Saudi SFA marks International Women’s Day at Expo 2020 with vibrant discussion around sports leadership impacting society

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SFA Managing Director Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini  showcased SFA and the Kingdom’s ongoing efforts facilitating sport and promoting wellbeing for Women

The Saudi Sports for All Federation (SFA) marked International Women’s Day with participation at the Expo 2020 Women in Sport Forum. Hosted by the Australian delegation in collaboration with the UN Women’s Pavilion, the event began with a virtual keynote from HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, and continued with a diverse range of speakers and subject matter experts over three days.

SFA Managing Director, Shaima Saleh Al-Husseini, spoke on the growing role of Saudi women across all levels of the Kingdom’s sports sector during the Women’s Leadership in Sport panel, emphasizing accessability and citing the many programs that SFA has launched tailored for women and girls.

During the panel Ms. Al-Husseini explained the shifting landscape of athletics in the Kingdom and the wealth of opportunities available to women and all segments of Saudi society “all ages and abilities – seniors, children, disabled, we aim to engage everyone.” She highlighted the outstanding progress made by Saudi as a whole, and the SFA since its founding and the marked increase in female sports participation by over 170% from 2015 to 2020.

Asked to discuss her personal career journey, Ms. Al-Husseini pointed to sports as an international language and a bridge-builder. She elaborated on her position with SFA, adding it also had diplomatic overtones as Saudi community sports join contemporaries from around the world for health and wellness based initiatives such as the Global Goals World Cup and TAFISA.

Some examples of achieved successes mentioned by Ms. Al-Husseini include the SFA’s multifaceted approach covering community building, establishment of all-female sports facilities, an uptick in training opportunities with some of the world’s leading sports universities, and more.

Her participation in the Forum also reflects the SFA’s keenness to collaborate with relevant sports entities, expand its global reach, and position Saudi Arabia as a world leader in physical activity and inclusivity in sports. Ms. Al-Husseini also participated at the Sports Diplomacy Roundtable as part of the same forum.

Hosted by Ms. Stephanie Brantz, Chair, Australia’s Sports Diplomacy Council, Ms. Al-Husseini was joined by co-panelists Ms. Samar Nassar, Secretary General of the Jordan Football Association, and Ms. Amna Al-Haddad, UAE Olympic weightlifter.

Attended by a number of high-ranking senior officials from a variety of sports organizations along with representatives from UNESCO and the UN, the forum featured a host of international speakers who presented the leading role that women around the world are playing in promoting athletics and a healthy lifestyle. The forum featured a host of international speakers who highlighted the leading role that women around the world are playing in promoting athletics and a more active and healthy lifestyle.

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