H Smith School of Business
Again, thank you very much for hosting my students. I look forward to seeing you in the future.
Al Fahidi Historic District
My only regret was not coming here sooner! Not only was it exciting to get here (had to take the Dubai Metro across all of Dubai), but the historic district in which SMCCU is located and the programs they offer are both fantastic. I went for the lunch program, where we were served dates, coffee, and traditional Emerati food. Definitely recommend for those who are visiting Dubai for the first time, or those who are not familiar with Arabic customs and traditions.
From Franytish on TripAdvisor, February 2014
Grand Mosque Rashidaya
Thank you for all you have done for us, it has been very educational and fun to learn about the Al Rashidiya mosque, the Islam tradition and how to dress in the mosque.
It has also been fun looking at the brilliant art in the mosque. It was really good learning about the punishments and timings for praying. We are very lucky to have visited such a huge and amazing mosque. It was interesting and nice to learn how Muslims dress up as well.
Thank you for everything and I hope to come back and learn about the religion and the history of it.
From Tan, Yr 7 Jumeirah College January 2013
Had an absolutely fantastic visit and was amazed at how the host managed to engage the entire audience of 198 guests. She had a long line of guests who wanted to speak with her after the program and she was gracious enough to lend her time. I also spoke to the gentlemen assisting at the mosque who was very friendly and helpful as well.
David Rees October 2013
Schools K-12 Visit
Thank-you so much for our tour of the Bastakiya on Thursday, we all really enjoyed ourselves. The children have been talking about it all day today and have been telling their parents too about how much fun it was. They learnt so much and took away lots of valuable information about our unit of inquiry. I will definitely be recommending you to everyone else at school and will definitely be visiting again.
Rebecca Howells Emirates International School May 2013
Thanks so much for providing our students with a thought provoking and insightful visit to SMCCU. As always, the students left this session with many questions and ideas to consider related to Islam. I have had the pleasure of being part of 3 of these sessions now, and each time I am truly amazed at how well Nasif leads these sessions. I also think it was valuable to conduct this session on our first day in country, as the students continually referred back to this session throughout the week as they visited more companies and gained further insights. Thank you again for a wonderful visit.
Angela Bond, Kenan Flagler Business School, University of North Carolina October 2013
I have to say we have a lovely time on the tour and at the breakfast. Our host, Manal, was incredibly friendly and took the time to respond to the questions my guests had. Although I have been to Bastakiya many times (both before and after the restoration work) it was really interesting to hear about the history. The breakfast was a great experience and I have to say that the hosts made the morning so special. The gentleman (I did not get his name) was open and very animated and he was very informative when people asked questions about the local culture and traditions. I would highly recommend the trip to anyone coming to, or already in, Dubai who wants to know about life here from a local perspective. And as an added bonus the tours are very, very reasonably priced. I will certainly recommend SMCCU in the future.
Jan Gammage March 2013
Thank you for arranging the lunch and tour for our MARS group today! They had a great experience! They learned a lot about the Emirati culture, the lunch was delicious, the set up was very cozy and Manal and Rhoda were extremely good and approachable leaders. We will definitely recommend this experience to future clients and we hope to visit the Center more often.
Karla Del Olmo, Serendipity Events, June 2013
Just wanted to say thank you for your hospitality for the heritage tour and cultural brunch. I had expressed my feedback to Rita and I thought I would do the same here. It is an excellent cultural experience for visitors, and I think everyone who attended walked away happy and more enlightened. The guide that we had was fabulous – young, energetic, modern and yet traditional – the perfect host to such tours. All in all, I think this will be a key attraction in the cultural offerings Dubai has, and I will definitely be one of your advocates.
Jessie Ling, June 2013
We would like to thank you for the wonderful tour and cultural lunch in SMCCU, Bastakiya with our new managers for Management Induction Program (MIP). Participants felt the hospitality of Arab culture and removed many stereotypes in the interactive session during lunch. Your speech was great and I am sure the participants got valuable inputs which can enhanced performance in their professional and personal life.
We hope to see you again in the upcoming sessions of MIP.
The participants gave the highest score of 4.9/5 for SMCCU. Well done.
Emirates NBD, Hassan Amin, September 2013
Cultural Awareness & Events
Thank you for the wonderful Canopy of Culture presentation at ASTA’s International Destination Expo. I believe more U.S. travel agents would benefit from your enlightening presentation of the Emirati culture.
