Nora Ashmawi's Blog

I am Emirati, but I am not from the Emirates…

I was born in the USA, my family blood is Egyptian, but my roots are Turkish. Unfortunately I do not believe that I can truly relate to any of these places. However, I have been living in Dubai, U.A.E. for the past 15 years.

Dubai is a city where multicultural seeds cultivate and reap a cosmopolitan society. What I appreciate about this city is the internationalism… When I walk around I am surrounded by a plethora of cultures, nationalities, and colors; I believe that it is this fact that allows me to blend in well, Dubai has become my new home.

The melody that mirrors my life is a soft, carefree one.

I have been playing the piano for almost 10 years, and although it started off as the activity I detested the most because my parents forced me into it, it soon became a passion I could not get enough of. I feel that through piano I am able to release anger or stress and express my feelings of joy. This, in essence has made me a calm, relaxed person who enjoys life as well as the classical music that it has to offer.

I thank the two most influential people in my life, my mother and father.

I consider myself lucky to have two great people in my life who have crafted me into a disciplined, proactive, open-minded individual. My mother has taught me that it is important to be hardworking, and honest, she instills the idea of being fair, and faithful in me. My father has always told me that it is important to experience  different cultures to fully understand the world. He encourages me to try different things, he has always exposed me to intellectual writers and speakers since as Dale Carnegie, Zig Ziglar, and Deepak Chopra.

I travelled the world and broke stereotypes.

My family and I love to travel and every country we visit gives us a new appreciation for cuisines, languages, histories, etc.. Some of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned are: the capital of Switzerland is not Zurich, or Geneva, it is Bern. The capital of Turkey is Ankara, the capital of South Africa is Pretoria, and the most expensive gem stone is not diamond, but in fact Tanzanite which is a rare stone available is blue and purple shades, and only found in Tanzania. And finally, Thai tangy papaya salad is a gastronomic sensation!

In short, my origin, piano, parents and travels have shaped who I am and I would not trade a single life experience for anything in the world.


Nora Ashmawi


Hi Everyone!

I was just recollecting my thoughts on today’s in-class discussion about who my favorite or ideal director or role model in the field of production is and I noticed something I should have realized earlier…

It occurred to me that most people in class would say the name of a famous director of roughly the 20th to 21st century. However, it seems that these directors are only secondary examples, the popularized and glamorized names of Hollywood, because the real creators, inventors, and primary examples of true greatness in the field of production, are Aristotle, Hitchcock, and McLuhan to name a few.  Without the brilliance and contributions of these great connoisseurs, the field may not have flourished in the way that it has. It was Aristotle who realized the ideal configuration of an effective tragedy and plot that has succeeded 2,300 years ago and today! Furthermore it was McLuhan who skillfully analyzed technology’s effects on us as an individual, community, and world. I am not saying that today’s directors are not well accomplished; I just think that most of today’s directors have simply applied the inventions of the ‘media philosophers’ to create personalized pieces. They are good examples to follow, but there are greater ones…

I think to truly gain from the media experience we must dig deeper and use the primary examples as opposed to the secondary ones. By doing so we will enable ourselves to form more natural ideas and movie or production styles that represent us more as individuals.  Looking back at the works of these philosophers allows us to interpret cinema in a less biased way and also form our own styles. If I was to compare the use of Aristotle and Spielberg’s teachings to the creation of fashion, I would say that using Aristotle as inspiration is like buying fabrics from the factory then tailoring them yourself, whereas using Spielberg as inspiration is like buying the clothes straight from the retail store. Let’s not limit our minds to a certain director’s work or style, let’s believe that we can create our own styles, works, and names.

I applaud Aristotle, Hitchcock and McLuhan for their magnitude and avant-garde way of thinking, for that is what has aided us to exceed to today’s level of digital storytelling. One day… I’m not sure exactly when, but I know that one day we will all have made contributions in our field that are just as valuable.

Love, Nora



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  • norashmawi: Hey Yasmin! I am on both! On Twitter I'm @norashm and on LinkendIn.. I'm just there too! Hope you're doing well!!
  • Yasmin Helal: Where are you old friend? Can't find you on Twitter or LinkedIn!!
  • nazgolhrh: Good job on your blog... great word choice and creative as always.