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Saudi women shine at Arab Women of the Year awards in London

Princess Lamia Bint Majid Al-Saud was named winner of the Achievement in Philanthropies Award at the Arab Women of the Year 2017 held in London on Thursday. Princess Lamia is Secretary General and member of the board of trustees at Alwaleed Philanthropies which over the past 35 years has supported and initiated projects in more than 124 countries regardless of gender, race or religion. The Foundation collaborates with a range of philanthropic, government and educational organizations to combat poverty, empower women and youth, develop communities, provide disaster relief and create cultural understanding through education. Princess Lamia was among eleven outstanding Arab women recognized for their achievements in a wide range of categories including social leadership, culture, music, women’s advancement, trade development, motivation and wellbeing, education, journalism and public awareness. A special award was presented to a program created by the OLE.IRD and UNHCR called ‘The Tiger Girls’. Tiger Girls, which stands for ‘These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading’, enables 120 Syrian girls in the Zaatari refugee camp, supported by Syrian female coaches, to participate in team-based learning. Present to accept the award alongside her colleagues was UNHCR senior adviser, Reem bint Amr bin Abdelhamid from Saudi Arabia. Event organizer Omar Bdour, Ceo, London Arabia Organization, said he had been completely overwhelmed with emotion when he visited the Zaatari camp in Jordan and met the young women benefitting from the program. He described a moving moment during his visit to the desert camp when young girls released balloons carrying messages describing their hopes and dreams. For young people who “have almost nothing,” he said, “their hopes and dreams are all that sustain them but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to break out of their box.” He added that the Arab Women Awards celebrated Arab women who ‘aspire to make a difference.’ Award Advisory Chairman, Professor Aldwyn Cooper, Vice-Chancellor and Ceo, Regent’s University London, said in the Arab world educational institutions are climbing up the global world rankings. He saw as a valuable element in this trend the social change being led and supported by the country’s rulers. “There is recognition of the knowledge, skills and innovation of Arab women in many fields,” he said. On the UK, he said: “It is important that we recognize Arab students as creating genuine inputs into the cultures of our universities with new perspectives, new ideas and real innovation.” He said there would be announcements made by the UK government on Tuesday, Dec. 5, 2017, about changes to the visa arrangements for students studying in the UK and staying to contribute to the British economy. He said: “We are open for business in Britain for education and everything else.” Guest speaker Desiree Bollier, chairwoman and global chief merchant, value retail management, said women make up 67 percent of her organization’s workforce. “Women are wives and mothers and working. All we have done over the years is stretch their days and hours. The average work and social life and expectation of being a wife, mum and working woman is an average 14-hour day. We support these women with flexible hours – the office today is merely a mobile – you can do your work from anywhere.” The glittering awards evening, hosted by Saudi social media influencer and entrepreneur Bayan Linjawi, was held in the Jumeirah Carlton Hotel in Knightsbridge. Entertainment was provided by the Scottish Egyptian multi-instrumentalist Ayoub Sisters, Sarah and Laura who played a range of wonderful classic pieces The event was attended by royals, diplomats and a host of high achieving women showing their support for the award winners. Dr. Hania Mursi Fadl, winner of the achievement in social leadership award, is one of the first Sudanese women to be trained as a radiologist. She established the Khartoum Breast Care Center using a family foundation fund of $14 million. The KBCCC is the only fully equipped and staffed cancer center available to women in the region. Sheikha Intisar Alsabah, of Kuwait, winner of the achievement in community development award, is the founder of Alnowair, a first of its kind non-profit initiative in region. The achievement in culture award went to Dr. Maha El-Khalil Chalabi. Born in the southern Lebanese city of Tyre, Chalabi has led numerous welfare and cultural campaigns for her native city which has been on UNESCO’s World Heritage List since 1984. She notably initiated the establishment of a medical and social care center and the International Festival of Tyre. The well-known Kuwaiti singer Nawal El-Kuwaitia won the achievement in music award. She is known as The Queen of Classic Music and famed for her Harp of Khaliji Song, the Gulf’s Fairooz and the Sun and Moon of Kuwait. She currently has 16 albums and has collaborated with many composers and poets. Yasmine Sabri won the award for achievement in promoting women’s advancement. Sabri, who was a professional swimmer in Egypt, shot her first movie in Mumbai and was number one in the box office. She participated in the “You are more important campaign” celebration – “Smile of Gold” at the Childrens’ Cancer Hospital during the World Children Cancer Day. Shaikha Hind Al-Khalifa won the achievement in trade development award. Shaikha Hind was born and raised in the city of Muharraq, Bahrain and served as the Assistant Under-Secretary for the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs. She is president of the Bahrain International Federation for Business and Professional Women. The winner of the achievement in motivation and wellbeing award was Hala Kazim. She is a certified counselor and coach from the City University, London. Kazim established ‘Journey through Change’ in 2011 to positively impact people’s lives by taking them out of their comfort zone and expanding their intellectual boundaries. The achievement in education award went to Professor Karma Nabulsi a Fellow in Politics at St. Edmund Hall who lectures at the University of Oxford where she is currently Director of Undergraduate Studies at the Department of Politics and International Relations. Dr. Nabulsi recently directed, co-edited and co-curated ‘The Palestinian Revolution,’ a bilingual Arabic-English digital humanities and teaching resource exploring Palestinian revolutionary thought and practice in the 1950s, 60s and 70s. Ragihda Dergham won the achievement in journalism award. Dergham is the Founder and Executive Chairman of Beirut Institute, a cutting edge independent think tank for the Arab region. She has been a columnist and senior diplomatic correspondent for the London based Al Hayat daily since 1989. Hind Al-Eryani won the achievement in public awareness award. She is a writer, journalist whose articles are widely published on media including TV5, Alsafeer, and Lebanon Now. Eryani has led many campaigns against Qat highlighting its negative effects on the economy, water and agriculture. Her latest campaign promotes peace in Yemen. Arab Women of the Year 2017 was partnered and sponsored by Regent’s University London, Bicester Village, La Vallee Village, London & Partners and the Arab British Business Association.



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