DESTINATION X JIS
Adel Al Jubeir, former minister of foreign affairs.
Destination KSA held a writing competition for young talents from Jeddah International School (JIS) this issue. The students were asked to write about which Saudi public figure they looked up to. All contributions showed impeccable talent, however, we had to pick one winner. Enjoy reading this piece written by JIS student Majdoline Al Amoudi about her role model Adel Al Jubeir, the former Saudi Minister of Foreign Affairs.
1) Winner of the JIS X DestinationKSA writing competition: Majdolin Al Amoudi on Adel Al Jubeir.
2) Tamara Khayyat on Wafaa Abbar
3) Rawan Bahannan on Raha Moharrak
4) Hala Al Qahtani on Princess Reema Bint Bandar
5) Elan Qurashi on Ahmed Al Shugairi
“I always tell people that if your job is to solve problems you have to be an optimist. If you’re a pessimist, you can’t be a diplomat, you should be a journalist.” – Adel Al Jubeir.
As the young global citizen I claim to be, I view politics as a feisty game of chess, where the board resembles our global community, and the pieces being all the concerns and accusations that countries hold. In this game, winning requires a deft player – in this case a politician or diplomat, who is all-knowing of their battlefield and opponent, sharp with their responses, and persuasive in their speech.
It’s no secret that Saudi had a handful of remarkable diplomatic players, who gave their country a seat among other leading nations. Needless to say, I’ve always regarded Adel Al Jubeir as a notable character who contributed to the formation of new alliances for Saudi Arabia. During his 31 years of service, Al Jubeir’s eloquence and firm stances were unmatched. Joining education and experience, he went above and beyond in advocating against corruption and injustice.
Growing up, watching him attend various international councils and interviews invoked a sense of patriotism within me. Such a feeling has resided in me, eventually growing into this passion that I sought – a passion for resolving world problems, and to have a legacy like Adel Al Jubeir’s.
As a student of the former and longest-serving Foreign Minister of Saudi Arabia, Prince Saud Al Faisal, Al Jubeir has given the world a new understanding of politics and international relations. Visiting countries far and wide, he managed to create and strengthen ties between Saudi and the world. A great man like Al Jubeir should certainly be regarded as a role model for his determination and optimistic character.
2) Wafaa Abbar
by Tamara Khayyat – Grade 10
People can have one or more role models, although there is always one role model that inspires you. That one person you look up to because it’s something about them that makes you motivated to do things or achieve a goal. Role models are figures that we see to learn.
Wafaa Abbar, a woman who I came across with the name “the queen of luxury retail therapy.” A woman who is well known as the president and primary shareholder of the Rubaiyat company. A well-known company that expresses new fashion trends and unique vision and imports of International brands in Saudi Arabia.
Abbar is an example of regional and international women with vision and adrenaline to accomplish. She has a competitive spirit and drives to be number one. With that characteristic of hers, it helps her in the workforce to achieve something. She was then announced as one of the first Saudi women to start a retail business in the kingdom.
“I think it’s only fair that the likes of Noura and I speak out so that all women sitting at home – or who are working but hiding it and don’t want to be seen – reveal themselves to the public. There is no shame in that. It’s a power,” a say about her choice to do interviews with Vogue. Abbar, the woman, seems to always have a smile on her lips, and the joyful twinkle that she holds in her eyes has had a long drive to make her mark on the world since she was a child. As a person who was the youngest in her family of six children, she looked up to her older brothers and wanted to be like them. She relishes the challenge of finding luxury goods that will sell in her and her daughter’s unique and intriguing market.
In my eyes, she is someone who wants to make a difference for women in Saudi for fashion and more. She wants to be the person that encourages you, and that makes me feel inspired by how she thinks for other women and wants to give them a considerable advantage to succeed in life. To prove that they can be leaders and great heroines just to show dedication to their work. She is an eye-opener that I admire from a distance for what she’s done to represent women in the work business.
3) Raha Moharrak
by Rawan Bahannan – Grade 11
“I did not set out to be a poster child for anything. I saw a mountain. I wanted to climb it.”– Raha Moharrak. Raha Moharrak, the first Saudi female to climb Mount Everest. It was very difficult for her to convince her family about climbing a mountain. Moreover the culture didn’t allow her or gave her the opportunity to participate in any events that were involved with sports events. Be that as it may, she never really gave up on her dream and the achievement she wanted to accomplish, Raha had taken it as a challenge to climb Mount Everest. She trained really hard for facing this hard challenges, yet with determination and persistence she made it on top of that mountain.
