Mubarak, Ma'Suma al- (c. 1951–)

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Mubarak, Ma'Suma al-
(c. 1951–)

Mas'uma (also Massouma, Masouma) bint Salih al-Mubarak is a Kuwaiti academic and minister.


Born around 1951 into a middle-class Kuwaiti Shi'ite Muslim family, Mubarak received her B.S. (political sciences) from the University of Kuwait in 1971, and a diploma of planning from the Arab Planning Institute in Kuwait in 1973. She then traveled to the United States for graduate studies, eventually earned an M.S. in political science from Northern Texas University in 1976, an M.S. in international relations from the University of Denver in 1980, and a Ph.D. in the same field from the University of Denver in 1982. Her husband, a Bahraini, also received his Ph.D. from Denver. On her return to Kuwait University, Mubarak was made chair of the political science department in 1983, one of the first Kuwaiti women to hold such a position, and later held visiting appointments at the University of Denver from 1986 to 1988 and at the University of Bahrain from 1990 to 1992 during the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait. She again served as chair of her department from 2001 to 2002.


In the midst of her academic duties and raising three children, she also found time to write regular columns for the Kuwaiti newspapers al-Anba, al-Qabas, al-Siyasa, al-Watan, and the Bahraini paper Akhbar al-Khalij. She has also held membership of such civil society organizations in Kuwait as the Graduates Society, the Economists Society, the Journalists Society, and the Kuwaiti Cultural Women's Society, in addition to activities in promoting women's rights and human rights in the developing world.

On 12 June 2005, Mubarak was named Kuwait's first female cabinet minister ever, only a month after women were granted the right to vote and run for office in the elected National Assembly. She was given the positions of minister of planning and minister of state for administrative development affairs and retained those positions in the new cabinet of 9 February 2006, the first under Emir Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, who succeeded his brother Emir sabah al-ahmad al-jabir al sabah upon the latter's death a few weeks earlier. After she was sworn in, she said, "It's a great day for Kuwaiti women who have struggled and persevered persistently to gain their full political rights" ("Kuwait's First Woman Minister Sworn In" [20 June 2005]: A few months later on 10 June 2006, the emir appointed a new cabinet in response to the objection of the opposition in the National Assembly to several ministers. Mubarak was retained but moved to the position of minister of communications. In March 2007 Mubarak was appointed minister of health.


Mas'uma al-Mubarak will be remembered as a respected scholar and political commentator, but will occupy a particular spot in history for being the first-ever female cabinet minister in Kuwait.


"Person of the Week: Dr. Massouma al-Mubarak." ABC News. 17 June 2005. Available from

                                           J. E. Peterson.


Name: Mas'uma al-Mubarak (Massouma, Masouma)

Birth: c. 1951, Kuwait

Family: Married; children

Nationality: Kuwaiti

Education: B.S. (political sciences), University of Kuwait, 1971; diploma of planning, Arab Planning Institute, Kuwait, 1973; M.S. (political science), Northern Texas University, Texas, 1976; M.S. (international relations), University of Denver, Colorado, 1980; Ph.D. (international relations), University of Denver, 1982


  • 1983: Appointed chair, political science department, Kuwait University
  • 1986: Visiting professor, University of Denver
  • 1990: Visiting professor, University of Bahrain
  • 2005: Appointed Kuwait's minister of planning and minister of state for administrative development affairs
  • 2006: Appointed Kuwait's minister of communications
  • 2007: Appointed Kuwait's minister of health