How Sarah Al-Tamimi embodies women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia

Special Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Special Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
2 / 3
Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
Special Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
3 / 3
Sarah Al-Tamimi, vice chair of Saudi’s National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking speaks with Arab News. (AN Photo/Huda Bashatah)
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Updated 08 March 2022

How Sarah Al-Tamimi embodies women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia

How Sarah Al-Tamimi embodies women’s empowerment in Saudi Arabia
  • Sarah Al-Tamimi takes Arab News on a tour of the Saudi Human Rights Commission in Riyadh
  • Al-Tamimi: Every single woman is integral and is important and plays a big role in Saudi Arabia

RIYADH: Sarah Al-Tamimi, the Human Rights Commission’s deputy for international cooperation and vice chair of the National Committee to Combat Human Trafficking, is a shining example of women’s empowerment and leadership in modern Saudi Arabia.

Wearing an intricate pink abaya and a welcoming smile, Al-Tamimi recently hosted Arab News at the Human Rights Commission in Riyadh for an all-access tour and an opportunity to discuss her illustrious career ahead of International Women’s Day. 

Al-Tamimi has impressive credentials, holding a bachelor’s degree in international relations from Tufts University, Massachusetts, an MBA from MIT, and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School. 

She previously worked at the Saudi Investment Authority, the Saudi Mission in Germany, and the Ministry of Media. 

When Al-Tamimi began working for the Human Rights Commission in 2019, she was the only woman in her department. This is now no longer the case, she says proudly.

“For International Women’s Day, I would like to really celebrate and recognize every single woman — no matter which sector she works in, no matter what she does,” Al-Tamimi told Arab News.

“Because every contribution is a contribution and any woman who goes out there and contributes for herself economically — this has a tremendous impact, not only on her, but also her children, her family and the society. Every single woman is integral and is important, and plays a big role in Saudi Arabia.” 

Since the Kingdom launched its Vision 2030 economic and social reform agenda, women’s participation in public life and all sectors of the economy has grown exponentially — helped along by the initiatives of the Human Rights Commission. 

“The share of Saudi women in the labor force has increased 64 percent in just two years, to reach 33 percent — which is huge,” said Al-Tamimi.

“We have a dedicated committee that is focused on women’s rights and our board is composed of 50 percent women, and the Human Rights Commission consistently works hand in hand with partner organizations and government entities on various topics related to women to build on previous successes.”

Al-Tamimi’s main professional focus, however, is combatting human trafficking in the Gulf region, where governments have been waging campaigns against the smuggling and abuse of migrant laborors and sex workers. 

“As Saudis, human rights are very much intrinsic to the fabric of the society. It is part of our Islamic tradition and culture. We’ve always had a culture of service and you can even see this through the nonprofits that are around. 

“I think, as you see with Vision 2030, it has a lot of focus on fields that are extremely important for us. We are still signatories to many conventions. This is a priority. And we are consistently putting work into it.”

Al-Tamimi urges critics to visit Saudi Arabia to see how far the Kingdom has come in the defense and respect of human rights. 

“I would invite a lot of people in the West to come to Saudi Arabia to witness it for themselves,” she said. 

“There’s a lot of misconceptions and misperceptions that are really very outdated, and the best way to really judge a place is to come and experience it and see it. I very much look forward to more people coming here and witnessing and living through all the changes that we see.” 

In particular, Al-Tamimi wants the world to recognize the progress made on women’s rights in the Kingdom.

“A myth that I’d like to quash about Saudi is myths dealing with women and women’s rights,” she said.

“Women are so empowered. They have really taken charge of their lives. The amount of sociocultural and economic changes and empowerment given to women nowadays has been immense. 

“Not just women driving — which we all know about — but also women traveling, women taking custody of their children, women being able to be heads of households, women at the workplace, women dealing with retirement age, and a lot of different sectors opening up to women which were previously closed.” 


UNESCO adds Saudi Khawlani coffee, Camel Heda’a to intangible cultural heritage list

UNESCO adds Saudi Khawlani coffee, Camel Heda’a to intangible cultural heritage list
Updated 55 min 28 sec ago

UNESCO adds Saudi Khawlani coffee, Camel Heda’a to intangible cultural heritage list

UNESCO adds Saudi Khawlani coffee, Camel Heda’a to intangible cultural heritage list
  • 11 of Kingdom’s historical practices, items recognized
  • Arabic music, art, dance registered with world body

RIYADH: UNESCO on Wednesday added Saudi Khawlani coffee, and the skills and knowledge associated with its cultivation, and Camel Heda’a to this year’s Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

The decision was taken in Morocco during the annual meeting of the UN’s Intergovernmental Committee for the Safeguarding of Intangible Cultural Heritage.

The Kingdom, in cooperation with Oman and the UAE, led the joint application to register Camel Heda’a, which is an oral tradition where herders communicate with their animals. The communication includes guiding camels to safety during sandstorms, instructing them to open their mouths to feed and having them drop onto their knees to be mounted.

