A Saudi initiative named ‘Call of Culture’ is making a buzz globally and especially in the United Nations. Eng. Mohammad Bakhrieba, the founder of this enterprise was invited by the UN to attend the International Peace in New York. Since then, a magazine has been launched to show that civilized dialogue, learning about other cultures and living alongside each other in peace are the only values dear to human beings.
Arab News sat down with Bakhrieba and had a chat about his Call of Culture initiative:
1. What is Call of Culture? What is its message? What are you trying to achieve by launching an initiative like this?
Call of Culture is an innovative program of cultural dialogue. We aim to encourage individuals to take up a more active role in reflecting their cultures. Call of Culture utilizes social media networks to promote dialogue, trust and understanding.
Clearly, there is huge, fuzzy gap between cultures, and we want to clear it up by providing individuals a chance to experience other cultures. In the digital world such projects have a great opportunity to become a reality. The model is innovative and brings fresh, delicious content to the public, who in turn, can join the international wave of global citizenship. One can tell through our Facebook page that more than 45 countries are involved in Call of Culture.
2. You got in touch with the UN to launch the cultural dialogue- How did this come about?
The Call of Culture team thought it will be great chance to communicate the message via the United Nations as it is an international organization. The International Peace Committee thought that the Call of Culture project was a real push for global peace and for promoting global citizenship. They loved the concept and invited us to join the International peace day at the United Nations headquarters in New York City where we launched the magazine. We also called upon individuals to take part in the program to showcase their cultures.
3. During the launch — what was the reaction from the people there?
We have interesting feedback from the attendees of the event and in the social media as well. The launching was done live through the WEBTV.UN.
The team got a call for meetings from different UN Programs including the Special Youth Adviser. We discussed different aspects of culture being a great model for social change. The magazine was downloaded by more than 500 reviews in the first couple of weeks and Apple store reviews counted 4 stars which is something to be really proud of. Although we are new in the business of content management, the reviews were great and the readers loved the design, concept and contents. The Google play version is also out now and it’s a very handy version too.
4. You are considered a UN representative now — what is the goal of this position you hold now?
The new assignment concerns the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) campaign. We have been delegated as Youth Advocates for www2015 and myworld2015.org campaigns. The project is to hear from youth what the most important factors of the MDGs are. It’s an electronic survey, very handy and useful for local, national, regional and international development. It takes 2 minutes to complete the survey (myworld2015.org). I will have to raise awareness about the campaign in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA Region), and for that, I’m working on an Individuals-Public-Private-Mix utilizing different media and advancing dialogue.
5. What was the feedback from the Saudi Media? Did they support this initiative?
Yes, we got some interviews right after the launching. You know the market has active and proactive media specialists. What astonished us is the response from the International media; the news of the launching was on more than 40 news digital blogs/newspapers in less than a week!
6. How can people connect with you? Twitter? App? Website?
The Call of Culture model is based around social media networks: facebook, twitter, iTunes, google play, Youtube, and instagram. Just search for Callofculture (one word). They can also contact us through [email protected]. We respond within 30 minutes maximum @callofculture_ @mohdbakh
7. How can people living in Saudi Arabia interact with you on this initiative and become partners in sharing their culture?
The Call of Culture model engages individuals while the magazine model is collaborative; so yes, we are very keen to reach out to as many people as possible to make every possible reflection. For the magazine you can send at [email protected] and we will respond after the content is ready to go. For other events/ideas we would love to hear on [email protected] or on our social media accounts (callofculture).
It’s worth mentioning that the scope of culture reflection is wide and there are no limits. We have defined 12 lines (we call them edges) for culture and we work on them. However, we are still open to suggestions. We have also developed a special model called “Jump-in Jump-Off” for volunteers, which will allow engagement with short term reflection projects including filming and events.
Email: [email protected]