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Saudi Arabia’s Reforms: Countering Extremism in a Changing Kingdom


08 March 2018, 14:45
RUSI Whitehall
RUSI Members Only
This event is sold out
A discussion on how Saudi Arabia’s social reforms will impact the Kingdom and its continued cooperation with the UK on counter-extremism.

Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s high-profile social and economic modernisation programme, Vision 2030, has shaken up the Kingdom. The Crown Prince’s emphasis on reforming society, in particular by introducing more freedoms for women, has helped modernise the country in the face of conservative opposition. Saudi Arabia’s counter-extremism policy, working closely with the UK, is a critical pillar in the reform programme, and its success will have a direct impact on the development of Saudi society in the coming years.

This event will be a conversation between Her Excellency Dr Hoda al-Helaissi, Member, Shura Council of Saudi Arabia, Charlotte Leslie, Director of the Conservative Middle East Council, and Sir John Scarlett, Vice-Chairman of RUSI and former Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service.

The aim of the discussion will be to analyse the impact of Vision 2030 and Saudi Arabia’s social reform programme on British policy in the region, with particular focus on counter-extremism, the realities of the task ahead and policy implications for the UK and Saudi Arabia.

The speeches will be on the record and the Q&A off the record. Please bring ID for admittance to the event.

Speaker Biography

Her Excellency Dr Hoda al-Helaissi is a member of Saudi Arabia’s Shura Council, which provides advice and oversight to His Majesty the King, and is the vice-chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee. An academic and former lecturer at King Saud University, she is also a former Vice-Chairperson of the University. She has spoken at many international fora about Saudi women in politics including the United Nations, the non-profit MiSK forum and at the Cambridge Union. She has spoken to variety of international media including ITV News and KAWA.

Charlotte Leslie is Director of the Conservative Middle East Council, enabling MPs and policy makers to gain a first-hand understanding of the region, through delegations, publications and debates. In September 2017, she was appointed as the Government's trustee for 'The Football Foundation', and is an Honorary Steward of the British Boxing Board of Control. From 2010 to June 2017, Charlotte served as the Conservative Member of Parliament for Bristol North West. She specialised in education, health, and the Middle East. She was chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Saudi Arabia, and was awarded the Spectator's "Backbencher of the Year" award. Prior to entering politics, Charlotte worked in television production at the BBC, and for the think tank "Policy Exchange". She studied Classics at Balliol College, Oxford. She is a regular contributor to national newspapers and television.

Open to RUSI Members Only

This event is sold out

Event Manager

Timothy Williams
Senior Course Assistant

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