Women of the Middle East and Tourism in 60 minutes
UNWTO Webinar | Thursday 9 September | 13:00-14:00 (Madrid Time)
Basmah Abdulaziz Al-Mayman is the Regional Director for the Middle East, since 2018. With over 17 years of experience in the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), Al-Mayman was the manager of the International Organizations & Committees Department and the United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) focal point. As one of the founders of tourism in Saudi Arabia, Al-Mayman focused on developing and strengthening Saudi Relations with International organizations such as United Nations (UN) agencies and World Bank, UNESCO, UNDP, as well as other international organizations and stakeholders in the fields of tourism, heritage, museums, antiquities, and built heritage. In addition, Al-Mayman was a member of the Board of Directors of The UNWTO Sustainable Tourism - Eliminating Poverty Initiative (ST-EP) for the Middle East Region and a founding member of the Program and Budget Committee of the Executive Council of the same region. During the 22nd session of the UNWTO General Assembly in China )2017(, she was selected as the Vice-Chairperson of the Ad hoc Committee on the UNWTO Framework Convention on Tourism Ethics. Al-Mayman believes in the power of education, development, and capacity building to which she dedicated a significant portion of her work. Under her mandate, Saudi Arabia hit a historic record in the UNWTO Academy´s history (previously UNWTO.Themis Foundation) in being the highest concentration of Education and Training activities carried out in a single Member State. In addition, Al-Mayman assisted in conducting Tourism-related national studies in collaboration with UNWTO.
Forbes Middle East published a 2020 “power list” ranking 100 businesswomen who are at the top of their game, with Al-Mayman ranking 13th and the only woman representing tourism in the Arab world, that has garnered a position in this prestigious classification, and she is also the first GCC national to hold a leading position at the UNWTO and the first woman to lead the Middle East region in the history of this international organization.
During her tenureship; UNWTO opened its first Regional Office for the Middle East (Riyadh, Saudi Arabia).
Al-Mayman holds an MBA from Al Faisal University, in cooperation with the University of Oxford, where she studied Entrepreneurship and Comparative Managerial Issues and a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and Linguistics from King Saud University. She also studied several advanced specialized courses in International Relations, International law, Economic and Diplomatic affairs at Prince Saud Al-Faisal Institute of Diplomatic Studies at the Foreign Ministry in Saudi Arabia. She is fluent in both Arabic and English.
Ghada Jiha has had a career long commitment to women’s rights, gender equality and social justice. For more than fifteen years, she has worked at and with a range of international development and multilateral organizations, in advisory and operational roles to promote best practices in mainstreaming gender in policies and programs. With a particular focus on research, program development, and evaluation, Ghada has worked with diverse partners to translate global norms into action and results for women and girls in many parts of the world in the areas of women’s leadership and participation, women’s economic empowerment, women’s access to justice and women and HIV/AIDS.
Her experience includes overseeing global programs; providing technical assistance to country offices; and guiding data collection, monitoring and evaluation efforts in order to enhance the design, implementation, and effectiveness of programs and, as importantly, to strengthen the evidence-base and learning on approaches that work for gender equality and women’s empowerment (or not). She has also led and engaged in a number of policy level research and evaluation assignments. In particular, she led the research and writing of the Regional Report on Women in Tourism in the Middle East last year.
Ghada earned her Masters in International Affairs at Columbia University’s School of International and Public affairs in New York City, where she resides.
2015 – Present Dean of Al-Alson Higher Institute for Tourism, Hotels and Computer.
Advisor to The Minister of Tourism and Antiquities for Sustainable Tourism Affairs – 2020 until now - part time.
Head of Equal Opportunities Unit at The Ministry of Tourism And Antiquities – Ministerial Decree No. 98 of 2020 – part time
Consultant with the German-Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Egypt (Sustainable Tourism Expert)
2015 – Present Professor of Tourism Studies in Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Sadat City University (Menofia University) Egypt.
2012 – 2013 Advisor to the Minister of Tourism, Executive Director of Green Tourism Unit in Ministry of Tourism
2010-2015 Associate Professor in Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Sadat City University (Menofia University), Egypt
2005-2010 Lecturer in Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Menofia University, Egypt.
2000 -2005 Assistant Lecturer in Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Menofia University, Egypt.
1999 -2000 Demonstrator in Tourism Studies Department, Faculty of Tourism and Hotel Management, Menofia University, Egypt.
1992 -1999 Senior Tour Operator at Travco Travel Agency.
2008 Post-doctoral fellowship (9 June-9 September), awarded by the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education and Research. Host Institution: Cardiff School of Management, University of Wales Institute, Cardiff, UK.
2011 International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP) 25June-17Jul,”Volunteer Tourism” organized by the United States Department of Sates. Coordinator for the Seminar Celebrating the World Tourism Day” Tourism Linking Cultures” 27/9/2011, Faculty of Tourism and Hotels, Menofia University
2013 “Green Energy: A Need for Sustainable Tourism” 22 January, Ministry of Tourism, Cairo
“Egypt on its way to sustainability” ITB, Berlin 2013
“Public Private Partnership (PPP) in Tourism Sector” Global Partnership for Sustainable Tourism, 25-27 March, UNEP Bonn, Germany
“Water and Solid waste Management in the Egyptian Tourism Sector, 20-23 June, The German –Arab Chamber of Industry and Commerce
2014 “ Sustainable Tourism Program for Experts" 24August –30 August organized by GIZ under the auspices of the visitors program of the Fedral Republic of Germany
2021 Training on Women’s Economic Empowerment in The Tourism Sector of The Indian Ocean Rim Region – UNWOMEN - UNWTO
Over the past 20 years, and throughout her career Ansam has worked in various positions at MOTA, as Director of International Relations, Director of workforce development and capacity building, Director of Tourism Activities and Affairs, director of Business Development and Communication in addition to Director of Tourism Directorate in different governorates. Currently she is the Minister’s Advisor and Director of Institutional Development as well as being responsible for Gender portfolio at MOTA.
Her Career covers tourism research and product development, tourism awareness and local community outreach, Gender Equity, institutional development, strategic planning, Monitoring and Evaluation and international communication.
Ansam holds a Master of Arts degree in Archaeology from Yarmouk University. She also holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from University of Jordan
Ansam is certified from UNITAR- UN at “Gender empowerment -capacity-building to mainstream gender equality and women's empowerment in government policies for Jordan and Lebanon”. Also, she is certified in GSTC Certificate in Sustainable Tourism from Global Sustainable Tourism Council (GSTC)
Ms. Abir AbuSulayman is the first Saudi female licensed tour guide in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia since 2018. She has been working in tourism since 1999. She is fluent in 3 languages, Arabic, English and French. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature and master’s degree in Business Administration. She has a strong passion for history, heritage and tourism. Abir is a founding member of Jeddah's Heart that aims to revive the historical areas, she is also a member of the Advisory board of Tourism College at King Abdulaziz University.