Issue 188 May 2017
Story of Studentalk Child Gives Birth to a Mother Alnowair Be the Change you Want to See LOYAC Together We Can Make a Difference Zed Al Refai Man on the Mountain
أول ﻛﻠﻴﺔ ﺧﺎﺻﺔ ﻟﻠﺒﻨﺎت ﻓﻘﻂ
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Fawaz Al-Mutairi LEGAL CONSULTANT Khaled Al-Kandari Al-Kandari Law Firm MANAGING DIRECTOR Zeina Mokaddam firstname.lastname@example.org GENERAL MANAGER Chimene Ibrahim email@example.com EDITORIAL TEAM CONTENT MANAGER Zahra Husain firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTORS Katia Abbas Nissy Elsa John Arwa Husain Zahraa Ali Nathalie Matta Abdullah Azmouz CREATIVE TEAM Nidal Al-Shaker email@example.com PHOTOGRAPHY Maher Al-Nouri firstname.lastname@example.org CIRCULATION MANAGER Jad Nahas email@example.com DISTRIBUTORS Roshan Sapumal Ajith Kumara
letter Dear Students, â€œMeeting and parting is the way of lifeâ€Ś parting and meeting again is the hope of life.â€? In this last issue of the Studentalk magazine, I have been given the honor to write to you from a pedestal which has over the last 17 years belonged to Zeina and her heartfelt messages. For the little time that I have been the editor of this phenomenal magazine, I have worked tirelessly to bring you stories that inspire you, provide you with role models and leave you with a message that can come to your rescue in difficult times. Through this commemorative issue, I give you, for one last time, the stories of all those who share our value system, hopes and dreams. The most special story this issue is that of the Studentalk alumni, students we met when they had just started out; students who caught our attention then, and years later as we catch up with them again, they make us believe that indeed we have succeeded in bringing to focus people who truly deserved the limelight. In my time as the editor of Studentalk, I have interviewed numerous people, students and icons who have awed me with their intelligence, talent and drive, and this issue is no different. From the man who climbed the Everest, to the woman who believes in making this world a happier place, these are only a few examples among the many people who make me believe in love, compassion and humility. In the end, while a lot of people are grateful to this magazine for many different things, for me, it opened doors to this treasure trove of people who make me believe that Kuwait is a potpourri of cultures, where we have managed to create a home that is both warm and accepting.
Until we meet again, Zahra Husain
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14. A Child Gives Birth to a Mother
36. Alnowair: Be the Change You Want to See
50. Mishari Mufareh: A Life Defined by Passion
56. LOYAC: Together We Can Make a Difference
60. Volunteer Tourism: On the Road to Humility
40. Zed Al Refai: Man on the Mountain
82. QUIZ: How Honest Are You?
84. The Stories of Flavia de Luce
Features Our Alumni
Special Story Be Heard Just for Fun
18. Then & Now
28. A Few Words from the People We have Worked With
44. Revolutionizing Learning with UULA.io
68. Polls & Opinions
86. Music 88. Horoscope 90. The Other Side
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A Child Gives Birth to a Mother The Story Behind STUDENTALK The sound of clicking heels is always the sign that she has arrived! â€˜Zeina Mokaddamâ€™; two words that resonate across the media and publishing industry in the country. Almost everyone you will speak to has at one time or another met or heard of this focused, strong-headed entrepreneur. While the world today knows her as the woman behind PH7 Publications and Events, made even more popular through her monthly heart-to-heart letters in this very magazine, only a very few know where it all began.
Here’s the story you have probably never heard before…
16 Circa 20
After having completed her undergraduate studies in Public Administration at the American University of Beirut, Zeina moved to Kuwait to pursue a career in the big bad world of advertising. Her extrovert nature and go-getter attitude perfectly suited the field that takes a lot from you before it starts to give. And it came as no surprise to anyone when, at the very young age of 24, Zeina had already been appointed Country Manager for CSS and Grey. A workaholic by nature, at the time Zeina had no idea what burn-out was all about. Immersing herself fully in the professional life with the zeal and fervor of a young 20-something who wants to conquer the world, she flew too close to the sun! Consumed by the burn and unable to keep up with her own pace, she decided she needed a real break. A clean, fresh start.
So, she went back to Lebanon, to her roots, and tried to figure out what she really wanted to do, who she was and who she wanted to be. She decided to pursue a second BA degree in psychology which, much later in life, has led her to a master’s in counseling. After all, the most scientific method towards understanding oneself is to start by learning about the human mind.
After completing her second BA, an improved version of the young Zeina realized that it was time to set out on her path again. Although she did miss the fast-paced world of media and communications, she knew that this time she wanted to do something that, while fulfilling her own ambitions, also left a lasting impact on the society. And thus, STUDENTALK was born! “I wanted to get back into advertising - but from a different angle. I knew what ad agencies were looking for and I was acutely aware of the needs of the local market. In the pre-Facebook and Instagram era, students and the youth in Kuwait had no way of voicing their opinion. STUDENTALK was born as much out of society’s need as it was from my own ambition,” said Zeina, reminiscing about why it all began.
009 Circa 2
Fast-forward to 17 years later. She now owns an events and publishing agency that has given birth to magazines including The Talk, Men’s Passion, Ahlan Kuwait and is the mastermind behind the nationally successful
Kuwait Yacht Show. “It all started with STUDENTALK. Everything I have today, I owe it to STUDENTALK. As STUDENTALK is my brainchild, everyone refers to me as its mother. The reality is, I am who I am today because of STUDENTALK, so somehow it became my mother!” she adds with fondness in her voice. Alas, all mothers’ must one day let their child free into the world, and STUDENTALK is no different. After 17 years, and at its peak as the number one students’ title available in print, online and across social media, Zeina has decided to set STUDENTALK free! “It is time for STUDENTALK to graduate” she says... This news comes as a shock to many. We ask her why the time is right. “The world is changing, and we need to change with it. I owe it to STUDENTALK to take the right decision at the right time. It is no longer about your age but your talent and what you have to say and to add to society whether you are a student or not. It is no longer about demographics but instead about psychographics. And while STUDENTALK will no longer exist physically, its impact will always live on... in me, in every team member who worked on it, in every person who was featured in its pages.” From all the connections that she built through STUDENTALK, what was the one connection that Zeina values the most? “The one connection? Over the span of 17 years, touching the lives of so many, seeing one generation after the other graduate and shape the future of this country, I can honestly say that STUDENTALK has connected me with Kuwait!” And how does it feel to turn the chapter on such a significant part of her life? “I truly feel the same as I felt when I first graduated! The same energy, drive and ambition to take on the new world we live in today, and to once again leave my mark.” - Words by Zahra Husain
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Studentalk Alumni Then & Now From the very first time we met them as students, to seeing them today succeed in their personal endeavors, we knew that these achievers would be able to carve out a niche for themselves. While they may belong to different academic disciplines what unites them is their sheer determination to go after their dreams with everything they have.
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Then & Now Fahad Al Musallam: Revving Up the Adrenaline
The man who wins next season is the man who is preparing now The passion that Fahad Al Musallam exudes as he talks about his love for riding feels almost contagious. At 23, Fahad is already a veteran of the ATV race scene. His story kick-started when his father bought a sixyear old Fahad his first ATV. In 2014 and several years of riding later, he found himself at his first race. Since then, strewn with uninterrupted success, his career has experienced exponential growth. Needless to say, this success attracted attention both from within Kuwait and beyond. In September 2016, he received a call from the Kuwait Motocross Club with a coveted invite to compete at the FIM Cross Country Rally World Cup in April ’17, just six months later. Not one to turn down an opportunity to race, Fahad accepted the challenge, and started practicing on the Rally built Yamaha Raptor 700R. As his new Raptor became an extension of him, he began to win every race he entered, including the Emirates Desert Championship. And soon after, the FIM Baja World Cup came to Dubai for the first time ever and he won that as well, with a substantial 18-minute lead. And then, the imminent FIM Cross Country Rally World Cup. The race he had been preparing for since last September. Bolstered by his recent successes, he was ready to take home the cup. Fresh out of the race field this April, Fahad unfolds the behind-the-scenes, excitement lighting up his eyes. 18 riders. Five days.