The registration of Saudi Khawlani coffee involved the efforts of several bodies including the Heritage Commission, Ministry of Culture, the National Committee for Education, Science and Culture, the Permanent Saudi Delegation to UNESCO, the Culinary Authority, and the Saudi Society for the Preservation of Heritage.

Khawlani coffee is one of the most luxurious and famous types in the world and has been cultivated in the south of the Kingdom for more than eight centuries. It is associated with the customs, poetry and songs of the people of the region.

With these new additions, Saudi Arabia has now registered 11 cultural elements with UNESCO including the Majlis, Arabic coffee, the Najdi Ardah dance, the flute, falconry, the Asiri cat, the palm tree, the Sadu weaving craft and Arabic calligraphy.

This registration forms part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 that aims to document the nation’s rich heritage for future generations locally and abroad.


Saudi Program delivers 150 homes in Yemen

Saudi Program delivers 150 homes in Yemen
Updated 01 December 2022

Saudi Program delivers 150 homes in Yemen

Saudi Program delivers 150 homes in Yemen
  • The project also included the repair of 600 homes, benefiting over 4,000 beneficiaries in Aden

RIYADH: The Saudi Program for the Development and Reconstruction of Yemen (SDRPY) delivered 150 homes in Aden, Yemen, to improve the living conditions of low-income families.

The new residences were part of the ‘adequate housing’ project, carried out in partnership United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-HABITAT) and Alwaleed Philanthropies, reported the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

The project also included the repair of 600 homes, benefiting over 4,000 beneficiaries in Aden.

It also provided vocational training for Yemeni construction workers in electricity, solar energy, photography, and painting, and upskilled 40 engineers in advanced geographical information systems, construction project management, specialized procurement and project cost calculation, and technical and economic feasibility studies.

Engineers from the Ministry of Public Works and Roads have also been trained in project management, according to SPA.

Ahmed Medkhali, SDRPY director in Aden, said the project was part of Saudi Arabia’s intensified effort to rehabilitate damaged homes and build safe residences that provide proper living conditions for the Yemeni people.


Saudi defense ministry, Spain’s Navantia sign combat ships agreement

Saudi defense ministry, Spain’s Navantia sign combat ships agreement
Updated 01 December 2022

Saudi defense ministry, Spain’s Navantia sign combat ships agreement

Saudi defense ministry, Spain’s Navantia sign combat ships agreement

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s defense ministry and Saudi General Authority for Military Industries signed an agreement with Spain’s Navantia company to acquire and build a number of multi-mission combat ships for the Royal Saudi Naval Forces, the Saudi Press Agency reported on Thursday.

The Kingdom’s Defense Minister Prince Khaled bin Salman and Spain’s Minister of Industry, Commerce, and Tourism María Reyes Maroto attended the agreement’s signing ceremony.

Prince Khaled said on Twitter that this agreement falls within Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s vision to strengthen the capabilities of the Saudi defense ministry.

“This MOU represents the latest effort to fulfill the vision of HRH the Crown Prince and Prime Minister to localize our military industry and empower and strengthen the capabilities of the ministry of defense, which will help provide security for our country and region,” he said.

The agreement aims to raise the level of readiness of the Royal Saudi Naval Forces to enhance maritime security in the region, protect the Kingdom’s vital and strategic interests, and support defense ministry’s  operational and tactical goals.

According to the agreement, Navantia will localize up to 100% of naval shipbuilding, integration of combat systems, and ship maintenance, in line with Saudi Vision 2030 objectives.

It also focuses on integrating combat systems into new ships, engineering and designing systems and hardware, and developing software.

Testing, systems verification, prototyping, simulation, as well as logistical support and training program design will also be within the scope of the agreement.


KSRelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

KSRelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs
Updated 01 December 2022

KSRelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

KSRelief chief meets UN assistant secretary-general for humanitarian affairs

RIYADH: Dr. Abdullah Al-Rabeeah, the adviser at the Saudi Royal Court and general supervisor of the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center, on Wednesday met with UN Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Joyce Msuya, in the capital, Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported.

During the meeting, they discussed a number of issues of common interest related to relief and humanitarian affairs.

Msuya praised the Kingdom’s effective and influential international humanitarian role, noting the efforts of KSrelief in alleviating the suffering of refugees and needy groups around the world.


Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action
Updated 01 December 2022

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

Saudi, Kuwaiti foreign ministers discuss developing joint action

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan met with his Kuwaiti counterpart Sheikh Salem Abdullah Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and his accompanying delegation, during his official visit to the capital, Riyadh, the Kingdom’s ministry said on Wednesday.

During the meeting, the two sides stressed the importance of strengthening the joint action process between the two countries, in implementation of the directives of King Salman and Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Nawaf Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, in a way that translates the strong and well-established relations between both countries, and achieves the aspirations of the two peoples toward further progress and prosperity, the ministry said in a statement.

Prince Faisal held an official dinner banquet in honor of the Kuwaiti Foreign Minister and his delegation.