“Mentoring Is More of Exchanging Knowledge”

Maitha Al Khayat is a new breed of superheroes. A mother of five, an author and an illustrator, who roams inside and outside the UAE spreading her passion for books. Her popular book “My Own Special Way” received an award for best book in the Children’s Forum, Riyadh (2011), and nominated for best translated book at the Marsh Awards, UK (2013). Maitha’s picture book “Turn Off the Lights” was also awarded for best picture book at the Publisher’s Forum, Sharjah (2016). Maitha writes for children’s TV shows, including the newly relaunched Arabic version of Sesame and the Emirati cartoon series “Hamdoon”. Recently she has published her first Young Adult novel “Tofan”.

Q: Tell us a few things about your country, and also your life's story!

A: I come from a wonderful country call the United Arab Emirates. Even though it is such a young and small country yet it has been proving to be one of the safest and best sought out countries whether for work or settle. The people of the country are respected and taken care of by the great leaders of the country who have been wise, generous and tolerant. I'm a mother of 5 children, author and children's illustrator.

Q: What is your view of the world as it is today? And how do you define the concept of a better world?

A: My view of the world is better if you look at things around you as opportunities, learning from downfalls and stay rooted to your values and traditions. In my eyes, a better world is when people will be tolerant, patient and accepting of other people no matter the background and origin and appearance.

Q: What are some of the key challenges in your society?

A: So far the only challenges I am facing are the obstacles I place in front of me. My society is a nurturing environment and you just have to wait for the right weather to make decisions and grab opportunities.

Q: As a woman what are a few of the hurdles that you had to overcome up until today?

A: Juggling between my family and work and how to give each undivided attention and also to myself.

Q: Why is the role of a mentor important for you?

A: It's more of exchanging knowledge and new ways of tackling issues or challenges.

Q: Do you have a lesson that life has taught you and you would like to share?

A: Is to never judge and to wish for others what you wish for yourself.

Q: Name a project, a foundation or a person in your country that you think is doing great work in helping improve other people's lives!

A: Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qassimi

Q: What are some of the challenges that women in your country face and what efforts are made towards gender equality?

A: Personally I feel freelancing is still a new concept in our world especially if it concerns women, however, my country focuses a great deal about equality towards gender. Nearly 60% of the workforce are females.

Q: Athena40 is the first ever global selection of the top 40 women forward thinkers, commentators, activists, authors, academics, entrepreneurs, executives, innovators. Can you think of a truly innovative and forward-thinking woman from your country that you wish to nominate for the Athena40 global list?

A: Sheikha Bodour Bint Sultan Al Qassimi

Q: Share with us a phrase, a poem or a story that you love or you find interesting!

A: Start every day with an attitude of gratitude.

Q: Tell us one thing that you have learned from your mentor.

A: Commitment.