Saudi rights body empowers women, youth through partnerships, workshops

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The two organizations will work to promote human rights through the empowerment of women. (SPA)
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The two organizations will work to promote human rights through the empowerment of women. (SPA)
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Updated 09 September 2020

Saudi rights body empowers women, youth through partnerships, workshops

  • People with special needs, along with women and children, will be supported in accordance with international agreements and standards

JEDDAH: The Saudi Human Rights Commission (HRC) and the charitable group Alwaleed Philanthropies will work to promote human rights through the empowerment of women and youth following a partnership agreement between the two organizations.

Under the memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed by Awwad bin Saleh Al-Awwad, head of the HRC, and Princess Lamia bint Majid, secretary-general of Alwaleed Philanthropies, people with special needs, along with women and children, will be supported in accordance with international agreements and standards.

Support will also be directed at women who have suffered psychologically, socially or economically in the Kingdom as part of the foundations’ initiative, which also includes training lawyers of the Waeya program in partnership with the UN.

Al-Awwad said that the commission hopes to have partnerships with all agencies involved in protecting human rights, and praised the Alwaleed Philanthropies’ efforts in humanitarian services.

“This MoC is one of the bases of the foundation regarding the empowerment of women and youth and the development of societies. We need to work together to support the empowerment of women in the Kingdom, and to address all the challenges they face in economic and social development, as well as reduce violence and the oppression of young and special-need people’s rights,” said Princess Lamia.

Meanwhile, the HRC has highlighted the important role that civil society institutions have in protecting human rights by expanding their capacity to deal with international UN human rights’ mechanisms in line with the sustainable development goals, the Saudi Vision 2030 and their role during the Kingdom’s presidency of the G20.

This came during Al-Awwad’s inauguration of a training workshop, titled “Promoting the capacities of the civil society institutions in dealing with UN international human rights mechanisms,” held by HRC as part of a technical cooperation program with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

The workshop’s first day of sessions will focus on the international human rights system and the role of civil society institutions in protecting and promoting human rights. An overview of the recommendations and remarks elaborated by UN mechanisms to the Kingdom will also be offered.

On the second day, sessions will discuss the role of civil society during the Kingdom’s G20 presidency and the activation of its role in the human rights work in line with the sustainable development goals and the Saudi Vision 2030.

Al-Awwad said that protecting human rights is a religious and national duty, and efforts should be combined in order to develop and encourage those rights and respect fundamental freedoms.

Cooperating with the relevant authorities is a central pillar for work in the area of human rights, he added.

Saudi women making their mark in science

Updated 19 January 2021

Saudi women making their mark in science

JEDDAH: Just 30 percent of women worldwide work in science, but Saudis are challenging this long-standing trend.
Women represent 58 percent of university students in Saudi Arabia, with many studying in science, technology and engineering and furthering their careers with studies overseas.
In a report by the Saudi Education Ministry, women outnumbered men in graduating with a bachelor’s in biology, information technology, mathematics, statistics, and physics.
Universities and research centers have adopted measures to support the inclusion of female scientists.
Ambitious, driven and facing challenges along the way to their success, here are the Saudi women scientists who have made a mark in the field for their extraordinary work.
Suha Kayum
Research engineer

With a career spanning 10 years, Kayum — a research engineer with Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center — was tasked with accelerating the evolution of software algorithms to enhance Aramco’s reservoir simulator, which helped the company cut costs.
Kayum was a developer for the company’s in-house basin and seismic simulators. In 2016, she designed and received a patent for an algorithm that enabled the first 1-billion cell basin simulation run.

Dr. Elaf Ahmed
Lab scientist

With a keen research interest in nano-organisms, Ahmed’s main focus while conducting postdoctoral work at King Abdullah University for Science and Technology was synthesis of environmental nano materials using electrochemically active biofilms.
She later joined the company’s Oil and Gas Treatment Division at Aramco’s Research and Development Center.
Her main focus at the division is to conduct research projects for water treatment technologies and find new ways to treat water found in oil and gas reservoirs.

Dr. Ilham Abuljadayel

In what could be one of the most profound achievements by a Saudi scientist, Dr. Ilham discovered the process of retrodifferentiation, a method also known as retrograde differentiation that treats blood diseases.
A common process for the maintenance of cell integrity against damaging agents, Dr. Ilham applied her findings in the first preclinical study in 2000 in collaboration with George Washington Medical Center, US, in two animal models of human diseases to study the utility of retrodifferentiated stem cells.
Her research has helped treat 390 patients with diseases ranging from sickle cell anaemia, multiple sclerosis, thalassaemia, and hepatitis C among others.
Dr. Abeer Al-Olayan
Petroleum scientist

With an academic and industrial background in various fields of chemistry spanning over 20 years, Dr. Abeer is a research scientist at Saudi Aramco’s EXPEC Advanced Research Center and is responsible for leading its chemicals development initiative.
As a fellow at MIT, she submitted a fellowship research abstract that focuses on reducing dependency on food-based chemicals to tackle drilling and subsurface challenges. She has 10 registered patents with the US Patent Office for the development of methods, materials and compositions in drilling and fluid transfer.

Dr. Malak Abed Althagafi

Diagnosed with a rare genetic disease at a young age, Althagafi got a first glimpse of what her future could be during her treatment. Her educational path started with the study of genetic diseases in children and led to molecular pathology before she focused on surgical oncology, molecular genetics and neuropathology.
Dr. Malak is one of the few American board-certified molecular neuropathologists in the world and has conducted research that focuses on decoding genetic mutations in tumors, specifically brain tumors in children.
She became part of the Saudi Human Genome Program in 2014. Her clinical and research interests are mainly in surgical oncology, pathology, molecular genetics pathology and neuropathology, especially its application for treating brain cancers.

Dr. Hind Al-Johani
Scientist of physical chemistry

Her research interest is in nano-catalysis. In 2017, this Saudi scientist discovered that by using the simple molecule of citrate ions (from citric acid) you could stabilize and control the structure of gold nanoparticles.
Using this new discovery, the findings showed that gold can carry drugs through the body without chemical side effects. Attaching antibodies can guide the nanoparticles to specific cells that need treatment. Her findings have had an impact on environmental chemistry where it may also be used for water purification or methods for capturing CO2 emissions.

Dr. Nouf Al-Numair
Molecular bioinformatics scientist
Dubbed the DNA decoder, her research focuses on predicting the early emergence of diseases through genetic mutations.
She has achieved this by merging molecular genetics and computer programming to predict the effects of mutations and provide patients with a personalized medical approach to treatment.
Using more than seven programming languages to analyze human genes, she has successfully published a number of papers with the findings.
Dr. Nouf pursued her career in STEM and is the first Saudi scientist to major in molecular genetics and programming biological information.