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2019 Winners

Wednesday 20th February: Annual Dinner combined with the Award ceremony

Venue: Institute of Directors, 116 Pall Mall, St. James’s, London SW1Y 5ED

Time: 6.30 p.m

The Committee are grateful to members who nominated persons for the 2019 Rawabi Awards. The two worthy winners, both of whom are judged to have made significant contributions to friendship and understanding between our two peoples, are:

Hamida Alireza, a Saudi citizen resident in Jedda, is the founder and long time trustee of the Barakat Trust, a UK charity which supports the study of Islamic art and architecture and its history. Based for 30 years at Oxford University, and now in London, the Trust has funded well over 500 students and academics in their studies and research as well as supporting conferences, exhibitions, publications, digitisation and conservation. 
In addition to enabling Saudi and other students from the Islamic world to benefit from the expertise in heritage available in British universities and museums, Ms Alireza has – both through her energetic leadership of the Trust and her personal engagement in organising exhibitions and field trips – helped to open eyes in Britain to the wealth and diversity of the art, crafts and architecture of the region including Saudi Arabia. She is also a founder of Mansoojat, the foundation which works to preserve traditional Arabian costume. 

Mark Evans MBE is an explorer and educationist, currently the director of Outward Bound Oman. After teaching in Saudi Arabia for several years, in 2004 he established Connecting Cultures, an association which takes young people from different countries on hiking expeditions in the Arabian desert or the Arctic and enables them to explore not just the wilderness but also their respective cultures, and to bridge the differences between them. 

The Saudi British Society has supported participation in the trips by young people from Saudi Arabia and the UK, all of them very successful. UNESCO has been another supporter. 

Mr Evans has also undertaken longer desert and sea expeditions in and around Arabia. In 2015/16 he crossed the Empty Quarter on foot and camel in the footsteps of Bertram Thomas (the first European to make the journey). His book, ‘Crossing the Empty Quarter’, was published late in 2016.

There was a drinks reception and, after presentations by the two winners, there was a buffet supper.

Tickets are £35 for members and their guests.

The Rawabi Holding Awards

Mr. Abdulaziz al Turki, a leading Saudi businessman from the Eastern Province generously awards two annual prizes, the Al Rawabi Holding Awards, to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to furthering Saudi–British relations. The prizes are for £5000 each. The candidates (one of whom should be a Saudi citizen and one a British citizen, as from 2016) are chosen from a wide range of fields in which they have made a contribution, including education, literature, journalism, sport, women’s affairs, welfare and medicine, but not the field of commerce, as this is not within the remit of the Society.

The candidates are nominated in the first instance by members of the Saudi-British Society and these names are considered by a Sub–Committee of the Saudi-British Society. A short-list is drawn up, from which 2 names are selected. These are then submitted to the main Committee for their consideration and the final selection put forward to Mr. Abdulaziz al Turki for his approval. The award–giving ceremony is held each year in late January, at a Reception, which is also the Society’s annual buffet supper, at which the Saudi Ambassador to London or his representative is present.

The event is an important part of the Society’s programme for the year and the Society is grateful to Mr. al Turki for his generosity in providing the prizes and sponsoring the award–giving evening.

For all enquiries contact the Hon. Secretary at

Past Events

Travels with Maridadi by Bizzie Frost

The talk, Travels with Maridadi took place on Thursday 25 April in which former long-time resident in Saudi Arabia, Bizzie Frost, shared her remarkable adventures travelling across the deserts and mountains of the Kingdom and its neighbours on a Harley Davidson with her husband.
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