SHAIKHA DR. RASHA AL-SABAH
REBEL WITH A CAUSE WOMEN'S RIGHTS WITH
KAWTHER AL JOUAN
EDWARD GNEHM, FORMER US AMBASSADOR TO KUWAIT
LAILA AL-HAMAD MODERNIZING GULF CULTURE
SHAIKHA DR. SUAD AL-SABAH
C O N T E N T S
A PUBLICATION OF THE KUWAITI KILMA MEDIA & ADVERTISING CO.
08 FAMILY FOOTSTEPS Shaima N. Al-Mulla on entrepreneurial equality
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How one US organisation is helping commercial advancement
14 CULTURAL REVELATIONS Laila Al-Hamad's mission to promote Gulf heritage
18 BEST FOOT FORWARD A look at improving vascular health for diabetics
C O N T R I B U T O R S CHARLOTTE SHALGOSKY
AISHA Y. SALEM
22 BREAKING BOUNDARIES Education pioneer Shaikha Dr. Rasha Al-Sabah reflects on her life
36 BRIDGE BUILDER A candid conversation with regional expert HE Edward Gnehm
44 TURTLE RESCUE Kuwait’s unique turtles under threat
54 NATIONAL TREASURE An intimate portrait of Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah, Kuwait's literary icon
64 REBEL WITH A CAUSE
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Fighting for Women's Rights by Kawther Al Jouan
74 FOLKLORIC FESTIVAL Kuwait's most exquisite private antiquities collection
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Since June 2015 The Correspondent is a publication produced wholly independently by The Kilma Media and Advertising Company and has no affiliation whatsoever with any prior publications under the same name.
W E LC O M E As publisher and Editor-in-Chief of The Correspondent it brings me great pleasure to dedicate this issue to the remarkable people who have made exceptional contributions to our nation.
private thoughts on politics, economics, life and literature, and who graciously gave us a rare glimpse of her artistic talent.
All of our interviewees have raised the profile of Kuwait in important fields, both here and abroad, from Arabic literature to diplomacy, higher education and Women’s Rights.
We speak exclusively to highlyacclaimed figures such as Edward “Skip” Gnehm, former US Ambassador to Kuwait, HE Shaikha Dr. Rasha AlSabah and veteran Attorney, Kawther Al Jouan, among others.
Our cover story salutes the eminent writer and poet, Shaikha Dr. Suad AlSabah who candidly reveals her most
In our efforts to serve the local business community we have featured a special section on entrepreneurship to give a
voice to some very talented people who are pursuing projects and initiatives that support the private sector. We need more like them in order to broaden our economic and commercial horizons. Lastly I cannot close without paying tribute to the late Tareq Sayed Rajab who passed away in June 2016. The Tareq Rajab museums are featured in this issue. Rajab's lifelong dedication to the promotion of Islamic and global culture, not forgetting his commitment to education, has left us all with a priceless legacy. May his soul rest in peace. Abdulaziz M. Al-Anjeri EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
EMBASSY OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA Mr. Douglas A. Silliman
Kuwait City, Kuwait - Spring 2016
Dear Readers : This issue of The Correspondent magazine is, as usual, full of interesting topics. I would like to share the US Embassy’s interest in two articles that are of particular relevance. One of the highlights of my assignment to this country has been the opportunity to reexamine and rekindle the bonds of friendship that led to the liberation of Kuwait 25 years ago. This issue features an exclusive interview with the first American envoy to Kuwait after the liberation, former US Ambassador, Edward “Skip” Gnehm. I was thrilled to see him return two times this year to help us commemorate this important anniversary. Currently Mr. Gnehm is Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs at The Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University (GW). As part of this year’s historic commemorations, the Embassy brought together members of the US military – including Gulf War veterans – and the Ministry of Education to host soldiers at several schools who spoke to Kuwaiti students about the liberation, helping younger Kuwaitis discover this important part of their past. The Embassy also supported the publication, “The Liberation of Kuwait: Honoring the Veterans of Desert Storm,” a commemorative book and accompanying documentary to be distributed to all American and Kuwaiti veterans. This issue also runs a piece on entrepreneurship by Mr. Hamada Zahawi of the US Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP). I am pleased to see activity in this area increasing here. In the spring I spoke at two separate events focused on this topic, plus, we are involved in the 2016 Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley with our Kuwaiti friends. Discussions on entrepreneurship are gaining greater importance as Kuwait strives to transform its economy from dependence on hydrocarbons to one with greater diversity, resilience and potential for private sector growth. Increasing the number of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will, as the article points out, have positive effects on Kuwait’s overall economy. American businesses are ready to assist them in taking off. My team at the Embassy and I look forward to continuing to support activities that will benefit our two countries. As always, I welcome your thoughts and ideas directly to me, my Embassy staff, or through our platforms on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. Sincerely,
Douglas A. Silliman Ambassador
FAMILY FOOTSTEPS Shaima N. Al-Mulla is part of a commercial dynasty. Her portfolio of companies is varied and yet her latest venture–a publishing house—seems to have a very different modus operandi. Here she rebuffs any suggestion that men hold the upper hand in business and reveals what made her the woman she is today.
TCM: What are the qualities that you feel make a successful business woman? SAM: I do believe being a woman does not hold me back from doing business, nor from being a successful entrepreneur, nor from being a creative person. The inherent qualities or traits found in a business women are the same qualities found in a successful business man or indeed, any successful entrepreneur. In terms of business, the differences between men and women are fictitious; they do not exist. Today men and women have overcome these differences, whether in business, or any other domain where money, interest and mutual benefits are the main drive. Generally speaking the most essential qualities for success for anyone are self-confidence and the ability to make sound decisions, based on in-depth business knowledge, and taking into account those variables that may change or influence outcomes. TCM: Where do small and medium enterprises stand in Kuwait?
SAM: We have around 350,000 small and medium sized enterprises here, many are home-based. Small and medium enterprises lack awareness of their importance. Compare the situation in Kuwait to a country like Germany, which has a colossal and diversified economy. They have industries such as aviation, automotive industries and military ordinance, in addition to food industries, the manufacturing industry and especially consumer products – these are all very important segments that I see needing to grow and develop here, especially with the rise of social media. I hope this can happen without too much official interference. TCM: You have a real estate, legal and management portfolio, what made you set up your publishing venture, SNM Publishing? SAM: The modern world is advancing fast, it takes time to reach and knock at a new door, and when we do, we find the world has already moved on. I established a publishing venture to
keep pace with the world; we need to spread global understanding and universal values. Though of course we regard this business as a revenuegenerating venture and we want it to be successful, this is not my only target, publishing actually reflects my passion for culture—which I believe is very important. TCM: What challenges face women in Kuwait wanting to run successful business? SAM: They are the same challenges facing business men! I believe that the community has overcome these challenges. In the Gulf today it’s very common to see a successful business women leading successful business ventures. Saying that, I should add that, when dealing with Kuwait’s business sector, all of us have to put up with mundane routines, red tape, and lengthy processes and sometimes, the lack of integrity of some officials.
My father belongs to the generation who helped build modern Kuwait... This is the person who taught me ....that fidelity and loyalty are the greatest things in life Shaima N. Al-Mulla
TCM: What piece of wisdom would you like to impart to young women entrepreneurs who are facing challenges in their projects? SAM: I recommend self-belief, patience, persistence, inspiration, assertiveness and perseverance. Itâ€™s also good to learn lessons from our experiences, most of all its good to enlarge and expand our knowledge of other women who happen to be in the same business field as ourselves. TCM: Who are your greatest influencers in the business world? SAM: In truth, I was mostly influenced by my familyâ€™s long and historical involvement in business and commerce, which is a source of great pride. It is an honor to have had key members of my family namely, Al-Mulla Saleh Al-Mulla and Abdullah Saleh Al-Mulla, playing a direct role in the founding of modern Kuwait through their work with the royal family. They have left their mark on the region for all to see. It is they who also influenced my love of history and my passion for reading.
Shaima with her father, Mr. Nabeel Al-Mulla
REVIVING KUWAIT’S ENTREPRENEURIAL SPIRIT HAMADA ZAHAWI Hamada Dara Zahawi is an International Attorney-Advisor with the Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) in the Office of the General Counsel of the US Department of Commerce.
In the 60s, as a newly-independent state, Kuwait promulgated laws to allow businesses to flourish. It was an era of optimism, stability and progressive thinking.
He primarily works on legal reform and economic development across the Arabian Peninsula, Afghanistan and Iraq. Fluent in Arabic, English and conversant in Spanish, he graduated summa cum laude from UCLA before earning an MPhil from the UK’s prestigious Cambridge University and a JD at UC Berkeley.
While in the last decade neighboring states evolved, modernized and economies diversified, many say overreliance on oil and bureaucratic red tape has stunted Kuwait’s commercial dynamism and resulted in stagnation.
He is co-founder of the Berkeley Journal of Middle Eastern and Islamic Law (JMEIL) and was on the Editorial Board of the California Law Review. Prior to working with CLDP he was in private law practice.
The US government’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) is working with Kuwait’s main stakeholders to restore commercial confidence and bring about legal and attitudinal changes that will allow a new era of entrepreneurs to kick-start all-important growth in the private sector.
The US government’s Department of Commerce’s Commercial Law Development Program (CLDP) recognizes that one of the ways diversification can happen is through the development of the private sector. For many decades Kuwait’s private sector has been dominated by a number of traditional, well-established merchant families. As commercial interests have, very successfully modernized, these trading houses have evolved by adopting franchising models; they are now moving into other areas including construction and the food and beverage industry. However this means small, independent start-up enterprises may not feel they can survive against these century-old commercial juggernauts—which may not always support new, and possibly more innovative, fledgling entrepreneurs.
With over 80% of Kuwait’s workforce engaged in some capacity with the public sector, the move towards innovation and entrepreneurship is being stifled. This hampers the ability to diversify the economy in ways that can otherwise benefit the country’s citizens in the long-term. To this end, we at the US Department of Commerce, want to help support Kuwait’s efforts in developing the private sector. Kuwait is not alone, many governments within the GCC and the Arab world are now seeking ways to diversify their economies following the Arab revolts of 2011 and the more recent decline of oil prices. While the public sector in Kuwait offers comfortable and secure jobs, young people need to be given better options to get involved in the private sector and develop small and medium enterprises (SMEs). By doing this, the society has job creators and not just job seekers. Entrepreneurs are able to listen and respond to the needs of the people, whether it is in the fields of medical technology, IT, hospitality, manufacturing, or offering innovation within the automotive industry. In
the United States, Silicon Valley in California is one good example of how an entrepreneurial community can respond to the needs of the society. Industries that we may not have thought were needed ten years ago are not just being created, but becoming increasingly vital in today’s world. That is how innovation in America and elsewhere in the world has been evolving. That old adage ‘necessity is the mother of all invention’ is never more true today, but in fiscally comfortable nations with multibillion dollar sovereign wealth funds, the perception is that there is no such immediate ‘necessity’. Today the mobility and accessibility of technology encourages young people to seek out new horizons, and we are seeing a lot of Kuwaiti students interested in entrepreneurship. However, after studying and traveling abroad, talented Kuwaitis who come back with top degrees from some of the best universities should be at the forefront of driving change. Sadly, in reality, many of those top graduates have little opportunity to challenge themselves or forge positive change in their society. They end up returning to the same kind of
CLDP work takes Zahawi (2nd left) across the entire Middle East jobs that they could have had if they had not attained higher education aboard. Hopefully, in the future, this can change, especially as the third generation of merchant families look to the incredible success of the UAE and see how calling for change in the private sector can be beneficial. To grow and encourage the private sector within Kuwait, conditions need to be conducive. CLDP is trying to help Kuwait from the bottom up, and top down. This means helping improve the laws and regulations so there is an updated legal framework that assists both growth and the promotion of SMEs and entrepreneurial thinking. Kuwait’s commercial laws were created in its trading heyday over fifty years ago. Though they may have been seen as groundbreaking at that time, the commercial world is entirely different today. Outdated legal frameworks and impractical processes bound by seemingly endless red-tape have held back progress. Today stakes are infinitely higher, there are more people involved. Laws that are loosely worded or too general, thus allowing for loopholes, must be tightened, implementing
updated regulation is vital. CLDP is advocating methodology that we have seen applied to great success in the region and internationally, as well as proffering advice on ‘best practices’. For example, a delegation of Kuwaitis with CLDP visited Singapore in 2015, its past economic nascence and socio-political landscape is not that dissimilar to Kuwait. The aim was to look at, and possibly adapt their model for promoting business enterprises. Indeed, some of the solutions we offer may originate from countries such as Singapore. The tiny Kingdom of Bahrain is another example, it doesn’t have oil wealth so the nation has been obliged to forge private sector growth and create mechanisms to attract foreign investment, including a number of trade agreements, such as those with the US. Once regarded as a leader in the Middle East in education and political reform, today Kuwait is idling commercially, seemingly unable to move with the times. Its stagnation may be due to shifting mindsets after the 1990-1991 Gulf War, which brought about a degree of paralysis, especially when compared to the historic progress made in Kuwait’s
we need to have an airtight legal structure so resourceful people are not forced to find, and exploit loopholes. Working for legal reform past and the recent developments seen among Kuwait’s neighbors today. This is epitomized in Kuwait’s outdated international airport; whereas other GCC gateways boast brand new airport complexes, Kuwait’s facilities are outmoded. Ironically, Kuwait has invested in airports around the world that are now state-of-the-art, highlighting how capital has left the country for more secure investments elsewhere, rather than being invested domestically. Another possible obstacle facing Kuwait is the democratically-oriented parliamentarian system. Some might argue that this system tacitly inhibits parliament from being innovative; pushing for change is avoided for fear of being held accountable if the idea fails. As such, Kuwait is up against numerous factors that dampen the dynamism of its marginalized private sector. It is therefore hard for the average Kuwaiti, especially the youth, to take the plunge to create a start-up or SME. This is exactly why we are encouraging what are termed ‘incubators’ and ‘accelerators’. This is also why we work with stakeholders from a holistic perspective; from government officials to students,
lawyers to judges, in order to expand the country’s entrepreneurial horizons and private sector, through exchanges with prevailing institutions, industry leaders, and entrepreneurial counterparts in the US and internationally. Indeed, it is our aim is to create two dialogues: one within the government and private sector; and the other within civil society. The latter is where we look at ‘active citizenship’ and how institutions can be held accountable from the bottom-up. We want to do whatever it takes to restore Kuwait’s commercial confidence on the world stage and create a more business-friendly environment. To do this, we need to have an airtight legal structure so resourceful people are not forced to find, and exploit loopholes. We need to improve efficiency by encouraging processes to go online, something that is prevalent in UAE and Bahrain.
businesses; a way to equitably increase wealth within the country. Money should not only be invested abroad and put towards increasing the sovereign wealth fund but also invested internally, and with more transparency and accountability. By so doing, Kuwait’s ranking on global business indices such as the ‘World Bank Doing Business Rankings’ will improve, more people will invest and Kuwait will be seen as a serious economic contender for investment in the region. I am optimistic that if we can open dialogs and develop a comprehensive and modern legal framework, we can chip away at the institutionalized obstacles, galvanize the will of the youth, and target the right people who, in turn, can create a new diversified Kuwait. If we can do this we will see a renaissance that will bring the country back to its rightful place in the region and the world.
