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About: Hayat Sindi

Updated: Jan 25, 2020

Hayat Sindi: Chief Executive Officer, i2 Institute, Emerging Explorer, National Geographic Society

"Hayat Sindi is a leading biotechnologist and a champion of science and technology in the Middle East. At a young age, inspired by great scientists and thinkers, Hayat convinced her family to allow her to travel alone to England to pursue her higher education, a rare permission for a young Saudi woman. She went on to earn a degree in pharmacology with honors from King’s College London in 1995 and five years later became the first woman from the Gulf to obtain a PhD in biotechnology from Cambridge. Driven by her desire to more closely link science and social impact she co-founded a non-profit organization with a team at Harvard called Diagnostics For All which creates innovative, inexpensive, point-of-care diagnostic devices for people in impoverished regions. These devices require no power, water or trained doctors and have the ability to provide potentially life-saving medical results in minutes. She has invented a machine combining the effects of light and ultra-sound for use in biotechnology. Along with her scientific activities, she participated in numerous events aimed at raising the awareness of science amongst women, particularly in Saudi Arabia and the Muslim World. She is also interested in the problem of brain drain.Further, at the heart of Sindi’s innovations was a passion to develop an entrepreneurial ecosystem in the Middle East that would transcend existing gaps between education and opportunity. In 2011 she launched i2, the Institute for imagination and Ingenuity, to encourage innovation among young people specifically male and female scientists, technologists and engineers. Through fellowships, trainings and mentorships, i2 seeks to empower and inspire the next generation of innovators so that they may realize their dreams and ultimately contribute to Saudi Arabia’s growing economy. In 2013 Sindi was one of the first 30 women to be appointed to the Saudi Arabia’s highest consultative body, the Shura Council, and is one of 25 global experts selected by United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki Moon to be a member of the newly constituted UN Scientific Advisory Board which will provide advice to the UN’s leadership on science, technology and innovation for sustainable development. Sindi is also a Goodwill Ambassador for Sciences at UNESCO. In 2012, she was chosen by National Geographic as Explorer. Also she was named one of Newsweek's "150 Women Who Shake the World". Hayat was named by Forbes number 2 the most powerful Arab women in kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sept 2014 Hayat Sindi received Clinton Global Citizen Awards "leadership in Civil Society" for her work to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship among young people in the Middle East. 2015 Sindi was invited by UN Environment programme to be an Honorary Advisor for the Eye on Earth Summit. She was selected among the think tank of 50 scholars by Robert boch academy in Berlin. She was selected for 2014 and 2015 by educational institution in cooperation with national geographic to portray her life story and present it in five courses for all the world to stimulate children to science. Early last year 2016 she was appointed by the UN secretary Ban Ki-moon in the Ten Members group to support the technological facilitation mechanism (TFM) for Sustainable Development Goals. Recently, Dr Sindi was asked by Prime Minister of Malaysia to join his Science and Innovation advisory council to support the country vision 2020".

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