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Jacqueline Hassink
Her Excellency Lujaina Mohsin Darwish Joint Deputy Managing Director, Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC. SPECIAL COMMENTS: Mrs Lujaina Darwish spent her childhood in Muscat where her parents were very supportive of her choice of both education and career. She graduated in English Literature from Sultan Qaboos University and became a lecturer in English at the University. Twelve years ago she moved to the Human Resources, Omanisation & Legal Department in her father’s company, Mohsin Haider Darwish LLC. According to Mrs Darwish she had to face tough times: ‘It was a struggle which a woman has to go through in a male-dominated world before she proves her worth and comes out with flying colours.’ One important lesson that she learned was that ‘to be a good leader, one has to be a good follower’. In 2001 she was appointed Joint Deputy Managing Director. Within the company the divisions she deals with are mainly Gases, Chemicals and Medical Equipment. There are 750 people working for the company, which has eight different business divisions, each importing and dealing in some of the most prominent brands from around the world including Jaguar, Land Rover and Volvo. The business divisions have offices and showrooms all over Muscat and in the interior regions of Sur, Sohar and Salalah, with a corporate office in Ruwi. Her father, Mr Mohsin Haider Darwish, is the Managing Director, and his two daughters Areej and Lujaina are the Joint Deputy Managing Directors. On the day of photography, she had to leave on an unexpected business trip to Dubai. Nevertheless she prepared the dining table at her house for twenty people. The company has three boardrooms. The one I photographed was situated on the first floor of the Automotive Division in Azaiba. The table is very large with a portrait of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos on the wall at its head. Mrs Darwish sits on the right side of her father, who sits at the head of the table close to the white telephone. There are five people on the executive board including herself. Photographs of Omani landscapes hang on the boardroom walls. Mrs Darwish is one of only two women selected for a second term to the prestigious Majlis al-Shura Council in the Sultanate of Oman, an elected body that reviews legislation on economic development and social services prior to it becoming law. A member of the board of the Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry, she is also the only woman president of a sports club in Oman and in the Gulf region, and a member of the Forum of Young Global Leaders (World Economic Forum). She won the Sultanate’s Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2001 and the Flame of Excellence Award in 2002. Her hobbies are reading and travelling. Her home is surrounded by a large, fenced area with flowers and bushes in pink, green and white. We entered a beautiful garden with grass, trees, flowers and very large, colourful Omani traditional sculptures of deer. There is a big fountain and a very large white aviary located close to the house with tropical birds such as peacocks. The garden looked like paradise. The large dining table, which can seat 24 people, is used daily by her husband and herself. She sits on his right. For formal dinners, as hosts, they are seated at either end and guests are seated on either side. Her husband has a senior position in a leading financial company in Oman and has been a great support in her career. Mrs Darwish had set the table in her own style, predominantly blue with beautiful purple flowers and candles with eastern touches. The large living room had many glass and ceramic ornaments, giving it a colourful and joyful impression. In March 2006, Her Excellency Lujaina Mohsin Darwish was ranked thirteenth in Forbes Arabia magazine’s list of ‘50 Most Powerful Businesswomen in the Arab World’.

Series: Arab Domains
13 April 2006
Muscat, Sultanate of Oman

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