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|S P Jain Global MBA students scour cultural roots of Dubai
S P Jain Global MBA students scour cultural roots of Dubai On March 31, 2012, a bunch of enthusiastic Global MBA (GMBA) students were exposed to a new yet local culture of Bastakya, a historic district in Dubai. GMBA aspirants obsessively scoured the cultural roots of the local people of Bastakya as part of their educational tour. Under this program students had an edge to experience a new culture firsthand, to connect with the people and to place them on a much deeper level than they ever could in a classroom.
Lined with restored merchant’s houses, art galleries, cafés, and boutique hotels, Bastakya is an old neighborhood in Dubai established at the end of the 19th century by well-to-do textile and pearl traders from Bastak, Iran.
The GMBA Students started their tour at Sheikh Mohammed Centre for cultural understanding. Located in one of the Bastakya’s most elegant building, the centre comprises a beautiful courtyard, pretty decorative grilles, hanging oil lamps, and wooden lattice. By exchanging ideas with Emiratis, students acquired great insights and information about local heritage and traditions of Bastakya's community.
The cool wind towers¸ architectural wonder of Bastakya's houses, led them to a new aspect of the old technique. As the source of incessant flow of fresh and cold air into the house, these towers stood for the earlier form of air-conditioning.
Old houses of Bastakya had small doors to ensure the privacy of women. But these doors were always kept open wide for guests (an invariable mark of quintessential Arabian hospitality) in presence of the male members of the house. Although the sand walkways have now given way to glitzy tiles, the unchangeable face of old city wall echoed the history of 19th century.
Students had a rare chance to visit the modern white mosque, with splendid and meticulous architectural craft of carved wooden doors, brass knockers and the intricately patterned decorative grille. They listened to the stories of the scholars of Sheikh Mohammed Centre for Cultural Understanding. Scholars extensively explained the significance of praying five-times-a-day as a worship of Allah, the message from the Holy Quran and the way people pray in this part of the world. Students ended their one-day tour with coffee and dates at the Majles (Arabic word Majles means "place of sitting") which was like the living room in the old Dubai houses to entertain guests. The low sitting area of Majles was used to entertain guests with hearty conversations and food.
The tour has allowed students to emotionally and intellectually experience other culture of local people, see different layers of lifestyle and connect with the challenges of the their life. Experience from a new and alien culture has added definitely a new perspective to the Global MBA aspirants on how to imbibe and adapt in a global economy.