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Alumni Spotlight

Vineet Lakhlani (USU Alumnus)

Norah Abdullah Al-Faiz (USU Alumnus)
M.S., Instructional Technology
Utah State University, 1982

Norah Abdullah Al-Faiz has transformed educational policy and practice in Saudi Arabia and has become a symbol of female leadership in the Islamic world.

Serving as the vice minister for girls’ education since 2009, Mrs. Al-Faiz holds the highest ministerial rank reached by a woman in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The appointment was a significant indicator of the broadening
role for women in politics and education in Saudi Arabia.

Mrs. Al-Faiz was named one of TIME Magazine’s “2009 TIME 100” for being one of the most influential people in the world. In 2011, Mrs. Al-Faiz received the Distinguished Arab Women Award in Education from the Arab
Women Foundation, and, in 2010, she took first place at the 20th Global Summit of Women in China for her Ministerial Round Table Discussion on Countries Best Practices to Broaden Women Employability in Saudi Arabia.

After earning a bachelor’s from King Saud University in Saudi Arabia in 1978, Mrs. Al-Faiz came to the United States to attend Utah State University, where she earned a master’s in instructional technology in 1982. Read more...

Tayseer al-Smadi (USU Alumnus)
Ph.D., Economics
Utah State University, 1998

Dr. Tayseer Al-Smadi, CEO of Strategieh Consulting, had spent the last 18 years in public service starting as economic researcher at the Research and Studies Department of the Central Bank of Jordan (CBJ) from 1988 to 1998, then as a principal economist at the CBJ from 1998 to 2001. In the second half of 2001 Dr. Al-Smadi moved to the Ministry of Planning and International Cooperation (MOPIC) to become the director of Policies and Studies Department until May 2004 when he was appointed as the secretary general of the MOPIC. Dr. Al-Smadi served as minister of Planning and International Cooperation from February to April 2005, and minister of Public Sector Reform from April to November 2005. 

Dr. Al-Smadi contributed to the development of many programs and initiatives aiming to improve the standard of living and performance of the economy and to maximize the country’s gains from the various bilateral and multilateral treaties and trade agreements. In particular, he was responsible for the relationship with the World Bank and was involved in the preparation of the country assistance strategy (CAS) from 2003 to 2005. Dr. Al-Smadi was involved in the preparation, implementation and monitoring of the structural adjustment programs with the IMF. In addition, he contributed to the preparation of the Social and Economic Transformation Program (SETP) from 2002 to 2004. He worked with World Bank experts in devising a prioritization model for the projects and programs to be included in the SETP. Moreover, Dr. Al-Smadi chaired the steering committee for the preparation of the Social and Economic Development Plan from 2004 to 2006, included in its membership the secretary generals and director generals of the ministries and public institutions. Read more...

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