Time: March 1, 2018
Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud is aSaudi Arabian princess, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Early life and education
Born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to Bandar bin Sultan and Haifa bint Faisal, Princess Reema spent many years in the United States, where her father was the ambassador from 1983-2005. She attended George Washington Universitygraduating with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Museum studies and, after graduation, returned to Riyadh.
While she was studying toward her degree in museum studies, Princess Reema interned at L’Institut du Monde Arabe in Parisand at the Sackler Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. She also collaborated from a distance with a curator at the Field Museum in Chicago, while her mother’s “Haifa Faisal Collection” of art was displayed there.
She returned to Saudi Arabia in 2005, where she later assumed the role of CEO at Al Hama LLC, a luxury retail corporation that managed brands including DNKY and Donna Karan in the middle east. She served for several years as the CEO of Alfa International, a leading luxury retail corporation that, among other pursuits, operates the Harvey Nichols store in Riyadh. Princess Reema is an active entrepreneur; her professional roles include founder and creative director of Baraboux, a luxury handbag brand that she launched in 2013. She is also the founder of the private equity fund Reemiyah, based in Saudi Arabia, as well as the co-founder of Yibreen, a women’s day spa.
Leadership in Business Innovation and Inclusive Employment Advocacy
Princess Reema has gained attention on the international stage as a leader in business innovation, specifically as a champion for women in the workplace. She was recognized as the Most Creative Person of the year in 2014 by Fast Company for “Inviting Women into the Workforce,” and was featured on the Forbes lists of the 200 Most Powerful Arab Women and Most Powerful Arab Women in Saudi Arabia lists for 2014. She was also recognized by Foreign PolicyMagazine as a Leading Global Thinker of 2014 in their “Moguls” category for her work helping women to “integrate their personal and professional lives” by creating hospitable opportunities for women to participate in the economy.
She has noted publicly that engaging women as active participants in the working economy is “evolution, not Westernization,” and empowering a woman with financial responsibility will encourage her to “explore more of the world for herself and become less dependent.” She has also stated that Saudi Arabia “cannot have half of [the] population not working.”
At Harvey Nichols Riyadh, she was responsible for hiring more women and introducing services such as childcare available to employees with young children, providing an opportunity for mothers to continue working and also provide for their children during the workday. She also began a program at Harvey Nichols that provides transportation stipends to women because the Kingdom’s restrictions do not allow women to drive. These efforts, coupled with economic policies lowering the barriers for women to enter the workforce, have led to the store employing dozens of women today (as opposed to 2011, when only men worked there).
Breast Cancer Advocacy
Princess Reema is a founding member of the Zahra Breast Cancer Awareness Association, based in Riyadh. The mission of the organization is to “increase and spread awareness among women across the country for early detection, prevention and treatment of the disease, and cooperate with women diagnosed with breast cancer on a step-by-step basis for treatment and ultimate recovery.”
Her work with Zahra also includes organizing the world’s largest human pink ribbon in 2010. This effort was recognized as the winner of the Holmes Report Golden Sabre Award for the Best Publicity Stunt Category and the Platinum Sabre Award for Best PR Programme.
In May 2012, in conjunction with the Zahra Breast Cancer Association, she led a group of Saudi women to the Base Camp of Mount Everest, in a bid to raise breast cancerawareness. The cancer awareness campaign has been entitled ‘A Woman’s Journey: Destination Mount Everest.’ The 11 climbers began their trek to Base Camp located 5,364 meters above sea level on 7 May, completing their trek in 12 days.
In 2017, Princess Reema was appointed President of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports in the change for Community Olympics. In November 2017, she supported Shoot For A Cause organized by Doodle For A Cause. It was the first female basketball game to take place in the Al Jawhara Stadium in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.
Other Philanthropic Leadership
Princess Reema also founded Alf Khair, a corporate social responsibility initiative, which is building an active and vocal community of creative talent in Saudi Arabia and promoting their work internationally. Alf Khair is also currently developing a retail academy, which will provide training for Saudi women who want to join the workforce. Her work in this realm also includes her role as an Advisory Board Member of the Saudi National Creative Initiative.
Princess Reema was married to Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. They got divorced in 2012 and they have a son, Turki, and a daughter, Sara, together.
- ^ a b c d e f g In Taking Jobs, Women Take on a Saudi Taboo, New York Times, 2 December 2013
- ^ a b c d Most Creative People 2014, Fast Company, 12 May 2014
- ^ Women Leaders of the Middle East: Thousands Rally in Saudi Arabia to Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer, Huffington Post Impact, 30 May 2012
- ^ a b Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud, THNK School of Creative Leadership
- ^ The Baraboux Story, style.com/Arabia, 7 March 2013
- ^ HRH Princess Reema Bandar AlSaud, Saudi Design Week
- ^ Princess Reema Bint-Bandar Al Saud, Fast Company, June 2014
- ^ 200 Most Powerful Arab Women Forbes Middle East, 2014
- ^ A World Disrupted: The Leading Global Thinkers of 2014, Foreign Policy, 2014
- ^ a b Women Leaders of the Middle East: Thousands Rally in Saudi Arabia to Raise Awareness of Breast Cancer, Huffington Post, 30 May 2012
- ^ Zahra Breast Cancer Association, Zahra Breast Cancer Association, 2014
- ^ Saudi PR Agency Wields Two Sabres, Gulf Marketing Review, July/August 2011
- ^ Saudi women receive awards after climb to Mount Everest Base Camp, Al Arabiya News, 8 June 2012
- ^ Initiative Aims to Boost Creative Local Businesses, Arab News, 15 November 2014