Princess Lamia says, it is time to apply the lessons of COVID-19 humanitarian crisis

29/06/2021

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud recently said, Alwaleed Philanthropies has ridden the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to accelerate its strategy of “creative philanthropy” as the global recovery gathers pace, according to the woman in charge of the Riyadh-headquartered Saudi charitable organization.

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, secretary-general of the 40-year-old organization set up by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told Arab News that the pandemic had been a demanding time for the organization as it faced extraordinary demands on its resources, but that the time had come to apply the lessons learned during the humanitarian and economic crisis.

“The United Nations came out with a very unique name for doing good in the world, which is ‘creative economy.’ So, you have to be very creative moving forward after the pandemic — how you’re going to reach your beneficiaries, and how you can provide support, and how you can empower and do good in general,” she said.

Her comments came in the course of an interview with “Frankly Speaking,” the series of video interviews with leading policymakers and thinkers in the Middle East and the world.

Princess Lamia, who is regarded as a role model for the empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia under the reforms of the Vision 2030 strategy, also spoke of the progress women have made in the Kingdom, the place of art and culture in the global philanthropy scene, and the need to transcend the “clash of civilizations” approach to relations between the Islamic world and its international neighbors.

Alwaleed Philanthropies responded after the outbreak of the virus last year with a $30 million initiative to provide essential medical goods and services to poorer countries around the world struggling with their pandemic response.

This was on top of Alwaleed Philanthropies’ regular commitment to vaccination programs around the world, and its domestic and international program of medical and humanitarian assistance.

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud

“We actually worked in some countries in Africa, we worked in Iraq, we worked in Syria, we worked in Tunisia, we worked in Yemen. We provided economic support — so, for example in Africa, we collaborated with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) to build small factories to produce masks (and improve) sanitation. It was in favor of empowering women and youth,” said Princess Lamia.

“I think the pandemic shows the importance of having a house and to have a roof over your head. All you need to be safe from COVID is only a room and a roof over your head, and that’s why we worked with Habitat (a UN urban organization) in shelters in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.”
This was in addition to Alwaleed Philanthropies’ established collaboration with the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“I’d say it was a quite creative initiative that we covered, and we actually reached over 100 million people around the world,” Princess Lamia said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies works in four main areas — community development, empowering women and youth, providing vital disaster relief and bridging cultures — which combined have benefited close to 1 billion people around the world.

One big learning point from the pandemic was the move to online and digital philanthropic support, with projects in Myanmar and at home in Saudi Arabia going online as lockdowns hit.

“Believe it or not, from a money perspective or a budget perspective, it’s much easier and that’s why maybe this year we reached more people,” Princess Lamia said.

Some observers have been concerned that the intense focus on finding and administering a vaccine against the novel coronavirus might divert attention from other global inoculation programs against infectious diseases such as polio, where Alwaleed Philanthropies has played a big role in vaccination programs in developing countries.

Princess Lamia said there had only been a limited effect. “I agree that at Alwaleed Philanthropies, we transferred some of our funds to COVID-19 due to the urgency of the pandemic, but I don’t think it will have an effect in the long run,” she added. “I believe we’re in a good place now, after having the vaccine against COVID and doing much more research.”

She said Prince Alwaleed varied his contribution to the overall budget “if he sees it’s necessary.” Alwaleed Philanthropies works alongside other big global philanthropies such as the Gates Foundation as well as UN agencies, but is not in competition with them, she insisted.

“I wouldn’t say compete. I’d say we learn from each other, the methodology of this foundation, or the core spirit of this foundation. It’s built on partnership, and this is what Prince Alwaleed believes in — partnership,” she said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies’ international connections have direct benefits for its work in Saudi Arabia. “Maybe what differentiates us from a domestic perspective more than any other foundation in Saudi Arabia is that we have the international experience and expertise, and that’s what we’re trying to do in our projects in Saudi Arabia — transferring knowledge from what we did outside,” she said.

One example is the Turquoise Mountain initiative, backed by the UK’s prince of Wales, which seeks to encourage and promote traditional crafts in various parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, where some 1,000 mainly female artisans are employed in craft workshops producing high-end goods, most recently under the Mizwada brand.

“We’re upscaling their knowledge. We’re taking the crafts from a very modest or very humble craft to a luxury brand,” Princess Lamia said.

Female empowerment has been one of the main themes of Alwaleed Philanthropies in the Kingdom, and she believes great strides have been made for women in recent years, with the freedom to drive, the relaxation of guardianship laws and greater female employment opportunities.

“I don’t think three or four years ago I’d be sitting and talking with you,” she said, adding that Western media had not given the Kingdom credit for the big advances.

The rise to prominence of a number of women in the Kingdom — such as Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi ambassador to Washington, and Sarah Al-Suhaimy, chairperson of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) — is further evidence of female empowerment, Princess Lamia said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies is run by a 10-strong team of women appointed by Prince Alwaleed, and it has programs to cultivate the skills necessary for women to enter employment in the private and public sectors.

“It was very clearly announced from the government that we want to support women and we want to empower women. I think some of the entities or the companies took it to a next level in which they literally discarded the men, but I believe that we should empower humans,” she said.

One big part of Alwaleed Philanthropies’ work is the effort to promote better understanding between the Islamic world and other belief systems, which has been controversially called a “clash of civilizations.”

