Meet the Taylor Swift-loved Saudi VFX producer behind her hit videos

19/09/20

 

 

LOS ANGELES: Jumanah Shaheen is one of the first Saudi women to work in visual effects in Hollywood. Her most recent project was the music video to Taylor Swift’s new single “Cardigan.”

 

This marks Shaheen’s second time working with the artist, the first being the 2017 hit “Look What You Made Me Do.”

“What I thought was amazing about this project is that Taylor Swift actually directed this video,” Shaheen told Arab News. “It was great to see her in that role and see how she was able to take her knowledge and put that into the video.”

As a woman succeeding in the film industry, Shaheen is proud of her work and is looking to provide opportunities to other women facing the challenges she faced.

At the same time, she is proud and excited to be Saudi in a time when the Saudi film industry is taking off.

“Now we’re getting to hear a lot more stories that come from Saudi, that come from my culture, from our traditions,” she said. “It’s amazing to see all these amazingly talented people – writers, directors, producers (and) artists – all having this ability and opportunity to share their stories.”

Shaheen said she is glad to be a role model for Saudis and women that share her dream of working in the film industry. She encourages them not to simply imitate people like her, but to recognize the positive qualities of others and use them to be the best version of yourself.

“What I’m hoping with my experience here and be able to kind of provide those services for these new upcoming directors and artists to find that outlet with them,” the post production producer said. “So if you have an independent film I’m hoping that I can be your right hand in being able to make your vision come to life.”

 

This article was first published in Arab News

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Moudhi Al-Jamea, general manager of digital technology at STC Academy

19/09/20

Moudhi Al-Jamea

  • Al-Jamea has bachelor’s degree in computer & information systems from King Faisal University, a master’s in information technology & e-business from the University of Greenwich, and a doctorate in computer security & informatics from King’s College London

Moudhi Al-Jamea has been the general manager of digital technology at STC Academy, Saudi Telecom Company’s technology and leadership academy, since February 2019.
She has a bachelor’s degree in computer and information systems from King Faisal University, a master’s in information technology and e-business from the University of Greenwich, and a doctorate in computer security and informatics from King’s College London.
After graduating in 2006 Al-Jamea took on the role of CEO at Superior IT Services for seven years. In 2013, while studying in the UK, she became the vice president of the Scientific Society for Saudi Students.
From 2015 to 2016 she was a member of the board of trustees behind the first “Innovation and Entrepreneurship Prize” for Saudi Students in the UK, aimed at encouraging them to participate in creative thinking.
She then worked as a security consultant partner at Ibtkar Strategic Consultancy, liaising between its offices in the UK, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
She has retained a career in education while completing her studies and acting as CEO. She started as a lecturer in 2010 at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam. In 2017 she became an assistant professor while also being president of the entrepreneurship and incubator unit.
She is certified in ethical hacking from the EC-Council and completed the women’s leadership program at Prince Mohammed bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship in 2017.
Last year Al-Jamea did the MIT Sloan Executive Education program specializing in cybersecurity for managers.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi education minister opens two digital colleges for women

18/09/20

Education minister Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)

RIYADH: Hamad Al-Sheikh inaugurated the first two digital colleges for women in Riyadh and Jeddah on Wednesday.
The ceremony was held in the presence of the governor of the Technical and Vocational Training Corporation (TVTC), Ahmed Al-Fuhaid.
The colleges will provide specialized training programs for about 4,000 trainees in several fields. Programs on offer include network systems management, media technology, software, the Internet of things, smart cities, robotics technology, artificial intelligence and machine learning.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi Arabia looks to close gender pay gap

Time: 17 September 2020

It is the latest move to create an encouraging and safe work environment.(AN Photo)
  • Ministry: the employer is prohibited from distinguishing between their workers

