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Cultural Awareness

Middle East Cultural Overview:

The Middle East as a region is generally agreed to be the following countries:
Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Yemen.

The Middle East is a diverse area of culture, language and race. It has a large number of older civilisations, many of which are thousands of years old. The different countries of the Middle East each have their own unique identity but share many commonly held traditions and beliefs. To successfully do business in this region, companies must understand the cultural differences between countries and people.

Much of the Middle East's wealth, today, comes from its huge oil and gas reserves and many natural resources. Tourism and Banking then follow as the major contributors to the region's GDP. The Middle East provides many opportunities for all different types of investment with its strong economic growth. If a company or individual wishes to enter this lucrative market, it is very important that they have a real understanding of the traditions and influences that shape Middle Eastern culture.

Important Differences in the Middle East

In the Middle East relationships with colleagues and contacts are highly valued, more so than in the Western cultures with our increased electronic social networking. People in these countries tend to ensure that they spend real 'quality' time with personal contacts, so ensure you set aside as much time as possible to show respect and enhance your friendships. Most business is done between 'friends' and those people who have shown respect to each other.

Religion plays a large part of everyday life in the Middle East.

Methods of personal communication are very different to most Western cultures. This has a lot to do with old traditions of saving-face, so direct challenges and refusals can be avoided, with this in mind find a gracious way out of a situation by making an excuse.

Hospitality forms a large part of Middle East tradition and is closely linked to personal and business reputation. Displays of hospitality and generosity show a person to be of good standing and are encouraged. Don't offend anyone by refusing directly, again look for a polite way out of the situation without being confrontational or direct.

Need More Information?

For more information on the Middle East, Qatar and Doha, read our living and working in Doha section to discover more. Please Contact Us if you are thinking of moving to Qatar, we would be only too delighted to help.

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