“I really don’t care about being the first, so long as it inspires someone else to be second”. She said this about her achievement and that she didn’t care if she was the first woman; even though it is something to be so proud of; she hopes that her actions can inspire and have an impact on others to do it as well or to do something impossible in the same time challenging in life. This also gives the females in a strict government an opportunity to do anything they dream of and get the courage to do so.
‘’You are only as spiritedly rich as you have well journeyed. Live curious enough to discover; get lost enough to be found and brave enough to take the first step.’’ This small sentence accommodate a really powerful meaning to it and give out a great impact. Her words gave me a positive vibe, strength, inspiration as well as the courage to do something challenging and difficult in my life. If I fail, now that’s not a problem because the more I fail and continue to stand up proves that I am strong enough and capable to do the impossible in my life. Raha Moharrak is a big role model in my life, I look up to her achievements, not only in view of the fact that I want to do something that has never been done but, in addition to that, what inspired me most was the determination and challenge Raha Moharrak had taken upon her life. And also how she faced the world and proved what she is capable of doing in her life.
4) Princess Reema Bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud: More Than a Princess, More than a Woman
by Hala Al Qahtani
Many girls at some point have dreamed about becoming a princess, myself included. Ever since I was a kid, I have been obsessed over the lifestyle of princesses and have been curious on their way of living. Researching about princesses, of any nationality, has become a routine for my day-to-day life. However, of all princesses, none of them can be as striking as Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan Al Saud. With her role as not only a princess, but as a female figure for many young women of our generation to look up to.
Her advocacy for women’s rights and empowerment is what makes her the most striking in terms of her career. Her visions on women’s rights has always interested me, as a Saudi female who has always been used to being under the noses of male figures in my family. Her aim is to make women be known within the community, not hide underneath a shadow, and remain secluded in a box.
She had hit many milestones within the last few years. For instance, she was the first woman to head a sports federations, the Saudi Federation for Community Sports (SFCS), and has been the main inspiration on the repeal restrictions of women attending to watch and/or participate in sports, and who could forget her notable role as the first Saudi female to become the Saudi Arabian ambassador to the United States.
She is not afraid in voicing her opinions on matters that deal with women. She has spoken about the involvement of women in Saudi work places, and the Kingdom’s aim to reform and revolutionize the nation’s service to it’s citizens. Impacts within impacts she has struck, with her open minded and straightforward demeanor, has made her an icon of our country’s history.
Her royal highness has shown endeavors to achieve many more goals, both in the cases of women and the overall nation’s developments. Her purpose in doing what she is currently doing is to modify the roles of people living in Saudi Arabia, opening opportunities for those who have a hard time grasping at the hand of getting what they’ve always wanted in their life, changing the views of foreigners when it comes to dealing with our nation, and most importantly, to become a prominent role model for people, mainly young women, to look up to. She has succeeded in missions of many fields, whether it’s in terms of political or social topics, and she’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Her accomplishments has inspired many young girls, like myself, who is striving to cause a difference within the community, and she’s definitely worth of being written down in history for her courageous acts of difference.
5) Ahmed Al Shugairi
by Elan Qurashi
Ahmed Al Shugairi, Saudi activist and media figure, refers to himself as nothing other than an adult. In my eyes he’s more than that. He has a mission to inspire the next generation of young Muslims to attempt to become the best versions of themselves. In my opinion, that is very admirable. He is working hard to make the Arab nation successful. One of his main achievements was actually a program called “Khawater Shabab” that aired during Ramadan. It was a way to communicate with younger audiences in a more practical way. In this program he urges them to read and emphasizes how essential reading is to create a generation of people with a love for learning. I think this is a really great way to show the importance of knowledge and education. As a keen reader myself, I can relate to this. He has written a number of books and was named one of the most influential figures in the Arab world.