Kuwaiti youth and SMEs will only be able to succeed when business leaders – who have historically held massive commercial and legislative sway in Kuwait – can look at the new competition as opportunities to further develop their own
CULTURAL REVELATIONS Inspired by her home countryâ€™s artistic traditions, Laila Al-Hamad founded the award-winning Zeri Crafts to showcase Gulf culture in a new and modern light. Here she explains the trials and tribulations of her wonderfully unique, cross-cultural business. As a child growing up in Kuwait, our geographic compass always pointed either North towards Europe or West towards the United States. Besides the historic maritime links between Kuwait and India little attention was given to the East. About 14 years ago, I had the good fortune of living in Asia for a couple of years. In 2002, I started working in the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Republic of Laos, a small landlocked country that sits gently along the Mekong River, bordering Vietnam and Northeast Thailand. This new move would change my life. Six weeks in Laos led to a couple of years in neighboring Thailand, and with it the opportunity to discover the rest of Southeast Asia. Laos is a dreamy place lost in time, with heavenly green rice fields and little wooden houses built on stilts. Much of its rural population still relies on agriculture and it is rich in cultural traditions dating back centuries. For ten or more years I had been working in international development at the World Bank, during this time I
had always been interested in local crafts; for me they were a window onto a culture. Asia retains much of its handcrafted traditions; it was the age-old skills of Laotian silk weaving that really captivated me. Perhaps because I grew up in Kuwait where the society had already lost many of its traditional artisanal skills, I was drawn to these craftspeople, whose nimble hands created objects that were both functional and beautiful; moreover objects with which they could immediately identify themselves culturally. It was this rich context that planted the seeds for my culturally-based entrepreneurial venture and which eventually led to me founding Zeri Crafts. I moved back to Kuwait in late 2008 after an absence of 20 years. My intention was to reconnect to my culture and help preserve what was left of our local craft heritage. The idea was to create a company that modernized Gulf handicrafts. I found I was able to combine both my professional background in sustainable development and my personal interest in cultural heritage. The business model was simple:
identify traditional artisans, invest in design and quality input, and create items that married traditional techniques with modern design. I imagined this to be a win-win proposition; safeguarding the crafts by creating employment for local artisans while at the same time investing in new design and beautiful products. My aim was to move crafts away from the top-down, supply-based charity model to the bottom-up, demanddriven, sustainable business model. In the words of the great architect Hassan Fathy “giving the traditional crafts prestige… finding the hidden and dying crafts and bringing them to light, reviving them, giving the craftsman back his lost confidence, and encouraging the craft to spread by giving new commissions”. My first two years back were research-intensive: on the demand side, scanning the local and regional markets to assess what traditional products were available, their price points and quality; on the supply side, traveling throughout the Gulf in search of artisans. My research revealed a gap in the market for quality crafts.
had done the most to preserve its crafts, there was a great deal of red tape in working with local artisans.
The Gulf market was filled with high-end European wares and predominantly low end, massproduced Chinese-made products. Incense burners, once made of clay, were now often electric devices made of poor porcelain and generic steel plates. There was little in the way of innovation or design. In my eyes, the need was there.
LAILA AL-HAMAD Laila Al-Hamad is a cultural entrepreneur and the founder of Zeri Crafts, a concept business inspired by Gulf heritage . The company creates pieces that reflect Gulf tradition with a contemporary look and feel. Prior to founding the company in 2010, she worked in economic and social development at the World Bank and in several non-governmental organizations. H er interests lie in sustainable development, and in promoting cultural heritage as a means of attaining a more meaningful development path. She holds a master’s degree from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies.
On the supply side, my findings were more complex. Throughout the Gulf, there no longer was a viable community of artisans in the form of markets, guilds, workshops. Most artisans were of a certain age, and were more frequently found in exhibition halls than practising their crafts. In the case of women, many were accustomed to homebased work and—for cultural and other reasons–were reluctant to work outside their homes. There was little demand from the new generation to learn the crafts and most craftsmen had in any case given up teaching. Others practised their craft as a hobby, in addition to their full time job. The main finding however, was that, with few exceptions, the crafts industry has been decimated by the rise of the public sector and the lure of higher paying administrative jobs. In Oman, the one country that
With these mixed findings and a few unsuccessful pilot projects involving local artisans, I re-aligned my business model from one that would revive Gulf crafts, to one that would draw inspiration from Gulf crafts. Thus was born Zeri Crafts in 2010. The company seeks to cast a renewed light on the richness of Gulf handicrafts and heritage. As for the name, the word Zeri derives from the Persian word for gold, and in the Gulf refers to the gold thread used to adorn traditional garb. Zeri thread conveys beauty, lightness, and continuity. And just as the golden thread adds distinction to the thoub (traditional robes), the company is also trying to shine a light onto our heritage. Our approach underscores a simple understated aesthetic, functionality, and the use of natural materials. Most of our products are handmade by expert craftsmen. The company’s first collaboration was with artisans in Laos, namely the renowned American weaver Carol Cassidy, whose works hang in the Textile Museum of Washington DC and the showrooms of Louis Vuitton. The collaboration entailed hand weaving complex designs inspired by Sadu, traditional Arab weaving. Sadu is a form of weaving that prevailed throughout the Gulf as well as in Syria and Jordan. Although Sadu is virtually extinct, its motifs have pervaded the visual landscape of the Arabian Gulf and become intimately linked to our visual cultural identity. For us, adaptation has become the vehicle for preserving tradition.
Design is a main element in what we do at Zeri Crafts. Without design there is no product, and each one of our products is professionally designed. Nedda El-Asmar, who has worked for HermĂ¨s and (Parisian silversmith) Puiforcat, has been charged with designing all three of our incense burners and our new mashrabiya tableâ€”reinventing the traditional wooden fretwork or plaster-molded screens that delightfully decorated homes and mosques for centuries, allowing light and shadow to fall through intricate cut-out shapes. This investment has paid off well; our burners are gifted to Heads of State and are a favorite corporate gift among local and regional companies. Our stainless steel incense burner, again modeled on centuries-old traditional burners, was exhibited at the Milano Triennale in 2013 alongside the likes of Ligne Roset, Eternum and Nilufar. Because most of our products are handmade, we are able to customize products for both corporate and retail clients. Zeri Crafts is at the beginning of the road and it is a steep one. As a small business in Kuwait, there
is no enabling environment to speak of. The banking system has no department for small businesses; the process of business registration is not only costly but mired in a complex and opaque bureaucratic web. Small businesses cannot compete with either the public sector or the financial sector to attract capable human resources; there is no local design school that prepares young Kuwaitis of the profile we need. Logistically speaking, shipping is unreasonably expensive, even within the GCC; rental prices are neither financially viable nor sustainable for a small business; few e-commerce platforms conform with the local currency and the set up remains a very big investment for small businesses. In a nutshell, the conditions for nurturing small businesses are absent. I personally believe that what makes an entrepreneur is curiosity, determination, hard work and passion. Growing the business is a gift. Nurturing a meaningful venture is priceless; collaborating with artisans; identifying new designers; defining a strategy and coming up with the next product; showcasing the work and most importantly telling the story.
Kuwaitâ€™s future lies in supporting small business like Zeri Crafts and moving away from the current paradigm of heavy state employment. We are blessed with a young and educated population. With the right support, a homegrown private sector can generate the kinds of jobs that are needed to take us on a more sustainable growth path. @ZERICRAFTS www.zericrafts.com
BEST FOOT FO RWAR D Dr. Jassim Al-Failakawi and Dr. Abdulaziz Al-Muzaini aim to help diabetics reduce the risks of vascular disorders, strokes and amputations at their newly-opened Diabetic Foot Care Clinic, in Kuwait. Vascular specialist Dr. Al-Muzaini explains how a simple daily foot check can save a life.
DR. ABDULAZIZ AL-MUZAINI Awarded an MSc from Imperial College, London, UK, Dr. Muzaini has worked in vascular diagnostic services for over 20 years in private and public hospitals. Shocked by the high number of preventable amputations among diabetics, together with his colleague Dr. Al-Failakawi, they have just opened Kuwaitâ€™s first Diabetic Foot Care Clinic
Diabetes now affects 382 million people worldwide and this number is expected to grow to 592 million by 2030. In Kuwait diabetes occurs in 24% of the population. While Type1 Diabetes is a non-preventable condition, Type 2 Diabetes is entirely preventable. Those with diabetes can manage the disease with medication, and changes in lifestyle, to delay or prevent complications. However, if their vascular health diminishes, diabetics run the risk of lower limb amputations. Amputations related to diabetes have now reached more than 1 million worldwide every year which means that every 20 seconds a limb is being amputated. Shockingly, most of these amputations are preventable if patients educate themselves and follow simple daily routines. Understanding Vascular Disease It is important to understand the nature of the diseases that affect arteries and veins; these are known
as vascular diseases. The most common disease is the narrowing of the arteries, this can be caused by multiple factors such as diabetes, hypertension, active and passive smoking, obesity or lack of exercise, as well as heart disease, whether it is present in the patient or in the familyâ€™s medical history. This narrowing of arteries can occur in different places: the leg, heart or in the neck, just behind the brain; all come with differing symptoms. In the case of a narrowing of an artery in the leg, termed stenosis, patients will experience an intermittent muscle cramp induced by exercise, close to the site of the narrowing. A classic symptom would be when a patient gets muscle cramps during a walk when he must stop for two or three minutes to relax and wait for the cramping to cease, after which the activity can be resumed. A narrowing of a coronary artery to the heart can manifest in a heart attack, angina, tightness and breathlessness
A simple foot check can change the life of a diabetic
more than 30% of amputations in diabetic patients are as a result of wearing improper footwear
but in the case of the neck, there are no clear symptoms. Unfortunately, if the narrowing in the arteries of the neck is above 70%, it can cause a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA), or a mini-stroke, temporarily impairing one side of the body. Although, symptoms may subside within 24 hours, it doesnâ€™t mean that the patient is cured; this is a warning bell to reduce risk factors, take steps to further control diabetes, stop smoking, exercise and lose weight. We determine blocked arteries by measuring the ankle-brachial index (ABI) which is the ratio of the blood pressure at the ankle, compared to the blood pressure in the upper arm. If needed, we follow this up with a technique called a duplex ultrasound to pinpoint exactly where the blockage is and its severity. The treatment prescribed depends on the site of the arterial narrowing. In the case of stenosis in the legs, the treatment depends on the level of activity of the patient. Angioplasty and bypass surgery are some of the different options but less active patients start with an exercise program and medication.
The Vital Role of Veins and Arteries Veins that carry waste products and carbon dioxide from the lower body to the heart are of two types, deep and superficial. For the deep veins, the most common disease is Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT) which is caused by the thickening of blood in the leg which leads it to clot. This may occur in different situations such as in the case of an injury and the limb being placed in a cast, during a long operation, or a long flight, as well as with the use of oral contraceptives and hormone treatments. We have specific tests to determine the location of the clot in order to administer proper treatment. For superficial veins, the most common disease is varicose veins. Varicose veins are abnormal, dilated blood vessels caused by a weakening in the vessel wall. The dilation hampers normal blood flow, resulting in an accumulation of the blood in the lower extremities. It is quite uncomfortable for patients as the legs becomes heavy and swollen. Varicose veins can be caused due to family history and occupational conditions that requires one to either remain standing or seated behind a desk for long periods of time as well as conditions of obesity or
Dr. Muzaini speaking on diabetic foot care chronic constipation which exert more pressure on the veins. Sitting with legs crossed and wearing high heels for a long time can also contribute to this. There are six stages of varicose veins and we are able to determine the type by doing specific tests on patients. The first stage is the simplest, it is the green and red line that becomes visible to the eye. In the second stage varicose veins become prominent and the patient may experience tingling, numbness, itchiness, and other sensations in their legs. In the third stage, an edema or swelling, may develop. At stage four we see skin discoloration. Stage five is that of a healed ulceration and the final stage is an active ulcer. We can prescribe proper management based on the detected stage. Diabetic Foot Syndrome Doctors see Diabetic Foot Syndrome as causing multiple problems. This means the condition can cause three ailments: firstly, a vascular problem in the form of an artery blockage that impedes normal blood flow to the foot. Second, it can cause disorders whereby nerves are damaged impacting sensation; thirdly, it can cause infections.
As such, no single doctor can deal with the complex nature of Diabetic Foot Syndrome; a multidisciplinary approach is required. We have assembled a team in our new center in Kuwait that includes a vascular surgeon, an orthopedic surgeon who can deal with the bones and the deformity of the foot, as well as a podiatrist who aids treatment and rehabilitation. Additional services include tailor-made insoles to go into the patientsâ€™ footwear. Thus the patientsâ€™ needs can be met under one roof. This multidisciplinary approach to diabetes makes our new Jabriya clinic unique, not just in Kuwait, but in the Middle East. Furthermore, we have the latest machines for arterial studies; we apply Laser Doppler technology to measure the micro-circulation in the small arteries of the foot. We have devices to monitor the peripheral nerves, sweat glands and hammer toes. We also have a machine that measures oxygen levels in the foot around a wound. If the levels are below 40%, the wound will not be able to heal by itself and some remedial action is needed. A Simple Way to Reduce Amputations Many are unaware that 80% of
amputations in diabetic patients can be prevented by simple treatments such as wearing the correct footwear and checking the foot daily. This can be done by the patient himself or a family member at home, or by visiting our new center regularly. A US study found that more than 30% of amputations in diabetic patients is as a result of wearing improper footwear! As a doctor, I not only examine and treat patients but I also educate them on the condition. I describe in great detail what a patient must do during his daily checks. On waking up in the morning or after returning home from work, patients should take off their socks and examine them for blood stains or deposits of any kind. If they notice anything, they should come to our foot clinic immediately. Diabetics require special socks: these should not be too tight, some even have anti-microbial or anti-fungal properties. The shoes are very important, these too, should never be too tight. I usually advise my patients to buy shoes a half or one whole size bigger than normal. The shoe must not have a solid base but rather some cushioning so that the pressure will be absorbed. It terms
The medical experts
This multidisciplinary approach to diabetes makes our new Jabriya clinic unique, not just in Kuwait, but in the Middle East of the shape of the shoe, patients must wear wide and not pointed designs so as not to cause friction at the toes. Patients must also be mindful to examine their shoes and remove foreign bodies and stones as damaged nerves will not feel them. Here at the clinic we measure the pressure points of our patients in order to make them specific insoles. The patient must examine the top of the foot, the heels, the toes and the space in between the toes for redness, blisters, corns, calluses or ingrown toenails. These small things if ignored, can cause infection, ulcers and lead to amputations. Even dry skin must be tackled. Cracked or broken skin is an open door for germs that can lead to an infection. Daily washing of the feet with warm water is a must. Patients may have lost sensation in their feet from nerve damage so it is
recommended that they check the temperature with their hand or elbow or ask for assistance. The feet must be completely dried after washing and a different towel must be used for each foot to contain the spread of any infection. A recommended lotion or oil will get rid of dry skin and soothe cracks, but the space between the toes must be left dry as moisture can lead to fungal infections. This inspection should be done daily by the patient or by his relatives if he or she cannot see properly. The cutting of nails is also an important aspect. They must be cut straight (not curved) to avoid ingrown toenails. Our specialists teach patients the correct way of cutting their nails but we prefer to do it here at our clinic because a lot of people with advanced diabetes cannot see their feet or reach them. If patients note any abnormalities
they must come to the Diabetic Foot Care Clinic. Those with nerve damage should come for a checkup every six months, people with vascular complaints should come every three to four months and people with ulcers and amputations should visit monthly. If a patient is diabetic and does not have any complaints it is recommended that they still come and have a screening so we can examine the arteries and nerves and check for infections. We can also teach them how to take care of their feet and most importantly, have a baseline for future check-ups. A simple check-up may take some time out of the day but the few minutes spent with healthcare professionals can add years to the patientâ€™s life and most importantly, prevent losing a limb later in life.
IN CONVERSATION EDUCATION
BREAKING BOUNDARIES Prime Ministerial advisor and Kuwait’s first woman Undersecretary, Shaikha Dr. Rasha Al-Humoud Al-Jaber Al-Sabah speaks to Charlotte Shalgosky about her sacrifices and successes, and the reason she said ‘no’ to her dream job. TCM Please introduce yourself to our international readers so that they may know more about you and your work. RAS: I am essentially, an academic. I got my first degree from the UK and my Post Graduate degrees from Yale University in the US. Thereafter, I was appointed to the faculty of the Kuwait University (KU). I turned down faculty positions in several US universities, including Yale University as I thought that my country deserved my services more. Also, with the competition for faculty positions among young PhD holders, I felt that I should not deprive the US of their own nationals. So, it was from a nationalistic drive that I decided to return home immediately and join Kuwait University. Initially I had not planned to be in academia. My first aspiration was to join the diplomatic corps. For that reason, I got my first degree in Modern Languages. I thought that this degree, coupled with thirteen years’ English education would make me a prime candidate for the Kuwait Foreign Service. Much to my dismay, when I graduated in 1972, I was told that such positions were not available to Kuwaiti women. It
is for this reason, that my career took an obligatory detour into academia. It was 21 years later that glass ceilings began to be smashed. In 1983, following the landmark Jeddah conference [sometimes called “The Kuwaiti Popular Conference”] where it was pledged that women would be given more say, three Kuwaiti women were appointed to the government for the first time, in positions that had hitherto been exclusively occupied by men. These positions were: the first female Kuwaiti ambassador Nabeela Al-Mulla, the first female President of Kuwait University, Faiza Al-Kharafi, and myself, as first female Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education. Interestingly, post completion of my PhD and after my sub-ministerial post ended, I was finally offered an ambassadorial position, in a country of my choosing, but at that time I was too immersed in academia to accept. There was a psychological reason too. At 21, I had wanted to climb the diplomatic ladder, but after thirteen
Shaikha Dr. Rasha, academic, visionary and ministerial pioneer years in England and four years in the US and coming back home and becoming immersed in my research and academia, I could not see myself spending the rest of my time abroad. At a younger age, I would have been ready to do it but by the time the post was offered I was already an Undersecretary, an academic and a full-time professor involved in my research and books.
serve in the armed forces and take up posts in the judiciary.
