Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar, Saudi executive

Time: 26 May, 2020

Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar

Dr. Majdah Abdulhadi Shugdar has been the general supervisor of the General Directorate of Training at the Education and Training Evaluation Commission since January 2020.

In 1989, she gained a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) and a master’s degree in the same field of study, also from KAU, in 1995.

Fifteen years later, she obtained a post-graduate diploma in research management from the University of Bradford, in the UK and in 2014, a Ph.D. in business administration from Cardiff Metropolitan University, in Wales.

Shugdar worked as a laboratory quality coordinator at the clinical laboratory and blood bank of Jeddah’s King Fahd General Hospital (KFGH) from 1997 to 2001. She also worked at KFGH as director of the total quality management (TQM) department from 2008 to 2015.

In 2004, she became the director of TQM at the Jeddah-based International Medical Center (IMC), where she successfully built a database for the automatic generation of monthly reports. She also developed IMC’s TQM and patient safety plan in coordination with US-based Cleveland Clinic.

Two years later, she moved to the Saudi Central Board for Accreditation of Healthcare Institutions (CBAHI) where she was appointed as the director of the TQM department.

From 2008 to 2015, Shugdar worked as the director of the health care accreditation department at the CBAHI and between 2015 and January 2020 was a general director assistant for health care accreditation affairs with the board.

Shugdar has represented Saudi Arabia as a speaker and chairperson at a number of international events.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Julnar Osama Al-Bitar, Saudi news anchor


Julnar Osama Al-Bitar

Julnar Osama Al-Bitar is a successful political news anchor, an honorary member of the International Union of Economists and Managers in the European Union (IUEMEU), and a member of the woman and family committee at the Arab Road Safety Organization.

Al-Bitar received her bachelor’s degree in public administration from King Abdul Aziz University in 2012. Five years later, she joined the Al-Ekhbariya satellite TV channel. She progressed in her career from a correspondent covering the Gulf Cooperation Council, Arab and Islamic summits to program host in 2016. She became a news bulletin reader in 2017.

She has participated in training courses from leading industry bodies such as the Dubai-based Focus Academy for Consulting, Training & Media Development.

She has also been coached by renowned Arab broadcasters such as Al-Arabiya’s Hasan Muawad who, in 2019, trained her on how to conduct political interviews.

Al-Bitar took part in the launch of the Arab Women Charter Project and the naming of Arab family ambassadors, held in Dubai in 2017. She has been a member of the organizing and preparatory committee in different workshops aiming to promote road safety.

Al-Bitar has overseen a number of discussion sessions, including her participation at Diriyah Season as well as the fourth conference for Arab youth initiatives and social responsibility held last November in Unaizah, Qasim.

Al-Bitar, who is also a member of the Regional Network for Social Responsibility, has received awards for her media contributions, including one from the IUEMEU and the Sheikha Lamia bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa’s award for her distinctive humanitarian contributions.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Regional CSR Network selects Princess Hind as global ambassador


Princess Hind bint Abdulrahman Al-Saud. (Social media)

This article was first published in Arab News

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Nourah Alzaid, general manager of the secretariat of the National Committee of Digital Transformation in KSA

Time: 19 May, 2020

Nourah Alzaid

Nourah Alzaid has been general manager of the secretariat of the National Committee of Digital Transformation since May 2019.

Her expertise is in finance, digital transformation, commercial operations and customer relationships.

Alzaid obtained a bachelor’s degree in English language and literature at King Saud University in 2010. After her graduation, she joined GE Healthcare, a global medical technology and digital solutions innovator.

Within two years of joining the company, she became a business operations specialist. She also served as business operations leader and in July 2014, she was promoted to commercial operations leader.

In October 2015, Alzaid became manager of GE’s center in Saudi Arabia for global operations. One of her main responsibilities was to improve the productivity of the Saudi team so as to meet the company’s global standards. Eight months later, she became a senior program manager.

In May 2018, she served as government affairs and policy leader for Saudi Arabia and Bahrain, where she worked as a liaison between the company and the two government entities.

