Shkh. Al-Zain Al-Sabah, Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to the United States of America
Shaikha Al-Zain Al-Sabah was appointed Ambassador to the United States on March 12, 2023, by His Highness the Amir of the State of Kuwait, Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. She is the first woman to serve in this role. She presented her credentials to President Joseph R. Biden on April 19, 2023.
A pioneering social entrepreneur, Shkh. Al-Zain’s brings with her an extensive background in the fields of international media, advocacy, policy building, and youth development.
Throughout her career, in both the private and public sectors, Shkh. Al-Zain has been a strong advocate for inclusion and diversity in the fields of business and media, making it her mission to create havens for MENA media entrepreneurs and regional storytellers to congregate, collaborate, and help spread messages of peace and plurality in all their undertakings.
As former Chairperson and CEO of National Creative Industries Group (NCIG), an award-winning company she founded to produce impact-driven content, Shkh. Al-Zain oversaw the completion of the company’s world class multi-media studio campus, the largest privately held facility of its kind in the region, and hub for a number of acclaimed regional media productions. Under her helm, the company partnered with Netflix to build and operate the global service’s first creative incubator/accelerator in the MENA region. The company also partnered with a number of international and regional media conglomerates, including OSN, to develop and produce multi-platform multi-format properties with universal market appeal. To further bridge what she views as the dichotomy between eastern and western markets, and understanding the value of proper industry representation, Shkh. Al-Zain led the organization’s signing with CAA, the world’s leading entertainment and sports agency.
Prior to her role in the private sector, Shkh. Al-Zain served as Undersecretary of State for Youth Affairs in Kuwait, where she spearheaded a number of initiatives, including drafting the country’s first National Youth Policy, initiating an accelerator for the country’s fledging entrepreneurship community, and building the country’s first short film fund. Under her leadership, Kuwait was named the “Youth Capital of the Middle East” by the Arab League.
Before taking on her executive roles, Al-Zain worked for ABC News’ “World News Tonight” with the late Peter Jennings, in New York. After which she went on to produce a number of award-winning productions including Journey to Mecca, which premiered at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington DC, and Amreeka, an official selection at the 2009 Sundance Film Festival, and winner of both the Fipresci Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, and the Best Film Award at the Cairo International Film Festival.
A two-time recipient of the “Leadership Medal for Excellence” in the field of Youth Service, granted by His Majesty King Hamad bin Isa Al-Khalifa, and in the field of Public Service, Shkh. Al-Zain is also a recipient of the Arab Woman Award for “Inspirational Woman of the Year 2015”, the United Arab Media Council’s 2017 “Haithem Media Award”, the Distinguished Alumni Award for “Service to Profession” from Boston University, and the Leaders Middle East “Power Women of Arabia” Award.
Shkh. Al-Zain serves on the board of a number of international organizations, including Boston University’s COM Board, the Equality Now Board, the 10 Arts Foundation at the New York Film Academy, and, formerly, on the OSN Board of Directors, where she served as Vice-Chair.
A MELI fellow at the Aspen Institute, Shkh Al-Zain holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University and an M.F.A. from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts.