Inspired by life's experiences

Inspired by lifes experiences
Maria Al Qassim

UAE national Maria Al Qassim has a bird's eye view of what goes on across the UAE and works on public policy to see what can be done to create positive and long-lasting social impact



by

Suchitra Steven Samuel

Published: Thu 30 Aug 2018, 4:24 PM

Maria Al Qassim, Public Policy Consultant and Commentator, is a 33-year-old Emirati writer. She has worked in several fields including aid and development, hospitality, real estate and public policy, but prefers to identify herself as a writer. "I am an alumna of the School of Oriental and African Studies from the University of London. I am a mother of a five-year-old boy and an 18-month-old daughter. I enjoy writing, reading, travelling and yoga," says Maria in an interview with dxbuzz.
Maria is a Public Policy Consultant and the Managing Director of Asas Investment and writes regularly for dailies in the UAE and the region. Being exposed to the realities of public and private sectors, in addition to being a working mother, have provided her with unique experiences and insights that inspired many of her written work.
"My job allows me to have a bird's eye view of what goes on across the nation and what can be done to create positive and long-lasting impact. It also challenges me and forces me to think creatively about ways to tackle persistent issues," she says.
"Of course, the fact that everything we work with is genuine makes it quite thrilling. It is very much connected with people, their lives, and their daily struggles. You have to keep your senses constantly receptive to people's realities and reflect on what can be done to ensure their well-being.  It is good to be in a position where you can have a direct impact on people's lives. It is a privilege and a responsibility," Maria adds.
The real struggle for any working mother is the time you spend away from your children, she says, though in that sense she is quite lucky to be in an environment that offers significant flexibility and genuinely promotes work-life balance. "However, I do believe that by working in this field I  can be a good example to both my son and daughter, and that makes every challenge and every minute spent away from them worthwhile," she notes.
Maria always knew she wanted to be in a position where she can create a positive impact on people's lives, be it in the UAE or across the globe. "Public policy is above all else a responsibility, and an effective tool if applied properly. It has the power to ensure the sustainable well-being of people, but most importantly, it is the best way to protect vulnerable people in any given society," she explains.
Maria believes that more women can contribute to the public policy sector. "Women can contribute more by being honest and considerate about the struggles of everyone in society. Public policy is a responsibility, and everything in it has to be done with the needs of the most vulnerable segments in clear sight. Public policy is about the collective good first and foremost, and not about projecting your personal experiences onto others, and dismissing their personal experiences."
Maria inspires the youth of the UAE by supporting their ambitions, showing interest in their passions and supporting the pursuit of their dreams. "The UAE today is more dynamic and more diverse than ever before, and there is plenty of room for everyone to contribute to the country's development in more diverse ways," she says.
"Having said that, some challenges we faced when we were younger remain to this day an obstacle to the development of the youth. Families and the society at large still stand in the way of the youth reaching their full potential in the fields they are passionate about," Maria reveals.
She confirms that her parents will always be her role models. "They fought battles to allow my sister and me the opportunities they probably did not get when they were our age. They invested in our education, always put our well-being and fulfilment first, and never hesitated to admit when they made a mistake. Their energy and commitment to excellence remain an inspiration to this day, both to their children and grandchildren."
- suchitra@khaleejtimes.com


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