Below are a couple comments I received from participants of your talk.
“The Canopy of Culture was worth the trip. The speaker was inspirational and motivational. I went to his presentation two times and was more and more inspired”
– A. Madeline Lee, Whittier Travel, Whittier, CA
“A real treasure of a speaker. Worth the price of the airfare and most importantly my time. Best session of all.”
ASTA Event, DCB, Michelle Mueller, April 2013
Treasures of the UAE Art Competition
Just a small note to express my gratitude for a time well spent this morning at the ‘treasures of the UAE ‘ presentation ceremony.
Although I am a regular visitor to Bastakhiya as an architect and a keen amateur photographer , it is the first time I visited SMCCU at the invitation of my brother as my nephew was one of the prize recipients.
I was impressed by the general courtesy ,hospitality and the friendliness of everybody from the top man to the servers! Enjoyed the meal and the explanation of the culture and customs that came along with it. The English explanations of the youngsters were flawless and everything was conducted with passion and in keeping with the motto – ‘open doors, open minds!’
Organizations such as yours are the answer to the current world in turmoil – that brings cultures and beliefs together , endorsing ,- that understanding and respect for each other are of prime importance for peace in humanity.
Thank you and wish you every success to opening doors and minds effectively and prolifically !!
Antonio Dias, Gems Modern School
Heritage Tour & Cultural Lunch
We would like to thank you for the wonderful tour and cultural lunch in SMCCU, Bastakiya with our new managers for Management Induction Program (MIP). Participants felt the hospitality of Arab culture and removed many myths and stereotypes in the interactive session during lunch and tour. Your speech was great and I am sure the participants got valuable inputs which can enhance performance in their professional and personal life. We hope to see you again in the upcoming sessions of MIP 2014
I would like to once again thank you very much for yesterday’s event. It was yet another great pleasure to work with the SMCCU. A big thank you to all your kind staff and volunteers for the perfect preparation and wonderful atmosphere.
Our guests enjoyed the event a lot and am sure will get back to the Center again.
I personally have to admit, the visit to the mosque was really inspiring, particularly the prayer of the young man.
Anna Uzarowska, German Emirati Joint Council for Business & Industry
Your speech was GREAT! Really I enjoyed your each and single words.
Presentation must be done as you did it yesterday. There was message and fun, the audience will be eager to know what is next. Once again thank you very much for your wonderful presentation.
Les Clefs d’Or UAE
“I thought it was well delivered, light hearted, appreciated the fact that he didn’t get into the religious aspect of it too much”
“I thought it was excellent. It was fast-paced, dynamic and he’s an excellent speaker – very funny, very engaging. I’m even thinking of visiting the SMCCU.”
” Thought the presentation was brilliant! Very engaging, informative and entertaining at the same time. I would have happily listened for another few hours – it was very interesting. I will definitely be visiting the centre, and a few of us have mentioned arranging an iftar there one evening as well.”
“We have learned a lot! It was very informative.”
” I really enjoyed the presentation. I thought it was informative and fun.”
” It was a very entertaining and informative presentation.”
Employees of Freshfields
Many many thanks for hosting us yesterday at the SMCCU. It was a wonderful experience and one that we at DTCM will be promoting as a key visitor ‘must-do’. Both Manal and Nasif were captivating hosts and are ambassadors of Dubai that I’d love to make use of moving forward. I look forward to working closely with you.
I wanted to thank you for an outstanding cultural lunch on Sunday! The students absolutely loved it and they didn’t want to leave. Exposing the students to some more detailed facets of the UAE culture has added a lot of value to them and to our overall theme of “Entrepreneurship” and dealing with different cultures, etc..
Thank you once again for all our support to the Dunia Young Business Leaders Program. I am looking forward to working with you in the future on other such initiatives.
Mariam El Samny, Dunia Finance
Home at last and just a quick note to say how much I enjoyed the itinerary. The highlight was definitely the inclusion of Iftar with the SMCCU. The speaker was tremendous as were the talks given by volunteers and the opportunity to ask frank questions was marvelous with intelligent insightful responses given. The food was lovely. I’d certainly recommend the experience to anyone in Dubai.
Thank you for participating in last week’s forum on Business Culture Insight: Emiratis VS Chinese.
The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding and its host, Mr. Nasif Kayed, proved to be an ideal setting for comfortable conversation. All in attendance received an additional luxury from the gracious sponsorship of Gargash Enterprises, while Mr. Shehab Gargash himself was a VIP guest in the audience contributing his vast insight and knowledge to the topics of discussion.
