By : Marwa Mahmoud
The prestigious position of Saudi medical scientist Dr. Hayat Sindi as UNESCO Ambassador of Goodwill has been extended for another two years by the Director General of the organization, Audrey Azoulay.
Sindi was awarded the title in recognition of her efforts to build an entrepreneurial and social innovation environment for scientists, technologists and engineers in the Middle East and around the world.
She was the first woman from the Gulf to earn a Ph.D. in biotechnology from the University of Cambridge and was one of the first female members of the Saudi Shoura Council.
Sindi co-invented diagnostics for all — a campaign to develop affordable diagnostic tools for millions of people in deprived regions — with a team from Harvard University.
In 2008, Sindi led the Diagnostics for All team to the top spot in the Harvard Business School Business Plan Contest, the Social Enterprise Category, and also won the $100 K MIT Entrepreneurship Competition in the same year — becoming the first team to take top spot in both competitions in the same year.
Sindi founded the i2 Institute, which seeks to empower the next generation of innovators to realize their dreams and contribute to the world. Also she has invented a low-cost screening method for early detection of breast cancer by transforming light into sound, and holds nine patents.
This was recognition of the 52-year-old biotechnological research expert’s efforts to bring young people closer to innovators, to encourage science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, and its contribution to UNESCO’s values and objectives.
Sindi was selected as one of Newsweek ‘s 150 Women Who Shake the Planet, placed second by Forbes on the list of the most influential Arab women in Saudi Arabia, and again named Newsweek and The Daily Beast as one of the 150 courageous women. In 2018, the BBC named her as one of the 100 most inspirational and influential women in the world.