Associate Professor of Middle Eastern Studies Dr. Pamela Chrabieh was invited as a guest speaker at the Executive Women Magazine “Mind of a Winner: Master Your Vision” one-day summit to give a speech on standing out from the crowd.
With the American University in Dubai as one of its strategic partners, this motivational event took place on November 17, 2016 in the Zabeel Ladies Club and gathered 200 local and expat women, CEOs, managers, entrepreneurs, artists and activists. Women shared valuable insights and narratives about career progression enhancement, success in a highly competitive market and leadership potential consolidation.
Dr. Chrabieh started her speech by mentioning the diversity of definitions of “standing out from the crowd”, from knowing the rules of the game to doing things – not just dreaming or talking -, and from trying new paths rather than traveling the worn paths of accepted success to copying the successful others.
According to Dr. Chrabieh, there is no single recipe and every individual is called to search for their own combination of specific ingredients. She then introduced the audience to her war and peace experiences that have contributed to shaping her identity, as well as to personal stories illustrating the position and authenticity of being a postmodern nomad, a hybrid and a hyphen. She also used the metaphor of a coffee bean that transforms its environment when facing adversity, and that of a tightrope walker who is often out of balance, who even falls, but who is capable of standing up every time and even walking tall against the current.
When asked about her writing style, Dr. Chrabieh stated: “I have one foot in the academic sphere, and another in the larger society as an artist, an activist and a blogger. Depending on the audience/the readers’ contexts, I write in different styles. I care about access to information. Many academics believe that the more opaque one’s writing is, the more one is successful. It is part of an elitist game that has its advantages but confines academics to one type of audience, that of their peers, and perpetuates a hierarchy in terms of knowledge production – ‘the experts versus the ignorant mass’. It also reinforces the curse of knowledge – when one becomes unable to unpack complicated ideas in a coherent and simple manner. I hope that in the not so distant future, academic work will become more open, collaborative, holistic, caring and experiential. I hope for education to be co-created, based on shared understanding that is developed through multiple processes of being, and that brings about personal and social transformations. Beyond books and exams, education means engaging in public debates and learning/producing knowledge with others”.