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A Panel Discussion by Young Saudi Professionals: The Effect of COVID-19 on the Future of Saudi Arabia

Event Date: 25/06/2020

The Saudi British Society hosted a private virtual event ‘A Panel Discussion by Young Saudis’ on Thursday 25 June 2020 at 6pm (UK Time) via Zoom, hosted by SBS Chairman Sir William Patey.

Moderated by Dr. Mark C. Thompson: Senior Associate Fellow, Head of the Socioeconomic Unit, King Faisal Center for Research & Islamic Studies, Riyadh.

The panellists and their areas of expertise:

Ghadah Alharthi: Digital Transformation in Saudi Arabia
Middle East Specialist at Barker Langham and an Associate Lecturer at Central St Martins, University of the Arts London. Her work and research focus on innovation and strategy development.

Hadeel Ayoub: Facilitating Communication for Non-Verbal Individuals
Researcher in Human Computer Interaction (HCI) & Assistive Technology. Founder of BrightSign, a wearable technology start-up enabling innovations dedicated to facilitating communication for individuals with non-verbal disabilities.

Bader Al Mubarak: Socioeconomic Impact of Coronavirus on State and Society
Management consultant focused on advising financial institutions – incoming MBA student at MIT.

Review of the Discussion by Dr. Mark C. Thompson:

This online Zoom discussion panel provided an opportunity for three young Saudi professionals to share their insights about the impact and possible consequences of the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) on the future of Saudi Arabia. As the pandemic impacts on countries around the world, including Saudi Arabia where 60% of the population is under 30 years-of-age, it is paramount that we understand the concerns and aspirations of young nationals. Hence, this panel gave an opportunity and platform for the panellists to explain how they see the development of their area of interest in a post-coronavirus Kingdom. The panellists highlighted not only the obvious negative impact of the pandemic on Saudi socioeconomic issues, but also the positives that could emerge from this period of uncertainty.

Following the three insightful presentations, Dr. Thompson moderated a lively and interesting Q&A session, before concluding the event.

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