I had come back to Kuwait after 13 years’ English public school education and an honors degree from England. I had seen male colleagues fresh out of Kuwait University who had been offered diplomatic posts while I wasn’t. By the time I had the offer 25 years later, I had already been an Undersecretary; I had moved on.
There is always a silver lining in every cloud. Today, Kuwaiti women are indeed allowed to vote, they make up just above 50% of the voting population. Male candidates have to listen very carefully to the women electorate, indeed they organize special gatherings just for them.
At the time, the rejection of [an ambassadorial post] wasn’t aimed personally at me, but at all Kuwaiti women. It was an injustice, and therefore throughout my career I have been active in trying to uphold the rights of the Kuwaiti woman. It was hard at the time to convince people that Kuwaiti women should be able to vote, stand for office, allowed to
Looking back, it is very hard to consider what we went through a quarter of a century ago. We were advocating essential, basic rights; rights that are now stipulated in the constitution: that all citizens are equal regardless of gender, race and religious affiliations.
Kuwaiti women today have reached ministerial positions, and joined the armed forces through the police force. The only glass ceiling that has not been broken so far has been in the judiciary. Recently, the Minister of Justice made a statement that he sees no reason why Kuwaiti women should not be judges. When you consider all of this, you see that things have been realized slowly, but surely.
TCM: In your sixteen years of public office as Undersecretary of Higher Education in Kuwait, what do you see as your key successes? In which areas do you feel you would have liked to have seen more progress? RAS: There have been many successes, but I would like to highlight a few major areas. The first area of success was in identifying and opening new outposts for further education for Kuwaiti youth. When I first started, the main destinations for Kuwaiti students were the UK, the US, France, and Egypt. By the time I left that position, we were sending students to countries like Japan, Australia, Canada, and Malta. I created so many opportunities by traveling to those places, having very intensive discussions and agreements, reading and fine-tuning educational agreements between the government of Kuwait and the other countries, in order to send them our Kuwaiti youth. The preparations were not easy. I count it as a great success when I see Kuwaiti students coming back from Japan, New Zealand, and Malta. Having educational options that go beyond the
Dr. Rasha presenting HH the Crown Prince of Kuwait with an encyclopedia about Kuwait’s war heroes 1990-1991 usual places enriches Kuwaiti culture. We are traditionally, a seafaring nation, and pre-oil, our ancestors went to the coast of East Africa and the shores of the Indian subcontinent and beyond. There was a melting pot of these traditions and cultures in Kuwait. Now that we have the money and the wherewithal to send our youth, I felt that we should recreate that melting pot and revive that multicultural spirit. The second important achievement, for me, was increasing the number of women going on state-sponsored scholarships. As a young child, I had a very farsighted mother who believed in equal opportunities and equal access to education for all her children, regardless of gender. When I was an Undersecretary for Higher Education, I became, in effect, a mother to thousands of Kuwaiti students. I felt responsible to furnish them with the same opportunities. In terms of a missed opportunities, immediately after the liberation of Kuwait in 1991, an offset program to build new universities had been proposed. It came about because the Ministry of Defense
had incurred huge costs in its dealings with international defense companies in the UK and the US. There was a clause in the agreement between the Kuwaiti government and these companies that stated that 30% of the money would have to be reinvested in Kuwait and that these funds should be prioritized for education. I do not know for what reason that scheme was cancelled. I must say I had nothing to do with the offset program but I was given a few ‘crumbs’ for Higher Education. With the US$1-2 million that we received, I set up a parallel program to the statesponsored scholarship program. The stringent national by-law stated that a student needed to have a minimum of a 2.50 Grade Point Average (GPA) to apply for a scholarship. If a student was just a fraction short, he or she would miss out on the opportunity. The parallel program sent these students to study abroad at our expense for one year. Then, if they proved themselves, they were co-opted into the main program. There were so many students who benefited from this.
TCM: You were the first woman in a Kuwait sub-ministerial post. What challenges did that groundbreaking post bring as a woman? RAS: It wasn’t such a huge jump for me because in the university arena I was already quite used to having male colleagues. So I wasn’t in that sense, a ‘fish out of water’. However, in another sense, I lost my peers–and that was a little hard to adapt to. People took longer to absorb my ideas. However, I enjoy promoting camaraderie and do it quite quickly and I don’t look down on people. I stressed to everyone there that I was their colleague—who happened to be more senior to them and not the boss! If they performed well, they would be rewarded and if they fell short, they would get what they deserved. There was a lot of camaraderie. In those days, we worked a half day on Thursdays and had Fridays off. Every Wednesday we would gather at the mezzanine floor of the Ministry of Higher Education and have breakfast together. This provided me with the opportunity to interact with employees from different departments and make direct contact with them. I am proud of the fact that there was a
warmth in the atmosphere. I am very proud of establishing a Parents’ Board that unfortunately died when I left the ministry. When you sent your kids to school, whether it is kindergarten, or high school, as a concerned parent you wanted to be on those boards, and follow up on your child’s education. But nobody thought about this for higher education! I felt there was a need to create a Parents’ Board, first of all, to have an interface between the ministry as an institution and its end-users, who are the students and their parents. The parents would be selected to represent everybody and from the ministry’s side I headed the board. At the same time I would have alongside the heads of scholarships, finance, equivalences, so that we could provide immediate answers to questions raised. You must remember that there are many Kuwaiti students who are not on scholarships and who are sent abroad by their parents at their own expense. These parents would consult us about the required living expenses and request us to dispense the amount through our [Embassy’s] cultural attaché on a monthly basis. In case there were delays in sending the stipends, the Parents’ Board could raise the issue on behalf of other parents. It was an interface that encouraged accountability. It was a multi-purpose set-up because it was able to show us our deficiencies, where things were not going right, and the defects in our set up. It worked very well but unfortunately it didn’t continue. TCM: What more can be done to improve secondary education in Kuwait in private schools and in government-run schools? RAS: I am not an expert in pre-higher
education, however, I think that education in general, relies greatly on the quality of the teacher. If you are a good teacher, the after-effect would be quality education, and if you were a substandard teacher, the end-product would not be so good. It is a vicious circle because we in the higher education moan about the sub-standard end-products of general education as we are on the receiving end. But, at the same time, we are also to blame because we produce those teachers who teach in pre-higher education. We should also have some accountability. That’s all I can say. TCM: Your parents showed great foresight in championing education for their young daughters, at a time when girls in Kuwait did not necessarily receive an education. How did this influence you, as a youth studying at boarding school in England, and later as an adult in tertiary education in England and the USA? I can’t overemphasize the influence that being in a strict English boarding school like Wroxall Abbey had on building my character. Wroxall Abbey was originally regarded as a sister school for the prestigious Rugby Boys’ School near Birmingham. During World War II the area was subjected to heavy bombing by the Germans as it was the location of a lot of heavy industry. The school relocated to the heart of the Warwickshire countryside. Wroxall Abbey was on a private estate owned by members of the British aristocracy. In order to access the school, there was a five-mile gravel drive leading through the grounds up to the school.
I remember it very well because, being on the school’s hockey, netball and cricket teams, I had to wake up earlier than the other girls to run up and down the long drive and then take a shower. The showers were cold–even if it was freezing outside! Then you’d go to chapel and after that, you would go to class. Your life was run by bells; a bell would wake you up; a bell would tell you to get dressed; another bell would take you to class; a bell would announce lunchtime, and finally a bell would order you to bed. It was very military and rigid. You had to learn to be very stoïc, no matter what, and keep a ‘stiff upper-lip’. You also had to be very altruistic and heroic. For example, if someone did something wrong, to save the entire class being punished, someone would stand up and take the blame. That was the British way and this was the system under which we lived. My mother had given very strict instructions to the headmistress that no exceptions or concessions would be made for me (apart from not taking religious studies and not eating pork). The values instilled then, are with me even today. Even though I am in my country, with my own people, and I am my own person I am still appalled by unethical behavior. I see everything with a double focus. TCM: Do glass ceilings still exist for Kuwaiti women, or have they moved higher? RAS: Our political leadership is very smart. In 1993, they brought in three women as a sort of experiment. It was aimed to see how it would work out. If we succeeded, then they would gradually expand the base. The very fact that they expanded the base and a few years later the Amiri decree announced full political
Rasha Al Sabah speaks publicly both locally and internationally and voting rights for women meant that the ‘experiment’ had succeeded. After that, Kuwaiti women have been entering the police force and eventually they will be in the army and judiciary. I think they are taking the same wise course even today, they take gradual steps and don’t rush things. TCM: What are your aspirations for the role of education in Kuwait in the coming decade? RAS: More universities, to absorb the increasing numbers of high school leavers. However, there is a bigger issue and this goes for private preuniversity schools, general education and university education—strict licensing rights. When a school or university is given a license to open its branch in a district in Kuwait after fulfilling the necessary basic requirements, it should not be the end of the road. You need at least a couple of years for the ministry to assess the facilities, classrooms, laboratories and faculty. I think licensing procedures in Kuwait need correction. I commend all the schools, who in the absence of such measures, go on their own and try to fulfil the minimum criteria through accreditation boards outside [of Kuwait], in order to attract pupils and compare favorably against their competition,
but this role should be played by the ministry, we should be accrediting and supervising what schools do. TCM: What makes you happy? RAS: What makes me happy is seeing people happy. I especially like being with young children between the ages of three and eight. TCM: There are more college and high school graduates than there are positions in the government. If neither the public nor the private sector can provide posts for these graduates, many speculate that in three years there will be 100,000 unemployed. From your current post as advisor to the Prime Minister what is your take on the question of imminent unemployment? RAS: From my perspective, as an advisor to the Prime Minister, who is the head of the government, I think that if the government accelerates the various mega-projects being developed in Kuwait, and speeds up their vision of making Kuwait the financial and commercial capital in the region, there will be more jobs than there are university graduates. Projects aren’t good if they remain solely on paper. Once they realize and they build Mubarak Al Kabeer port, “Silk
City”, and proceed with the islands’ development projects among others, I am confident there won’t be the imminent unemployment specter that we fear. That said, if they go at a snail’s pace we have reason to fear, because with unemployment, comes other socioeconomic and political issues. TCM: You have enjoyed a unique relationship with Durham University in England. Could you elaborate on the program you helped initiate? RAS: After the son of HH Sheikh Nasser Al Sabah graduated from Durham University he decided to establish a ‘Chair’ at the university in the north of England. With my experience as Undersecretary of Higher Education, and having had experience of handling very tough negotiations with overseas universities to place Kuwaiti scholars, he asked for my services to help set up this academic program and I agreed. When it was ready I signed the agreement on behalf of HH Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah and ‘The Sheikh Nasser al-Mohammad al-Sabah Chair’ was established. Its first Chair was Professor Anoush Ehteshami who was appointed in 2011, he receives a stipend from the seed money of £5million pounds that Sheikh Nasser Al-Sabah donated. The Chair’s main mission is to mentor post-graduate and doctoral students, drive the agenda and develop the program as a center of excellence. The program is fantastic and is already very successful; it hosts countless seminars and workshops, moreover their findings are all published.
THE CANADIAN CONNECTION When overseas businesses want to enter new markets the cultural and regulatory differences can pose challenges. Having a ‘person on the ground’ can avoid wasting valuable time and money.
The Canadian Business Council (CBC) is a Kuwait-based organization that has been furthering CanadianKuwaiti commercial relations since 2005. Headed by CBC’s President, veteran Canadian businessman Ishtiaq Malik, Malik dedicates much of his free time to exploring ways for CBC to expand bilateral business relations and opportunities, whether it is through exchanges and forums, or by organizing gatherings attended by representatives of the key business sectors. CBC is a non-profit and non-political organization run on a voluntary basis. Membership has now reached over 100, including individual and corporate members. Although most of the CBC members are Canadians, there are members from other countries and the organization includes Kuwaiti businessmen and businesswomen. Malik point out that CBC offers an opportunity to share with potential investors insights gained from many successful years in Kuwait. He affirms that this is a key part of boosting ties, which not only lead to bilateral business, but bilateral friendships. For newly-arrived residents in Kuwait, friendships are sometime hard to forge; moreover, it is not always easy to get to grips with a new climate, language and culture. To assist
Ishtiaq Malik President – CBC & CiK in bringing people together, the group Canadians in Kuwait (CiK) has provided a much-needed platform for social activities. As President of CiK, Ishtiaq Malik is delighted that after four years, membership has now surpassed 400 people, and includes both Canadians and non-Canadians. CiK serves the purposes of long- and short-term residents and is especially useful for people new to the Gulf thanks to a plethora of events throughout the year. Working both independently and with sister councils, such as the British and American business communities the CiK brings people of all nationalities together. In the past, events included regular Friday breakfasts and Embassy soirées, as well as festive holidays and seasonal celebrations, fostering a real sense of community within the expat’ scene.
known as ghabkas, are a tradition unique to Kuwait; held in a top hotel they prove very popular and attract Canadian, American and most of the European business communities to discuss and explore business opportunities. Despite his commitment to a busy schedule, Malik believes that work should be an integral part of our lives, rather than an interruption to it. “Create a life from which you don’t need a vacation” is a mantra he loves to cite. For an opportunity to meet Ishtiaq Malik to explore business opportunities, or for more details on CBC Business and CiK Social activities, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
One popular event is the Ramadan International Business Evening that includes a supper and networking opportunities. These late-night parties,
DRIVING AMBITION True car aficionados will instantly recognize in a Lotus car the two inimitable hallmarks that separate it out from the rest: pedigree and performance. Like a thoroughbred racehorse, Lotus has it all: heritage, speed AND curvaceous beauty. Models such as the Eclat, Exige, Excel, Elise, Europa and Evora have made Lotus into a car brand that oozes individuality and, in an era where robots have replaced craftsmen, Lotus bucks the trend. Handcrafted throughout, even today Lotus still insist their cars are hand-painted â€“ and in some unmissable colors. Since 1952, when Colin Chapman launched Lotus from a tiny workshop in North London, no one dreamt that Lotus would go on to win the Formula One World Championships seven times. Today, rather than reducing a race car into a road vehicle, the company is creating a new breed of reliable, stability-controlled
cars that out-perform the others. What it lacks in common comforts, such as power-steering, it makes up for in sheer exuberance, especially when it out-maneuvers a rival, thanks to its increasingly lightweight chassis. Over the last sixty years Lotus has quietly amassed a following from automotive connoisseurs who regard it as a major part of Britainâ€™s sports car and racing car history. Those who choose Lotus are leaders not followers; they are people who want to stand out from the crowd. Of course, in the Middle East where standing out from the crowd takes courage; owning a Lotus is therefore about daring to be different. Too often young, less experienced car-fanatics end up succumbing to peer-pressure and purchase the same luxury car brands driven by their friends.
Unlike other brands, Lotus makes just 3000 cars a year, globally. Herein lies its uniqueness and value, buying a Lotus means the owner is automatically catapulted into a highly exclusive club. In the entire Middle East Lotus car owners count as a mere handful so whether tearing round a racing circuit or casually parked outside a gym, no car brand epitomizes ‘boutique’ more than this one. An added plus is that the low production numbers mean each owner has the luxury of receiving far more personal after-sales service. In terms of its price tag, this is a Great British brand that has heritage AND affordability, Lotus appeals to drivers who want to move up into a more stylish and sophisticated bracket but without the top-range price tags of more common luxury German and Italian sports car brands.
