Founder and Research & Development Manager, Enchanted Garden Child Enrichment Center
Claire Alkouatli is a writer, editor and educator based in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. In 2006, Ms. Alkouatli founded Jeddah’s first mother and baby group to offer developmental activities within an Islamic context, out of her conviction that the advancement of Muslim societies must start with mothers and children. This group grew into Enchanted Garden, Mother and Child Enrichment Center, an extracurricular activity center aimed at holistic development and raising a new generation of Muslim leaders. As one of five founders, Ms. Alkouatli currently holds the post of Research and Development Manager. From 1998 to 2002, Ms. Alkouatli was the Executive Editor at Blue magazine, an adventure travel magazine based in New York City. During her time at Blue, the magazine won several awards including Life Magazine’s Best Photos of the Year Award (2000) and FOLIO’s Editorial Excellence in the Travel Category award (2001). Ms. Alkouatli’s writings have appeared in diverse publications including Canada’s national newspaper, the Globe and Mail, Parabola magazine, Arabian Woman (Dubai), Bangladesh Today and a Seal Press anthology called, Bare Your Soul: The Thinking Girl’s Guide to Enlightenment. Her book, Islam, which introduced Islam to a non-Muslim audience, was published by Benchmark Books in 2006. Travel is what initially brought Ms. Alkouatli to Islam, which she embraced under the guidance of Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf in November 2001. Resonating with the words of the Sufi saint Jalaludin Rumi, “The spirit teaches the body to travel,” she roamed the Muslim world for many years, including Egypt, Syria, Palestine, Oman and Bangladesh, before accepting Islam as a practice in 2001. Ms. Alkouatli is married to Syrian Creative Director, Saadi Alkouatli, and they have two young boys.