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Empowering the Next Generation at WDS24

Empowering the Next Generation at WDS24 [© Bob Morrison]

Empowering the Next Generation ~ World Defense Show 2024 (WDS24) in Riyadh champions diversity and future talent.


Press Release, Riyadh, 07 February 2024: World Defense Show 2024 under the esteemed patronage of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, is a stage for two groundbreaking initiatives: the International Women in Defense Program and the Future Talent Program. These programs collectively underscore the event’s commitment to diversifying the defence sector and nurturing the next generation of defence professionals.

Empowering the Next Generation at WDS24 [© WDS24]

International Women in Defense Program: Led by Her Royal Highness Ambassador Reema Bandar Al-Saud, the International Women in Defense Program highlighted the crucial role of women in the defence industry.

HRH Ambassador Reema Bandar Al-Saud emphasised: “The WDS International Women in Defense Program is a vital step towards engaging, cultivating, and advancing women across the defence sector, in line with Saudi Vision 2030. It’s about recognising and amplifying the significant roles women play and encouraging this positive change globally. I am proud to be a part of this transformative initiative that highlights the advantages of diversity in defence and accelerates the participation and recognition of women in the industry.”

The event also featured Heidi Grant, Vice President of Defense Global Growth & Engagement at Boeing Defense, Space & Security (BDS), who was joined by national diversity champions and industry figureheads including Maj Gen Adel Al-Balawi, Head of Armed Forces Education and Training Authority, KSA.

Amanda Stainer, Chief Commercial Officer at World Defense Show, stated: “Our International Women in Defense Program goes beyond mere recognition. It’s about actively shaping a more inclusive future in the defence sector. This program is a practical step towards integrating diverse perspectives and skills, which are crucial for the innovative evolution of our industry. By championing women’s involvement, we’re not just changing narratives; we’re building a stronger, more resilient defence community for the future.”

Empowering the Next Generation at WDS24 [© WDS24]

Future Talent Program: The Future Talent Program sponsored by BAE Systems and General Dynamics, extends beyond the Content Theatres, showcasing opportunities for aspiring defence professionals. This initiative was designed to enlighten and inspire the next generation of defence innovators, demonstrating the sector’s dynamic and evolving nature. Exhibitors adapted their stands to align with the day’s theme, offering an immersive and interactive experience for young professionals.

In alignment with the Human Capital Strategy for the Military Industries (MIHC), the program plans to host more than 8,000 students. Andrew Pearcey, Chief Executive Officer, World Defense Show, commented: “The Future Talent Program, alongside the International Women in Defense initiative, represents our dedication to cultivating a diverse and skilled workforce. Investing in youth and promoting gender diversity are not just obligations but essential steps for the continuous evolution of the defence sector.”

As part of the Future Talent Program, Day 5 is set to feature a keynote address by Morhaf bin Mohammed Al-Madani, Assistant Minister of Education for Development & Transformation, Ministry of Education, setting the stage for insightful discussions on the future of human capital in defence. Dr. Alex Walmsley, defence analyst and RUSI Associate Fellow, will moderate a high-level panel on ‘The Human Capital Growth Model for Defense’. Additionally, the program will feature a presentation on ‘The People Challenge: An Industrial Perspective’ by Jason Monahan, VP & General Manager, General Dynamics, offering valuable insights into workforce development from an industry standpoint.

These initiatives at World Defense Show 2024 set a precedent for inclusivity and innovation in the defence industry. By fostering a diverse talent pool and highlighting the contributions of women, the event has not only celebrated achievements but also paved the way for a more inclusive and dynamic future in defence and security.


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