King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

King Salman. (SPA file photo)
Updated 27 September 2017
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King Salman issues decree allowing women to drive in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia on Tuesday said it would allow women to drive in the Kingdom, in the latest move in a string of social and economic reforms underway in the country.

King Salman issued the decree, according to a royal court statement carried by the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

“The royal decree will implement the provisions of traffic regulations, including the issuance of driving licenses for men and women alike,” the SPA said.

The decree orders the formation of a ministerial body to give advice on the practicalities of the edict within 30 days and to ensure the full implementation of the order by June 2018.

The move was announced on television and also by the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Saudi Arabia allows women to drive,” the ministry confirmed on Twitter.

The decree referred to the "negative effects of not allowing women to drive vehicles, and the positive effects envisaged from allowing them to do so" within the context of Islamic laws.

The prohibition is considered a social issue in the Kingdom, as there is no actual law or religious edict that prohibits it. 

For years, the topic has been the center of extensive debate in government, media and social circles.


'Huge step'

Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, Prince Khaled bin Salman, described the decision of allowing women to drive as a “huge step.”  

“It's not just a social change, it's part of economic reform,” he said. “Our leadership believes this is the right time to do this change because in Saudi Arabia, we have a young, dynamic open society.” 

The ambassador said women will not need to get permission from legal guardians to get a license.

Furthermore, if a woman has a driver’s license in another Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) country, she's allowed to drive in Saudi Arabia, he said.


Elite leaders and inventors gather in Riyadh for global youth forum

This year’s schedule is being kept under wraps until Wednesday. (AFP)
Updated 14 November 2018
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Elite leaders and inventors gather in Riyadh for global youth forum

  • Keynote speakers at previous events have included the UAE Minister State for Youth Affairs, Shamma Al-Mazrui, Queen Rania of Jordan and Microsoft founder Bill Gates
  • The foundation will present the Global Youth Index, covering youth trends across 25 countries

RIYADH: The Misk Global Forum will open in Riyadh on Wednesday with an eye on the future, reflected in the theme for the third annual event: “Skills for Our Tomorrow.” 

The theme is very much in keeping with the aim of the Misk Foundation, a non-profit organization established by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in 2011 to develop and empower Saudi youth to become active participants in the future economy.

Also at this year’s forum, the foundation will present the Global Youth Index, covering youth trends across 25 countries.

Since its first year in 2016, the forum has become an anticipated event for young Saudis, who get to connect with leaders and innovators from around the world in a series of workshops and panels.

“In addition to hosting an elite group of speakers, the forum also offers a unique opportunity for young leaders, inventors and creators to interact with renowned global leaders and inventors,” Shaima Hamidaddin, the forum’s program lead, explains on the website.

“Throughout the interactive sessions, youth from all over the world can discover, experience and experiment new concepts and insights to meet the challenge of change.”

Each year, MGF chooses a different theme. In 2016, it was “Young Leaders Together,” aimed at empowering a generation of entrepreneurs in the region, while in 2017 it was “Meeting the Challenge of Change.” 

Keynote speakers at previous events have included the UAE Minister State for Youth Affairs, Shamma Al-Mazrui, Queen Rania of Jordan and Microsoft founder Bill Gates. 

This year’s schedule is being kept under wraps until Wednesday, but workshops and panels will address three key points: Thriving as adaptable individuals, adjusting to the human-machine partnership and revamping uniquely human collaboration. 

These are broken down into five core skills that will enhance the way young people live and work in the future: Novel thinking, social intelligence, judgment and decision making, adaptability and resilience, and initiative and self-direction.   

More than 3,500 delegates and 100 speakers are expected to attend this year’s forum at Four Seasons Riyadh on Wednesday and Thursday.