Two very different stories, one powerful message. Female leaders inspire Northeastern community at Women Who Empower event in Dubai

Two very different stories, one powerful message. Female leaders inspire Northeastern community at Women Who Empower event in Dubai

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates—One is an American journalist, the other an Emirati businesswoman. And together, they are breaking down boundaries to unite in one universal cause: female empowerment. 

In a unified celebration at The Arts Club on Tuesday night, the two inspiring female leaders shared how they rose to the top and how they’re paving the way for other women to follow in their footsteps.

Moderated by Moroccan entrepreneur Nezha Alaoui, the event saw Jessica Michault, deputy editor of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia and Harper’s Bazaar Saudi, take the stage alongside Muna Al Gurg, vice chairperson and retail director at UAE business conglomerate Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group.

Part of Northeastern University’s “Women Who Empower: Our World” series, the event covered mentorship, misconceptions and the media, while inspiring attendees including students, parents, faculty, staff and alumni. A similar event was held last week in London.

Introducing the speakers, Clemence Cazeau, a Northeastern Young Global Leader and CEO of art concept 37xDubai, paid tribute to the trailblazing women before her.

“The Women Who Empower initiative is all about bringing together diverse and inclusive communities to empower a better world,” she said. “It includes everything from entrepreneurship and the Innovator Awards to events and mentorships designed to empower its members to lead change and make a meaningful impact.”

From boardrooms to breaking down stagnant beliefs

Al Gurg, who is one of Forbes’ 50 most influential women in the Middle East, began by talking about her passion for women’s rights in the Arab world and beyond.

“My background has been business for the last 20 years, but my passion has been youth empowerment,” she said. “The milestone for me came in 2010 when I was chosen to be part of the Aspen Middle East leadership Initiative and it really did make me reflect on what kind of legacy I wanted to leave. I am very, very passionate about women’s rights.”

As the daughter of a prominent businessman, AI Gurg was welcomed into the family businesses and encouraged by her male relatives. Throughout her career, she has used her position to promote women who haven’t been so lucky.

“I think a lot of women in this part of the world face obstacles in terms of the culture,” she said. “It’s not about the rule of the land, it’s more about the culture of the society that sometimes faces obstacles.

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