Saudi Arabia and a New Oasis to Discover


I really appreciate the opportunity to interview and ask a medley of questions to some Saudi career women who have created one of the best and most enjoyable publications which promotes the best of Saudi Arabia and showcases its talent.  Let’s start off with introductions.  Please introduce yourself and your backgrounds.

And of course there is high interest in how you all came together and decided to start a new magazine.  That’s not a small feat to undertake.  What was the motivation?  How long did it take to work out your business plan and turn the conception of Oasis into a reality?

Oasis Magazine came together when us three founders realized that there was no reliable source of information in Saudi Arabia that could give us updated info on what’s happening in Saudi Arabia from art events, and comedy shows to forums. There was a shortage of entities that linked people together. The idea of this entity being in the form of a magazine was Munira Al-Ajlani’s idea. She studies Mass Communication and Arabic Literature at La Sorbonne University in Paris. After completing an MA in Art History from SOAS, University of London Noura along with Basma, who got her MS in Immunology from Oxford University, reinforced the idea and were ready to take on.

Amongst us, we had covered quite a bit of subjects from media, and arts to the sciences. However, we had to enlist professionals to help us with our business plan. It took us about six months to go from concept to actual magazine.

What were the challenges you had to face along the way and how did you overcome them?

The main challenges we had to face were the set of rules for registering a publishing house in Saudi Arabia, and the lack of organized information available on what’s happening/or going to happen in the Kingdom. Organizations, art galleries, etc… don’t have as organized schedules here as they should. And if they do, the information doesn’t always reach the people interested in them. Today, having as many contacts as we possibly is the only way of getting all this information together and in time. As for the rules and regulations, it was taking so much time to register a publishing house that we decided to register it in England instead! However, the magazine itself was registered and copy-righted here.

Who came up with the name ‘Oasis’ and why?

After much brainstorming we all agreed on Oasis. It was the simplest name and it just captured everything that we wanted the magazine to be. As we once put it: “An oasis is a resting place… a slice of paradise for explorers and travelers to relax in, trade goods and hear/swap stories of what they’ve seen and experienced.” So, we like to think of Oasis Magazine as a resting place for our readers; a place for them to hear the stories of what we’ve seen around Saudi Arabia. In Oasis, you can learn about the history and culture of Saudi Arabia and what it has to offer the world today. A common language is always spoken at an Oasis, so articles about global awareness, arts, and more of everything that’s happening all around the world can always be read in Oasis Magazine.

What has been the overall reaction to not only Oasis but when individuals learn that it was the brainchild of three Saudi women?

First off, people are impressed with the articles covered in the magazine, the way the articles are presented, and the quality of the magazine itself. They’re not surprised to know that women are behind the magazine. Some people however are impressed by the fact that it is a Saudi magazine.

Did each of you have to obtain permission from a male mahrem to go forward with the publishing of Oasis?  And how supportive are your families of your efforts?

No. You don’t need a male mahrem to register a company today. We come from families that encourage entrepreneurship. So everybody was always supportive.

What are your goals, vision and objectives of Oasis?  And on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the best, how do you rate yourself towards meeting those goals?

Our goals and visions are to be a source of inspiration, to encourage progress, to change the negative image of Saudi Arabia, and to be a link between Saudi Arabia and the rest of the world by encouraging dialogue. We have achieved our goals when it comes to the people who know about Oasis. But, we still need to be better known amongst a larger community of people, here and abroad. So, on a scale of 1 to 10, 5 would be the best rate we would give ourselves towards meeting our goals.

How is Oasis magazine changing the view of Saudi Arabia?

By showcasing the progressive side of our nation, from entrepreneurs, and artists to environmentalists and everybody in between. To show that change is sweeping our nation. And, hopefully to be examples ourselves of what you can achieve and how much understanding you can create between people of different cultures. We portray all of this through Oasis’ fresh style of writing, layout, and graphics which also shows a progressive and young Saudi.

Who benefits and learns most by reading Oasis – residents of Saudi Arabia or those who are outside of the Kingdom?


How do you come up with the wide and varied articles you publish?

