Saudi education minister appoints first women cultural attaches


The appointments are part of a move to promote Saudi Arabia’s educational and cultural presence internationally. (Photo: MOE/Twitter)

RIYADH: Three Saudi women have been appointed as cultural attaches, another first for the Kingdom.

Education Minister Dr. Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Asheikh appointed Dr. Amal bint Jameel Fatani as cultural attache in the UK, Fahda bint Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh as cultural attache in Ireland and Dr. Yusra bint Hussain Al-Jazairi as acting cultural attache in Morocco. The three newly appointed women are all educators.

Other appointments included Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Al-Furaih as cultural attache in Egypt, Dr. Issa bin Fahd Al-Rumaih as cultural attache in Jordan and Dr. Saad bin Mohammed Al-Shabana as cultural attache in Kuwait.

The appointments are part of a move to promote the Kingdom’s educational and cultural presence internationally, activate areas of joint cooperation, exchange scientific and research experiences, coordinate scholarships for students wishing to study in the Kingdom, supervise Saudi students studying abroad, facilitate their educational journey and harness their capabilities and take part in its future development.

Appointing Saudi women as cultural attaches is a first in this important sector, which has a pivotal role in building relations, coordinating efforts and promoting cultural partnerships between countries.

This highlights the leadership’s keenness to empower Saudi women, enabling them to serve their country in all sectors and expresses its confidence in the importance of their role throughout the Kingdom’s journey.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking

Time: 31 July, 2020

Sarah Al-Tamimi

Sarah Al-Tamimi has been the vice-chair of Saudi Arabia’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking since February 2020. Her work includes coordination with ministries and authorities working together as a national team.

As part of her capacity-building strategy, Al-Tamimi oversees training programs at the committee with partners at the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) for the Gulf Cooperation Council region and the International Organization for Migration, as well as coordinating protection responses for victims and potential victims of trafficking.

Al-Tamimi holds a BA in international relations from Tufts University, an MBA from MIT, and a master of public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.

She joined the committee’s fight against human trafficking in October 2019. One of her responsibilities was developing the committee’s strategy.

Coinciding with the World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, Al-Tamimi has been nominated by UNODC for her efforts in raising awareness of the issue. UNODC’s campaign this year focused for the first time on profiling people that work in human trafficking. Nominations came from offices around the world and Al-Tamimi was the only person chosen from the GCC countries.

“Enhancing quality of life for all is a key pillar of Vision 2030, which is a goal we also strive for at the committee,” she said.

“Human trafficking is a crime that knows no borders, therefore neither can we who fight it,” said Al-Tamimi.

“Combating human trafficking requires the participation of a variety of international and local actors that goes far beyond the public sector and operates in areas ranging from cyberspace to private sector supply chains.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Princess Reema: Mothers are grateful for what Saudi Vision 2030 will bring their daughters