Senior Marketing Director
Gems World Academy
You beat me to the punch. I would just like to say thank you very much for accommodating myself and the three students last Wednesday for the cultural breakfast. Nasif was an excellent host and all three students commented on how much they learnt about the UAE and it’s culture. We would also like to thank Nasif personally for spending time with the boys at the end to answer a few questions on Racism within the UAE.
Once again, thank you from all of us and we will definitely recommend the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural for future visits.
Cultural Lunch and Heritage Tour
Cass Business School
I had a chance to meet up with Lyndon and Anca for a feedback and de-brief session on Friday morning on their return from Dubai and the Cass study tour trip. The MBA group had a great visit to the UAE and from all accounts the entire experience was a super success. Visiting your centre at the very start of the business trip was an excellent platform to introduce the students to the cultural sensitivities and nuances of the region and from all accounts Nasif was funny, informative, insightful and interesting in equal measures. Spending the afternoon at the Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding proved to be the ideal launch pad for the trip as it provided the executives with a framework to understand and interpret the region better from a business perspective. We really felt that including the SMCCU in the programme on the first day was a brilliant way to start the Cass UAE study tour.
Thank you Lucy for all your enthusiasm and it has been a pleasure to work with you and your team. Please pass on our best wishes and appreciation to your team and especially to Nasif for hosting the Cass cohort. We look forward to working with you again in the future.
Please accept the thanks of myself and the group of Executive MBA students from Cass Business School London for organising an inspiring and provocative afternoon at the smccu with the irrepressible Nasif Kayed. Needless to say even the most sceptical among my (very international) group were charmed and educated. A great start to our tour of businesses in the UAE and a memorable event for all.
Emirates International School FS1 Heritage Tour
Thank-you so much for our tour of the Bastakiya on Thursday, we all really enjoyed ourselves. The children have been talking about it all day today and have been telling their parents too about how much fun it was. They learnt so much and took away lots of valuable information about our unit of inquiry. I will definatley be recommending you to everyone else at school and will definatley be visiting again.
I will forward you some photos later in the week.
Thank you again,
Rashidiya Mosque Visit
The students and staff found it a very informative and worthwhile trip for the students.
Debbie was very calm with students and gave them lots of information about the Arab culture and the Islam religion.
Teachers found it very informative as well to gain a better understanding of the local culture.
It was a great learning opportunity for both staff and students, they enjoyed it immensely.
Head of Arabic, MFL and Islamic Studies
Cultural Lunch & Heritage Tour
Thanks so much for providing our students with a thought provoking and insightful visit to SMCCU. Please pass along our sincere thanks to Nasif. I do not have his email address, so your help in forwarding this email is very much appreciated.
As always, the students left this session with many questions and ideas to consider related to Islam. I have had the pleasure of being part of 3 of these sessions now, and each time I am truly amazed at how well Nasif leads these sessions.
I also think it was valuable to conduct this session on our first day in country, as the students continually referred back to this session throughout the week as they visited more companies and gained further insights.
Thank you again for a wonderful visit.
Angela D. Bond
Associate Director, Undergraduate Business Global Programs
UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School Campus
I just want to say thank you for the event last night. I felt that everybody was content when they left and carried some knowledge to keep in mind about Arabs and business when they left, and in top of that is was amusing.
Swedish Business Council
That morning last week was very special. Everyone enjoyed it very much, the food and the introduction into the emirati culture.
Good for us was that most of us knew already a lot about it, so we could concentrate on other subjects. The lady who talked with us was very knowledgeable and gave info in a funny and open way. I think this made a big impression on our few newcomers in the group.
I know that I would recommend this experience for sure to my visitors.
GLAD Abu Dhabi
Cultural Awareness Presentation
Thanks for the wonderful session once again. I have just received the feedback report from our participants on yesterday’s session and I am pleased to share a few verbatim points from them : “I have been in the UAE for 29 years but I’ve learnt things today that I didn’t know’ (about the ‘culture’).” “Great experience, even though I have grown up here, it was an enlightening and enriching experience.” “Excellent and I respect the (UAE) nationals more now !”
