Aus­tralian Em­bassy hosts ‘tol­er­ance, di­ver­sity’ ac­tivist

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL - By Faten Omar

KUWAIT: The Aus­tralian Em­bassy hosted a visit by Yass­min Ab­del-Magied to Kuwait as part of her Mid­dle East and North Africa re­gional speak­ing tour to speak from her ex­pe­ri­ence about tol­er­ance, di­ver­sity, faith and gen­der. Ab­del-Magied wears many hats, in­clud­ing a hi­jab. She’s a me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer, writer and ac­tivist who cam­paigns for tol­er­ance and di­ver­sity. Dur­ing her visit to Kuwait, Ab­del-Magied met stu­dents and staff at Box Hill Col­lege, and hosted a dis­cus­sion with the Cen­tre for Re­search in In­for­mat­ics, Sci­ences and En­gi­neer­ing at the Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Kuwait. Ab­del-Magied was also hosted on The Break­fast with Tee and Aki Show on 99.7 Ra­dio Kuwait FM. She is speak­ing across the themes of gen­der, lead­er­ship, di­ver­sity, the role of faith and cul­ture, her work in so­cial ad­vo­cacy and her ex­pe­ri­ences as a fe­male en­gi­neer.

Ab­del-Magied spoke to Kuwait Times about her life and her mis­sion to pro­mote di­ver­sity through­out the so­ci­ety. She is an en­gi­neer, so­cial ad­vo­cate and me­dia com­men­ta­tor. She re­ceived the 2015 Queensland Young Aus­tralian of the Year award for her ad­vo­cacy work for the em­pow­er­ment of youth, women and those from racially, cul­tur­ally and lin­guis­ti­cally di­verse back­grounds.

Born in Su­dan, Yass­min and her fam­ily ar­rived in Aus­tralia just be­fore she turned two. At age 16, she founded Youth With­out Bor­ders, an or­ga­ni­za­tion that em­pow­ers young peo­ple to re­al­ize their full po­ten­tial through col­lab­o­ra­tive, com­mu­nity based pro­grams. She is an ad­vi­sor for fed­eral gov­ern­ments and in­ter­na­tional bod­ies, and cur­rently sits on the boards of ChildFund, Coun­cil for Aus­tralian-Arab Re­la­tions (CAAR) and the do­mes­tic vi­o­lence pre­ven­tion or­ga­ni­za­tion Our Watch. She is the host of the motorsport pod­cast Mo­tor­mouth, due for re­lease later in 2016. Yass­min’s TED talk ‘What does my head­scarf mean to you’ has over 1.5 mil­lion views.

Yass­min’s ad­vo­cacy work has been rec­og­nized with many awards. She was named one of Aus­tralia’s most in­flu­en­tial en­gi­neers by En­gi­neers Aus­tralia, and been rec­og­nized for her work in di­ver­sity by the United King­dom’s In­sti­tute of Me­chan­i­cal En­gi­neers. She was the youngest woman named in Aus­tralia’s 100 Women of In­flu­ence by the Aus­tralian Fi­nan­cial Re­view in 2012, was the Young Mus­lim of the Year in 2007 and Mus­lim Youth of the Year in 2015.

She spends her time both work­ing as an en­gi­neer­ing spe­cial­ist on oil and gas rigs and head­ing Youth With­out Bor­ders. Yass­min has also writ­ten ex­ten­sively, with her ar­ti­cles ap­pear­ing in The Guardian, The Syd­ney Morn­ing Her­ald, AFR, The Grif­fith Re­view, Huff­in­g­ton Post and oth­ers. She has writ­ten a book about her life ti­tled “Yass­min’s Story”.

Ab­del-Magied will be vis­it­ing a num­ber of other coun­tries in­clud­ing Saudi Ara­bia, UAE, Qatar, Jor­dan, Pales­tine, Egypt and Su­dan.

KUWAIT: Rep­re­sent­ing His High­ness the Amir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber AlSabah, Deputy Chief of the Na­tional Guard Sheikh Mishaal Al-Ah­mad Al-Jaber AlSabah, and His High­ness Sheikh Nasser Al-Mo­ham­mad Al-Ah­mad Al-Sabah, left the country yes­ter­day for Saudi Ara­bia to of­fer con­do­lences over the death of Prince Turki bin Ab­dulaziz Al Saud. —KUNA

KUWAIT: Yass­min Ab­del-Magied is pic­tured at the Aus­tralian Em­bassy.

— Photo by Joseph Sha­gra

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