Linda: a global citizen based in Dubai
2 November 2021

Linda Dabat is the office manager of our Dubai office

Why do you define yourself as a global citizen?

Because of all the cultural experiences I’ve had, which have shaped me into who I am today and my perspective. I’m half Italian and half Arab – my mum’s from Sardinia and my dad’s from Palestine. I was born in Bologna, in Italy, and lived there until I finished primary school. We then moved to Amman in Jordan, where I learned Arabic and studied business administration at university. And 7 years ago I moved to the UAE, where I learned my third language, English!

I like to think of my cultural background as a multitude of colours that represents all the different colors of the rainbow. I even turned this into a painting – the one in the picture – each hand is of one of my colleagues from the office – their cultural backgrounds have all influenced me somehow!

How do you use your diverse skill set in your day -to -day work?

BonelliErede is the perfect place to use my language skills and professional experience – it’s an Italian-headquartered, multinational firm. When I first joined the Dubai office back in 2017, there were just three lawyers and me, and the office has grown so much since. We’ve all worked really hard together to get to where we are today, and I’m extremely proud of what we’ve achieved.

As a team, we’ve cultivated a globalised atmosphere that respects the traditions of different cultures, and it’s a truly international environment that matches my personality. We like to get together every year for the Islamic Ramadan Iftar and celebrate Christmas together with everyone at the firm – albeit virtually during the pandemic. I love my job. Managing an office that has so many different requirements means there’s never a dull moment! You learn something new every day and never stop growing. Over the last few years, the Dubai team has made a lot of trips to our headquarters for training and had the pleasure of welcoming visiting international colleagues to our office – something I can’t wait to get back to doing!

Is it true that there’s more to you being a global citizen than your mixed heritage and the different countries you’ve lived in?

Yes, a bit more. I married an English man in the Maldives, I have two Siberian Huskies, my favourite cuisine is Asian, and my best friends are Polish, Ukrainian, and Syrian. On top of that I attend African dance classes! It’s a unique type of dance because it merges many traditional cultures. It’s more than just entertainment, it recounts history, conveys emotion, celebrates rites of passage, and helps to unite communities.

In the community I live in, we always celebrate holidays. For the Indian Diwali (festival of lights), we decorate the streets with lights and flowers, for the American Thanksgiving, we eat pumpkin, and for Halloween we dish out treats to the kids and share a moment of fun with them.

Answering the question “where are you from?” is quite difficult because I consider the world my home. And I want to share my knowledge of the world with my soon-to-be born son. I am very happy that he’ll grow up in Dubai because it’s such a melting pot of nationalities. I also really want to instill in him the values of love and respect for all human beings and teach him to respect others’ beliefs and to appreciate diversity and how being of mixed race is a source of pride. I will do my best to inspire him to travel, have experiences that will help him to grow as a person, and learn about as many cultures and languages as possible!

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