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 Chaitali B Roy

First Indian Women to receive the prestigious award from the Indian Business and Professional Council (IBPC) for strengthening ties between India and Kuwait"

 

IMG 20181226 WA0015Chaitali Banerjee Roy has been in print media and radio broadcasting in Kuwait and India for twenty years.  A multifaceted personality she is an author, feature writer, journalist, speaker, cultural event curator etc.

She began her career with HMV, a leading entertainment company in India where she specialized in radio production, and also worked as a voice artist. Since 2001, Chaitali is professionally associated with Kuwaiti media both as Special Correspondent to Arab Times, Kuwait’s premier English-language daily and as  Producer/ Editor in the state-owned Radio Kuwait Foreign Service.

Chaitali has a Master’s degree in English from the University of Calcutta and Postgraduate Diplomas in Journalism, Public Relations, and Management.  She has curated cultural events amd talks for various embassies and organizations in Kuwait. In her spare time, Chaitali takes a lively interest in amateur theatre and music.

Chaitali B Roy

For the Arab Times and Radio Kuwait Foreign Service  Chaitali has done extensive research on a wide range of subjects including women’s issues, heritage, health, education, Islamic art and culture, and socio-cultural aspects of the Gulf region.

Awarded a Fellowship, she represented Kuwait at a Senior Journalist Seminar organized by East-West Center, an internationally recognized organization formed by the US States Department to foster better understanding between the United States and countries with major Muslim populations.  She was chosen to represent Kuwait, and that is something is very special to her as an Indian expat.

Passionate about advocating multiculturalism, Chaitali has tried to find connections between cultures by actively promoting, organizing, and anchoring cultural events on well-known platforms.

Chaitali B Roy

While writing about extraordinary women in Kuwait, she found that many of the challenges they face are global in nature while other dilemmas are posed by cultural conservatism. The stories put together in her first book ‘Women of Kuwait: Turning Tides’ are a must-read whether you’re a resident of Kuwait familiar with the culture or an outsider for whom the lifestyle of Kuwaiti women is a complete mystery.

Breaking stereotypes, these women are not afraid of hard work, and many don’t  flinch at literally getting their hands dirty, like Sara Akbar, the chemical engineer who worked in the oil fields with Kuwait Oil Company. Despite a reluctant management, she insisted on working in the field and later became the only woman in the firefighting mission after the Gulf War.

Many of the women Chaitali has written about have made history, serving as the first females in a large number of different positions. There is H.E. Nabeela Al-Mulla, first woman ambassador from the GCC, first woman from the Middle East and South Asia to chair the board of the International Atomic Energy Agency, and first Arab woman to lead her country at the United Nations.

Chaitali B RoyDr Masouma Al Mubarak served as Kuwait’s first female cabinet minister and was one of the first three Kuwaiti women to become a member of parliament. Dr Moudi Al Humoud also made history when she became Minister of Housing and State Minister for Development. She held other cabinet, parliament, and academic positions before becoming President of the Arab Open University.

Dr Badria Al Awadhi includes several “firsts” among her many achievements: the first Kuwaiti woman to study law, the first to earn a PhD in International Law, and the position of the first female Dean of the Faculty of Law and Sharia in Kuwait. A particularly unusual first ranking is held by Amani Suad Al-Hajji, who is the first professional opera singer not only in Kuwait but in the Arabian Gulf.

Dr Shafiqa Al Awadhi is the first Kuwaiti woman to get her MRCP in the field of medicine and to specialize in medical oncology. The former Head of Breast Unit at Kuwait Cancer Centre, she also founded Al Sidra Centre, the first non-profit cancer support unit of its kind in Kuwait.  

The other Kuwaiti women made groundbreaking accomplishments in the field of sports. Balsam and Lulwa Al Ayoub are the first female fencing champions from Kuwait. They are also sports ambassadors and social entrepreneurs.

Manayer Salmeen, a top-ranked karate athlete, has broken taboos associated with women’s participation in martial arts. She won the title of Miss Arab Sport in the Miss Arab World beauty pageant in Cairo, and also built her career in the oil industry as a reservoir engineer.

Chaitali B Roy“Women of Kuwait” describes leading edge ladies in a wide variety of fields. Anthropologist, author, painter, and activist, Sheikha Altaf Salem Al Ali Al Sabah preserved and reinvigorated the ancient art of Bedouin weaving as the head of Al Sadu Weaving Cooperative.

“Turning Tides” is an interesting and important documentation of women who have made meaningful contributions to Kuwaiti  society, and undeterred by political and social barriers, have made their dreams come true. Chaitali’s book which is sold in Kuwait, India, United States and Canada has been included in the Stanford University and Princeton University  Library catalogue.

Over the year, Chaitali  has been invited to lecture on Kuwaiti culture, womennn and her work in media at different universities and by various organizations in India and Kuwait including Jawaharlal Nehru University (Delhi), Lady Brabourne (Calcutta), ICCR (Calcutta), British Ladies Society (Kuwait), American Women's League Kuwait, German Speaking Ladies, Kuwait , Agility, Boxhill College, Kuwait.

Chaitali B RoyThrough her work in media both print and broadcast, Chaitali has tried to work on areas that is much neglected in media.  She focussed on Kuwait's history, culture - both material and non-material, and society and social problems. She wrote on issues that could explain the local people and culture better to the expatriates.

Some of the expats, she realized lived in Kuwait for decades without trying to understand the country better. And she also tried to take up causes that the locals neglected - like the issue of conservation, heritage buildings, folkloric music and dance and heritage crafts. 9/ 11 had happened days after she landed in Kuwait, and she saw the way the world reacted.

Chaitali B RoyShe made it a point to write about issues that showed Islam in a different light. Several bodies have felicitated Chaitali for her work. In May 2017, she became the first Indian woman to be awarded by the Indian Business &  Professional Council Award for outstanding leadership in developing and enhancing social and cultural relationships between Kuwait and India.

At present, Chaitali B Roy is working on her second book,  which is also on the subject of women in leadership in Kuwait. She hopes to publish the book by the end of 2019. She is also working on a podcast titled ‘At My Kuwaiti Table’ with Dr Lavinia Davenport, wife of the British Ambassador (a filmmaker and youtuber) and Krysia Derecki, wife of the Australian Ambassador (former media professional with the BBC) .

The podcast highlights  lives and achievements of extraordinary women in Kuwait, and will be aired from Januray 2019.

As a person in media and communications, Chaitali has a keen interest in individuals and their journey.  She believes life is a series of learning and that every person you meet, every experience you undergo teaches you something however small.

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