Shining A Light On The UAE's Culture: VIP & Protocol Events Management Makes A Mark As The First All-Emirati Events Management Company
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Although there are a plethora of event management firms in the UAE, just a few understand the cultural protocols and business etiquettes which are distinctively Emirati and deeply aligned with the UAE's cultural heritage and community values. Two Emirati women, Badreya Al-Mutawa and Alwazna Al Falah, the co-founders of VIP & Protocol Events Management, pride themselves on bringing the UAE events sector back to its roots.
Launched in February 2019, VIP & Protocol comprises a team of 120 Emirati men and women who work towards one shared vision - to be the first all-Emirati events management company whose organization of high profile events will help shine a light on the UAE’s culture. The company is Al-Mutawa and Al Falah's contribution to the Emiratization process, especially highlighted in the UAE’s National Agenda for 2021. “There was a lack of event management companies with the presence of the professional Emirati team to deliver the correct message and image of the UAE culture and international protocols,” says Al-Mutawa. “From that idea we decided to create an organization that helps in connecting to all the Emirati people, as well as people who are interested to be part of this society, and also help in supporting all the government and private entities within the UAE in delivering the right image and message to our international guests and visitors.”
The VIP & Protocol Events Management team. Image courtesy: VIP & Protocol Events Management.
VIP & Protocol has four main verticals of offerings: VIP event management, assistance during luxury travel, a training institute, and assistance with understanding the local code of style. Its main services range from helping organize important conferences, award ceremonies, to royal weddings in the UAE. In addition to the basic services of events management, VIP & Protocol also organizes training sessions where international clients can get a better understanding of the country’s culture and etiquettes, as well as lifestyle sessions where the clients are given suggestions on how to dress as per the country’s protocols. “The image and lifestyle services are to help busy professionals and diplomats save time and money by teaching them essential skills on how to dress for success in order to have the confidence to stand out, get recognized and make an impact in their personal and professional life,” further explains Al-Mutawa.
While the events management side of the company' offering is quite straightforward to understand, what’s new about VIP & Protocol is its introduction of “protocol officers” at events. “Protocol officers must know how to make everyone feel welcome and respected,” explains Al-Mutawa. “They take the time to ask about the likes, dislikes, preferences and customs of each person who may attend an event. They also do their best to accommodate everyone within reason. They must also make every effort to minimize or eliminate any opportunity for embarrassment or offense.” Importantly, Al-Mutawa points out that becoming a protocol officer requires knowledge and proper education. “Many of these protocol officers attend schools of protocol, such as the Protocol School of Washington, the Etiquette School of New York, the European School of Protocol, the International School of Protocol and Diplomacy and the Geneva School of Diplomacy and International Relations,” she adds. “These schools and many other similar institutions train diplomats, military officers and business leaders.”
The VIP & Protocol Events Management team at one of the events they helped organize. Image courtesy: VIP & Protocol Events Management.
On top of handling such events with precision and also spreading accurate knowledge on the Emirati culture, the team at VIP & Protocol have yet another important goal that they wish to achieve through this endeavor. It is their hope that younger generations will look at events management and protocol training as a mainstream career option in the future. “They need to have knowledge of international affairs, excellent communication and interpersonal skills, fluency in several foreign languages, organizational and problem solving skills, being able to work under pressure, as well as to maintain the confidentiality of all information related to VIP guests and the events operation,” elaborates Al-Mutawa.
Despite the global COVID-19 crisis, Al-Mutawa and Al Falah and the team at VIP & Protocol remain confident about the future. With plenty of work already underway for projects over the next 2-3 years, the two women remain upbeat. “We are not a normal event management company that only oversees all the logistics leading up to and during an event,” explains Al-Mutawa. “We are more than that! Our organization mainly focuses on delivering the correct image of UAE culture to events and especially to our international guests and clients. Our protocol officers are all trained by the best domestic and international protocol schools with a lot of experience."
Al-Mutawa reiterates that VIP & Protocol is the only company in the sector which opens the door to all Emirati males and females, such as students, retired employees, from different ages to be part of it, and which established the profession as a career of choice. Their two noble goals assure me that VIP & Protocol is here to stay.Related: The Role Emirati Women Can (And Should) Play In The UAE's Digital Transformation Strategy