TheFace: Dr. Basma Albuhairan, deputy CEO at a leading Saudi teaching hospital

Dr. Basma Albuhairan with her niece and nephews. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 23 August 2019
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TheFace: Dr. Basma Albuhairan, deputy CEO at a leading Saudi teaching hospital

There is an ongoing discussion about how to combine the Saudi values of Islamic heritage, parenthood, family, respect, hard work, responsibility and compassion with the modern values of working, leadership, competition, innovation and success in the workplace.

How can Saudi family values be leveraged to be a more powerful and influential force in driving the changes and transformation happening in the world around us?

I hope my case can serve as an example for showing how our values can help develop a successful modern career.

Knowledge is fundamental to all development. Knowledge can give power, and if combined with Saudi values, it can also lead to wisdom. Power and wisdom are strong forces that can lead to positive change and improvement.

I am most fortunate that my parents instilled a thirst for knowledge and education and hard work in me, as well as in my siblings. I managed to undertake valuable health care research work for my Ph.D. and also work as a deputy CEO of a leading teaching hospital. Now, I can contribute to the economic development of my nation while working for the Saudi Arabian General Investment Authority.

My whole career, and all the things I have been able to contribute to the Kingdom, primarily occurred because of the values that my parents instilled in me.

I was brought up in a family that greatly values education, intellect and hard work. I have two siblings, a sister and brother, who are dynamic and equally successful in their lives.

I am from Al-Jouf, which is in the Northern Region of Saudi Arabia, and I was raised in the US.

Reflecting on my childhood, I think it was during those years that I developed a passion for challenges. During those years, I vividly recall my parents constantly reinforcing the importance and need to excel in school. I was not only competitive in my studies, but also in sports. Any challenge I came across, no matter how difficult, I took head on and always managed to overcome and move on to face my next challenge with greater strength.

I am honored and proud to be a part of the economic, social and cultural changes that will pave the way for future generations to come.

In addition to having a passion for challenges, my parents taught us the importance of being respectful, compassionate, helpful and polite. They are important to us to this day.

Our parents also taught us to be independent, responsible and accountable for our own actions.

My parents have always given me their unconditional love, encouragement and support. My father has always been my source of wisdom, and the person who has always pushed me to go beyond my limits, dream big, and to never give up. My mother is my role model; her resiliency and joyful spirit are inspirational.

The values my parents instilled in their children are clearly being nurtured and passed onto our next generation: My niece and nephews. I am a proud aunt to one niece and five nephews, who I love spending time with. The relationship and bond we have is very special. It is truly amazing how much you can learn from youngsters.   

As I progressed through school, I came to know my interests, likes and dislikes. My interests centered around creative writing, literature and communication. I thought I would become a journalist or a writer. Little did I know, at that time, my career would take me down a completely different path. I ended up studying medical technology. Since “education breeds confidence,” I went on to study for two graduate degrees and a postgraduate degree in health care. My degrees laid the foundation of a lifelong pursuit of knowledge that still drives me to accomplish more to this day.

Working hard and being recognized based on merit are key attributes that one should have. Therefore, my career started as a junior employee in a clinical laboratory in one of the leading hospitals in Saudi Arabia. I worked my way up the corporate ladder and took on various leadership roles in the public and private sectors.

The experiences I have had broadened my horizons and allowed me to become more receptive, adaptive and versatile.

While reflecting on where I am today in my career, I have been asking myself whether I got here by mere chance, by making the right decisions, or because of the prayers, love and support of my family? I wonder how much perseverance, ambition, and drive contributed to my success; however, I never doubt that the love and support of my family has contributed most significantly to where I am today.

The world today is so different than that of yesterday. We are living at a time where we are going through a unique and exciting transformation. I am honored and proud to be a part of the economic, social and cultural changes that will pave the way for future generations to come. I hope to continue contributing to the accomplishments of my country and become a mentor to the next generation. • 


Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

Updated 11 min ago
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Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil facilities

  • The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen
  • ‘Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors’

JEDDAH: Baghdad on Sunday denied any link to drone attacks on Saudi oil plants, after media speculation that the strikes were launched from Iraq despite being claimed by Yemeni rebels.
The attacks early Saturday targeted two key oil installations, causing massive fires and taking out half of the Kingdom’s vast oil output.
The operation was claimed by Iran-backed Houthi militia in Yemen, where an Arab coalition has been fighting to restore the internationally recognized government.
But the Wall Street Journal reported that officials were investigating the possibility the attacks involved missiles launched from Iraq or Iran.
Kuwait says it is increasing security across the state and is investigating the sighting of a drone over its territory and is coordinating with Saudi Arabia and other countries, the cabinet said on Sunday.
“The security leadership has started the necessary investigations over the sighting of a drone over the coastline of Kuwait City and what measures were taken to confront it,” the cabinet said on its Twitter account.
It said Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Sabah directed military and security officers to tighten security at vital installations in the OPEC producer and to take all necessary measures “to protect Kuwait’s security.”
Separately, state-run KUNA news agency said authorities would investigate reports of drones flying over Kuwait. It did not elaborate.
Local Kuwaiti media has reported that witnesses say they saw a drone near a presidential palace on Saturday morning, around the same time of the attacks in Saudi Arabia.
Some Iraqi media outlets have said Saturday’s attack on Saudi oil facilities came from Iraq, which borders Kuwait. But Baghdad denied this on Sunday and vowed to punish anyone using Iraq as a launch pad for attacks in the region. 
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi on Sunday denied reports Iraqi territory “was used for drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities.”
“Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors,” he said in a statement.
“The Iraqi government will be extremely firm with whomever tries to violate the constitution.”
Iraq is home to several Iran-backed militias and paramilitary factions, placing it in an awkward situation amid rising tensions between its two main sponsors, Tehran and Washington.
United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo squarely accused Tehran of being behind Saturday’s operation, saying there was no evidence the “unprecedented attack on the world’s energy supply” was launched from Yemen.
Iraq has called for its territory to be spared any spillover in the standoff between the US and Iran, which has included a series of attacks on shipping in sensitive Gulf waters.
Recent raids on bases belonging to Iraqi Shiite paramilitary groups linked with Iran, attributed to Israel, sparked fears of an escalation.
There have been no military consequences so far, but the strikes have heightened divisions between pro-Tehran and pro-Washington factions in Iraq’s political class.
Baghdad has recently moved to repair ties with Saudi Arabia, a key US ally — much to Iran’s chagrin.
Riyadh recently announced a major border post on the Iraqi frontier would reopen mid-October, after being closed for almost three decades.