Pointing to the global confrontations after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, Princess Lamia said: “I believe this clash isn’t that easy to resolve.” She spoke of how Prince Alwaleed — a well-known investor on Wall Street — was in New York at the time of the tragedy, and decided to do something to help ease long-term tensions.

“That’s why we collaborated with six of the most prominent, I’d say important, universities around the world. We actually created centers for research and promotion of tolerance and understanding,” she said.

There are now Alwaleed centers in six of the most prestigious universities in the US, Europe and the Middle East, part of what she called a “soft power” initiative to reconcile misunderstanding between people of different faiths around the world.

The other angle is Alwaleed Philanthropies’ promotion of art and culture as a bridge between religions. It has established partnerships with the Louvre in Paris and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin to showcase works of Islamic art, but with a universal message.

“That’s how you create awareness of how Islamic cultures were — leaning toward art and beauty,” Princess Lamia said.

This article was first published in BLiTZ

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  BLiTZ Home

am

Thank You, Jeddah! Thank you, Saudi Arabia! Until we meet again

Time: 29 June 2021

Ryan M. Gliha

When I first arrived in Jeddah in 2002, Saudi Arabia was not the country we live and work in today. It was a different time, and our two countries were facing different challenges together.
Jeddah was my first assignment as a diplomat. Naturally, I felt very far from home in the beginning. I struggled with learning about Saudi history, customs, and the Arabic language. It did not take long, however, for the city and people of Jeddah to welcome me into their hearts and homes with warmth and kindness.
I grew to love this city. The desert, the mountains, and the sea; the architecture and art; grabbing mutabbag for breakfast, making a late-night stop at Al-Baik, or sampling different families’ sambousek recipes during Ramadan. It was with sadness that I departed in 2004, wondering if I would ever return.
When I was selected to return to Jeddah in 2018 as the consul general, I was deeply honored. I joined a talented team, dedicated to strengthening and expanding the important relationship between the US and Saudi Arabia. As I complete my three-year tenure as US consul general in Jeddah, I am honored to have helped lead and extend the partnership between our two countries and our two peoples. Our partnership began more than 75 years ago with a meeting between King Abdul Aziz and President Franklin Roosevelt. It has grown now to encompass countless Americans and Saudis, extending far beyond the official relationship between our two governments. Tens of thousands of Americans call Saudi Arabia home; dozens of American companies have partnered with Saudi businesses to generate prosperity in both countries; more than 30,000 Saudis study in the US each year and American professors teach at top Saudi universities.
As part of my work, I have had the good fortune to travel all over western Saudi Arabia, from Madinah to Tabuk and from Abha to Yanbu. I am continuously amazed by the beautiful diversity of the Saudi people, of their local traditions, language, and food, which highlight the unique Saudi culture. I am deeply appreciative of the Saudi people’s hospitality and welcoming spirit. Those visits left many beautiful memories that I will carry with me forever.

I have also seen the remarkable changes at work in the Kingdom and the impact that Vision 2030 has had on the economy and society.

Ryan M. Gliha

On my travels, I have also seen the remarkable changes at work in the Kingdom and the impact that Vision 2030 has had on the economy and society. My colleagues and I at the consulate and throughout the US Mission to the Kingdom are committed to working with Saudi Arabia to advance the goals laid out in the vision. Leading US companies and institutions are uniquely positioned to serve as partners in developing sectors like infrastructure, transportation, film and television, education, tourism, digital services, and many more. American universities offer top-quality education and training to Saudi students, who can then return to help build and diversify the economy.
Over the past three years, my team and I have launched a series of initiatives designed to foster these connections to the benefit of both countries. I am confident that these important efforts with Saudi partners will continue to bear fruit and strengthen the relationship long after my departure.
As my family and I prepare for this second departure from Saudi Arabia, I have been honored to work with a talented team at the consulate, and I am deeply appreciative of the warm hospitality and welcoming engagement that my Saudi hosts have shown everywhere I have traveled. Working together, we have demonstrated that with shared goals, with communication, and with the exchange of ideas and people, we can build lasting bridges between our two countries.
I know I will leave a piece of myself here on the shores of the Red Sea. But I will take with me a heart full of friendships and memories and the sincere hope that we will meet again soon.
Thank you, Jeddah! Thank you, Saudi Arabia! Until we meet again.

• Ryan M. Gliha is the outgoing US consul general in Jeddah and the US representative to the OIC.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Princess Reema tells Saudi women entrepreneurs to dream big

Time: 28 June 2021

https://youtu.be/7CM0Flpp32w

Source by Stefanie H. Ali

On June 23, 2021 the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative held a workshop featuring a keynote fireside chat with Saudi Ambassador to the United States, Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, which was moderated by US Embassy Riyadh Chargé D’Affaires Martina Strong, and a panel discussion with Endeavor Saudi Arabia Managing Director Lateefa Alwaalan, 500 Startups MENA Partner Amal Dokhan, S&P Global Chief Public & Government Affairs Officer Courtney Geduldig, and UPS Vice President for Community Relations Esther Ndichu, which was moderated by empowerME Director and Resident Senior Fellow Amjad Ahmad.

This workshop was part of the Igniting Women’s Entrepreneurship and Innovation in Saudi Arabia program and was led by the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative in partnership with the US Mission to Saudi Arabia, the American Chamber of Commerce Saudi Arabia, and Quantum Leaps. The program is bringing US entrepreneurs, experts, and business leaders together with their Saudi counterparts to build relationships, share knowledge, and develop partnership opportunities via hybrid workshops and networking sessions.

