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Dr. Najah Y. Ashry

Vice President & Senior Advisor, Office of the President

Since KAUST's inception,Dr. Ashry worked closely with the leadership team to establish, expand, transform, and/or lead key plans and functions. She joined KAUST in 2008 as the founding Senior Assistant Provost, where she developed the strategic vision and plans for Graduate Affairs, including admissions, enrollment management, registration, and scholarship programs. In 2011, she was appointed as the founding Vice President of the Saudi Initiatives organization, later renamed Strategic National Advancement, to better align KAUST's strategy and offerings to national needs. 

In her current role, Dr. Ashry guides KAUST's strategy to serve Saudi Arabia's transformation priorities and to build the crucial knowledge and skills capacity needed for a 21st-century Saudi Arabia. Her portfolio includes a number of flagship initiatives and programs designed to cultivate the next generation of Saudi leaders and strengthen the quality and rigor of STEAM education, while accelerating the growth of the national research, development, and innovation ecosystem, and building on the University's commitment to empowering people and communities and protecting the environment. 

Prior to KAUST, Dr. Ashry served as a professor of MIS, department chair, dean, and, eventually, the head of the 40,000-student women's section of King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, where she provided vision and strategic direction to two campuses, nine colleges and faculties, seven deanships, and a number of centers, institutions, and administrations. 

Dr. Ashry has a degree in Computer Science and an MBA from Seattle University, with the university's highest distinction and the Kingdom's top student awards. In 2002, Dr. Ashry earned a Postgraduate Diploma in Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods, as well as a PhD degree from the University of Bradford in Management Information Systems with a focus on strategic development and planning. She has served on numerous boards and committees, including the Board of Directors for the Center of Planning & Strategic Studies for the Principality of Makkah Region; the Board of Directors of Mawhiba, the KAU University Board; Women National Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers; Saudi Ministry of Education's Board of Directors of Scientific Centers; and the Dow Chemical Company Sustainability External Advisory Council. In 2020, Ashry won the Middle East Women Leaders Excellence Award for Knowledge Management.