Genuine car collectors instantly see the intrinsic value of Lotus but it is its performance that wins over any detractors. It is really only when you get behind the wheel that the exhilaration kicks in, affirms popular British TV show Top Gear, whose website described the Lotus Evora as “A sublime driving experience” awarding it a nine out of ten. As car buyers grow more sensitive to stretching their budgets, Lotus has neatly filled that niche where even drivers in their 20s can have it all– without paying premium. Of course, the Lotus owner gets far more than a car. It’s a statement. These are cars made for the fearless individual, those who wish to stand out and be seen. By buying a Lotus you become a member of one of the most elite car-owning clubs worldwide—something not even money can buy.
AlghanimLotuskw Tel: (+965) 2496 4344
Hilmi Hakim, head of the ATB office in Kuwait
TAXING QUESTIONS As the US government strives to eliminate tax evasion, GCC residents who hold US passports need to know how renouncing US citizenship affects them. By Hilmi Hakim The worldwide enforcement of complex laws such as the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) and Foreign Bank Account Reporting (FBAR), and the seemingly onerous requirement of anyone with a US passport having to file an annual tax return, is causing many of those living overseas to ask the question, “Is the US passport worth it?” Of the estimated six million US citizens living abroad, nearly half a million are currently living in the Middle East. As the US is the only country to tax its citizens on their worldwide income, many American expats, including residents in the Middle East, are confused about their tax obligations. For some, the decision to renounce is easy since in many cases, those choosing to give up their citizenship have limited
connections to the US and have lived outside of the country for most of their lives. Others find the choice more complicated, such as when cost comes to mind. In 2015, a record-breaking 4,279 Americans gave up their US passports, making 2015 an all-time high for renunciation. It is important to note that these individuals all had a valid passport from another country, which is vital so as not to be considered ‘stateless’. Although giving up a US passport seems simpler than dealing with complex IRS form-filling every year, it can still be quite costly. The fee of renunciation alone has increased from $450 to $2,350 since September 12, 2014. To start the process, an individual must also prove they have
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HILMI HAKIM Hilmi Hakim was born in Aleppo, Syria, and raised in Buffalo, New York from the age of one. He graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from George Mason University, in Fairfax, Virginia and went on to gain credentials as a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) in 1997. With several years of accounting experience with large multinational accountancy firms, Hilmi was hired as Deputy General Manager of American Tax Bureau (ATB) in Kuwait in September 2014.
been filing an annual tax return and have paid their US taxes—commonly known as compliance, for five years prior to renouncing, that is if they fall into the tax paying criteria.
threshold amount, other deductions may be available to reduce the taxable income. Nevertheless, some individuals may still wish to renounce their citizenship.
Additionally, if the person meets certain requirements, they may be obligated to pay an exit tax . These rules also apply to Green Card holders. Either way, it’s a complex process to become, and stay tax-compliant, or to be relieved of these tax obligations by giving up a passport.
American Tax Bureau (ATB) has helped many individuals in this process. ATB was established to assist US passport holders and Green Card holders with preparing and filing their tax returns, as well as provide consultation to better understand US tax requirements. They have an office conveniently located in Kuwait and serve clients all around the Middle East.
The US passport provides ease of travel to most nations of the world so anyone considering giving up a US passport should understand a few important factors before going ahead. The ability to travel without the time-consuming process of applying for a tourist visa is a benefit that shouldn’t be taken for granted. Visafree travel can be especially useful in a state of emergency. Furthermore, most US citizens living abroad will not owe taxes to the US government. In fact, if an individual’s income is below the threshold of $100,800 for 2015, they will only file a tax return and are exempt from paying tax. In the event their income is above the
One such case study involving US renunciation is described below: Mr. X is a CEO of a company. Although he was born in the US his family moved back to settle in Saudi Arabia, the country of their citizenship, soon after. Mr. X has dual citizenship of both the US and Saudi Arabia. He possesses a US passport and a Social Security Number (SSN). Mr. X heard about the newly implemented Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) , which requires financial institutions to report on accounts held by US citizens as well as those citizens
to report their foreign assets to the IRS. As a result, he contacted ATB in Kuwait regarding renouncing his US citizenship because he felt it might be financially more beneficial to him. After a consultation, ATB agreed to assist. Mr. X’s yearly income is approximately $160,000. Since Mr. X exceeds the foreign income threshold ($100,800 for 2015), ATB explained that he would be subject to pay US taxes. ATB also explained to Mr. X that in order to renounce his citizenship, he was required by US law to comply with tax filing obligations for a period of five years preceding the renunciation. Should Mr. X wish to begin the process, he would need to disclose to ATB all bank accounts under his name, including any account on which he is the authorized signatory, and provide all bank statements from the past five years.
Once ATB received the required documents, ATB tax professionals finalized the corresponding tax returns including information returns such as FATCA Form 8938 and Foreign Bank Account Reports (FBARs) within less than a week. This time can vary, depending on the complexity of a client’s case, locating missing documents from the client, and any information brought up after the initial consultation that may affect the reporting.
After assessing the scope of work for the case of Mr. X, ATB provided him an official quotation for preparing and filing five years of tax returns and FBARs. ATB’s fees may differ from one client to another based on the forms required, complexity, and length of time needed to complete all reporting obligations. Since Mr. X wished to renounce his US Citizenship, ATB advised him to choose one of the following ways in order to complete his tax obligations without negative repercussions:
Mr. X would need to fill out and sign an ATB client datasheet that would form the basis of his confidential file. ATB ensured Mr. X that all documents and personal information provided would remain confidential and no details would ever be given out without his knowledge and/or consent. In order to prepare the required tax filing, ATB asked Mr. X to provide all necessary documentation such as copies of his US passport and his Social Security Number (SSN). The process of clients gathering their records, such as annual bank statements, can vary from days to months, depending on the information needed to begin their tax preparation. For Mr. X, the process of collecting five years of records took about two months.
Providing professional tax solutions Under the IRS amnesty program, Streamlined Foreign Offshore Procedure (SFOP), taxpayers will not be penalized for the three most recent filing years for which the due date has passed. Mr. X would have to file his tax returns from 2011 through 2015. The period between the years 2013 to 2015 is under the SFOP, so although Mr. X wouldn’t get penalized, he would still need to pay the taxes he owed and the interest charges that applied. 2011 and 2012 are excluded from the amnesty program; therefore Mr. X was required to pay taxes he owed, including penalties and interest. The 2015 tax return should be filed by the first deadline (April 18, 2016) to prevent further penalties and interest on the tax owed. A final 2016 return must be filed (in the case that he renounces in 2016) with Form 8854 Expatriation Statement , signifying Mr. X has been five years tax compliant preceding his date of expatriation and is now clear of any US filing requirements. From spending time with ATB’s tax professionals, Mr. X finally understood how important it was to comply with the IRS rules and the possible negative repercussions if he didn’t. Ultimately, he was able to file and pay all outstanding taxes.
His final tax return will be filed with Form 8854 from January 1st through the day he gives up his US passport. If you too have any tax questions, or are considering renouncing your US citizenship, get to know all the facts and options regarding your own tax situation from tax professionals. FAQs “What if I decide not to comply before renouncing?” After getting the Certificate of Loss of Nationality (CLN) from the US Consulate in his country of residence and citizenship, the person is still considered a US Citizen, according to the IRS, until filing Form 8854, along with the final tax return for the year up to the date of expatriation. There is also a section on the renunciation application stating the individual has been 5 years tax compliant and signing it declares that it is true. Form 8854 (Initial and Annual Expatriation Statement) applies to US citizens who have relinquished their citizenship and long-term residents who have ended their residency. This form has to be filed and sent to the IRS in order to notify the appropriate authorities of the taxpayer’s expatriating act. This form also certifies the taxpayer has been
5 years tax compliant preceding his expatriation. “What if I lie on the form?” The IRS will find out that no tax returns have been filed under the SSN before submitting the expatriation form, as the SSN is his tax identification number. This will lead to serious and severe penalties, much costlier than paying taxes.
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BRIDGE BUILDER Edward “Skip” Gnehm is a veteran US diplomat with extensive experience across the Arab world from Syria to Yemen. Here the former US Ambassador to Kuwait explains to The Correspondent how imperative human and cultural perspectives are to gain better bilateral understanding and how being a Southerner helped him connect with Middle-East mindsets.
EDWARD GNEHM Born in Carrollton Georgia, multiaward-winning diplomat Edward ‘Skip’ Gnehm served in the US State Department from 1969. Gnehm’s distinguished career in the US Foreign Service took him to key Middle East Embassies in Jordan, Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Syria. He was the post-war Ambassador to Kuwait from 1991-1994. Gnehm enjoys a long-standing affiliation with George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs where, as Director of the School’s Middle East Policy Forum, he holds the title ‘Kuwait Professor of Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs’.
TCM: How have your past diplomatic postings informed and helped you in your work as Director of the Middle East Policy Forum at George Washington University (GW)? EG: The Middle East Policy Forum brings in speakers [to GW] and puts together panels concerning key issues in the Middle East. The fact that I spent so many years in the Middle East—in fact a couple of decades, in a variety of different countries and embassies, gave me the essential background knowledge to allow me to both identify core issues for discussion and the people with the expertise who could address and explain these issues to the students. I would however add that my time in the Middle East helped me get to know the people and the culture. Issues are one thing, but if you don’t put them in the context of the human and the cultural perspective, then you don’t understand the issue at all. In fact, you can make some very, very bad miscalculations which unfortunately, policy-makers have a tendency to do.
I am very, very happy that the late Amir, HH Shaikh Jaber Al-Ahmad AlSabah has, through his endowment of the Kuwait Chair for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs at GW, given me the opportunity to share with young American and foreign students my knowledge and experiences of the region that I love so much. TCM: What can Kuwait and America do to underpin a greater understanding of Middle Eastern societies and cultures both in, and outside of the GW context? EG: I think in America there is a woeful lack of understanding about the [Middle East] region and here I’m specifically referring to the “societies” and “cultures” and in your previous question. Americans are apt to read the news and put it in the context of the town or state they live in, which is altogether different. I’m not intending to be critical of that, that’s their experience and that’s where they live, but one of the objectives that I have set for myself, both in my teaching at the university and also in the large numbers of public addresses I make, is to try to expound exactly
HE Edward Gnehm, former Ambassador to Kuwait
Gnehm speaking with the magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri on the “cultures” and “societies” of the region and put it into the very context I was talking about just now. In the Middle East for example, an olive tree is not considered simply as a tree, in the same way Americans regard an oak or a maple. That olive tree produces a fruit that makes their cooking oil and the tree lasts for two thousand years. It may have been in the family for most of those centuries and therefore, there is an attachment and a love for that tree. I could say a few Americans have the same view of a peach tree, or something that they’ve nurtured, but not with the same level of emotion. That’s maybe too trite but that’s one example that comes to mind. TCM: Why do you think there is, as you put it, a ‘woeful lack of understanding’? EG: People are deeply focused on the life around them, wherever they live, whatever they’re doing. For an American living in any city ….they have very little stimulus on international issues. They are thinking about the commute, their job, maybe
their church or the city politics or state politics; the whole international arena just doesn’t touch the lives of most Americans—until something dramatic happens. The second a bomb goes off and a hundred people are killed, then it’s suddenly in the news, often presented in a very superficial or even sensationalized way. Everybody is gripped to the TV—until the following morning when they are back into the traffic.
time, more so today than ever! It’s the nature of Americans. We have no particular attachment to the house that we grew up in, or the town. That’s entirely different from a Palestinian family that has lived in Ramullah or Nablus, where their father, grandfather, great-grandfather lived on that same piece of land, and made oil from that old olive tree we just spoke about. It is profoundly steeped in their identity.
It’s probably a little different now but where I grew up in Georgia, I never really met people from foreign countries. Even today, if you do meet them, they’re already in the process of assimilating into America, dealing with the same school and the same commute. So we’re not placed in a setting in which we have to deal with a foreign culture or a foreign society. We don’t think about it, because as soon as you arrive in America, you want to assimilate.
It’s completely impossible for an American, who grows up in Washington DC but moves to Wyoming, to understand how a family can be so emotionally attached to their village, or their field. An Arab, by that I mean a person who lives in the Arab world, they are attached to a region or place in a way that Americans are simply not.
There was another point which has stuck with me all my life. Most Americans come from immigrant families; we move around all the
It doesn’t matter where they might move to, their family, their roots and their identity is attached to that village in say, Lebanon—even if they may not have lived there for three generations. When an American-Lebanese goes to Lebanon, where does he go? He goes
up to the village to see his relatives whom he’s never met before! TCM: So as a young career diplomat when you came out to the Middle East, how easy was it, being American, to empathize with people who were so enrooted in their own culture? EG: This may surprise you. I come from Georgia, in the South where, [from 1861-1865], we had a Civil War. In my opinion, as an American, there is a sense about being a ‘Southerner’ that I don’t think other people in the US share. While I am proud to say I’m from Georgia, it isn’t about having a tie to a particular town or state, it was to a cause; it’s just a belonging, to something that is different from the rest. So I could relate to say, the Palestinian cause—or to that emotional feeling that cannot be explained logically. I would go even further. The South is a very hospitable place and out of habit, Southerners say good morning to people we don’t even know. If you go to the Middle East, they always say the same thing “Sabah al khair!” to passers-by, I found it normal. So why do I love the people from this region? Because they’re hospitable, they always greet you, and they establish genuine relationships, friendships. We did that where I grew up. TCM: Since your term at the US Embassy from 1991 – 1994, what are the key political and social changes you’re witnessing in Kuwait? EG: The change that I think is most profound is a much stronger sense of attachment to Kuwait among Kuwaitis. Prior to the invasion I there was a very active Palestinian community
that, in many ways, was running the country. I remember being told if you go to the Ministry to see an official…you won’t meet a Kuwaiti, just Palestinians. At the time of the invasion and when I came back in 1991 until 1994, there was a determination among Kuwaitis that they were going to make this their country. I look around today and I see young Kuwaitis, and they’re proud, they’re professional, and they’re engaged – this is Kuwait now, unlike before. Today it’s about having an identity, a commitment and an involvement. One thing that I heard a lot of back then is “We learned, ‘Skip’. We are not Saudi, we are not Iraqi, we are not Iranian, we are not Bahraini – we are Kuwaiti “. Again, it’s a sense of identity. The other thing I learned is Kuwait has grown, as a country. It has become more engaged with the whole world, because again, the invasion really forced Kuwait to make sure it had good relations, good contacts, good friendships, and good alliances. It’s what a small state in a very troubled region needs to recognize in order to survive. As a consequence of that, I find Kuwaitis are very vocal, very opinionated. They express themselves very clearly. Honestly I think the openness in the society is the result of the historical role of the diwaniya [a forum for influential members of society to meet and debate]. The traditional diwaniya has of course expanded now from the big, old families to everybody. But it is an accepted place where people can express themselves
rather forwardly and openly. It is a quality in this society that gives it strength. By that I mean if you live in a country where the ability to voice your views is oppressed or suppressed, then it finds other channels. Now that actually does undermine the society and the state over time, in some cases, radically. I’ve always said, of all the countries in the region, I think Kuwait has more solidity, stability, society-wise than any other country that I’ve lived in. TCM: Do you think that Kuwait had to change through force of circumstance? EG: I do. I know that for Kuwaitis [the invasion by Iraq] was a traumatic experience. To wake up one morning to suddenly discover you had nothing. You didn’t have a country; you couldn’t speak your mind because you’d get arrested or hauled off to Iraq. No [access to] bank accounts as the banks were closed, so no money, no food, no nothing. And when you were out [of Kuwait] you were an exile. TCM: How can academics play a meaningful role in the advancement of Kuwait? And do you have any observations about academics in Kuwait? EG: I certainly believe people in the academic world have an important role to play in building the kind of comprehension and understanding of the region that we talked about earlier. I do a lot of media in the States, particularly Fox News. Every time I’m on the air, Shepard Smith introduces me saying, “Today, we have Ambassador Edward Gnehm, who is Director of the Middle East
Policy Forum at George Washington University in the Kuwait Chair for Gulf and Arabian Peninsula Affairs”. Kuwait, Kuwait, Kuwait. The country gets a mention. It’s just there. It happens again when I speak at any of the various clubs or organizations, Rotary or Kiwanis, or to any number of the think-tanks, Kuwait is automatically brought into the [public] perception. I think this is really important. I teach full-time and in my courses, I’m invariably using my experiences in Kuwait as examples of how a government works, how democracy is developed around the culture and society in which it’s going to live. So it doesn’t matter what labels you use: ‘President’, or ‘Amir’ or ‘National Assembly’ or ‘parliament’—the real question is whether the principles are there. I am therefore constantly able to use my experiences to explain things to people, who tell me afterward, “’Mr. Ambassador, I didn’t realize that’”, “‘I didn’t know that’”. That’s a role that academics should play as they write or research, to put out into the world the analyses, stories and the background information that will help people understand. I think that in Kuwait, education plays the same [mentorship] role here for Kuwaitis. It’s worth noting there is a big difference between a big country like the United States with global interests and a small state like Kuwait with very important regional interests that come with international ramifications. Probably a day doesn’t go by when a Kuwaiti isn’t thinking about what’s going on in neighboring countries, at the UN or in Washington, or watching the US [election] campaigns.
