RIYADH: Qiyadat Global recently held a graduation ceremony celebrating a class of 202 graduating female leaders, in partnership with Georgetown University.
Qiyadat Global is an international year-long program that aims to empower and create female leaders from 20 different countries.
In partnership with Georgetown University McDonough School of Business in Washington, D.C., the program aims to address the demand for female leaders.
“We had 2,000 applicants so it is as competitive as an Ivy League or the best universities anywhere in the world. It’s a symbol and signal of how hungry women are to lead and to have an impact on their communities,” said Michael Boyer O’Leary, senior associate dean for custom executive education.
Learning about leadership styles, emotional intelligence and common challenges, the program provides its students with the necessary tools to become successful female leaders.
More than 200 women have taken part in the global program from the public, nonprofit and private sectors.
The theme of this year’s program was “Empower to Impact.” Qiyadat Global is the first collaboration between Saudi Arabia and Georgetown University.
Each of the students who graduated from the program received a full scholarship through sponsorship from companies such as Saudi Aramco, Sabic, Bupa, Banque Saudi Fransi and SRMG.
Diversity and inclusion was a key goal throughout the entire program, said Founder and Executive Director of Qiyadat Global Nouf Abdullah Al-Rakan.
The Qiyadat program does not only give women the tools to be powerful and successful leaders, it also connects them to a global group of business women and leaders who can share their unique and diverse insights and experiences.
“I come from Japan, and Japanese women are very shy and they don’t express their emotions strongly. Before coming to the Kingdom, I assumed that Saudi women were shy as well,” Akiko Fukumoto, COO and CPO of Matsuhisa and a graduate from Qiyadat, told Arab News.
“But after coming here I saw that Saudi women are very energetic and love to express their feelings and they love to talk, they love to encourage each other, and I want to bring this passion and energy from these ladies back to Japan with me,” Fukumoto said.
Ingrid Naranjo, a graduate of the program and an investment banker in Dubai, said: “Through the program, I learned about common mistakes I was making as a leader. I have always cared about women’s empowerment and inclusion.”
“The program empowered me to find my voice and fight for a change in women’s rights and protection from abuse through the foundation I started in Ecuador,” Naranjo added.
In August 2020, she launched the RAW Global Women Foundation to stop abuse against women and protect and empower them through education.
During the graduation ceremony, the professors announced that there will be a second edition of the Qiyadat Global program. This next edition will be a hybrid of virtual and in-person lectures in Washington to ensure the highest level of inclusivity and diversity from women around the world. O’Leary told Arab News that there will be in-person modules in Washington at Georgetown’s campus and modules delivered in the Kingdom.
“We at Georgetown are honored to be a part of Saudi Arabia’s strategy to empower ... and it is my distinct honor to announce the extension of the Qiyadat Global women’s leadership program for 2022,” said Professor Brooks Holtom, the senior associate dean for strategy, finance and organization.