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.”


World boxing champ Amir Khan eyes Kingdom for new academy

Updated 51 min 29 sec ago
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World boxing champ Amir Khan eyes Kingdom for new academy

  • The former boxing world champion said there were a lot of warriors in Saudi Arabia
  • Khan said he believes the Kingdom possesses a lot of talent

RIYADH: British-Pakistani boxer Amir Khan wants to open a boxing academy in Saudi Arabia, and hopes the Kingdom will see rising stars become Olympic champions soon.

Speaking at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday, he said the only way to achieve this was by opening academies in the Kingdom.  

“I believe that there is so much talent in Saudi, but there aren’t many boxing clubs,” he said.

Speaking at the midday session of the forum in a session titled “What Defines Me,” Khan said he believed there was a reason Saudis are good boxers: “Maybe it is in their blood – they are warriors.”

The former world champion and Olympic medalist, arrived on stage at the event wearing traditional Saudi clothes, both the thobe and shomakh, and was interviewed by Lubna Al-Omair, the first Saudi female Olympic fencer.

Khan has a charitable foundation in his name that is dedicated to empowering disadvantaged young people globally.

“All around the world I build boxing academies, (including in) England, Pakistan,” he said. “It is a way to give back and help the less fortunate. We travel all around the world to help the poor, the youth ... in the future they will do the same.”

Khan credited his father for placing him in a boxing club. “When I was young, I was hyperactive, always misbehaving, and my father took me to the boxing club. Boxing gave me discipline.”  

And he credited fans for his motivation, explaining: “At 17 I became a household name and couldn’t walk the streets without people stopping me for a picture. People are looking up to me and wanting me to succeed, and that was my motivation.”

Khan said boxing helps develop self-discipline and emotional intelligence. “Boxing teaches you to be disciplined,” he said.

“What boxing teaches you is not to fight outside. If a fight is taking place, I walk away.”

Khan also had advice for athletes in training: “The harder you work in the gym, the easier it will be in the game,” he said.

And he added: “Work hard and never give up. I always like to work harder than my opponents.”