Time: April 13, 2018

Princess Reema bint Bandar

Parents worry about their children going abroad to study and staying there because life was easier
The changes encompassed in Vision 2030 constituted evolution, not revolution
PARIS: Changes in women’s status may have come too late for some, but mothers in Saudi Arabia are thrilled that their daughters will benefit, says entrepreneur and philanthropist Princess Reema bint Bandar.
Princess Reema, who is deputy head of planning and development at the General Sport Authority, told Arab News: “Mothers say that even though they did not have the same chances, they are very glad that their children will.
“They may worry about them, but that’s a universal worry shared by any parent.”
At the same time, she said she was well aware that there was resistance to the reforms from some sections of the older generation.
“We held some forums with students in the US and they told us that they want to work and do things but their parents say no, and I have to admit we dropped the ball on that aspect. So then we had to sit and work out how to persuade and reassure the parent generation.”
The princess said young Saudis were now returning to their homeland after studying abroad.
“Parents worry about their children going abroad to study and staying there because life was easier. But nowadays they are coming back home because there are opportunities for them,” said the princess, who herself returned to Riyadh after graduating from George Washington University with a bachelor’s degree in museum studies.
One of the princess’s roles in the General Sport Authority is to work on long-term job creation and develop a career structure in sport.
“If you’re an athlete, then obviously your career is short. We are dealing with sport as an industry. We are able to show that sport can and does produce long-term jobs with a career structure and an income trajectory,” she said.
Princess Reema, a successful retail entrepreneur whose father was a former Saudi ambassador to the US, was one of the business leaders addressing the Saudi-French Business Forum in Paris on Tuesday. She has launched her own handbag brand and when she was CEO of Alfa International, which operates luxury store Harvey Nichols in Riyadh, she bought more women into the workforce and provided child care services.
At the business forum she spoke passionately about the untapped potential of women in Saudi Arabia.
“This is not a dream. Women’s inclusion is not happening because we want to get Americans to say Saudi Arabia is a great place. It is happening because it is our right,” she said.
Addressing a room packed with the CEOs of leading French companies; she continued: “What we need to learn from you is how to integrate sports into the economy, as you have done.”
Her mission, both abroad and at home, was not necessarily to change people’s views of women or of Saudis, she said.
“We are not asking you to change an opinion of us that you already hold, but to consider a fact: We are the future.”
The princess evoked the French tradition of the salon, “with scientists, artists and philosophers talking to each other.”
She stressed that the changes encompassed in Vision 2030 constituted evolution, not revolution.
“You had to have a revolution here,” she said, referring to the 1789 revolt that resulted in the removal of the monarchy in France. “We don’t have to have one because we have learned from the past. Freedom of speech, freedom of expression — without these you cannot have a creative society. It’s not about being more American or more Chinese or Russian. It’s about being the best Saudis we can be.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Princess Reema vows to involve women in sports

Time: 09 August 2016

Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud

RIO DE JANEIRO: A US-raised Saudi princess freshly appointed to increase female participation in sports plans to help license gyms and modify outdoor spaces for women in the Kingdom, she said in an interview on Monday.
Princess Reema Bint Bandar Al Saud was last week tapped for the job at the General Sports Authority in a country where women are barred from driving and subject to a restrictive male guardianship system.
But as part of a sweeping economic reform and amid high obesity rates, Riyadh is also planning to make it easier for women to work out.
In her first interview with English-language media since her appointment, Princess Reema said there was “no turning back” on the plans, but warned the pace of reform may not be fast enough for a Western audience.
“We will not go and break societal norms and we will not go and create cultural clashes, what we will do is create opportunities,” said Princess Reema, 41, speaking in Rio where she has been supporting the four female Saudi athletes competing in the 2016 Olympic Games.
“Our biggest mandate right now is mass participation,” she said, adding she would have more details once she officially takes up her role next month.
Women in Saudi Arabia face significant hurdles to practice sports. They must wear head-to-toe garments in public, observe strict rules on gender segregation and obtain permission from a male guardian to travel, study or marry.
Women’s gyms are not eligible for licenses, so they are scarce or operate on the sly.
While US-based watchdog Human Rights Watch said in a report earlier this month there had been some progress in women’s rights to participate in sports, it called on Saudi Arabia to remove the “serious barriers” that remain.
“I’m glad that people are recognizing we’re moving,” said Princess Reema, who grew up in the D.C. area because her father was the long-time ambassador to Washington and has gone on to work in business.
“I understand that from an international point of view they might not think we’re moving fast enough. But one thing they need to absolutely understand in the Middle East is that it’s an elastic community. If we pull too fast, you break that elastic.”
As part of nurturing women’s participation in sports, she said her agenda would include pushing for female coaches, women’s bathrooms in public spaces, and Shariah-compliant workout clothes.
The female Saudi athletes at the Olympics — only the second group ever, in Rio with male guardians — are already inspiring their counterparts back home to put their sneakers on, Princess Reema said.
“The overwhelming majority, especially of young women, has essentially said: ‘if they can do it means I can’,” said Princess Reema, a basketball fan and skier.

This article was first published in Arab News

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