Jeddah’s Effat University celebrates a ‘female success story’

Effat University is a pioneer in creating world-class educational opportunities for Saudi women. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Jeddah’s Effat University celebrates a ‘female success story’

  • Prince Turki Al-Faisal said: “The university will continue to pursue the excellence that is worthy of the name Effat”
  • 1,100 new graduates win honors as top-class institution marks 20th anniversary

JEDDAH: Effat University celebrated 20 years of educational achievement on Feb. 7 under the patronage of Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, adviser to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and governor of Makkah Region.
On its 20th anniversary, Effat university also celebrated the graduation of 1,100 students.
The ceremony was attended by many members of the royal family, including Prince Turki Al-Faisal and Princess Lulwa Al-Faisal, vice president of the board of trustees and the general supervisor of Effat University.
Princess Lulwa opened the proceedings with an inspiring speech about the story of her mother, Queen Effat Al-Thunayyan, and about her work in supporting women’s education in Saudi Arabia.
Effat University is a pioneer in creating new educational opportunities for Saudi women.
“Today we celebrate a purely female success story,” said the princess.
Addressing the graduates, she said: “The question (that was asked 70 years ago) was: Why teach women? Why give them jobs? The answer is: We were preparing for this day, for the era in which Saudi women have their natural position in public life, in building the country and developing it. Where women stand completing the row next to men, their brothers, where they stand as an impenetrable wall for their country.”
The princess said that women in Saudi Arabia are finally able to bridge the gaps that could not be filled before.
“You are the answer to this question that has been asked for 70 years. You are answer to the call of the present time. Congratulations! I feel I can see Queen Effat putting her pen cap back on and smiling. Triumphantly, Effat Al-Thunayyan answered the call with her words and deeds, perseverance and patience.”
Next, President of Effat University Haifa Jamal Al-Lail delivered a speech addressing the importance of this celebration, since Effat was the first private female college. It was established in 1999 and became a university in 2009.
She said: “The goal of the celebration is to highlight the role of the university in the process of national development, to celebrate the achievements of the university and to strengthen the identity of the university locally and internationally.’’
During the ceremony, there was a video presenting the most prominent Effat graduates and showing how Effat has paved the way for them to pursue their careers.
Assistant professor and provost Malak Al-Noori told Arab News how Effat helped to prepare females for a bright future: “Effat was established to offer women empowerment opportunities and special majors that are not offered by other universities.’’
She added: “We also help our students to get not only the academic aspect of an education, but most importantly a well-grounded personality.”
Effat University was founded by Queen Effat Al-Thunayan, wife of King Faisal.
She was a pioneer in the education and empowerment of Saudi women, and started Dar Al-Hanan School, the first school for girls in the Kingdom in 1955, opening doors for Saudi women to be educated right to this day.
Prince Turki Al-Faisal said: “The university will continue to pursue the excellence that is worthy of the name Effat.”
He told the graduates: “You are the future and the hope to achieve the aspirations of leadership of your country.’’
The happiness of this day would not be perfect without family support, said Hala Al-Zahrani a first honor architecture major graduate and a mother of one, speaking to Arab News.
“I am really thrilled. I cannot believe that I finally made it to this day. I appreciate all that Effat university taught me and the way my family supported me led me to this success.’’


China's ambassador: Saudi Arabia a 'strategic partner and powerful ally'

Updated 24 min 33 sec ago
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China's ambassador: Saudi Arabia a 'strategic partner and powerful ally'

  • The two friendly countries enjoy a complete strategic partnership, Li said.
  • The China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee will meet during the crown prince's visit

RIYADH: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to China heralds a new era in the relationship between the two countries, according to Li Huaxin, the Chinese ambassador to the Kingdom.

“This is an important visit with a series of political exchanges at the highest level,” Li said.

“They are embracing this opportunity to hold a joint, bilateral, high-level committee meeting to guide and coordinate cooperation in all fields,” he said, referring to the China-Saudi Arabia High-Level Joint Committee established in January 2016. 

The committee met for the first time in August that year in Beijing and again, 12 months later, in Jeddah. 

Li’s comments came as the Saudi crown prince began a visit to China, the Kingdom’s biggest trading partner. The visit is the last leg of an Asia tour seeking to build economic ties, and strengthen social and cultural links.

“The two friendly countries enjoy a complete strategic partnership,” said Li. “Both parties are excited to move forward.”

China has responded enthusiastically to the visit, a recognition of the powerful position the Kingdom holds in the region and globally.

 “Saudi Arabia is a very important country that has a big impact, whether in the region or world,” said Li. “We consider the Kingdom to be a powerful ally in building (China’s Belt and Road initiative) and linking it with the Saudi Vision 2030, while preserving the stability and development of the region and the world.”

Since the crown prince’s launch of Vision 2030 in 2016, many in the Kingdom, including the ambassador, have witnessed the immense change it has brought to the country.

“I have seen, personally, the major developments taking place in Saudi Arabia,” said Li. “While there are changes in its cities and economy, the most important change is in the Saudi people. They are showing their enthusiasm and their abilities, which have grown on a large scale. They are playing a big role in building their country.

“I see a bright future for Saudi Arabia.”

Li highlighted the importance of the evolving strategic partnership between the two countries and their respective strengths, saying: “China is a large country in terms of its economy, and Saudi Arabia in its importance, whether in the Gulf, Arab and Muslim countries or the world. Therefore, direct meetings between the two leaderships are of vital importance.

“Both leaderships are on the same page and their stances on many issues are similar. I have attended many meetings where the two parties confirmed the similarity and conformity of their positions.”

On issues of particular importance to the Arab world, Li noted that China’s stance on Palestine has not changed in decades.

“We have called for a solution for the two sides and the creation of an independent Palestinian state with full sovereignty, as well as Israel’s withdrawal from occupied lands, in keeping with UN Security Council resolutions, and the return of Palestinian refugees to their lands.”

Li said that both China and the Kingdom believe in the importance of sovereignty.

“Every country calls for sovereignty free from interference in its internal issues,” he said, adding that each nation has its own rules and social system, which must be respected.

“We both seek to find peaceful solutions to regional and world issues; in that respect we are similar,” he said.

The ambassador said that cooperation between China and Saudi Arabia is based on global principles and international law, and with the five principles of coexistence: Mutual respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, non-aggression, non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, equality and cooperation for mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence.

These principles were first set out in a treaty between China and India in 1954.

Responding to the suggestion that some nations might be skeptical or critical of China, the envoy said: “When we discuss these relations with our brothers, we do not care what others think as long as it is good, normal cooperation between two brotherly nations and is based on global principles and law.

“Our cooperation is not aimed at any country, whether in the region or world. Some countries might be annoyed by it, but the forest is vast and the birds are many, and they may chirp as they please.”