Prof. Samira Ibrahim Islam
• First Saudi full professor in Pharmacology in 1983 .
• She is the first Saudi woman to obtain Bachelor and Ph.D degrees
• First Saudi woman to become a professor of pharmacology.
• She is also the first to introduce formal university education for girls in the
Kingdom and the first woman vice dean in a Saudi university.
• first Muslim and Arab woman to be nominated by UNESCO as a distinguished Scientist of the World For the Year 2000
• First Saudi woman and the second Saudi Arab to hold an official staff position
in the World Health Organization (WHO)
"Prof Dr Samira Ibrahim Islam of Saudi Arabia was first Saudi woman to complete a basic education; the first Saudi woman to obtain a BA and PhD degree; also with respect to all specialties she was the first Saudi woman to become a full professor. While in the field of Pharmacology she was the first Saudi, man or woman, to become a full professor. Her successful working career was not limited to pure science research projects only; with considerable devotion to, and a sincere interest in the field of girl's higher education which was in its infancy in the early 70s - Professor Islam's contribution branched into many separate areas.. She is also the first to introduce formal university education for girls in the Kingdom and the first woman vice dean in a Saudi university
Professor Islam started her academic career in 1971 by volunteering to lecture at the College of Education, King Abdulaziz University, Makkah Branch (now Umm Al Qura University). In 1972, Dr Ahmed Muhammad Ali, the university President, appointed Dr Islam as an official member of the teaching staff in the position of Lecturer.
Dr Islam established many new educational programs for women and she was also assigned as the Head of the Science Departments. During 1973, Departments of Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics and Biology were founded in theC ollege of Education Makkah branch with Dr Islam at their Head.
Professor Islam achieved recognition in her field and she became the first Saudi full professor in Pharmacology in 1983. She focused her research on the effect of drugs on the Saudi population through the Drug Monitoring Unit at King Fahd Medical Research Canter of King Abdulaziz University. She founded the Drug Monitoring Unit from the research funds she was granted where the blood of patients undergoing medication is analyzed, thus helping physicians to decide on accurate doses. Professor Islam remarked that she publicized the need for every organization and individual to support scientific research in this country, especially concerning the drug safety which includes treatment of illnesses and curing of diseases. Her groundbreaking research and contributions to science in her home country were finally recognized when Professor Samira Ibrahim Islam became the first Muslim and Arab woman to be nominated by UNESCO as a distinguished Scientist of the World for the Year 2000, at their For Women in Science Awards. The award, first instituted in 1998, selects female scientists who have made a major contribution to their area of expertise. Of the 100 women scientists nominated globally, the UNESCO award committee in Paris chose 32 in late 1999 as final nominees. Saudi Arabia was one of the six Asian counties shortlisted along with China, Japan, Taiwan, Korea and India."