Honorary Degree Citation
Her Royal Highness Princess Loulwa al-Faisal al Saud
May 24, 2009
Your Royal Highness Princess Loulwa al-Faisal al Saud, activist, educator, entrepreneur, and advocate, Mount Holyoke is pleased to honor you for your work to advance the standing of women in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
You believe that your country's future is inextricably linked to its women. Throughout your adult life, you have turned this conviction into action. You have partnered with the Saudi government to promote women's education and entrance into the workforce, and your work has helped to pave the way for women to achieve social and economic self-determination within a religious Islamic state. In the 1990s you stood by your mother, Queen Effat, in the formation of the first private school for girls in Saudi Arabia. In 1999, you founded Effat College, the first private college for women. You wanted Effat to be a place where women would move beyond traditional rote learning to engage in critical thinking, and we at Mount Holyoke were honored to collaborate with you in Effat's development.
Effat has now grown into a university, and it stands as a symbol of hope and confidence for the women of the Kingdom and throughout the Muslim world. The University has proven itself an industrious organization of passionate educators, adept at building a smart curriculum and productive relationships around the globe. We are pleased to have Effat at the core of our Women's Education Worldwide initiative. Under your leadership, Effat straddles two worlds, embracing a Western academic tradition and a progressive view of women's leadership potential, while honoring its Islamic heritage in service to the Saudi people. Effat's is a bold balancing act, one that clearly has its roots in your own personal ethos.
Princess Loulwa, you see clearly that women's issues are issues for all of society. You inspire us to challenge assumptions and norms in the service of the greater good. You understand that women's education is an unfinished agenda, and in pursuit of that cause you have accomplished great things. Mount Holyoke is pleased to stand alongside Effat and, with this degree, to welcome you into our community. It is a privilege to bestow upon you the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa.
Audio - Listen to Princess Loulwa al-Faisal al Saud (1.7 MB, Time: 3:36)