The impact inspire category for this week centers on the philanthropic strides of an amazon in Arab who believes that “When you change women’s conditions and empower them, you change the whole family”.
Those words were written by Muna AbuSulayman, a Saudi Arabian business woman and activist. Muna was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 16th of May 1973. She studied at the King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, International Islamic University Malaysia and George Mason University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in English literature from George Mason University. She is currently completing her Ph.D. in Arab American literature from King Saud University.
She is a woman of substance whose pursuit for women’s empowerment has cost her both time and money. Muna began her career in 1997 as an English Department Lecturer at King Saud University, she moved on to the media world as a co-host of Kalam Nawaem on MBC which she founded in early 2000s. Kalam Nawaem is a social program which is considered to have millions of viewership and is one of the most watched social programs by Arabs worldwide. In 2004, Muna joined Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal’s Kingdom Holdings company as the Executive manager of Strategic Studies and Research Initiatives. Prior to her appointment, she had no experience in HR and administration which prompted her to learn on the job and within six months she perfected her job description. However, much more experiences came alongside working closely with His Royal Highness, Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal himself.
Following her dedicated service to the organization, in 2006 she became the Secretary General and Executive Director of Alwaleed Bin Talal Foundation, a position that was offered to her by the Prince. The foundation which is the philanthropic arm of the Kingdom Holding company, is focused on philanthropic activities, projects, and donations that cuts across the globe. As head of the foundation, Muna is responsible for developing and implementing the foundation’s mission, vision, and operations for strategic philanthropy and humanitarian assistance.
Muna’s passion for the girl child and the entire women race is inspiring, she expresses this passion in many ways including her voice. In an interview with the Saudi Gazette she said, “I want girls to see that there is almost no limitation to where they can go. The most important thing they can do is to work to be content, happy, married and to have children.” those words explains her strong support for women empowerment in the world and especially in Saudi Arabia.
Muna also believes that based on the number of years spent, skills acquired and experiences gained while raising a child, mothers should be appointed to higher position and paid heavily because those experiences are equivalent to any other job experience that attract good pay and the skills are essential to any organizational growth.
Asides, working for the Alwaleed Bin Talal, Muna has also been appointed to other international positions and also recognized on international platforms as a result of her quality contributions to the growth and development in various aspects. In 2004, she was named a Young Leader by the World Economic Forum which gives her the opportunity to speak on issues related to challenges facing the youth around the world. In 2007, the United Nations Development Program named Muna the first woman from Saudi Arabia to be appointed as a Goodwill Ambassador. Being a goodwill ambassador Muna championed humanitarian causes including the Tetanus Shot Campaign in 2011 for Yemen. In 2007, the Middle East Excellence Awards Institute presented her the Achievements in Regional and International Relations Award. In 2009, she was named one of the most influential Muslims in the world.
Muna is a public figure who appears constantly on the news or as a panelist on platforms like; the Davos World Economic Forum, Jeddah Economic Forum, C-100 of the World Economic Forum, Brookings Institution Conferences and other venues. She tries as much as possible to reach out to different audiences in various spheres of life for the sole purpose of touching their lives.
Muna is also a member of Soliya, an organization devoted to improving communications between East and West through university education. She serves in the Advisory Board of Meeda, the premier content translation website service in the world for Arabic. Since 2004, she has also served as a volunteer director for the Friends of Saudi Arabia Association and remains a member of the Saudi Media Association.
Beyond her societal impact, Muna is a dedicated mother to two children whom she shares custody with her former husband.
As a unique publication dedicated to telling the stories of the giant strides of women in emerging nations of Africa, South America, Middle East and Asia; we love to potray stories like Muna AbuSulayman in order to create a deeper awareness and appreciation of women leaders in all sphere of life and also inspire the younger generation with the hope for a better future.