Muslim Women’s Fund: “Engines of Change” in Saudi Arabia – Women, Youth & Technology

Date: August 2012

Dear Friends,

Greetings! Just returned from a fascinating, whirlwind trip to Saudi Arabia, which I would describe in one word as a “schizophrenic” place, straddling modernity and antiquity simultaneously. My journey started in Jeddah, a port on the Red Sea, an old trading city, which has the openness and tolerance of San Francisco and the entrepreneurial spirit of Silicon Valley. Compared to Jeddah’s free-spiritedness, Riyadh, my next and final stop, felt more like a constrained and conservative capitol city, dominated by its tribal, Bedouin cultural heritage.

Vibrant Women Opinion Leaders – Work on Key Issues Despite Challenges

I was most fortunate to meet an exciting group of women from a wide spectrum of society, which included cutting-edge movers and shakers to royal princesses – all of whom were stellar and intrigued by the Muslim Women’s Fund.

Samar FatanyMy journey started in Jeddah with Samar Fatany, whom I had met last year in Kuala Lumpur at the Women’s Islamic Initiative for Spirituality and Equality (WISE) conference where we launched the Muslim Women’s Fund (MWF).

Samar Fatany is a radio celebrity. She anchors the Saudi version of “60 minutes,” called “Situn Dakshita,” and has been the chief broadcaster in English for 30 years at Jeddah Broadcasting Station, affiliated with the Ministry of
Culture and Information Samar was my guide, and door opener to Saudi Arabia’s complex political and social landscape.