Going It Alone

After resigning as Director of the Department of Museums and Antiquities in 1967, Tareq established two businesses. The first, a furniture and design company called the Kuwait Design Centre, employing a German architect and his interior designer mother. He also established a secretarial and language institute on Sour Street. It was also around this time that he built his first house, putting his own hands to work to make all the tiles by hand, with Islamic designs. Soon however, had planned to open a British style school and decided to do so for a number of reasons. Tareq’s time in England had left a lasting impact, transforming him into an Anglophile and because of this, he wanted to give other Kuwaiti’s the opportunity to have their own British education. In Kuwait at that time, there were a few British primary schools that almost exclusively catered to the British population. Furthermore, his children, Nur, Ziad and Nader were at an American school called the International School of Kuwait (which later became the American School of Kuwait), and he wanted them to have a British education. Jehan, at the time, also happened to be working at the same American school. And so, in 1969, he opened the New English School, which was the first British school in Kuwait to offer a secondary education. Interestingly, the first advert for the school shows it as Kuwait English School; however, the Baladiya did not allow him to use ‘Kuwait’  in the name, and so it was changed to what it is today: New English School. To house this new school, he rented a property owned by Salem Al Ali Al Sabah in Dhahiyat Abdullah Al Salem (which was all called Shamiya at the time). The property was previously used as the official government guest house.

When Tareq first opened the school, he originally wanted partners, including his uncle Ahmed. However, nobody had faith that a British school would succeed and everyone refused to join him, so he went it alone. He managed to get a loan from the National Bank of Kuwait and interestingly, the officer who gave him his loan, was none other than the famous Ibrahim Dabdoub, a junior bank official at the time. The New English School opened with seven students and nine staff but very shortly after, it took off and became an instant success. Although Jehan had loved working at the American school at the time, Tareq naturally wanted her to join him, and with enough pestering, she finally joined Tareq at NES in March 1970, and devoted the entirety of her life to it. The school gained such a reputation in Kuwait that when Margaret Thatcher, then British Minister of Education, visited Kuwait in 1972 or 1973, a visit to the school was on her schedule, just a few years after it had first opened. The school remined in the Abdullah Al Salem site until 1974, by which point, a new purpose built school had been constructed in Jabriya and the school moved to the site in September of that year, eventually becoming one of the top schools of the entire region. In 1986, Tareq established another New English School, this time in Amman, Jordan.

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