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Manal al-Sharif (Author, Public Speaker & Columnist)

Manal, one of TIME Magazine's 100 most influential people in the world, and Newsweek’s top 10 tech-revolutionaries , is a prominent voice advocating for women's rights and empowerment. She is known to be the first Saudi women to specialize in Information Security with a career started back in 2002 with Saudi Aramco, the largest oil company in the world at the time.

In 2011, al-Sharif co-founded and led the #Women2Drive movement, to challenge the ban on women driving in her country. She was arrested and imprisoned for "driving while female". Released on the condition that she never drives again on Saudi lands, never to speak about it or do any interviews. Nonetheless, she continued campaigning for #Women2Drive and #IAmMyOwnGuardian to end the male guardianship in her country. She started #Faraj, to help domestic helpers leave jail and #IAmLama that was one of the reasons in codifying the first anti-domestic violence law in Saudi. For her activism, she won the first Vaclav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent. 

She is a TED & Harvard speaker, she also spoke in the United Nations, UNESCO, the Obama Summit, Google, Yahoo!, Oslo Freedom Forum, WIRED, Trust Women, The Arab Institute in Paris, the Center for International and Strategic Studies in Washington DC, Roosevelt House in NY, Clinton Global Initiative, Women in the World, Dallas World Affairs Council, and many others.

Her speech at the Oslo Freedom Forum was chosen amongst 75 notable speeches throughout history, published in the book Speeches of Note by Shaun Usher.

A blogger and regular contributor to international media, Manal has written for the NY Times, the Washington Post, Alhayat and many others. Her Amazon best seller memoir ‘Daring to Drive: A Saudi Woman’s Awakening’ , is an intimate story of her life growing up in one of the most masculine societies in the world. It was voted by GoodReads Readers Choice Award as one of the best ten memoirs for 2017 and was listed as #1 book for the summer read by Oprah Magazine.

al-Sharif speaks to inspire, empower and drive change.


Top 50 Women in Tech - Forbes Magazine 2018

Woman of the Year Award - Glamour Magazine 2018

11 Powerful Women We Met Around the World - NY Times 2017

Most Inspiring Arab Women Award – Arabian Business, 2014

The 100 Most Powerful Arab Women – Arabian Business 2012, 2013 and 2014

21 Leaders for the 21st Century – Women’s News, 2013

Václav Havel Prize for Creative Dissent – Human Rights Foundation, 2012

The 100 Most Influential People in the World – TIME Magazine, 2012

Top 150 Fearless Women of the World – Newsweek, 2012

Global Leadership Awards – Vital Voices, 2012

Top 100 Global Thinkers Who Shaped the World Conversation - Foreign Policy, 2012

Top 10 Digital Revolutionaries of the World – Newsweek, 2012

10 Women Who Rocked the World – Forbes, 2011