UK conference highlights Saudi students’ accomplishments

Updated 14 February 2016
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UK conference highlights Saudi students’ accomplishments

DAMMAM: The 9th Saudi Student Conference which is being held on Feb. 13-14 is sponsored by Umm Al-Qura University and hosted by the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. It was organized by the Scientific Society for Saudi Students in the UK (SSSSUK) with the collaboration of the Saudi Arabian Cultural Bureau in London for students funded under the King Abdullah Foreign Scholarship Program.
Faisal Abalkhail, cultural attaché at the Saudi Embassy in London, said that the event aimed to provide scientific and cultural benefits for participants and those attending in addition to highlighting the groundbreaking work and accomplishments of Saudi students at all levels of study in universities throughout the UK.
Abalkhail said: “The flagship two-day forum showcases research achievements in various disciplines and fields and is accompanied by a number of parallel activities and workshops to encourage and stimulate communication, scientific cooperation, and partnership among students, as well as raising awareness of the best practices in various fields and disciplines.”
Regarding the cooperation of British universities with Saudi student activities, Abalkhail said that the conference is being hosted by a different UK university each year. He said, “The cooperation with universities in the United Kingdom is growing and evolving positively as the participations of Saudi students and the research becomes highly credible in those institutions.”
The event, supported by Saudi Ambassador to the UK Prince Muhammad bin Nawwaf and the country’s minister of education, allows students to illustrate their creativity and publish their research, promote scientific research standards and contribute to research and academia both locally and globally.
Embracing international standards of excellence, the scientific committees of the conference received about 600 scientific participations, including 96 papers and 499 posters, which represent some of the most innovative work currently being done in medicine, engineering and computer science, management, humanities and social sciences, the media and arts.
In terms of academic relations, the conference also provides many opportunities for exchanges between Saudi universities and their counterparts in the United Kingdom in order to develop joint research and educational projects.
The SSSSUK was founded under the patronage of the Royal Embassy of Saudi Arabia Cultural Bureau in London. It was officially inaugurated on 29 March 2014 and its aim is to provide a distinctive scientific and research environment for Saudi students in the UK, besides improving and refining their scientific and research skills and creating opportunities for Saudi students and researchers in the UK to communicate and exchange their experiences in the most efficient manner.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
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Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.