As a recipient of the Queen Effat Citizenship Award, I dedicate this letter to the Effat Family,
If I were the one to choose a winner, I would have definitely selected those who have been supporting young leaders into becoming who they are today. Indeed the ones behind the curtains are the ones we should all stand for in gratitude and respect. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely thank you; every one of my teachers, guiders, and inspirers, whom delivered and offered me with the biggest gift of all times. The gift of believing in me since the beginning of this educational expedition has offered me with great openings to grow, chances to challenge my thoughts, spaces to express my wonders without listening to its noisy echo, and opportunities to think, work and expand. I believe a leader should leave a legacy of not followers, but leaders, and that’s exactly what you have done. Once more, from the bottom of my heart I thank you.
The translation of Queen Effat Citizenship Award does not exactly reflect its Arabic equivalence, which says “Queen Effat Award for the Ideal Student”. I have only realized the significance of such a term before going on stage the other day, minutes before being a recipient of that award. As one of my favorite surrealist artists, Salvador Dali, once said: “Have no fear of perfection-you’ll never reach it.” But do you and I believe so?
Surprisingly enough, yes I do. I believe we should always aspire to expand when it comes to knowledge, aspire to unfold facts, aspire to acknowledge the truth behind the symbols and people we identify ourselves with, aspire to respect others’ individuality, aspire to get hold of our own downfalls, aspire to learn about ourselves, aspire to develop our skills and to always keep it sincere, simple and from the heart. However, at the end of the day, when we get the moment to contemplate on decisions and reflect on who we have become, maybe then, we will recognize how imperfect we really are, only allowing a sense of peacefulness towards that too.
“Aspire to achieve” is not merely a slogan of Effat University, but a lifestyle that creates a blend of what human spirits have always strived to attain, balancing between who we are and what we do. As Kant says: “To be is to do” or as Nietzsche says: “To do is to be” or maybe as Frank Sinatra says: “Do Be Do Be Do”. May we as students, may you as faculty members and may every reader aspire to read anything, to write something, to search for everything, to imagine grand things, to dream for a hundred of others and to become self-actualized persons.
Far from being “ideal”, this award is definitely a challenge, a self-challenge as well as a social one. It will inshaAllah allow me to become a better person, welcoming others to join a quest for meaning, a quest for development. I hope, on the other hand, not to be transformed into one of those who wear a mask, a position and a title forgetting the reality of the human cycle. I ponder if all the decisions I have made were the “right” ones. Perhaps not, but I certainly am aware that reflecting on them fosters skills and enables growth.
I am a representative of Effat University and most importantly of the student body, which carries a great amount of responsibility in delivering the voice and feedback of my friends and colleagues, however, I am sure that the young leaders I have been privileged to meet and work with throughout the past four years, are going to let this a worthwhile journey.
Establishing a vibrant Student Governance every year is a tough process, but indeed has valuable outcomes. May you and I as a team, continue to help empower women, both young and adult, bring to the surface their potentials and hopes, while still keeping an eye on our culture and appreciating its diverse nature. Moreover, leaving an imprint as bigger sisters to those who embrace the love of knowledge at Effat University when we leave its doors open for the rest to follow.
With a glocal viewpoint, I believe one can draw global frames with local formats, protecting the heritage and values of a blossoming home, still growing with knowledge and modern technological advancements of a wider village. I also believe that this applies to the self in being who you are with respect to others, despite what they thought you should be. Be proud. Be grateful. Be opinionated. Be doubtful. Be artistic. Be energetic. Be shy. Be outspoken. Be courageous. Be fearful. Be curious. It doesn’t really matter whether you think inside or outside the box. Be thoughtful.
P.S. Media can be the worst reflection of a person’s thoughts, ideas, written and spoken words, but here are two of the news articles published on the event.