Key takeaways:
Saudi Arabia’s Changing Entrepreneurial Ecosystem

Amjad Ahmad discussed the importance of more US-Saudi partnerships and knowledge sharing to bring entrepreneurs, business leaders, and experts from both countries together to promote economic prosperity, and added that “Saudi Arabia has embarked on an essential economic transition with a substantial rise in entrepreneurship and with women playing a greater role in the country’s economy.”

Martina Strong emphasized the United States’ desire to see Saudi women equipped to take full advantage of the rapid pace of change: “In today’s Saudi economy, one can sense the dynamism, the creativity, new sectors and opportunities are being generated and expanded every single day…We want to see many more women take their rightful place of leadership in the economy and across Saudi society.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud emphasized that: “Vision 2030 changed everything…today, when I look at these young female entrepreneurs, the challenge isn’t regulatory anymore. The challenge isn’t really even financial anymore because the opportunities are there for financial development and support and growth. Mentorship is available. The limitation today is your dream.” She added that Vision 2030 has unlocked so many opportunities for women to not just dream but bring their dreams to fruition. “That is the profound difference” from the past, she said, and it is a “fundamental shift.”

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud also shared an anecdote illustrating the rapid pace of change in the Kingdom and the importance of timing for a business to be successful. In 2005 when she co-founded Yibreen, a women’s gym chain, she struggled to expand it because of the legal, regulatory, and cultural environment at that time. Then, a few years ago in her role working for the Saudi General Sports Authority, she was asked to deregulate that very same sector, which has enabled women’s gyms to flourish.

Lateefa Alwaalan noted that “there is a rise of a subsector of women getting into their own businesses enabled by technology, delivery apps, and e-commerce solutions to put their innovative ideas out there and start sourcing.” She added that internet penetration and digital access is also helping.

Amal Dokhan highlighted the positive funding trajectory in the MENA region and in Saudi Arabia, with the MENA region passing the $1 billion funding mark in 2020 even amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She added that Saudi Arabia had $156 million in startup funding in 2020 and there was a 56 percent increase in startup funding in 2021 year-to-date. These trends are positive and demonstrate investor interest, Dokhan added.
Challenges for Women Entrepreneurs & Strategies to Address Them

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud discussed an ongoing challenge for women entrepreneurs: access to funding. She noted that this is an issue not just in Saudi Arabia but worldwide, since there have been more men than women entrepreneurs historically, meaning that investors are more accustomed to funding men entrepreneurs. She urged women entrepreneurs to get advice and support on structuring and running their business to ensure their endeavors are competitive and viable.

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud emphasized the importance of financial literacy and financial security for all women entrepreneurs to ensure that financial insecurity does not become a significant stress factor that derails a business endeavor.

Lateefa Alwaalan noted that, while more and more women are launching businesses, scaling and turning them into a sustainable venture is a challenge. Courtney Geduldig expanded on this point, stating that there has been a 72 percent increase in companies founded by women in the past few years, but scaling is not happening at the same rate in part because more venture capital funding goes to men. According to Geduldig, getting more women into venture capital firms will help address this issue since gender diversity brings diversity of thought no matter the field.
When asked about the percentage of women founders in the region, Amal Dokhan stated that approximately 14 percent of the MENA startups are women-led. She emphasized that there is not a lack of women entrepreneurs and that there are more and more every day, but there is a need for more women-led technology startups. According to a 2019 report, 16 percent of startup founders in Saudi Arabia are women.
Courtney Geduldig shared findings from research for her book: Where the Jobs Are: Entrepreneurship and the Soul of the American Economy. Challenges she discovered for women entrepreneurs in particular include: lack of financial literacy, lack of confidence, difficulties finding access to funding and access to loans, and the heavy burden of caregiving responsibilities. Geduldig emphasized that these challenges are ongoing in the United States and it would be prudent for us all to learn lessons from other countries working to address these issues. She added that there is a need for more access, guidance, and support focused on opening doors and creating a more inclusive network for women business founders.
Programs to Support Women Entrepreneurs

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud directed women entrepreneurs to visit the Saudi Ministry of Commerce and the General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (Monshaat) websites for further resources on funding opportunities for their businesses.

Esther Ndichu pointed to corporate programs such as UPS’s work with the American Chamber of Commerce in Saudi Arabia, UPS’s recently signed memorandum of understanding with the Saudi General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) (Monshaat) to promote and engage with SMEs in Saudi Arabia, and UPS’s partnership with the International Trade Center’s SheTrades Initiative, to provide channels for women entrepreneurs around the world to access global markets. She discussed UPS’s approach to promoting SME growth around the world through three focal areas: (1) capacity building to close the gap to ensure women entrepreneurs have the skills to access global markets, such as factoring in real costs, (2) market access to bring in private sector partners, and (3) providing logistics perspectives to governments to ensure that the MENA countries’ legal and regulatory frameworks encourage women to become entrepreneurs.
Advice for Women Entrepreneurs

Her Royal Highness Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud encouraged women entrepreneurs to:
Take public speaking and debate classes and get advice from experts on core business competencies in areas where they are weak. She also challenged would-be entrepreneurs to make the case for why they are the best person to take the idea forward since having a great idea is not enough.
Move forward despite rejections and recognize that rejections and “nos” from funders help hone a business idea.
Get a job in the industry related to their business idea and learn from a person in the field and develop their concept from there.