2,000 kilometers. 1 winner. As he speaks, it becomes clear that it was his iron-clad determination and will that paved the path to the triumph, battling all the odds and disadvantages that came with being a first-timer at the Cross Country Rally World Cup. For all his love for sports, this young racer is also aware of the risks of his career choice. He says, “I love it, but you must always have something to fall back on. You never know what the future brings”. So now he looks forward to getting back to his alma mater, AUK, after having taken a year off. “This time, I will take my academics slow so I can balance sports and university. I cannot keep sports aside; it just feels wrong to me to not be racing”. Practicing is a round-the-clock affair for Fahad. In fact, he states, “The man who wins next season is the man who is preparing now. Race day manifests who prepared best and most”. Though he has not received any formal coaching, Fahad considers Mohammed Jaffar from Kuwait and Mohammed Bloushi from the UAE as his role models. Fahad’s penultimate dream has always been to live the life of a pro- ATV athlete, representing his country across the globe. Having established himself as a formidable fixture at every race, he has been living that dream for the past year. But the race to the top is not over for Fahad, and with his drive, the world is yet to see the best of him.
Then & Now Fajer Al Owaish: Stepping Stones
Make sure you work hard at university. Studying well takes you further than you realize Maneuvering through a throng of business ideas and initiatives, Fajer Al Owaish boldly explores new ventures. Since the age of eighteen, she has set off in an entrepreneurial direction propelling herself forward to a breakthrough. This hue of the “I can do it” attitude is part of what brought Fajer to Studentalk’s attention when we first featured her back in 2013. Much has happened since then, and she has been hard at work, bringing new ideas to life. Recently, her latest venture, The Elite Concept took form and has begun rendering its event management services available to customers. She definitely has her plate full, but there is no end to this young woman’s drive. Be it Boutique’na, Let’s Help Kuwait or even The Elite Concept, these initiatives have taught Fajer the need to learn and adapt. Fajer believes that learning from one’s own mistakes plays a big role in success. “There are trends in Kuwait that are beyond the reports of social media or blogs. It is only through experiment and experience that anyone can truly understand the people, the region – the customer base.” Her inspiration springs forth foremost from her parents who have encouraged and supported her every step of the way. She says, “My family is a business-oriented one. My mother offers her opinions and suggestions and is a guiding light for me. I see what my dad does for us every day, and I look up to him for that. They keep me going.”
Speaking of inspiration, she remembers, “I once attended a seminar which focused on youth empowerment where one of the speakers, a VIVA employee drove this message home – “It is ok to fail”. It made a huge impact on me. I was in school at the time, and realized that when I put in my best without any fear of the outcome, I scored even better. This is the principle I have since applied to my life as well. I do not fear failure.” Besides all her entrepreneurial attempts, another constant in her life since she turned seven has been ballet. She dreams of being able to dance on a stage someday. In the meantime, she teaches little kids in nursery and hopes to get a certification to teach older students. For Fajer, ballet is not just what it seems to be, though. She holds it close to her heart for more reasons than one. “It was not easy for me. Handling the discrimination I faced in class when I was just that little whilst enjoying ballet also helped me understand my own mettle, and made me a stronger person.” In conclusion, to all those who are just about to start university or have just embarked on their academic journeys, Fajer says, “Do what you want, not what your parents want. Though they mean well, you need to make sure you are ultimately doing what you love. Either way, make sure you work hard at university. Studying well takes you further than you realize.”
Then & Now Manal Adra: Strokes of Success
Once you step out of university, you have to learn to wing it
Manal Adra is no stranger to Studentalk and neither is success to her.
ten-year objectives. The foresight that she applies to her career is not just commendable but also rare.
When we met with her in September 2013 for the artist of the month feature, she was fresh out of university and pursuing her hobbies in art. Her spark was not lost on us then, and it is just as evident now as we sit with her for a tête-à-tête.
Though she works full-time, she finds the time to paint. According to her, painting makes her “feel free”. Just last year, she taught drawing and painting to a class of twenty students of mixed ages at the TIES Centre, a nonprofit organization.
Five years down the line from our last conversation, Manal is now is the PR & Marketing Manager at The Palms Hotel and Spa, Kuwait. And it is not luck or chance that has got her where she is. Her journey since university continues to showcase her passion and diligence.
She makes all this possible by being organized and grounded. “It is important to know what your priorities are”, she says. “When I had just graduated, there was so much that I felt I wanted to do. Soon enough, I recognized the need to zero in on what I really wanted, and that’s when I started working as a Graphic Designer at Jumeirah Hotel, whilst painting as and when I could.”
To Manal, PR and Marketing go hand-in-hand with her first love, arts. Communicating, to her, is an art; brochures, flyers and other marketing efforts are all expressions of that art. According to Manal, “Marketing itself has become such a visual affair, shifting away from the pivotal focus on just sales and stats”. This ability to see the role of art around her revives her fascination even while she is at work. Every new person she meets from a different culture unfolds a fresh story and piques her interest. “I am a brand ambassador for the hotel. So I need to be at my best at all times, to ensure that those I interact with have the best experience,” she says. “Meticulous planning and organization play a big role in my life”. And no wonder at that. She does not leave home without her planners and calendars, and constantly aligns her plans with realistic goals to accommodate her five-year and
“Once you step out of university, you have to learn to wing it; to live it. You have to fail on your own and pick yourself up a few times to be able to make it.” She believes that her experience as a designer working for a Marketing Manager helped her understand the nuances of her job to a depth that would otherwise have been inaccessible to her. Today, as a manager herself, she uses that experience and knowledge to her benefit. She dreams of being in a role that enables her to use her skills to benefit others, travelling and exploring new horizons. Her planning, organization, strength of resolve and hard work are the keys that open the door to her dreams. And we at Studentalk wish her the very best!
Then & Now Muhammed Al Ali: Behind the Scenes
I have come a long way, but in the big picture, I've taken but one step along a path that takes a thousand more to master
Film-making happened to Muhammed Al Ali when he was just 13 years old. Amazed by what he saw in a behind-the-scenes rendition of a film, he realized that even a simple shot took a team of people and a whole lot of equipment to create. “Pure magic”, he says. That realization spurred him on toward the career path that he is on now. When Studentalk spoke with Muhammed in February 2011, he had just begun his career at Cinemagics. Six years later, he has come a long way. Lessons have not been scant along this path, and he learnt them the hard way. One such lesson was how critical a story is to a film. He explains, “If a director walks away, you can pick another. If an actor walks away, you can pick another. However, if the story-writer leaves and takes his story with him, there is no film anymore”. Muhammed is focused on his dream of being one more name to add to the elite club of recognized Kuwaiti Directors, of whom there are only three in the region. “I am more than half-way there”, he says. “I have already established myself in the social media advertising arena. But what cinches it for me, is having been able to create advertisements that are aired on TV. Despite being in the digital age, the sense that clients are willing to trust me with the time and financial investment that goes into TV time is very exhilarating”.
Things are not easy for young directors in the region, due to the cut-throat nature of the film and media industry. When he decided to take on film-making as his career, he was initially hired as an assistant. During the shooting of an advertisement for Zain, he would be asked to carry coffee and snacks for the crew. Muhammed smiles and says, “This was another beginning. I would sneak looks at the Director’s screen and get to chat with the actors as well. I got really close to the action, and had access to insights that I did not have before”. Muhammed’s motto is to keep at it despite the roughest waves of challenges and obstacles that come at him. And this serves as his advice to youth who might want to go down the same path as he did. He also believes it is not possible to know everything. Having worked at Cinemagics and freelanced for a while, Muhammed is at the threshold of his own production house. Targeting bigger companies who are more receptive to the concept of a middle-man in their advertising chain, he believes “it is important to have a production house to ensure the best quality, and that is what I provide”. “I have come a long way, but in the big picture, I’ve taken but one step along a path that takes a thousand more to master”, he says.
Testimonials Aseel F Turkait – Director, PR, GUST
“It was a pleasure working with Studentalk magazine. Their team has continuously supported our events and student endeavors over the years. The magazine opened doors for student expression and allowed us to see different sides of them. We look forward to seeing what you have in store for your next chapter, good luck!”
Amer El-Assaad – Director, PR & Marketing, AUK
“Studentalk has been one of our media partners since AUK opened its doors in 2004. It witnessed our journey and growth, and has always been a supportive partner. We in return have also witnessed Studentalk’s growth, and continuous creative development with regards to their features, stories, and design layout. Studentalk has been an outlet for Kuwait’s students with its youthful and contemporary approach, an honest reflection of the educational community, and a resort to everyone seeking information, entertainment, and valuable opinions, as well as being a model to follow in professional reporting and presentation. As it concludes its journey, we would like to celebrate its graduation, and wish it continued success in its next endeavor.”
