Indiana State University Newsroom

Indiana State’s Saudi Student Association climbs to new heights

November 4, 2015

Alyaa Malibari's work with Indiana State University's Saudi Student Association isn't just helping build bridges between cultures.

As president of the organization that represents more than 500 Saudi Arabian students on campus, Malibari has helped advance the group to 11th out of 330 associations nationwide according to the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission - a part of the Saudi Embassy in Washington, D.C. that helps meet the needs of Saudi students studying in the U.S.

"As president of the Saudi Student Association, it's great to see that people in the U.S. are open to learning about where we come from," Malibari said. "As students from Saudi Arabia, we are ambassadors from our country and we want to be a part of the campus community and share where we come from with others."

In September, Malibari and presidents of all the Saudi Student Associations were invited to Washington, D.C., to meet Saudi Arabia's King Salman. Of the Top 20 chapters, Indiana State's was the only chapter represented by a female president.

Malibari enrolled at Indiana State in 2014 after earning three master's certificates from Eastern Washington University. She is pursing a Ph.D. in instructional design and media technology through the Bayh College of Education. After graduating from Indiana State, she hopes to create leadership programs that promote diversity worldwide.

"I think people see how active we are on campus and have heard good things about what we do, and I'm happy to see that ISU was ranked 11th and next year I believe we will be ranked higher," Malibari said. "(The Saudi Student Association) is the bridge between Saudi Arabia and the ISU community and we do a lot of volunteer work to show people that while we are different, we are here to support everyone and want to build a bridge between our countries."

Malibari credits the Center for Global Engagement for supporting the Saudi Student Association's efforts to engage the campus and Terre Haute communities in their holidays and events. The group also collaborates with other student organizations on activities and is active in volunteerism, including a recent fundraiser that allowed the group to donate funds to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

As a student in the U.S. for the last seven years, Malibari said Americans have encouraged her to keep working toward her goals.In turn, she hopes to provide the same motivation for the members of the Saudi Student Association.

"I was elected by our group to serve as president, but it's the actions of my brothers and sisters in our association that make our organization work," Malibari said. "Every good leader needs to have people around them who are great and I definitely have that here. The members of the Saudi Student Association have become my new family. They're all younger than me and I see so many motivated and great leaders among the group."

Writer: Betsy Simon, media relations assistant director, Office of Communications and Marketing, Indiana State University, 812-237-7972 or


Story Highlights

Indiana State's Saudi Student Association was named 11th out of 330 associations nationwide by the Saudi Arabian Cultural Mission when Saudi's King Salman visited the U.S. this fall.

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