Marriott International Celebrates First Graduation of Tahseen Hospitality Leadership Training Program in Saudi Arabia

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The program aims to develop local Saudi talent within the industry

Marriott International Celebrates First Graduation of Tahseen Hospitality Leadership Training Program in Saudi Arabia

Today, Marriott International, the world’s leading hotel company, celebrated the graduation of its first intake of students for Tahseen, a unique hospitality leadership training program to develop local Saudi talent within the industry. Created in partnership with Cornell University, Tahseen is focused on fast tracking the next generation of hospitality leaders from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, by providing them with operational experience and a springboard to accelerate in leadership roles within the industry.

The company today graduated its inaugural batch at a ceremony hosted by Alex Kyriakidis, President and Managing Director Marriott International Middle East and Africa in the presence of Professor Dr. Bruce Tracey, Professor at Cornwell University and the graduating class.

Speaking at today’s graduation ceremony, Mr. Kyriakidis said, “Marriott International is a company that believes in putting people first and we are committed to giving our associates world class training and the opportunity to grow and reach their potential, both personally and professionally. Our vision is to develop future Saudi leaders, empowered with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to be successful and provide them with a fast track to management roles such as general managers. Building a sustainable and robust hospitality education program like Tahseen for our Saudi nationals, that nurtures and builds talent amongst the youth, is indeed key to our success.”

Also present at the event was David Leman, Chief Human Resources Officer, Middle East and Africa Marriott International. “Over the last four decades we have worked hard to consciously develop local talent and prepare them to become future leaders in hospitality. Today we employ over 5000 associates across our hotels in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with almost 35% of them being Saudi nationals. We see an opportunity to strategically develop this further and are delighted to have partnered with Cornell University, the university with the best track record globally for hospitality education.”

Tahseen was launched by Marriott International in Saudi Arabia in 2017 and the graduates have received very encouraging results paving the way for a wider rollout of the program in 2019. A total of 11 hotels participated in the inaugural program with tremendous support from all of the owners of the participating hotels, developing dedicated Saudi nationals into department heads.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a strategic growth market for Marriott International and the company is committed to supporting and enhancing the tourism industry in the Kingdom with Tahseen. The unique and highly individualized program created in partnership with Cornell University focuses on practical application across all departments as well as an in depth understanding of leadership skills led by teams across Marriott’s participating hotels over a course of 12 to 18 months. In addition, participants got first-hand experience through the Cornell e-learning platforms and a university-led development program tailored specifically for the Saudi nationals.

During the graduation ceremony, all participants received their Tahseen Diplomas as well as a Certificate in Hospitality Management from Cornell University along with their new employment contracts from their respective hotels.

While there are many success stories, some remarkable results include candidates such as:

  • Dareen AlZaabi who will take on the role as Assistant Conference and Catering Sales Manager at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh
  • Omar Ibrahim Trmesani who will continue his career as a Director of Loss Prevention and Human Resources Manager at Sheraton Jeddah
  • Malak Abdulqadir Farhat who will continue her journey as a Junior Sous Chef in the Culinary team of The Ritz-Carlton, Jeddah
  • Meshal Mahdali who will continue his career as Sales Manager at the Marriott Riyadh

Tasheen is a program that falls under Marriott International’s new Sustainability and Social Impact Platform, Serve 360: Doing Good in Every Direction, which guides how the company makes a positive and sustainable impact wherever it does business. From empowerment opportunities to sustainable hotel development, the platform is designed to foster business growth while balancing the needs of associates, customers, owners, the environment and communities. One of the priority areas, or “coordinates”, of Serve 360 is Empower Through Opportunity. Tahseen is a program that directly supports and brings this vision to life.

Marriott International is the largest international hotel operator in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a strong footprint of 25 operating hotels and more than 8000 rooms across 9 brands including The Ritz-Carlton, Le Meridien, Marriott Executive Apartments, Marriott Hotels, Sheraton Hotels & Resorts, Aloft, Courtyard by Marriott, Four Points by Sheraton and Residence Inn by Marriott. With another 28 hotels in the pipeline, the company will add close to 5000 rooms, debuting new brands including Autograph Collection, Delta Hotels, Element and Westin.

Marriott International is currently recruiting candidates both internally and externally for the second intake of Tahseen which begins in January 2019.


About Marriott International, Inc.

Marriott International, Inc. (NASDAQ: MAR) is based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and encompasses a portfolio of more than 6,500 properties in 30 leading hotel brands spanning 127 countries and territories. Marriott International operates and franchises hotels and licenses vacation ownership resorts all around the world. The company also operates award-winning loyalty programs: Marriott Rewards®, which includes The Ritz-Carlton Rewards®, and Starwood Preferred Guest®. For more information, please visit our website at, and for the latest company news, visit In addition, connect with us on Facebook and @MarriottIntl on Twitter and Instagram.