Saudi Arabia puts ‘trust’ in five female diplomats

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Saudi Arabia has put its trust in five female diplomats to represent the Kingdom in different countries abroad, the Saudi Gazette has reported.

The report said empowering women in the Kingdom was not limited to contributing to their education or introducing them to the labor market, but rather Saudi Arabia began announcing the appointment of female ambassadors to countries around the world.

Saudi Arabia has now five female ambassadors serving in western countries, mainly in the US and Europe.

Princess Reema is the Saudi ambassador to the US, Amal Al-Moallimi is the Saudi ambassador in Norway, Inas Al-Shahwan is the Saudi ambassador in Sweden, and Nesreen Al-Shebel is the Saudi ambassador in Finland, while Haifa Al-Jedea has been named Ambassador and Head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC).

The year 2019 witnessed an unprecedented historical shift in the Kingdom, as a royal order was issued by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, in his capacity as the King’s deputy, appointing Princess Rima bint Bandar as Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States with a ministerial rank. She presented her credentials to President Donald Trump on July 8, 2019.

Princess Rima held several positions before her appointment as ambassador, and she has always strived to allow Saudi women the opportunity to realize their dreams, hopes and aspirations, and as a result of these efforts, she was listed in 2014 among the Forbes Middle East’s 200 Most Powerful Arab Women and Most Powerful Arab Women in Saudi Arabia.

In 2016, the Council of Ministers issued a decision appointing Princess Reema as Vice President of Women’s Affairs at the Saudi General Sports Authority. In 2018 she was named to head a Saudi multi-sports federation, becoming the first woman in the country to lead a federation covering sporting activities for men and women.

In 2020, the Saudi ambassador to Norway, Amal Yahya Al-Moallimi, became the second woman diplomat to represent the Kingdom abroad.

As for Al-Moallimi’s background, she held several positions before her appointment as ambassador, including her 23-year work in the field of education, training and social development. Additionally, in 2019 the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia issued a decision appointing Al-Moallimi as Director General of Organizations and International Cooperation at the Commission.

The Kingdom continued to empower women to represent the country abroad. In 2021, Inas bint Ahmed Al-Shahwan was sworn in as the 3rd Saudi female ambassador. She took oath as ambassador of Saudi Arabia to Sweden in front of King Salman and in the presence of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Al-Shahwan joined the diplomatic corps in the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2007. She held a number of positions in the ministry, the most prominent of which was as advisor to the deputy foreign minister for political affairs.

She is also the first woman to hold a department manager position at the ministry’s Department for Political and Economic Affairs. According to the Center for Government Communication (CGC), Al-Shahwan handled, during her 14-year tenure at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a number of important political files.

The number of female diplomats to represent Saudi Arabia increased further to enhance the role of women in 2023 when Nesreen Al-Shebel was appointed as the Saudi ambassador to Finland and Haifa Al-Jedea has been named Ambassador and Head of Saudi Arabia’s Mission to the European Union and European Atomic Energy Community (EAEC).

Al-Shubail worked as an employee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for more than 16 years. She assumed many international diplomatic positions, in addition to her role as the Head of the Anti-Terrorism and Money Laundering Department at the Saudi Arabian Mission to the European Union.

As for Al-Jedea, before her appointment as ambassador, she was the managing director of SRMG Think, a newly established vertical by the Saudi Research and Media Group whose mission is to provide in-depth perspectives, analyses and insights from and about the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. She previously worked at the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Center.

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