JEDDAH: The Saudi Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development recently issued an order to ensure there is no gender-based discrimination in employees’ wages.
It is the latest move to create an encouraging and safe work environment, provide decent and sustainable job opportunities for all citizens and address the challenges facing workers and employers.
The ministry said that “the employer is prohibited from distinguishing between their workers, whether during the performance of work or when hiring or advertising it, such as sex, disability, age, or any other form of discrimination.”
At the Misk Global Forum 2019, the Saudi energy minister, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Salman, said that Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is providing all Saudis with equal opportunities.
“We know that our women now are enabled, they have an education program,” he said. “We have equal pay for both men and women.”
The move was widely welcomed by Saudis. Electrical engineer Mohammed Al-Ali told Arab News that it would encourage more women to join the workforce.
“This decision is a step forwards towards equality for women. It encourages more women to be part of the workforce and will turn our economy into a prosperous one,” said Al-Ali.
“Saudi Arabia, as part of its 2030 vision, is going through rapid changes towards a more inclusive society, where women and men work side by side with no discrimination.”
Saudi admin assistant Rozan Al-Nahari said that women work just as hard as men, and this move would bring financial relief to many. “We spend the same working hours at the office, complete the same tasks and many of us try to prove ourselves in any establishment,” she said.
“I’m very happy that all of the social reforms are so supportive of women.”

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi woman to run for sports club presidency

Time: 15 September 2020

Awatef Al-Sahoo (not in the picture) told Arab News that her nomination was inspired by her belief that the role of women is important in society. (AFP/File)
  • The move is a first for the sports scene in the Kingdom and in line with Vision 2030 objectives

JEDDAH, MAKKAH: From being a fan to co-chairing an all-male Saudi club, a love of football runs deep in Awatef Al-Sahoo, the first Saudi female to run for the presidency of a club.

The unexpected move is a first for the sports scene in the Kingdom. Al-Sahoo presented her candidacy for the presidency of Al-Qalaa FC in Al-Jouf, becoming the first Saudi woman to take the step.
She presented her candidacy papers for the presidency of the club’s board of directors last Thursday, amid competition with a list of names. Al-Sahoo wants to present a file, which focuses on establishing a women’s sports council to serve sports in Saudi Arabia, and she hopes to be accepted by the sporting community.
She told Arab News that her nomination was inspired by her belief that the role of women is important in society, especially for female athletes, as they create balance and integration, and can be examples of women reaching their full potential.
With her husband and family’s support for the nomination, her story began with her marriage to athlete Ahmed Al-Sahoo, who was a gateway to the world of sports for her. She said she was enthusiastic about becoming president of Al-Qalaa FC because of sports competitions.
“My home turned into a management center for the club and its affairs, with Al-Qalaa FC becoming a second home that is valued and supported with all their effort,” she said.
Al-Sahoo is unafraid of losing the elections in two weeks’ time, which shows her determination to fight, “by exercising my right to vote, establish a community sports channel capable of developing society in a cultural, social and civilized way, in accordance with the highest standards and modern technology that indicate success and excellence, is what I’m aiming for,” she said.

FASTFACTS

• Awatef Al-Sahoo presented her candidacy for the presidency of Al-Qalaa FC in Al-Jouf last week.

• She wants to establish a women’s sports council to serve sports in Saudi Arabia.

Last year, Kholoud Attar became one of the first women to join a football club. She is now head of Makkah’s Al-Wehda FC media center. She told Arab News that the Kingdom is ready to see what women have to offer in the field of sports.
“I always admire women who bypass gender issues and only focus on contributing their time to something new. I think it’s very brave and I’m sure she will do it and she’ll do a great job,” Attar said.
“I fully support her decision. If anything, working in the sports field and managing Al-Wehda FC, I realized that the Kingdom is ready for all the great work and opportunities women can give for this field.”
Al-Sahoo’s bold decision is by all means a great start for an integrated system, but also one that has gained the respect of women in the region.
Many people on social media have hailed her nomination as “brave and influential.”
Al-Sahoo said: “My success in the next elections is the success of all ambitious Saudi women who would like to show the world who they are, what they can give and who have fought in order to achieve these historical moments that will be positively registered in the march of Saudi women who have entered all domains courageously.”
Ahmed Al-Sahoo, her husband, whose presidency of Al-Qalaa FC recently ended, said her nomination is a wish she has been eagerly awaiting.
She is a leading figure who carries Al-Jouf citizens’ hopes and ambitions, and her loss in the elections will be a loss for all ambitious women from her generation, he added.
He said it was important to support and encourage women in their ambitions in the sports field and ensure their success.

