London-Arab families used to send their daughters to Switzerland, France and Britain to learn the “Etiquette” bases in extensive sessions. But the “Etiquette House,” an initiative launched by the Saudi Dania bin Saedan, offers the opportunity to acquire etiquette skills in the middle of Riyadh.
Bin Saedan studied etiquette in the United Kingdom and received a training certificate from London School of Etiquette. When she returned to Saudi Arabia, she launched many training sessions and workshops in her country and the Gulf, aiming to spread the rules she learned in the Gulf society.
Most people assume that “Etiquette art” is from French origins. Yet, the Saudi expert told Asharq Al-Awsat that this art’s bases are extracted from Islam. She said that when she was studying in the UK, one of her teachers informed her that etiquette is linked to Islam in many aspects, like the rule of eating with the right hand. Therefore, during her workshops, Bin Saedan is always eager to use Quran versus and Hadith when teaching etiquette lessons.
While some consider that learning etiquette and protocol is a sort of luxury and a practice designated for aristocrats and rich people, Dania ensured for years to spread the etiquette message as an inclusive topic that goes beyond table manners and specific categories in the community. The expert added that etiquette should be taught in schools and workplaces.
Concerning the etiquette-related mistakes that Arab people commit, she said that throwing garbage and cigarette buts on the streets is the biggest one and the disrespect of queues are the most common.
The “Etiquette House” project provides many sessions and workshops to teach etiquette for children and adults, including etiquette skills of tea drinking, wardrobe choices, invitations, and work.
The project also covers social media with two accounts on Twitter and Instagram to interact with the people interested in etiquette and to answer their questions. Bin Saedan hopes she can soon share video tutorials on YouTube.