Manama: Dr Sumaya Bint Sulaiman Al Sulaiman has become the first woman in Saudi Arabia to be appointed dean of a design college.

Al Sulaiman now heads the College of Design at the Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faysal University, formerly known as the University of Dammam, in the Eastern Province.

Al Sulaiman’s new status crowns a well-established experience and dedicated efforts, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Wednesday.

She holds her PhD in architecture from the University of Newcastle, UK, a master's degree in architecture from King Faisal University and executive certificates in management, leadership, strategy and innovation from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the daily added. She was also the recipient of the Ibn Khaldun Fellowship from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Al Sulaiman was recognised for winning Prince Mohammad Bin Fahad award for scientific excellence and the best scientific research poster at the University of Newcastle.

She represented Saudi Arabia in India, Austria, the United States of America and Britain.

The College of Design at the Imam Abdul Rahman Bin Faysal University says on its website that it is “founded on supporting the educational and intellectual growth of Saudi women by equipping them with an excellent design education that is closely tied to the cultural context of the Arab and Islamic society while exposing students to the latest global trends and technologies.”

Al Sulaiman’s appointment was made days after Dr Dalal Namnaqani made history in Saudi Arabia by becoming the first woman dean of a medical university overseeing male and female faculties.

Education Minister Ahmad Al Eisa on February 26 appointed Namnaqani, a consultant of histopathology and anatomic diseases, as dean of the Taif University College of Medicine.

Until her appointment, the highest administrative position for a Saudi woman at a public college or university was vice-dean, except at Princess Nourah Bint Abdul Rahman University, an exclusively for women university in the capital Riyadh.