Laila Al Amri

Laila Al Amri

Journalist

Nouf Al-Rakan to lead the KSA's national cybersecurity body

In a unanimous board decision, the Saudi Federation for Cyber Security, Programming and Drones (SAFCSP) has announced the appointment of Nouf bint Abdullah Al-Rakan to the role of CEO.

The federation’s president, Saud Al-Qahtani, who also dually serves as one of the most influential Royal Court advisors, took to his Twitter account to congratulate Al-Rakan for her high-level appointment. This new undertaking commands a great deal of operational and managerial versatility, as well as expertise in running national affairs, Al-Qahtani affirmed, expressing his trust in Al-Rakan’s capabilities and value added to the role.

On her personal Twitter account, Al-Rakan expressed her gratitude to the federation’s president and board for their trust in her ability to undertake what is, unarguably, a mammoth remit. She considers her appointment an extension, and nothing short of a statement to the Kingdom’s efforts in empowering Saudi women.

Leaps and bounds on cybersecurity

Under the umbrella of the Saudi Arabian Olympic committee, the SAFCSP was established and designed around the build and development of local capabilities and human capital in the field of cybersecurity and programming against international, rigid benchmarks and best practices. Its wider vision is to elevate the Kingdom to leadership levels in the space of cybersecurity, and to spread a culture of knowledge exchange and awareness around it in the wider, public community.

To this end, the federation’s proactive efforts have come to entail a number of local and international competitions in the field of cybersecurity and programming. These competitions are designed to empower and incentivize creative and inventive output by tech talents to compete at par with their global counterparts.

Among the latest international events sponsored by the federation in this space is the International Drone Day, which kicked off in the US state of Ohio on May 5, 2018. The event drew in a whopping 40,000 participants from all over the world, as it gears up for another full throttle launch in Riyadh next year.

The urgency for cybersecurity efforts and governing organizations is not without reason. In recent years, governments around the world have become vulnerable to a slew of cyberattacks that has threatened their very national security. Al-Rakan’s appointment, in this context, is a massive leap and statement by the Kingdom on its confidence and trust in women’s leadership of a complex and challenging space.

A proven track record

Al-Rakan possesses a wealth of experience and proven track record in business management and operations in the Kingdom; for over 15 years, she’d held roles and responsibilities across departments and activities affiliated with the Riyadh chamber of Commerce, and in the process, has offered massive contributions for Saudi women empowerment across sectors, particularly in the volunteering field.

She started her career at an early age, after pursuing higher education at the prestigious US-based George Washington University. She would obtain a fellowship in project management from the same college, and later, would also graduate from the Windsor International Leadership Program in Britain.

Her educational and business acumen landed her a gig at the UN’s Riyadh hub office for community development, before she would set out on a freelance career with a private institution that centered on services, education and training.

Even as a free agent, Al-Rakan still managed to hold high-level roles and memberships across a number of committees and business councils in Saudi chambers. She served as a board member and Secretary General of the Community Development Committee in Riyadh, and participated in a number of official trade delegations in East Asia and across the globe.

She also represented Saudi Arabia at the Committee for Arab Women Development, under the Kingdom’s business sector at the Arab labor organization.  

In recognition of her efforts and prominent contributions across roles she’s held, Al-Rakan was honored in a number of social events for her volunteering work, particularly when it comes to supporting children with disabilities. In 2017, she was also recognized by the Riyadh Chamber of Commerce for improving women’s stature and position in business.

Women in this article

Saudi business leader, recently appointed to the role of CEO at the Saudi Federation for Cybersecurity, Programming and Drones

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