Amal Dokhan urged women entrepreneurs to look at the gaps and find a team that complements their capabilities and ask themselves if the market for their idea is big enough to scale and has enough customers. “It’s about finding the right formula,” she added.
Amal Dokhan also underscored the importance of having the courage to speak in public and share success (and failure) stories: “I meet female entrepreneurs in different parts of the world, but something repeated in every culture is that we don’t want to be out there until we are absolutely perfect. If you get the chance, allocate maybe four times a year, every quarter, to get out there and share your story, or at least offer mentorship.” She added that storytelling is critical and makes you a role model for other would-be women and men entrepreneurs and mentoring is a great way to give back and help the next generation.

Lateefa Alwaalan emphasized the importance of surrounding yourself with the right networks because those can be enablers that help an entrepreneur find success faster. She added that it is wise to build a team of co-founders and co-investors rather than going it alone, saying: “You will face roadblocks and it is good to find people smarter than you or those who complement you to help you on this journey.”

Courtney Geduldig shared that one learning from her research with women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in general is that they need to find opportunities for mentorship, relationship building, and insider knowledge in order to obtain not just access to finance and credit, but to leverage that access and build on it successfully.

Esther Ndichu urged women entrepreneurs to check out UPS’s Women Exporter’s Program, which provides information and builds capacity for women-led SMEs. She added that UPS has found that, in the age of tech and ecommerce, businesses can leapfrog the normal process of distribution only in the local community and go straight to global product distribution.
Poll Results

At the workshops, we polled attendees on the following questions related to women’s entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia. As the results below indicate, the environment for women entrepreneurs in Saudi Arabia is improving, but more access to support and training is still needed.

Stefanie H. Ali is deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s empowerME Initiative. Follow her @StefHausheer.

This article was first published in Atlantic Council

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link Atlantic Council Home

‘We have to be very creative moving forward’ post pandemic, says Princess Lamia of Alwaleed Philanthropies

28/06/2021

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, speaks to Frank Kane. (Screenshot) 

  • Head of Saudi charitable organization says it is time to apply the lessons of COVID-19 humanitarian crisis
  • Appearing on “Frankly Speaking,” Princess Lamia also discussed women’s progress in KSA among other topics

DUBAI: Alwaleed Philanthropies has ridden the wave of the COVID-19 pandemic and is set to accelerate its strategy of “creative philanthropy” as the global recovery gathers pace, according to the woman in charge of the Riyadh-headquartered Saudi charitable organization.

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, secretary-general of the 40-year-old organization set up by Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, told Arab News that the pandemic had been a demanding time for the organization as it faced extraordinary demands on its resources, but that the time had come to apply the lessons learned during the humanitarian and economic crisis.

“The United Nations came out with a very unique name for doing good in the world, which is ‘creative economy.’ So, you have to be very creative moving forward after the pandemic — how you’re going to reach your beneficiaries, and how you can provide support, and how you can empower and do good in general,” she said.

Her comments came in the course of an interview with “Frankly Speaking,” the series of video interviews with leading policymakers and thinkers in the Middle East and the world.

Princess Lamia, who is regarded as a role model for the empowerment of women in Saudi Arabia under the reforms of the Vision 2030 strategy, also spoke of the progress women have made in the Kingdom, the place of art and culture in the global philanthropy scene, and the need to transcend the “clash of civilizations” approach to relations between the Islamic world and its international neighbors.

Alwaleed Philanthropies responded after the outbreak of the virus last year with a $30 million initiative to provide essential medical goods and services to poorer countries around the world struggling with their pandemic response.

This was on top of Alwaleed Philanthropies’ regular commitment to vaccination programs around the world, and its domestic and international program of medical and humanitarian assistance.

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, is pictured in Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj) 

“We actually worked in some countries in Africa, we worked in Iraq, we worked in Syria, we worked in Tunisia, we worked in Yemen. We provided economic support — so, for example in Africa, we collaborated with the Islamic World Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (ICESCO) to build small factories to produce masks (and improve) sanitation. It was in favor of empowering women and youth,” said Princess Lamia.

“I think the pandemic shows the importance of having a house and to have a roof over your head. All you need to be safe from COVID is only a room and a roof over your head, and that’s why we worked with Habitat (a UN urban organization) in shelters in Yemen, Iraq and Syria.”

This was in addition to Alwaleed Philanthropies’ established collaboration with the World Health Organization, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.

“I’d say it was a quite creative initiative that we covered, and we actually reached over 100 million people around the world,” Princess Lamia said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies works in four main areas — community development, empowering women and youth, providing vital disaster relief and bridging cultures — which combined have benefited close to 1 billion people around the world.

One big learning point from the pandemic was the move to online and digital philanthropic support, with projects in Myanmar and at home in Saudi Arabia going online as lockdowns hit.
“Believe it or not, from a money perspective or a budget perspective, it’s much easier and that’s why maybe this year we reached more people,” Princess Lamia said.

Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, is pictured in Riyadh. (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj) 

Some observers have been concerned that the intense focus on finding and administering a vaccine against the novel coronavirus might divert attention from other global inoculation programs against infectious diseases such as polio, where Alwaleed Philanthropies has played a big role in vaccination programs in developing countries.

Princess Lamia said there had only been a limited effect. “I agree that at Alwaleed Philanthropies, we transferred some of our funds to COVID-19 due to the urgency of the pandemic, but I don’t think it will have an effect in the long run,” she added. “I believe we’re in a good place now, after having the vaccine against COVID and doing much more research.”