In October 2018, Alzaid joined Baker Hughes as government affairs and policy director. After eight months, she joined the National Digital Transformation Unit.

On Sunday, Alzaid participated in a virtual meeting organized by the Communications and Information Technology Commission to mark World Telecommunication and Information Society Day. She highlighted the importance of encouraging partnership between government bodies and the private sector to achieve desired national goals.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Dr. Sumaya Al-Sulaiman, CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Architecture and Design Authority


Dr. Sumaya Al-Sulaiman

Dr. Sumaya Al-Sulaiman is CEO of Saudi Arabia’s Architecture and Design Authority.

Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan appointed Al-Sulaiman as CEO of the authority, which was launched as part of 11 new cultural bodies operating under the ministry.

She is considered to be a specialist in the field of architecture, obtaining a doctorate in the subject from the UK’s University of Newcastle in 2010.

She received the Ibn Khaldun Fellowship at MIT, in addition to completing several courses and programs at the same institute.

In 2017 Al-Sulaiman was appointed dean of the College of Design at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University. She is also a member of the Municipal Council of the Eastern Province Municipality.

She oversaw the Kingdom’s first national pavilion at the 16th International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

The authority’s functions include developing the sector’s strategy, laying down related regulations, licensing relevant activities, encouraging investment in the field, providing training courses, professional programs, supporting intellectual property rights in related fields, and other organizational functions.

It will implement the ministry’s plans for architecture and design by creating an innovative field that highlights Saudi architectural style and developing it to reflect pride in national identity as an important part of the Vision 2030 reform plan.

The other authorities cover literature, publishing and translation; fashion; film; heritage; visual arts; museums; theater and performing arts; libraries; music; and culinary arts.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy

Time: 13 April, 2020

Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy

Artist and Doctor

After more than 25 years of studying and practicing medicine, I came to appreciate the presence of art in science and vice versa.

My artwork is based on taking a critical view of inherited beliefs and convictions with an emphasis on the individual versus the collective identity and the relationship between men and women in Saudi Arabia.

Dr. Ahlam Alshedokhy with Her father Abdullah Rasheed Alshedoukhy and her nephew Abdullah Adel Alshedoukhy at the opening of her exhibition Faces

I was born and raised in Riyadh. Both of my parents valued education and raised us to be ambitious and to respect values. They were both self-made and despite their limited resources we studied in private schools and we spent our summers studying languages and involved in sports.

We grew up loving each other as siblings, in the time before internet games we played together and spent time using our imagination.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been curious by nature and an independent thinker, never shy to seek out the truth by asking for explanations. When the time came to choose a career, as someone who has always found a thrill in challenges, I chose to become a doctor. In 1989 I graduated with a bachelor’s degree in medicine and surgery from King Saud University.

After this, I achieved my dream of acquiring an internationally recognized degree, when I was awarded a fellowship specialty in the field of pathology from the University of Calgary, Alberta – Canada. For the next two decades I focused on my medical career as a consultant pathologist and an assistant professor.

My family has a major role in my life, my husband is a cardiologist who runs his private practice, he is my companion in life, travels, and art adventures.

My daughter is my close friend, a source of confidence and is a postgraduate student in international affairs at Columbia University in New York. Out of my two sons, Omar is a trusted advisor and works as an electrical engineer and my son Saif is finishing his political sciences degree, while being my long-distance business partner and constant support.

My artistic journey started with my post-graduate studies of the cells. The microscope being my first artistic tool and was the gateway to seeing the inner universe of the human body. Art for me was a mystery that needed unraveling. Through my experience as a physician I came to appreciate the presence of art in science, the significance of the shapes and forms of the human cells.

Combining my rich experience in medicine and art, I found a common ground in the layers of details, the complexity of existence, the beauty of life, and humanity without which art would not have a purpose.

My first exhibition took place five years ago. This journey started in Riyadh and from there I have exhibited in Dubai, Jeddah, Paris, and Hong Kong.

I was awarded the second place in the category of International Artists Award at World Art Dubai. In the past five years I have had three solo exhibitions which I am very proud of.