Sonia Jammoul – Sr. PR & Marketing Officer, BHCK
“On behalf of Box Hill College, I would like to thank Ms. Zeina and the Studentalk team for their support over the last 10 years. We greatly appreciate the relationship shared between the college and the Studentalk team. The magazine staff has been extremely professional, helpful, friendly and a sheer pleasure to deal with. The magazine has over the years given a voice to our students, helping them express their opinions and letting their voices be heard. We wish PH7 all the very best in their future endeavors.”
Testimonials Nathalie Matta – President, Marketing Club, AUK
“ I still can’t believe my contributions to Studentalk are coming to an end! I really enjoyed every single article I’ve written and appreciated the opportunity to write on topics I have always been passionate about. Every time I contributed to the magazine I would be equally excited about the copy hitting the stands. It was also an interesting experience interviewing students and collecting answers for the polls and opinions section, as it made me interact with a greater number of students at the university. Thank you Studentalk for the opportunity!”
Abdullah Azmouz – Head of PR, Talent Club, GUST
“As part of the Talent Club, I have coordinated with Studentalk for our events and seminars, and I feel they have an amazing way of connecting with students and opening them to endless possibilities. I love the fact that they share students’ opinions on current events and happenings in our society. Studentalk provides a great platform for students to showcase their talents which is also what Talent Club is all about. I loved working with the Studentalk team!”
Iman Al-Tahhan – Student, Kuwait University
“Working with Studentalk magazine has indeed added to my work ethics and experience as an interviewer and writer. In the little time that I worked with them, I developed both mentally and professionally. The experience has led me to be more confident when it comes to seeking answers. I owe pretty much everything of this experience to their Editor Miss Zahra. She taught me a myriad of techniques and methods to write questions and to be more professional when it comes to interviewing people. I am saddened by the news that the magazine is closing its doors, however I look forward to more opportunities of working with the PH7 team.” 30
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Testimonials Rabaa Al Hajeri – Editor (2007 – 2010)
“The editor’s letter in Studentalk has always been my favorite, it held amazing advice from someone who wrote with passion and is driven by a mission to give a voice to Kuwait’s youth. I too was on a mission to find a place where I can learn and experience real work and PH7 became that platform for me when I joined them in 2007. Having the opportunity to spend four years with Zeina, learning the ins and outs of the publishing industry, has helped me make my way to a career I am proud of today.”
Ahmad Ramzy – Sales & Marketing Manager (2008 - 2010)
“Studentalk was not just a job, it was my passion. My career in Kuwait started with Studentalk, and the consequent two years were nothing short of a roller coaster ride. Studentalk has a cool quotient to it that few other magazines have and working on the 100th issue was a huge landmark for me. When I started I was informed that this magazine is Zeina’s baby and therefore I had to give it better than my best. I hope I gave the publication the kind of dedication it deserved. Love you Zeina!”
Rana Kafaraani - Operations Manager (2010 - 2015)
“Working with Studentalk was one of the best experiences of my career. It was like the school of life. I got a chance to learn, grow, meet wonderful people who later became close friends. It opened doors for me, and exposed me to new ideas and challenges. Studentalk was the stepping stone of my career. For five great years I got to be a part of a wonderful team, and help produce an amazing magazine that is a pioneer in its field. The time I got to spend with the PH7 family is a pleasure and a privilege that I will be forever grateful for.“
Testimonials Mary Ann D’Silva, Corporate Marketing, (2002 – Present)
“I started working at PH7 with Studentalk. Day by day, I saw both the magazine and PH7 grow into an entity far bigger and more diversified than I could have ever dreamed my own career to be. Never a dull day, what can I say… Studentalk is indeed my child who I am now sending off to its graduation; looking back at all the hard work we put into it, both with a sense of pride and melancholy. ”
Nidal Al Shaker, Senior Graphic Designer (2011 – Present)
“Working with Studentalk for the last five years has been an enriching experience. From ensuring that everything is delivered on time to maintaining the standards that the magazine adheres to, it has been a journey that has put me in constant competition with myself. And the knowledge that Studentalk serves as an essential link between students and the society, where they can express their opinions, showcase their talents and get their achievements highlighted only adds to the responsibility that I shoulder. As the Graphic Designer, I have constantly persevered to make the content look fun and engaging. It has been a pleasure to see so many inspiring stories find a home between our pages.”
Zahra Husain, Editor (2016 – Present)
“My work with Studentalk has given me an opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people, who have inspiring stories to tell. From scouting for stories to meeting deadlines, Studentalk has been a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Seeing the kind of exposure this magazine has given its readers over the last 17 years, I hold great pride in playing a part in its journey, in its endeavor to give the youth a voice.”
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Be the Change You Want to See! Sheikha Intisar, the Ambassador of Positivity
Sheikha Intisar with her Trademark Smile that has Conquered Many a Hearts...
The biggest difference between those who complain and those who achieve results is the fact that the latter, instead of just talking about the problems do something about it. And Sheikha Intisar Al Sabah in one such person. It all started when a couple of years ago, Sheikha Intisar stumbled upon a video about everything that is wrong in Kuwait. Although saddened by the picture painted by the author, she was also motivated to do something about it. Determined to create a more positive outlook, in a country that is often ridden with pessimism, she started Alnowair.
“I have always been a very positive person, although I didn’t realize that until much later in life. To me it was just a way of life. As a person, I am quite accepting of circumstances. If you believe that the universe, or God and whatever higher power one believes in, is doing what they are doing out of love, then harboring contempt becomes difficult,” said Sheikha, while talking about her philosophy in life. In 2013, she started Alnowair, a non-profit organization with the objective of creating awareness about positivity in the country. The name Alnowair is derived from the five different species of flowers that grow across Kuwait. Each flower although different in shape and size, is still yellow in color. The name recognizes the fact that what makes us similar is that we are all unique. That no matter how different our lives, the one thing that unites us all is our need for a positive, more fulfilling life. “It is easy to talk about positivity, but even when sometimes people want to change, they don’t necessarily know how. And that’s where Alnowair comes in. All the campaigns that we organize are fun and informative, and educate people on how small changes can make a big difference,” says Sheikha talking about Alnowair’s many campaigns, most popular amongst them being their annual Yellow Parade, organized to spread awareness about driving kind and a string of yellow benches sprinkled around the city, giving people a chance to just sit back and relax.
However, what distinguishes Alnowair from any other movement is that instead of being just a host of feel good campaigns, everything they organize is backed by research and study. Every suggestion they make is based on scientific facts, giving people a real chance at changing positively. “When I started out with Alnowair, I knew what I wanted to achieve, but the road to getting there wasn’t very clear. What began as an idea to market positivity, has now become a living breathing entity, fueled by people’s need and want to live in a more positive environment,” reminisces Sheikha on how it all began. In a society where there is no shortage of lectures and seminars on any given subject, Alnowair knew that if they needed to reach their audience, they would need to do something different. “I think knowing that we needed to target the youth was a good place to start from. The younger generation is more receptive to change, and affecting them, would sooner or later cause a ripple effect across the population. Yes, the progress is slow, but more importantly it is steady.” In response, Alnowair started Bareeq, a project through which they take the subject of positivity to schools across Kuwait. Through trainings, activities and interactions, the movement is enabling teachers to mold those most impressionable into citizens who will grow up to be happier, kinder and better versions of themselves.
The Alnowair Team at the Annual Yellow Parade
Other than activations and yellow benches, the TWL+ conference is yet another effort to reach out to students at university level, educators, corporates and everyone in between. A first of its kind, the aim of this conference is to provide people with tools that can help them create a more positive environment, be it in their businesses, homes or life in general. The seminars have so far seen international speakers like Dr. Adam Fraser and Daren Hill among others, who inspired people through their words, stories and research. “Alnowair was supposed to be a five to seven-year project, but today, just over three years into it, we realize that this is only the beginning,” says Sheikha when we ask her on how far she thinks Alnowair has come. The fact that calling someone negative has now become an insult is in itself a success story of how Alnowair has ingrained positivity in the psyche of people in Kuwait. Where once people would take pride in being realistic and not having their heads in the cloud, everyone now wants to aspire to lead a happier and emotionally fulfilling life.
