Sameera Aziz

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Sameera Aziz
Sameera Aziz, most beautiful journalist.jpg
Born 24 June 1979
Al-Khober, Saudi Arabia
Nationality Saudi
Alma mater Gulistan SMCHS school, P.E.C.H.S College & University of Karachi
Occupation Mass Media (News, Radio, Theater and Film), activist, speaker, social worker and business woman
Website sameeraaziz.com

Sameera Aziz is a Saudi media personality, journalist, film director, producer, an ambassador of children and women by SPMUDA International, Director of UNO-affiliated Sports Body, writer, radio presenter, poet, novelist, speaker, activist, brand endorser, social worker, MC & moderator, analyst and businesswoman. She is a Jeddah-based Saudi national and conferred the prestigious titles of 'Princess' - Royal title of Sultanate of Buayan - and 'the Great Woman'. She is an owner of Jeddah based companies 'Sameera Aziz Group' and Sameera Aziz Entertainment, the first Saudi production house in Bollywood and India.[1] She is most notable as a radio presenter of her weekly show 'Marhaba with Sameera Aziz' in Asian Radio Live,[2] which is based in the United Kingdom. She is an elected Saudi Director of United Nations' affiliated Global Sports Federation (GSF).[3] She is a Chief Editor of upcoming quarterly Magazine BizConnect. She was also notable for her work with the Saudi Gazette newspaper as a Senior International Editor in the past. She has participated as a guest speaker and Keynote speaker in many national and international forums regarding social, expatriate, animal, and women's issues.[4][5][6] She is recognized as a first Saudi female Bollywood director, producer and writer.[7] She is also recognized as the first Saudi novelist of Urdu language in Saudi Arabia.[8] She is active in humanitarian work.

Early life abroad[edit]

H.E. Sameera Aziz was born on 24 June 1979 in Al-Khober, Saudi Arabia, to Aziz-ur-Rehman, a bravery award holder of the Navy and an unknown Saudi mother who disowned her soon after her birth. The new born Sameera was then brought-up by her step mother Mehar Afroz, a beautician from the United States of America. Her parent first migrated to Bangladesh from India, and then to Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, and later still to the United States of America. She was the only daughter of three children of Aziz Ur Rehman; she has two elder step brothers, Faisal Aziz and Fahad Aziz. Her early education was completed abroad, in Karachi's Gulistan Shah Abdul Latif School, and later at P.E.C.H.S. Girl's College and the University of Karachi. She married at the age of Fifteen and completed her education after her marriage. She is known for her studious spirit. Before submitting her Thesis for her PhD in Trade Relations, she received Masters degrees in International Relations and Journalism. She then studied Film making from Hollywood and Indian directors in different time spans.[9] and also completed furthermore Postgraduate education in the subjects of Mass Communication and Film Direction from Livewires-The Media Institute in Mumbai, India.[10] She is doing PhD from Osmania University Hyderabad India - one of the largest university systems in the subcontinent. She stated that her research will be useful to bridge the gap between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

Sameera Aziz is considered a victim of child marriage by western media. However, she strongly rejected this characterization, stating heedfully in an interview to a UAE-based newspaper that her marriage was not a hurdle on the road to achievement. She married for the protection and to set her life on a successful course by pursuing further education after marriage. She further stated that her mother's sacrifices are untold and she is thankful and proud of her mother.[11] According to a book Sold For Dowry, Sameera Aziz was sold as a bride and was denied to continue her further education as promised, but she stood tall and carried on her education & career side by side. According to the Saudi customs, a groom gives the dowry amount to bride, but it is claimed in Sold For Dowry that Sameera was unaware about her dowry amount taken by her step mother on her behalf and she was only told that she will be permitted to take her further education and career in Media after marriage.[12]

Born to a Pakistani expatriate father and a Saudi mother in Saudi Arabia after the undisclosed marriage of her parents, princess Sameera was orphaned at the age of two, when her father died of heart failure. In the absence of proper care, her early childhood days and most of her teenage life was filled with hardships. At the age of Nine, Princess Sameera dabbled in writing which later in her life turned into a passion. Besides her studies, she supported her step mother at a young age by working in her beauty salon at home. As a young girl, she was very athletic and played cricket, enjoyed inline roller-skating and cycling.[13]

