Alwaleed Philanthropies Convenes High-Achievers at the 1st of its Kind Event on Women in Saudi Arabia & Announces its Partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation

Monday, 13 March, 2017

Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), chaired by HRH Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz AlSaud, announced an innovative new partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation focused on empowering Saudi female journalists, during the first of its kind conference titled “The evolving role of women in Saudi Arabia” held in Riyadh on Saturday March 11, 2017. 


In partnership with Luxury KSA and Smaat Company, the conference took place at the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND), and aimed to shed light on the aspirations and achievements of women in the country, with a campaign themed “Saudi Women Can”. High-level guests attending included Her Excellency, Noura Al Kaabi - Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the UAE, and HRH Princess Reema Bint Talal bin Abdulaziz. Alwaleed Philanthropies’ Secretary General HRH Princess Lamia bint Majed AlSaud’s opening remarks revolved around her personal experience and the importance of redefining women empowerment in the Kingdom. Also attended from Alwaleed Philanthropies’ Board of Trustees is the foundation’s Treasurer Ms. Nada Al Sugair, in addition to 3,000 people attending both in person and through a live broadcast.


Guest of honour, Mrs. Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, Barrister, Lecturer, Head of Cherie Blair Foundation, and wife of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, gave a speech on the economic and social contribution by women when empowered. Additionally, she defined what she referred to as the crucial ingredients for success – namely confidence, capability and access to capital. Also delivering a keynote speech is Ms. Joelle Tanguy- Director of Strategic Partnerships Division, UN Women, about the importance of women's economic empowerment and gender equality.


At the heart of the conversation were two panel discussions on the evolving role of women in Saudi Arabia. The main panel discussion led by Monique Villa, Thomson Reuters Foundation CEO, revolved around Saudi women in the workplace, in participation of Dr. Eqbal Darandari - Member of Shura Council, Dr. Lama Al Sulaiman - Vice President of Chamber of Commerce, Raha Moharrak - first Saudi female and youngest Arab to climb Mount Everest, and Abeer Al Essa - one of the first Saudi women to enter the field of advertising. The second panel discussion led by Novelist, Presenter, and media figure Dr. Badriya El-Bishr, featured the participation of Rogaia Al Hwoiriny – Writer & Researcher on women’s issues, Amaal Al Moallami, - Assistant to the Secretary-General of the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue, and Aziza Al-Yousef – Activist on Human Rights, to discuss the role of Saudi women in Media. 


Other participating inspirational speakers who gave speeches about their journey included Adwa Al Dakheel –one of the most influential Saudi females, Hadeel Ayoub – Saudi female inventor, and Deema Al Yahya – one of the first Saudi women to achieve a high-ranking position in technology. 


The partnership between Alwaleed Philanthropies & Thomson Reuters Foundation is comprised of programmes aimed at encouraging women participation in the labour force in the Kingdom, particularly in the field of journalism and communications. A key component of this partnership is a series of training programmes for female journalists in the region, supporting their efforts to report on women empowerment issues domestically and around the world.


The five-day programmes, the first of which concluded two weeks ago in Riyadh, focus on developing the reporting skills of the journalists. They will also provide training on the key global challenge of women’s empowerment, including Sustainable Development Goal 5 – the global goal “to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls”.


This first programme was a great success, providing a group of female Saudi journalists with concrete skills required to cover gender issues, including interviewing tactics and storyboard training.  Following the training in Riyadh, others will be conducted in both Jeddah and the Eastern Province, where skills development is in highest demand.


“We are delighted to partner with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in this exciting and innovative new project. Tackling gender inequality is one of the most important challenges the world faces in the twenty-first century. Empowering women lies at the core of so many global development challenges, from reducing poverty to tackling hunger and improving healthcare and education outcomes,” said HRH Princess Lamia, Secretary General of Alwaleed Philanthropies, and Board Member. “It is vital that we recognise the barriers to women’s empowerment that exist, both in the Middle East and further afield. I am proud to lead an all-female team of highly dynamic, empowered professionals at Alwaleed Philanthropies, who are committed to our mission to empower women all over the world,” she also added. 


Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, said: “I am very happy that the Thomson Reuters Foundation is going to train women journalists in Saudi Arabia, as reporters play a crucial role in shedding light on issues that matter to society as a whole, and not just women. This partnership builds on our recognised expertise in presenting facts as they are.”


For over 37 years, Alwaleed Philanthropies has supported and initiated projects in over 124 countries regardless of gender, race or religion. We collaborate with a range of philanthropic, government and educational organisations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief and create cultural understanding through education. Together with our partners, we help build bridges for a more compassionate, tolerant and accepting world.