Americans on the other hand… well we may keep a watch on China, but how often does an American think of Kuwait? Not often. What I’m really saying is that if there was one area that a government like Kuwait should focus on (and I think that they do), it’s education. Frankly, those who are wise, those who are in positions of responsibility, need to have the courage to resist critics who believe that somehow a good education undermines religion and culture. It doesn’t. It does not have to at all. In fact, a good education system will reinforce both the cultural and religious heritage of the country. I’m not necessarily speaking of Kuwait here, but countries where the education system ends up being overly-influenced by a particular segment of society, and it becomes narrowed to a point where it isn’t preparing the young person for the world in which that person’s going to live, that’s a tragedy. You have to have an educated population. For example, Kuwait needs its people to understand why its government has to have a relationship with Washington— even though it may not like all of Washington’s policies, or why it needs sometimes to placate a neighbor—even though this may go against what they’d really like to do. There’s a reason for policies. You have teach that; you have to explain that. So, I think education is extremely important. TCM: How can the security of sovereign nations be improved, in particular the smaller states in the Middle East, such as Kuwait? EG: My answer reflects very much
my experiences during the period of Kuwait’s occupation and liberation. I’m referring specifically to the critical importance of the United Nations. It wasn’t solely the United Nations that liberated Kuwait, we all know that there is not a ‘UN army’. The resolutions in the Security Council under Chapter VII, [“Action with respect to Threats to the Peace, Breaches of the Peace, and Acts of Aggression”] - which apply to all member states - are what gave the legal basis for the coalition forces that the US and other countries put together. Thus the UN has a vital role to play when it comes to smaller states and security. I went from Kuwait to the UN where I was Deputy Representative working for Madeleine Albright dealing in the Security Council with Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and all the threatening things he did in the next ten years. I am cognizant of the UN’s weaknesses; I know what it can and can’t do, but it is a forum in which a small state can stand up in front of the world and plead its case. TCM: In 2014 Kuwait was thrilled UN Secretary-General honored His Highness the Amir as a “Humanitarian Leader”. Was the award equitable to the enormous generosity Kuwait has shown to international funds and charitable organizations? Was it awarded in the hope of encouraging other countries to give more? EG: I may answer you in a way that is slightly different to how you expected me to answer. Firstly, I think it was a very fitting award, because of the generosity of Kuwait and HH the Amir. It is through his guidance and direction that this happened,
and he did this from his heart, let me make that very clear. What he has done is to heighten the profile of Kuwait globally, in a very positive and I would say, noncontroversial way. By doing so he enhances the ability of Kuwait to protect itself, because other nations see it as a humanitarian country that gives to humanitarian causes and helps people in distress globally. That very image of Kuwait gives Kuwait the relationships that it needs as a small state. TCM: When such a title is bestowed upon Kuwait’s leader, what new responsibilities or pressures does it put on Kuwait—and indeed the future leaders of Kuwait? How can the integrity of the honor be upheld? EG: One could easily respond, ‘Ah, yes, everyone will be on your doorstep. What little money you now get from oil, you’ll now have even less of because it will all be going to someone that is hungry somewhere else.’ No. The government of Kuwait can make decisions about which
causes are the best ones to support and the extent to which it is able to offer that help at any given time.
this way because its Amir has taken this kind of leadership role, on an emotional and compassionate issue.
Certainly my impression is that the US and Western Europe are very cognizant and appreciative of Kuwait's willingness to be a leader in terms of humanitarian assistance; with its generosity, it encourages others to follow the lead.
TCM: As a witness to the social and economic changes in Kuwait, from the early ‘90s until today, what could the government do to improve Kuwait in areas such as job creation, diversification of national income and social reforms? EG: The country as a whole—as well as the government–needs laws that open up opportunities rather than restrict them. There was talk some years ago about a Free Trade Agreement between the US and Kuwait, it stumbled here in Kuwait because some of the laws that would have had to be changed to accommodate such an agreement were more than the politics in the country could sustain. That’s why I said it has to be supported not just by the government, because it means parliament and the populace have to open up, so there can be competition.
I’ve been involved in fund-raising myself and I can tell you, if you’re going to raise $3.5 million for a new Chair, for a new position, you need to start with someone who will give a million dollars so that it gets off to a big launch. You have to have a leader who takes the lead and gives it impetus. The Amir has done more than giving; he’s hosted the forums that brought other countries together, such as the Syrian Forum in London this spring. In so doing, in a very, very nice way, he put pressure on other countries to stand up and do what’s necessary. He becomes a bit of a moral figure; he sets an example. I think Kuwaitis should take some pride that the country is seen
Issues are one thing, but if you don’t put them in the context of the human and the cultural perspective, then you don’t understand the issue at all What are the interests it is protecting? Jobs in the ministries? While I was here, a company came in and, from an economic point of view, made a very good offer to build a power plant on a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) scheme. I thought it was a very reasonable offer.
If you want investment to come in, everyone knows there needs to be confidence in the economy. At the same time investors are going to want to have some control over that investment, for which they will need quality services. You have to have in place the laws that ensure visas, enable movement of currency and allow foreign ownership of local businesses and industries. Changes are happening in some of these areas. Another ingredient which is critically important in any country is a judicial system that is fair, open and treats a foreigner equal to a local and where a company, or an individual knows that if there is a problem in business, you can go to the court, get a fair hearing, fair adjudication and fair recourse. Again, I realize that some of this means changing the way people think so they can accept that maybe there could be short-term risks or
losses–not necessarily financial–as part of the process but what you gain are huge opportunities to make lots more money. This gets us to privatization, encouraging private investment in the country by Kuwaitis. I’ve heard many Kuwaitis say, ‘I don’t invest in Kuwait. I put my money in other places because I can make big profits without the risks that are here.’ Whatever the reasons are for the local investor to decide that it’s better to be abroad than here, those are the things you need to change. That would probably work for the foreign investor as well. For example, you have a tender law here, and it’s a good one. If it is actually administered fairly, without providing special treatment or advantages to special interests, then suddenly local business families have to compete. Another issue that comes to mind: the bureaucracy.
The idea was scrapped. Why? Because employees in the relevant Ministry thought that they’d lose jobs because the plant would be private. So the ministry put forward figures to show how a private BOT scheme was not feasible and then they went to the politicians to find allies to back up their argument. I do not underestimate the difficulty, but as the government and country face a new economic situation with the low price of oil and a population that needs jobs, then it’s going to be under pressure from a different segment of Kuwaiti society to produce jobs. That may be the incentive that the government needs. Moreover the government has to educate and explain, just as they are doing with the issue of [reducing petroleum] subsidies, why it is important to face this head-on. I think they’re trying very hard, and a number of the Gulf States have now actually raised the price of gasoline, a miniscule amount. But it’s a start.
ANCIENT TREASURES OF THE GULF Inspired by her father’s conservation work, Amani Al-Zaidan has helped identify one of the Gulf’s most enduring marine reptiles, Kuwait’s very own green sea turtle. Now seriously threatened by loss of habitat, she is fighting to preserve its future in Kuwaiti waters.
Some twenty-two years ago, my father and his British colleague, both specialized researchers in the field of animal biology, decided it was time to identify the sea turtle species in Kuwait, and learn more about their distribution and breeding sites.
Wildlife Fund (WWF) marine turtles are categorized as ‘Endangered to Critically Endangered’. In the US the green turtle has been listed under the Endangered Species Act since 1978; it is on the CITES list of protected species and the IUCN Red List.
The research done by my father and his colleague showed that Kuwait’s coast was home to three of the seven types of sea turtles: hawksbill, loggerhead and green turtle. The green turtle (Chelonia Mydas) is the most common turtle in Kuwait acquiring its name from the green color of its fat, which reflects its seagrass-rich diet.
Having completed my postgraduate studies, I joined forces with my father in 2002 to investigate whether the most common turtles were still nesting on the shores of two of Kuwait’s southern islands: Qaruh and Umm Almaradim. From 2004-2006 I spent two years doing field research. It revealed not just crucial information
on the turtles but also some alarming facts. Until 2005 the nesting activity of green turtles appeared to be in line with that of green turtles worldwide. However in 2005, disaster struck. Construction of a coastguard dock on the island of Umm Almaradim brought about widespread excavation and dredging, activities that greatly disturb the turtles’ normally tranquil marine environment. Not one turtle approached the island to lay eggs that year. In real terms, it meant that the continual existence
Marine turtles are amazing creatures, they are in fact ancient reptiles, and pre-date many dinosaurs. They have survived on earth for more than 100 million years, through five periods of—what are often termed–‘Mass Extinctions’. While dinosaurs disappeared and the earth saw a near annihilation of almost all species, it was the turtles that managed to survive. Until now. Today the Turtle Conservancy estimates female nesting green turtles number around only 85,000 worldwide. According to the World
Al-Zaidan’s conservation work was inspired by her father, pictured here (2nd from left)
AMANI AL-ZAIDAN Specializing in marine ecology and conservation Dr. Amani Salim Y. AlZaidan Ph.D. is Asst. Professor at the University of Kuwait’s Zoology Program in the Dept. of Biological Sciences. A published author on numerous marine issues, her Ph.D was awarded by the University of Wales, Bangor, UK. Since 2006 Dr. Al-Zaidan has been a member of the Kuwait Environment Protection Society (KEPS) and their representative at forums; she has also worked with the Diwan Amiri’s Office of Research and Consultative Studies.
of the turtle population - which had been part of Kuwait’s marine heritage for millennia, was gravely threatened. Ironically, the presence of sea turtles in the Gulf dates back at least to the Bronze Age some 7000 years ago. Moreover these much-loved marine reptiles have played a vital role in the maritime heritage here in the Gulf by assisting in the livelihoods of the region’s celebrated pearl divers.
in coastal encroachment and urban expansion, sea turtle sightings have declined due to the loss of, or changes to, their once pristine coastal habitat. Where there has been reclamation or destruction of the previously sandy shores turtles have lost their vital nesting grounds. No nesting grounds meant no breeding, and no breeding meant the threat of extinction of these creatures.
For centuries, Kuwait was one of the world’s greatest centers for high quality pearls. Harvested by free divers these brave mariners developed a supportive relationship with sea turtles, regarding them as an ally. For them, the presence of sea turtles was an important indication not just that the seas were safe but that sharks were not nearby.
Our passion for these delightful and enduring marine reptiles compelled us to do further research. We embarked on a project that looked at the feature and structure of Kuwait’s green turtle DNA. We wanted to verify whether it was unique to the region. After submitting the DNA documents to the three major global genomics repositories, it was revealed that although green turtles have a global ranging nature, the DNA of the green turtle population of Kuwait was not yet registered anywhere else! This vital fact meant it was possible the turtle community possessed a genetic uniqueness which could then warrant population conservation.
The intrinsic value of turtles to the community and the close bond between Kuwaitis and this shy marine animal is reflected in traditional folk songs including verses on turtles, referred to locally as ‘luhmasa’. Kuwaitis regarded them as a good omen and a sign of being blessed by God, hence they were treated with respect, whereas in many other countries they were hunted for their shells or meat. After the revolutionary discovery of oil in Kuwait in the early 1900s and with it a rapid increase
This was amazing news. Our findings attracted the attention of researchers in the USA who requested the use of our data in their studies. Through tracking the DNA of all the green turtle communities globally, the US researchers wanted to understand and show the present-day distribution of genetic lineages; a study known as phylogeography. Integrating our findings here in Kuwait into this type of global scientific research program would support the development of national, regional and global environmental policies and assist in planning for biodiversity conservation. Despite the excitement about having possibly identified Kuwait’s very own unique green turtle, all hopes were dashed when we learned some devastating news. In April 2015 a
proposal was approved to develop a ‘heritage village’ at Um Almaradim Island. It would include restaurants and tourist facilities and was part of a greater plan to develop Kuwait’s offshore islands. In January 2016 it was confirmed that five islands in total would be developed for tourism. Ironically the ‘heritage’ of the Gulf’s most important ancient marine species was not considered. Such development means that shores will be compromised, leading to the eradication of safe marine habitats and the obliteration of shorelines that are the turtles last nesting sites. We had already seen a decade earlier on Umm Almaradim how a dredging project had prevented the green sea turtle population from returning to breed. Moreover any recreational activities planned for the islands would also have a huge impact on the marine environment with increases in marine traffic, pollution and waste; thus the few nearby turtle habitats will be put under enormous pressure. Without doubt, this will impact our very own population of Kuwait green turtles and result in the wholesale destruction of the habitats of millions of unprotected creatures, not just our beloved ‘luhmasa’. Immediate action is needed to safeguard our
The team releasing rare turtles back to the wild
Preservation and conservation relies on support from all sides
Teamwork is vital to stop the extinction of Kuwait’s unique turtles marine species biodiversity—so that we may safeguard our own existence. Scientists should be actively involved in coastal development projects so they can put forward conservation policies that consider environmental ethics and the impact of loss of biodiversity. For the last fifteen years the World Economic Forum (WEF) in conjunction with researchers at Yale and Columbia universities in the US have been compiling the bi-annual Environmental Performance Index (EPI). The report provides a global ranking of environmental performance for 180 countries and measures the progress they are making (or not) to protect ecosystems and human health. The goal is to provide a practical tool for policymakers to better understand and improve how their countries are performing when it comes to issues of the environment. This recognizes the fact policymakers must invest in science and confer with environmental scientists regarding development in order to mitigate grave and irreversible changes to the environment that affect us all. Green turtles fulfil an essential function in Kuwait’s marine biodiversity and like all species, have the right to exist. Moreover for more than 100 million years they have played a
vital role in maintaining the health of the world’s oceans by transporting essential nutrients to beaches and coastal dunes, ensuring the smooth running of balanced ecosystems which in turn provides humankind with countless, often unseen benefits in return. Having survived the earth’s five ‘Mass Extinctions’, it is ironic that sea turtles today face imminent extinction–thanks to mankind. Losing the Gulf’s unique green turtle is now a reality; without action to protect it, we will see its extinction in our lifetime. Michael E. Soulé, the respected American conservationist once stated that “extinction is the most irreversible and tragic of all environmental calamities. With each plant and animal species that disappears, a precious part of creation is callously erased.” These prophetic words carry particular weight when referring to the waters of Kuwait, home of one of the most ancient and respected treasures of the Arabian Gulf, and one of the earth’s most enduring sea reptiles. Even more than that, from the point of view of global turtle populations, Kuwait will bid goodbye to a type of green sea turtle that, genetically-speaking, exists nowhere else on earth but here. IMAGES COURTESY OF DR.AMANI AL-ZAIDAN
LESSONS IN LIFE
SMALL SHOES BIG HOPES Life for celebrated interior designer Amaal Al Shamali has not always been easy. As a child she was told she may never walk again. With determination and persistence she went on to prove everyone wrong, including herself As a five year-old I would often take my grandfather’s hand and walk slowly down Beirut’s little alleyways towards a small restaurant where, after a quick breakfast, we would head to the hospital for my monthly check ups. I had to walk slowly because I dragged my right leg. On my foot was an ugly heavy boot made of metal. I needed to hold my grandfather’s hand for a support because the orthopedic shoe weighed more than my body weight and it was so stiff it did not allow the leg to bend. It was then that I saw my first love…A pair of bright shiny red shoes in the window of the shop near the restaurant towards which they were heading. Pointing my little finger to the shoes I asked: “Can I have those shoes Grandpa??” He looked down at me and said gently “Insha’allah dear, one day I will buy them for you. But… not today…” I think most of us don't ever stop and think what a miracle it is to walk. It seems a simple mechanism: putting one leg forward, bending it at the knee, while lifting up the other, but
as little girl, for me it was the most difficult struggle of my daily life. A struggle I endured most of my childhood years. Seven more years the struggle continued but the persistence did not fade or wane. On the contrary it even became stronger. My family were in Kuwait, I had been sent to a special boarding school in Lebanon for children with polio, run by nuns. It meant I could continue my medical treatment alongside my education. The day came when school started and my grandparents had to say goodbye. I found myself all alone with my bag at the foot of the stairs, unable to go up. I stood there not knowing what to do when I heard the sound of one of the nuns. She came up and asked me to carry my bag upstairs, to put my things away and to get ready to join the others in the school community. In the short spells I had spent with my family in Kuwait during the holidays, my family were always overprotective of me; my father had expressly told me not to climb stairs without assistance. This had always
made me think that I was weak and needed help so to find out that I was supposed to climb stairs all by myself was a shock—and on top of that to carry my own bag! “You can do it!” The sister said to me. “Don't ever think that you can't, or that you need help from anyone! God has taken something from you and has given you something in return. Look for the things he gave you and stop looking for things you don't have”. She assured me. “You can do anything you want to do in your life, don't allow anyone to tell you that you can't” she continued. Ever since that day her words were imprinted in my mind and soul and become my motto in my life. Yes, God may have taken my ability to walk ‘normally’ like other children, but it turned out He had given me a powerful brain and wonderful imagination in which I lived for much of my childhood. I discovered I could sit for hours with a pen and paper in hand, drawing whatever I wanted in simple sketches. This would later develop into one of my most powerful assets. My first
sketch? Those red shiny shoes that I had seen as a five year-old. Then at the age of twelve I arrived at the hospital for my usual check-up only to find, out of the blue, that the doctor decided I did not need the heavy boot anymore! I was thrilled. My grandfather picked me up and carried me to the car—then we realized I had never owned any shoes in my life! Reading my mind, my grandfather changed course and carried me through the streets of down town Beirut to the little store we had first seen all those years ago. There was a pair of shoes identical to the ones I had seen when I was five. I still remember that moment I slipped my feet in those gorgeous red shoes and stood up for the first time—without the help of the orthopedic shoe, or the hands of my grandfather–to look at my feet in that mirror. It felt as if all the happiness I felt at that moment couldn’t fit into my heart and soul. All those terrible memories of helplessness; the hard work and the struggles were erased in an instant. This moment was all that mattered now, this was the first achievement in my life. From that day on my life became like a roller coaster ride. I felt within me an inner power given to me by God that I could use to overcome anything that stood between me and my biggest dream. Those dreams started to get bigger and bigger as l grew older. I was fueled by the same energy when I returned finally back home to Kuwait after spending my childhood in Lebanon. At the Kuwaiti elementary school I was horribly bullied by other girls who picked on me because of how I walked.
