The Intisar Foundation celebrates the graduation of the first batch of the theater workshop for developing leadership skills and peace. In collaboration with the British Embassy and the Gulf University of Science and Technology (GUST), the Intisar Foundation launched a program designed to economically empower young women in Kuwait.
The event was graced by the presence of notable figures including Lord Tariq Ahmed, from Wimbledon, the UK ambassador to Kuwait, Belinda Lewis, the founder of the Intisar Foundation, Sheikha Intisar Al-Sabah, and Professor Bassam Alamuddin, Acting President of GUST University.
Empowering Arab women as leaders and peacemakers through theater therapy and drama
At the outset, Sheikha Intisar introduced the visionary concept behind the Intisar Foundation. “It was a bold, revolutionary, and pioneering initiative aimed at harnessing the power of theater therapy and drama to empower women as leaders and peacemakers in the Arab world,” Sheikha Intisar said.
She emphasized that today marks a significant milestone as we celebrate the graduation of a group of young women. Our institution’s primary goal is to equip these students with the basic skills that are crucial for increasing the representation of women in leadership positions and fostering economic empowerment.
She pointed out that there are many theater techniques and dramatic therapies that can empower students and help them develop confidence, creativity, and leadership skills, such as role-playing, improvisation, storytelling, and physical expression.
She said that this program developed by the foundation not only develops students’ leadership skills, but also promotes peace and empathy, enabling them to communicate with others on a deeper level, break down barriers and develop a sense of humanity. She added that the program not only develops leadership skills, but also helps address social issues.
“Facilitating dialogue, fostering self-confidence and self-exploration, and inspiring action, it contributes to creating a safe space, peace, and a more inclusive community,” she added.
Gender equality in the workplace
Sheikha Intisar said while UN Women reports that 34 women lead 31 countries as heads of state or government, the World Economic Forum cautions that gender equality in the workplace by 2030 is unlikely, with 85% of Fortune 500 CEOs being men.
She emphasized the meticulous documentation and evaluation of the Intisar Foundation’s programs throughout the Arab world. By collecting data, the foundation aims to publish research in academic journals, articles, and reports, advocating for the significance of women’s self-empowerment prior to entering the workforce.
“I would like to extend my sincere thanks to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Development – the Commonwealth and Overseas Development Office – for fully sponsoring this program as part of the Gulf Strategy for the International Programme,” said Sheikha Intisar.”
“I would also like to express my gratitude to our host university, GUST, for their support in providing ample space and facilitating our team’s efforts to reach and enroll students in our program,” added Sheikha Intisar.
“It’s crucial for economies and societies to unlock the full potential of every individual. Ensuring women have equal access to opportunities in the workplace, including promotions, entrepreneurship, professional education, and development, will benefit everyone. The British Embassy takes pride in partnering with the Intisar Foundation at GUST to provide valuable training aimed at empowering women in both the workplace and society,” expressed the UK ambassador to Kuwait.
In his speech, Lord Tariq Ahmed expressed gratitude to everyone present for participating in the program and extended congratulations on their graduation.
“I began my visit to Kuwait with a discussion on Gender Empowerment, and it’s apt that the visit now transitions into a celebration of women taking active steps toward self-empowerment,” Lord Tariq Ahmed said.
Celebrating 125 years of official diplomatic ties
“This year, we celebrate 125 years of official diplomatic relations between our two countries, but there is so much more to our connection than just diplomacy. I am delighted to be here, taking part in the tangible and strong demonstration of the partnership on a topic core of interest to both the UK and Kuwait: Women’s empowerment,” he added.
“We firmly believe that supporting and enabling women to contribute fully and equally across society, politics, and economics is essential for unlocking the true potential of healthy, sustainable democracies and institutions.”
“Empowerment can only be achieved through proactivity and perseverance, and all of you here today have exhibited those traits by participating in this UK-Kuwait programme,“ he further added.
Lord Tariq Ahmed reminisced about his encounter with former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, recalling her poignant advice upon learning his name. “Look around,” she advised, “there aren’t a lot of people like you here, but that should never be a deterrent. People will tell you that you can’t achieve what you can.” Then, locking eyes with him, she earnestly implored, “Promise me you’ll never give up.”
“Don’t let anyone hinder you: Religious and cultural barriers”
In his speech to the girls, he said, “Do not let anyone hinder you, especially those who use religion and culture as excuses. Khadija bint Khuwaylid in Islam was the first to believe in the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon Him, and Maryam bint Imran has her place in the Christian religion, among many others in various religions. Women have played an essential foundational role in all aspects of society, and that should never be forgotten. So, inspire yourselves.”
He stressed the importance of diplomacy in bringing peace to the Middle East and creating a future of peace and equality for all. He pointed out that a key observation in past conflicts is the exclusion of women, noting that neglecting the involvement of half the population is counterproductive.
Cooperate and embrace the challenge
He urged nations to cooperate and embrace the challenge, seizing the opportunity for progress. He encouraged everyone not to let doubts hinder their ambitions, emphasizing that with determination, anything is achievable.
“Nations will only progress through cooperation, so accept the challenge, seize the opportunity, take advantage of what is in front of you, and do not let anyone say that you cannot achieve it,” Lord Tariq Ahmed said.
“In conclusion, I want to express my heartfelt gratitude for your dedication. The skills you’ve cultivated through the Intisar Foundation will undoubtedly pave the way for your success in the years ahead. We eagerly anticipate the profound impact you will make in whichever path you choose to pursue. Congratulations once again!”