What started out as a movement to help people overcome pessimism and fight depression, has today evolved into a movement that markets a better way of life. Using social media, marketing, advertising and all that is available to reach audiences in today’s day and age, Alnowair, wants to make a difference where it matters most, in the everyday lives of normal people. “I have always believed that once you set off on a path, the direction will unfold itself. And that is precisely what has happened with Alnowair. When we started, it was all about - what do we do next? Today it’s all about, what holds the most priority?” quips Sheikha with the smile of someone who finds contentment in what she does. In her opinion, it is impossible to work on something and not let it affect your life, and when the work is to spread positivity, it pays back for itself manifolds. Talking to Sheikha Intisar, who is also lovingly called Nowaira, it is clear that taking action is an essential step in realizing your dreams. It is this crucial step that turns a dreamer into a realist and a very positive one in this case!
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Man on the Mountain The Story of how Zed Al Refai Conquered Mount Everest
Zed Holding the Torch for the 2012 London Olympics Relay Event
If there is one word to define Zed, or Zeddy as they lovingly call him, it would be humble. For a man who has conquered Mount Everest, talking to him is easy. He is full of knowledge and worldly experience and yet grounded, like a tree with strong roots.
Zed Climbing Up the North Col of the Everest
This month we spoke to Zeddy about the importance of discipline in the field of mountaineering in particular and life in general and here’s what he had to say. “I didn’t just wake up one day and decide that I want to climb the Everest. I think it was a general progression of things. I started out with nature walks, moved on to treks and then eventually graduated to mountaineering,” said Zeddy on how the mountain bug bit him. “Between wanting to conquer the Everest and actually doing it, is the journey of a man who had this stubborn determination to reach the pinnacle in what he considers his passion. “It took me seven years and two failed expeditions to get to the top. I decided I want to climb the Everest in the mid-90s, I finally came to accomplishing that goal in 2003. Between these two points, there was a lot of hard work, training and believing that I had to go through,” explains Zeddy, when talking about his journey to the top of this looming feat of nature. By 2007, he had conquered the coveted seven summits around the globe. The first time he was on the Everest expedition, they had to turn around because of unfriendly climatic conditions, the second time, he almost lost his life. But ‘third time lucky’ is what got him through in the end. “Climbing the Everest isn’t about how high you have reached at any
certain point in time. It’s quite literally putting one foot in front of the other. Never in all those moments did I look for an excuse to turn around. If I did, it was because I didn’t have another option. I think that is also as true of life as it is of mountaineering, success is all about taking one more step. Going a little bit further than you did the last time.” Sitting comfortably with his legs crossed on his couch, holding a cushion, Zeddy talks with ease about his experiences, the people he has met and the connections he has made. “When you remove all the other things in life - culture, nationality and economic background, you will notice that people are pretty much the same everywhere. And when you are on an expedition, nature in its own way equalizes everyone. There you are just a human being trying to accomplish your goal. And you are sharing that goal with your companions. It is a very unifying experience,” he explains on how his passion has helped him overcome judgement. How he no longer differentiates between people based on their caste or creed. While I am sitting with him, there is a foray of kids running in and out. His daughters, nieces and nephews, preparing for their weekly swim. And the affection with which they look at him or approach him, is proof of the fact the while he may be a man of the world, his heart lies firmly at home.
Zed at Machu Picchu in Peru
Zed with his Daughters at Arosa in the Swiss Alps
“I am thinking of taking my six and ten year old daugters to Machu Picchu next year. You know, the girls and me, we can make a trip out of it,” Zeddy says. For people familiar with Machu Picchu, will know that it isn’t an easy trek, but he wants to start them early on this experience of being one with nature. He has lived in USA, Europe and Kuwait and has traveled far and wide, be it to climb mountains or just for the simple joy of traveling. “I don’t even tell people that I have climbed the Everest, it was a big deal when I did it but I don’t think that’s the case anymore. I did it not for the fame or recognition, but simply because I wanted to. Nowadays I see people going to huge lengths just to add something to their portfolio, to be more relevant. Somehow I can’t identify with that,” says Zeddy talking about how the world is so quickly changing. “There was no Facebook or Instagram back then to put an Everest Selfie on, I did it for my own growth and that was that,” he adds. He doesn’t think climbing the Everest made him special in any way, or that one has to be special to accomplish this Himalayan task. “Anyone can do it, all it takes is discipline and determination, and research and reading, and time and training.” He smiles. “I think the fact that I came from a hot and flat country like Kuwait, wanting to climb this steep, cold mountain was in itself a wonder. As far as I am concerned, I feel like if I came from anywhere else in the world I would not be able to do this. But the topography of our country, made me more determined to champion the unforgiving Himalayas.” Every mountain range requires a different kind of training, you have to be lean and agile while climbing in tropical
countries because of the heat and humidity, while having to bulk up and be really strong when it comes to the snowcapped ranges. Before every expedition, Zeddy trains for six months and in some cases a year in advance. “Climbing a mountain takes a lot out of you. Nature is very demanding. And a lot of times it isn’t so much your body as it is your mind that needs to be strong. Training and reading are very important,” advices Zeddy to all those who may aspire to conquer one peak or another. Having conquered a peak that many can only dream of, we ask Zeddy if there is anything he still wants to do, something that he finds impossible. “Oh yes!” he quips enthusiastically, “I would love to swim across the English Channel. I can outrun a lot of younger, fitter, stronger people on a mountain, but swimming to me is rather challenging.” Behind everything that Zed has accomplished lay two main reasons, the first one being his love affair with the mountains and the second one being his father. “I don’t think I would have been able to climb the Everest if I wasn’t my father’s son. He is a very hard man to please, and I thought climbing the Everest would do the trick. I don’t think he understood what I had accomplished, but in the effort to make him happy, I became a humble, more accepting and better version of myself. So in the end it all paid off I would say.” To the world he is the first Arab to have climbed the Everest, to his friends he is the teller of interesting tales and to his family, a doting father, but Zed to us is the man who even the Everest was not able to defeat…
To be a Part of Zed’s Amazing Journey Around the Globe Follow him on Instagram @zeddy66
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A MALL -
Revolutionizing Learning Meet the Duo Behind UULA.io In the words of Chandler from F.R.I.E.N.D.S, Sayer and Hamad couldnâ€™t â€˜beâ€™ any more different! And yet the two Sayer brothers are the combined brains behind UULA.io, an online study-aid and test prep platform that is transforming the way students prepare for their exams. Created with the intention to make students more independent when it comes to studying, helping free up hours of their time and bundles of their parents money spent on private tutoring, with an app that makes studying interactive and test results analytical.
while everything is moving forward, why should the way we learn remain traditional? - Sayer Al Sayer
“The requirements of the modern work force are changing, and we believe that education needs to keep up with these changes. Artificial Intelligence, which seemed like a far-fetched possibility a few decades ago, is on the brink of a crucial break through. So while everything is moving forward, why should the way we learn remain traditional?” asks Sayer, in his opening argument on why education should be taken online. “On an average parents end up spending around 1500 KWD in private tutoring in addition to the school fees. There is a whole market out there that thrives on the public school systems’ incapacity to make sure that students get their concepts right. In a market like that, creating tools that allow students to access study-aids at reasonable costs, is not only a business requirement, but an ethical one as well,” adds Hamad, while reasoning the need for a platform like UULA.io With dual degrees in Civil Engineering and Engineering Management from the University of the Pacific in California, Sayer was still on the lookout for an idea that answered to his creative side as much as it did to his business acumen. “I knew I wasn’t meant for medical on the very first day of school, engineering while educative failed to capture my imagination, then came a host of business ideas. It wasn’t until UULA came into my life, that I derived a true sense of achievement. It was like a EUREKA moment, like I had finally stumbled upon my one great idea!” So one fine evening, while Hamad sat as his computer, creating codes, Sayer, rushed to him brimming with his idea. “I had a whole plan, on what I was going to do, a timeline so to say, but the moment I heard what he had to say, it was like nothing else mattered. This was it!” said Hamad on how UULA.io changed his life.
