Dine with an Unconventional “Green” Sheikh

the Green Sheikh, Dubai, environmental awareness, sustainable development, Blue PlanetThis image was taken from our interview with the Green Sheikh in Dubai earlier this year. And this is his first column on Green Prophet

We are thrilled to announce that the Arab world’s most famous environmental activist will pen a monthly column for Green Prophet. Born H.E. Sheikh Abdulaziz Al Nuaimi, he is probably better known as the Green Sheikh (who knows how to treat a lady!) Drawing from a strong background in environmental sciences (and boundless energy), Abdulaziz travels extensively to promote cultural, environmental, and spiritual awareness.

In concert with our own philosophy, the Green Sheikh’s somewhat unconventional approach transcends borders, politics, and religion. For this, he is deeply loved both in his home country, the United Arab Emirates, and throughout the world. And for breaking down the barriers associated with Arab royalty in order to help save what he calls the Blue Planet from human destruction, he is enormously respected.

In his first column, the Green Sheikh introduces Dine with an Unconventional Sheikh, a cross-cultural exchange program, and speaks a little bit about what he hopes to achieve during his current visit to Brazil. He cherishes public participation, so please don’t be shy to add your comments and questions to his posts. The first one is below.

The Green Sheikh goes to Jacksonville

In the summer of 2008, my wife and I visited Jacksonville in the United States and met many important people at our host Suzanne Perritt’s home. That evening she invited her friends, neighbours, and key figures in the society to  listen to me speak about my interest in the environment, charitable causes, spirituality, family relationships, and general well-being.  I was dressed in the traditional robe of our Arabic Emirates customs.‬

A few special guests that evening commented on the talk. Tome Wastson said, “I hope and pray that some other Arab royal families will develop more representatives in the mold of Abdul Aziz who will be instrumental in seeking a peaceful future as these societies integrate with the rest of the world.”‬

Another guest whose first name I only remember as being Mike said that, “it gave hope that people of different cultures and religions can live together in harmony.”

Legendary Arabic hospitality

We were inspired by this event to establish Dine with an Unconventional Sheikh. This is a unique cultural program held in the Emirate of Ajman in the UAE. We open the doors to our home and invite international guests to experience traditional Emirati cuisine and culture.‬

I and my family personally welcome the visitors to our home, in the traditional style of the country, and enjoy the exclusivity of discussing both one on one and with the whole group any topics pertaining to the UAE. These topics could include culture, tradition, environment, family, spirituality, a few secrets people in the West don’t know about, and more.

The guests are able to walk around our home and freely ask questions. They will have a chance to see pictures of our family, learn about our genealogy, and hear anecdotes about the local community.‬ At dinner, hosts and distinguished guests will have a chance to socialize further while savouring traditional authentic dishes of this region and experiencing legendary Arabic hospitality. Visitors are certain to leave with a great sense of satisfaction, having made new friends among the Emarati community, and with a truly better understanding of our beautiful culture. We hope that this program will boost cross-cultural exchange between international guests and Emiratis.

Sacred times with the Green Sheikh

Proceeds from the tour will be donated to un-sponsored children and single-parent families in the UAE through a local charity called Al Ihsan. This charity was founded by H.H Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, a member of the supreme council of the UAE and ruler of Ajman.‬ It was officially established in 1998 and is dedicated to providing care to disadvantaged individual and families including widows, divorcees, and the disabled, as well as abandoned women and children.

Anthony Robbins and his Platinum Partner visited the wonderful country of the UAE for a once in a lifetime experience, and spent an evening with me and my family.‬  In a gesture of thanks the Anthony Robbins Foundation donated to the Al Ihsan Charity.

Some members of Platinum Partner and other guests expressed their appreciation for the evening. Andy Green said, “the evening we spent in your company and with your wonderful family was truly a unique, unforgettable and life-changing experience.”

Another young man from New York, Michael Gitchel said, “I intend to visit Dubai and Ajman again with my family to meet Sheikh Abdul Aziz in order to open their hearts and minds and to see the truth as I have.”

Larelle Cox from Australia said that her visit with my family, “was truly a sacred night for all of us.”

Beyond fear for a sustainable future

My July 2009 visit to the United States for a dialogue study tour on Religion and Society has also added great value to all of us in the group. It was a wonderful experience where we learnt and shared the similarities and differences between Islam, Christianity, Judaism and other faiths. We removed fear and built new relationships for better future plans and activities.

It is in this spirit that Dine with an Unconventional Sheikh was created. The UAE is becoming the dream for all nationalities worldwide due to diversity in culture, life style and tolerance. Our country is a friend to all other countries in the world.

The lungs of the world

In other news, today I am traveling to Brazil to join thousands of people to celebrate World Environment Day. This and other events which fall in the same month – World Oceans Day on the 8th of June and World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought on the 17th of June – are key global environmental events that focus on the most important challenges that Brazil, the UAE and the world face.