Nevertheless I always believed that I had the power to overcome the bullying and turn it around into admiration. I was blessed with a great analytical brain and, thanks to my boarding school in Lebanon, spoke three languages: French, English and Arabic. It allowed me to become so popular both with the students, teachers and administrative staff that I was an ‘A’ student in all subjects, and at every level—even in my university degree. It was an amusing journey; I did not struggle with exams or assignments, nor did I get stressed. For me my education was always just fun! I used to win all the awards given to the ‘student of the year’, and in all the subjects. It also meant I won the hearts of the teachers, soon I became a role model for other students thanks to my grades and my diplomacy with regards to others. On top of it all I was a happy soul who always kept smiling, never giving into my disability or physical limitations. The magic continued all through my life.
I graduated with the highest honors in the university. Against all odds I went on to give birth to handsome healthy boys, even when doctors tried to warn me that pregnancy would lead to complications. Again I had not given in to fear or allowed others to impose weakness on me. I have always been rewarded with so many gifts throughout my life. For me what makes life worth living is the belief that you constantly have within you a God-given power to fulfill all your dreams and to get through hardships. I profoundly believe that we should never doubt our capabilities, we just need to believe in ourselves and enjoy life’s journey and always remember to be grateful and thankful for everything in it. I still think of the nun’s words to me as I stood at the bottom of the stairs as a 5 year-old. Even when we think we have had something taken from us, we should remember that God has given us something to replace it—it’s up to us to find out what it is.
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The Executive Editor meets Shaikha Suad Al Sabah With its long winding drive, verdant lawns and carefully-tended flower beds; the Shetland ponies and oversized, children's clapboard playhouse, The White Palace in Kuwait is everything I imagined it to be: the epitome of charm. It is also a reflection of its remarkable resident, who has long held legendary status in the hearts of Kuwaitis, and indeed the international literati, most notably in the Middle East. Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah is one of a kind: not just the nation’s first graduate of political science from the UK but a well-recognized international poet of note. But more than anything, Dr. Suad al-Sabah is a doting mother and grandmother, today, some of her family have joined her on the lawn as the spring sun is setting. For decades, Shaikha Dr. Suad AlSabah was of course a proud and loyal wife to the late Shaikh Abdullah AlMubarak Al-Sabah, hailed as the man behind many of Kuwait’s educational and cultural advances. A man she never fails to credit for her own success. As she walks into the drawing room our eyes meet for the first time. With a
broad smile she throws her arms out wide. The greeting has a rare warmth and gentleness, as charming as the girlish smile and twinkling eyes. Like all who have had the honor to meet her, Dr. Suad Al-Sabah’s generosity of spirit and her aura of quiet, unostentatious elegance is tangible. On the walls are dozens of her own paintings, quiet, bucolic landscapes reminiscent of Alpine Switzerland or Tuscany, painted in soft, impressionistic pastel colors. There are too, a great number of photographs of family members including her late husband. She asks if we would like to see her art studio. I am shocked. The studio is another world—virtually no bucolic landscapes here, instead enormous canvases are covered in tiny specks of color, like bird eggs. Splashes of bright yellow, electric blue and white stand out against a rose-gold background. The style echoes the great Abstract Expressionist, Paul “Jackson” Pollack, who in 1940s America introduced an avant-garde style that he said transferred the artist's innermost emotions, expression and mood onto the canvas.
“Every good painter paints what he is.” Pollack once said. “Today painters do not have to go to a subject matter outside of themselves. Most modern painters work from a different source. They work from within.” If that is true then, in the case of this Kuwaiti painter, she is a celebration of color and dynamism; a firework in the night sky. The same vibrance we read in her poetry has somehow been translated into the vigorous strokes and colors with which she makes such striking art. Dr. Suad later quietly admits that it is her painting—not her writing–that truly sets her free. We share a fleeting hour talking about life, art and her writings. She has many works of poetry that remain unpublished. I sense she hankers for an opportunity to publish them as if she was releasing songbirds from lifelong incarceration in a cage to sing freely for all to hear. I hope the birds are set free. I hope we will one day hear their song, floating across the skies high above The White Palace. The interview with Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah follows
Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah by a portrait of her late husband, Shaikh Abdullah Mubarak Al-Sabah
NATIONAL TREASURE Poet, painter and member of the global literati, the unmistakable eloquence of Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah can clearly be heard in this exclusive and revelatory interview. Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri speaks with one of Kuwait’s most accomplished women about her life, her children and the role of artistic censorship. TCM: Suad Al-Sabah is known for her eloquent poetry, today it is missed by so many, why have you stopped writing? SAS: I didn’t retire from writing, indeed I have never at any time announced the break-up of my friendship with the pen. The pen is an extension of my hand and the ink, the extension of my veins. Just because I am publishing [my works] doesn’t mean that I have “stopped writing” it just meant I chose not to publish what I was writing.
When I saw that the world no longer regards print publishing as the media’s ‘jewel in the crown’ I went back to the writers’ favorite realm—books. Literature represents a world of originality and, for me, are the primary source of ideas and knowledge. TCM: What role did your late husband Shaikh Abdullah Mubarrak play in your career and your personal life? SAS: He is the threshed wheat that fed me; the river of life that cleansed me and the lighthouse that I turn to for shelter. TCM: How do you regard the latest forms of Social Media? Can this be a tool with which to reach new audiences? SAS: Authors are no more than birds, happy with any new window of freedom. It’s a wonderful and beautiful space and I embraced platforms like Twitter, Instagram and Facebook wholeheartedly, right from when they launched.
Women will not disappear into the background; just like the moon, the more they are out of sight, the more present they become TCM: The core aim of art is to provoke emotions, especially in poetry. Does censorship threaten to cut the throat of Arabic poetry in future? SAS: There is no longer any place for censors in this vast expanse we call publishing; the only censor is the conscience that resides within our souls. Our conscience should intervene at the right time, for example to prevent ridiculing someone, or humiliating another human being, and to prevent offence to fundamentals beliefs of humanity and religion. However, through all known history censors always end up on the losing side, the censored will always break free of the handcuffs that hold them. TCM: Where does Arabic poetry stand in the Arabian Gulf and in the Middle East today? SAS: Arabic poetry is a vast open desert but, if you are talking about the latest work of the newest generation of Arabs poets, I see them as scattered green shoots coming through the dry soil. Arab poetry is still producing highly regarded works; to me, poetry is a living organism that doesn’t die. I regard many esteemed poets such as the 10th century Arab poet “AlMutanabbi” [Abu at-Tayyib Ahmad ibn al-Husayn Al-Mutanabbi Al-Kindi], and the 20th century writer Kahlil Gibran as truly wonderful prodigies of this living organism. TCM: Arabic poetry Awards - are they a motivation for creativity or do you see them as tools to simply bolster a political agenda? SAS: I view positively any initiative
that supports culture. Nonetheless, awards that support culture are noble crusades and as such they should be devoid of opportunism and exploitation. It is the true intellectual who guides and rewrites the political agenda. Politics cannot resist the waves of culture, yet it is those pretentious people who are enticed by the idea of seducing politics—in reality it just makes them slip even deeper into the darkness. TCM: Professional poetry criticism evaluates the work of poets, how do you evaluate the work of current critics, and how important is it to literature and poetry? SAS: There’s a proverb in our culture which says “contentment is an inexhaustible treasure”, this is true for many things except for arts and culture, here I refer to painting, literature and poetry. When you are content with what is available and satisfied with what history has provided you with, you will be expelled from the creative family. Criticism is a must; it is needed; it plows the land for creative thinking so that it provides more greenery. No matter what, the sun will still burn the barren land. TCM: Do you support the suggestion that poetry, should be written purely for the sake of poetry? SAS: There are many reasons a poet might write: for his own enjoyment, for the enjoyment of his/her lover, or for his country or his religion. Some write for the sake of writing, yet at the end, poetry is poetry. For me, personally, I write to stay alive.
TCM: How do you see the role of Kuwaiti women, especially after the decline in representation at the Legislative and Executive level of government, and how best can this decline be mitigated? SAS: Compared to the past, there is no doubt that women are more visible and they are now more able to take political roles, especially under the wise leadership of HH the Amir who has provided women with suitable conditions for political participation and has encouraged them to put themselves forward into more leadership roles. After hitherto enjoying a robust presence [in previous parliamentary appointments] in terms of their representational numbers we may be seeing the voters re-assess the way they regard women in parliament - but I think this is only a passing phase. I suspect we will see many surprises in the coming years. In any case women will not disappear into the background, just like the moon, the more they are out of sight, the more present they become. TCM: What is your take on the current political scene, and how do you view the State's plans for economic development? SAS: The economy is the nervous system of the nation and the modern day economy [in Kuwait] has been the main engine for politics. One can understand politics and certain aspects of society but we cannot wholly understand society nor can we plan anything divorced from the framework of our economy. The main aspects of the Kuwaiti economy have remained the same, oil is our only
At home in her private art studio
The Editor-in-Chief, Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri enjoys a tour of Shaikha Suadâ€™s private art studio with her grandson Abdullah Khaled Al-Sabah
Ubiquitous elegance at the White Palace
Shaikha Suad with some of her grandchildren source of revenue: we depend on it; on top of that we rely on expatriate labor, so the structure of Kuwait’s economy has fundamental flaws, plus there is a lack of clear strategy to rebalance these deficits. The economy is therefore susceptible to crises and inflation at any time. Another challenge is the lack of initiative for the creation of effective instruments which could be used in economic policy-making and the reform process. We need a practical rationalization of expenditure, linked to the State Budget Plan whereby developmental initiatives can be linked to economic policy. TCM: Shaikha Dr. Suad Al-Sabah is known as distinguished poet, but few know you as an expert in politics, economy and planning, do you follow economics today? SAS: I graduated in economy - and I took a sabbatical the moment I graduated!
TCM: Please illuminate us about your experiences with relation to your children and grandchildren. SAS: Each of my children and grandchildren has a special poem in my heart. They are my literary library, my pulse and the light in my eyes. They have always been my collaborators in everything they wrote. From their beautiful faces I get ideas; from their features my words take inspiration; through their laughter I write my most beautiful sentences. Through them, I become overcome with emotion. From when I wrote the collection of works such as “Omnia” and “For You My Son” my children and grandchildren are always with me when I write. They love literature and I feel they are proud of my work, they developed a taste for poetry, its audience and its patrons. Poetry was fed to them, in the milk of their childhood.
TCM: In the age of high technology, how do you advise fathers and mothers to ignite the passion for creativity and knowledge-seeking in their children? SAS: Education. Education. Education, and all its fundamental and noble values. “Read” is the first word of the Holy Qur’an commanded by God, from it, we should know where to go to be safe. TCM: What is your greatest fear? SAS: That my many unpublished works remain unpublished.
GREAT BRITISH BRANDING Regarded as the ‘Sport of Kings’ the sport of polo is a multi-million dollar business supported by elite brands. Two young British entrepreneurs have created a sporting event that is now held across five continents. Polo is known as a sport where business and pleasure come together with guests indulging in topnotch corporate hospitality, thrilling horsemanship meanwhile meeting likeminded business people from all over the world. Polo matches are where friendships are made and in many cases, deals are done. 'British Polo Day Global Series’ is the brainchild of two British entrepreneurs, former British Army officers Ed Olver and Tom Hudson. After meeting at university they went on to become the founders of British Polo Day in 2011. Functioning not just as a global polo network, they combine chairty fund raising and high society gatherings with the art of branding. British Polo Day is a showcase for top European brands that epitomize bespoke craftsmanship and elegance. British Polo Day is now held on five continents and is celebrated for engaging international business titans in raising money for philanthropic causes.
