Saudi Arabia: The Call to Culture

It is an honor for American Bedu to feature an exclusive interview with Public Goodwill Ambassador Mohammad Bakhrieba.  Ambassador Bakhrieba is an active youth with a passionate cause to build bridges around the world.  American Bedu readers have the opportunity to learn about Ambassador Bakhieba and his life and how they too can be a build bridger.

 

First of all, thank you very much Ambassador Bakhrieba for this interview!

 

mohammad Bakhrieba

 

Let’s start on sharing where you are from in Saudi Arabia.  What was your life like growing up as a boy in Saudi Arabia?  Who or what influenced you most during your childhood to turn you into the passionate activist of today?

 

Thanks for your time and efforts to engage youth and bridge culture at the best practice. I brought up in Jeddah, Western Area, Mecca State. The city of Jeddah is a multi-cultural city where diverse individuals from different backgrounds enjoy peaceful life.

 

My childhood was a normal childhood, I would rather say, I was such a calm person, I was average in school and literally not active among my pears. I think my turning point was at the university, where I had to face different challenges to either continue my education or to go back home! My first day at the school was discreet mathematics which inspired me to think differently! I believe the logic of discreet mathematics helped me to look at different life aspects from different point of views.

 

What is your professional and educational background? 

 

I have finished my computer science in 2003 and my master of information systems from University of Phoenix in 2012.

 

How did you become a Public Goodwill Ambassador?  What were your duties?  What are some of your most memorable experiences in this capacity?

 

Being an international organizational partner with the WHO, to cultivate health awareness campaigns in collaboration with the local authorities in SA, and under social media specifically I have been chosen as a volunteering Public goodwill ambassador to mobilize the community to take more active role in promoting and reaching the MDGs (Millennium Development Goals) defined by the UN.  I had to cultivate and advance the concept of volunteerism and to promot community roles to reach the MDGs. Through arranging logistics and engaging youth in local campaigns in coordination with local authorities. Also, to participate and bridge volunteerism between SA and the global community.

 

How did you become involved in cross-cultural communication and promoting peace?

 

The stereotypes about Saudi Arabia,culture and economics is a usual story  i hear when I travel around the world, and during my participation in WHO events in different countries. The International social innovation competition in Napoli (Naples) – Italy, was a chance to start the project, we had the chance to talk about the culture of Saudi Arabia during the conference, we have felt potential interest from participants who were interested to learn more about Saudi Arabian Culture. Then after, we had talked about Call of Culture as initiative in TEDx Arabia, where production and event management company from Hollywood showed interest to promote CoC activities. We decided to register the project in D.C. as a strategic move to communicate with international community and organizations. The United Nation peace committee looks at CoC as peace motivator and good platform to bring people to common ground of understanding and to promote cultural dialogue.

 

What are some of the biggest challenges encountered in cross-cultural communications and how does one resolve these challenges?

 

Of course, to engage a committed volunteers was the most challenges, we had to develop a special model (6-circles) to sustain CoC activities and projects. When it comes to cultural dialogue, stereotypes are the most challenging issues we face with individuals from diverse cultures. I remember when I was waiting in the bus station and a nice old lady was talking to me after 20 minutes of general dialogue, she asked me: “where are you from?”, “Saudi Arabia”, I replied.  Laughingly she said: “Oh my God, and you didnt kill me yet!!”. This was a good joke for both of us! Another issue was religious differences. Which most likely jump on table of discussion. The best way to resolve differences is to bring discussion to a common ground of understanding that not everything you hear is true! There is always another part of the reality! Discussion and understanding is the way to cultivate peace and trust among people!

 

 

What exactly is “Call to Culture?”  When and how did it get established?  Whose involved?  Who runs it?  How many individuals and/or groups are affiliated with Call to Culture?

 

Diverse individuals from diverse cultures have very limited understanding about each others’ cultures, it’s a critical point for international community to bring ordinary individuals to a level of understanding and trust where people can co-exist and live peacefully. Social media networks is giving every individual the chance for best practice to advance the life style and to reflect different life aspects at individual and social levels.