The turning point in her life came when at the age of Fifteen, she got married to a Saudi national, who offered her support for continuation of her studies. Her marriage life also reportedly went through troubles due to her studious attitude, but she denied all news as 'rumors' by saying she has been handling all difficulties sensibly and patiently. It is normal to have issues but all is well.[14] At that stage of her life, through her bold and candid writings, sting operations, poetry and authoring a novel, she carved a niche in the field of journalism. She is known as a moderate Muslim and seen in Hijab (head scarf) at public places.

Journalism career[edit]

Sameera Aziz is a Chief Editor of upcoming quarterly Magazine BizConnect. Earlier, she was the president of Asian Information Agency (AIA), a Worldwide News Service; and the Saudi Country Head of South Asian Regional Information Agency, voice of SAARC countries (SARIA).[15] She was also the Bureau Chief of the first Saudi independent English news website The Peninsula Times.[16]

Till the year of 2013, she was a senior editor of the Jeddah-based Saudi Gazette, one of the two English language newspapers printed in the country.[17] Until it ceased publication in 2009, Sameera Aziz was simultaneously managing editor of Awaz, a youth-oriented weekly Urdu newspaper, published by parent company Okaz. She was also the Managing Editor of Fresh, a quarterly magazine published under Saudi Gazette by the marketing department of Okaz publications.

She formerly served as a writer for Gulf News and several other Pakistan-based newspapers (during 1999). She also served as the supervising editor of the women's sections in Urdu News and Urdu Magazine, owned by Saudi Research and Marketing Group. "I aim-fully did the hard media job because I wanted to gain experience and learn," she stated in a TV show.[18] Her career span is long in Saudi Research and Marketing Group and Okaz.

Her columns and features are written exclusively in English and Urdu and translated into other languages.[19] She focuses on Saudi domestic, social, cultural, educational and expatriate's issues as well as Saudi Arabia's relationship with the international community. She conducted undercover sting operations – the rare genre in Saudi journalism – and became the part of bold experiments in the new progressive Saudi Journalism at that time.[20][21] She has belief in the professional, humanitarian and nurturing kind of power women exercise in the workplace.[22] Some of her work focused on the challenges of social and labour issues, human rights, women's rights,[23] violence against children, and other issues of concern to the community.[24] Her reporting experiences include coverage of terrorism, women's rights and the societal changes now taking place in Saudi Arabia.

Diplomatic Services[edit]

H.E. Sameera Aziz is conferred the Royal title of ‘Princess’ and appointed as the Honorary Ambassador of Sultanate of Buayan in Philippines to Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. She is also conferred the title of 'Great Woman' with a prestigious award as a Great Cultural Icon of Middle East. She is also an ambassador of SPMUDA International Organization for Peace and Development affiliated under UNO, EC and OIC.

Activist[edit]

Sameera Aziz with SETWIN worker for a woman development program

Sameera Aziz is known as a human rights' volunteer. She has worked for the awareness of the evil custom of child marriage. Besides the awareness campaign in social media, in which she has strong support of her followers, she also protested against child marriage and raised voice for the protection of the child brides. She had also shattered a wall of silence about domestic violence after a TV presenter Rania Al-Baz was savagely assaulted by her husband in 2004. While she dared to challenge the culture of violence against women, she rubbished the criticism on her as 'Gender-Biased' by her some candid research work in favor of Men.[25]

In 2009, she shocked everyone when she boldly wrote and spoke about an evil incidence of child abuse that she witnessed. She protected the child after an encounter.[26] She also campaigned against the gang who brought Afghani origin children to Saudi Arabia with the fake Pakistani passport to make them the beggars, towel and chewing gum sellers in the streets of Jeddah. She was threatened by the criminal group of people during this campaign.

