Country of the Month
Aalaa Aljar – Bahrain
“I admire giving to others and my position plays that vital role by its nature—that the success of everyone and their good standing depends on my ability to be a successful supporter.” – Aalaa Aljar, IVLP Alumna
In the latest #CountryOfTheMonth feature, we are spotlighting Ms. Aalaa Aljar, an #IVLP alumna from #Bahrain who participated in October 2021’s virtual IVLP titled “Youth and Civic Engagement II.” During this project, Aalaa and her group virtually traveled to Washington, DC, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Manchester, New Hampshire, and Atlanta, Georgia, to explore the importance of advocacy and leadership strategies that facilitate social empowerment and justice.
Aalaa is an Executive Assistant at an international logistics company. Her role is focused on project management, in which she ensures that colleagues and executives are informed, organized, and prepared for projects. In doing so, Aalaa can determine whether projects and tasks align with the organization’s core values. When we asked her why she chose this line of work, Aalaa shared: “In reality, I did not initially choose [this type of work]. But life pushed me towards this field and role. Eventually, I realized that this position is a part of my life’s purpose, and, during work, I am exercising my values daily with responsibility and love.” In addition to this, Aalaa elaborated: “I admire giving to others and my position plays that vital role by its nature—that the success of everyone and their good standing depends on my ability to be a successful supporter.”
In addition to being an Executive Assistant, Aalaa is a member and a Program Manager for the Youth Pioneer Society in Bahrain, an NGO founded in 2012 by Bahraini youth to increase awareness and knowledge of issues affecting the youth and to promote cooperation and trust between youth of diverse backgrounds. As Program Manager, she supports a financial literacy program that educates young people on entrepreneurship and finance.
When we asked Aalaa about whether her IVLP experience helped her learn something new about the U.S., she shared: “The IVLP helped me learn about U.S. federalism and the voting process. In the U.S., the youth have [opportunities for their] voices to be heard and well-considered at all levels of government.” In addition to learning this, she said two of her major takeaways from the meetings were the idea of adaptive leadership and how to support a public figure who best represents you. Inspired and motivated by her IVLP experience, Aalaa happily shared that she is now a member of the Bahraini IVLP community, in which she gets to share her experience, ideas, and knowledge.
When we asked Aalaa to tell us something interesting about her country, she shared that Bahrain was the first Middle Eastern country to host a Grand Prix. Despite how small Bahrain is geographically, this event put the country on the region and world’s maps in terms of large sporting events. In addition to the sports, Bahrain has an “award-winning, state-of-the-art design” building known as the Bahrain World Trade Center (BWTC). It is Bahrain’s first “intelligent building,” as it is “leading the way for [future] sustainable architecture.” Aalaa explained that the BWTC is the world’s first skyscraper “to incorporate wind turbines into its designs, helping to reduce the overall power consumption of the towers.” And, speaking of impressive architecture designs, Aalaa shared that her country boasts “the largest underwater theme park” in the world known as Dive Bahrain. She says the park “sprawls across more than 100,000 square meters (approximately 1,076,391 square feet!)” and “is genuinely mind-boggling!” It comes with “a sunken Boeing 747 complete with coral studs and a healthy coat of rust.” The park is eco-friendly and “provides a great opportunity to study marine life.” Dive Bahrain sure sounds like a haven for scuba diving enthusiasts and sightseers!
Thank you, Aalaa, for sharing your remarkable story and tremendous work in community development and youth advocacy in Bahrain! We are inspired by you and your love for your career and country!
And thank you to our local implementing partners at GlobalPittsburgh, World Affairs Council of New Hampshire, and Georgia Council for International Visitors for supporting the design and implementation of Aalaa’s IVLP experience!