True to its ‘royal’ traditions, the company has hosted members of twelve royal families, 100 independent billionaires and leaders in world innovation, including Sir Richard Branson and Elon Musk among others. In the Arabian Gulf, polo enjoys a loyal fan base, no more so than at the Ghantoot Racing and Polo Club in Abu Dhabi, the private royal polo ground of HH Sheikh Falah bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, when in March 2016, it played host to ‘British Polo Day’ presented by RJI Capital and supported by hosts of luxury brands . These included the likes of Bentley, Floris, Harrods, Jaeger-LeCoultre, Hackett London among many others. The success of British Polo Day has been largely down to word-of-mouth endorsement from many guests and supporters including key figures in government, the aristocracy, diplomats, military, fashion, art and popular culture. The event is a celebration of craft and heritage and has become an
unparalleled platform for engagement and business in emerging and growing markets. As the sun set in Abu Dhabi, some 200 guests including HH Sheikh Mohammed Al Nayhan Bin Mubarak Al Nayhan, HE Sheikha Lubna Al Qassimi and Baroness Scotland of Asthal arrived at the club to enjoy an evening of sporting entertainment. They were joined by the cream of the global business community: Ron Wahid, George Kappaz, Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri, Roberta Annan, Sanjeet Bhavnani, Keith Bristow, Peter Prentice and Christophe Degl’Innocenti. HE Philip Parham CMG, British Ambassador to the UAE, also graced the event which combined the best of Gulf and British equestrian tradition. The glamorous black-tie evening kicked off with two unusual polo matches: camel polo and bicycle polo before the ponies took to the turf. The highlight exhibition polo match of the evening – The British Polo Day Plate –saw the home team RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team play the visiting Royal Salute
British Exiles; both sides were led onto the field of play by a pair of the latest Bentley SUVs, the Bentayga – the first of their kind to arrive in the UAE. British Polo Day Abu Dhabi’s official prize-giving ceremony saw top players Jamie Morrison, Jack Richardson, Lucas Diaz and Felipe Llorente vying for a spot on the podium. Abdullah Ben Desmail collected the specially commissioned British Polo Day Plate presented by HH Sheikh Mohammed Nahyan bin Muburak Al Nahyan and Ron Wahid for RJI Capital Ghantoot Polo Team. After a delightful supper, the British Polo Day team hosted a live charity auction raising a total of US$46,000 for Women And Health Alliance International (WAHA) launched by HH Shaikha Shamsa bint Hamdan Al-Nahyan and a UK-based charity ‘Ending Domestic Violence’, under the patronage of Baroness Scotland of Asthal.
British Polo Day in Abu Dhabi / ©Sam Churchill
In countries all over the world, polo has a long history of raising significant funding for worthy causes. In 2015, the cumulative running total of amounts raised for good causes broke through the US$1.8m threshold and keeps on rising. The British Polo Day ‘Global Series’ has now held over 47 events in 15 countries. It has grown to encapsulate ten annual events spanning Abu Dhabi, Australia, China, Dubai, France, Germany, Great Britain, India, Mexico, Morocco, Russia, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand and the US.
British Polo Day is a way to bring global business titans together
REBEL WITH A CAUSE Kawther Al Jouan was blessed with a good education and supportive family. From the age of 16 she understood the vital importance of women’s rights and freedom of expression. She speaks to The Correspondent of the joys and setbacks she endured while defending these rights. additional reporting by FELIPE MARIO CARIDADE Looking back now on my 50-year career I reflect on my childhood and those events that shaped me growing up. For many women, the fight for their rights, started at, or after University. It was not the case for me. The idea of women’s rights had grabbed me at a very young age, largely due to the fact that my father, Abdullah Al Jouan, was an open-minded person who was very well read and who stressed the importance of education. In our house, education, reading and culture were highly valued. My father would not only encourage us by buying books but he would also take time to discuss those books with us. Outside of the home, he greatly encouraged us to participate in various school activities, such as radio, music, theater and sports. This is how my sisters, my brother and myself were raised. We were a group of five girls and one boy, but our father never discriminated among us. He treated us all equally, he even invited us to attend discussions on, for example, political or economic affairs, which
were discussed among small groups of friends who visited him. We were exposed to intellectual discourse at a very young age which made us more aware of issues than our peers. My father wanted to prepare us for the future by teaching us to harness knowledge. He had a soft and gentle character, but at times was tough. He would get angry if someone failed to stand up for what is right. He instilled in us high ethical standards, the importance of stating one’s opinion, and the necessity of doing what is right and defending what is correct. He felt that these were fundamental characteristics found in any person who wanted to work towards the betterment of our country, which was then rapidly growing. We were thus brought up to be courageous; it was in our nature to be brave and express our thoughts and opinions. Going back a generation, my grandfather used to teach us Arabic and the Qur’an. Through these teachings we received a good grounding in terms of learning how to articulate our thoughts, elaborate on ideas, and debate issues. Our
Our home life and school activities permitted us to appreciate things that few people did at that young age. That helped me acquire my own ideas about women, freedom, and empowerment grandfather equipped us with powerful and persuasive oratory skills. Every good task and new lesson learnt was rewarded with either pocket money, for us to buy things we liked, or candy—a highly prized treat as confectionery was not readily available in the 1950s. When I needed to write an essay or give a speech, I was taught to consider what message I wanted to get across. He often guided me, referring me to texts that I should read to improve my skills, set guidelines and review my work. I was never spoon-fed. My father used techniques that made us realize the importance of studying and being well-prepared, we knew that excelling in school would require a lot of effort on our part. There are few children who would willingly choose a rigorous learning process over playing and having fun but we had a true understanding of why it is important to be well-rounded in terms of our education. It was not just my parents, but my grandparents too who supported education. My grandfather, Sager Alghanim, was an army general during the period of the late Amir, HH Shaikh Mubarak Al-Sabah and on my mother’s side, the Al Ibrahim family, were a well-known merchant family that influenced both politics and education. Their grant for the establishment of Al-Mubarakiya School was the biggest at the time and accounted for twothirds of the total amount donated. Thus, at a young age, I was greatly influenced by religion, literature and education. As we grew up, our home
life and school activities permitted us to appreciate things that few people did at that young age. That helped me acquire my own ideas about women, freedom, and empowerment. At Qibla School for Girls, I started paying more attention to the political climate around us in the Middle East. I read about Egypt and Iraq, and began to get a better understanding of how people in these societies live. I could identify things they had but we didn’t, and vice versa. I observed that women were mainly teachers, a few others held government posts at very junior or entry level. I believed that my country was beautiful and had a lot of wealth, not just fiscallyspeaking, but human and cultural riches. I asked myself: why couldn’t a Kuwaiti woman be an ambassador or a Minister? At the age of 15, I had already sensed that women faced obstacles in attaining positions such as these and I wanted Kuwait be a pioneer and a leader in this regard. While my family encouraged us to think and have an opinion, many of my peers were afraid to speak their mind. That started a new era for me where I tried to talk to the girls around me and teach them about women’s rights. During that time, something that had a profound and magnetic impact on me was the French occupation of Algeria and the Algerian freedom fighter, Djamila Bouhired. At that
time, Algeria was often referred to as the ‘Nation of a Million Martyrs’. My family and many others in Kuwait had started gathering donations for Algeria. I was gathering the donations from my family and this gave me a sense of patriotism and a feeling of solidarity with other Arabs. I felt that even though we were geographically distant, there was something that united us all. This was a cause that everyone was rallying around, I was just sixteen at the time but I felt privileged to be part of that era. When Algeria was given independence, Djamila Bouhired was invited to visit Kuwait. During those days, there were no organizations or NGOs for women and the number of Kuwaiti female graduates who were studying abroad were no more than six or seven. (The first batch of female Kuwaitis to go study abroad was in 1956). That was a pivotal point in my career. Djamila Bouhired was coming to Kuwait and there was no female representation, official or unofficial, that could take part in her reception. This is a moment that is overlooked in the history of women’s movement in Kuwait. I realize some female groups wish to bypass the event and appreciate they may have their own reasons for doing so, but I believe this is history and we should document history according to facts—whether it was something in which we took part, or something in which we wished we’d taken part, but didn’t. I should add
At home with Kawther Al Jouan an aside here that, from a historical angle, some see the starting point of the women’s movement stemming from an event that happened in the early 50s, when a group of women decided to throw away their abaya and wear foreign clothes. I see that simply as an act of rebellion, not the start of an actual movement. Anyway, I loved school because I was doing very well, I was an ‘A’ student— not only in the mainstream classes but also in extracurricular activities. I was head of the school radio program and, having been involved in gathering donations for Algeria, I felt a little sad that we couldn’t participate in Djamila Bouhired’s reception. So I asked my close friends and my classmates in school if they thought it was a good idea to form a welcome party of girls at the airport. They all loved the idea and each girl then asked her parents for permission to participate. We saw it as a personal act representing ourselves and our families, it was not related to the school or its activities. We came up with a name and called ourselves, the ‘Kuwait Female Committee to Receive and Greet Djamila Bouhired,
Our Guest in Kuwait’. We took a collection amongst ourselves with every girl asking her parents for KD10, which gave us a kitty of KD250. Back then it was worth as much KD2,500 today. With the money, we bought white doves and cages, olive branches, and signage. We even used calligraphers to write on the signage. Imagine, we were so young and we thought of all these things because we felt that this was a historic moment that cannot be seen by the international media without women’s participation. We didn’t think of telling women to do something but rather took it upon ourselves to do it. The rehearsals and the arrangement was done in our house in Shuwaikh, and we were also able to rent a bus with a driver from the money we had gathered to take us to the airport as well. I spoke to my father and the other girls spoke to their parents to present a unified a message to government officials that were arranging the reception of Djamila Bouhired at the airport, asking them to allow our bus to come in. It was the first time women
had claimed something for themselves and that was unprecedented at that time. It was very strange and indeed, very shocking to many. We did all this discreetly, our meetings and communications were secret, no member of the faculty in school was aware of it and no one outside our group knew anything. We were able to maintain that level of secrecy and privacy because we were one tight group and we stuck together. A few days before Djamila Bouhired’s arrival we were allocated a space to park and given a spot to stand with our banners and signage, next to some of the biggest names of Kuwait male society. Everything was very well organized. Our hopes were high. I was tasked with giving a small welcome speech but in the weeks preceding to her arrival, I had met the late Hidaya Sultan Al-Salem, a highly regarded female publisher and editor of a magazine. She was much older than us and I felt that it was more suitable if she gave the speech instead of me and she graciously agreed to do it. Unfortunately, a few days before Djamila Bouhired’s arrival, my school
principal became aware of our group and our plans, and she questioned officials as to why we were being given the privilege of meeting Djamila Bouhired at the airport, and put forth her demand that all 800 female students at Qibla School for Girls be given the same opportunity. Her request was denied and this caused even more trouble for us. The school principal insisted and repeated her request three times until they finally gave in and agreed that all students should participate and it was then decided that Djamila Bouhired would instead visit all the girls’ schools in Kuwait.
that the Principal’s room was empty so I sneaked in there and phoned my eldest sister, Taiba, and told her how we were being humiliated in front of the whole school. My sister came over to the school and spoke to the Deputy Principal, trying to reason with her. She asked her why we had been referred to as ‘outlaws’ when we were forward thinkers who should be commended and not punished. As my sister felt that she wasn’t making headway with the Deputy Principal she took us out of school. She took us to another school where Djamila Bouhired was visiting.
On the day of her visit, I was approached by the Deputy Principal, Ms. Lulwa Al-Qatami, who instructed me not to read the news out on the school radio that day, which was my daily practice. I suspected that there may be a level of anger and resentment from the school towards us, and that resentment may go beyond just stopping me from reading the news for the school radio. I was right, there was more punishment to come.
At that school, Ms. Bouhired was accompanied by His Highness the late Shaikh Abdullah Al-Jabar Al-Sabah and Shaikha Al-Anjeri and Noura AlFalah who had been among the first women to graduate with university scholarships outside Kuwait. When HH Shaikh Abdullah Al-Jabar Al-Sabah saw us running in, he stopped us and jokingly asked us what we were running away from. We told him that we had been banned for a day from our school and that we did not want to miss out on the opportunity to meet our hero. He assured us that she would not running off and we were able to greet and talk briefly with her.
At the school’s morning assembly, before we could begin with the daily routine, the Deputy Principal took the microphone and stated that there were ‘outlaws’ in our school. Instantly, I realized that she was referring to our group. She started calling out all 25 girls, one by one, to come in the middle of the courtyard for the entire school to see them. She announced that we were to be punished, locked in a room and not be given the honor to meet and greet Djamila Bouhired. Amal Al Azmi, Taiba Khalid Al Marzouq, Bazza Al Zahem, Ghaneema Khalid Al-Saadoun, Altaf Al-Sultan…..these were just some of our group. As the Deputy Principal was calling them out by name, I saw
A few months after the Djamila Bouhired event, what we had done at school spread through the community and soon after, the Kuwaiti Women’s Cultural and Social Society was established which contributed to the support for the empowerment of women. During the late 1950s and 1960s, as an incentive to students who excelled in school, Kuwait’s Ministry of Education arranged overseas trips to other Arab
countries. In light of the ‘incident’ and the school deeming me an outlaw, my name was struck off the list of those going on a school trip to Jordan during spring break. I was sixteen years old and heartbroken by this injustice. When I spoke to my father, he presented me the option of not just spending a few weeks away but continuing my studies outside of Kuwait, in Jordan, or in any other country of my choosing. It was then I realized that despite what had happened to me, and the conflict that had arisen with the Deputy Principal, who was after all, just one individual at the school, these events had not marred my experience of school. Nor had it changed the way I looked at the other faculty members and friends—who were lovely, so I chose to continue my studies in Kuwait. At school I was a member of the Drama Club; each year the school would put on a play. There was real support for, and interest in education during this period; parents were invited to the performance as well as the Minister of Education, the late Shaikh Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah and numerous other VIPs. In the upcoming school play I was given the lead role. I waited until the opening day and then, as a form of protest, I made a stand: I refused to perform. I wanted to send a message to those at school who had humiliated and insulted me by calling me an ‘outlaw’. By having the lead actress not turn up to a play that parents and VIPs had been invited to, I sought to embarrass the school which had deprived me from traveling to Jordan—a long-awaited trip that was a
reward for my hard-won achievements, and for which I had waited a year. That morning, some faculty members rang my father, hoping that he would persuade me to participate in the play. My father was on my side, furthermore, he had commended me on the firm stance I had taken. Next, the school deployed my friends and schoolmates to convince me to reconsider. However I knew that they had been instructed to do this as they merely repeated the schoolâ€™s message like parrots. Some asked if I really wanted to miss this opportunity to be in the limelight, others admonished me saying how badly they would be affected by my decision. But I had made up my mind and that act of defiance was my renaissance.
At that moment I felt that my character was reshaped. People then realized that I didnâ€™t come from a family where the father ordered his children around but rather blessed them with freedom of expression and the ability to make independent decisions. Knowing how proud and happy this had made my father filled me with great relief. I decided from that point onwards to fight for what is right and not allow anyone to treat me in an unfair or unjust way. This would mark the end of the formative period I spent at high school. I realized that if my parents were happy with my decisions, if I didnâ€™t break rules or do anything bad, and as long as I had the moral compass of my parents, I could be my own master.
Kawther Al Jouan received the 2007 Arab Woman Leadership Award from The AmericanArab Anti-Discrimination Committee in the US 69
SPREADING MEANINGFUL MESSAGES Jeff Roach explains how Social Media can be used to promote information and good causes, as much as for self-promotion those appeals for help go uncharted in the Social Media communities. As a result, these organizations’ profiles remain relatively invisible.
JEFF ROACH Jeff Roach is the founder of Sociallogical, a consulting agency to help businesses determine the significant changes in how businesses engage their people, inside and outside the company. He has coached leading companies in understanding and using social media.
Is Social Media just about ‘selfies’? We hope not. Social enterprises, in other words community projects and charities who often work as ‘non-profit’ organizations, can find Social Media is an essential tool for them to platform their work. If used effectively, it is one of the fastest means to spread information, inform and educate others instantly. Because of its immediacy—delivered in many cases to smart phones, it can also be used to disseminate timely information such as bad weather updates into our hands, just like a ‘real-time’ community notice board. It is astonishing to learn that very often the good work that so many non-profit organizations, charities and volunteerbased outfits do, in any society, goes totally unnoticed. All that hard work or
Can people be blamed for not giving a helping hand to organizations that they either don’t know anything about, or whose public profiles are barely visible? This is because many volunteer-run websites or Social Media pages do not take time to promote themselves in the same enterprising and engaging way as the profit-making companies! Through creative stories, commentary, information and images, Social Media can present a ‘personality’ for a cause, an annual event or a center of education over a period of time, plus a perspective on why it matters and, who it matters to. It’s about telling people about the lives of others, who, in some cases, are way less fortunate than ourselves. But how organized is your organization in terms of its Social Media messaging? Have you a sustained and cohesive Social Media PR plan? A 2014 survey showed that only 25% of professionals in non-profit organizations in North America had bothered to produce a planned, documented content strategy for their Social Media pages. It is true, non-profits are different from businesses, but there is much they can gain by engaging in the same marketing methods they use. Here in Kuwait, there is another aspect to Social Media; organizations, from schools to farms and even health institutions all use Social Media
accounts to inform, educate and share information. In countries like Kuwait, public information gathering difficult. This is especially tough for expats when they discover websites are rarely updated and telephone numbers are not checked. Therefore Kuwait’s Social Media scene provides a vital information channel to services, as well as fun activities. It is immediate, easily shared, and messages can be used as a timely reminder to supporters to attend an event or spread the word. Instagram, the free application which uses photos and hashtags as the means to send or connect messages, is now one of the key ways to stay informed. For anyone who doesn’t ‘bother’ with Instagram in Kuwait, they could be missing out on a plethora of information including live news about road accidents and advance weather warnings. There are sites covering community gardening projects, free cinema or concerts, farm tours and language classes. These days you can find guides to fitness programs, cultural events and open days in aid of animal welfare charities, or places to recycle clothes or learn how to weave. So if you want to rally support for a school event, push your kids to be more active or check what’s on in Kuwait, set up an instagram account and follow useful accounts that can actually enhance your life and provide you and your family with useful daily or weekly updates and news.
