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With experience in business development and protocol, portfolio management, and international relations, Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director, Dubai Design District talks about art, life and women.
Diyana Hakmi

You have 14 years of experience in developing projects and businesses. How have you seen the design scene develop in the UAE?

On a global scale, the design sector is becoming increasingly important. Governments and organisations are realising the value and potential that this sector can bring to the economy. The UAE has been no exception to this global trend as the local design sector has blossomed over the past few years and it is also considered an essential pillar for economic and cultural development. We are lucky because our leadership has backed this notion as one of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum’s visions is to establish the UAE as a home for creatives and designers whilst positioning the country as an incubator for the creative sector.

There are now numerous art galleries that have opened their doors in the UAE, and many art exhibitions, programmes and events taking place that promote both local and international artists. At d3, we have many art galleries in our hub and we often host events that are directly related to the design sector – one of the major upcoming events this year is Dubai Design Week, which is taking place this month. We’ve also witnessed a number of our local artists take centre stage and make notable leeway in international markets.

You studied software engineering. What made you move into the business field and art specifically?

I studied software engineering technology at the Higher Colleges of Technology in Dubai to pursue a career in IT. I had a short stint in this field only to realise that this is not where my passion lies. I needed to be in a sector where I could carve a career that I was passionate about in addition to developing my commercial acumen. I then pursued my Master’s degree in Business Administration and Strategic Management. This helped me understand the business environment which I have been able to apply to numerous facets of my career.

Prior to my role as d3’s Executive Director, I was Director of Business Development for Dubai Media City, Dubai Studio City, and Dubai Production City, members of TECOM Group which of course, d3 is part of too. d3 presented a unique opportunity to meet people, promote Dubai as a creative destination while travelling to key markets to promote d3 and in turn Dubai. Design has always been one of my passions and it is important for me to play a role in enabling a strong design community in the UAE whilst elevating the UAE culture and design scene to a global level.

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November 2019

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