Born to Syrian parents in the United States, Daveeda Shaheen epitomizes the lifestyle and forward thinking of a true global citizen. Throughout her childhood, Daveeda called many places across the world home, including London, Switzerland and Beirut. While her geographical address changed frequently, the roots that made up her home did not. Shaheen cites an “always creative” household where arts and culture were encouraged. Daveeda credits this nurturing environment as being the thread that helped her weave together her book, The Finjan, an artistic coffee table book that is devoted to coffee, with an emphasis on the culture of Arab coffee in its beginning stages.
Educated at boarding schools in England and Switzerland, Daveeda holds a multimedia degree from the Corcoran School of Art and Design in Washington D.C. True to her innate cultural aptitude and desire to bring art to the masses, Daveeda has worked as a writer and presenter for television, radio and newspapers across the globe. She has also served as project manager for the Burj Khalifa Artwork Program in Dubai, where she brilliantly used her vast knowledge of all things artistic and cultural to source and purchase original artwork to adorn the walls and surrounding areas of the ‘tallest building in the world’.
Ever the entrepreneur, Daveeda is also the CEO & Founder of Tiffil Publishing, an organization that harnesses the powers of creatives worldwide on special commissions and collaborations. Ideas born from The Finjan have culminated in an iPad app, as well as coffee bean and stainless steel pendants and cufflinks whose sales support a farmer growing coffee for The Finjan in Yemen.
Daveeda is also known for her philanthropic endeavors, and actively dedicates both time and financial resources to three primary charities: The Four Homes of Mercy in Jerusalem, Snowflake School for Children with Autism in London, and Panthera Wildlife Conservation’s campaign to save the tiger.
Presently you’ll find Daveeda traveling between London, Dubai and the United States on her quest to continue to bring art, culture and a better world to her fellow citizens across the globe.
Daveeda took some time to talk about some of her favorite places in the UAE during this exclusive haute interview.
Where were you born? Fairfax Virginia, in the USA.
How long have you lived in the Middle East? Throughout my life.
Favorite Restaurant? La Petite Maison and Mexican.
Best Sushi? When the toro is fresh, anyplace.
Best Italian? Still looking.
Best dessert? Donut Place.
Best place for a romantic date? Antar
Best Sunday brunch? The Royal Mirage Pool.
Best place for a power business meeting? 154 Burj Khalifa.
Favorite shopping venue/boutique? Sauce.
Best Spa: I haven’t found one I like.
Favorite Cultural Event: Arts.
Favorite Cultural Institution: Bastiqia.
Best Pizza: 1800 Pizza.
Best Gym/Athletic Facility: The Address Downtown Pool.
Describe your city in three words: Different, Difficult, Delightful.
Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore: The desert.
All-around favorite spot in Dubai: Gold Class Midnight Movie.
Best Aspect of AD/UAE/Dubai/Middle East: Life in a beautiful desert with air-conditioning and internet…you can’t beat that.