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Professor Nora Bint Abdullah Al-Fayez: One of Saudi Arabia’s Original Female Role Models

A spotlight on the girls’ education expert who made history by becoming the first Saudi female minister.

Becoming the first female to be appointed to the cabinet in the history of Saudi Arabia wasn’t an unexpected feat for Shaqraa-born Professor Nora bint Abdullah Al-Fayez. Insightful knowledge and endless amounts of effort made it possible for Al-Fayez to achieve the historical and key position in the Kingdom. She became Deputy Minister of Education in charge of women’s affairs in 2009, and is the first woman to direct girls’ education in Saudi Arabia.

Raised by her father, Saudi historian and researcher Sheikh Abdullah al-Fayez Al-Nasere Al-Tamimi, Al-Fayez received a bachelor of arts degree in Sociology from King Saud University in Riyadh.  With a master's degree in Education from Utah State University and over 30 years of experience following that, she has undoubtedly excelled.

Al-Fayez started working as a teacher and then became principal of a girls’ section at Prince Alwaleed bin Talal’s Kingdom Schools. Her know-how made her commendable for many important educational positions. She served as the head of Ministry of Education’s educational technology centre and a lecturer and head of the training board of the ministry’s administration institute from 1983 to 1988. In 1993, she became the ministry's educational supervisor for girls’ private education. That same year, she began performing as the Director General of the Institute of Public Administration’s women’s branch.

Al-Fayez, who was named as one of the 500 influential Muslims by a Georgetown University centre, has also done research work, writing and translation in the areas of management, training and education. In fact, the educator has dedicated most of her working life to training and management to build a community through volunteer work in various associations.

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