Al Waleed Philanthropies and Thomson Reuters put Saudi female journalists first

Published March 14th, 2017 - 03:00 GMT
A key component of this partnership is a series of training programs for female journalists in Saudi Arabia and the region. (Shutterstock)
A key component of this partnership is a series of training programs for female journalists in Saudi Arabia and the region. (Shutterstock)

Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), chaired by Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Bin Abdulaziz AlSaud, has sealed an innovative new partnership with Thomson Reuters Foundation focused on empowering Saudi female journalists.

The announcement was made during the first of its kind conference titled “The evolving role of women in Saudi Arabia” held recently in Riyadh.

The partnership is aimed at encouraging women participation in the labour force in the Kingdom, particularly in the field of journalism and communications, said a statement from AP.

A key component of this partnership is a series of training programs for female journalists in the region, supporting their efforts to report on women empowerment issues domestically and around the world, it stated.

The conference was held at the King Abdulaziz Center for National Dialogue (KACND) in partnership with Luxury KSA, and Smaat Company.

High-profile guests including Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the UAE, and Princess Reema Bint Talal bin Abdulaziz attended the event which shed light on the aspirations and achievements of women in the country, with a campaign themed “Saudi Women Can”.

Alwaleed Philanthropies’ secretary general Princess Lamia bint Majed Al Saud’s opening remarks revolved around her personal experience and the importance of redefining women empowerment in the Kingdom.

Alwaleed Philanthropies’ board of trustees treasurer Nada Al Sugair was present along with 3,000 others who attended both in person and through live broadcast.

Guest of honour, 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 was 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 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”.

"We are delighted to partner with the Thomson Reuters Foundation in this exciting and innovative new project," said Princess Lamia.

"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," she noted.

"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 added.

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