Amazing Meeting Between Green Sheikh and ECOFFEE Founder Norman Cescut

Sheikh Abdul Aziz introduces ECOFFEE founder Norman Cescut, who describes three “amazing” days spent with the man we call “The Green Sheikh.”

Through social media, ECOFFEE Founder Norman Cescut was following my various ecological trips worldwide, and soon asked me if I was interested in doing sustainable business with him.

I told him: “it is not as easy as you think. You should know me first, meet me, and see inside me, because as a title Sheikh, it is not about investment or material wealth; it is about ethics and morals, and I wish for you to understand this.”

Norman decided to take the risk to visit me in Ajman. We agreed on 3 day visit to experience and discover our journey to live, to know, to reflect and to be inspired more in actions. Nothing personal, but to engage how we practice our faith, culture, business, and how we network and socialize with local and international people.

Norman experienced most of my daily life: family, business, charity, and faith. The experience really touched him deeply.  He agreed we are all human beings with many similarities, but with different choices and tastes. My friend Norman expressed his impressions of my small world with the following story.

“This is a man I absolutely have to know”

It was a nice February morning in Dubai when my attention was captured by an article published on BuildGreen magazine. It was about Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al-Nuaimi , member of the ruling Royal Family of Ajman, UAE. I was struck by the words of Sheikh Abdul Aziz, also known worldwide as the Green Sheikh, who uses his influence and connections to create a better world through faith, charity and sustainability.

I said to myself: “This is a man I absolutely have to know.” And thanks to his openness, this happened at the end of May.

He agreed to meet me in a three-day long meeting in Ajman, suggested where to stay and set up a flexible schedule to adjust his previously scheduled meetings. My idea was to share with this big influencer all the information, projects and ideas which form ECOFFEE to have his highly reputable opinion about.

The Green Sheikh’s world

What happened was that I did not only have the opportunity to have the Green Sheikh commenting on what I have been building during the last year, but he also wanted me to join all his meetings and conference calls, introducing me to his world. And it is a big, very interesting one.

As you might guess, I was a little bit intimidated when I first met him, but he was incredibly welcoming and down to earth,  letting me feel at my ease straightaway.

“Come with me, I show you the Al Ihsan Charity Centre.” He guided me to Centre, introducing me to his office manager Mr. Khalid, a smart and clever young future businessman, and Dr. Haki before leaving for an important meeting. Dr. Haki carefully explained to me what the center is about.

The Al Ihsan Charity Center provides financial, health and other support to 9,000 families, 25% of whom are local Emiratis. Each afternoon food is distributed to those who are in need. I was speechless and said to myself:

“This is a great man who speaks with his actions, not only with wise words”.

Dinner with the Green Sheikh’s kids:

Back from the meeting, the Green Sheikh drove me to his house to have dinner with his kids – can you imagine how honored I was to be welcomed to his house too? After a delicious meal, we sat down in the living room and it was my turn to start talking to introduce him ECOFFEE.

The knowledge and expertise of the Green Sheikh about the issues of sustainability and responsibility, much wider than mine and at a worldwide level, brought a new perspective inside the ECOFFEE project.

Surprise was not over that day, because our conversation had to be interrupted for a scheduled conference call with Terry Waghorn, CEO of Katerva, a charity organization registered out of the United Kingdom which delivers the Katerva Awards—the pinnacle of global sustainability recognition – and which acknowledged Sheikh Abdul Aziz among its Goodwill Ambassadors for his ability to take his ’holistic living’ message to the world, activating his moral networks worldwide and galvanizing people of all ages, religions and backgrounds. I was invited to assist at that conference, during which the Sheikh showed once again his being a great, “down-to-earth”, big influencer.

The Wudhu

The day after, Sheikh Abdul Aziz had to attend the GITSI conference. GITSI is the Global Initiative Towards a Sustainable Iraq. He did not change his schedule because of my presence. Much better, he kindly asked to change the conference schedule to allow me to introduce ECOFFEE to all the participants. That was a great opportunity given me by Sheikh Abdul Aziz.

