Determined. That’s perhaps one of the best ways to sum up Ausama Al-Shammari, a Shell Geo-Information Analyst at the Majnoon oil field in Iraq.

A civil engineering graduate from Baghdad University, Ausama joined Shell after beginning his career with an Iraqi contractor as a construction engineer at Majnoon.

Now he’s celebrating a new phase in his development after he was chosen for the Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Programme in the US.

One of just four people selected from 1,400 applicants, he spent nearly a month in the states of Vermont and Washington where he received training in everything from English language to project management to leadership skills through a mix of classroom sessions, field trips and site visits. The programme’s comprehensive training schedule also included conflict resolution and cultural exchanges.

But where did his adventure begin?

New adventure

“A friend of mine successfully applied for the initiative last year and benefited greatly from the experience. This prompted me to apply,” says Ausama.  “I didn’t really expect to get through. Maybe my work with NGOs in Iraq set my application apart as well as my English skills.”

Ausama is no stranger to picking up new skills. He was approached by an HR representative from the Geomatics team in Majnoon, which led to him completing a 16-week Geomatics and Survey Training course sponsored by Shell subsidiary Shell Iraq Petroleum Development (SIPD).

He joined Shell in January 2014 in his current position, where he uses his newly acquired geological surveillance skills to map the surface features of Majnoon.

“I want to progress and develop my career and experiences like this can only be of benefit.”


Real benefit

The Iraqi Young Leaders Exchange Programme – sponsored by the US government and administered by the non-profit organisation, World Learning – has the express intent of developing Iraq’s most talented and dedicated individuals.

Those individuals with a strong sense of civic responsibility, commitment to community development and an awareness of current and global issues are targeted in particular, so as to help promote respect and collaboration between the US and Iraq.

For Ausama, the time spent learning new skills and broadening his experience was another chance to develop his career and to set him on the path to reaching his full potential – something he’s looked to do from day one: “I want to progress and develop my career, and experiences like this can only be of benefit.”

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