2007 News Story

Saudi women participate in Washington leadership program

Earlier this month, a number of Saudi women participated in a leadership program in Washington that aims to empower Muslim women to promote peaceful change in their societies, the Arab News reported today. 

Organized by the Muslim Women Lawyers for Human Rights (Karamah), the three-week Law and Leadership Summer Program educates Muslim women about legal matters and conflict-resolution techniques.

Twenty-five Muslim women from different countries attended this summer’s program, which was held on Capitol Hill and George Washington University. It included presentations by professors from the renowned Wharton School of Business as well as George Washington University, among others.

“The leadership-development education we provide is intended to make our participants better leaders in their own professions, society and family,” Karamah’s founder and President Azizah Al-Hibri, told the Arab News. She is also a law professor at the University of Richmond.

“We base our leadership education on Islamic values. This education also helps them in interacting with non-Muslim women from around the world who may be ignorant of what Islam really stands for, and how many rights it really guarantees to women. Our participants are well-positioned to counter stereotypes about Muslim women by both education and example.”

Al-Hibri remarked that while Saudi participants generally don’t need basic Islamic education, others around the world do, and the presence of Saudi women helps improve the level of discussion. They also learn leadership development skills, she noted.

Founded in 1993, Karamah is a non-governmental organization that aims to promote the well-being of Muslim communities worldwide through legal education and leadership development. It emphasizes providing women with a better understanding of their rights under Islamic law in addition to responding to their needs through legal advocacy, education, and grassroots activism.