EQ Stories: Dr. Yasmeen Al Bulushi, Oman
“They thought there was something wrong with me for being flexible with everyone.” –Yasmeen Al Bulushi, Oman
One day in the Fall of 2012 Dr. Yasmeen Al Bulushi walked into Republican election headquarters in Pennsylvania to volunteer for the Mitt Romney campaign. She was visiting the U.S. from Oman as part of a State Department-sponsored democracy training program. Her hosts’ first reaction was one of fear and suspicion fueled by a steady diet of negative news stories from the Middle East. Remember the “axis of evil”? But having trained with Six Seconds, Dr. Al Bulushi hoped she could get beyond the stereotypes and build trusting relationships if given the chance.
Dr. Yasmeen Al Bulushi is Assistant Dean of Academic Support and Students’ Affairs at the College of Banking and Financial Studies in Oman. She also trains bankers in EQ skills.
Oman is a tiny country located at the entrance to the Persian Gulf, directly opposite Iran. Oman, under the rule of Qaboos Bin Said, recently adopted a parliamentary system.
“They were all politicians, they were all coming from the Arab Spring areas, and their countries were all going through trouble. We had people from three competing parties in Egypt. Imagine yourself traveling and living with people, sitting at three meals, with conflicting views, and trying to live with them in harmony. I was the only one who made friends with all of them. ”
Dr. Al Bulushi was also the only one of her group to help with the Romney campaign, which she chose in order to challenge herself. At first, she got the cold shoulder from her Republican hosts.
She reflects, “I was about to give up. It was then that I realized that my noble goal is changing people through education. Why can’t I make them not afraid of me? This was the problem! They were afraid of me! I like the way one lady came the third day, she said, ‘You seem to be a nice lady, but the way we see you on the media makes us afraid to interact with you.’ I’m sure the others were looking at me in a way they wished I was not there. I thought that through educating them where I’m coming from there would be more understanding.”
“If it wasn’t for having principles of EQ, I would have maybe withdrawn.”
“If it wasn’t for having principles of EQ, I would have maybe withdrawn. I would have escaped, but sometimes I feel I am carrying the message of not just my country, but my religion and my region, and whatever I put forth will be what they remember for the rest of their lives.”
“When I left, a couple of people gave me their emails. The mother and father have kept in touch, they have visited me we got so connected and friendly. When I returned to my own country I was not the same person, because I went through what was the hardest time in my life being in a country alone, where I don’t know people, I didn’t know what they’re thinking, and there were a lot of question marks around me and them. If I didn’t have EQ, it would have been very difficult to deal with the issues around me. When I went back home, I was dealing with my team members in a new way. The cycle of reflecting and improving relationships goes on.”
Dr. Al Bulushi will speak in Sulalah, Sultanate of Oman, on September 1-3 at a Symposium titled: Improving Institutional Performance Through Emotional Intelligence along with Six Seconds’ Regional Director, Middle East, Africa & India, Jayne Morrison and Preferred Partner, Ramona Miranda , MD PotentiaMentis (Dehli, India), and many other dynamic presenters. For more information on Six Seconds’ activities in this region: http://www.6seconds.org/connect/mea/