The moment I heard the idea behind UULA.io, I knew no other plan mattered. This was it - Hamad Al Sayer
Endless hours of planning, countless all-nighters, and three years of administrative papers later, a beta version of UULA.io was finally launched in November last year. The platform has so far received a decent response with its visits peaking just before and during exam times. Created for high school and university students, this study aid and test-prep platform currently offers lessons in English, Mathematics, Chemistry and Arabic. Students can check-out up to 30% of the content freeof-cost and if the methodology fits them, they can then subscribe to a membership program. “The website has been broken down into easy segments where students can approach each lesson scientifically. It is created in a way that while they are in a particular lesson the relevant content pops up, be it videos, concept notes or tests. After taking a test they can see where they need to work more, what concepts are weak, where they are strong. It’s all done through analytics, so it can point out in minute detail where the problem lies,” said Hamad, explaining the efficiency of UULA.io as a study tool. UULA.io is a platform that believes that the best way to educate a child is to arm him/her with the tools that not only makes them independent, but also sparks their curiosity. It relies on making academic concepts approachable. An open platform where all the lessons are designed with the guidance of educators from across the board, not only does it help students, it also equips the parents to follow-up on their child’s progress without being too intrusive. Creating a platform that serves students, parents and educators, is an integral part of creating a study-aid tool that is finally taking learning to the next level!
Riding on the Wave of Fitness LITTLERIDERS CAMP
Founded in 2012, the Littleriders Camp was created to encourage youth in Kuwait to be active, discover their strengths and encourage the pursuit of athletics. Trained by coaches from the Kuwait National team, the camp is all about providing these young minds with different activities that challenges their endurance as well as their minds. While the main focus of the camp is on wake boarding, participants can also explore surfing, swimming, core workouts and trampolines. The five-day camp is designed to provide participants with maximum attention from the trainers, which means that each batch does not have more than four to six members. Scheduled especially during school holidays, the Littleriders Camp is in tune with the needs and wants of the younger generation. Each camp although focusing on health and fitness, is created keeping in mind that the sessions should be fun for the participants. They believe that values instilled in children by indulging
them in activities they find enjoyable is the best way to get through to them. Instilling the idea that health and fitness should not be treated as chores, but as lifestyle options, they want to start by conditioning the younger generation to this approach to life. Hoping that when they grow into adults, physical fitness will be as much a part of their life, as going to restaurants or watching a movie is today. Meant for kids who are active and interested, the Littleriders Camp is a training program and not a baby-sitting option. Sponsored by Al Boom Marine company, with top of the line gear and professional coaches, the camp is all about children discovering their passion for sports. Available to kids aged between 9-14 years and organized at the Kheran Resort, interested parents can sign their kids up for the camp by getting in touch with the organizers on their Instagram @littleriders_kw or call them on 99669230/99838483
HOTLINE : 90
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A Life Defined by Passion In conversation with Mishari Mufareh
Mishari Mufareh Takes a Moment to Talk About his Passion for Communication
To say that Mishari Murfareh is a master of his trait would be an understatement. He has a degree in MIS from Kuwait University, an MBA from the prestigious Maastrich University in Holland, a trained NLP trainer and a professional hypnotherapist. However, what defines this charismatic young leader is his passion for communication. One of the founding members and currently a mentor at The Proteges Kuwait, Mishari hopes to pass on his knowledge and expertise on to the next generation. This month, in an intimate conversation over a cup of coffee, we talk to him about his passion.
Mishari Mufareh Takes the Stage at The Proteges Graduation Ceremony
Can you tell us a little bit about what you do? Everything that I do professionally or otherwise is aimed at one single outcome â€“ helping people communicate better. To serve this end, I run a human resource management company called Mawaarid.
circle. However, I was aware that I was limiting myself. Then a friend suggested I take an NLP training available at the university. I think that was the turning point. I loved the training and I loved myself more after the training.
Being a certified NLP trainer, I concentrate on soft skill training, especially in the area of personality development, presentation skills, negotiation techniques and public speaking to name a few.
I then went to the United States to gain further training and eventually became a certified trainer. While I always knew I was passionate about it, I didnâ€™t think I could build a professional career around it. So I used all these skills in my financial career.
When did you realize that communication is what you are passionate about? Back when I was still an undergrad student, I was an introvert. I had a circle of friends and I kept within that
After the global market crash in 2009, I decided to go back to school and then consequently started my own firm through which I share my communication skills and knowledge. The rest as they say is history!
Mentors from The Proteges Program
Giving back to the community is an experience that cannot be put into words. One has to try it to know the kind of knowledge, change, gratitude and humility it can add to your life.
How did you get involved with The Proteges? I had done an interview on Al Rai TV, which was an hour long talk on communication skills, dealing with people etc. Following which Shamlan Al Bahar called me to discuss a project he had been thinking of. Both of us shared a genuine concern about how the youth of today, an online generation, is lacking severely when it comes to communicating with people one-to-one. That is basically when the idea began to take shape. We invited others we thought were leaders in their field and after many conversations and sharing of insights, we decided to start The Proteges. What exactly is it that you do at The Proteges? As a mentor, I train students who enrol into the program for soft skills training. Everything from presentation skills to how to communicate effectively and what behavioral traits are required to be successful in a professional environment. The idea behind The Proteges is to equip students with tools that can help them reach their full potential. While they gain a lot of academic training from schools and universities, there isnâ€™t enough focus on effective communication.
On the face of it, it seems like I put in a lot of time and effort into this project but the truth is that it is something that I also draw a lot of energy from. Giving back to the community is an experience that cannot be put into words. One has to try it to know the kind of knowledge, change, gratitude and humility it can add to your life. What do you think is the greatest challenge the youth today is facing? Respect! They lack respect for those older, more experienced than them, for their peers and for those younger to them. When they see people who should be their role models behave unnaturally on social media, they start to think of them as equals. As far as peers are concerned, it is more about competition, rather than collaboration and knowledge sharing. I think the most important value of life that we need to instill in them is the capacity to respect everyone around them. Todayâ€™s world is full of judgement on where you are from or what car you drive and this is an evil that we need to fight, and fight now.
They are constantly connected through social media on their electronic screens, but lack the ability to express their ideas in person. And that is basically where I come in.
Another challenge is the lack of self-esteem, which is intimately connected to self-confidence. A lack of this is what leads to failed careers and wasted lives. Youth today need to start by accepting themselves for who they are and then extend this acceptance to the world around them.
What is it about The Proteges that makes you so passionate about the project? I think working with the youth, doing something that is driven by passion and not by financial interests and being an active part in the process of changing someoneâ€™s life for the better, all contribute to why I love working with The Proteges.
How does The Proteges program help these young minds overcome these challenges? Like I mentioned earlier, that while educational institutions are excellent at providing technical knowledge, selfdevelopment is not their primary focus. And that is exactly what we concentrate on at The Proteges.
Mishari Shares his Insights with Participants in the Program
We want to provide the youth with an environment that encourages them to push themselves. These young students are in a phase of their life where their personality is not completely formed. The Proteges provides them with a support system, that not only arms them with technical knowledge on business, finance or arts, but also guides them on becoming a better version of themselves.
“thank you”, from someone who did well on their interview or someone who has made an important selfdiscovery. I have saved all these messages; they make me believe in my work. Help me push further and work harder, and motivate me to keep doing what I am doing. Being a part of someone else’s journey in such an intimate way is a compliment in itself.
How do you select students for The Proteges program? We are not looking for straight ‘A’ students, or high achievers. We are looking for people who we think will make a social impact. Students who have an awareness of some sort and are open to gaining knowledge and experience.
What is the future for The Proteges program? We want to create generation after generation of leaders, mentors and communicators. We want to equip the younger generation to garner their abilities to further themselves as well as help others.
We don’t have time to ask students if they are ready to learn. The participants we pick are like a sponge, they want to absorb everything we have to offer.
The idea is to create a new generation of mentors through The Proteges program. Even though I am involved with the program now, I may not always be there. I would love to see younger mentors take my place, I pass on my knowledge to them and in turn they do the same for the next generation. Ideally it would be like a snow ball effect where the program would feed itself.
What is the best compliment you have ever received? There isn’t any one that I can pick. Every now and then, I receive these messages at the end of the day saying
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Together We Can Make a Difference LOYAC
Ninnar Doing What She Likes Best - Working with the Youth
Founded in 2002, in the aftermath of the Twin Tower attack in USA, LOYAC was the regionâ€™s peaceful answer to the turmoil engulfing the world. Established by a group of Kuwaiti women, with the belief that we can create a better world, if only we are able to introduce our youth to a culture of peace, prosperity and togetherness. We at Studentalk caught up with Ninnar Al Qames, the Community Service Programs Manager at LOYAC Kuwait, to understand why LOYAC believes that instilling a culture of team work and giving is important to create a better world.
