Saudi reform may be slow, but it can be meaningful

Story Summary

A week ago, Saudi Arabia saw something that people in the kingdom often talk about but rarely witness – a potentially important political reform.

Saudi King Abdullah announced on Jan. 11 that 30 women would join the kingdom’s Shura Council, a 150-person consultative body, and that women henceforth would hold 20 percent of the seats.

I met here last week with Hayat Sindi, a scientist who is one of the newly appointed Shura members. She took her doctorate from Cambridge in 2001 in electromagnetic engineering, and in the years since has been a visiting scholar at Harvard, launched two companies and helped run a third.

Abdullah intervened again a year later: When Sindi finished her thesis, she said she went to the Saudi Embassy in London to register its title.

Last November she started a Saudi entrepreneurship lab called the i2 Institute for Imagination and Ingenuity. She plans to award fellowships annually to a dozen would-be Saudi entrepreneurs, men and women.

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::

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