Why is he my role model? Well one major reason would be his attitude. He is persistent and always strives to reach his goals. He encourages us to be the greatest version of ourselves. Ahmed Al Shugairi has travelled and visited many countries and has something good to say about all of them, taking the positive and leaving the negative aspects behind. He has endless advice that he willingly shares, giving lectures on many important topics. He showed us that we should live our lives morally, using our religion as a guideline. Sometimes it seems like we are doing everything wrong. Ahmed Al Shugairi knows that no one is perfect including himself. He makes you want to learn and improve yourself. He’s inspired and changed people’s lives for the better.
Another reason I find him so inspiring is his charity work. The proceeds from his books all go to good causes. The work that he does is not for personal gain but for the benefit of society. Our religion and our culture teach us to take care of the less fortunate. However, in our day to day busy lives we sometimes forget this. Ahmed believes that there is goodness inside all of us. We just need encouragement and a gentle reminder. Our society needs more people like him to see the positive, plant the seeds of change and watch them grow.
Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
by Alaa Shahrani
Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was king of Saudi Arabia from 1964 to 1975. Faisal was king Abdulaziz’s third son, he was born in Riyadh on 14 April 1906. Faisal Al Saud contributed a lot of great things to Saudi Arabia. His main focus was to modernize Saudi Arabia and to educate its people. He supported women in giving them access to education, he also encouraged them to seize the opportunity and go to school. While crowned prince, he outlawed slavery in Saudi Arabia. Lastly, he persuaded his brother to abdicate for his favor in 1964.
King Faisal bin Abdulaziz al Saud is a character I view as a role model because he was a strong man, a great ruler who is very interested in his people’s favors. He also was a woman supporter.
In 1919 Britain invited king Abdulaziz to go and visit them, but unfortunately he couldn’t go. Faisal being his eldest son, was sent not only to represent king Abdulaziz but to represent Saudi Arabia.
He went at a young age with a group of officials that guided him through the whole experience.
He was the first Saudi Arabian royal to visit England.
At only 20 years old Faisal was appointed viceroy of Hijaz in 1926. He advanced Hijaz tremendously. In 1930 he was assigned minister of foreign affairs, again he represented Saudi Arabia multiple times.
After Faisal convinced his brother, king Saud, to abdicate in his favor he was proclaimed king on November 1964.
As the king, he advanced education and strengthened the government and economy.
He organized the country’s financial and administrative procedures, therefore he helped significantly in Saudi Arabia’s financial stability. Especially with the blooming of the oil production and exportation.
He worked to make king Abdulaziz university a government university and to encourage princes to send their kids to enroll rather than to study abroad. A lot more universities were available during his reign.
On 25th of march 1975, king Faisal was assassinated by his nephew Faisal bin Musaid. His death devastated his sibling and the citizens. His successor, king Khalid, wept at his funeral.
King Faisal believed in unity especially between Muslims, he once said” Muslims in general and Arabs in particular should contact and understand each other and hold fast to Allah and his guidance.” He was a beloved, brave, and truly inspirational ruler and leader, his reign was full of great accomplishments and astonishing advances. He is an unforgettable king.
A World Between Art and Dentistry
by Dana Kurdi – Grade 11
Dr. Tarik Alakkad, a dentist and a mangaka who previously appeared on a talk show called, “Shabab Hub.”
In the episode, he began to tell how he loved watching cartoons when he was little.
In a matter of trial and error, he began to design his own characters; giving them a background story, family members, and friends.
In the show, he mentions how he and his father would sit down together and draw to help improve young Alakkad’s talent by creating “شخاميط” (Doodles).
At the age of seven, he began to create his own character name “جانوس.”
In the following years, he began to take a liking in the manga art style (Japanese comic books), Dr. Alakkad pursued his dreams by investing his time and efforts in his manga.
Many of his inspirations for writing and illustrating come from reading books, listening to lectures, and reading articles.
He goes on to respond to a commonly asked question, “How can I balance between dentistry and manga art?” He answers with, “With time management, you can create anything with it.”
Dr. Alakkad later provides a very crucial point to which many people of our generation miss to learn, “As long as you’re doing something you love, you won’t feel tired nor exhausted.”
On his social media platform (@mangaka_dentist and @melanotrex via Instagram), Dr. Alakaad tries to insert [his] art into dentistry.