Sameera Aziz is the supporter of women driving in Saudi Arabia. However, she does not support any extraordinary display of civil disobedience. Yet she candidly asked mercy and kindness for those women in Saudi Arabia who defied their nation's de facto ban on women driving by getting behind the steering wheel.[27] She also runs a social media campaign #SupportSmile with her team of Desi Vines,[28] and The Khalli Walli Show to promote the culture of smiles, Love and peace.[29][30]

Sameera Aziz also acts as a consultant to various international organisations for social development and human rights like National Society for Human Rights (NSHR), We-The Youth[31] and Society For International Peace, which is a think tank initiated to serve the humanity. She is also the special adviser of 'International Affairs and Women's Rights' in Journalist Foundation,[32] a professional federation of global journalists.

Writer[edit]

Sameera Aziz is the First Saudi novelist of Urdu Language in Saudi Arabia.[33] She wrote an Urdu novel Rishtey Badal Bhi Jatey Hain. She wrote many Urdu fictions in popular literary magazines like Dosheeza, Pakeeza and Sachi Kahaniyan. As a child writer, she wrote in magazines like Hamdard and Taleem o Tarbiyat but remained unnoticed in the beginning. She has also written many articles in English and Urdu languages on political, social and women issues.

Many people disagree with her basic feminist standpoint. She was criticized by many anti-feminist people. Some of her bold fictions were being strongly rejected by men. The story of her first novel was also being criticized by conservative readers for presenting the triumph of human emotional needs, rather than the victory of traditional values. She defended herself against criticism by saying that every writer should be a social researcher and she wrote a true story after research.[34]

In search of the powerful medium to communicate, she then wrote the story and screenplay of the First ever Bollywood Movie REEM - THE TRUE STORY, which is based on real incident that she covered during her earlier period of Journalism career.

Speaker[edit]

Sameera Aziz became a voice while highlighting Saudi employers' issues. She spoke about the ill-treatment and crimes of domestic workers in Saudi Arabia and condemned their propaganda that was being carried out against many guiltless Saudi employers.[35][36] She has a passion to bridge the gap between the Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world. In her interview, she stated that she aims to clear up the misconceptions about Saudi Arabia.[37]

Sameera Aziz was the most awaited speaker at Pakistan’s first-ever International Media Conference titled One World One Media, which was organised by the Pakistan Federal Union of Journalists from 1 to 3 May 2015 in Karachi, Pakistan. This conference was not only the first of its kind in Pakistan but in South Asia.[38]

She was also the only female speaker of an International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in Jeddah on 10 December 2014, which was the last day of UN women's 16-days global campaign of Activism against Gender Violence. The event was organized by The National Society of Human Rights. She talked against the international criticism that Saudi Arabia has often faced for lacking laws that protect women and domestic workers against abuse. "But this is not the case anymore. Saudi Arabia has outlawed domestic violence and this problem is already being acknowledged here. There is a legal ban on physical and sexual violence and other forms of abuse against women in Saudi Arabia, which applies both at home or within the work place," she said.[39][40]

Poet[edit]

Sameera Aziz became an admired poet instantly after participating in a high profile All India Poetic Symposium called Mushaira in Mumbai, India where she was unexpectedly invited on stage.[41] Soon after that her first poetry book Kaghaz Ki Zameen (The Earth of Paper) was launched in February 2016 with a huge crowd of 25000 celebrities, Saudi diplomats and poetry lovers which was the first ever biggest book launch in the history of Maharashtra State of India.[42] She was loved and mobbed by fans.[43] She has also announced at her social media that her another poetry book and a digital album will be released soon.[44]

Her poems in Urdu language have published in various magazines and newspapers in the past. She has reportedly participated in many prominent poetic symposiums with appreciation awards.[45] She was harshly criticized as Man-hater when she enraged scores of male audience for boldly presenting her Ghazal against men and male-dominated society in 1999 at a jam-packed auditorium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. However, she got the standing ovation from female audience and some male audience as she left the hall.[46]