She said Prince Alwaleed varied his contribution to the overall budget “if he sees it’s necessary.” Alwaleed Philanthropies works alongside other big global philanthropies such as the Gates Foundation as well as UN agencies, but is not in competition with them, she insisted.

“I wouldn’t say compete. I’d say we learn from each other, the methodology of this foundation, or the core spirit of this foundation. It’s built on partnership, and this is what Prince Alwaleed believes in — partnership,” she said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies’ international connections have direct benefits for its work in Saudi Arabia. “Maybe what differentiates us from a domestic perspective more than any other foundation in Saudi Arabia is that we have the international experience and expertise, and that’s what we’re trying to do in our projects in Saudi Arabia — transferring knowledge from what we did outside,” she said.

One example is the Turquoise Mountain initiative, backed by the UK’s prince of Wales, which seeks to encourage and promote traditional crafts in various parts of the world, including Saudi Arabia, where some 1,000 mainly female artisans are employed in craft workshops producing high-end goods, most recently under the Mizwada brand.

“We’re upscaling their knowledge. We’re taking the crafts from a very modest or very humble craft to a luxury brand,” Princess Lamia said.

Female empowerment has been one of the main themes of Alwaleed Philanthropies in the Kingdom, and she believes great strides have been made for women in recent years, with the freedom to drive, the relaxation of guardianship laws and greater female employment opportunities.

“I don’t think three or four years ago I’d be sitting and talking with you,” she said, adding that Western media had not given the Kingdom credit for the big advances.

The rise to prominence of a number of women in the Kingdom — such as Princess Reema bint Bandar, Saudi ambassador to Washington, and Sarah Al-Suhaimy, chairperson of the Saudi Stock Exchange (Tadawul) — is further evidence of female empowerment, Princess Lamia said.

Alwaleed Philanthropies is run by a 10-strong team of women appointed by Prince Alwaleed, and it has programs to cultivate the skills necessary for women to enter employment in the private and public sectors.

Secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies Princess Lamia bint Majed Al-Saud. (Screenshot) 

“It was very clearly announced from the government that we want to support women and we want to empower women. I think some of the entities or the companies took it to a next level in which they literally discarded the men, but I believe that we should empower humans,” she said.
One big part of Alwaleed Philanthropies’ work is the effort to promote better understanding between the Islamic world and other belief systems, which has been controversially called a “clash of civilizations.”
Pointing to the global confrontations after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the US in 2001, Princess Lamia said: “I believe this clash isn’t that easy to resolve.” She spoke of how Prince Alwaleed — a well-known investor on Wall Street — was in New York at the time of the tragedy, and decided to do something to help ease long-term tensions.
“That’s why we collaborated with six of the most prominent, I’d say important, universities around the world. We actually created centers for research and promotion of tolerance and understanding,” she said.
There are now Alwaleed centers in six of the most prestigious universities in the US, Europe and the Middle East, part of what she called a “soft power” initiative to reconcile misunderstanding between people of different faiths around the world.
The other angle is Alwaleed Philanthropies’ promotion of art and culture as a bridge between religions. It has established partnerships with the Louvre in Paris and the Pergamon Museum in Berlin to showcase works of Islamic art, but with a universal message.
“That’s how you create awareness of how Islamic cultures were — leaning toward art and beauty,” Princess Lamia said.
Twitter: @frankkanedubai

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

am

How Saudi Arabia is building cyber resilience while accelerating digital transformation

27/06/21

The Kingdom has made notable progress in international indicators. KSA’s cybersecurity professionals are getting a boost through training initiatives to meet the growing threat of cyberattacks. (Reuters/File Photo)

As the Internet claims an ever-greater share of daily life, opportunities for cybercrime have increased greatly
Authorities are waging a digital war to protect citizens and companies from high-tech criminal underworld
RIYADH: The Internet is home to some extremely malevolent behavior. A range of bad actors is intent on stealing people’s money, information and identities, and on crippling essential services.

Of the countless entities and individuals targeted, some of the more prominent are Saudi Aramco, Bangladesh Bank, Colonial Pipeline, the Democratic Party of the US, and the UK’s House of Commons. In 2015, the self-proclaimed Yemen Cyber Army attacked the Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

In common with other GCC states, Saudi Arabia is a prime target of cybercrime, for several reasons. It is a wealthy country with a digitally active population, is positioned at the center of the global energy sector, and located in a region with no shortage of geopolitical tensions. It is also home to Saudi Aramco, among the world’s most valuable companies.

The Kingdom’s vulnerable position was highlighted in 2012 when the Shamoon virus crippled a significant portion of Saudi Aramco’s IT network. Shamoon was one of the most destructive cyberattacks on any business up to that time, and forced Aramco to shut down and literally replace a large proportion of its computers. The same malware has resurfaced over the years, causing further mayhem in every case.

Identifying perpetrators is fraught because they take great effort to conceal identities, and typically adopt the techniques, procedures and languages of other suspect actors. And when a virus is brought under control, a new one, or a more destructive mutation of the original, may be unleashed on unsuspecting populations and underprepared corporations.

Shamoon was highly publicized, but many GCC companies and organizations continue to face similar attacks from the likes of Morris Worm, Nimda, Iloveyou, Slammer and Stuxnet.

As the Internet claims an ever-greater share of people’s daily lives, the opportunity for cybercrime increases exponentially. The Internet of Things (IoT) may enable a fridge to order fresh milk from the supermarket automatically, and an expat’s currency to arrive in the form of blockchain, but this only broadens the range of potential cyber targets.

