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Saudi Arabia Pushed For Female Presence In Data Science In World-Renowned Forum

Prince Sultan University (PSU) hosted last week the Women in Data Science (WiDS) forum Saudi Arabia’s capital city Riyadh, an initiative that aims to support women in the field and to inspire and educate data scientists worldwide, regardless of gender. According to the university’s website, the event specifically aims “to foster interest and professional participation by women in not only data science but also in engineering and computer science.” Indeed, PSU is the first university to address date science in the Kingdom.

Guest speakers at the Riyadh edition of WiDs included Arab and international female data scientists in academia, corporations, and start-ups, such as Dr. Maliha Hashmi, executive director of health, wellbeing, and biotech at NEOM; Professor Arwa Yousuf Al-Aama, Department of Computer Science, King Abdulaziz University; Dr. Samantha J. Horseman from human energy management at Saudi Aramco; Dr. Sufana AlMashhadi, Director of Innovation Center at King Fahd Medical City; and Dr. Duaa Abaoud, the Eastern Municipality’s deputy director of electronic services.

The event offered attendees a packed schedule of panel discussions, keynote speeches, and workshops, and poster presentations by PSU students. WiDs was made possible through the collaborative efforts between the forum’s strategic partner, the Saudi Ministry of Communications and Information Technology, as well as PSU and Stanford University’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering.

Speaking at the event, PSU’s rector, Dr. Ahmed Al-Yamani, said “The third Women in Data Science conference is in line with the worldwide satellite WiDS initiative from Stanford. WiDS resonates with the thrust of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 which is the guiding light for the country’s economic, social transformation and reforms.”

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