He creates comic strips that relate to his profession while maintaining funny humor for his readers [dentists] and patients to enjoy and view in a funny way to relieve any form of pressure they might feel and bring it down to a certain point.
One of the major obstacles he faced in dentistry was that it took most of his time and thought to himself, “Should I leave manga art for the time being and focus mostly on my profession?” However, after some time he found himself saying, “Instead of creating something in two months, let me at least create it, even if it took three years, it’s no problem, the most important thing is that I’m capable of doing it.”
Lastly, Dr. Alakkad states that the most important thing is that once you’re on a path to start something that you’re willing to invest your time in and you’re passionate about it, once you’ve started, you just continue till the very end. It’s no problem if it takes so much time.”
He continues, “You’ll at times lose hope, but never lose hope.”
Dr. Alakkad currently has a published manga titled, “A Selfish Gift” on Medibang.
The evolution of the Saudi women
by Dania Aldhahiry
For years in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, women’s voices have been hidden. But what if I tell you it’s different now? Definitely. We’re introducing you to the first 27 year old Saudi female model. Model Roz. She attended the American international school in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Although she is from Medina, she was raised in Riyadh. She recently hit over 10 million followers on Instagram!
The Saudi women’s role in society nowadays is very eye opening. Since Roz became the successfully diligent model she is now, it has changed the Saudi women’s mentality and view on the new opportunities she has in this day and age.
Also, As influential as she is, model Roz has been a huge role model to the Saudi women. Especially an idol to the younger Saudi females. She definitely did a great job into putting that missing bravery in the Saudi women’s heart. Regardless of all that, she most importantly achieved her dreams by solely believing in herself.
And, as once said by the amazing Model Roz “Don’t downgrade your dream just to fit your reality…upgrade your conviction to match your destiny.” And by that she simply elucidates, don’t lower your goals to fit in, instead, promote these goals to reach your dreams. Truly inspiring. Precisely when this is new to the Saudi women that she might feel like an outcast if she went for the choice that’s outside the box.
All in all, Model Roz has drawn so many Saudi females on the business of the involvement of women’s true desires. Including dreams and goals within them, which can be seen as a successful achievement.
The First Arab Space Explorer
by Karma Hejazi
Space is the place many people dream of because it is the place no one can explain. No one completely understands what is up there, or what is happening, or even why it is there. When people think about space they also think of people who visited it. The first Arab space explorer is Prince Sultan bin Salman from Saudi Arabia who visited space in June, 17, 1985. He flew on the space ship STS-51-G discovery.
He is King Salman’s second son. He was born in Riyadh in June, 27, 1956. He studied Mass Communications from the University of Denver and got a master’s degree in social and political science with distinction from Syracuse University in 1999. On December 27 2018, he was appointed as chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Space Agency at the rank of minister.
Sultan bin Salman served as a payload specialist aboard the American Space Shuttle Discovery as a representative of the Arab Satellite Communications Corporation. As such, he helped launch the company’s satellite, ARABSAT-1B, during the trip. Prince Sultan spent seven days, one hour, and thirty-eight minutes in space, and circled the earth 111 times. He was also the youngest person to fly on a space shuttle at the age of 28. He has written many books and the most recent book he published is 7 Days in Space. This book contains the prince’s memories during his space journey. This experience gained many scientific results that were important for a specialist. But when he came back to earth, people asked him: “is the earth flat or round?” he confirmed that he saw the earth round.
He’s a wise man, and the following quote is one of my favorites:
“The first day or so we all pointed to our country. The third or fourth day we were pointing to our continent. By the fifth day we were aware of only one Earth.”
The reason I’m writing about Sultan bin Salman is because I like science and space stories. I read many stories about the adventures of Armstrong, the first man to step on the moon, and Valentina, the first women to be in space. I was proud when I learned that a Saudi man had accepted this challenge and became the first Arab and Muslim astronaut. Such stories provide hope for many young people who dream to be an astronaut one day.
Bayan Mahmoud al-Zahran
By Maya AlIdrissi
“God, and knowledge is key to all, my daughter. And never give up on your dreams” my mother would tell me when I felt like the world had disappointed me. As a young girl I had always been curious to why society considered happiness one of the many hardships. To me it seemed that simply dreaming and reality would surely collide as you grow older. However, whilst maturing my abstractions have quickly changed. You must possess the survival, determination, and the never giving up on your dreams approach.
