As Diplomatic Attache in Kuwait’s Permanent Delegate to the UN, Farah Al-Gharabally gracefully conducted herself in accordance with representing her country’s dignity and pursuing her future goals. Farah, on several occasions, has expressed her country’s stand and commitment over issues ranging from economic, social and humanitarian.
We were inclined to know more and were delighted to get into conversation with Farah Al-Gharabally. A graduate from Kuwait University, with a Degree in Mass Communication and Media, Farah took some time off for herself before deciding to work at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Kuwait. Upon completion of the required course spanning a year, Farah wished to pursue further studies in Political Science, which she did, earning a minor as an undergraduate student while still working.
Farah was given an opportunity to travel to New York for three months through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, along with a group that had been flown there for training purposes; and Farah fell in love with the city while also giving all of her efforts to the work at hand. The Kuwaiti Ambassador recognized her efforts and picked her out of the group to continue to work full time, hence she moved to New York where she stayed on for six years, while also pursuing her master’s degree.
When did you leave for New York and what influenced your decision?
During the span of the three-month course in NYC, I fell in love with the city. It’s called a metropolitan city after all, there are limitless opportunities, and I loved every aspect of it. I had it in me to go back to this city and live the full experience and discover what this city has to offer. I moved there in 2011 and just got back a few months ago. Personally, I love exploring new places and people, in general. New York, to me, is the capital of the world!
How did it feel being a Kuwaiti woman living abroad?
It felt great! I cannot relate any issues either communicating with other people or living in a different city away from home. The opposite entirely, I felt right at place, I fit right in. I experienced acceptance and compassion towards my country, the people around me, and also the city I moved to.
Did you feel like society here was on your side?
My environment was in fact very encouraging, I come from a supportive and open family who saw this as an amazing opportunity for me. I was surrounded by a group of people who had faith in the fact that everyone can choose their own journey in life. Society, in general, I can say, was also very supportive as, after all, representing my country abroad is always seen as a positive thing.
What did you learn from your experience in the west?
The most important thing I learnt was ‘acceptance’. People accepting me for who and how I am, and vise versa. No matter what the religion, faith, or belief, acceptance was the key. New York is a unique city, it made me learn and grow, and it made me feel deeply. Another thing I noticed was that life is not as easy as we thought it was! Life is actually really tough. For example, I feel like we do not possess the life skills required to live abroad, we’re getting a bit too comfortable here. Whereas in New York everyone is constantly working, whether it’s on their career or self-development or even just their bodies, they’re just always working. Work ethics is something I have come to much admire.
What lessons do you bring back home with you?
There are two main things that come to mind. First of all, we are all one as humans! Our purpose is to live, and we are all equals. It’s up to each individual to decide if they want to work on themselves or not. Another lesson, a crucial one, is that ‘happiness is an inside job’. It has nothing to do with which country you are living in, or what your profession may be or where you are working. If you’re happy on the inside, you’ll live a happy life.
What would you advise women who are contemplating working abroad?
Oh, absolutely go for it and do it! If you can, just go ahead. The most important piece of advice would be to be yourself and to be courageous. Knowledge should accompany that courage, to avoid recklessness.
In a fashion sense, how do you feel the city influenced your personal style?
I’m not a person who leans towards fashion and follows trends. But then again, New York is New York – there’s inspiration everywhere you go. The city gives you the opportunity to try new things and experiment with fashion, not everyone goes by the book. You have to stay fashionable to keep up with the city! Also, my friends in New York influenced my fashion sense big-time. They were all into fashion, and some of them worked in the fashion industry as well.
Creative director: DoubleA Studio // Photographer: Jalil Marvin // Wardrobe by Max Mara