This is a departure for this blog. While there is a direct connection to creativity and innovation it is essentially a press release written by concerned leaders in the creativity and innovation international community. One of our own, Dr. Robert Alan Black, has been detained in Abu Dhabi. The details are below. My request is that if you are so moved, please contact the offices of your elected officials. USA citizens can find contact information here. Press Release For Immediate Release Contact: Rosemary Rein Phone number: 239-910-3354 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org American Creativity Expert Detained In Abu Dhabi Friday October 31, 2014 – Athens, Georgia. Dr. Robert Alan Black, an Athens resident, is being held in Al Wathba prison inRead More..
Greetings from gray and chilly Three Oaks, Michigan. As gloomy as it is, I’m grateful to be here and free. Freedom is not something we should take for granted. Later this morning I’ll take a walk outside around my pond and say prayers for my friend Alan Black. I might take a photograph. When he’s released I hope he’ll come visit me here so we can enjoy a walk outside together — and photograph whatever catches our eye.
Below is the latest information from Friends of Alan Black. The FAQ pretty much says it all. Much of this has been covered in news reports, but FAB thought it would be helpful to put all the facts into one document.
Alan’s been in jail in Abu Dhabi for just over three weeks now. He needs our help. Please share this information with people who might have an interest in his case — folks in the creativity and innovation community in particular — and, please contribute to his legal aid fund.
What you can do to help is item #11 below. I would make the kind request to avoid any rants about the U.A.E. government — it’s just not helpful to his cause at this point in time.
***** Background information/FAQ Re: Dr. Alan Black *****
Tuesday, November 11, 2014: Athens, Georgia.
Contact: Rosemary Rein, Spokesperson for Friends of Alan Black
Phone number: 239-910-3354
FAQ: Frequently asked questions regarding Robert Alan Black, PhD
American creativity expert currently held in Abu Dhabi, UAE
1. Who is Robert Alan Black, PhD?
- Robert Alan Black, PhD is a creativity expert from Athens, Georgia, USA. He does speaking, consulting, and training around the world.
- He’s 70 years old, a father, and a grandfather.
- He’s called Alan by his friends and is also sometimes called “Wandering Alan” because of his extensive world travel – 93 countries – and because of his daily walks.
- His professional website: http://www.cre8ng.com
2. Why is he detained in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates?
- Dr. Black was detained for taking pictures in a restricted area of Abu Dhabi on the day after a conference, on Monday, October 21. He has been detained by authorities at the Al Wathba prison since that time
- Dr. Black had been speaking at 2nd Creative Thinkers Conference as a volunteer earlier in the week he was arrested. His presentation took place on Monday, October 20th. This conference was attended by government and public sector officials of the UAE as well as educators and non-profit organizational leaders from many Arab Gulf countries.
- The Creative Thinkers Conference was organized by a US-based company, Designframe USA, with headquarters in Washington, DC. Designframe USA has no affiliation with the UAE. Dr. Black was honored to speak at the conference and be a part of the ongoing initiative for innovation in the UAE. The UAE is hosting the Expo 2020 Dubai, and Dr. Black was part of the closing tribute at the conference celebrating this award to the UAE.
- The UAE has laws regarding photography of buildings such as foreign embassies, consulates, and military or state buildings. As the host country it has legitimate concerns about the security of these buildings. The UAE is one of many countries who prohibits photography of secure areas.
- Dr. Black reports to his family that he is being treated fairly.
3. Has he expressed remorse for this incident?
- Dr. Black has made a full apology to authorities for his actions and is genuinely and deeply remorseful. He has sent a letter to the UAE government expressing his remorse. As a world traveler he prides himself on appreciation of the cultures he visits. He states that he intended no disrespect.He was unaware of the sensitivity about photography in the UAE and he is sorry for not being more informed about local customs and laws.
4. Why was he taking pictures?
- Dr. Black is an avid photographer. He is a trained architect with a keen interest in buildings and design. His website is chock-full of photos he has taken all around the world. Walking about and taking pictures is a daily habit for Dr. Black.
5. You say he’s an expert in creativity. What are his qualifications?
- Dr. Black holds a PhD in educational psychology from the University of Georgia. He studied under the eminent learning theorist Dr. Paul Torrance, who mentored Dr. Black well after he earned his degree. He has three Master’s degrees: one each in architecture, visual communication, and guidance/counseling.
- Dr. Black has consulted with multi-national companies such as Kimberly-Clark, Johnson & Johnson, and Nestlé. He has been a professor at the University of Georgia, and has lectured at Drexel University.Indeed, Dr. Black has dedicated his life to bring the power of creativity to many around the globe and has volunteered and donated his time to many conferences and events in order to help others.
6. Is his health a concern?
- Yes, it’s of deep concern to his family and friends. Dr. Black is 70 years old and his health, due to Type 2 diabetes, is unstable.
- Dr. Black suffers from Type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure. He is under medication for these conditions.
- He has informed his family that he has lost weight in prison due to the unfamiliar food.
- Diabetics have spikes and dips in their blood sugar. Several of his friends have noticed that Dr. Black is subject to brief periods of dizziness and disorientation. On a few occasions he has fallen and injured himself.
- High or low blood sugar sometimescauses fatigue, confusion, and loss of short-term memory (see citations below). It’s possible that Dr. Black was experiencing a blood sugar spike or dip when he was taking his walk and was subsequently detained. Diabetics may become fatigued and confused and this may impair their judgment.
7. Does he have family?
- Yes, he has a daughter, a son, and two grandchildren.
- Jessica Beasley, his daughter, lives in Georgia.
- Scott Black, his son, lives in Florida.
8. Does he have a lawyer?
- Yes, a lawyer with a firm based in Abu Dhabi has been hired to assist Dr. Black as of Friday, November 7th.
- His lawyer is making an assessment of the situation and will know more early this week (week of November 9, 2014).
9. Has he been charged with a crime?
- As of this writing, Dr. Black has not been charged with a crime.
- According to the US Embassy and his lawyer, his case has been transferred to the State Security Group in the UAE.
10. What is the American Embassy doing to help?
- The US Embassy is aware of the situation and is in contact with Dr. Black’s family.
- Representatives of the US Embassy visited Dr. Black in his first week of detainment and made requests of UAE officials to ensure he is getting his medications. Dr. Black has confirmed he has his medications.
- They provided a list of lawyers to Dr. Black’s family.
- As far as is known, the US Embassy has not communicated with the UAE government about Dr. Black.
- They continue to monitor the situation.
11. What you can do to help
- Sign the petition that asks the US Department of State to use diplomacy for his release.
- Please contribute funds for his legal defense: Depending on what happens Dr. Black may need a good deal of money to cope with the UAE legal system. There may be a fine and there is also travel back home to cover. Please contribute what you can.
- Follow the progress of events on this specially-created Facebook page.
- Follow the hashtag #FreeAlanBlack on Twitter.
- Write letters (please not email: letters are far more effective) to your congressional representative or senator. The elected officials most likely to take up Dr. Black’s cause would be in the state of Georgia where both Dr. Black and his daughter Jessica reside.
- Saxby Chambliss
- David Perdue is the newly-elected senator replacing Saxby Chamblis. He takes office formally on January 3, 2015.
- Johnny Isakson
- Robert Woodall
- Non-US citizens can lobby their governments to:
- Make more tourists aware of the cultural differences re: picture taking in the UAE.
- Alert their diplomats in the region to support the American Embassy in its efforts in whatever way they can.