Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE

From Genes To Stars: Four Stellar Women In Science

Dr. Rana Dajani / Photo Credit: We Love Reading

1. Dr. Samira Ibrahim Islam is a woman of firsts. In the 1970s, she introduced formal university education for girls in the KSA, becoming the first woman vice-dean in a Saudi university, and in 1983 the field of pharmacology she became the first female Saudi to become a full professor. She is also the first Arab and Muslim to be short-listed for the L’Oreal-UNESCO Award for Women in Science in 2000 for her contributions to drug safety with the Drug Monitoring Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Canter of King Abdulaziz University.

2. Dr. Maryam Matar is a pioneering researcher into genetic disorders. She’s the founder and chairperson of the UAE Genetic Diseases Association and the deputy chairperson of Dubai Cares, and the founder and executive director of two non-profits, the UAE Down’s Syndrome Association and the UAE Genetic Diseases Association which serves families of 17 different nationalities.

3. Dr. Rana Dajani teaches molecular biology and is director of the Center for Studies at the Hashemite University of Jordan, where she was the first to introduce the pedagogy of problem-based learning in Jordan and founded a service-learning center. But she didn’t stop at the gates of academia: to encourage children to read for pleasure and knowledge, she founded the NGO We Love Reading.

4. As the first-ever minister of Information and Communication Technology in Qatar, Dr. Hessa Al Jaber is playing  a transformative role in developing her country’s telecommunications market and modernizing ICT infrastructure, as well as empowering women and protecting children on the net. She also led the Gulf state’s initiative to build the first high-capacity satellite, E’Shail. She currently serves persons with disabilities by helping to create the assistive technology center, Mada.

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