After we’ve decided on a theme for the issue, we bounce ideas and article off of each other. We then contact our contributors and those interested in contributing and get their feedback. We actually end up with a lot of articles, so much so that we sometimes have to cut back on some of them.

What do you believe have been some of the most captivating articles and why?

We should ask you that!:)

Articles about different projects currently underway in Saudi are always interesting because most people don’t know about them (example: King Abdullah Gardens). Also, articles about something like the Invisible Children organization which is a US non-profit organization that is helping the children of Northern Uganda.

What is the circulation and reach of Oasis to date?  Can you provide details on the demographics of your readers?

Circulation: 6000.

Demographic: -Age: 70% ages 18-29 – 30% ages 30 +

-Female: 65% –  Male 35%

-Location: 95% KSA; 5% International

-Locals: 92%, Expats 8%

-22% are entrepreneurs or CEOs

-20% are involved in the arts: artists, designers, writers, media professionals

How often is Oasis published?  How can one obtain a copy?  Can one subscribe and have Oasis delivered?

Oasis Magazine is published quarterly. You can obtain a copy from any of our distributors (check our website for details: You can also subscribe and have Oasis delivered to wherever you are (email us: [email protected]).

What advice can you give to other women in the Kingdom who may wish to establish a business?  What do they need to know?  What are the pitfalls they need to avoid?

They need to know that they will be faced with challenges but that it’s worth it. They should go ahead if they have a solid project, business plan, and goal.

Where do you hope to see Oasis in the next five years?

In five years, we hope that most people in the Kingdom know of Oasis and those interested in the progress made in Saudi Arabia and the Middle East know of it too. We hope that we are always in the forefront of anything and everything progressive that is happening in the Kingdom and abroad. We hope to keep impressing people with Oasis. Also, we hope to partner with like-minded organizations to better reach our goals of linking Saudi Arabia with the rest of the world and creating dialogue.

Oasis Magazine

P.O.Box 50683, Riyadh 11533, KSA
T. 9665 43494086
F. 9661 4605632

13 Responses

  1. “Demographic: -Age: 70% ages 18-29 – 30% ages 30 +”
    I guess old for them starts at 30!

  2. A great enterprise, and a beautiful magazine. Congratulations and all success to them!

    Jerry M-if 70% of your demographic is under 30, 31 must be heading towards senescence LOL?

  3. Given that the majority of their present readers are Saudis then it makes sense that the 70 per cent are in the under 29 age group.

    And I am also happy to advise that I have an article published in the current issue (no. 7).

  4. […] American Bedu placed an interesting blog post on Saudi Arabia and a New Oasis to Discover « American BeduHere’s a brief overviewAfter completing an MA in Art History from SOAS, University of London Noura along with Basma, who got her MS in Immunology from Oxford University, reinforced the idea and were ready to take on. Amongst us, we had covered quite a bit of … […]

  5. I’ll put on my new abaya and look for a copy. I just hope I don’t tip there demographic waay over to side of the ancients.:)
    Siriusly jet-lagged.

  6. […] Top Stocks 2009, Stocks Market 2010, Best Stock Investment, Hot Stocks Investing placed an observative post today on Saudi Arabia and a New Oasis to DiscoverHere’s a quick excerptAfter completing an MA in Art History from SOAS, University of London Noura along with Basma, who got her MS in Immunology from Oxford… […]

  7. Wow! Great interview, Congratulations to those who established and continue this magazine!

  8. It looks like a really good and interesting magazine, and that’s saying a loth when I look at 99% of magazines as merely bound paper suitable for recycling.

  9. if any of you have suggestions/ideas on where/how Oasis can further distribute and extend its reach please contact either me or the magazine directly.

  10. American Bedu-Some suggestions sent directly to the magazine with an email copy to you, fyi.

  11. I would love to read this magazine. Not sure it they will to individuals in Canada but I want to read as much about Saudi Arabia as I can before visiting family there this winter.

  12. Oasis is distributed internationally and for those who may be interested, you can also subscribe from outside of Saudi Arabia. If you email the magazine directly they can tell you where the nearest distributor/location to acquire is nearest your location.

    Thanks Chiara…haven’t checked emails yet but will look for yours when I do!

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