Articles // By alQaws // A Word From Haneen Sader: Pride and Excitement Amid Significant Change

A Word From Haneen Sader: Pride and Excitement Amid Significant Change

This was originally published in our 2020 annual report. Find it here.

A Word From Haneen Sader

Pride and Excitement Amid Significant Change

It is no easy feat describing the density of certain moments—moments in which thoughts and emotions heighten; moments of monumental change. I write these words during a transformative period societally, organizationally at alQaws, and in my personal life. After studying computer engineering and working at different technology companies for the past decade, I’ve decided to take a new career path. This choice came from my five-year activist experience at alQaws, which has influenced me in the most meaningful of ways. 

When I first joined alQaws five years ago, I felt stable in the world of Technology, yet I was burdened with creating formative spaces for my identity and community. Upon beginning my activism with alQaws, I glimpsed some hope for myself and my society, and I clung to it until it became clear. That hope restored my faith in my community and our ability to create better living opportunities. I’ve played various roles at alQaws over the past years—first as a trainer in the professional training team, then as a member of the board of directors—which has allowed me to reflect internally on myself, as well as on aspects of our organizing and activism.

I start my new role at alQaws with a sense of pride and, of course, a sense of awe. I step into the Executive Director’s position after Haneen Maikey, who has filled it for two decades. When alQaws went through the leadership transition process three years ago, as a member of the board of directors at the time, I had a lot of questions and felt anxious and pessimistic about the change. Haneen Maikey’s departure from the organization represented the departure of tremendous experience and knowledge, without which it would be difficult to continue organizing at the same level. However, this change was an opportunity to examine alQaws’ needs and create efficient and durable work structures. We set out to enhance the different roles and capacities of alQaws’ team, the board of directors, and our different activist leadership groups. In recent months, I’ve had the opportunity to explore my role in the movement, and my personal responsibilities, passions, and capacities in a new professional path. During that time, my pride for alQaws and my confidence in our ability to make change increased. 

I begin my new role during a milestone stage for alQaws politically and socially. Issues of gender and sexual diversity have become a permanent fixture of the discussion table, significantly changing the expectations placed on alQaws, as well as the responsibilities of the organization towards our communities. Such changes push us to embark on a path of planning for the future, as we explore the strategic questions related to organizational and societal changes. We are aware that we cannot answer these questions without an in-depth dialogue with our local and national leadership groups and allies, and this is one of our main goals for this year. 

I cannot deny the awe I carry when looking at and understanding the scope of my new responsibilities and the spotlight placed on me in this role, but I can say that it fills me with passion, enthusiasm, and strength. Working at alQaws means working at a tight-knit, grassroots, and values-oriented organization of great social impact. It means working at an organization led by a tireless base of activist and leaders, with whom I share my burdens, intellect, and labor; it means working surrounded with friends, allies, and real, effective connections; and, of course, it means working with the team and board of directors that have carried the organization into what it is today. 

Thank you to the board of directors, the team, and the activists of alQaws, for their confidence in me. Thank you to Haneen Maikey for the endless support. I am proud of our journey and looking forward to the next stages of the struggle.