Is your nationality your identity?

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Q & A with Gulf News' Community Solutions Journalist Heather Madore

Q: In the past, people would stick to groups of people who shared their nationality. Is this a practice you still a lot of today?
A: It's a basic instinct I must say. A person would rather approach a group in which he sees himself fitting. It's a more comfortable feeling than sneek into a foreign group and be alienated trying to relate himself with the majority.

Q: Have more people begun to mix nationalities?
A: Yes I think so. People would love to mix with other nationalities for the simple reason of "discovering." Oftentimes, introductions in the conversation between different nationalities is about where they came from, and what's good (or not) about the place. And that actual geographical learning per say is amazing. Our nationality is only a general classification. At the end of the day, we create an identity based on what we do or what we like - and those things lead to mingling with people (regardless of nationality) who also like the same.
Q: Has social media like facebook, twitter and MSN helped people come together?
A: Definitely. Here in Dubai, there were already numerous events organized by people connected via Twitter, Facebook or Meetup. With majority of the population being expats, we are always craving for something to do. We are excited to build our network.

Q: What other reasons have contributed to people mingling?
A: People connected via social networks are excited and curious to see who the actual person behind a username is. In the first place, people got connected online through a common interest. Events themed with that commont interest - be it an informal mini-conference-over-a-coffee, an art exhibit, or a demo of a project, or a concert - makes them want to mingle. Mingling creates an OPPORTUNITY to meet and discover random cool and exciting people. It could open doors to create a personal or professional relationships with people.

Q: Does the fact that the UAE has so many different nationalities help break down barriers or create them?
A: Dubai is one good example of a borderless community. It's not the nationality that creates groups for people - it's their interests. If I love football, I will mingle with football fans alike. The fact that companies employ people from different nationalities and merge into one team already kill the barriers.

Q: What makes a persons identity? How do you judge a persons identity?
A: Each person has his own brand (or identity). He creates it (and is judged) by the way he speaks, he acts, and sometimes by his interests; or physically by his posture. In social media, a person's identity is determined by the information he shares. We call it reputation management.

One, of many, aspects I can judge a person's identity is the consistency of the way he carries the reputation he builds for himself. There are people who consistently talks only about one thing. There are also people who talks about random things.


Strengthening the OFW Families: Stronger Homes for a Stronger Nation

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PEBA has witnessed the real life suffering and loneliness of the OFWs and their families and believes that strengthening the OFW families, strengthens the homes and the nation! Thus, this season’s theme of

“Strengthening the OFW Families: Stronger Homes for a Stronger Nation”

does not just momentarily fit the issue of hour but is a timeless subject that cannot be bound by shackles so long as there are OFWs out there.

Scores of blogs and articles have been written about the subject in the past but it seems that the government authorities remain clueless of solutions and action plans to abate the increasing number of broken families.

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