Saudi woman elected as UN urbanization adviser

Lama Al-Ghalib Alsharif
Lama Al-Ghalib Alsharif

Lama Al-Ghalib Alsharif


A Saudi woman has been elected onto the United Nations Habitat Youth Advisory Board for two years as an adviser on the Future Saudi Cities Program.

Lama Al-Ghalib Alsharif is the only representative from the Gulf on the board, according to a press release issued recently by Dar Al-Hekma University, the institution where she graduated a few years ago.

Alsharif is one of 16 young people voted onto the advisory board from the 600 who applied worldwide. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, the president of Dar Al-Hekma University, praised Alsharif and said the institution was proud to have helped her develop skills needed for the “real world.”

Alsharif is the founder and manager of Shababuna Consultancy Firm and Awareness Program and Forum, which focuses on youth empowerment, and has been involved in volunteer projects since she was 11.

At 17, she was selected as Saudi Arabia’s youth representative to the Two Kingdoms Conference in London. She has also participated in the 63rd UN General Assembly Conference in New York, was part of the World Economic Forum in Jordan, and joined the Interfaith and Intercultural Dialogue Center in Austria.

Alsharif graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Management Information Systems from Dar Al-Hekma University and earned a diploma in international relations and diplomacy from Tufts University. She has recently completed her Masters in International Relations at Dar Al-Hekma University.

Alsharif is a published poet. Her first volume of poetry was published in 2006, and her second volume “Swimming in the Desert — the Uncensored Poetry of a Saudi Social Activist” has been published by a United Kingdom publisher.

Alsharif started her work as an adviser on Oct. 1 this year. This is not a fulltime job. Each representative works from his or her own country sharing input and case studies on social media platforms and through meetings organized through the body’s headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya.

Being elected as an adviser was a competitive process over six months. Each applicant had to nominate themselves. In August UN Habitat announced the shortlisted 60 candidates, and then left the matter open to an online voting system that closed on Aug. 31.


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