September 14, 2012


My take this week: ammar, what a challenge 
Friday 14 September 2012
• Ammar Abdullah, a 26-year-old Saudi youth has suffered from paralysis since birth. However, Ammar overcame many challenges including surpassing his life expectancy, graduating from high school in top form and completing undergraduate studies with honors. Dubai Crown Prince met with Ammar after seeing him on the social media platform, and told him he was a role-model for living a dignified life despite disabilities. Ammar is now a candidate to teach at the American University in Dubai while preparing to start his graduate studies. What a challenge. 
• The world is capitalizing on Saudi Arabia’s huge demand for building materials estimated at $100 billion of infrastructure projects by 2016. Why? Because most of the building materials used in Saudi Arabia, apart from concrete, are imported.
Let me give you an example; 40 percent of the 12 million metric tons of steel used in 2011 in the Kingdom were imported from overseas. While we currently rely on our strong financial position benefiting from surging oil prices, we need to become an industrial country and start producing before it is too late.
• Let me share with a success story. Dr. Modi Al-Khalaf has been appointed assistant attaché for cultural and social affairs in the United States. Al-Khalaf was the director of cultural and social administration at the Saudi mission in Washington. She had held several posts at the Ministry of Higher Education. I agree that the appointment of Saudi women in key posts is an important step, but we need to provide women more opportunities to occupy key positions here and abroad.
• Did you know that the salary gap between Saudi nationals and expats is growing? This is a result of the government’s Nitaqat policy which aims to get more Saudis working in the private sector as well as a talent shortage in certain functions and industries. According to Hay report this week, nationals now receive 17 percent more than the market average while non-nationals receive four percent below the market average.
• I understand expatriate women have difficulties finding jobs in Saudi Arabia. You’re not alone; thousands of qualified Saudi women can’t find jobs either. In any case, if you were offered a job, make sure you research the company’s background, and its safety and security measures before you commit.
• I found an interesting website called Eye of Riyadh ( It provides meaningful news about Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf including culture, health care, job search, business directory, events and entertainments. 

Tweet: “I had a lot of dreams, but the most prominent one was to become a journalist. I managed to achieve that dream, and make it a reality.” Ammar Abdullah

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