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  • Fatema Hayat: Government

  • Fatema Hayat
    “One of the greatest things about The New School was how challenging and balanced the International Affairs program was....certain professors were pragmatic and others theoretical. The faculty was always helpful and understanding. It was a fun yet challenging learning experience.”

    Growing up, Fatema Hayat had always wanted to be a professional athlete, but because of Kuwait’s cultural and social barriers at that time, it was impossible for women to find a career in sport. Today, however, she’s making history as the country’s first-ever female elected as a board member in any sports association.

    Hayat received her Master’s in Science from The New School’s Julien J. Studley Graduate Programs in International Affairs in 2015 with the goal of working in gender equity in the sports realm following graduation. She chose The New School because of its non-traditional and progressive nature, and because the International Affairs program offered her the opportunity to focus her studies on project management. While at The New School, she learned how to organize and to be more concise, effective, and efficient, all skills she brought with her into her professional career. 

    “One of the greatest things about The New School was how challenging and balanced the International Affairs program was,” Hayat says. “Certain professors were pragmatic and others theoretical. The faculty was always helpful and understanding. It was a fun yet challenging learning experience.” 

    Following her graduation, Hayat consulted and co-organized Kuwait’s first women’s Ramadan soccer tournament, and that opened doors politically. She was appointed as a Board Member of Kuwait’s Olympic Committee where she focused on fixing (developing) the structure of women’s sports across the country and, soon after, was contacted by the president of the Kuwait Soccer (Football) Association and encouraged to run for a seat.

    Shortly after, she became the first female sports elected official in Kuwait. Starting from scratch, she developed women’s national soccer teams in different age groups, established leagues, and trained and recruited female referees and coaches. Today, Hayat works closely with the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and applied for and received a $507,000 grant to implement her programs. She also launched Kuwait's first national women’s soccer League which kicked off in 2019. 

    Equipped with the skills and knowledge from her years at the New School, Hayat is now living her dream as she is giving girls an equal opportunity to play sports in Kuwait.

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