Saudi Arabia set to scrap male guardian rule for Saudi females studying abroad: Senior diplomat

The end of the male guardian rule is likely to encourage more Saudi women to apply for places in American universities. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 09 August 2019

Saudi Arabia set to scrap male guardian rule for Saudi females studying abroad: Senior diplomat

  • Ending the male guardian rule would encourage more Saudi women to apply for places in American universities

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia is poised to abolish the legal requirement for a male guardian to accompany females during scholarship periods abroad, a top diplomat has revealed.

Saudi Cultural Attaché to the US Dr. Mohammed Al-Issa told Arab News on Thursday that the Ministry of Education was set to scrap the mahram (guardian) clause but said the move was yet to be officially confirmed.

Ending the male guardian rule would encourage more Saudi women to apply for places in American universities, he said, especially those who had missed the opportunity for a scholarship because of the clause.

Many female students who travel to US educational institutions with a male guardian currently receive extra allowances to help cover rent and other expenses.

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In April 2019, the number of Saudi women studying abroad had reached 30,617, with the number of male students topping 55,440, according to the Saudi Ministry of Education.

If the changes take place, Al-Issa said it would be unlikely that housing payments would rise.

“I don’t think that there will be an increase in allowance for females. I also believe that being accompanied by a legal male guardian might be optional for them,” he added.

Under the planned new rules, female students already on university courses in the US with an accompanying male guardian will have the option to continue with the arrangement if they wish, said Al-Issa.

“In fact, the Saudi Cultural Mission is flexible and had exempted some students from the presence of the male guardian in the past, in case they face difficulties, especially for females who are completing their higher studies or those who have an official approval from their male guardians.”


Misk journeys into the past to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s national day

Updated 23 September 2020

Misk journeys into the past to celebrate Saudi Arabia’s national day

  • The journey begins at dawn from Turaif district in Diriyah
  • The campaign will shed light on historical locations

JEDDAH: In celebration of the 90th Saudi National Day, the Misk Foundation has launched a campaign highlighting the Kingdom’s heritage, featuring a video, cinema advertisement and a bicycle race through some of the country’s key historical sites.

The campaign will shed light on historical locations and the influential people who helped build the Kingdom. It also aims to highlight the country’s current development and prosperity.

The foundation, represented by Manga Productions, has collaborated with the King Abdul Aziz Foundation for Research and Archives and the Japanese advertising agency Centean to produce “Al-Auja” video, which tells the history of the Kingdom by highlighting heroic figures from the past.

As a first-of-a-kind project, it also documents the Kingdom's history for future generations, including efforts by the founder King Abdul Aziz to unify the country. 

Misk Foundation also released a video clip, “Rasimeen Auloumana,” which focuses on the growth, prosperity and mega-projects in the Kingdom today, while also documenting the population’s achievements and hopes.

The video takes viewers on an imagined journey by the nation’s founder as he discovers the Kingdom’s modern achievements.

The journey begins at dawn from Turaif district in Diriyah, the historical and geographical center of Saudi Arabia, where the first Saudi state was established.

King Abdul Aziz visits cities including King Abdullah Economic City, Umluj, Al-Ula and Jeddah before returning to Riyadh as he did in the past when he conquered the city with an army of only 63 men.

The campaign logo features King Abdul Aziz riding his horse, Obayya, and an imitation of the ruler’s handwriting based on his signature.

The title of the video clip is a quote from the poem of the Saudi traditional dance “Najd Shamat.”

The foundation’s celebrations will end next Wednesday with a bicycle race through key historical sites that the founder passed through during the conquest of Riyadh.

Participants will begin the journey from four sites — Abu Makhrouq Mountain, Manakh King Abdul Aziz Park, the Red Palace and Diriyah governorate — before meeting at the final gathering station, Al-Masmak Fortress.

Abu Makhrouq Mountain was a landmark for trade convoys heading to Riyadh, as well as being a park for the founder and local people.

Films produced for the national day are part of Misk’s visual productions on cultural and national events.

The foundation released several popular films, such as “Hal Al-Auja” and “Kol Meter Murabba’,” for last year’s national day, in addition to “Khuddam Al-Haram” and “Misk Al-Masha’ir” during the last two Hajj seasons.