The seven-episode series will begin streaming on October 7 with two new episodes each week.
Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation (ADMAF) has announced a new documentary series titled Stories of Inclusion, as part of its Riwaq Al Fikr initiative.
It is being released as a tribute to Abdul Aziz Najm, the blind Emirati journalist who died last year.
Since its inception in 2010, ADMAF’S Riwaq al Fikr initiative became an integral part of the Abu Dhabi Festival, and has fostered an environment embracing meaningful cultural and artistic dialogues. To date, the initiative organised more than 24 sessions, hosted over 107 panellists, over 2700 audience members, and more than 40 hours of constructive and in-depth dialogue.
Featuring talented people of determination across different professional fields, episodes will start streaming from October 7. Two episodes will stream every week both on ADMAF’s website and social media accounts.
Commenting on the new series, Huda Alkhamis-Kanoo, Founder of Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation, Founder and Artistic Director of Abu Dhabi Festival, said: “Over the past two decades, ADMAF has served as a gateway to knowledge, continually fostering dialogue and understanding between communities. Our Riwaq Al Fikr Talk series brings together brilliant minds from various backgrounds to share their inspiring stories of resilience and success. Stories of Inclusion honours the life of the former host of the series, the late pioneering Emirati journalist Abdul Aziz Najm, who was himself a person of determination and sheds light on how the leadership of the UAE has created a supportive environment by engaging people of all abilities to nurture cultural expression, forge unity and support the vitality of our society.”
The series is made up of seven episodes, hosted by Sharifa Yateem, the first Emirati Board-Certified Behavior and Inclusion Analyst, and will feature Emirati people of determination who reflect upon their remarkable journeys in their respective fields. Stories of Inclusion will shed light on the challenges they have faced and overcome, and on the ways that the nation’s wise leadership makes the UAE a supportive environment for all people.
The debut episode, titled Nothing is Impossible, features Mohamed Hammadi, a Paralympic wheelchair racer from the United Arab Emirates who won two medals in the 100 m and 200 m sprint at the London 2012 Paralympic Games. Additionally, Hammadi claimed the UAE’s first medal at the Tokyo Paralympic Games in 2021. In the same episode, Yateem hosts polio survivor Fatima Al Balooshi, a 28-year-old Emirati social media influencer and member of the Equestrian and Poetry Cultural Club.
Titled Painting, Illustrations, the second episode features James Casaki, a motivational Artist of Determination raised in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A co-guest in the episode is Emirati artist Abdulla Lutfi, famous for humorously capturing everyday life in his iconic works which mostly comprise black and white drawings of the UAE’s skylines and landscapes.
Episode three, The Rhythm of Life, hosts pianist and composer Aser Hammash, who highlights his battle with Asperger’s syndrome, and how it has impacted his unique gift of music composition.
Fatma Al Jassim is interviewed in episode four, titled Literature & Media. As the first Emirati to become internationally certified in the field of Professional Accessibility and the first Emirati youth delegate at the United Nations Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, Al Jassim follows a constant quest to educate the community on the Art of Dealing with People of Determination on a voluntary basis, and how to overcome related challenges.
Episode five, Advocacy – Part One, features guest Maha El Mhreibi, Founder of Hand Speakers Initiative, and member Ayesha Al Zbeidi. The episode demonstrates how Hand Speakers Initiative aims to educate the community on sign language and contribute to its dissemination and integration into the UAE society by offering basic Emirati and American Sign Language Workshops as well as national anthem performances in sign language.
The sixth episode is Advocacy – Part Two, which hosts Sheikha Al Qassimi (Sheikha Chaica), a prominent UAE athlete, to explore her various achievements and the challenges she has been facing. Introducing Chaica as a champion of inclusiveness for people with intellectual disabilities, the interview also highlights the key role played by Special Olympics UAE in promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition.
Concluding the series, episode seven, International Guest, features Maha El Mhreibi interviewing Saudi Arabian inventor and mother Hadeel Ayoub. Her renowned innovation features a smart glove that translates sign language to words and speech.