Auburn Spotlight, Basima Abdulrahman

"My challenges were not limited to being a woman and an entrepreneur in a developing country, but also for introducing a new concept and bringing awareness to people"
Basima Abdulrahman
Alumna, Samuel Ginn College of Engineering

Spotlight Interview

Auburn University alumna and Fulbright scholar Basima Abdulrahman recently co-chaired the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. This year’s theme was “Globalization 4.0: Shaping Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution.”

Abdulrahman, a part of WEF’s network of Global Shapers, was selected as one of six young global leaders to co-chair the forum.

“Each one of us had a message and a call for action to participants in this critical time where globalization is imposing serious environmental, economic and social challenges,” said Abdulrahman.

At the World Economic Forum, Abdulrahman had the chance to share her ideas about rebuilding fragile cities and the economic value of building green.

“This role gave me the space to voice our concerns and solutions, to confront abuse by governments and corporations around the world and to inspire them to take action,” said Abdulrahman.

While studying engineering at Auburn, Abdulrahman was introduced to the concept of sustainable-building and was drawn to the idea because of her passion for the environment.

“During my time at Auburn, I had the chance to make really good friends and mentors both inside and outside the school environment who helped broaden my horizons,” said Abdulrahman.

Abdulrahman graduated from Auburn in 2014 with a master’s degree in structural engineering and went on to found her company, KESK—the first initiative established to embrace the concept of green design and construction in Iraq.

“When I pictured my future as an engineer working in the US it didn't seem as fulfilling because I knew the amount of need and gap we have in Iraq,” said Abdulrahman.

Abdulrahman was inspired to go back to Iraq to help rebuild after she saw the destruction that terrorist groups were creating in her home country.

“I didn’t see myself living and working in Iraq until recently when ISIS took huge parts of my country. I wanted to create a different reality, associated with peace, development and goodness.” said Abdulrahman

Through the work of her company, Abdulrahman aims to make Iraqi cities more sustainable and economically productive by creating environmentally responsible and resource efficient buildings and infrastructure.

The process of establishing KESK in a region with almost no history of sustainable architecture and in the midst of economic and political tension was no easy feat for Abdulrahman.

 “My challenges were not limited to being a woman and an entrepreneur in a developing country, but also for introducing a new concept and bringing awareness to people,” she said.

KESK currently offers sustainable building consulting services and works with business owners to retrofit existing buildings. Abdulrahman envisions KESK becoming the leading force to make Iraqi cities more sustainable and resource efficient.