Gift Guide

Cultural Notes – Africa and the Middle East


  • If invited to a home, bring a gift of baked goods or chocolates. Flowers are acceptable for very Westernized Egyptians, but they were traditionally used for funerals and weddings.
  • Some suggestions for gifts include: a compass (to show the direction of Mecca) and small electronic gadgets.
  • Receive the gift with the right hand, not with the left. Using both hands are acceptable.


  • Avoid giving gifts until you know the individual/party better.
  • If giving a gift of food, make sure it is kosher if being given to an Orthodox person.
  • If you can remember, receive and present the gift with the right hand or use both hands.


  • Crafts or picture books from your home region is always appreciated and liked.
  • Avoid pictures of people or dogs; Islam prohibits images of the human body and dogs are considered unclean.
  • Good gifts are gold pens and business card holders.

Note: Countries in the Middle East are very similar if not the same in regards to gift giving. This is mostly due to the commonality of their religious beliefs, which plays a major part in their social and cultural lives.


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