 

Call of Culture develops standards and protocols for individuals around the globe to build bridges and advance communication utilizing social media and other media outlets. Developed protocols and standards are implemented on Promoting Saudi Arabia Culture, as a first step and as the knowledge about Saudi Arabia produces black gold is well known, but it is less common to know what and who comprise to our cultures. The idea of a “Call of Culture” is to advocate people to take time and effort for personal and cultural reflection.

 

Coc started in Sep 2011, we have developed the CoC model in a jump-in jump-off approach where contributors can easily support and help CoC. CoC is one year old now, we have successfully affiliated more than 12000 individuals and community leaders in 20 counties, including, Middle East, Europe, America, and Africa.

 

 

How does one define culture?  How does culture differ from traditions and customs? 

 

Wikipedia defines Culture as the way of life of a particular society or group of people, including patterns of thought, beliefs, behavior, customs, traditions, rituals, dress, and language, as well as art, music, and literature. Culture is learned socially.

Traditions and customs are edges of culture, people culture difference according to interpretations of values and daily attitude/behavior, accordingly custom changes with time and as much as it get exposed to different cultures.

 

Which countries cultures do you believe are most diverse from one another and how do these divisions impact communications and understanding?  What commonalities need to exist in order to have effective cross-culture communications?

 

This is an interesting question, first we should agree that culture is dynamic! I believe cities have many immigrants from around the would have the best cultural mix, let’s look at NewYork, Roma and Mecca. Despite all the diversity of the cultures in the city, people from around the world visit these cities to communicate with others for some good reason, at the same time they bring their own cultures along with them. This intercultural movement is in itself a continues generation of new cultures, everyday new thing happen in the city is reflected in the culture. We find people in multi-diversed cultures are more likely to be opened to dialogue with others. And this is what makes a great culture. The more people are opened to others, the more cultural dialogue and cross-culture communication become more effective and realistic.

 

How is Call to Culture specifically helping to both introducing and understand Saudi Arabia’s culture to the world?  On a scale of one to ten with ten being the highest, how do you rate the average global individual’s understanding of Saudi Arabia’s culture?  Please explain your answer.

 

Call of Culture introduced cultural exchange programs in smarter approach. Instead of taking a group of people from one country to another to study their culture and gets back home. CoC reverse the wheel! CoC relies on individuals to advance their culture in three different lines, first, we engage teachers/educators to tech people. Develop media and utilize social media networks, and finally find projects where people from diverse cultures can work together to advance cultural understanding and communication, yet more importantly trust!

Answering your other part of the question, I would say the global individual’s understanding is less than average (5/10) for the Saudi Arabian Culture, of course there are many reasons behind this fact, it lays under media, communication, outreaching and many others. However, we believe the cause if quite genuine and many people have showed interest, we can realize this from the fact CoC success in 12 months of time.

 

How can those who are interested be part of a Call to Culture and help bridge the gaps of misunderstanding?

 

Call of Culture have introduced a CoC map which anyone can adapt it personally and promote it to others around him/her. It doesnt actually take much efforts, we all love to talk and communicate, right? So one may pick and interesting story about a culture, love it and share it out with people. They can utilize social media networks and engage others to talk and start understanding dialogues.

 

Are there any additional comments you’d like to add?

Yes, its a vision that many people out there agree on. We had enough time of conflict! Its time to promote understanding, but in down-to-up model. Individuals need to have more active role in the community and they can always be. You count! Cultural dialogue is one of the most self satisfaction and vision amplification, try it and you will love it!

 

How can someone contact you or Call to Culture?

 

Call of Culture is on the most famous social media netowrks one may google our name and find us in facebook, twitter and youtube. CoC recieves email communicaiton through: respond@callofculture.com

 

www.facebook.com/callofculture

www.twitter.com/callofculture_

www.youtube.com/callofculture

 

Thank you again for this interview and sharing the importance of cross-cultural communications and bridging gaps.

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