Regional online campaign unleashes Arab women’s creativity

June 2, 2011 Posted by Mgguzman

By Marriam N Mossalli and Yves Saint Laurent celebrate the winners of Ashiqat poetry contest

Ashiqat, the region wide poetry contest for Arab women initiated by in collaboration with celebrated Saudi poetess May Kutbi, and inspired by Belle, the new oriental fragrance from Yves Saint Laurent, concluded its ten-week run on a festive note, with a recital celebrating the winners of the poetry writing contest. The six winners, determined by audience voting on, will be featured on Ashiqat 2, a follow-up to May’s successful lyrical debut album.
The competition received nearly one thousand of entries from women across the Middle East: UAE, KSA, Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco.“The level of participation has surpassed our expectations. We were looking for individuality, creativity and potential and were delighted to see so many talented and confident women join Ashiqat”, said May Kutbi who screened all entries and selected the finalists on a weekly basis, alongside a distinguished panel of Arab poets and journalists.The following are brief profiles of the winners:

Bahija Nahoudi from Morocco, placed first garnering 2,083 votes from anaZahra audiences for her poem Bakaya Imra’a (Remains of a Woman). Please go to this link to read her poetry.

Souha Al Moulatham from Iraq, ranked second with 1,506 votes for Wa Kan El Lika’a (It Has Been a Date); view her poem here.

Isra’a from KSA received 1,049 votes for her poem Salamoun Salam (Peace). You can find it clicking here.

Nahla Ahmed from KSA, received 987 votes for La Ourid El Baka’a (I Don’t Want To Stay), link to the poem.

Finally, Habiba Al Ousoliya from Palestine got 560 votes for Sharqiyo Al Hawa (An Oriental Sense of Love) which can be read here.

anaZahra and May Kutbi offered an honorary award  to esteemed Saudi poetess Al Batoul Al Dabagh, in recognition for her significant contributions to Arabic poetry, and especially  for being a supporter of the Ashiqat initiative. Al Batoul wrote Kol El Nisa’a Fik (All the Women in You) as an homage to all women participating in the competition. To read the poem, please go to this link.
The aim of Ashiqat was to engage Arab women with a meaningful experience, and provide them a platform for self-expression, individuality, fulfillment and creativity. To bring Ashiqat to life and infuse a new generation of Arab women with creativity, passion and the spirit of love poetry, partnered with BELLE, the new oriental fragrance by Yves Saint Laurent, which is symbol of love, beauty and modernity, three characteristics that have inspired women for decades.

“This has been a remarkable campaign that offered us a completely different way of approaching marketing by truly integrating BELLE into the milieu of Arab women, and making it part of their journey of self-expression, whilst having real–time engagement and meaningful interaction with  our consumers”, said Nour Khalife, Sr. Product Manager of Yves Saint Laurent fragrances.
“It’s very exciting and fulfilling to see the poetry created and realize this initiative genuinely touched women.  The emotions, thoughts and life experiences that women shared gave us a valuable glimpse into their hearts and minds and it allowed us to build a powerful, personal connection with them. Ashiqat has been truly a memorable experience: engaging, authentic, personal, and emotional”, concluded Nour.
“We set up with a vision to transform the way Arab women connect and interact, by offering a platform for engagement and an outlet to express themselves. There’s a new generation of creators amongst our audiences that are ready to fully exploit the abilities of online platforms and unleash the power of what digital media for women can be, which is very exciting. Ashiqat is a great example of what a dynamic online platform like can do for its audiences and partners”, commented Zoya Sakr, Editor-in-chief,
To read the winning poetry, please go to

Since launching in July, has quickly become one of the most popular go to resources for Arab women, amassing more than 6,000,000 million views and offering its growing community of over 260,000 women, a destination that both empowers and enhances Arab women’s lives. Its wealth of content covers fashion and beauty, entertainment and celebrity news, health and fitness and will continue to expand in the months ahead.

Arab News article