We hear stories and myths of those who sacrifice everything to reach to their vision of success or perhaps those who disclaim all, to do virtuous acts with the knowledge they had apprehended. And that is exactly what Bayan Mahmoud Al-Zahran did. Bayan Mahmoud al-Zahran was born in 1985, in the coastal city of Jeddah. With memories of bliss and abutment from her parents. She held a backbone within her from a young age as determination filled her mind, and thirst for knowledge grew.
Ensuing high school, she attended King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah, she majored in human resources, which she asserts she was not ardent about. It was during her third year that she discovered her passion. A close friend and a colleague of hers at the university had suffered from a physician’s n found all the information she needed to help her case against the doctor. When I returned to the university after the fall break, I noticed an announcement about the opening of a law department in the female section, so I quickly signed up—within five minutes—because I felt so accomplished and gratified when I was able to help my friend avoid being victimized.” And it was then that the realization hit her.
In 2009 she began her progress, generally listening to the melancholy of women left under the hands of charitable organizations, with no family member to care for them. She listened to their stories with passion burning through her soul, she represented those women stood next to them and protected them. However she did face adversity with those whom did not trust female lawyers. She fought the stereotypes and conquested her vision. She was not only an advocate for equality between genders but equality between all mentioned in the Sharia, which states that “all citizens are equal, regardless of gender, color, and religion.” And in January 2014, she became the first female licensed lawyer in Saudi Arabia.
By Shahad AlWassia – Grade 7
Everyone has looked up to someone at some point of their lives. It can be from their mother, to a celebrity. Usually, that role model one looks up to must have accomplished something that seems amazing to that person. Maybe that role model has won an Olympics medal. Or Billboard’s Music Awards. Maybe they have invented something revolutionary. In my case, I look up to Mishaal Al-Shemimry. Al-Shemimry is an Aerospace Engineer, speaker, influencer, and founder of MISHAAL Aerospace.
Questions that may be flying around in your head would probably be along the lines of; “Who’s Mishaal AL-Shemimry?” or, “What has she done?” You’re a lucky one, because that’s what I’m about to say. Al-Shemimry is the first Saudi woman to join NASA. As she said in her official website, “As the first female aerospace engineer in the GCC, she realized that this title comes with an enormous responsibility to inspire others to join her field as well as other STEM programs. To reach the youth, she used social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and YouTube to educate her followers about her field, experiences, and to inspire them to have a dream and perseverance to pursue it.” In an exclusive interview with Bahrain This Week, she mentioned that she has faced both technical and financial struggles, and especially since she started her own rocket company at the age of 26, I think that she ought to stay strong, and sure enough, she did.
Mishaal’s objective was to design and build small rockets to launch small satellites, 500 kilograms or below, to Low Earth Orbit. She has previously worked for Raytheon Missile Systems’ Aerodynamics Department, and contributed to twenty-two different rocket programs. She has experience in aerodynamics, wind tunnel testing, vehicle design, predictive simulation and analysis, and rocket stage-separation analysis, with a strong focus on computational tool development.
What inspired Al-Shemimry to become a rocket scientist was when she was looking up to the sky, during nighttime, at Nafood al-Onayza, and having seen such a huge density of stars at the young age of 6, inspired her to become a rocket scientist.
In conclusion, I look up to Al-Shemimry because she inspires me to thrive and reach higher for my future goals, and be who I am. She is an amazing role model and a huge inspiration for most of the things I’m studying, and I hope she inspires you too!
Raja Alem: An Inspirational Author
by Sthuthi Prasanth – Grade 7
An author who isn’t afraid of judgement? Raja a’Alem in most of her interviews calls herself a bold writer she quotes “when I write I am free like flying in my dreams”. Raja Alem is a Saudi Arabian writer that was born and raised in Mecca 1970.
In an interview, Raja told “In Mecca I saw people travelling from shrine to shrine this spiritual force inspired my imagination”. Many of her books reflect this point of view they also show her close relationship with the place she grew up. Other Arabic authors proudly say that she puts Arabic literature in a whole new light since no one particularly excelled in the field of literature her books were extremely popular especially when they were translated into English this was as she says one of her greatest honors it is quite clear to see that she prides herself in being able to represent Saudi Arabia in the field of literature. Not only is she a great author, she is also the first woman to win the Arabic Booker prize in 2011.