Khalid Al-Harbi, Saudi Aramco’s chief information security officer, was quoted by Reuters as saying: “The pattern of cyberattacks is cyclical. We are seeing that the magnitude is increasing, and I would suspect that this will continue to be a trend.”

Meanwhile, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a surge in cybercrime. As the contagion forced many companies to introduce working from home, malicious actors were able to take advantage of the typically reduced IT security of remote workers. The global police body Interpol reported a spike in both malware and spam in the months after the pandemic took hold — affecting the GCC as much as the rest of the world.

Remote staff are the weakest link of any network. No matter how many millions an organization may spend on developing a robust IT firewall at the office, that advanced security can be undone by the easy or predictable password of a negligent individual working from home, the click on a dubious link, or the unwise sharing of personal data on social media.

In a white paper released by the International Data Corporation, Uzair Mujtaba, its program manager for Saudi Arabia, observed that “as endpoints become increasingly disparate, the attack surface will expand significantly, and this is compelling technology and security leaders to adopt innovative approaches to cybersecurity.”

According to a new report by VMware, an American cloud computing and virtualization technology company, nearly 93 percent of the 252 organizations it surveyed in Saudi Arabia experienced a cyberattack in the past year.

The findings, a part of VMware’s Global Security Insights Report, came from an online survey conducted in December 2020 of 3,542 chief information security officers (CISOs), chief information officers (CIOs), and chief technology officers (CTOs).

The average number of breaches suffered by each organization was 2.47 over the past year, while 11 percent of respondents said their organizations had been breached between 5 to 10 times.

Some 80 percent of respondents agreed that they need to view security differently than they did in the past due to an expanded attack surface prompted by the pandemic.

FASTFACTS
* Among the viruses causing the biggest havoc are Stuxnet, NotPetya and Lockergoga.

* Perpetrators include Unit 74455 of Russia’s GRU military intelligence, North Korea’s Bureau 39, Iran’s Cyber Army.

Responding to this growing threat, the Kingdom has positioned itself at the global forefront of cyber defense. The Shamoon incident of 2012 was a wake-up call, prompting the Saudi government to focus and mobilize resources for the creation of an entire cybersecurity ecosystem to confront both local and foreign adversaries.

This is a key element of Vision 2030. The National Cybersecurity Authority (NCA) was established by a royal decree in October 2017 and is mandated with implementing the National Information Security Strategy — formalizing a Kingdom-wide framework for cybersecurity, risk mitigation, and resilience via governance policies, standards, cyber-defense operations, and development of human capital and local industry capabilities.

The NCA’s stated mission is to “work closely with public and private entities to improve the cybersecurity posture of the country in order to safeguard its vital interests, national security, critical infrastructures, high-priority sectors, and government services and activities in alignment with Vision 2030.”

That sounds like a tall order, but the Kingdom is already a leader in terms of cyber vigilance, with a formidable knowledge base. Indeed, in 2020, the World Competitiveness Center ranked Saudi Arabia as second globally in “the field of continuous improvement of corporate cybersecurity.”

Speaking to Arab News, Haider Pasha, chief technology officer at Symantec Middle East, said: “You need to really understand where your sensitive data is, where the assets are, and have a robust strategy or framework that you can abide by. I see that happening more and more in Saudi Arabia.”

Every country is facing the threat of cybercrime, but the Kingdom is at the front line of this battle given its rapid pace of transformation and already advanced IT and AI infrastructure. Saudi government ministries are designing proprietary cybersecurity programs as opposed to merely installing products and fixes.

An example of this combination of transformation and high-tech is the Kingdom’s push toward “smart cities” — in which citizens have online access to most, if not all, private and public services, and can easily interact with various government agencies.

Riyadh is one such place, while NEOM, the $500 billion development in the northwest of the Kingdom, is emerging as the first large-scale urban project to be designed and built from the ground up in the era of artificial intelligence.

NEOM, envisaged as a cluster of smart urban spaces, can leapfrog older cities by using cutting-edge and integrated technologies, specifically in the realm of cyberspace.

Cyber resilience is critical to the ambitions of NEOM and other developments, whose expected dependence on AI, e-commerce, IoT and blockchain technology means that the Internet will remain a battleground in which national authorities must constantly enhance the defense of their populations from an evermore sophisticated criminal underworld.

Fortunately, the decision-makers of Saudi Arabia are doing just that.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi aid agency continues health projects in Yemen

27/06/21

Saudi Arabia continues health projects in Yemen. (SPA)

Nearly 2,000 women benefited from the services of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness
ADEN: With the help of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), the project to support nutrition for children under five, pregnant women and nursing mothers provided medical and nutritional services to 10,794 beneficiaries in one week in Yemen’s governorates of Aden, Lahij, Taiz, Hodeidah, Hadramout, Hajjah and Marib.

Medical teams assessed 2,349 children and 486 individuals suffering from severe malnutrition, and 673 suffering from moderate malnutrition were treated. Medical services were provided to 402 children to prevent malnutrition.

A total of 1,102 pregnant and nursing women were assessed, and treatment services were offered to 330 female beneficiaries.

Nearly 2,000 women benefited from the services of Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI), and 2,584 (women) benefited from awareness-raising activities and 872 from counseling.

This comes as an extension of the role of the Kingdom, represented by KSrelief, in supporting people suffering from malnutrition, as well as pregnant and nursing women in Yemen.