Currently I spend my time doing what I love, devoted to teaching medicine, travelling, and painting.  www.alshedoukhy.com

This article was first published in Arab News

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Latifa Al-Ajaji

Time: 13 April, 2020

Speech pathologist/audiologist

I was born in Al-Ahsa. The sixth child in a family of six girls and four boys.

After I finished school, I knew I wanted a career that involved helping people one-to-one but also provided an important service not available in Saudi Arabia.

I decided to start a degree in speech pathology and audiology. Although it was rare for a girl from Al-Ahsa to venture abroad, I enrolled in a US university as part of a Saudi scholarship program.

A speech pathologist helps patients who have problems with bodily functions such as swallowing, speech and language, which may result from nervous system disorders, cleft lip or palate, strokes, head injuries, etc. Our patients ranged from premature infants to the elderly.

Adventures in my red Mustang notwithstanding, I achieved my bachelor’s degree followed by a master’s degree in speech pathology and audiology.

To the best of my knowledge, I was the first GCC national to earn a graduate degree in this field.

I moved back to Saudi Arabia and joined King Faisal University as a lecturer. I established the first speech pathology clinic in King Fahd Hospital in Alkhobar and later transferred to the Saudi Aramco Medical Services hospital in Dhahran.

At that time, the hospital had only one speech pathologist, a US citizen who spoke very little Arabic and I was delighted to have the opportunity to make a valuable contribution. The speech pathology unit grew during my tenure and had six professionals when I retired after 25 years of service.

My job was not easy. I faced all the challenges that any working mother can identify with. I treated many patients and never grew tired of seeing their joy when they recognized improvements in their conditions.

Through all the joys and challenges in life, the Prophet Muhammad was my role model. I do my best to follow his teachings and come as close as I can to the standards that he set for all.

Retirement gave me the time to pursue my twin passions of photography and Arabian heritage. Fortunately, my husband is also a keen photographer. We travel across Saudi Arabia, from the smallest of villages to the highest of mountains, capturing images of our beautiful heritage and breathtaking landscape (@laam.photography)

Looking back over the past years, I have learned to appreciate all the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon my family and me. Looking forward, I feel I have only just begun.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan

Time: 13 April, 2020

Al-Bandari Waeel Al-Ajlan

Visual artist and dentist

I am a visual artist, dentist, and member of “digital smile design & emotional dentistry”. With a bachelor’s degree in dental surgery, I have been a health care administrator and dentist since 2012.

I also own a gallery called @Phoenix_galeria, where I produce acrylic paintings. My areas of focus are emotional intelligence, emotional painting and art therapy. They blend beautifully together. After all, dentistry is a medical and scientific art.

I moved to the US when I was three with my mother, Dr. Hala Alkhalidi. She was the first Saudi female candidate selected for a clinical pharmacy scholarship at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center.

During this time, I bounced between the US and Saudi Arabia. Once high school came, I moved back to Riyadh to live with my grandparents while my mother stayed in the US to finish a degree. It was tough being different and adapting to the change of language.

In my last year of high school, I was hit with news that my grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer. Even though she was under treatment, she was adamant that I received a proper education. With her full support, I traveled to Egypt where I trained at October 6 University, gaining lifelong friends and sisters.

During my second year, my grandmother lost her battle with cancer. Knowing my education was important to her, I had to keep going.

During my internship and final year, the revolution in Egypt took place and I dealt with surgical traumas resulting from the uprising. After proving myself, the head of the maxillofacial department chose me to handle surgical cases without supervision.

After graduating, I moved back to Riyadh and found a job at Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Medical Group. After five years maintaining emergency and Friday clinics across all branches, I moved to Dallah Hospitals.

I always dreamt my childhood hobby would become a business one day and I decided to pursue my passion for painting.

It gave me an emotional release and sprouted into a new beginning as Phoenix Galeria.

I hope my art has an impact on others. The story of my future is a limitless canvas. I go on painting day by day, one color blending through another.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Cynthia Farouq Kurdi

Time: 13 April, 2020

Cynthia Farouq Kurdi

Businesswoman, special needs education specialist

My dad played an enormous role in building my personality and that of my six siblings. He was an advocate of equal rights and gave us importance when making decisions about the house.