In July 2006, she wrote a heart-wrenching anthem 'Lahu Lahu Lebanon' (Lebanon under blood) for her campaign to support Lebanese victims in 2006 Lebanon War, also called 'the 2006 Israel–Hezbollah War'. The lyrics were deep and sad. Her anthem was telecasted on many TV channels but then its telecast was stopped after criticism because the images of her video made masses tremble with fear. She refused to change the video by saying that "this is reality which is happening unfortunately. Go and stop the violence, don't stop my video."[47]

Mass Media (Film, Theater and Radio)[edit]

Princess grabs considerable listener-ship worldwide and lauded for her weekly radio show 'Marhaba with Sameera Aziz' in Asian Radio Live, which is United Kingdom's based Radio Station and caters for the local, national and international scene.

She is the first Saudi director, producer and writer in Bollywood, one of the largest centers of film production in the world.[48][49] She is making a film 'Reem' - The True Story - under her own production house 'Sameera Aziz Entertainment' which is the first Saudi production house in India.

The story of the film is written by Princess Sameera Aziz.[50] Speaking about her goal and reason to write and direct this film, Sameera Aziz says that film is an animation of person’s imagination. The writer can powerfully convey his ideas to his viewers by directing his film. "For developing the better understanding, we should interact with the world and reach to the people by communicating with them in their language. Therefore, with the mission of peace and love, and to present myself as a bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world, I aimed to enter in the Bollywood industry with a new, decent and powerful story." The goal of Sameera Aziz by making this film is to promote Saudi tourism and to present a modern and educated Saudi youth to show the world that the new generation of Saudis are confident, friendly and educated people, contrary to the idea that 'Saudis are the camel riders'.

She responded harshly to the Hollywood film A Hologram for the King (film) for portraying her country Saudi Arabia as backward and uncivilized. Calling it ‘the fictional garbage of lies,’ she vowed to answer Tom Hanks by making her own Bollywood movie ‘REEM-The True Story’in several languages. “A Hologram for the King has actually raised my ire for claiming an unflattering portrayal of my country Saudi Arabia. My Bollywood movie will be dubbed in English and Arabic, and it will be more appealing for the filmgoers because it is a true story, unlike the fictional garbage of lies called ‘A Hologram for the King’. I will show the 21st century’s real Saudi Arabia in my film REEM- The true Story”, stated Sameera Aziz in media.[51][52][53] She also stated that Production media is more powerful medium to convey the message to people. She wants to convey the message to the people in the best way possible', she was quoted as saying.[54] She aims to give positive message through her Mass Media activities.

Sameera Aziz got training as a film-maker from experienced British and American mentors like Ovidio Salazar, Omar Faruk Aksoy, Bensalem Bouadallah - who have worked in Hollywood as well. She is also trained from Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA) in Mumbai, India under Mujeeb Khan whose name is listed in Limca Book of Records for directing plays on Munshi PremChand.[55] She also studied Mass Communication and Film Direction from Livewires-The Media Institute in Mumbai, India.[56]

She worked as a production team member of Kauthar Media in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. She worked with a renown Saudi producer, actor and director Dr Fahad Ghazoli as his assistant in many Saudi projects like film 'Lamar', Comedy stage play 'Hala Barra' and a Drama serial of 12 episodes. She was also an assistant and the production team member of director Majed Azzi for film 'Hayath' produced by Al-Mpda Media. In the past, she has written, directed and acted in a women-only comedy stage play which was presented by 'Silsila organisation for women' in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In quest of learning, she participated and acted in some major plays of Munshi Premchandad under the direction of her mentor Mujeeb Khan and became the first ever Saudi Theater artist in India. "I am doing specialization in Dialogue delivery and Body language to take the absolute work from my actors in my movie REEM, THE TRUE STORY as a Director. Mass Media has no limit!" she stated.[57] She also hosted a documentary on Afghan students studying in Pakistan to promote peace and development.

