Janan Al-Shihab and Khadija Al-Rifai; The First Arab Women to Join the Royal Society of Arts in London Janan Al-Shihab and Khadija Al-Rifai; The First Arab Women to Join the Royal Society of Arts in London
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Janan Al-Shihab and Khadija Al-Rifai; The First Arab Women to Join the Royal Society of Arts in London



After embodying essential milestones in the achievements of Kuwaiti women and affirming their significant role in the Arab and international community, the two Kuwaiti women, the engineer Janan Al-Shihab, and the researcher in the field of genetic engineering Khadija Al-Rifai joined the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts (RSA) in London and obtained the fellowship. This is the first time that women from the Arab world have been accepted to join the Royal Society of Arts and receive the fellowship since its foundation in 1754.

This comes after the Global Network for Inventors and Innovators (GlobalWIN) nominated Al-Shihab and Al-Rifai for a fellowship in the Royal Society for Art and Innovation, where they were set in recognition of receiving the Global Prize from the network.
Janan Al-Shihab also won the Grand Prize from the Global Network in London in 2019, followed by Khadija Al-Rifai, who won the Grand Prize in 2020 for creating a modern technique that extends from the genetic engineering tool to target specific places in the DNA and photograph it with high accuracy.
In this regard, Al-Shihab explained: “In the beginning, the organisation was restricted to men until four women succeeded in joining it in the year 1800 in the fields of art, leadership, and innovation, then the door was opened for people in various areas, and many are running for the organisation, but the number of those who are accepted is very few”. She also added “My colleague Khadija Al-Rifai and I are proud of this achievement, especially as we are the first two Arab women to be accepted by the RSA, which places a great responsibility on us.”
In her turn, Al-Rifai said, “Being the Global Network of Invention ambassador, I was responsible for establishing the Middle East Network, and I passed this test. However, now that I have won the fellowship, several responsibilities lie on our shoulders.”
She also expressed her pride in being invited to join the RSA Royal Fellowship, saying: “It is a new achievement, and I am excited to be part of such a prestigious global community.”


What do you know about the Royal Society of Arts?
The Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Trade (RSA) is a British organisation committed to finding practical solutions to current social challenges. It is based in London and is usually known as RSA or the Royal Society of Arts.
The Society was incorporated in 1754, granted a Royal Charter in 1847, and the right to use the term monarchy by King Edward VII in 1908.


Who are the pioneers of the Royal Society of Arts?
Notable past and present pioneers of the Society include Charles Dickens, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin, Karl Marx, William Hogarth, John Diefenbaker, Stephen Hawking and Tim Berners-Lee. Today it has more than 27,000 fellows from 70 countries around the world.
Royal Society of Arts Medal recipients include Nelson Mandela, Sir Frank Whittle and Professor Stephen Hawking.
Royal Society of Arts members continue to be among the most innovative contributors to human knowledge. For example, the Oxford English Dictionary records the first environmental use of the word “sustainable” in the Journal of the Royal Society of Arts in 1980.