Yemeni female scholar achieves excellence in the U.S. [Archives:2005/860/Reportage]

July 18 2005

By Walid Al-Saqaf
Washington, DC for the Yemen Times

One may call her an achiever, others could say she is a humanitarian, but there is no doubt that this year, Dr. Bilqis Mohammed Jubari, 36, can be described as a revolutionary pioneer that brought pride and hope to her country.

Mother of a boy and wife of prominent Yemeni scholar Dr. Mohamed Al-Maitami, Mrs. Bilqis has demonstrated that Yemeni women can achieve excellence when given the opportunity. By receiving the 2005 Family Counseling Program's certification distinction with honor from the Towson University in Maryland, the USA, Bilqis has a lot to feel proud of.

Her dedication at work and passion in caring for others are among the things in which she believed. As a scholar, a mother, and a community leader, by winning this certificate Bilqis has opened the eyes of the American community to the potential of Arab and Muslim women. In fact, her impact was been widely felt by the Glenwood Life Counseling Center where she worked to the degree that the management asked her to stay and join the staff as permanent member. Yet, despite the attractive offer, she declined it for one noble reason. “I want to come back to my home country to help Yemeni women who are in much greater need for my professional expertise.” she said.

For the last year, Bilqis has been practicing her knowledge and using her expertise at Baltimore's Glenwood Life Counseling Center, which is among the most prominent counseling centers in the state of Maryland, and arguably the whole country. During her time there, she had passionately assisted in the recovery of eight patients with psychological disorders caused by the excessive use of narcotics and drugs for about 20 years. She was able to help six of them regain their lives after a rehabilitation process in a record time of less than a year. Thanks to her, the five patients have embraced life again and gradually turning to be active citizens. Her unique skills and talents have made her a distinguished member of the Center and resulted in requests by the management that she stays.

A successful mother herself, Bilqis believes in her ability to prove all those doubters in the abilities of Yemeni woman wrong. Coming from a traditional and conservative Muslim background, Bilqis has demonstrated that Yemeni women can serve their community as well as their families. Looking at the history of Bilqis, one can easily find the marks of a dedicated hard working individual directly influenced by the love of learning and teaching others. She taught English language in a preliminary school in Sanaa before she moved up in the hierarchy to become a researcher at the Yemeni Center for Studies and Research at Sanaa University. With the support and motivation she received from her husband, she climbed up the ladder to become a prominent Professor of Psychology at the Faculty of Arts in Sanaa University, to which she is still affiliated today.

Pursuing academic excellence and being a female pioneer have always been a mark of her academic career ever since she received her BA and MA in Psychology from Sanaa University, all with honor degrees. Her Ph.D. thesis was on 'Marital Adjustment and its Relation to Parental Dealing with Children and Children's Psychological Health', which gave her a distinction degree with honor from Sanaa University in 2003.

It would have been very difficult to predict that a woman born in the town of Dhamar, known for its strict Islamic and conservative traditions, is now a pioneer Arab Psychology scholar in the US. Many female activists in Yemen believe women like Bilqis serve as a clear example of the potential of every Yemeni and Arab woman.

Today, Bilqis wishes to help her country combat the many social and community challenges it is facing. Poverty, illiteracy -particularly among females-, and outdated backward traditions are a few obstacles that have contributed to Yemen's inability to catch-up with other more developed countries in the region. Lack of human resources is another challenge, so is lack of proper conditions for work and productivity. Despite all of those problems, Bilqis believes she has a mission to accomplish in Yemen, and as she helped American patients in Maryland, she wishes to help thousands back in Yemen, the country where she belongs.

She is one of a few Yemeni pioneer females that will be remembered as a shining example of a dedicated female scholar in Yemen's modern history.