All his support and sharing really made me understand what he meant by ” I am following the core values of an Islamic philosophy based on appreciation and respect. My holistic living message describes one as being connected to the daily circle of life; balancing the spiritual, the intellectual, the physical, the emotional, the aesthetic, the environmental and my own inner peace to help spread peace throughout the world and in the process achieve wisdom.”

The conference was over and the time came to pray. The Sheikh Abdul Aziz wanted to share with me that experience too, allowing me to follow him at the Mosque, another great new experience I have to thank him for. He told me: I will teach you the Wudhu, how to act in the Mosque and how to follow us in the prayer movements, but you will be totally free to pray to yours and our God. Another sign of his open mind.

Meetings with big influencers and great inspiring conversations took place the last day too, and again the Sheikh introduced me to his world and network – reinforcing my belief that it is possible to create a better business, a better life and a better world through collaboration, sharing and deep respect.

A more detailed version of this post first appeared on Norman’s personal blog.

More Green Sheikh Stories:

Dine with an Unconventional Sheikh

The Green Sheikh Knows How to Treat a Lady

Have You Ever Met a Green Sheikh?

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5 thoughts on “Amazing Meeting Between Green Sheikh and ECOFFEE Founder Norman Cescut”

  1. Ashraf Abukhalaf says:

    Salaam and Peace to all:

    A very nice article. I can actually see the steps Norman took as if I am living them just because I really did! However, they were at a smaller scale and shorter time.

    I was honored to meet Sheikh Abdul Aziz Alnuaimi for the first time in Chicago in December 2010 at the Muslim American Society Conference. I was actually surprised that he was kind enough to give me his email. In the same evening around midnight, I emailed him requesting a meeting to get to know each other more. To my further shock, the man actually answered my email within less than an hour and accepted to meet at breakfast. You would usually think that, a man of his caliber will take a day or too to answer (to guard the “prestige”.)

    Although the Sheikh had a busy schedule, he actually gave me a full hour and even made sure to compensate for the time cut but couple of people who interrupted our meeting. I told the Green Sheikh that I was coming to Dubai for business and to attend the Arab Health and Arab Lab exhibitions and he gave me his contact details to contact him when I reach UAE.

    Indeed, we met in February in Kimpinsky Hotel in Ajman. Sh. Alnuaimi came personally to accept me and introduced me to a nice Canadian group of people who were coming to visit him.

    The journey begins and we ride with him and the first surprise, his car was a very good car but nothing out of the ordinary, I mean no gold plating, nothing extravagant. We then went to Al-Ihasan center where we met the very nice young man, Mr. Khaled as well as Al-Ihasan center team where we had a tour and overview of the services the center provides to the less fortunate people. We also witnessed the disribution of food to the needy after sunset and I was honored to help.

    We then drove to Sh. Alnuaimi house and we saw NO guards. Sh. Abdulaziz believes that Allah “God in Arabic” is the ultimate guard.

    What amazed me in his house was the humbleness of his furniture (again beautiful but not extravagant.)

    We were served a very delicious dinner that had a lot of nutrtional content but not excessive.

    A final word, the Green Sheikh lives his name. He completely changes the stereotype that people have about the Gulf Sheikhs and proves that like anyone, they are people who vary in their values and what they see as important in life like any of us.

  2. Khadijah Johnson says:

    Lovely Article as usual, very informative. Please keep up the ‘Great Work’ you guys are doing @ Green Prophet!! Westerners LOVE hearing in great details about the East.

    Khadijah Chicago USA

  3. Hello
    My name is Noemi Joncour and I work for a French Information Web portal dedicated to international info on Sustainable Development called http://www.greenetvert.fr

    I was very interested by your article and I was wondering if Sheikh Abdul Aziz bin Ali Al-Nuaimi would be willing to answers a few questions for us so we can publish an interview + portrait on our website !

    Thanks a lot for your answer,

    Noëmi Joncour

    1. Noemi, send me an email with your request and I will forward it to Abdul Aziz. -Karin
      [email protected]

  4. Diana Rayan says:

    How i can contact the green sheikh?

    thanks

    Diana

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