Raja Alem has written many types of novels from realistic fiction to fiction popular books that she wrote include Fatma and the doves necklace what attracts most people toward her books is the very open way she writes them and how she includes daily life and fantasy altogether in one book her books show that she is bold at heart not afraid of what she puts on paper she writes what she imagines and her imagination is extremely fascinating and her stories are very different from average fantasy stories.
As a young child, Rema was curious about everything but was not able to openly talk about it her curiosity led to her imagination soon after she started writing .
This author, in my opinion, is different from other Arabic authors, it might be in a good way or a bad way but I know that she is different
The Dauntless Alem Sisters
by Ulla Ali – Grade 12
“We’re transforming into universal, virtual entities, gradually taking root in a virtual territory where origins and cultural heritage are seen as a decorative realm of art shared by all.” – Raja Alem
Artists Shadia and Raja Alem, two sisters from Mecca, have always used their creative talents to motivate “out of the box” thinking and send a clear, bold message to our world. Raja is a highly acclaimed writer whose novel The Dove’s Necklace won this year’s International Prize for Arabic Fiction; Shadia is a visual artist whose work has been exhibited internationally. The sisters are independently successful but when they join forces, they truly leave their mark.
Their most popular piece is “The Black Arc”. This moving piece was displayed at the Venice Biennale, a world known arts organization, and marked the first ever exhibit by Saudi Arabia at the show. The sculpture represents Mecca and it evokes the experience of a pilgrim walking around the Ka’aba. The sisters used this piece to focus on ignorance — The sculpture presents so much black, symbolizing the black silhouettes of Saudi women, the black covering of the Ka’aba, and the black stone in Mecca. Raja says, “we are interested in the black facade and what lies behind it. We are discussing not only the physical black but also the psychological black. The barrier of black to the unknown. Our ignorance creates monsters in others, reflecting our fears.” This piece conveys a lesson we all need but the Alem sisters portray it with indescribable passion that you feel you captivated to understand more.
Equally breathtaking is “Negative no More”, a tableau showing a woman wearing an abaya sewn together from old photographic negatives, where the lightest areas of the photographed subject appear darkest and the darkest areas appear lightest. “Saudi women are not as they are presented in the media,” says Shadia. The sisters take their platform to stand against the accusations of women oppression in Saudi Arabia. This is a very controversial topic but the artists dauntlessly stood up for their country and spoke their truth.
The Alem sisters are inspiring and stand out from other artists because, not only, do they have an open mind but they encourage their audience to open their eyes and to stand up for what they believe in. The duo see our world without boundaries and they influence people to see it that way too.
by Zaina Ashour – Grade 11
“We should embrace our physical strength and work towards enhancing it,” said the first Saudi female boxing trainer Halah Women. she inspired many young girls around Saudi Arabia to be So and fearless, including me.
I’ve struggled in the past few years to find a sport that I am comfortable- that my body is comfortable — trying out football. Basketball, tennis, but nothing made me feel like well-me. In the midst of giving up in finding a sport, I came across Halah Alhamaris video interview with Sayidaty. I always thought of boxing as a men’s sport never did I think it was sport women would be interested in. It’s the way she was talking about The she loved that allured me and made me curious about finding more about it and about her and her process of becoming a boxing trainer. I was shocked at how good she was and how she trained other women to be even better. “be fearless” is what I came across her always saying to other women and fearless did I try to be.
The first thing that I did was search more about the sport. What’s the process of becoming a boxer? What are the risks? Are injuries going to be frequent? After I got the answers that I wanted. I searched on YouTube the basic steps of boxing. I trained myself through ten-minute videos for a month until I felt comfortable enough with my body to start the harder training. Luckily for me, at the same time, my brother started going to a kickboxing instructor; he would learn a few tricks and moves about boxing and come home and teach me.
The first time I put a boxing glove on and punched a punching bag did I feel a surge of adrenaline go through my body — a sense of happiness that I finally found the sport that made me feel good about myself.
Women should find strength and power in what they want to do. So try every sport that there is and find one that will make you proud of what you are doing.