KSrelief continued the implementation of its water supply and environmental sanitation project in Hajjah and Saada governorates.

More than 230,000 liters of drinking water and 808,000 liters of water for other purposes were pumped into tanks, and 82 loads of waste were removed from camps (for displaced people) to disposal sites in Hajjah.

Almost 100,000 liters of healthy drinking water and 40,000 liters of water for other purposes were pumped into tanks in Saada, benefiting 20,000 individuals.

Meanwhile, KSrelief distributed almost 2,700 food baskets to families in the White Nile, Sudan.

Nearly 1,000 food baskets were distributed in Al-Salam, benefiting 5,820 individuals, as well as 700 food baskets in Al-Jabalain, benefiting 4,200 individuals, and 1,000 food baskets in Rabak, benefiting 6,000 individuals.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Bringing the beauty of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea to surface

26/06/2021

As a scuba diver Ali Bakhtaour was able to discover the secrets of the Red Sea, and sail for days to find new locations and witness the beauty of the coral reefs. (Supplied)

  • A passion for photography has led to a 49-year-old Saudi laboratory technician uncover striking images

MAKKAH: The vibrant rainbow hues of Saudi Arabia’s Red Sea coral reefs and surrounding habitats attract divers and photographers alike.

And for Ali Bakhtaour, a 49-year-old Saudi laboratory technician, a passion for photography and scuba diving has led to him uncover striking images from beneath the Red Sea.
Photography was already a hobby for Bakhtaour when he took up scuba diving in 2007.
Bakhtaour, a resident of Haql in the northwestern coast of the Kingdom, told Arab News that he had developed a special relationship with the sea over the years, heading to the water every day as a child with his friends or family.

As a scuba diver he was able to discover the secrets of the Red Sea, and sail for days to find new locations and witness the beauty of the coral reefs.
This love prompted him to take up underwater photography. “I love taking photos of the Red Sea environments as they’re among the most beautiful sea environments in the world. I’m talking about its biodiversity and coral reefs, and its importance for being far from the open oceans,” Bakhtaour said.
“We would meet with other scuba divers, go out to sea and head underwater for long photo shoots, which require accuracy, flexibility and tranquility,” he said.

“We photo-shoot with professional cameras worth more than $10,000, and we photograph every detail in the Red Sea, praising God Almighty for the beautiful colors, their homogeneity, the diversity of the species and their livelihood, whether big or small. It’s also a form of meditation.”
Some of Bakhtaour’ dives were as deep as 120 feet, however underwater shoots are not possible beyond 60 feet deep due to lighting requirements and the demands of photographing maritime wildlife, a delicate task that requires patience and care.

HIGHLIGHTS

• Ali Bakhtaour, a resident of Haql in the northwestern coast of the Kingdom, told Arab News that he had developed a special relationship with the sea over the years, heading to the water every day as a child with his friends or family.

• Some of Bakhtaour’ dives were as deep as 120 feet, however underwater shoots are not possible beyond 60 feet deep due to lighting requirements and the demands of photographing maritime wildlife, a delicate task that requires patience and care.

• Bakhtaour dreams of shooting a documentary about marine life in the Red Sea to serve as an academic reference and to help develop understanding of its many marvels.

And underwater photography is not without dangers, as Bakhtaour discovered while diving in a heavy current during a shoot.
“I was following this turtle and was very focused on the shoot and soon found myself so far offshore and farther than anticipated from the boat than I expected,” he said. “I forgot not to cross into a certain area, and was well deep into the sea, barely seeing my colleagues’ lights, so I rushed back to the beach while trying to track my friends. It was an exhilarating and scary experience.”

Bakhtaour experienced a different type of exhilaration during his participation in an underwater photo expedition in the Red Sea with a Polish team for seven consecutive days.
He says that there have been challenges, but beauty everywhere, during his underwater adventures. For example, for years he has been fascinated by a British ship, complete with full military hardware, deep in the Ras Mohammed Nature Reserve. This is one of the most important natural reserves, characterized by its pristine state and diversity of maritime environment and flora and fauna.

Bakhtaour dreams of shooting a documentary about marine life in the Red Sea to serve as an academic reference and to help develop understanding of its many marvels.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

am

The Place: Asir’s Al-Majarda village is home to a wide range of wildlife and rare plants

26/06/21

Village residents rely on corn, millet, bananas and coffee beans for employment and income generation
Located in the Asir region, Al-Majarda village is home to a wide range of wildlife and rare plants. Visitors arrive in search of the sounds of nature as well as the sight of green growth and waterfalls.

Visitors to the villages in the northern Majarda governorate can enjoy spectacular sights from the mountainside of Tahawi, famous for its volcanic rock. Heavy rain in the areas since Ramadan has increased growth in valleys and on mountainsides, as well as pastures.

Temperatures in the area can change quickly, and visitors can look forward to both cool and warm conditions, thanks to roads that connect low-lying areas with high mountains.

Village residents rely on corn, millet, bananas and coffee beans for employment and income generation. They also trade and sell livestock and farm products in local and surrounding centers.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Reema Juffali set to pay tribute to Saudi heritage on Silverstone debut

26/06/2021

Reema Juffali will be making her first ever start at Silverstone this weekend. (Douglas Motorsport)

  • Driving for Douglas Motorsport team, the 29-year-old will be taking part in the second stage of the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship

Saudi Arabian driver Reema Juffali will compete on one of motorsport’s most iconic tracks over the coming days, and the 29-year-old will pay tribute to her heritage by wearing a personalized helmet.

