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Dr. Hayat Sindi

Chief Scientific Advisor & Vice President, Islamic Development Bank

As Chief Scientific Advisor and Vice President for the Islamic Development Bank, Dr Hayat has spearheaded the launch of the new $500m Transform Fund. The largest of its kind, the Fund is focused on promoting and nurturing science, technology and innovation to accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. She has also launched Engage, a global digital hub to connect and support innovative entrepreneurs.

Dr. Hayat is a passionate advocate for the promotion of science based skills for women, particularly in the developing world. At a young age, Hayat convinced her family to allow her to travel alone to England to pursue her higher education, a rare permission for a young Saudi woman. She taught herself A-Levels, in order to meet British entry criteria, and went on to earn a degree in pharmacology with honours from King’s College London in 1995, and five years later, became the first woman from the Gulf to obtain a Ph.D. in biotechnology from Cambridge. She went to study at both Harvard and M.I.T.

She is a Goodwill Ambassador for Sciences and UNESCO; one of 25 global experts selected by the UN Secretary General Ban Ki moon to the UN Scientific Advisory board; and a member of the Ten Members group to support the technological facilitation mechanism (TF) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). She was recently named by Forbes as the 2nd most powerful woman in Saudi Arabia and in Newsweek’s “150 Women Who Shake the World.” She is one of first Saudi women to have served on the Shura Council – the Consultative Assembly of Saudi Arabia, the equivalent of the Saudi parliament.

As background, the IsDB is a multilateral development bank (MDB) that fosters economic development and social progress in its 57-member countries, working across four continents, touching the lives of 1 in 5 of the world’s population. As one of the world’s largest MDBs it has operating assets of more than USD 16 billion and subscribed capital of USD 70 billion.