Kuwaiti native ‘breaking boundaries’ for women while attending UM

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Senior Hanya Al-Khamis said women in Kuwait are often looked upon as lesser than men. Al-Khamis said she’s looking to change that by utilizing the skills she’s gained at UM to educate people in her country. Photo Courtesy: Hanya Al-Khamis

If living the American dream means having an equal opportunity to achieve success and prosperity through hard work, determination and initiative, Kuwaiti native Hanya Al-Khamis said she “got the full package” at the University of Miami.

At age 18, Al-Khamis received a scholarship from the Kuwait Ministry of Education to study journalism at UM. An education in the United States was something her parents had always encouraged her to pursue for the many career opportunities that could open to her.

Al-Khamis credits UM for her ability to think about these aspirations and for the confidence she has obtained, helping her actually pursue them. Because of that, she has dreams she is considering “all at once.”

“I want to be a fashion designer,” Al-Khamis said. “Maybe I will be the next Anna Wintour, the minister of foreign affairs or the CEO of my own company in the communications realm.”

Al-Khamis said she hopes to return to Kuwait and use the skills she’s gained in the United States to encourage people in her country to push a few boundaries.

“Why not go back and change and make society think,” she said. “I do not want to change it because it is bad. I want to change it because we need people who are aspiring to be more than they think and are told they can be.”

That includes changing the way Kuwaiti society views women. Al-Khamis said she’s “breaking the boundaries” that are expected, such as getting married, establishing a “home” and having kids.

“I can be the next CEO while being married,” she said. “Being at UM made me realize anything is possible, regardless of your background. Whoever you are, you can achieve your goals.”