Prof Lilac Al Safadi Image Credit:

Cairo: Saudi Arabia has appointed Prof Lilac Al Safa as president of the Electronic University, becoming the first woman to lead a Saudi university attended by males and females in the kingdom.

Lilac is among five academics named as new presidents of Saudi universities after royal approval.

A graduate of University of Wollongong in Australia, she majored in software engineering and holds an MSC degree and a doctorate in computer science.

Boasting a wide experience, Lilac, a teaching staff member at the King Saud University, worked as a chief executive officer for more than 20 years in business development, commercial consultancy, strategic leadership and project management.


She is the manager of the women’s technology incubator and responsible for developing the centre for entrepreneurship at the women and medical science departments.

She also served as an adviser to the governor of the Saudi General Authority for Small and Medium Enterprises and a consultant for planning, quality and development at the Saudi Electronic University.

Lilac, moreover, presented over 50 research papers to seminars and publications in such areas as e-commerce and artificial as well as commercial intelligence. Early this year, she worked as vice president and national technology officer at Microsoft.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has adopted a series of dramatic social and economic reforms, mainly towards women.

In 2018, women were allowed to drive cars, ending a decades-old ban in the kingdom. Last August, Saudi women were allowed to travel without a male guard’s approval and to apply for a passport, easing long-time controls on them.

King Salman last week issued a decree appointing 13 women as members of the Saudi Human Rights Commission’s council, a step further empowering women in the kingdom.