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Open Doors. Open Minds.

July 8, 2014 by · No comments

Today we would like to present to your attention the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding in Dubai. Our questions were kindly answered by Mr. Nasif Kayed, Managing Director of the SMCCU.

Mr. Kayed, who or what is Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding and which are the goals of SMCCU?

The Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding (SMCCU) was established under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 1998. Located in a traditional Wind Tower house in the heart of the Al Fahidi Historic Distrtict in Bur Dubai the centre offers a range of enrichment activities through its award winning programmes.

Bastakiya Heritage House
Bastakiya old town, Photo: SMCCU

Operating under the motto “Open Doors. Open Minds.” the SMCCU strives to demystify and raise awareness of the Emirati culture, customs and religion of the UAE. With an overall objective to improve cross-cultural understanding and communication between Emiratis and guests across the UAE, we invite you to learn more about local culture in Dubai.

Jumeirah Mosque visit, Photo:SMCCU

Cultural lunch at SMCCU, Foto:SMCCU

cultural lunch_08.06.14_db
Cultural lunch at SMCCU, Foto:desenze

Why and how was decided to found SMCCU?

The people that came to Dubai to do business were always asking questions about Emirati culture. They wanted to visit us in our homes and find out what life was like “behind closed doors.” They were also very curious about our house of worship, the sounds of the call to prayer, and general questions about Islam and the mosque.

SMCCU Cultural Meals and Tours from Culture Centre on Vimeo.

So our founder Abdulla bin Essa Al Serkal initiated the Jumeirah Mosque Visits in Dubai and organized “home visits” with Emirati families. Later HH Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum embraced the “Open Doors, Open Minds” programme and supported us by donated the house in which we reside, in the Al Fahidi District where we began our official Cultural Meals Programme, Tours of the historic district and in 1998 and Jumeirah Mosque was officially opened to visitors.

Could you tell us please something about your current and future projects?

We will be adding a second house to hold events, due to the increased demand on our activities, and we are also finalizing our “Majlis” building and cultural café next to Jumeirah Mosque. We are in process of starting our Cultural Awareness Academy in collaboration with the local universities to train young Emiratis to be better prepared to represent, on a social and business level a modern multicultural Dubai and UAE, with a rich history and culture. Finally, we look forward to expanding this concept all over the UAE and around the world, with the aim to connect all people and all cultures.

Who attended the events of SMCCU?

All segments of the population, residents, schools, companies and tourists. Look at our 2013 yearend report all listed in the back of the book.

How would you describe SMCCU in five words and why should people support or attend it?

Alleviating cultural misconceptions, connecting people.

What’s your life philosophy?

We are one human race that can coexist in peace though true acceptance and tolerance of one another.

Dubai city, Foto:desenze

What inspires you?

Helping people see the positives rather than the negatives.

Dubai city, Foto:desenze

Home is…


Dubai city, Foto:desenze

What’s the best meal you’ve had in Dubai?

Fish Machboos.

Which is your favorite shopping place in Dubai?

I don’t like shopping, but everyone’s favorite is Dubai Mall.


Dubai Mall, Photos:desenze

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