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Showing posts with the label branding

The Re-Branding of Middle East Youth: Identities, Possibilities, Connectivities

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It’s a good sign when you don’t use much of your carefully planned PowerPoint slides when interacting with the youth. Had a wonderful discussion with an engaged and critical group of Language students at the University of Jordan on new technologies, business communication and culture as well as with a significant number of youth who attended the Leaders of Tomorrow event at the King Hussain Cultural Centre organized around this topic. Granted, many seemed to come from a privileged background with impeccable English and an international exposure. This by no means discounts their perspective. In fact, given my experience in India and the fact that I’m a product of such privilege, I’m acutely aware of that thin line between belongingness and responsibility that the fortunate feel towards their immediate surrounding versus the feeling of affinity towards that of afar. It is much too easy to become civically disengaged from our context and I’d even argue that much of the youth, be it in…

Does culture matter? Business practices across the Netherlands and Middle East

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A few months ago I was contacted by the Netherlands Institute of Beirut to see if I would be interested in talking about culture and business in the Middle East. This is part of their upcoming initiative to create bridges between the Middle East and the Netherlands, starting within an academic setting. Part of this commendable drive it seems to me is a response against this growing Islamophobia within Europe which is of course deeply troubling. What better way than to engage the youth across these borders in areas of common interest. I like the idea that instead of going there to be preachy about intercultural harmony and respect, that we choose a topic that the youth are genuinely engaged with and from there see how culture actually matters. So of course it’s of little surprise that the topic that youth in the Middle East seem to be interested in is that of business, social media and globalization. And for good reason. Like other young people across the globe, I believe they are mo…

Stranger in a strange land is not so alone after all!

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How sentimental we can get of the good old days where you could ring the bell of your neighbor for a cup of sugar or stop the policeman to ask how his family is doing. Actually, this is the marketed nostalgia many of us have grown up with; a world of yesteryear where what is now seen as impossible was once, possible and for all probably reasons, true and genuine. We yearn for a packaged past that has been sold to us. Today, we crave community and desperately glorify city youth intermingling and dependencies as a new “urban tribe” behavior– a reassembling of family affiliations and sentiments into a more channeled and contemporary neo-familial relationship based on raw and selfish need.

Social networking sites resemble an online tribal dance. But the underling premise here is that these “old” community patterns have been reinvented on cyberspace. Yet, if you stop and think, perhaps you may struggle like myself to remember the warm sentiments and comfort of the strangers of the past; i…

Manufacturing ourselves: What's wrong with that?

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A picture speaks a thousand words…yeah I know, what a cliché. Do videos speak more I wonder? So are we experiencing a textual silence or reserve perhaps in this new media age? Hardly. And what happens with all this contemporary chattering? Who is listening? Who cares enough to listen? Apparently not many according to media consumer analysts. People are too busy speaking about themselves, their day, their fleeting thoughts on toilet paper, baby nappies and strawberry yogurt often through the wonderful and humble medium of the picture. As I partake in this tradition by manufacturing my typical day and social life on Facebook as posed moments at happening events, I wonder what’s all the fuss about. After all, we are supposed to be our own best PR agent. If you don’t manufacture yourself, few people will care to do so on your behalf or worse yet, construct you through a montage that is not true to your desired manufactured self. Of course, self PR needs constant work. Me-branding articl…