A New Dawn for Women in Higher Education in Saudi Arabia: Looming Changes on the Horizon?

This radio interview was broadcasted on SWR, a German radio station, on the 3rd of November in 2013 and draws from my experience as educator in the female section of Prince Mohammed University in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia.
In explicating my extraordinary experiences in this multi-faceted place the focus is on the eastern region of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and centers around the contacts and relationships built through my employ as educator for the women’s campus of the first “co-educational”, “high tech”, private university delivering its curriculum in English, Prince Mohammed bin Fahd University (PMU).
It is well known that in Saudi Arabia freedom of movement for females is limited both geographically and societally. Although I am not the first to make this point, it is important to recognize that Saudi society does restrict the free movement of people and communication of ideas even that of researchers with the blessing of the Prince Governor of the Eastern Province himself.
In this interview I give a rough socio-cultural framework for orientation purposes followed by a comment of women’s educational options and experiences and concluding with a cross cultural interpretation of Saudi students’ experiences both within and without the confines of educational institutions as it relates to their cultural milieu. It is important for educators and researchers not to try and negate the validity of their subjects’ internal dynamic which attempts to coalesce the dichotomy between the recently superimposed western educational and mercantile frameworks with their existing Islamic and tribal imperatives. While remaining sensitive to the needs and desires of this conservative Islamic nation, after review of the data collected during my stay and personal and professional experiences I question whether in today’s economic climate the luxury of “separate but equal” educational institutions, work environments and commercial ventures can be maintained.
Below some images of my research endeavour in Saudi Arabia and an audio file of the interview.

Radiointerview SWR1-Sonntagmorgen

Die Hörfunkabteilung „Religion, Kirche & Gesellschaft“ des SWR, Südwestrundfunk in Baden-Baden, hat aufgrund eines aktuellen Anlasses – einige Frauen in Saudi Arabien haben sich aus Protest hinters Steuer gesetzt und sind, obwohl dies Frauen gesetzl ich untersagt ist, Auto gefahren – ein Interview mit mir über meine Erfahrungen im Rahmen meiner Lehr- und Forschungs­tätigkeiten an der Prince Mohammed Bin Fahd University in Al-Khobar, Saudi Arabien, geführt. Meine Forschungs­schwerpunkte umfassen Elemente familiärer sowie erziehungswissenschaftli­cher Realitäten indigener Stammeskulturen u. a. in Saudi Arabien, aber auch in Pakistan und Oman, und die Verwertung der Ergebnisse im Rahmen der Migrations­forschung. Das Interview wurde im Rahmen der Sendung „SWR1-Sonntagmorgen“ am 3.11.2013 ausgestrahlt, hier ein kurzer Ausschnitt aus dem Interview:

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