He made sure that we got the right education, and even as young kids we had goals and ambitions in our lives. He would consult me while making business decisions and then made sure I took responsibility for the decisions I made.

My mother focused on our childhood and made sure that we grew up in a healthy environment surrounded by love and comfort.

Now, I am married with three boys; Abdulaziz, Ahmad and Omar, a gift from God who is challenged with Down’s syndrome, and a girl Maryam.

I am a businesswoman and I am currently working on projects including Panda Nursery and Amore Cafe. I also have 14 years’ experience at Alkhobar Day Care Center, that I established for kids with Down’s syndrome.

All the projects I have worked on are connected to my own life. The essence of my work is rooted in the city of Madinah. Since it is the city of our beloved Prophet, we are brought up with compassion and the drive to help others. Ever since I was a little girl, I have participated in activities to help the community. My husband is the same.

I was married at the time I started majoring in child education for special needs. Even before I had my own kids, I did my graduate research on children with Down’s syndrome.

When my third son was born with Down’s syndrome, it changed the direction of my life, and I began to think of ways I could help him.

I decided to open a center for children with Down’s syndrome where I could offer services and programs specifically designed for such children. That led to a process of research and I completed my master’s in special education.

My dad played an enormous role in building my personality and that of my six siblings. He was an advocate of equal rights and gave us importance when making decisions about the house.

I created a support group for mothers who had children with special needs, and they supported me in my efforts. As a group, we started helping families facing difficulties and updated the laws that affected their lives.

Some of my projects have included bringing children together, which prevents special children from suffering emotional distress and loneliness. My next goal is to help those above the age of 21 find employment.

In my work at the nursery, I observed that the two biggest issues women were facing if they wanted to work was being able to drive, which is now solved, and the lack of professional places for their children to stay.

My goal is to see that nurseries are exemplary and academically perfect, so the time children spend there is beneficial. It is my wish that all women in Saudi Arabia should get a chance to prove themselves and utilize their full potential, and I want to bring about a change in the balance between family and work. My motto is: “Nothing is impossible.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Ghada Al-Nasser Al-Harbi

Time: 13 April, 2020

Ghada Al-Nasser Al-Harbi


My childhood played a very important part in shaping who I am and in pointing me along the path I have taken in life, one which has been filled with many milestones.

I was born to a remarkable mother and father who raised two daughters and five sons. We were blessed to have educated and loving parents.

My father was a historian, researcher and Asir’s undersecretary of financial and administrative affairs, who also authored the Saudi Arabia Geographic Encyclopedia.

My mother was an extraordinary supermom who was honored with the Ideal Mother Award for her lifetime work to eradicate illiteracy throughout the Kingdom.

On top of her advocacy, she also pursued higher education and succeeded in earning a university degree at an advanced age. My parents’ devotion and support for me and my siblings were precious and knew no boundaries.

I married at a relatively young age and was gifted by God with my first child, Rayan, when I was just 17 years old. While raising a family, I gained a bachelor’s degree with honors in human resources from King Abdul Aziz University, and later a master’s degree in the same subject from the European Institute of Administrative Affairs.

I encourage all women, to get an education, work with confidence, support their families and their communities, and achieve financial independence. 

I went on to a career in human resources and project management, developing skills along the way in communication, self-motivation, and time management.

Dynamic by nature, my high energy pushed me to take on challenging jobs and tasks, even while taking care of my family and domestic duties. I strongly believe that where there is a will, there is achievement.

When I was around six years old, my late grandfather asked me: Who do you want to be in the future, a housewife or a businesswoman? I told him I wanted to be both. He was joking, but it was somehow prophetic, as years later I was able to have a family and open my own business, boosting my confidence and helping me fulfill a childhood dream.

I consider myself very lucky to be part of the great shift taking place in Saudi society today, inspired by the Vision 2030 reform plan, which has empowered women to become active participants in every field of society.

This article was first published in Arab News

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