I had the pleasure of visiting Dubai this month and on Tuesday, the 12th day of February, visited the SMCCU and enjoyed the walking tour of the Bastakiya. During this tour, our lovely guide took us to the Mosque where a wonderful gentleman talked about Dubai and Islam and being a Muslim and the 5 calls to prayer. He also talked about God and life and what it means to truly live your life in a way that is good and pleasing to God. I was completely enthralled with everything he had to say. He articulated what I truly believe and he touched my soul in a way that was incredibly meaningful to me. He really opened my eyes to the ways of the Arab people and I found a love for them that I had not known before. Being an American, I’ve seen the cruel stereotypes of Muslim people perpetuated by the terrorists of 9/11 and I knew that the Arab people were not evil. However, I have never been to an Arab country until now, so it was a new experience to see how things are and to find that we are far more similar than different. I wish this gentlemen could talk to our political leaders and go on “The Late Show with David Letterman” just to show Americans what Arab people are like! I want him to know he touched me and inspired me and despite many wonderful experiences in Dubai, this was my favorite moment.
I happen to live and work in Baltimore, Maryland and am often at the Johns Hopkins Hospital and the Sheikh Zayed Tower. The wonderful young Sheikh Zayed spoke there one year ago at the dedication ceremony and I was thrilled with him and his work with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I work as a social worker with children who are in our pediatric hospice – called Gilchrist Kids – and was inspired by his work with children, too. It seems that more and more Arab men are impressing me with their thoughts and humanitarian work.
I wanted you to know that Dubai and the Arab people now hold a very special place in my heart. Thank you for listening to me.
The visit to SMCCU by our Korean students was the highlight of their stay so far! We had a very good time in the Center; the served lunch was delicious and the visit timings were punctual and well organized. Nasif was a perfect host, just like all other previous times!The students even had a rare opportunity to attend a prayer at the mosque thanks to Nasif and were also greeted by the Imam after the prayer.
I can’t thank you guys for that beautiful evening, everyone loved it so much and is amazing to have a conversation with Nasif. My delegates want to come back to your center with their families and they were very impressed – WELL DONE. I will sure come back again and again for every event I have and will make sure next time to hold it for a longer time so delegates enjoy more time talking with Nasif. Please send him my sincere regards and thanks.
Jumeirah Mosque & Heritage Tour
I recently spent a week in Dubai, & had a wonderful time touring the city, seeing the dunes, shopping at the malls, etc. But the highlight of the trip, by far, was my visit to the Sheikh Mohammed Center. I participated in the Jumeirah Mosque visit, which was very special. However, the Bastakiya Tour, with it’s Mosque visit, was truly wonderful. The discussion in the Mosque & during the sharing of coffee & dates was not only informative but inspiring. Your message of mutual understanding, respect, peace, & unity completely resonated with me. It is what I have always believed & tried to practice in my own life (falling short at times, I fear). The way you spoke from the heart, directly & with humor, deeply touched me. If I ever return to Dubai, I will absolutely make a point of returning to the Center, & hopefully spending more time there. In the meantime, I am going to work my way through the videos you have posted.
I am very interested in learning more about Islam in particular, & in Arabic history & culture in general. Are there any other books or other media sources that you could recommend?
Once again, thank you so very much, & please keep sending out your message.
It is most urgently needed in the world – today & always.
On behalf of all whom attended the Cultural presentation and visit to the Centre/Mosque yesterday, I would like to say a huge thank you and congratulations on what I can only describe as a “stunning day”.
Without question, all speakers kept our teachers fully engaged throughout the whole of the afternoon and provided outstanding information that will only help them in their first year of life in Dubai. Not only did our staff comment on the quality of the information provided, but the manner in which it was delivered.
The Sheffield Private School
Rashidiya Mosque Tour
I personally enjoyed every second of the trip. Debbie is very energetic and so much filled with information that you never get enough or tired. As I asked the children, they also enjoyed the trip A LOT. I asked my colleagues to give a feedback as well, here are some of theirs: I thought this mosque trip was excellent, and a good progression for the children that had been last year. It was great for them to hear the similarities between different religions and the different customs. The real life fact was good as well, going to a ‘real’ mosque made the children feel special. Thank you, it was really enlightening.
Star International School, Umm Al Sheif
Cultural Awareness Presentation
Thank you so much for providing us with Debbie, who was great, for our cultural day. Of everything the kids did, the most positive feedback was about Deibbie’s presentation and they were really pleased to get some of their questions answered. Our feedback could not have been more positive and I hope that this paves the way for other year groups to become involved with SMCCU.
Jumeirah English Speaking School (Arabian Ranches)