Inside the Middle East
August 25, 2012
Posted: 1027 GMT

Over 8000 people live in the Palestinian town of Allar. A number, 15 year old Bashaer Othman says is manageable to govern.

Othman has probably spent the best summer of her life. She ran the town…Literally.

Othman became the youngest girl in the world to serve as a mayor, when she was chosen as part of an educational youth program for the position.

“The real challenge is when I become a minister, I will deal with all Palestinians, not only 8000 people” says Othman.

For this ambitious leader this position has made her “fall in love” with political and social work and even made her consider a major in international studies upon graduation.

“Palestinians need a true leader and I want to be part of this leadership.” She says.

Othman tells CNN, she has been attending meetings and giving speeches and even signing off on projects for her town.

No shying away for this girl. She has been working at the municipality for almost a month and half and is already making some changes.

She wants to start a local civil defense unit.

“When there’s a fire, people used to wait for firefighters to come from a nearby town. Am currently working on opening a fire department with 6 branches across my town.”

Out of 255 members at the Local Youth Council in Allar, 12 boys and girls were elected to work as members of the municipality and Othman was elected to become the mayor for 2 months.

In the little time that she has this young mayor is hoping to give back to her fellows. And her friends are hopeful she will start a change that will make their future better.

The dearest project to her heart is renovating the town’s library. She says “I think it all starts with education.”

Othman, a usual contender in poetry and reading competitions in her town, thinks youth can start by reading.

“The library has been sitting there for years. The books are old and no one wants to go there.”

Othman has all the support she needs from Allar’s regular mayor, Sufian Shadid, who handed the power to her for two months

The youngster says she meets with the mayor everyday for an hour and they go over the projects she is working on.

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Filed under: Palestinians •West Bank •Women

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Astonlad   August 25th, 2012 3:44 pm ET

Cool story! And her desk is far tidier than mine will ever be!

AlienShark   August 25th, 2012 8:45 pm ET

The youngest female to ever serve as mayor is serving the role in a Muslim repressive!

Kulow Ali   August 25th, 2012 9:31 pm ET

We are very proud of you sister. Keep up the good work. May Allah guide us all.

desert voice   August 26th, 2012 10:23 am ET

I see no wrong with chosing women. But I fear that she will be obsessed with "civil defense." This is the inevitable consequence of women always feeling "vulnerable. AN overly happy on the trigger civil defense will lead to civil war!

G.A Hlongwane   August 27th, 2012 11:57 am ET

I salute such a great vision of a city. Let countries learn from what the little city is doing for the kids, empowering them to do jobs which the older people are doing. i wish our country should do the same. what a free lesson shown by the girl of her age, renovating the abandoned library, and the believe in education as the foundation for better leaders in all spheres of life, that's wonderful staff from a girl her age. " calves learn to chew by by observing the mothers chew" let's show our children how life should be be prepared/lead and so they will do theirs for their entire lives.

Talal Hamadeh   August 27th, 2012 3:12 pm ET

a new hope for the Arab world with our new revolutionary and history making youth .

julian stein   August 29th, 2012 11:44 am ET


Leia   August 30th, 2012 11:51 am ET

Genuine, unspoiled, thriving. very inspirational

KrysQ   September 2nd, 2012 7:49 am ET

is this a gossip?
a very,very,very rare in Arab world likewise..
a young lady govern..

Phyllis   September 2nd, 2012 5:29 pm ET

An inspirational story for an inspirational and determined people,
THE Palestinians,
and GIRL Power!!

sam   September 8th, 2012 12:38 am ET

it is saad story.and it is god what kind of pepole are should buy her ice cream.

chockas   September 10th, 2012 12:20 am ET

It is indeed an encouraging and inspiring story to read. There are few things comes into my mind in common, (1) young one's becoming politician, which is very unusual when elder, rich & business men jump into this area and fight for seat, position and power. (2) recently, girls/women stepping forward and also given opportunities specially in Islamic regions. Egypt has first time allowed women on media front screens! Now, Palestine has placed young girl as mayor!. (3) I read in Bible, from the king David descendants, kings of age as 7 were ruling Israel. I was wondering will it happen in this 20th century!

One might think what she knows about politics! but the early interest and mentored by political elder would take her to greater level in politics. Very glad to hear her interest that she would take international studies and become a great leader of Palestinian nation.

Good luck Bashaer Othman!

Palestinians are progressive people   September 12th, 2012 2:53 am ET

This is really cool.

Habeeb Awad   September 12th, 2012 2:58 am ET

Palestinians are progressive people.

dekel   September 14th, 2012 3:45 am ET

As an Israeli I wish her all the best. If more palestinians were into education and civil act we could reach peace, unfortunately as we can see from the latest violent protests mobs are running the joint, and violence acts get massive support for the citizen of pals, so this nice girl has very little change of making a real change. I sure hope that more palestinians will read more and be fed less by the media, maybe change will come,who knows.

Sebastien   September 19th, 2012 10:06 pm ET

A clear improvement in governance from the usual kleptocratic thugs. Happy is the land whose prince is a child, at least if the alternative is a Fatah thug.

lindy500   September 22nd, 2012 2:11 pm ET

Walid Shoebat a PLO Member

Why is it that on June 4th 1967 I was a Jordanian and overnight I became a Palestinian?”

“We did not particularly mind Jordanian rule. The teaching of the destruction of Israel was a definite part of the curriculum, but we considered ourselves Jordanian until the Jews returned to Jerusalem. Then all of the sudden we were Palestinians – they removed the star from the Jordanian flag and all at once we had a Palestinian flag”.

thedarkelf   September 23rd, 2012 11:26 am ET

The youngster says she meets with the mayor everyday for an hour and they go over the projects she is working on. So shes not really the mayor.So how can they call her the youngest mayor ever

K_Daraa   September 29th, 2012 8:28 am ET

Unfortunately, Bashaer Othman will never be an adult leader in an Islamic society. The takfiriin will go out of their way the destroy any Muslim female that tries. An example would be the Al Qaeda murder of Pakistani Benazir Bhutto, who tried to run for Prime Minister in 2008. Al Qaeda kept carrying out attacks against her, killing and wounding thousands of bystanders, until they finally killed her.

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