USEFUL INSTAGRAM SITES IN KUWAIT Social Media is the prime tool for • Educating, informing and engaging people. • Keeping and growing supporters. • Establishing the organization as the focal point for those who care about the same cause. • Shedding light on misinformation and empowering your community to speak out for you. Culture and cultural activities
News and events @ ALSHAHEEDPARK
#asharething: We mentor leaders, train staff, create online platforms and strategies to grow your business, and measure what matters in social. sologi.co/InstaLink
Sports @ QOUTMARKET @ KOSASAILING
@ KAYAK4KUWAIT @ POSEIDONKW
@ SADUHOUSE @ CAPKUWAIT
Language Learning @ DAI_KUWAIT @ AHMADIMUSICG @ IF _ KOWEIT @ TOTHEFARM
Animals @ TRAPPED_INN
@ PAWS _ KUWAIT
@ KUWAITRC @ GREENCARAVANFILMFESTIVAL
BACK TO BASICS Starting a business? Don’t underestimate the value of your intangible assets, also known as your intellectual property by Aisha Y. Salem In 2015, I was asked to speak on intellectual property (IP) at an event for tech startups. The organizer leaned over and said “You know, our members really want to learn about patents.”
AISHA Y. SALEM As Intellectual Property (IP) Attaché for the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) based at the US Embassy in Kuwait, Aisha's remit covers seventeen countries and territories stretching from Algeria to Yemen. Her main focus is to help American companies do business in the region, advocating US government IP initiatives, policies and interests, and working with host governments to improve IP systems. Part of her job also involves helping secure strong IP provisions in international agreements and host country laws, and working to monitor their implementation.
“That’s good to know” I replied. “But they also want to learn about copyright and trademark protection, too, right?” “No”, the woman replied. “They’re just concerned about patents….” As an IP lawyer who has spoken to many entrepreneurs over the years, this concerned me. Startups should consider ALL forms of IP protection, and they should do it very early on in the process. A specific, robust IP plan developed early on in the life of your company will allow you to maximize the value of your assets and protect your valuable IP down the road. Different types of IP can be explained more easily with the following analogy:
If I invent a time machine, I get patent protection for that innovation. If I decide to use a logo or slogan to sell my machine, such as “The Never-Ending Time Machine,” I get trademark protection for that brand name. If I write a novel about time travel, I get copyright protection for the creative expression. You are probably wondering why you need all of these various forms of protection – why isn’t the patent enough? The simple answer is that obtaining a patent for your innovation is a great first step when starting your business. However, in order to make your business truly successful, simply obtaining a patent is usually not enough to protect the entirety of your product. Patent protection ensures that others cannot copy—or profit from–your innovation. The owner of a patent has the right to exclude others from using it or commercially exploiting it, which allows the inventor to reap
all the financial rewards of his or her invention. While obtaining a patent is good first step, it is also important to identify and promote your product with branding. The best way to do this is to register a trademark for your product – that is, use any word, symbol, or combination of the two, to identify your product as your own and to differentiate your product from your competitors’ products. The key here is that consumers should be able to identify the source of the product by looking at the trademark. You should also be careful to avoid confusing consumers into thinking your product comes from someone else, because you wouldn’t want to be accused of trademark infringement. Finally, for any creative expression, for example, a novel about time travel, you will get copyright protection. A copyright protects the expression of your ideas, but NOT the ideas themselves, and can include things like books, movies, music, and computer software. Copyright protection actually exists from the moment you “fix” your expression in a tangible form; for example, a novel that has been typed
up into a document—not one that exists only in your head. However, in the US for example, unless you register your copyright with the US Copyright Office, you are unable to sue for certain remedies in court for copyright infringement should someone use your work without your express authorization. Remember that your creative expression, in whatever form that takes, must be original to you. Although you probably need a lawyer to help you file a patent application, you don’t necessarily need one in order to come up with an IP strategy. Always remember that IP is a business asset, has commercial value, and is of interest to investors. If you are a startup looking to make your business more attractive to investors, make an effort to ensure you have developed an attractive IP portfolio, one that takes into account all types of IP protection, so your intangible assets remain protected from the start of your entrepreneurial journey.
An earlier version of this piece appeared in Communicate Magazine in 2015. Reprinted with permission
Tareq Rajab Museum, Kuwait
FOLKLORIC FESTIVAL The groundbreaking Tareq Rajab Museums in Kuwait offer world-class collections of antiquities found nowhere else. In the quiet suburb of Jabriya near Kuwait City lie two private museums. For anyone who possesses even a passing interest in Islamic culture and ethnography, these museums house the region’s most extraordinary and unmissable cultural experience.
Priceless collections include costumes (top) and porcelain (bottom)
The museums’ patron and co-founder was the late Tareq Sayed Rajab, a name synonymous with oriental splendors. Rajab, a respected Kuwaiti private collector, started collecting at the age of 14 when he traveled solo to Baghdad in search of old manuscripts. Together with his English-born wife Jehan, who passed away in 2015, they sought out the most exquisite and culturally important artifacts from far and wide. Over the course of five decades, their unparalleled collection of objets d’art have come to rival any national museum anywhere in the world. Established in 1980, the main collection is housed in The Tareq Rajab Museum; it was the first private museum of Islamic culture of its kind in the Arabian Gulf. Minutes away, in a splendid Moorish building called Dar Jehan, lies The Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Calligraphy. Founded in 2007, it displays another
The Tareq Rajab Museum of Islamic Calligraphy showcases the Islamic worldâ€™s rarest and most exquisite calligraphic works
captivating collection, this time of Arabic calligraphic works on paper, textile, ceramic, metal and stone. Many of these items are of international standing and importance such as a book on optics written by Alkindi (Alkindus) in Baghdad in the 9th Century AD, or manuscripts by the famous calligrapher Almusta’asami who was seized by the Mongols during the capture of Baghdad in 1258 AD.
United Kingdom, he met his future wife Jehan, who was very interested in ethnography and folklore
The Rajab family’s spellbinding museums contain over 30,000 items of which approximately 10,000 pieces are on permanent display. These range from delightful costumes to unusual textiles, jewelry and musical instruments. As any visitor will attest, the two museums are superlative in their breadth and beauty bringing back visitors again and again to appreciate the extensive variety of artworks.
By then, the Rajabs were already fervent collectors. Traveling all over the Islamic world and beyond to Central and Southeast Asia and the Far East, they did not just collect stunning artifacts but carefully photographed monuments, peoples, their customs—everything they felt would add to the experience of visiting a private museum.
Tareq Rajab was a pioneer in many ways. He was the first Kuwaiti to be sent abroad to study art and archaeology. While based in the
Tareq and Jehan married in 1955 in England. After their return to Kuwait, Mr. Rajab was appointed as the first Director of the Department of Antiquities and Museums of Kuwait. He would stay in this post until 1968 when, together with his wife, they opened the New English School.
Great efforts were made by Jehan during the 1990 Iraqi invasion when, finding most of her family stuck overseas, she valiantly chose to stay in Kuwait throughout the war to safeguard the collection, part of which
had been concealed. Luckily the majority of artworks were unscathed. The two museums stand today as a testament to the hard work, courage and brilliance of the Rajab family whose passion for cultural treasures has left an infinite legacy. Tareq and Jehan Rajab’s ultimate gift was not just in collecting, it was their passion in sharing their knowledge. It is a blessing indeed for anyone who lives in the Gulf to be able visit such unique museums and see these splendors at first hand. The Tareq Rajab Museum, Street 5, Jabriya, Block 12. Kuwait Museum of Islamic Calligraphy, Street 1, Jabriya, Block 12. Kuwait (Opposite New English School) Opening hours: 09:00 – 12:00 and 16:00 – 19:00 (Saturday to Thursday) 09:00 – 12:00 (Friday) Tel: (+965) 25339063
Dear Friends of ABCK: This year marks the 30th Anniversary of American Business Council Kuwait, and as we look back on our history, we can be proud of our contribution to the American business community in Kuwait. ABCK has been a catalyst for bringing together business people to increase trade between our countries and respective business communities, and we are encouraged by the new faces in our membership each month. Additionally, through the wealth of “gray beard” knowledge that exists in the organization, the ABCK brings insight to the Kuwait Government on issues that impact both American and Kuwait companies doing business in Kuwait. ABCK is also a founding member of the Middle East Council of the American Chambers of Commerce (MECACC) and is an Associate member of the US Chamber of Commerce. Both of these organizations lobby in Congress for favorable treatment of US citizens abroad and effective trade initiatives. ABCK plays an active role in working with both of these organizations so that our voice is heard and we have representation for our members.
Because we are now a 501(c)(6) Non-Profit with an IRS Tax Exempt status, donations from US companies are tax deductible, and we are working to bring program funding for ABCK’s events and external initiatives that support our programs. While oil prices have tumbled over the last 12 months, it has taken its toll on all business sectors, to include Kuwait government project funding, the Kuwait government has still committed to its significant infrastructure planning and development, as well as its defense modernization and public safety initiatives. Both the American and Kuwait business communities have remained resilient through this time, and those companies that have taken the long view on Kuwait will continue to sustain and be positioned for continued success in the future. Additionally, this is a great opportunity for outreach to our recent and experienced Kuwait graduates of US Colleges and Universities, who have proven themselves in the academic arena and are ready to prove themselves in the work force. With the Kuwait government urging its citizens to discourage reliance on public sector jobs and move to the private sector, this is an opportunity to hire and train talented and capable Kuwaitis who will be tomorrow’s business leaders in Kuwait.
In closing, I would like to say this is perhaps my last Chairman’s Message for The Correspondent. It has sincerely been a pleasure to serve as the Chairman for this great organization, and with some of the initiatives taking place inside the ABCK, I look forward to its continued growth in membership and relevance to the American business community at-large. I am excited about the future of ABCK in 2016 and beyond, and I encourage you to become an active member in any of our committees or focus groups. We are always seeking active volunteers that are willing to participate in advancing our business objectives. If you have any ideas for the ABCK, or would like to participate in any of our events, committees or focus groups, please feel free to contact me, any BOD member or the ABCK office directly. Thank you all for your continued support! Best Regards, Scott Beverly
Chairman, American Business Council Kuwait
Ambassador Silliman delivering his remarks
South Korean Ambassador and Mrs Shin Boon
Editor-in-Chief Abdulaziz Al-Anjeri, Abdulla Almulla and Rakan Almsabehi
AMERICAN BUSINESS COUNCIL - KUWAIT CELEBRATES ITS 30TH ANNIVERSARY WITH AN ADDRESS BY US AMBASSADOR DOUGLAS SILLIMAN AND VISITING DIGNITARY DELANO ROOSEVELT, GRANDSON OF AMERICAN PRESIDENT F. D. ROOSEVELT
Mr. Ali Matrouk with Mr. Gregg Stevens
Delano and Jan Roosevelt with ABCK Chairman, Mr. Scott Beverly THE VOICE OF AMERICAN BUSINESS IN THE GCC
ABCK BOARD OF DIRECTORS Chairman Scott Beverly Company KGL Holding Telephone 1 888 700 Ext. 219 Email firstname.lastname@example.org TERM: May 2017
TERM: May 2018
Secretary Ali Al Matrouk Company Makers Inc. Telephone 2246 5925 Email email@example.com TERM: May 2016
TERM: May 2017
Board Member Ayman Nahas Company Louis Berger Telephone 2291 6014 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
TERM: May 2017
Board Member Fred Shuaibi Company NDR International Telephone 2242 6037 Email email@example.com
Term: May 2015
Board Member Charles Nahas Company Microsoft Telephone 2243 0248 Ext. 222 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member Steven F. Chikos Company Vectrus Systems Corporation Telephone 2228 1893 Email email@example.com TERM: May 2017
TERM: May 2018
Office Manager Jenson Joy Company American Business Council Kuwait Ltd. Telephone 6605 4345
Ex-officio Board Member Jeff Hamilton Company US Embassy Commercial Affairs Telephone 2259 1354 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member Joseph Bejjani Company American International Group (AIG) Telephone 2247 4260 Email email@example.com TERM: May 2015
TERM: May 2015
Board Member George Bou Mitri Company Honeywell Kuwait KSC Telephone 22421327 - 22243740 Email George.firstname.lastname@example.org
Board Member Yousef Dashti Company KGL Transportation Telephone 188700 Ext. 128 Email email@example.com TERM: May 2016
TERM: May 2017
Board Member Oswaldo Rueda Company Fluor Kuwait Telephone 9720 3425 Email Oswaldo.firstname.lastname@example.org
Treasurer Alok Chugh Company Ernst & Young, Kuwait Telephone 2243 3297 Email email@example.com
Board Member Gregg Stevens Company GJS Consulting, LLC Telephone 2563 4051 - 2220 2577 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
TERM: May 2016
TERM: May 2015
TERM: May 2017
Board Member Dr. Juliet Dinkha Company Kaizen Center Branch 2 Telephone 2571 6707 Email email@example.com
Vice Chairman Jack Montgomery Company Montgomery Executive Search Telephone 9553 2526 Email firstname.lastname@example.org
Event Manager Lorie Beverly Company American Business Council Kuwait Ltd. Telephone 9995 5403 ABCK Email email@example.com
MAGAZINE PROFILE 2016 WE ARE DIFFERENT The market place is inundated with millions of marketing messages all vying for attention. It’s imperative that your marketing spend provides the best ROI. The Correspondent combines the strength of its unparelleled contents with an enviable market penetration that reaches the highest échelons of Kuwait’s most affluent businessmen and women. The Correspondent employs innovative marketing and strategic alliances at grass root and at international government levels that not only build The Correspondent’s brand but also the brands of its advertisers across multiple regions.
ABOUT THE CORRESPONDENT Launched in 2015, The Correspondent magazine is a quarterly magazine penned by recognized journalists serving the business community in the GCC and beyond. It provides a dynamic, integrated platform for business and trade. Showcasing compelling news and interviews across all sectors.
CONTENT The Correspondent’s compact A4 size and clean format appeals to information-hungry readers. Its thought-provoking contents written by award-winning journalists cut straight to the heart of key issues delivering relevant news coverage to those people who want to be ahead of the competition.
UNPARALLELED REACH • Distributed quarterly to over 10,000 of the most influential decision makers in the region • Hand-delivered to almost 300 Chairmen and CEOs of global multinationals, over 70 diplomatic missions, in addition to highranking political leaders • Closely affiliated with the US Embassy, local and regional US trade organizations and the US Department of Defense
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CIRCULATION BY SECTOR
31% Government Embassies, Ministries & Government Bodies
20% 14% Oil & Gas - Upstream, & Support Services
12% 12% 11%
Banking, Finance & Insurance
CIRCULATION BY GEOGRAPHY
Others (Manufacturing Industrial - Consumer Goods Consumer Services)
94% University Graduates
The Correspondent’s core readership consists of Kuwait’s
business élite, Ambassadors and forward-thinkers. Each issue
Other GCC States
is delivered by hand to the desks of the nation’s most affluent and educated power brokers.
FACTS & FIGURES Reader Demographics By Designation 40%
10% 5% 0%
Diplomats & Civil Servants
Chairman, BOD & MD
CEO, CFO & General Managers
Senior Management position and above
Annual per capita income in excess of US$150,000
Published on Jun 29, 2016
We serve the business community in Kuwait, providing a dynamic platform for trade and culture. We also highlight current affairs and feature...