Fatima Al-Banawi, Saudi writer, actress, and performing artist

Fatima Al-Banawi
Updated 03 July 2019

Fatima Al-Banawi, Saudi writer, actress, and performing artist

Fatima Al-Banawi is a Saudi writer, actress, and performing artist. She is also the founder of The Other Story Project, a storytelling project that collects handwritten life stories by the people of Jeddah and turns them into creative productions.

She was selected in 2018 as a Next Generation Leader by Time magazine for her storytelling ventures. Al-Banawi was previously a social development and women’s empowerment consultant at the Islamic Development Bank (IDB).

In 2016, she won international recognition for her debut in the award-winning Saudi feature film Barakah Meets Barakah.

She worked at the Family Protection Society, a private charity organization fighting violence against women and children. In 2010, she co-founded a community theater and later staged one of its plays at Harvard University.

She holds a master’s degree in theological studies from Harvard University, focusing on issues of gender and identity in the contemporary Middle East. She also worked at the university as a graduate teaching assistant for intermediate Arabic.

Al-Banawi received her bachelor’s degree in psychology from Effat University in Jeddah. She also attended an advanced oil painting course at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, US.

Works by three of Saudi artists, including Al-Banawi, were exhibited at South America’s most prestigious art show hosted at the Pavilion of Fine Arts at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina.

This event is “helping build bridges of understanding between cultures,” Saudi Culture Minister Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Farhan Al-Saud said on Monday.


Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

Updated 19 min 18 sec ago

Saudi Arabia implements end to travel restrictions for Saudi women

  • Any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel
  • The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month

RIYADH: New laws that mean Saudi women no longer require permission from a male guardian to travel or obtain a passport came into effect Tuesday.
The rules were announced in a royal decree of sweeping reforms last month. It means adult women can travel feely and exercise more control over family matters.
“The passports and civil status departments and their branches in all regions of the Kingdom have started to implement the amendments stipulated in the royal decree,” Saudi Press Agency reported.
The decree said every Saudi citizen had the right to obtain a passport, and limits the need for a guardian’s approval to minors only. 
The Kingdom has steadily removed some restrictions in recent years, including ending a ban on women driving last year.
The regulatory changes stipulated that a Saudi passport should be issued to any citizen who applies for it and that any person above the age of 21 does not need permission to travel.
They also granted women for the first time the right to register child birth, marriage or divorce and to be issued official family documents and be eligible as a guardian to children who are minors.