This article was first published in Arab News

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OIC discusses ways to empower women in STEM education

11/09/20

JEDDAH: Plans to step up the provision of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education for women and girls were on Thursday discussed at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
During a virtual workshop, members of the body’s general secretariat looked at ways of improving access to learning for women and girls in OIC countries. The OIC event was held in cooperation with the Islamic Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic World Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (ICESCO), and the Standing Committee on Scientific and Technological Cooperation.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi singer gives voice to world’s musical diversity

11/09/20

Haneen Saleh, 24, has mastered singing in four languages — Arabic, English, Korean and Urdu. (Supplied)

“(I have a) serious commitment to improving my singing abilities by singing Korean songs,” she said. “Training myself with this genre has (sharpened) my abilities to master singing in other languages.”
“Finding a training opportunity with a professional instructor was and still is a challenge in Saudi Arabia, especially for singers like me — my style in singing is not very popular in the regional industry.”
Saleh has produced a couple of original songs while singing over the past four years. She has cooperated with various private sector organizations doing songs for commercials and national day specials.

Her fanbase is between 16 and 35 years of age and hails from across the Arab world.
In the future, Saleh said that she hopes to create cross-cultural songs that can incorporate cultural insights into her music and reach every human heart.
She can be followed on Instagram: @7anensaleh.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Saudi rights body empowers women, youth through partnerships, workshops

Time: 09 September 2020

The two organizations will work to promote human rights through the empowerment of women. (SPA)
  • People with special needs, along with women and children, will be supported in accordance with international agreements and standards

JEDDAH: The Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the charitable group Alwaleed Philanthropies will work to promote human rights through the empowerment of women and youth following a partnership agreement between the two organizations.

Under the memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed by Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, head of the HRC, and Princess Lamia bint Majid, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, people with special needs, along with women and children, will be supported in accordance with international agreements and standards.

Support will also be directed at women who have suffered psychologically, socially or economically in the Kingdom as part of the foundations’ initiative, which also includes training lawyers of the Waeya program in partnership with the UN.

Al-Awwad said that the commission hopes to have partnerships with all agencies involved in protecting human rights, and praised the Alwaleed Philanthropies’ efforts in humanitarian services.

“This MoC is one of the bases of the foundation regarding the empowerment of women and youth and the development of societies. We need to work together to support the empowerment of women in the Kingdom, and to address all the challenges they face in economic and social development, as well as reduce violence and the oppression of young and special-need people’s rights,” said Princess Lamia.

Meanwhile, the HRC has highlighted the important role that civil society institutions have in protecting human rights by expanding their capacity to deal with international UN human rights’ mechanisms in line with the sustainable development goals, the Saudi Vision 2030 and their role during the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20.

This came during Al-Awwad’s inauguration of a training workshop, titled “Promoting the capacities of the civil society institutions in dealing with UN international human rights mechanisms,” held by HRC as part of a technical cooperation program with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The workshop’s first day of sessions will focus on the international human rights system and the role of civil society institutions in protecting and promoting human rights. An overview of the recommendations and remarks elaborated by UN mechanisms to the Kingdom will also be offered.

On the second day, sessions will discuss the role of civil society during the Kingdom’s G20 presidency and the activation of its role in the human rights work in line with the sustainable development goals and the Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Awwad said that protecting human rights is a religious and national duty, and efforts should be combined in order to develop and encourage those rights and respect fundamental freedoms.

Cooperating with the relevant authorities is a central pillar for work in the area of human rights, he added.

