DAIRA – Engage with Hope. Educate with Courage. Resist Fear

Cijal 3.jpg

DAIRA – Engage with Hope. Educate with Courage. Resist Fear

65.3 million people were displaced worldwide at the end of the year 2015. According to the UNHCR, this is the largest number of people, ever since the agency came into existence. In one of its recently issued reports; measured against the world’ population of 7.4 billion people, one in every 113 people globally is now either an asylum seeker, internally displaced or a refugee, putting them at a level of risk, which the UN organisation knows no precedent.


So, in increasingly uncertain times, when the word refugee is being equated with terms like ‘job-snatchers’, ‘increased unemployment’, ‘cheap labour’ and even ‘criminals’, fear and xenophobia is guiding government policies while some other countries are being forced to take more of the burden of those fleeing from war and persecution – what role do everyday citizens play? What can communities in more privileged and safe environments, such as those in the UAE, do to change the narrative?


Daira – an Arabic/Urdu word for ‘circle’ is symbolic in this context of how we are all bound together as one community. An effort to create awareness about the refugee situation at large but more so to create a sense of empathy and rally the humans of UAE to step up and take part in this global conversation affecting us all. It is to approach this moment in time with hope and positivity, and find out how each of us can contribute.

An evening of talks with people on the ground as medical professionals and volunteers, film screenings, spoken-word, public art and live music. The event is FREE and open to the general public – https://www.facebook.com/events/907679796044458/


Venue : The Jam Jar – Al Serkal Avenue

Date: July 16, 2016

Time: 7.30 pm onwards

Event Day Program


  • Hadia Aslam, Founder of Health Point Foundation

A young, Pakistani-Afghan GP working in the NHS (UK) puts together a field hospital for refugees in France and Greece after drawing its first set up on a napkin.

  • Cijal Rahim, Aircraft Technician in a local airline in the UAE/Volunteer, HPF

27 year old, Indian expat, Cijal wanted to do something when the refugee crisis reached Europe in 2015 and so flew to France and Greece, where he worked as a volunteer. Later he climbed the base camp of Mount Everest to raise funds for Health Point Foundation.


  • THE BORDER (Dir. Caoimhe Butterfly, Genre: Short Doc)

The Border offers a glimpse of the stories of some of the women, men and children making long and perilous journeys to seek refuge in Europe.

  • THE ABSENTEES (Dir. Tanya Daud, Genre: Short Doc)

The Absentees, is a story of a Rohingya refugee living in exile in the UAE, told through the voice of Raees. A story of identity, discrimination and the yearning for home.


  • Sara Saleh

Sara is an Arab-Australian human rights and refugee advocate, grassroots activist and creative artist. Her belief in the power of storytelling has taken her from a decade-long career working with NGOs like Amnesty International Australia, to performing her poetry locally and internationally, from Sydney and Melbourne, to Dubai and New York. She is also the Co-founder of the Dubai Poetry Slam and co-curator of the hugely popular The Dirty Thirty global online poetry platform.


  • Nouran Al Shalati

Born in one of the world’ oldest civilisations, Syria; Nouran’ work is reflective of her experience during the war and the ongoing reality but stands out because of how she manages to engage outsiders with her work.


  • By local Performing Artists

About Aleph Collective, is a multidisciplinary initiative, with conflict resolution and telling more nuanced narratives of individuals and communities, at its core. Films, literature, sports, and performing arts are amongst the many mediums that it uses to foster these connections. Aleph has curated events locally such as ‘The Power of Words’ at Sikka 2013 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I56_WkpbcUU, while one of its most notable campaigns has been #BAATKARAIN (Let’s Talk) – an attempt to bridge divides between Indians and Pakistanis.

Diara is FREE for public to enter, please come and bring a friend along: https://www.facebook.com/events/907679796044458/



The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) today announced the appointment of Bill Kistler as executive vice president and managing director of EMEA. Kistler will join the leadership team and provide strategic counsel and input on global matters to support the organization’s global footprint. He will report directly to president and CEO, Tom McGee.

“At a time where retail real estate is a catalyst of the global economy, Bill’s deep understanding of matters related to the industry and previous experience growing ULI EMEA will be an asset to ICSC,” said Tom McGee, ICSC’s president and CEO. “We are committed to working with our members in EMEA and Bill’s strong partnerships with media, capital markets and government organizations make him best aligned to lead and expand our presence there.”

Kistler brings more than 30 years of international experience and most recently served as managing partner at UK-based Kistler & Company, providing investment, development and organizational strategy support to the global real estate industry.  He also founded the Urban Innovation Network (UIN), a platform connecting cities, universities and business and will continue serving as its non-executive chairman.

“I am pleased to be joining ICSC and look forward to working with the team across EMEA to advance the interests of the retail real estate industry,” Kistler commented. “ICSC members play a vital role in shaping communities and in the wider economy. Helping to create more opportunities for our members to connect, collaborate and share knowledge and ideas is a privilege that I look forward to. ”

Previously, Kistler was a senior partner at Korn/Ferry International leading the Real Estate practice in EMEA. From 2003 – 2009 he was president of the Urban Land Institute–EMEA a non-profit, research and education institute dedicated to the built environment.  Prior to this he was General Manager of the Disney Development Company, responsible for Val d’Europe at Disneyland Paris. Throughout his career, Kistler also held senior roles JMB Properties in Chicago, Cushman & Wakefield in New York and IBM where he oversaw the company’s real estate in New York and Paris.

