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4.3 Dialogues on the Art of Arab Fashion: My Life’s Passion

Tickets here [1].

Dr. Reem El Mutwalli in conversation with Widad Kamel Kawar, Founder, Tiraz – home for Arab dress and Creative Advisor to the Zay Initiative

About this Event

The Zay Initiative aims to promote an understanding of the evolution of regional culture, building up public awareness and appreciation of this unique heritage, reaching out to like-minded individuals and institutions nationally, regionally and globally. In addition to seasonal or touring exhibitions and museum loans, the collection is accessed through the digital archive (Collection), first of its kind on a regional level, fortified by a pop-up glossary in both Arabic and English. The Zay Initiative aims to empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life.

The Five Pillars of the Zay Initiative are: • Collect, document and conserve Arab dress and adornment.• Present and contextualise through a digital archive and blog.• Encourage intercultural dialogue to highlight our shared humanity.• Inspire and educate designers to create for a sustainable future.• Empower women regionally and globally by bringing their untold stories to life.

We look forward to welcoming you to this dialogue.


A renowned Arab clothing expert and owner of The Tiraz Center, The Widad Kawar home for Arab Dress. The collection includes the most comprehensive number of Palestinian, Jordanian and other Arab costumes.

Widad is a leading patron of the preservation and modernization of the art of dress. She is a mentor to writers, journalists, researchers and museums. She succeeded in raising awareness of the value of Arab textile heritage through many international exhibitions, including in Bahrain, Denmark, France, Germany, Japan, Jordan, Iceland, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Switzerland, United Kingdom, and the United Arab Emirates. She has published several books and articles and received several medals from the government of Jordan. Widad is also a recipient of the Prince Klaus International Award for Culture and Development for “her invaluable contribution to securing global heritage”.


Dr Reem Tariq El Mutwalli, is a published author, lead curator and public speaker. With over 30 years of experience, she is an expert consultant in Islamic art and architecture, interior design, historic dress and UAE heritage.

She is also the founder of the Zay Initiative. A non-profit UK registered initiative advancing the preservation of cultural heritage, through the collection, documentation and digital archiving of Arab historical attire and their stories. Our goal is to empower and sustain global cross-cultural dialogue to inspire creative minds.


Raised in the Middle East, educated in the UK, Emma has a profound understanding and passion for bridging gaps regarding culture and business, whilst navigating geo-political environments.

Emma is a highly motivated, award-winning, experienced project leader, communications and business development professional with over 15 years’ experience.

As the Festival Director of Dubai Lynx from 2011 to 2016, she strategically grew the event and left a legacy, building the foundations that see the festival thrive across multiple markets today. Now an entrepreneur and mother, Emma set up ‘Chameleon’, helping businesses reach their potential whilst ensuring they do better for good.