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Sara Akbar

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Kuwait’s Hero and Female Leader in the Oil Industry

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The history and modernization of women’s rights and leadership in Kuwait is explored through an introspective from Engineer Sara Akbar, CEO of Kuwait Energy. Akbar gives detailed accounts of her brief history of work and life as a woman in leadership. Through a lengthy ethnographic research, I traveled to Kuwait City as a Fulbright Scholar at the American University of Kuwait (AUK 2009–2010) and had my first interview with her at the Engineers Society building. In 2013, on our first study abroad program at AUK, I invited Sara Akbar to give a lecture to my ASU students as part of a Lecture Series I organized; then I had another interview with her in her office in the new premises of her company, Kuwait Energy in Salmiya. Akbar’s dialogue highlights her theoretical feminist framework for life in Kuwait. In addition to her recounts of oppression and struggle as a woman in her workforce, Sara Akbar gives a call to action for people in all social and occupational hierarchies, men, and women, in Kuwait to broaden their horizons for women in leadership.

Affiliations: 1: Arizona State University


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1. Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology"“Kuwait.”" Accessed March 1, 2014
2. Akbar Sara Lecture given to author’s ASU Study Abroad Program at the American University of Kuwait (AUK) June 2013
3. Akbar Sara"“Pillars of the Industry: Obstacles on the Road to Success.”" The Way Ahead 2008
4. Ali Souad T"Interviews with Sara Akbar" Kuwait 2010, and 2013
5. Fires of Kuwait. Dir. David Douglas. Perf. Rip Torn. Black Sun Films, 1992. dvd
6. Kuwait University"“About Kuwait University.”" Accessed February 27, 2014
7. Ruiz Tricia"“Feminist Theory and International Relations: The Feminist Challenge to Realism and Liberalism”"
8. Society of Petroleum Engineers"“SPE Notes.”" Accessed March 1, 2014

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