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This Woman Wants To Build a Bridge between the East and West

You’ve probably seen Muna AbuSulayman before. She’s one of the hosts of the wildly popular show, “Kalam Nawaem.” If you haven’t seen her on television, you’ve probably noticed her on social media. With 429,000 Twitter followers and just under 1.3 million likes on Facebook, it would be difficult not to see her online.

Her list of accomplishments doesn’t stop there – she’s also a global ambassador for Silatech, was the first Saudi woman to become a UNDP goodwill ambassador, and even has her own fashion line. But her true passion is promoting understanding between the East and West.

She has founded no less than five Islamic studies centers in the West. Universities like Harvard and Cambridge now have dedicated spaces that AbuSulayman hopes will dispel myths about Islam and the Arab world.

Such large projects rarely happen without a long context. AbuSulayman has seen the importance of learning about other cultures firsthand – she was born in Philadelphia and has lived in the U.S., Saudi Arabia and Malaysia.

“My two years in Kuala Lumpur were absolutely the most wonderful years of my life,” she told a local newspaper. “I appreciated the rich culture where Indians, Chinese and Malaysians all lived peacefully. Living abroad and experiencing different cultures helped me with different perspectives.”

Her global work has gone from helping flooded areas in Pakistan and Indonesia to building houses for the needy in Saudi Arabia. She hops from one job to the next, having changed her career path every five years for the past 20 years, but always finds a way to make an impact.

As a woman, she recognizes that she faces a different set of obstacles than men. Still, her outlook is positive – she told Saudi Gazette that she is optimistic about Saudi women’s future.

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