About ICSC

Founded in 1957, ICSC is the global trade association of the shopping center industry. Its more than 70,000 members in over 100 countries include shopping center owners, developers, managers, investors, retailers, brokers, academics, and public officials. The shopping center industry is essential to economic development and opportunity. They are a significant job creator, driver of GDP, and critical revenue source for the communities they serve through the generation of sales taxes and the payment of property taxes. These taxes fund important municipal services like firefighters, police officers, school services, and infrastructure like roadways and parks. Shopping centers aren’t only fiscal engines however; they are integral to the social fabric of their communities by providing a central place to congregate with friends and family, discuss community matters, and participate in and encourage philanthropic endeavors. For more information about ICSC visit www.icsc.org and for the latest news from ICSC and the industry go to http://www.thecenterofshopping.com.



Miss July of the Calendar Girls –Komal Chhatwani as “Beauty”an interview by Ruqya Khan


8 JULY.jpgKomal Chhatwani is a Talent and Celebrity Manager, working with Onstage International. She is Indian and 25. Her career is a reflection of confidence; she is a model of achievement building not just at work but also among her circle of friends and in the family. It is therefore no surprise that the story behind this ‘beauty’ is just as strong and impactful.


“As a child and as a teen I was very thin, if anyone looks at my old pictures they wouldn’t be able to recognize me. When I suddenly put on weight a lot of them were very negative towards me. A lot of my friends and colleagues even body shamed me. There have been situations where people have teased me and paired me with another plus size gentlemen and said ‘ best plus size partners ever’. It’s embarrassing and heart-breaking, but I never let it get to my heart, after a while I was used to it; I started taking everything in a joke so it doesn’t matter to me now,” shared Komal. “Many a times people commented on how I was dressed being a bigger size, I always asked myself that I never dress to get their approval or their praise of what I am wearing so how does it matter to them? I never let it get to me. “You only let people treat you by what you allow, what you stop, and what you reinforce.” I had confidence and knew I had to prove them wrong so nothing mattered to me. I in fact thank all my haters; if it wasn’t for all the negativity they had spread I wouldn’t have had the guts and the urge to prove them wrong.”


She added, “My self-confidence is way above all this. Honestly it never bothered me so much because I had everything they didn’t have. I had the guts and confidence to walk the ramp and break the stereotype mentality of people who always thought Plus size models couldn’t rock the stage and that fashion shows and ramp walks belong to only size zero models. Hats off to Zareen for coming up with such a great initiative and concept, it’s just brilliant.”


Since childhood Beauty and the Beast had been Komal’s favourite fairly tale. “Just like Jane I always believed that what lies within is what makes a person beautiful, see beyond the outer beauty. I believed that you can conquer your fear and learn from experiences but you have to stand out and be different and never give up. I choose to be ‘Beauty’ because my ideology and principles of and about everything is exactly as same as the Beauty in Beauty and the Beast. She is so me – she doesn’t differentiate people on how they look. For her everything was about knowing how the person is inside, be it even the beast or anyone. Looks deceive and she always loved everyone and treated everyone with same respect and attitude. She sees everyone beyond their outer beauty. She loves everyone and treats everyone equally. She loved her family/Father so much that she would do anything for saving him from trouble. For me my family matters the most, today whatever I am, even alive is because of them. I could go to any level to keep my family happy and safe no matter if that includes me fighting with a world full of beasts on my own.”


“People think that xyz looks so hot, drives amazing car and super rich, she/he is someone I want to be with and all, but you never know if that person respects their family or not, if she/he actually treats people with respect and has a good attitude or ideology for life or not. That person might have everything but might not have values or goals. On the other hand we have people who might not be that good looking or that wealthy but they are hardworking and they love and respect everyone but people might treat them bad just because they are not that presentable as others. The calendar girls project is shout out for people to stop judging others on how they look, or how they talk or on their outer personalities. See the real inner beauty they have. They might be a particular way because of their situations, circumstances or surrounds, don’t judge them on that, don’t discriminate them on that. Love all.”


According to me what makes a woman beautiful is how she sacrifices on each stage of her life as a daughter, sister, wife, mother or anything but still wants to be at power and neck to neck competition with men. How she can totally multitask everything at one point and still succeed in everything. Her crazy drive of giving her best in each role she plays or in any field without being biased is what I feel makes her beautiful.


The project brought together so many amazing personalities and Komals feels it was a privilege for her to work with them. “Each of us learnt so much from each other. We were like each other’s support not just with the shoot and the story but also with the details. I was mesmerized with the details. The perfect props that we had, the tea pot and cups, the candle stand and more which were almost as same as the ones in the movie, that was something which made me feel so special playing the beauty. The attention to details, the vision and the struggle to bring out what they had pictured in their minds was mind blowing. The biggest take for me was that I was able to share my story and put a point across with everyone reading this, I can’t be thankful enough to Zareen for giving me a chance to be a real life Jane in this not- so – dreamy world.”


Calendar Girls 2016 :

The ethos behind the program is to develop campaigns through marketing and events that promote positive body image in Men and Women.

Calendar Girls had over 14 role models for young women to identify with and inspire from, the personal stories of these 14 women will be showcased in this unique calendar.

Theme for 2016 : Fairytales – each image for the photo shoot was inspired by the person’s own favourite character – the idea behind it is, the each one of us really are, “our own super heroes”.

We are grateful for all the amazing support from many individuals!

The Fashion Designers of Calendar Girls 2016:-

Anisa Couture

Aisha Alia – Hayaatii

Dutchess Riley

Desi Sari Dewi

Kash Kouture

Reve Du Soleil


Calendar Girls Sponsors:-



Splendour Salon


Selfie TV

Shaby Designs


RK rites (Ruqya Khan)

MAD (Mad About Dance Institute)

To learn more about w2w: w2w.events.dubai@gmail.com