This article was first published in Arab News

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Tala Al-Jahlan, executive director of legal affairs at the G20 Saudi Secretariat

31/08/20

Tala Al-Jahlan
  • Al-Jahlan studied for a law degree at the university between 2006 and 2011 and, prior to her current position, was a senior legal adviser at the G20 Saudi Secretariat from last October until August this year

Tala Al-Jahlan has been the acting executive director of legal affairs at the G20 Saudi Secretariat and heading the legal affairs and compliance department since this August.
She spoke about her role at the secretariat in an interview recently, saying that her team had an essential role as it supported other departments to facilitate daily tasks, organize relations locally and internationally and frame these relations on clear legal grounds.
“We are the result of our country’s and leadership investments in the youth, we are an example of such support and empowerment,” she added. “I’m proud to be a product of my country. I have been educated in Saudi Arabia and had my career in Saudi. I have been taught and trained by Saudis.”
In addition to her job at the G20 Saudi Secretariat, she has been pursuing an education in commercial law at Prince Sultan University since 2019.
She studied for a law degree at the university between 2006 and 2011 and, prior to her current position, was a senior legal adviser at the G20 Saudi Secretariat from last October until August this year.
She started her career as an internship trainee at Al-Sulaim Al-Awaji and Partners Law Firm between Sept. 2010 and April 2011, becoming a senior legal adviser at the same firm between May 2011 and Oct. 2019.
Al-Jahlan has represented international and Saudi Arabian corporations and families in transactions connected to corporate restructuring, mergers, acquisitions, joint ventures, shareholder agreements, foreign direct investment, facility agreements, agency, and distributorship matters.

This article was first published in Arab News

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The Saudi photographer doing it her way

31/08/20

Lina Mo says she does most of her shoots for fun, so much so that most of the times her friends are the ones modeling in her photos. (Supplied)
  • The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on many, but with such creativity it was hard to keep the photographer from pursuing innovative projects

JEDDAH: Lina Mo has become a rising Saudi star by combining fashion photography and experimentation with the surrounding elements.
“I’m inspired by many things that surround me, grab my attention, and in no time I find something and twist it, reshape it and make it my own while staying away from copying previous works by other photographers,” she said.
“I’m making my mark in the photography world, my way.”
Born and raised in Jeddah, Mo had a love of photography from a young age but told Arab News that she had a difficult start before the introduction of DSLR cameras.
“I used to always worry about film and developing it but in 2010 I received my first DSLR and that is when I started experimenting and learned photography as a hobby. It wasn’t until 6 years later in 2016 when I started taking it seriously, learning by reading books and watching YouTube videos.”
Mo has set herself up as a rising photographer who not only thinks outside the box but finds beauty in the subject she is photographing.
She does not like limiting herself to a certain style but tries to work with whatever comes to her creatively, drawing new inspiration from different things.
Mo said her learning experience was challenging, however she found it easy to shoot using the outdoors as her playground. “It wasn’t very difficult for me to shoot outside. I hear a lot of people say that it is difficult to shoot outside but that wasn’t the case for me; I suppose I got lucky as you have a lot to work with in a vast space.”

I haven’t achieved my biggest achievement yet and there are a lot of things in my mind that I want to do and pursue.

Lina Mo

She said that she does most of her shoots for fun, so much so that most of the times her friends are the ones modeling in her photos.
“I usually test on my friends and they are usually my models, and one of those experiments was featured in the Riyadh Season to represent Riyadh City, and we were just having fun.”
Mo also worked on the “Under the Abaya” book that showcased Saudi women in their “street clothes” — the photographer was able to show the beauty of the women wearing the simple garment as a reflection of their personalities.
The photographer said that it was her favorite achievement. “Being a part of the international project ‘Under the Abaya’ was very important to me. It was fun, it was different and meeting all these women was the best part of the whole project. You get to meet colorful people and each one is a personality that wildly differs from the next, a reflection of how our community is, cultured, traditional in a sense and at the same time varied.”
“The fact that it is nonprofit, international and not just local — and the best thing about it is that it is about women in Saudi Arabia and shows how we really are — made this my favorite achievement so far,” she said.
It is difficult to pin down a photographer who is so constantly on the move. The COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on many, but with such creativity it was hard to keep the photographer from pursuing innovative projects.
While under lockdown, she was able to organize a shoot with a colleague in the US via Zoom, and though it took some planning they were able come up with a photoshoot that delivered the results they both wanted.
“I haven’t achieved my biggest achievement yet and there are a lot of things in my mind that I want to do and pursue,” she said.
Mo said that photographers would face their own difficulties in the future. However, they should not give up but continue to do what they love, and with determination they could achieve what they wanted.

This article was first published in Arab News

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