Ninnar in a Rare Moment of Stillness at the LOYAC Office in Kuwait
“I worked in corporates for some time and realized that it wasn’t meant for me. It just didn’t match with my value system. So one fine day, I quit my job and started traveling. But like all good things in life, that too eventually had to come to an end and that’s when I met Fareah. She offered me this opportunity at LOYAC and I just went with the flow,” said Ninnar, talking about how she came to be at LOYAC in the first place. Over the last three years, Ninnar has grown to take on more responsibility at LOYAC Kuwait. When she started out she was only responsible for the international programs, but that role has now expanded to include local programs and campaigns as well. LOYAC provides training to youth between the ages of five to 30 years. Their programs are divided into three main categories - Community Service, Professional Development and Personal Development. While the
Italy Trip Organized by LOYAC
Community Service programs introduce youth to the concept of community service and the importance of working together, the personal development training helps them find a sense of purpose by extending themselves to others. The professional development programs are meant to give them those tools and trainings that will help them navigate their professional life successfully. The common thread that runs through almost all programs is that LOYAC encourages all their participants to work together towards a common goal, be it personal, professional or for the greater good of the society. “I think it’s important to instill the idea that we are not in competition with each other. What the youth learn in these formative years will become a large part of who they will become as adults,” said Ninnar on why she thinks group projects are important even for personal growth.
LOYAC Volunteers in Kenya as Part of the K4K Project
“Commitment to a project, to your team mates and discipline are things that these youngsters need to get on board with, if we want to create a world with more responsible citizens,” she adds. And to this end LOYAC organizes local social initiatives and international volunteer trips among other things. The organization relies on the partnership they have formed with corporates, communities and the government to provide the youth with the kind of opportunities that would otherwise have escaped them. Being the oldest youth organization in the country, LOYAC also boasts of a strong, successful alumni community – Omar Al Othman and the people behind PICK YO being just two from the celebrated list of LOYAC alumni. “This year we complete 15 years. And although I have only been here for three of those, I can see how much LOYAC affects the society every day. Working here is so much easier for me because I identify with their values,” a statement few of us can make about our work places. LOYAC is also the first step in to the professional world for a lot of university students. LOYAC provides internship opportunities both national and international to participating students. “It’s important to know what to expect when you enter your professional life and internships are a window to that,” said Ninnar on why
she thinks it is important for students to explore their options before committing to a certain job. Over the last decade and half, LOYAC has worked tirelessly with academic and non-academic partners to empower youth through unique opportunities to evolve into highly effective humane citizens. And if you meet the people they work with, like Ninnar, they are all attuned to this mission. You can see that from the way they carry on with their work, or even in how they talk about it and how much value they think it adds to their life. “The evolution of a child from when he starts coming here to when he leaves. The difficult children and the easy ones, they all try to find common grounds to work on. Sometimes they succeed and sometimes they take longer to get there, but the fact that we are all trying together to create a better generation counts for a lot. When you see a child who suffers from anxiety transforming into this budding youngsters, you know you have done something right. And that’s the feeling that carries me through the day,” said Ninnar of her work with LOYAC, its challenges and its rewards. LOYAC is truly working together with everyone else in the country to enlighten youth for peace and prosperity.
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On the Road to Humility Fahad AlShammary Tells Us All About Volunteer Tourism
Fahad AlShammary at the LOYAC Office in Kuwait
With volunteer tourism becoming the latest trend that everyone wants to get on board with, we at Studentalk were curious to know what it is about this kind of travel that is attracting more and more people to it. This month we speak to Fahad AlShammary, who first went to LOYACâ€™s K4K, Kenya trip in the summer of 2016. Having returned recently from another volunteer trip in Jordan, he bares all on why he thinks this is a more fulfilling way travel around the world.
Volunteers Working for School Rehabilitation in Jordan
The Volunteer Team Visits Petra at the End of the Volunteer Trip
“I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jordan. I was a little apprehensive because I had traveled to Jordan before and the experience wasn’t the best, to say the least,” says Fahad, talking about his feelings at the start of the trip.
supplies for the day, and they would just give us tea. They didn’t even charge us for it. Of all the things I love Jordan for, I think the best among them is their generosity with tea!”
“After some initial hiccups and delays, we did finally reach the hotel and I think that’s where things really started to unravel. After settling down in the hotel room, we went down for orientation and to meet the rest of the team. It was a mix of people from Kuwait, Lebanon and Jordan as well. As you can imagine with a group that diverse, you really don’t know what to expect, and so you tend stick to the people you came with.”
During the seven-day trip, five days are dedicated to renovation of a local public school, rebuilding of a football field and other related tasks. The idea for LOYAC is to enable people to extend help in places where it is needed the most. “We would reach the work site by 9am and would continue to work until 5pm. Post which we would come back to the hotel, rest and then maybe socialize with each other,” says Fahad while talking about how they spent their days.
Given that LOYAC has over the years organized numerous such trips, they understand the importance of having ice breakers, where members can finally get over the initial hesitation and start to communicate. And that is exactly what happened, over a friendly game of Mafia the walls started to break. “Oh man! Mafia was so much fun. I will never forget it, I guess the format of the game compels you to speak to others without being intimidated,” says Fahad, who is obviously in love with the game.
Although volunteering is a rewarding experience, it isn’t always easy. There were times when the going would get tough and Fahad would find himself wavering. “It was hard work; it wasn’t a touristy thing. After working sometimes your body gets sour, the sun is beating down on you all day. I would come back to the hotel and sometimes wonder why I was doing all this. Why I just wasn’t on a normal vacation. But then I would remind myself, as to why I was here and it would be okay.”
However, there is yet another thing Fahad is truly, deeply, madly in love with – that thing being tea. “They just gave us tea, we would go to small restaurants and cafes to get
“Giving money is very easy. There isn’t actual physical discomfort in it. But going there, putting in your time and effort, that’s very different. Very immersive,” adds Fahad.
The LOYAC Team in Jordan with Participants from Kuwait, Lebanon & Jordan
After completing five days of work, the group then proceeded to two days of sight-seeing. “We visited Petra and Wadi Rum, and man, they are beautiful. Sitting there in Wadi Rum, in the night, with no electricity, just the stars, these strangers you have spent five days with and tea… I think that’s what it boils down to, an image that makes you smile every time you think of it,” says Fahad, with a smile lingering around his lips. Having spoken to Fahad at length about his trip we finally come to the most important question, “So why do you do this, why do you prefer traveling for volunteering rather than just going on vacations like the rest of us?” “I have tried both you know. The vacation thing, and volunteering abroad and I find that the later helps me grow. My family and friends they don’t always agree with me, but the truth is, you will never really know until you try it. When a child looks at you and thanks you for helping him rebuild his school, it moves something deep inside you. In Kuwait we come from a culture of abundance, we have everything we need. It isn’t the most difficult life. But when you visit these countries, Kenya for example and learn that the amount you spent on your shoes is what would see a family in Kenya through an entire month, sometimes even less, it breaks you down. When you are on these trips, you do what the locals do and eat what they eat and stay in simple places. Sometimes it’s comfortable and sometimes it’s not. I remember in Kenya, they would give us this sticky rice pudding kind of thing, that I hated. But to the locals there, they are sharing with you the best of what they have. So you eat it, firstly not to offend them and secondly because, as a human being you are finally
growing into someone who sees the meaning behind simple gestures. Sharing space with other volunteers for the duration of the trip, that’s another life altering experience. In Jordan, even though most of us were Arabs, it was not easy. I am a Khaleeji, and they are from Levant, we may be located close geographically but we are worlds apart. This is how I thought before I went. But when you work with people, you live with them, you travel with them, you come to realize that we are all the same. We all share the same insecurities that keep us from accepting one another. I thought Jordanians were rude and angry people, because that’s the general stereotype, but they are not. They are funny, kind and generous. And amazing tea sharers! I have never been an emotional guy. Even though I am a nurse, I think all these years I was just doing my job. But after these volunteer trips, I feel like I have finally learned compassion. I don’t just feel bad for my patients any more, I can actually empathize with them. And above and beyond everything, these trips they teach you humility. To be humble, to see that we may look different but we are all the same. I was judgmental, like we are all about different cultures and nationalities, but now I can sit down and share a cup of tea with anyone. Knowing that sharing is easy if you have a lot, but when people are willing to share things with you they don’t have much of, it makes you feel small. You ignore the price of things and learn their value. LOYAC has played a big part in helping me grow into a better person, to extend this opportunity to me, to be able to see and experience things differently. The first time I went on a volunteer trip, I just did it because I wanted to try something new. Now I go for these trips knowing that there will always be something new to try!”
