Al-Johara: A Network For Extraordinary Saudi Women27th March 2019
On March 27th, two weeks after the International Women’s Day, Al-Johara hosted its inaugural event: a formal dinner at the Four Seasons in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Both the location and timing of the foundational dinner was central to its goal of bringing influential Saudi women together to build a network where they can share their expertise on wealth creation, their experience in bridging wealth and philanthropy, and their understanding of how women can make a social impact globally.
Al-Johara emerged from a need for international connection. The founders, Katie Partridge and Nada Bundakji, recognize the strengths and value of female leadership in education and business sectors, and together, they created Al-Johara to empower women and address social issues perpetuated by global gender imbalances through education and mediation, philanthropy and giving, and wealth creation. These three pillars form the foundation of the organization, and they were the principal focus of the event. Founders, Katie Partridge and Nada Bundakji, opened the evening by introducing the Al-Johara concept and how the three pillars define the organization’s mission. Following the introduction, inspirational women from around the world shared their stories and expertise relating to education, philanthropy, and wealth creation.
H.H. Princess Noura bint Mohammed bin Saud Al Saud the Guest of Honour for the event and Princess Awatif bint Abdullah Al Sheikh supported the initiative and was in attendance for the evening. Princess Noura applauded Al Johara for all their efforts and commitment to inspire Saudi women through this international initiative which enables them to become truly global citizens. She expressed how she was “very pleased to meet all the initiative partners and looks forward to a continuous relationship”. Her Highness is personally an active sponsor and contributor to initiatives and programs supporting women’s professional and personal development and empowerment; the latest of which has been the event in celebration of the Saudi National Women’s Day. She has also pioneered efforts to elevate educational and cultural support of Saudi women across growth sectors, particularly in their early education stages.
The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment identifies one of seven drivers of women’s economic empowerment as “strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation”. Al-Johara’s board of advisors include some of the most influential women from the UK, US, and Canada. By growing a network of inspiring women from the Middle East, Europe, and North America, Al-Johara has the transformational potential to re-write narratives on international female leadership to include powerful Saudi women.
Much of the success of this event is due to Al-Johara’s corporate sponsors: The Luxury Network International, Irwin Michell, Almacantar, Saphira Group, Corinthia Hotels, Lightfoot Travel, and Desert Technologies. Currently, Al-Johara is planning its next event, which will be held in London later this year.
Written by: Riley McNair