Tasmeem Fair gathers interior designers in Jeddah

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Attendees admiring the innovative designs of Ahmad Angawi at Tasmeem Fair in Jeddah on November 18, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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A depiction of historical Ottoman Empire ships at Ammar Alamdar’s “Pavillion” at Tasmeem Fair in Jeddah on November 18, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Malak Masallati’s 70s inspired merry-go-round “Lafeef” at Tasmeem Fair in Jeddah on November 18, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Redefining the art of Islamic geometric wood-art “Roshan” by Hanadi Karkashan in Jeddah on November 18, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Visitors attend one of the main halls of Tasmeem Fair in Jeddah on November 18, 2017. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 20 November 2017

Tasmeem Fair gathers interior designers in Jeddah

JEDDAH: Tasmeem, a non-profit initiative by the Saudi Art Council has opened in Jeddah for the first time.
The initiative is a platform to showcase the works of Saudi interior designers, present their works in a different light, and allow visitors to step into their minds. Since the initial announcement by the Saudi Art Council last August, over 300 participants had applied.

The brainchild of Nawaf Nassar and under the patronage of Princess Jawaher bint Majid, organizers Nawaf Nasser, Kholoud Attar, Lama Mansour and Johara Beydoun have selected the finest and most innovative designers that were able to apply the concept of reflection to their displays.

“The council’s main purpose is to promote art in all its forms, and for the first time, interior designers have been selected to be a part of the movement instigated by the council. The plan was set in motion this year under the guidance of Princess Jawaher, and it was the right time and place for us. They’re an integrated part of the art society and I am proud to have them here under one roof,” said Nasser.

The fair’s displays are varied and the 16 selected, 11 of which are women, have filled a space in unison with their fellow participants. A number of workshops will be given by Dr. Douha Attiah, Ahmad Angawi and more. There will be special talks as well by Dr. Zuhair Fayez, Hsham Malaika, Dr. Rana Kadi and others.

“I was surprised and very pleased with the level of unprecedented professionalism of our Saudi interior designers. The volume of portfolios that we received is proof of their enthusiasm, elevated sense of style, and their level of awareness and intellect. This is a chance for the audience to get to know more about interior design and I’m confident that each season will be better than the previous,” said Princess Jawaher bint Majid.

Located in SAC’s Gold Moor headquarters in the Shatea district, Tasmeem Fair is open to all from November 18-28.

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

Dr. Fatima Alakeel, cybersecurity expert. (AN photo)
Updated 20 March 2019

How Saudi women are getting ahead of men as STEM graduates

  • ‘Securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,’ says Dr. Fatema Alakeel of King Saud University in Riyadh
  • ‘Saudi women are ambitious,’ says one graduate. ‘We are acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers’

DUBAI: More and more girls in Saudi Arabia are opting for an education in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM), and now the challenge is finding them employment, said Dr. Fatima Alakeel, a cybersecurity expert and faculty member at King Saud University (KSU) in Riyadh.
“In the Kingdom, STEM-related jobs are limited at the moment, as the economy is primarily oil-based and there are few technical jobs available,” said Alakeel, who is also the founder and CEO of the non-profit Confidentiality, Integrity & Availability Group (CIAG), which focuses on information security training and research in Riyadh.
According to a government report on the labor market situation in the third quarter of 2018, more than 30 percent of Saudi women aged between 15 and 65 are unemployed.
Among them, the highest rate of unemployment is among 20-24-year-olds (more than 70 percent) and among 25-29-year-olds (55 percent).
According to the report, there are 923,504 Saudi jobseekers, of whom 765,378 are women (82.2 percent).
“We have more girls in STEM education compared to Western countries,” said Alakeel, who completed her doctoral degree in computer science in the UK at the University of Southampton in 2017.
According to a report prepared by the Saudi Education Ministry, girls accounted for 57 percent of undergraduates for the year 2015-2016 in the Kingdom.
That same year, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology (IT), mathematics and statistics, and physics.
According to a survey Alakeel recently conducted on social media, “almost 80 percent of (Saudi) girls were keen to study STEM, but securing a job after the degree remains the challenge,” she said.
Maha Al-Taleb, 22, graduated earlier this year with a degree in technology from KSU, specializing in IT networks and security.
“It’s common for girls in the Kingdom to opt for STEM education,” said Al-Taleb, who now works in a public sector company in Riyadh as a junior information security analyst.
“Saudi women are ambitious. We’re acquiring high degrees and seeking successful careers. I don’t know why the world assumes that Saudi women are a backward tribal species who have no say in these matters. This entire perception is flawed.”
Al-Taleb got a job offer immediately after university, but realizes that not all her peers are as fortunate. Women “are facing problems in securing jobs, not because companies don’t want to hire us, but because employment for Saudi youths is a major challenge,” she said.
“In today’s Saudi Arabia, parents are encouraging their daughters to get a degree not just in the Kingdom; they also want them to go to Western universities. It has become a common phenomenon. Things have changed. Women are a crucial part of the nation’s development process.”
Not all women graduating in the Kingdom are as lucky, among them Razan Al-Qahtani. “It has been several months since I graduated, yet I haven’t been able to find a job. It has been a struggle so far,” said the 25-year-old IT graduate. “We have more talented and qualified girls, especially in the field of technology, but there are few jobs available. It’s a difficult situation, but we’re hopeful things will change very soon.”
Al-Qahtani expressed confidence that the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan will bring opportunities for qualified Saudis.
As part of Vision 2030, the government has committed to raise employment among Saudi women.
Alakeel said the government is working hard to find a solution, and it is only a matter of time until more such jobs are on offer.
“As per Vision 2030, there will be more jobs, including technical jobs, available in the country. Once we have more jobs, women will eventually get their due share,” she added. According to Alakeel, female empowerment and promotion to leading roles have made huge progress in Saudi Arabia, and this may affect existing STEM job opportunities.
“We’re glad to see Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud becoming the first female ambassador of the country. It only suggests change is on the way,” Alakeel said.
Al-Taleb expressed pride in the way her parents have supported her, saying: “My father isn’t educated and my mother has basic literacy, but both provided me with the education I desired. They want their daughters to be as successful as their sons.”
Like women in any country, the transition from university to the workplace is not always easy, even for young Saudi women with technology degrees. Yet they are not losing hope.
“We realize these are difficult times in terms of employment, especially in technology-related fields, but things will change,” Al-Taleb said. “Saudi women will soon be ruling the fields of STEM all over the country.”