Sigma has chosen to hold its 31st International Nursing Research Congress in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Abu Dhabi is a diverse, cosmopolitan capital city of the UAE with deserts, oases, mountains, beaches, islands, and an ancient heritage. Visitors will encounter historic buildings, headline attractions, engaging tours, and opportunities to enjoy the arts, culture, and sports.
As with all congress site selections, this was a carefully considered decision. Sigma vetted the location for safety of attendees with the same considerations as all event sites. For this location there was an additional consideration: The organization had not held its annual congress in the Middle East since 1985.
Two of Sigma’s guiding principles state “Equitable benefit services and access will be delivered,” and, “Sigma will foster global development.” The organization is aware that many members who live in the Middle East are often unable to attend Sigma events due to visa restrictions and travel costs. Similarly, some members in Africa and Asia have financial constraints due to the travel expense of attending events in North America. Staying true to the guiding principles, Sigma selected Abu Dhabi to deliver services equitably to members in that region and close by.
As noted above, Sigma carefully vets its venues for safety. Currently, American travelers to Abu Dhabi are advised only to take normal precautions, and the travel advisory level there is lower than in London, Paris, and every other country in the Middle East except neighboring Dubai. Travelers from many other countries will find UAE travel is considered safe. As always, travelers are advised to check with their governments regarding travel safety.
Conference presenters will be asked to fill out advance entry information, which will be requested and thoroughly explained when abstracts are accepted. The UAE requires a visa for entry, which in most cases is granted free on arrival. More visa information will be provided when congress registration opens.
Abu Dhabi’s culture is firmly rooted in Islamic traditions, and the expectation is that visitors will respect the conservative culture. Courtesy and hospitality are among the most highly prized of virtues, and the people are known for warmth and friendliness. The culture also values privacy. While normal tourist photos are allowed, it is considered offensive to photograph Muslim women.
While local citizens wear traditional attire and head coverings, approximately 80 percent of the Abu Dhabi population is made up of non-Emirati expatriates, and the society has a high degree of tolerance for different lifestyles. Foreign visitors are free to practice their own religion, and alcohol is served in hotels, although moderation is expected. Provided reasonable discretion is shown, the dress code is liberal. Women are not required to cover their hair or faces, face no discrimination, and may drive and walk unescorted. As a sign of respect for local culture and customs, all visitors (men and women) are advised not to wear excessively revealing clothing in public places and to avoid overt public displays of affection. If visiting mosques or other religious sites, visitors should honor the dress code and photography expectations just as at religious locations elsewhere.
For further information, including any special considerations needed by women and LGBTQ members and attendees, please refer to the expanded cultural and safety information document.