I will address the audience on how the Amazon rainforest has a critical influence on the South American climate and is one of the world’s most important carbon banks. Covering almost as much land as the contiguous United States, the Amazon is home to 20 percent of the planet’s animals and plant species and stores the equivalent amount of carbon as a decade of global fossil fuel emissions in its trees. It plays a crucial role in the precipitation cycle of South America and pumps oxygen into the atmosphere, earning it the nickname the “Lungs of the World.”

Arabs and Amazonians unite

I will also discuss the link between the important goal of saving the Amazon rainforest and combatting desertification in the UAE. Also, I will learn of the spiritual connection between the Arabs and Amazonian indigenous peoples – two groups who live in completely different lands but can learn much from each other and contribute significantly to the sustainable development of their own regions.

I hope my visit to Brazil will show heartfelt solidarity with all the world’s environmental NGOs, both regional and local, and their valuable work to help save the Blue Planet from future man-made disasters by putting it on the safe course of sustainable development.

More stories about and interview with the Green Sheikh:

The Green Sheikh Knows How to Treat a Lady

Have You Ever Met a Green Sheikh?

The Green Sheikh Rubber Stamps Cradle to Cradle Event

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5 thoughts on “Dine with an Unconventional “Green” Sheikh”

  1. Khadijah Johnson says:

    As-Salamu Alaykum,

    My name is Khadijah, im very impressed with the Green Sheikh & Ihsan. I’m an American Muslim Covert that’s very interested in learning more about the Middle East & UAE culture & society. I had to pleasure to hear him speak on his visit to Chicago @ AIC. It was an evening to remember. I would love to visit Abu Dhabi, or even volunteer in Abu Dhabi for this very important cause. Insha Allah

    Khadijah ( Chicago USA)
    Duey International
    Mobile 312-428-1651

  2. Blanchy Dodd says:

    10 June 2011

    Dear Sir,

    I would like to introduce myself as a representative of an International group of ladies in Abu Dhabi WIAD.

    I was really impressed reading your interview; I would like to have the honour of inviting to H.E. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi to give a talk at our regular Coffee Mornings that will be held twice a month from October 2011 to May 2012. Our Group caters to more than 65 nationalities and 700 women.

    We would also be very pleased if one member of “Green Sheikh” could give us a talk.

    He has taken a high responsibility and goal of what he calls “Saving the Blue World from Human Destruction”. If only few more people could do the same this world would be so different.

    This section of Dine with an Unconventional Sheikh is admirable and I hope he could achieve what he hopes.

    In the section “Beyond Fear of a Sustainable Future” I found the same ideal thought I have had all my life. I have being living forty per cent of my life overseas (original from Ecuador, South America married with a British) and always I have been asking myself why we cannot live in peace despite similarities and differences between faiths. I agree that all is a matter of respect for each other so people of different cultures and religions can live together in harmony.

    I wish a success to H.E. Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al Nuaimi on his travel to Brazil to celebrate World Environment Day. So that other countries can learn about his efforts from the UAE and can contribute significantly to the sustainable development of their own, to help save the Blue Planet from future man-made disasters.

    I am looking forward to hear from you and also I offer myself to work as a volunteer in Abu Dhabi for this good cause.

    With best wishes
    Blanchy Dodd
    WIAD Hospitality Coordinator
    Mobile 050 580 5793

  3. Sam Salamy says:

    As a founder of the solar industry in the US and currently a founder of sweet sorghum ethanol, I invite you to contact me to discuss our mutual sustainable future. Included in my expertise is vertical indoor farming, Neogenix oncology cancer remediation and LED/solar lighting solutions. I have spent my life devoted to creating a clean and efficient world, always attempting to offer alternative energy in lieu of oil. My continued goals include an immediate transformation to thwart business as usual and offer distributed generation, whereas the people of the world will share and prosper from the production and local distribution of clean energy, energy efficiency and personal health. Please contact me at your leisure, my heart is an open book to all that seek renewable and sustainable solutions. Go to http://www.homegrownbiofuels.com to discover my current and most important cause to date. Shalom and As-Salamu Alaykum… Sam Salamy, NYC 6/10/2011…

  4. BELO MONTE says:

    We urge you to stop development of the Belo Monte Dam Complex. Instead of this environmentally, socially, and economically disastrous project, please invest in energy efficiency and clean power sources, protect the basic human rights of indigenous people and local communities, and support sustainable development that protects lives and ecosystems.

  5. May I be the first to say welcome to the wonderful world of green blogging. We can’t wait to hear more about your dinner guests and any connections you are able to make between Arabic and Amazonian indigenous culture. With green wishes for a Blue Planet, Tafline

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