The Blog for Culture Vultures

Satiate your inner Culture Vulture with regular news and posts about cultural awareness, doing business abroad, working in a multicultural environment, HR diversity and global mobility.

How does the Diversity of the Middle East Shape Cultural Sensitivity Training?

yemeni-tribesmen

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.

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What’s it Like to be a Woman in Saudi Arabia?

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Despite a history of limiting the visibility of women, the application of harsh gender laws have instead made them the most visible part of the Saudi identity.

As such, when many Westerners think of Saudi Arabia, niqab clad women without any rights, are one of the first images that come to mind.

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Supermodel Accused of Racism Over Cultural Faux Pas

Supermodel Accused of Racism Over Cultural Faux Pas

Did you hear about the supermodel, the airport lounge and the cultural faux pas that caused uproar in Saudi Arabia and the UAE?

No? Well this is a great little example of culture gone wrong!

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Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

Why Do Middle Eastern Men Wear a Chequered Head-dress?

A common question foreigners moving to or working in the Middle East ask at cultural awareness training sessions is, "Why do the men wear the head-dress?"

Great question! So let's discover more about the reasons behind it.

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What are the Most Common Causes of Culture Shock for Expats Moving to the Middle East?

What are the Most Common Causes of Culture Shock for Expats Moving to the Middle East?

Providing relocation training for expats moving to the Middle East means that we get to hear a great deal about people’s experiences in their new home country.

Although moving to the Middle East can be an incredibly positive experience, it goes without saying that adapting to new cultures and ways of doing things can be a challenge.

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Is the Accorhotels CEO Ignorant of Saudi Culture?

Is the Accorhotels CEO Ignorant of Saudi Culture?

Saudi Arabia is on a mission to diversify its economy and reduce its reliance on oil revenue.

As part of this, they are looking to become a global tourist destination – something that their UAE neighbours, particularly, Dubai, have accomplished to great effect.

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New Expat in the UAE? Everything You Should Know About Ramadan in a Nutshell!

New Expat in the UAE? Everything You Should Know About Ramadan in a Nutshell!

For new expats relocating to the UAE, it’s fair to say that the transformation that takes place during the month of Ramadan can present quite a cultural shock to those who don’t understand it.

Whether you’re in the more conservative area of Sharjah, or, in the more liberal Dubai, Ramadan generally plays out in the same way and the same traditions and practices are observed.

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Doing Business in Saudi Arabia? How to Make a Good Impression

Doing Business in Saudi Arabia? How to Make a Good Impression

Saudi Arabia is on a mission.

Their ambitious 2030 Vision seeks to create an economy for the future based around trade and tourism.

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What's the Date in Saudi Arabia?

What's the Date in Saudi Arabia?

Many expatriates relocating to Saudi Arabia are usually surprised to find that the date in Saudi Arabia is over 500 years behind that of dates in the West.

As we leave 2018 behind and enter 2019, it’s only 1440 in Saud Arabia.

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Understanding the Arab Middle East - Identity, Roots and Values

Understanding the Arab Middle East - Identity, Roots and Values

As with any people, the Arabs look to the past for their sense of identity.

Arab history is tied to tribalism and the nomadic life of the desert. Although in most places the nomadic lifestyle has all but disappeared, the influence of the desert and especially the importance of tribal identity are still prominent today.

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Ramadan 2018 - Why your Muslim colleagues are fasting and how you can support them

Ramadan 2018 - Why your Muslim colleagues are fasting and how you can support them

For those of us working in multicultural environments, it’s fair to say that our colleagues may ocassionally observe traditions which we aren’t familiar with. Ramadan is one such occasion.

In the same way that non Muslims may avoid asking questions for fear of intrusion, Muslims may equally avoid going into too much detail about Ramadan for fear of their colleagues not being interested.

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Fighting Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

Fighting Witchcraft in Saudi Arabia

For many Western cultures, witches are an innocuous subject.

Long gone are the days where innocent women were dragged from their homes to be burned at the stake.

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Doing Business in Muslim Countries During Ramadan

Doing Business in Muslim Countries During Ramadan

Do you work with or travel to Muslim majority countries? Do you know Ramadan is a matter of weeks away?

For 30 days’ life gets flipped upside down for most Muslims – this impacts business.

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Media Throw Confusion Over Wearing of Hijab in Saudi Arabia

Media Throw Confusion Over Wearing of Hijab in Saudi Arabia

Some recent news coverage focusing on Theresa May not wearing a headscarf on her business trip to Saudi Arabia has caused some major confusion over etiquette and protocol in the Kingdom.

Certain news outlets and media seemed to use terminology that suggested that the British PM May somehow 'refused' the idea of covering her hair.

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The Importance of Business Relationships in the Middle East

The Importance of Business Relationships in the Middle East

Intercultural Awareness

Intercultural awareness training is sometimes perceived as a luxury within the business world. Many who feel this way are also proponents of the misconception that because the "world is getting smaller" our differences are becoming less obvious and less of a problem. This is in fact false. As we get closer, our differences become more acute and more of a problem thus further driving the need for intercultural awareness training.

Companies are now tuning into the fact that in order to get ahead in today's global economy, cultural awareness is critical. It is no longer a luxury but a necessity. The right intercultural awareness training briefing can offer a company real benefits, namely a competitive advantage and a greater long term gain.

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A Brief Introduction to Islam

A Brief Introduction to Islam

The word 'Islam' means submission to Allah’s will; a Muslim is one who submits to Allah’s will and is at peace.

Islam is a simple religion although from the outside it can sometimes appear confusing.

Islam is the name of the religion established by the Prophet Muhammad. One who follows Islam is a Muslim.

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When Cultural Ignorance becomes a Costly Mess

When Cultural Ignorance becomes a Costly Mess

Case studies from real business life are always the most powerful of ways to highlight the importance of local knowledge and cultural awareness for those operating in foreign countries. Often ignored or undervalued, this lack of sensitivity can sometimes have messy outcomes.

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Ramadan: The Business of Fasting

Ramadan: The Business of Fasting

Did you know Ramadan changes every year? It is not always on the same date like Christmas or New Year. That is because the Islamic calendar is lunar. Whenever Ramadan starts millions of working men and women from Morocco to Saudi Arabia to Indonesia will be fasting from dawn till dusk as of next week. Life changes for 30 days inevitably having an impact on business.

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Lineker, the prostrating Footballers and Cultural Sensitivity

Lineker, the prostrating Footballers and Cultural Sensitivity

Gary Lineker is facing criticism for his live comments on Al Jazeera that were seen to be offensive to Muslims.

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Muhammad & the teddy bear: a case of intercultural incompetence

Muhammad & the teddy bear: a case of intercultural incompetence

Every now and again we get an international story that demonstrates the importance of cultural awareness in the modern age. Examples include the Israeli tourists kissing in a Hindu shrine, the movie poster that offended Buddhists and sparked protests in S.E. Asia or the now infamous Prophet Muhammad Cartoons.

teddy bear sudan

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