Jeddah: Jawaher AlMheiri, who recently found herself in the "impact" category of the 30 Under 30 list of Forbes Middle East, is being hailed as the spirit of a Middle East generation.
The Emirati woman is 28-years-old and has already learned six languages, earned a bachelor's degree in aviation management, and has a post-graduate diploma in diplomacy. She is also an expert at statistical optimisation, reported Arab News.
She competed with 300 other candidates and won a place on the list of Forbes Middle East, which identifies young people with the potential to shape the future of the nation. Forbes chose Jawahel AlMheiri as an example of Middle Eastern women who are venturing into new fields and taking control of their own destinies.
AlMheiri said to all the young women in the Middle East to have the courage to pursue their dreams and grab opportunities that come their way.
She took up a part-time job in finance at Al Ansari Exchange while pursuing a bachelor's degree. She told Arab News that her job was different from her major because it was the only one available. But, she wanted to be independent because education is not cheap.
She joined the engineering centre of Emirates Airline as a business-development specialist at 21 and became adept in using applied statistical methods. After three years, her professional interest shifted toward international affairs and diplomacy. She was appointed to Dubai Youth Council at the age of 25, where she represented the youth of Emirates at international events like the US Youth Assembly in New York and the Asian Youth Assembly of the Malaysia Urban Forum.
"I knew my parents would do their best and cover my expenses but I felt very responsible to not become an additional burden on them — I have eight siblings and they had to take care of their education," she added.
She dreams of being like pioneering Arab women like Razan Khalifa Al-Mubarak. The 42-year-old was chosen as the president of the International Union for Conservation of Nature. She is the second woman and the first Arab woman to head the best-known conservation bodies in the world in its 73-year history.
Al-Mubarak is also the managing director of both Abu Dhabi's Environment Agency and the Mohammed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund.
AlMheiri was pleased to earn a wage at the age of 18 and that ambition set her apart from her peers. Being a working woman shaped her personality, thoughts, and behaviour. "I became more mature. I wanted to keep learning and I knew that if I started my career at an early age it would definitely pay off later," she told Arab News.