When it comes to cultural sensitivity training, it’s a little misleading to think of Middle Eastern culture as something homogenous. 

Why?  Because the Middle East is a melting pot of ethnicities, languages and religions.  These elements all fuse together to give us a rich cultural tapestry.

Naturally, this diversity impacts the shape and nature of Middle Eastern training programmes as allowances need to be made for the specific areas to which people are travelling and the ethnicities and religions of the people with whom travelling business personnel, or expats, will be collaborating.

Although people across the Middle East share many of the core values and cultural practices, there can also be some significant differences.

Let’s explore the way in which these differences, such as ethnicity, religion and language, shape cultural awareness training programmes in this region.

We’ve broken the Middle East down into the areas of the Levant, the Gulf and North Africa to make this overview a little more simple.

Let’s start with the Levant:

Let’s now take a look at the Gulf:

Finally, let’s look at North Africa:

It’s often a surprise to people when countries in North Africa are included in the modern-day Middle East.

However, the countries of Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Egypt are sometimes included in the Middle East as they share a religious, cultural, social and political history with their Arab counterparts.

So, although people in the Middle East share a great deal in terms of values, customs and cultural practices, there is also huge diversity.

As such, a blanket approach doesn’t necessarily deal with all the nuances that people are likely to encounter.

Want to learn more about culture in the Middle East?

Then sign-up for our online cultural awareness course!


Main image thanks to Rod Waddingon on Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)