“Many friends or people I meet in my daily life are telling me: ‘your English is great, you have an academic degree, why don’t you leave to work in the United States or somewhere else?’ I tell them that I believe in our country and its youth. I am convinced that we can have a brighter future, here and now.”
At 25 years old, Hasan Ismaeel Abd Alkadum Al-Ruaiey might be a part of Iraq’s best chance for a brighter future.
Born in Baghdad one year after the end of the first Gulf War, he grew up in a family of engineers that nurtured his passion for science. “It’s a field I’ve always had a huge interest in,” Hasan admits. Today, Hasan holds a Master’s degree in Engineering and is a lecturer at the university where he studied. “But not an ordinary lecturer,” explains Hasan, “in the sense that I get to mix real practical life with theoretical knowledge. This is a working method that you seldom encounter in Iraq’s academic world.”
“Even as a student I would help my fellow students, showing them how to write solid CVs, build effective communication plans, and successfully pass job interviews for any kind of job. Then I saw that this could become a full-time job, so I decided to become professional trainer.” Several big companies in Iraq have asked for his expertise, including AstraZeneca (a biopharmaceutical company), Zain Iraq (the country’s biggest communication specialist), and the University of Technology. Baghdad’s largest mall and three of its universities have shown interest in allowing him to organize technology job fairs on their premises.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for Hasan, whose ideas have been met with some resistance. “It’s hard to convince people of the importance of allowing engineering students to learn leadership techniques. Many people in academia have a hard time taking this seriously – mostly older people who haven’t seen that the world they knew has changed.”
When asked about his experience with UNITAR, the first word that came to Hasan was “fascination.”
“The courses were very well thought-out,” he explains, “and not boring at all. The skills taught there were very helpful to me because I already had clear projects in my head, but I did not know what the proper first steps were. I had no idea of the number of things to take in consideration before starting anything. I was especially excited to learn about PESTLE analysis, for example.”
Iraqis have gone through tough times in recent years and in the eyes of the younger generation, the future might not look so bright. But Hasan seems immune to any kind of pessimism.
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