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DR. AMAR BEHBEHANI

DR. AMAR BEHBEHANI

“Time is not a linear process for me.”

Please introduce yourself to our readers.
I am a woman, a daughter, a wife, a companion, a leader, an innovator, a designer, an artist, a life scientist, a therapist and, most importantly, an educator.

Tell us about your education.
My educational journey represents who I am as a person. I am a visionary and an explorer and my educational journey was rather a challenge. First of all, as a high school student I always loved the sciences and the arts. I majored in mathematics but my heart was with fine arts, crafts, music, sports and dance. I loved expression and silent thinking at the same time. Everyone expected me to be a physician or an engineer. However, deep inside I wanted more than the normal path of honor student education. I wanted to be something different. I earned a scholarship from the government to study Mass Communication so I earned a Bachelor in Visual Journalism and had a triple minor in fine arts, theatre design and cinematography. Then I earned a Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design and Visual Communication minoring in Visual Anthropology and Gallery Management. During the process of my research, I was interested in the innovative factor of art and design and its effect on educational development. During my work with children with learning disabilities, I got inspired to become more than a designer and problem-solver. I decided that I wanted to help people with creativity. So I earned a Master of Science in Art Psychotherapy leading to a PhD in Arts Education and Arts Psychotherapy and I practice both professions.

Tell us about your career journey.
My career has multiple paths. I started with the corporate world. I began as a communication designer, progressed to a corporate account manager, then creative director. Then my passions were slowly heading to social responsibility. I started as a TA of the design and art department at Kuwait University at that time. Then I earned a scholarship to complete my Masters and PhD. Now I am a professor of Visual Communications Design at the College of Architecture in the Communication Design and Interior Architecture Department, KU. My passion towards education thrives on a daily basis with my lovely students.
As an Art Psychotherapist, I am now a Senior Psychotherapist in one of the clinics in Kuwait. With the creative process, I help people with mental, behavioral and psycho-social challenges discover their paths of healing and problem-solving. Mental health has many fields and art therapy is one of them. I use art as a method of assessment, communication and expression in the process of therapy.
I am also an innovation and leadership trainer for corporate and governmental entities. My training concentrated on helping employees refine their emotional intelligences and their mental capacity to reach their potential. I recently founded a social entrepreneurship initiative called Wellness Kuwait that targets personal, social and cultural innovation.
Last but not least, I am the President of Soroptimist Kuwait, a society to empower, enable and educate women. It was founded in the USA in 1921. Soroptimist Kuwait is part of this international affiliation and has been a local official NGO by MOSAL since 2015.

How do you manage your time? Describe your average day.
Time is not a linear process for me. I multitask throughout the whole day. And my team at the society makes it easier for me because we split tasks and events so we can manage to achieve our community outreach and civil services. My weekend is mostly devoted to my personal life and family.

What is your biggest strength?
My strengths are my kindness, compassion and empathy. I believe in emotional intelligences and their effect in life enhancement.

Do you have any weaknesses?
I like to call them room of development because weaknesses can be modified and enhanced. I am still working on my patience! My brain processes things so fast that I sometimes feel that events are slower than I am. So I am working on my patience.

Have you made any mistakes that have made you stronger?
Life is a series of mistakes and trial and error. Every day I learn new things. So yes, mistakes are mandatory and fixing them is the learning process. I have too many and I love them all.

What have been the biggest challenges you’ve faced during your career?
My biggest challenge was leading an NGO. To be a woman who inspires other women is a responsibility. However, I am blessed with the women who march with me towards the greater good. We lean on each other and help each other to fulfill our goals.

How do you stay motivated during challenging times?
My internal motivation comes from love. My external motivation comes from knowledge and education. It inspires me so I also use it to inspire others.

What do you do to relax?
I need to see the horizon to relax. I need to be part of nature to relax. I mainly need earthing.

What has been your proudest moment so far?
The proudest moment in my life is when I became president of an NGO that serves women’s causes. I never thought that enabling and helping women would take such a big part of my life. Education and mental wellness were my passions. However, when I started advocating for women’s causes I really found myself.

What is your biggest fear?
My biggest fear is a world where women cry because of hunger, illiteracy and abuse. These worlds still exist in many nations.

What is your favourite quote?
My favourite quote is something that my father always told us. “If you have something nice to say, then say it. If you have something bad to say, then stay silent.”

Name one item in life you can’t do without.
I cannot live without ice water.

Best advice you have ever taken?
The best advice is from one of my professors. I remember entering the seminar hall and he wrote all over the blackboards the word ‘listen’. He said, ‘actively listening is the first step for true knowledge.’

Share three books on your nightstand.
These days I am reading a book called, “A woman who thought too much” by Joanne Limburg. It is about the life of a woman who was challenged by OCD. The book I love to read all over again is “The Kite Runner” by Khaled Hosseni. And I read a lot by a local author, Dr. Mohamed Jamal.

In your opinion, what are the three keys to success?
1. Leadership Skills.
2. Empathy.
3. Share what is necessary only.

What is next for you? What would you still like to achieve?
I really want more done to help women in need. The process of empowerment needs to be applicable by helping those women who cannot help themselves. I and many other women need the simple rights of women who suffer from violence and threatening circumstances.

What advice would you give to young women starting out in their career?
There is no gender in your choices. You are human and have the full capacity to be who you are destined to be. Be real, be ambitious and be compassionate. Be you.

How does it feel to be a CP Woman of Substance?
I am honored and grateful to be chosen by the people and CP. I am also thankful for all those who felt inspired by me and my efforts to develop our society and culture.

Your message for the team at CP magazine:
Do what you do best! Reach out with creativity, care and inspiration.

 

 

 

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