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

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. • 


Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

Updated 16 September 2019

Organizers promise ‘exceptional’ Saudi National Day celebrations

  • We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season, says GEA CEO Amr Banaja

RIYADH: Fireworks, concerts, festivals and international performances will be among the highlights of the 89th Saudi National Day celebrations this year.

The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) has announced a season of record-breaking events for the annual celebration.

At a press conference in Riyadh on Sunday, GEA CEO Amr Banaja said that Saudi citizens and residents can enjoy a number of entertainment activities planned across 13 regions of the Kingdom as part of the National Day season being supervised by the GEA from Sept. 19 to 23.

“The GEA is proud to oversee the Saudi National Day Season activities by launching a unified identity that brings together the society under “Himma Hatta El-Qimmah,” Banaja said, inspired by the words of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman: “The Saudis’ strength is like that of the Tuwaiq mountain.”

The GEA was proud to be overseeing the occasion, Banaja said. “We are keen to have the largest international events to create an exceptional season befitting this dear country,” he said.

“This year fireworks celebrations will continue for several days where more than 700,000 shots will be fired at an altitude of up to 300 meters, accompanied by music,” he said.

Celebrations will be held in all regions during the season, and visitors will be able to enjoy a range of activities that reflected the unity of the nation and the cohesion of the people and leadership.

“Distinctive international shows designed especially for the National Day will be held in Riyadh from Sept. 21-23,” he said.

Fireworks will light up Jeddah over Al-Hamra Corniche accompanied by sound and light effects and laser shows.

At the five-day Dhahran Exhibition in Dammam starting on Sept. 19, the world’s largest theatrical producer “Cirque du Soleil” will present a specially designed show for Saudi National Day.

Forty artists will present 14 shows of acrobatics, sports, music, and dance. Eight concerts will also be held in a number of regions where, besides international stars, Saudi and Gulf artists will present patriotic songs.

The concerts will begin on the first day of the season on Sept. 19 at Al-Jouf University Stadium in Sakaka with performances by Khaled Abdulrahman and Nabil Shuail.

The next day, a concert will be held at King Khalid Sport City in Tabuk staged by artists Abdullah Al-Rowaished and Aseel Abu Bakr.

On Sept. 21, Majid Al-Mohandes and Dalia Mubarak will perform at Prince Abdul Aziz Bin Musaed Stadium in Hail.

On Sept. 22, two concerts will be performed at King Abdullah Sports City in Buraidah by artists Rashid Al-Majid and Balqees Fathi; the second at Prince Sultan Cultural Center in Jazan by “The Artist of Arabs” Mohammed Abdo and Turki.

On Saudi National Day (Sept. 23), three concerts will be held in Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam.

Thousands will gather at King Fahd Cultural Center in Riyadh to listen to singers Hussein Al-Jasmi and Abadi Al-Jawhar.

In Jeddah, Rabeh Saqr and the artist Waad will perform at King Abdullah Sports City, while in Dammam, and in the Green Halls in Riyadh, Kuwaiti singer Nawal and the artist Ayed will entertain the audience.

Five forums will take place in five cities, where a number of speakers will present inspirational events.

Forums will be held in Madinah and Tabuk on Sept. 19, while in Abha and Buraidah the forum will be held on Sept. 21 and in Hail on Sept. 23.

Banaja said that the GEA had created 150 smartphone apps for the National Day celebrations with 40,000 downloaded so far.

He thanked the security authorities for their efforts to make the season a success, and all government, private and nonprofit sectors for their contribution.

The programs were mostly free, he said, though there were some concerts for which tickets could be purchased online.

There will also be a major aero show in Riyadh, Jeddah and the Eastern Province, and a Saudi falcon show will be organized in Riyadh, Jeddah and Alkhobar.