Saudi female diplomats are making great progress, says ambassador

Manal Radwan, first secretary at Saudi Arabia’s mission at the UN (Twitter photo)
Updated 04 December 2017
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Saudi female diplomats are making great progress, says ambassador

RIYADH: Women are thriving in the diplomatic service, a government spokesman has said.
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) has employed women since 2008, when the first female competitive examination for diplomatic posts was advertised. The official MOFA spokesperson and director of media, Ambassador Osama Nugali, said: “In spite of the fact that Saudi women have recently entered the diplomatic scene, they are advancing in their diplomatic career path.”
Nugali added: “Diplomatic posts for both men and women start at the rank of an attache (equivalent to grade 6 in public services) and end at the rank of an ambassador (equivalent to grade 15). Additionally, top leadership positions for men and women alike require experience in diplomacy that is accumulated over the years.”
When asked about the incentives for women working at the ministry and holding high positions, Nugali said: “It is a fact that there are no regulations to prevent women from accessing top leadership positions in both public and private sectors in Saudi Arabia. MOFA is no exception. Indeed, one will find various examples of Saudi women in top-level positions in the two sectors.”
The ministry is keen to advance the careers of all its employees, through taking courses abroad and exposing them to other nationalities. To be a diplomat, proper etiquette and impeccable social skills are required.
“In line with Vision 2030, the ministry is committed, rather vigorously, to providing Saudi female diplomats with the academic and professional training needed to advance along their career path,” Nugali said.
Manal Al-Otaibi, a first secretary diplomat at MOFA, said: “The tasks assigned to female staff are not different from those of male colleagues. The standard is not gender, but competence, specialization and skill.
“Despite the recent appointment of women in the diplomatic corps, the internal and external training programs offered by the ministry to its staff, in cooperation with academic institutions and international organizations, have helped me and my colleagues improve proficiently.”
Statistics show that female employees at the ministry can be grouped as follows: 115 based at its headquarters in Riyadh and its branches throughout the Kingdom; 185 working in the Kingdom’s missions in Europe, the US, Asia and Africa, as well as the Kingdom’s permanent missions to international organizations such as the UN in New York and Geneva, plus the Arab League in Cairo and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
Saudi women are making a positive impact through hard work and accumulated knowledge through experience and interactions with other diplomats in their field. On both a professional and personal level, young women such as Al-Otaibi are working hard to develop themselves.
Nugali said: “The Kingdom is keen to enhance the role of Saudi women and enable them to carry out their responsibilities. Hence, Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 — with its emphasis on women’s pivotal role in the future of the Kingdom — aims to proactively create greater engagement of women and more ways to activate their leadership roles.”


Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

Updated 22 April 2019
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Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

  • Al-Issa lauds Russian model of national harmony and coexistence
  • Al-Issa also met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament last month

MOSCOW: The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa held a meeting with the president of the Russian People’s Council, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, and other council members, where they discussed issues of common interest.

They looked into means of boosting cooperation between Russia and the Muslim world, supporting positive national integration programs and countering extremist speeches and Islamophobia.

Al-Issa lauded the Russian model of national harmony and coexistence, while Ordzhonikidze presented Al-Issa with a copy of the council’s yearly report.

At the meeting the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share their experiences in the fight against extremist ideologies, the promotion of interreligious dialogue and coexistence and the implementation of joint projects to achieve shared goals. They also stressed the pure and peaceful values of Islam and rejected all forms of extremism and Islamophobia.

The meeting was attended by the Russian deputy chairman of the Committee for the Development of Agriculture, Aygun Memedov, the chairman of the Committee on the Normalization of Relations Between Nationalities and Religions, Sheikh Albert Karganov, the Mufti of Moscow and the Khanti-Mansisk Region in Siberia Sheikh Tahir Samatov.

Last month, Al-Issa met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament Vyacheslav Volodin. They discussed subjects related to promoting and supporting dialogue among followers of different religions and civilizations, activating cultural contacts and exchanges between the Muslim world and Russia.

Al-Issa signed a cooperation agreement between the MWL and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic Culture, Science and Education. The agreement focused on tackling extremism and promoting tolerance. The agreement stressed the need for cooperation in the fight against extremism, intolerance, aggression and hostility among religions, races and ideologies that could lead to terrorism.

Both parties agreed to exchange information on the activities of scientific centers, cultural forums and websites.