Rola Dashti serves as Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia. She is a leading Kuwaiti economist and long-time champion of women’s rights, gender equality and democratic reform. She served as member of the Supreme Planning Council in Kuwait. From 2012 to 2014, she was Minister for Planning and Development and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs. Ms. Dashti played a pivotal role in advocating for a decree to allow Kuwaiti women to vote and run for parliamentary elections. In May 2009, she and three others became the first women to be elected to the Kuwait parliament.
She has held key positions in research and development institutions, such as the Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research, and has worked for major national and international financial and development institutions, such as the National Bank of Kuwait and the World Bank.
Ms. Dashti is a regular contributor to regional and international policy forums on global governance, economic development and integration, democratization, and women’s empowerment in the Middle East and North Africa region.
During her career, she has served as chairperson of the Arab Planning Institute and of World Economic Forum’s Global Agenda Council for the Middle East and North Africa region. She was also a member of the Advisory Panel of World Bank on Middle East political and economic transition and of the Advisory Council for Arab Human Development Report 2009, among others. She was part of the Executive Board of the Pan-Arab Women Parliamentary Coalition to combat violence against women, and of the Board of the Arab Women Parliamentarians Network for Equality (Ra’edat).
Ms. Dashti won the North-South Prize of the Council of Europe for 2010, received the Clinton Global Citizens Award for 2009, the Vital Voices Global Leadership Award for 2006, and the King Hussein Humanitarian award for 2005.
Ms. Dashti holds a Doctorate Degree in Population Dynamics from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, a Master’s Degree in Economics and Finance from California State University in Sacramento, and a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics from California State University in Chico.