Shihana Alazzaz: A Saudi Woman in the Corner Office on Tuesday, September 5

Saudi lawyer, Shihana Alazzaz

Saudi lawyer, Shihana Alazzaz

The World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts is pleased to present Saudi lawyer, Shihana Alazzaz on Tuesday, September 5, 2017 at 6:00 p.m.  at the Western New England University School of Law, 1215 Wilbraham Road in Springfield.  The event is free and open to the public.  Refreshments will be served after the talk.

For more information and to register please click here.

Shihana Alazzaz is one of the first women licensed to practice law in Saudi Arabia and is passionate about mentoring other young women in her field. Born and raised in Riyadh, she left at the age of seventeen in order to study law in the United Kingdom. In 2008, Alazzaz graduated with an Honors LLB degree and received further training in Dubai and Kuwait before accepting a job at Baker and McKenzie Law Practice in New York, a position she accepted because at that time the Saudi Ministry of Justice did not issue licenses to women to practice law in the Kingdom. In her new job, Alazzaz provided legal advice on topics including defense, aviation, telecommunications, healthcare and securities.

In 2012, Saudi regulations regarding the right of women to practice law changed, prompting Alazzaz to return to Saudi Arabia and obtain her law license. She was offered a position opening the new Riyadh office of Vinson and Elkins LLP, one of the world’s leading law firms dealing with the energy sector. She rose to the position of Counsel. Her work focused on energy, oil and gas, power, mining, and petrochemical and infrastructure projects. When she first started at V&E, Alazzaz was the only women working at the office, so she started an internship program to recruit talented young female law students. Since then, twelve young women entering their final year of law school have completed 6 month internships at V&E, giving them valuable training before entering the workforce. Alazzaz was also integral to the creation and management of Tomouh, an organization dedicated to fostering the careers of ambitious young people in the Gulf Region. Recently, Alazzaz has been appointed as Head of Transactions at the Public Investment Fund in Saudi Arabia.

Alazzaz is a member of the American Bar Association and the New York State Bar. While in law school she served as a Saudi representative in the U.S. Middle East Partnership Initiative (MEPI) and later participated in the State Department’s International Visitors Program on Saudi Women in Law, visiting a number of cities across the U.S. She is a regular speaker at the University of Colorado’s Annual Conference on World Affairs and was the keynote speaker at the first German-Middle East Young Professionals Conference in Berlin. She has published articles on a variety of topics in Al Jazeera, Al Arabiya, and Madame Figaro Magazine, and regularly gives motivational talks to Saudi high school and university students.

About Cynthia Melcher

Cynthia Melcher is Executive Director of the World Affairs Council of Western Massachusetts
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