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About Her: Majda Abu Rass, the Remarkable Saudi Scientist Leading in Environmental Work

Dr. Majda Abu Rass is among the pioneering females of Saudi Arabia, as she was the first woman in the kingdom to specialize in oil-contaminated soil treatment. Her domain particularly shone when Saudi Vision 2030, the country’s national mission to diversify the economy and become less dependent on oil, was shot into full implementation.

With her drive, ambition, and unparalleled expertise, Dr. Abu Rass managed to contribute to her country’s environmental fields in a way that has inspired other Saudi women to walk in her steps. We want to recognize this superwoman, and let the rest of the world know about her.

Education and Background

Majda Abu Rass, a Saudi environmental scientist, was born in Makkah, where she spent her childhood and youth. She holds a bachelor degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate. Her first post-graduate degree is Master of Science from the Department of Microbiology in King Abdulaziz University. Abu Rass then continued to earn a Master of Biotechnology and Environmental Microbiology, and a PhD in Environmental Biotechnology from the University of Surrey in the United Kingdom.

She is the first Saudi researcher to specialize in the treatment of soil contaminants.

Positions held

Abu Rass has held a number of reputable positions that had tremendous impacts and a notable role in the serving her society.

  • Deputy Executive Director of the Saudi Environment Society
  • Assistant Professor at the Faculty of Science, Department of Biotechnology, King Abdulaziz University
  • Supervisor at the Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz’s Chair for Sustainable Development of the Civil Society, King Abdulaziz University.
  • Honorary member of the Co-ordination Committee for the exchange of cooperation between Saudi universities, and the universities of the member states in the International Federation of Business and Professional Women.
  • Member and Director of the Program of the Development of Arab Women Environmentally, Euro-Arab Environment Organization, Switzerland.
  • Coordinator and assistant researcher in the Desert Sea Project in the Kingdom, the Gebial Center, NASA.

National Contributions

Dr. Majda was able to make a distinctive mark in her beloved country, contribute to its development, and gave it a place in the ranks of developed countries.

Her many achievements in the Kingdom include contributing to the initiative of establishing the Supreme Authority for the Environment, which was submitted to the late King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

She was also a part of establishing the National Recycling Center, which was presented to Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz, General President of Meteorology and Environment Protection and Chairman of the Saudi Environment Society.

Dr. Abu Rass also had a special role in the initiative of the National Program for Environmental Awareness and Sustainable Development, "My Environment: Green Flag and a Green Country”.

The environmental enthusiast was also a part of the Saudi Clean Cities Initiative, which basically was about introducing an integrated awareness program for the municipalities in the Kingdom. It was eventually which was adopted and implemented by the Jeddah Municipality under the title, “Raising the awareness of the population to improve the cleanliness of the city of Jeddah through changing negative behaviors”.


Dr. Abu Rass’ achievements and contributions have been so outstanding that she has received awards and recognitions on national, regional, and international levels:

  1. Arab Women's Environmental Leadership Award.
  2. The Women's Science Hall of Fame for the year 2013 by the United States Department of State.
  3. Arab Women Leadership Prize in 2012.
  4. Honorary title from the International Federation of Business and Professional Women. This title is usually awarded to presidents or Nobel laureates, but Dr. Majda’s rare scientific specialization and her drive to participate in development of civil and environmental society got her this one.
  5. Ambassador of Environmental Leadership in the Kingdom of Saudi from Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz.
  6. Pioneer in Environmental Volunteer work in Saudi Arabia from Prince Turki bin Nasser bin Abdulaziz.
  7. Scientific researcher membership at NASA for her national initiatives to contribute to the preservation and development of the environment.
  8. Honorary member of the International Federation of Business and Professional Women, as a result of being involved in the environmental associations.
  9. Excellence Award, which she gained for being a leading international figure in the sustainable environmental field. She was chosen for the International Recognition Award under the patronage of the prince of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah.

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