Rekindling Kuwait's Tradition of Entrepreneurship Startup Kuwait
Dr. Redha Behbehani Addresses Faculty, Students and Attendees at the Startup Kuwait Event
Startup Kuwait is an initiative that works in the best interests of Kuwait’s economy and also of its greatest hope in this direction – the entrepreneurial youth in the region. With its roots well established in February 2016, Startup Kuwait has, subsequently, grown its network of students, faculty as well as companies. Aligning itself with the vision of the Emir of Kuwait, His Highness Sabah Al-Ahmad AlJaber Al-Sabah, Startup Kuwait aims to boost Kuwait’s economy by providing a platform in support of building an entrepreneurial ecosystem that enhances the role of private sector in economic diversification and responsibility incumbent on all including the private sector, shifting a few degrees away from oil and the government.
Dr. Redha Behbehani & Dr. Muna Husain with the Judges Panel for the Competition Held in January 2017
Dr. Muna Husain, Assistant Vice-President for Planning Institutional Development, and Professor of Economics at Kuwait University says, “In many other economies, small and medium-sized enterprises contribute to about 50% of the GDP whereas in Kuwait, it is just 3%. Our aim is to bring more balance to this formula”. Startup Kuwait is built on three pillars: the first focuses on students in universities and youth who may have graduated from these universities, and aims to provide them with the tools and skill sets required to direct them toward taking the responsibility of economic contribution via the private sector. The second encourages faculty to research proof of concept that could result in commercialization, which in turn could lead to a greater number of job opportunities in Kuwait and major contribution to the economy. The third and final pillar focuses on the industry’s needs and its alliance with academia so that gaps can be bridged. Set up by Global Center through the leadership of Kuwait University, Startup Kuwait’s story began with five universities and a student base that constituted fifty-five
percent of the total college student population in Kuwait. Fast forward to one year later and it is now a consortium of eight universities and reaches a staggering 95% of this population. No mean feat. Dr. Redha Behbehani, Director of the Global Center (College of Business Administration - Kuwait University), says, “I believe our accelerated pace can be attributed to the people working with Startup Kuwait be it domestically or internationally, Kuwaitis or nonKuwaitis”. Indeed, collaboration is a quintessential focus at Startup Kuwait, which ensures that it has many voices speaking the same message so it echoes amongst the youth and catalyzes change. Startup Kuwait strives to provide an unbiased platform for students to present their ideas and then to support those who have the most convincing proof of concept. Leaders (local and international) with management experience of ten to thirty years from across the private sector are invited to judge students’ ideas and to guide them along the path of entrepreneurship.
Startup Kuwait Key Team Members Along with Students
Thanks to its exponential growth and continued diligence, Startup Kuwait has earned international acclaim. “We submitted Startup Kuwait to the Global Entrepreneurship Summit 2016, and during the preliminary sessions of its 6th Annual Summit, June 2016, at Silicon Valley, President Obama spoke about entrepreneurship, women in business and emerging markets. He specified the names of three countries of which Kuwait was one. We believe that our efforts have been recognized,” says Dr. Redha Behbehani. And even post this, the momentum has proven to be beyond Kuwait’s borders. All this does not come easy. With a structure that does not neatly fit into the definition of an academic initiative, Startup Kuwait does not have the luxury of a constant stream of funds from its partners. This is a pressure point especially when it comes to rolling out the students’ winning concepts. However, the scene is constantly changing and there is an increasing and encouraging buy-in now. Dr. Redha Behbehani reiterates the young organization’s objective, “Our aim is to ensure the health of our country’s economy. We are happy to see that there are others that are contributing to this end as well, and are constantly seeking ways to fortify this initiative through partnerships that are symbiotic and that have
the potential to be more beneficial than either entity on its own”. Today’s youth are at a critical vantage point. Ahead of them is the country’s need for them to take the reins of economic responsibility, to some degree, and hard work underlined with passion is the key. As Dr. Redha Behbehani puts it, “It is only with sweat and tears that you can get to where you want to be.” It is necessary for the youth to be realistic and organized in order to not cave into setbacks early on in their endeavors. And with a bulwark like Startup Kuwait supporting them, today’s university students are poised to touch skies of success. Dr. Redha thanked the judges who gave their time and effort to recognizing the finalists as well as the winners. Any conversation about Startup Kuwait would be incomplete without the mention of its key partners in the consortium and their leadership starting with Kuwait University, Arab Open University, Public Authority for Applied Education & Training, Gulf University for Technology & Science, Box Hill College Kuwait, American University of Kuwait, Australian College of Kuwait, and Kuwait College for Science and concluding with Startup Kuwait’s motto “the World is Your Pearl … Ride the Wave”
Startup Kuwait’s Third National Competition is scheduled for May 16 and 21, 2017.
To The Pioneers, The Bold, The Unrestrainedâ€Ś The world is your pearlâ€Ś ride the wave.
National Innovation & Entrepreneurship Challenge 16th & 21st of May, 2017
The Global Center Kuwait University - College of Business Administration Tel: +965 2498 8476 | Mob: +965 9499 9054 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
We Asked, you Answered... What character virtues do students think need most improvement amongst the people around them? On a quest to identify character traits that today’s youth consider quintessential and yet rare, we surveyed students from across universities in Kuwait, to see how they felt. Based on the VIA survey is classified into 24 character strengths grouped in six broad virtue buckets – wisdom, courage, humanity, justice, temperance and transcendence. Each category is then further broken down into simpler, more relevant qualities, which are: Wisdom & Knowledge includes Creativity, Curiosity, Judgement, Love of Learning, Perspective Courage includes Bravery, Perseverance, Honesty, Zest Humanity includes Love, Kindness, Social Intelligence Justice includes Teamwork, Fairness, Leadership Temperance includes Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, Self-Regulation Transcendence includes Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, Spirituality
Our survey was conducted in an informal environment, and was kept short and concise to ensure maximum engagement from respondents. Asking a multiple-choice question which allowed students to select three qualities they thought people needed to work on most, also accommodated the students’ subjective views on why each virtue they picked was important to them.
To Read More Visit www.studentalk-online.com 68
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# of students who chose this option
How many students selected each virtue as most important for people to improve upon?
Character Virtue A majority of students who participated in the survey indicated that they consider wisdom, open-mindedness and social skills highly correlated. While these are traits that can be easily associated with humanity, the consensus is that wisdom appears to be that it is a prerequisite for humanity and vice-versa. Further and more interesting insights were generated by the reasons our respondents gave for their choice of response. Indicating a clear prioritization, there is a shift from traditional definitions of success, moving away from merely professional or personal success as defined by academic excellence, career achievements etc. Adopting an inclusive and decentralized view, students expressed that it is most important for people to be more socially intelligent, respectful of others. A deeper look renders the motives of over 72% of all responses socially driven.
To Read More Visit www.studentalk-online.com 70
Nathalie Matta AUK Marketing/Accounting @Nat.matta
Ghazi Tarkhan AUK Computer Engineering @GhaziTark
Rami Aboulhosn AUK Computer Engineering @_its.ram
Farah Hilal AUK Media & Comm. @farah_hilal
Jumana Khalil AUK Graphic Design @jumanakhalil4
Joseph Nasr AUK Marketing @joenasr
Razan AUK Undeclared
Zeinab Al-Obaid GUST English Education @Zanoobaalo
Qasim GUST Finance @Qzk_75
Asma Alfailakawi GUST English Education
Mohammed Al Arbash GUST Finance @m_arbash
To Read More Visit www.studentalk-online.com 72
Fahad Al Musallam AUK Media & Comm.
