Twenty-four-year-old Mariam Dabboussi has already been deemed a “global prodigy” at Google, one of the world’s largest tech companies, by working on creating user-friendly Arabic versions of many of its services. She is the company’s youngest member in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
“Being on the cutting edge of technology in a region like the Arab world where millions of people are coming online, gives you the sense of scale and importance to the role the internet plays, and I’m humbled to be a part of that,” Mariam explains. “As people do so, it’s important for us to listen and understand their needs and ensure we have the right tools and features to address them.”
One of the highlights in her young and impressive career is launching the Google Assistant in Arabic, in 15 countries, which today is used daily by millions of people.
“I worked on making sure the Assistant understands the different dialects Arabic speakers have in the region, responds in a natural way and is helpful to them, from performing actions and finding the right information, to delighting the user with a story or a song,” Mariam says.
She adds that a key priority for her is to develop inclusive technology for people in the region, that they can use in their mother language, “The internet provides people with the knowledge and infrastructure to create tools and services that digitally transform their communities, contributes to positive economic impact, boosts the digital economy in the region, and creates job opportunities.”
Born and raised in Tripoli, Lebanon, Mariam moved to Beirut for college and graduated from AUB in 2018 with a BE in industrial engineering and was the Penrose Award winner from the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture. After graduation, she started off at Google as an intern, then accepted a role in the global accelerated management track within the company. Today, she’s a consumer marketing manager at Google’s Dubai office, looking after the MENA, and focusing on consumer product growth and YouTube marketing across the region.
“My parents believe strongly in the power of education, especially for women. They supported and enabled me to attend AUB and pursue an engineering degree,” she says. “The university encouraged us to explore a wide range of opportunities beyond academia, and to aspire to make an impact both within the campus and the wider community.”
As a student, Mariam’s can-do spirit and passion to make a difference shined through her involvement in her co-curricular activities. During her senior year, she was the lead on AUB Outdoors, the biggest student-run event in the MENA. The event attracted 20,000+ attendees that year, and the profits went into creating the Outdoors Scholarship for Distinguished Undergraduates, where two students receive 40% scholarships for their extracurricular achievements and impact on their community.
Mariam was also a member of the team that came up with “Light up a Village,” a student initiative that was part of AUB’s 150th anniversary celebrations. Through this project, which later became an annual series, AUB students introduced renewable energy solutions, such as solar-powered lamp posts and solar kits, to underserved communities and villages throughout Lebanon suffering from extended power outages.
“From my experience, AUB is a university that gives back the more you put into it,” Mariam says. “My collegiate activism fueled, and in some cases reaffirmed, the idea that technology can be used as a force for good that creates educational and economic opportunities. It also equipped me with project management and people skills that shaped who I am today and where I’ve reached.”