Dala Farouki Kakos
Current Employer/Organisation Name
Independent Education Strategy Consultant and Specialist
What have you been doing since leaving Exeter, and what are you doing now?
I’ve worked on education strategy and management on a government level in the UAE, and have become a self employed consultant, advising governmental and higher education institutions on their next steps in strategy and development. I’ve also been sharing mental health priorities for students with the Dubai public through guest spots on a local radio station. Simultaneously, I noticed a gap in the market during my first pregnancy and launched a crib and nursery furniture company MISK nursery, which is the only company in the world that creates acrylic and wood cribs with mother of Pearl inlay. I wanted to bring mother of Pearl inlay, the beautiful Middle Eastern heritage and art, to modern parents. It’s been 6 years now and our cribs are in at least one Royal household in every country of the region, as well as in many other parents’ nurseries and homes. We thrive on sustainability and re-usability for our pieces.
Why did you choose this career? And what do you enjoy most about your work?
Education is one of the most important things in our society, and for the betterment and empowerment of women in our region. I had an amazing education here and I wanted to make sure others do as well.
What did you enjoy most about your programme and what was the biggest highlight?
That everyone was working towards a greater good. I also truly loved my advisor Dr Debra Myhill. She’s an inspiration. My professors and the entire thesis process was supportive and welcoming.
What did you enjoy most about studying here?
Why did you choose to study at Exeter?
I came to know about Exeter while working at KHDA, the education authority in Dubai government. Seeing how they offered a hybrid learning option and how well my advisor (my first contact actually!) supported my dreams and work was what made me love the institution.
What skills and experiences have been most useful for your career?
The ability to problem solve, and also to negotiate and see others’ point of view during discussions and class work. Learning from best practices in the UK and being able to think about their potential application in the Middle East was also something very valuable.
What advice would you give to a current student who wishes to pursue your career?
Try and see the education system at every angle – teach at a school, at a university, and work with NGOs and government organizations. Learn about every potential perspective, or you will not be an accurate voice for their needs and future.
What are your plans for the future?
To continue in education strategy and create a non-profit to help improve education access in a healthy way online in order to reach students in compromised countries suffering through environmental, economic or political crises in the region.