21 Saudis among 100 most powerful Arab women

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Updated 05 March 2015

21 Saudis among 100 most powerful Arab women

Saudi Arabia has 21 women ranked in the top 100 list of the most powerful Arab women, determined by Arabian Business magazine every year for the past five years.
Number one on the list is Sheikha Lubna Al-Qasimi from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) for her achievements in government. Lawyer Amal Clooney from Lebanon is in second.
Loujain Al-Hathloul from Saudi Arabia is in third place for her achievements on the cultural and social fronts, while Saudi businesswoman Lubna Olayan came in at fourth for her role in the banking and finance sector.
Reem Al-Hashimy from the UAE came in at fifth for her government work and the UAE’s fighter pilot Mariam Al-Mansouri came in at sixth. The seventh spot went to Saudi sociologist Mona Al-Munajjed.
Moroccan retail tycoon Salwa Idrissi Akkannouch ranked eight, the UAE’s Amina Al-Rustamani, the chief executive officer of TECOM Business Parks, came in at ninth, and the UAE’s Zainab Mohammed came in 10th for her work in the property sector.
Other Saudis on the list include Haifaa Al-Mansour in the arts and entertainment sector and ranked 13, Batan Mahmoud Al-Zahran in law at 14, Hayat Sindi in science at 15, Huda Al-Ghoson in energy at 19, Somayya Jabarti in media at 28, Samia Al-Amoudi in the health sector at 37, Samira Islam in science at 40, and Khawla Al-Kuraya in science at 41.
Others include Muna Abu Sulayman in society and culture and ranked 42, Samar Nassif in the health sector at 47, Ruha Al-Muharraq at 50 for climbing Mount Everest, Thoraya Obaid in culture and society at 56, Nahed Taher in the banking and finance sector at 68, Dima Ikhwan in banking and finance at 71, Nermeen Saad in the technology sector at 73, Badreya Al-Bishr in the media at 78, Manal Al-Sharif in culture and society at 82, and Mashael Al-Shammari in the aerospace industry at 97.

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.