Mayssaa Al Ard, MA
Mayssaa Sheik Al Ard, MA
Mayssaa Sheik Al Ard, our Introductory Arabic instructor, was born to a Syrian father and Egyptian mother and raised in the UAE. She is married to an Iraqi husband and currently lives in Hamilton, New Zealand. Mayssa grew up in a very diverse environment, which gave her the privilege to understand other cultures. This allowed her to be more open-minded to the differences between people. A mother of six children and grandmother of five, Mayssaa graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in Science and began her career as a Laboratory Technician in the UAE. After relocating to New Zealand in 1997, she completed a Post Graduate Diploma in Science at the University of Auckland. Her career path changed in 2009 when she decided to complete a master’s degree in Human Resource Management, followed by a Master’s in life coaching. In 2014, Mayssaa’s life underwent a transformation sparked after working with refugees in Jordan. Her passion to support refugees continued after she settled in Hamilton in 2016. With the first Syrian refugee families arriving, she took on the added responsibility of establishing a weekend school to teach these children their mother tongue, Arabic. The school is now in its 5th year with increasing numbers of students. Mayssaa continued supporting refugee families by working as an Arabic cross-cultural case worker with the Red Cross in 2017. She reinforced her skills with certifications and courses, such as the “Flourish leadership program for ethnic women” in 2019, and the “Leadership course for empowering Syrian women” in 2020 which aims to prepare Syrian women in the rebuilding of a new Syria. More recently, Mayssaa also launched a new project which targets the Arab community in Waikato, in an attempt to unite them in a safe space for networking and support. This has made her the founder and Chairwoman of the Waikato Arab Social Club.