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Successful Launch of the Community Gatherings Series

Al Qasimi Foundation
June 25, 2013

Interior Design. Kayaking. Photography. Italian Cooking. These events are among the first offerings presented as part of the Al Qasimi Foundation’s new monthly Community Gatherings Series. Formally launched in February at the request of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, the Community Gatherings seek to bring Ras Al Khaimah residents together and foster social, cultural, and educational exchange.

“His Highness has a unique vision for Ras Al Khaimah,” says Ms. Caitrin Mullan, Program Manager for Outreach and Community Engagement at the Foundation. “Part of that vision is for all residents – Emiratis and expatriates alike – to feel a sense of belonging. He wants the Ras Al Khaimah community to be a welcoming place that everyone can call home.”

Community Gatherings are open to anyone living in the emirate and are designed to connect individuals who have common interests. Events included as part of the series will span a variety of activities and topics, including United Arab Emirates (UAE) culture, outdoor recreation, the arts, professional development, and issues relevant to the community.

Ms. Katarina Borszik, the professional photographer who led the Photography for Everyoneworkshop, is relatively new to the UAE and enjoyed being part of the series. “I think the events are great because they give you exposure to people you might not have otherwise met. It’s fun to meet like-minded people with similar interests and learn and get inspired.”

According to Mr. Suqrat bin Bisher, the Foundation’s Event Coordinator and organizer of the monthly gatherings, the new initiative has already proven popular. “When we launched the Community Gatherings Series people didn’t know much about why we were doing it, and those who registered did not always attend. Now, everyone knows about the events and they try to reserve a spot several months in advance even before registration is available. We almost always have a waiting list within several days of advertising a new activity.”

Despite the gatherings being created to meet a perceived community need, the Al Qasimi Foundation has been surprised at the overwhelming and positive response from residents.

“It’s so nice to see how people from all nationalities blend together here in Ras Al Khaimah,” says Ms. Trudy Brusselman who attended Italian Cooking for Everyone. “I have not found and seen this warm feeling anywhere in the UAE, even though I have lived already in several parts of the UAE.” 

Based on the demand, the Foundation is exploring the feasibility of offering more than one event per month and alternating smaller and larger group activities to accommodate more participants. It is also trying to partner with other organizations to run sessions that might turn into on-going activity options for the community, like the kayaking event with Adventure 4 Outdoor Education and the Italian cooking class at Pesto Restaurant. In addition, numerous individuals have volunteered to help organize or even lead sessions based on their own interests and expertise.

“The gatherings have been successful not only in helping people network but also in becoming more familiar with the work of the Foundation,” says Mr. Bisher. “We hope the series continues to involve new residents and that our events inspire others to do similar things in Ras Al Khaimah.”

For more information on the Community Gatherings Series and upcoming events, please visit the Events Calendar