Ohio-born, Georgia-raised Dorian Paul Rogers knew little about the UAE when he moved to Abu Dhabi on a whim in 2011 to further his career as an English-language educator. But he has since adopted the Emirates as his second home, contributing greatly to the UAE’s growing cultural ecosystem as a writer, event organizer and spoken word poet. Bill Bragin, Executive Artistic Director of The Arts Center at NYU Abu Dhabi, has referred to Rogers as “one of the most important cultural figures in Abu Dhabi” for his work in growing and nurturing the contemporary poetry scene in the UAE. When Rogers took the stage at the 2022 Smithsonian Folklife Festival – where the UAE was the featured country – he felt he had come full circle: he was representing his second, adopted home on a major performance stage in the country of his birth. His story is a testament to the strong, sometimes surprising, cultural ties between the UAE and US, and a crucial reminder of how different cultures connect through the arts.