Utilization of Sports Entertainment[edit]

Known for the utilization of new and unique school of thoughts, Sameera Aziz introduced the strategy of using Sports for the Cultural and Business exchange to strengthen Saudi economy. She has been elected as the Director of United Nations' affiliated Global Sports Federation (GSF).[58] She was chosen by 83 countries of the world out of 158. This apex body of the federation will lead world sports for next three years. The Global Sports Federation is working for bringing peace through sports. “I have been serving internationally in Radio, Theatre, conferences as a speaker and writer, but Sports and film production are the most powerful mediums of Mass-Media to convey the message. This is the reason I am utilizing these platforms too,” she stated.[59][60] She launched two sports teams 'The Tigers" or "The Sameera Aziz Tigers" for Football and cricket games to utilize the entertainment media for cultural exchange and friendship.

Business Woman[edit]

Sameera Aziz owns Group of Companies[61] which comprised an Ad Agency, Branding, Digital Media Outreach, Workshops, Campaigning, Cleaning & Hygiene Products, Laundry plant, PR Agency, perishable and imperishable food, Import & Export Trading, Marketing, Printing, Publishing, Distribution services and Magazines. She launched a chain stores with the brand name of 'Khumasiyat.' Her Production House Sameera Aziz Entertainment[62] is located in Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah which is interlinked with her Bollywood Production House in India. Her business group is also adept at organizing International events and activities for cultural exchange as a bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.

Family[edit]

She is married to Zahir Ahmed Eskander, an Executive Director of Saudi Arabian Airlines Cargo Ground handling Department. She has two children Reem Eskander and Ahmed Eskander. She is an animal lover.

Awards[edit]

Award Year Organisation Summary
Youth Ambassador 2007 We The Youth, The UN-affiliated organisation to promote talent Sameera Aziz was specially appreciated by Youth for her Sting Operations in this occasion. She was the first Saudi Journalist gone undercover boldly for Sting Operations on year 2000.[63]
Humanity Award 2008 A non-political, social & welfare organisation Sameera Aziz was awarded for derivation of high performances for humanity.[64]
Pride of the Nation Award 2009 - A ceremony for Sameera Aziz.[65]
The Woman of Today 2012 The Ladies Night Event Sameera Aziz was paid tribute in Jeddah.[66]
Best Ind-o-Pak Friendship Icon award 29 January 2014 Pak-O-Hindh Literary Forum Sameera Aziz received this award in a remarkable show in Riyadh.[67]
Accolade - An evening with a personality An open session by a community organisation[68]
Accolade - A Morning with Sameera Aziz An open session by a community organisation
Nominee of Best Saudi Female Journalist & Media Person upcoming iiGlobal Awards Org Women Leaders in Saudi Arabia Awards nominated Sameera Aziz for this Award[69][70]
Maulana Abul Kalam Azad special award 11 November 2015 Telangana State Govt. of India Sameera Aziz is the first recognized Saudi woman for her work for the promotion of Urdu language in Saudi Arabia. She was bestowed with this special award in recognition of her work as a bridge between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world.[71]
Salam India Award Feb. 6, 2016 Maharashtra State Govt. of India Sameera Aziz was honored with this Award at her poetry book launch ceremony in Mumbai, India
Gr8! Woman Award- The Great Cultural Icon Of Middle East[72] March 19, 2016 The sixth GR8! Women Awards 2016- Middle East[73] Sameera Aziz was the First Saudi lady crowned with this prestigious international award.[74]
Art & Literature Award April 23, 2016 Granthappura Jeddah Sameera Aziz was given this Award by South Indian Community for her creative contributions to the Art & Literature of Saudi Arabia.[75]
Maulana Fareed Al Waheedi Award [76] May 13, 2016 Gulf Urdu Council (GUC) Jeddah Saudi Arabia gave this award to Sameera Aziz Sameera Aziz was given this award for her worldwide services in Urdu Literature and Media
Media Award[77] March 8, 2017 Islam GymKhana in Mumbai India gave this award to Sameera Aziz Sameera Aziz was Awarded on Int'l Women's Day as a "Moderate Female Muslim Media Icon 2017