As part of the Douglas Motorsport team, Juffali is taking part in the second stage of the 2021 BRDC British Formula 3 Championship, where she will aim to build on her performance in the opening rounds which took place last month.

Juffali is relishing the prospect of competing at Silverstone for the very first time.

“It’s the home of British motorsport and an iconic track, so to be racing here, and hopefully putting on a good show, is very exciting for me,” she said.

“With the way the track is, the grip level gives me confidence in the car. Of all the tracks I’ve visited, this is the one I’m most excited about racing on and I can’t wait to get out there.”


While Silverstone may be a long way from Juffali’s birthplace of Jeddah, the helmet she will wear will ensure she feels that little bit closer to home.

“I’m really excited about it and it’s been a long time coming. I wanted to incorporate a bit of myself, and Saudi, into the helmet. There is some green, and orange to represent the desert. I also have a symbol on the top, called Theeba, which is a she-wolf, and that’s something my friends used to call me when I was a teenager. I added my name in both English and Arabic.

“I came up with the base design and then I sent loads of photos to the designer,” she added. “In the past, I haven’t really liked a lot of the helmets that were designed for me, and they didn’t always go to plan. I had the same design for two years in Formula 4 so now I’m really happy with what we’ve come up with because it’s very representative of me, it feels authentic which is hugely important to me.”

Juffali’s Saudi heritage plays a pivotal role in her life and, as the country’s most high-profile female racing driver, she has a huge opportunity to inspire young women who might wish to follow in her footsteps.

“It’s very important and something extremely close to my heart,” said Juffali. “Growing up in Saudi, I didn’t have many role models in the public sphere who I could look up to, and now there are so many.“People can connect with other people who are like them and from a similar background, whether that’s a racing driver, an artist or something else entirely. I think it’s crucial to have somebody like that and I think I’m in a very fortunate position to be able to inspire youngsters.”Turning her attention back to the upcoming event, Juffali says she has left no stone unturned ahead of her return to action at the British F3 Championship.

For any professional athlete, preparation is key, and she is confident of reaping the rewards out on the track.

“It’s been good,” she says. “We’ve been trying to put in as much time as we can, whether that’s in a simulator or on a track, just so I stay fresh and get as much experience as I can prior to the race weekend,” Juffali said. “I’ve managed to do that and it’s given me that extra bit I need to come here with confidence. And it’s also important because I don’t want to come into the event feeling like I need to brush off the cobwebs. I feel like I’m ready to go, which is great.

“A top 10 finish would be great,” she added. “It depends on the conditions and what’s happening throughout the races, but for me, breaking into the top 10 would be a big win and that’s where I’d like to be. I’m feeling confident so let’s see what happens.”

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

am

Saudi Arabia’s holiday season full of ‘Summer Vibes’

26/6/2021

Tourists who are longing for outings but have to forgo foreign trips due to the pandemic are encouraged to explore the diversity of Saudi destinations — from the clear water beaches to rugged mountain tops to bustling cities. (Supplied)

  • Saudi Tourism Authority’s program, bringing 500 rich and fun experiences across 11 destinations, runs until September end

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s “Summer Vibes” is bringing 500 tourist experiences across 11 destinations to Saudi residents this summer in what promises to be a rich and fun experience for all.

The Saudi Tourism Authority has launched its Saudi Summer Program 2021, running from June 24 until the end of September, offering tourist experiences through the Visit Saudi platform alongside 250 private-sector partners.

The “Summer Vibes” program targets local and international tourists with some of the best destinations available — from the shores of Jeddah and Yanbu to Umluj and King Abdullah Economic City, to the cooler mountainous regions of Taif, Baha and Asir. Experiences can also be enjoyed across the historical and heritage areas of Tabuk, AlUla and Al-Ahsa, and the Kingdom’s beating heart, Riyadh.

Dania Al-Ali, a 33-year-old mother of two, decided to forgo any international trips with her family this summer due to the uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The news of the program excited her as the long summer will need to be filled with some sort of activities for her young children.

“We’ve made it a habit to travel every summer but things changed since last summer and we don’t really want to risk it this year,” she told Arab News. “It’s better to be closer to home and to experience something new, and there’s so much to see here. I think this is going to be a good one just like every other summer vacation.”

“The launch of the Saudi summer program this year highlights the determination of the tourism sector in the Kingdom, despite the ongoing challenges facing the global tourism sector, to edge closer to achieving our ambitious goals,” said Minister of Tourism Ahmed Al-Khateeb, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Tourism Authority.

“In line with the Kingdom’s Vision 2030, which seeks to cement Saudi’s position as one of the most important tourist destinations in the region, the launch of the Saudi summer program is a key contributor to strengthening the efforts of the tourism sector, to develop our destinations, provide investment opportunities, create permanent and seasonal jobs for local communities, and contribute to advancing economic and social development in the Kingdom,” he said.

CEO of the Saudi Tourism Authority Fahd Hamidaddin said: “Once again, we encourage tourists to explore the diversity of Saudi’s summer destinations, from the clear water beaches to rugged mountain tops to bustling cities. The efforts of the Saudi Tourism Authority are supported by our partners in the public and private sectors and are key to the creation, implementation and success of all programs,” he said.

Information is available on the Visit Saudi website and phone app (search “Visit Saudi” in the app store), with details available in several languages. Tourists can also contact the Tourist Care Center (930) and speak to the dedicated team working around the clock to answer all inquiries.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

am