Abdullah Azmouz GUST International Business @aaasmouz
Nawal GUST Marketing @nawalhz_
Ibrahem Kubba GUST Marketing @Ibrahem_ku
Rashed GUST Accounting
Sheref GUST Media
M.J.Ghadanfar GUST Marketing
Musaeed GUST Finance
Fatimah Sabah GUST Public Relations @fsabaah
Yousef Al Adwani ACK Business Management @Kuwaitisoldier
Shams Ahmed Alattar ACK Business Adminstration @S.alattar_
Himanshu ACK Electronic & Comm. Engineering
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Ahmed Ibrahim GUST International Business @Aceibrahim15
Dima Kheir AUK Accounts / Finance @Dima_khair
Tarek GUST Public Relations
Farah AUM Chemical Engineering
Rana Amin AUK English Literature
Rawan Abdelkarim AUK Marketing @rawanak
Mariya Alqaisi ACK Mechanical Engineering
Athoob Alroumi AUK Finance @3athoob
Diala Hamdan AUK Accounting / Marketing @DiloHamdan
Khaled Altaheri GUST Marketing @Khalid_altahiri_12
Abdulaziz Alenezi AUM Accounting @a_alenezi501
Hessa Alnasrallah ACK Civil Engineering @h.nasrallah
Yousef AlKandari AUM MIS @I_yk27
To Read More Visit www.studentalk-online.com 76
NBK Al Shabab Prepaid Card Because Variety is the Spice of Life!
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Startup Kuwait: Rekindling Kuwait’s Tradition of Entrepreneurship
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Celebrate Graduation with the Perfect Gift of Brilliance
As you reach the conclusion of your student life, a glorious new chapter begins. A truly shining moment, this is the instant when the graduate steps into the real world as an adult for the very first time. Ideally commemorating this joyous occasion with its sparkle and shine are Swarovskiâ€™s glittering range of jewellery and watches that not only make for the excellent graduation gifts for those starting
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Integrity Challenge: How Honest Are You? Are you really as honest as you think? Or are you more honest than you think? Take our honesty challenge to determine how you rate on the honesty scale... Score yourself based on the answer you select for each question and then add all the points to get your final score. This score will tell you exactly where you are on the honesty spectrum.
Question 1 Avoiding to pay the fare on public transport is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 6 Not reporting accidental damage to a parked car is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 2 Cheating on your test if you have a chance is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 7 Throwing away litter in a public place is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 3 Driving faster than the speed limit is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 8 Texting while driving is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 4 Keeping money you found on the street is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 9 Lying on your resume is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 5 Lying in your own interest is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Question 10 Buying something you know is stolen is... Never justified = 1 Rarely justified = 2 Sometimes justified = 3 Always justified = 4
Answer Key: Very honest â‰¤ 10 You put honesty first. Honest 11-15 You donâ€™t mind bending the rules, but are more honest than average. Relaxed 16-20 You are relaxed about breaking rules. Rebel > 21 You donâ€™t believe in living by the rules.
Quiz Courtesy www.telegraph.co.uk
Book Review The Flavia de Luce Series People read for different reasons, not least of all to escape reality and feel better when we are stressed. Whenever I feel blue, I like to pick up a Flavia De Luce Mystery. Yes I know, reading about murder shouldn’t be this uplifting, but somehow Flavia always makes me smile. The backstories behind the aspects and actions of many of the characters is merely hinted at, the author gracefully avoids them from being too-obvious clichés. One would think that all of this emotional baggage would make the tone of the book more somber, but the author does a good job of balancing this with Flavia’s antics, musings, and deductive skills all set to the backdrop of the quaint English countryside. We learn to love and care for Flavia more than for the mystery presented in each installment, even though the mysteries are equally well constructed. Her family history is revealed to us in bits and pieces, much like the murder mystery that serves as the center of each book.
Set in 1950’s rural England, Alan Bradley gives us a 11 year old mad-scientist motherless girl as the protagonist. Flavia is precocious, endearing, and feisty. She also has moments where she breaks your heart, she is an orphan living in a rambling estate with her preoccupied father and sisters who blame her for their mothers’ death. Her solitude and lonesomeness gets to the reader and makes us love her more. There is so much to glean from this series besides the murder mystery in each installment. We slowly get to know Flavia and her relationship with her family. Without saying it in so many words, we get to experience what it is like for a child to feel abandoned by her deceased mother and overlooked by her still-grieving father. That Flavia’s obsession with poison and the chemical processes of human death is a result of her own family history speaks volumes about how her mother’s death soon after Flavia was born affected her. The peripheral characters are also nuanced and reflect interesting psyches, there is Dodger the handyman who has never been the same after returning from the war.
Author Alan Bradley
Flavia goes through a lot, but has the resilience of youth, and this always reminds me to persevere regardless of what one is going through. I am not one for self-help books or books about being happy, but there is more than one way to lift spirits and so much that you can take away from a novel even if it is a murder mystery. These novels have become like a cup of warm cocoa after a long cold day for me. There are a total of nine books in the series so far, and I am leisurely reading one every few months to prolong the pleasure of diving into a new Flavia book. I am saving them for times when I need a pick-me-up or a reminder to keep my inner-child inquisitive, determined, and adventurous during life’s many trials and tribulations. -Words by Zahraa Ali
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Low Flo Rida feat. T-Pain
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Not Your Horoscope
Taurus: Apr 21 - May 20
Aries Mar 21 - Apr 20 Any irritation you feel this week may be due to an oncoming illness, or possibly disease. Install that software, make it a priority! (Don’t blame us if your computer starts dissolving). That alien thing is none of your business. Your lucky horse for today is: Sombrero’s Lid.
They have a saying in Texas: “Kill a man and he’s dead. Teach a man to fight and he can kill...stuff” Tomorrow, when you consider how it could have been, today is going to seem pretty damned swell. It probably seems unreal right now, but you are likely to meet a long-lost relative over the coming month or so.
Gemini: May 21 — June 21
Cancer: June 22 - July 22
When you have that recurring nightmare about yourself, in you know...that situation...don’t worry about it! If you don’t wear glasses now, chances are that you’re going to need to after an upcoming television show binge.
You won’t be hospitalized today, but things may not go as planned. Half of what we say is meaningless...the other half is pure gold, purer than any snow that ever fell. Purer than the white cover on that classic Beatles’ album. Body odor may haunt your chances with a certain member of the opposite gender.
Leo: July 23 - Aug 22 The incredible temperature will affect today in ways that we simply cannot foresee. I believe it will be the kind of temperature that requires the movement of clothing. What we are saying is that it will be hot or cold. Or possibly somewhere in between. Today is not your lucky day. It’s tomorrow instead!
All Men All men are confused about what women want!
Virgo: Aug 23 - Sept 23 Everything you feel about yourself will be confirmed today as you’re put through the mill and emerge victorious. The capital of you is your heart never forget that. If you are at all paranoid about webcams being placed around your room, your best bet is to hire a small specially trained monkey from your local gadget shop.
All Women All women are wondering why the men just can’t get it right!
Libra: Sept 24 - Oct 23 After a car crash you will see a light at the end of a tunnel. Do not be vexed, this only means the car is facing the other way. Don’t be embarrassed by your actions today, embrace your flamboyant side. Always make time to shop for car insurance. It will make your day more fulfilling.
Pisces: Feb 20 - Mar 20
Scorpio: Oct 23 - Nov 22 Money makes the world go round only in a metaphorical sense. Now that you understand this, try not to embarrass yourself in front of others by declaring your financial records. Any film you watch over the coming weekend will stay with you forever. Please ensure the film is not Tomb Raider.
Aquarius: Jan 21 - Feb 19 Sagittarius: Nov 23 - Dec 21 Try not to get the wrong end of the stick today, especially the pointy end. Hilarity may ensue this week if you decide to hire a clown on Thursday night. You will get an important phone call today, but you won’t be able to find a pen to write down the message. You’re incredible!
Capricorn: Dec 22 - Jan 20 The word “Terry” will be important today for reasons that are as perplexing to us as they will be to you. In fact, we estimate that 99.13% of all your confusion today will be caused by the very idea that “Terry” will be important, today. Good fortune is raining down on everyone but yourself.
Compact Discs are very shiny, but using them to attract seagulls in order to bludgeon them to death with your shoe is neither good manners nor entirely legal. Express yourself, do a backflip, try to do the splits. Dance and the world will be yours.
You’re single. So what are you doing reading this when you could be out there having fun? Go let your hair down. Paris Hilton will “pop round” today for a chat and a biscuit, either in spirit or in person. At this point, it is recommended that you setup webcams all over your house so that you can publish all incidents to a website and earn billions of dollars.
Horoscope Courtesy: www.laughsend.com
The Other Side
Coffee Drinker Par Excellence Zeina Mokaddam, Managing Director, PH7 Publications & Events
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One Advice to the World: “Man was made to evolve, not accept, but evolution is a long process that starts with self-awareness and develops into an understanding of our connectedness and how our actions can impact the greater good.”
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