Mai Al-Farhan

Research Associate

Mai Y. Al-Farhan is a former research associate at the Arab Gulf States Institute in Washington and a regular contributor to Millennial Gulf. She is a master’s student at the Elliott School of International Affairs at the George Washington University. Her thesis concerns reforms to the kafala sponsorship system and migrant labor in Bahrain and Qatar. She previously held research assistant positions at the United Nations Development Programme in Kuwait and Middle East Institute.

Her research interests are in the cyber applications of international relations, particularly the role nonstate actors play in exerting influence over nation states through cyber means. Beyond cyberpolitics, Al-Farhan is interested in the political economy of the Gulf Arab states.

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Kenaneya Farms: Connecting Community to the Source

Run by a young, second-generation farmer, Kenaneya Farm is located in Abdali, in northern Kuwait.

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Boutiqaat: Creating a Social Commerce Market in the Gulf

Social commerce is a new phenomenon. In “The Social Commerce System,” it is defined as “the expansion of e-commerce in the social networks on the Internet, in which social factors are significant, and consumers use the right to create content through the media via forums, ratings, reviews, and recommendations on different platforms.” At its core, Boutiqaat is similar to other e-commerce platforms such as Amazon, Alibaba, and Souq.

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Ghaliah Tech: Running the Influencer Economy in the Gulf

Social media influencers pervade the Gulf. They grace billboards on Kuwait’s Gulf Road, stream on millions of people’s Snapchat and Instagram stories, and kickoff corporate events and social campaigns.

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Bisklayta: Pedaling through Hurdles in Saudi Arabia

Nadeemah Abulaynain started riding her bicycle in her Jeddah neighborhood and, through Instagram, slowly attracted other women to join her.

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Dar Al Aseel: Abaya Design for the Gulf Power Woman

One of Oman’s most acclaimed fashion designers, Amal Al Raisi, stumbled upon design after shopping for a wedding dress.

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WEORITU: Positive Social Change through Example

Where to? This is the question Taibah al-Qatami, a Kuwaiti millennial, was pondering as she thought of initiating WEORITU.

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U.N.-Saudi Youth Forum: A Calculated Message

Saudi Arabia has been sending bold messages domestically with the recent security crackdown on influential clerics, intellectuals, and other public figures, while simultaneously engaging in a global soft power projection, most recently through an event held in the heart of New York.

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The Bahrain Foundation for Dialogue: Promoting Social Reconciliation

The Bahraini uprising, and its aftermath, has left profound rifts six years on, in political views, sectarian relations, and even geography.