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Sameera Aziz Entertainment
  2. ^ Asian Radio Live
  3. ^ Proud moment for Saudi Arabia
  4. ^ Arab News: Aftermath of Mumbai Bombings Retrieved 3 October 2009
  5. ^ Pakistan Times article Retrieved 3 October 2009
  6. ^ Saudi Gazette article Retrieved 14 August 2011
  7. ^ First Saudi Director in Bollywood
  8. ^ [1]
  9. ^ [2]
  10. ^ Livewires The Media Institute
  11. ^ South Asian Pulse and Daily Taqat, UAE
  12. ^ Marriage customs in Saudi Arabia
  13. ^ The Role Model for Youth
  14. ^ Saudi female Achiever
  15. ^ South Asian Regional Information Agency (SARIA)
  16. ^ The Peninsula Times
  17. ^ BBC Media Profile: Saudi Arabia Retrieved 3 October 2009
  18. ^ Sameera Aziz in Munsif TV
  19. ^ SAURESS-Saudi Press
  20. ^ Sting operation-Harrowing tale of a taxi ride
  21. ^ Fake degree business booming in the Kingdom
  22. ^ Shh…the abusers are my brothers!
  23. ^ Driven to despair
  24. ^ Hello, drop me please!
  25. ^ The inside story: Life with an abusive wife
  26. ^ Shocking incident of abuse I hope I'll never see again
  27. ^ Saudi Arabia Debates Right of Women to Drive
  28. ^ Desi Vines
  29. ^ Desi Vines website launched with a bang!
  30. ^ The Khalli Walli Show
  31. ^ We The Youth NGO
  32. ^ Journalist Foundation
  33. ^ The Tribune
  34. ^ LIVE interview of Sameera Aziz
  35. ^ Other side of the housemaid story
  36. ^ Maid in the Kingdom
  37. ^ Daily Taqat UAE
  38. ^ International Media Conference 2015
  39. ^ YaHind
  40. ^ SARIA News
  41. ^ Bang e Dara Mushaira
  42. ^ Poetry Book Launch An Earth of Paper
  43. ^ Poetess Mobbed for her Kaghaz Ki Zameen
  44. ^ Poetry book of Sameera Aziz will be launched soon WATCH Last 5 Minutes Video
  45. ^ Mumbai Mushayera
  46. ^ Memorable grand Mushaira for Urdu lovers
  47. ^ Lahu Lahu Lebanon (Lebanon under blood
  48. ^ Interview of Sameera Aziz Retrieved 19 June. 2013
  49. ^ News Retrieved 24 June 2013
  50. ^ News Retrieved 23 June 2013
  51. ^ .Sameera Aziz vows to answer ‘fictional garbage of lies’ of Tom Hanks movie
  52. ^ .Saudi Media Personality will reply Tom Hanks in her Bollywood Movie
  53. ^ .Sameera Aziz in MBC TV
  54. ^ Rohi TV
  55. ^ Ideal Drama and Entertainment Academy (IDEA)
  56. ^ Livewires The Media Institute
  57. ^ Saudi Beauty in Munshi PremChandad
  58. ^ Saudi Woman elected at UNO
  59. ^ Saudi Woman's Victory in UNO
  60. ^ Who is our Saudi winner Sameera Aziz
  61. ^ Sameera Aziz Group of Companies Website
  62. ^ Sameera Aziz Entertainment SAENT
  63. ^ Youth Ambassador
  64. ^ PNC Human Rights
  65. ^ Saudi Gazette coverage of awards ceremony
  66. ^ Tribute to the woman of today
  67. ^ Pak-O-Hindh Literary Forum Honor Sameera Aziz
  68. ^ From obscurity to fame
  69. ^ YaHind News
  70. ^ SARIA News
  71. ^ Daily Siasat
  72. ^ The News
  73. ^ Gulf News
  74. ^ Sabq
  75. ^ Award News in Jeevan TV
  76. ^ Award Video
  77. ^ Award Video

Additional sources[edit]

External links[edit]