Princess Reema’s views at WEF represent aspirations of young Saudis

Princess Reema bint Bandar at the World Economic Forum in Davos. (AN photo)
Updated 30 January 2018

Princess Reema’s views at WEF represent aspirations of young Saudis

RIYADH: With eloquence and grace, Princess Reema bint Bandar touched on paramount topics at the recently concluded World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos.
Raised in the US and the daughter of an ambassador, Princess Reema is no stranger to diplomacy. An enlightened soul she has always been, but gracious with her kindness and smiles. A philanthropist, motivator, and President of the Saudi Federation for Community Sports, Princess Reema has an impressive resume.
At the WEF, her words penetrated the heart of every Saudi. She echoed their thoughts and mirrored their feelings. Princess Reema spoke distinctively and clearly but, most of all, wholeheartedly, talking about gender equality and the disparaging word “but.”
“Once we exhibit change you come to us with cynicism. I don’t know how to explain how destructive that is. We are so thrilled and excited and the article ends up: ‘This was so fabulous BUT’… why but? Do you say that to anyone else? Is it because we are in the Middle East and there is a history of what you did not feel assimilated to your values? Please understand the values we have are different. They are not right or wrong and they should be honored for what they are.”
The truth is, Saudi youth are stuck in limbo. No matter how hard Saudis have tried to progress toward the future, we are pulled back with skepticism and relentless criticism. Even before Vision 2030, we had massive amounts of youths working relentlessly to put Saudi Arabia back on the map. In every field, we find remarkable youths.
As Saudi women, we feel this especially. Princess Reema emphasized the change that Saudi Arabia is witnessing, claiming: “A woman has a choice to breathe, a woman has a choice to dream and she can take action. Why? Because of the changes the ministers were talking about.”
This year Saudi Arabia has allowed women to sit behind the wheel and take hold of their destiny. In an unprecedented royal decree announced on Dec. 27, King Salman said women will be able to drive in June 2018. It came as a shock and a joy to many. This decree is in line with the Kingdom’s vision to help women achieve their goals and excel in the workforce without hindrance and with fewer obstacles.
“That ‘but’ is so detrimental to the women I work with, and the women I try to inspire, but I will remind you what I remind them: We are not working for anyone outside this nation. We are working for this nation, for the women of our nation, for the men of our nation, for the evolution of where we need to be, and that is how we will benefit you and that is how we will be global.”
Commenting on Princess Reema’s views as expressed at the WEF, Dr. Hoda Al-Hellaisi, a member of the Shoura Council, said: “I was really impressed by her participation in the panel.”
Al-Hellaisi said anyone who gets the opportunity to meet members of the foreign media should highlight the fact that the Western media tend to focus on our shortcomings. “It is high time the Western media focused on our achievements. We are a country that is only 80 years old, and we, as a nation, have achieved much during this time.”
She said every country has different social values, which should be respected and be taken into consideration without being judgmental. Al-Hellaisi said: “It’s easy to criticize.”
The Shoura member stressed the need to allow all nations to move forward at their own pace within their respective traditional and religious framework.
Al-Helaissi said: “Our country has its own value system, and it’s unfair that we are judged through their lenses and not ours.”
The Vision 2030 has enabled many youths and encouraged them to put their feet forward and work together to make the Kingdom prosperous in all ways. From weaning Saudi Arabia’s economy off oil revenues, to supporting small- and medium-sized enterprises. Princess Reema said at the WEF: “Human capital is the new currency.”
She added that the crown prince is vocal and adamant about helping his nation, that his actions portray him saying: “This is your nation, you are my people. What do you need, how can I help you?”
This year at the WEF, Saudi participation was exceptional and made its mark through many of its speakers and attendees. The excitement and ambition of the Saudi youth have escalated for the world to see, for their achievements speak volumes.

FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Updated 31 min 47 sec ago

FaceOf: Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi, commander of the Hajj Security Forces

Khalid bin Qarar Al-Harbi has been serving as the commander of Special Emergency Forces and commander of the Hajj Security Forces since July 2017.

He graduated from King Fahd Security College in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in security sciences. After his graduation, he joined the Emergency Forces for the Madinah region. He worked in different departments of the forces and held different positions, including company commander, battalion commander, the commander of the recruitment and training center and the operations manager. 

Subsequently, Al-Harbi was promoted as the force commander for Madinah city. In 2006, he was appointed as the operations director at the Saudi Special Emergency Forces headquarters. He was later promoted as the commander of the Special Emergency Forces in 2010. 

He completed several courses on different areas of security sciences in Saudi Arabia and from different institutions in the UK, France, Egypt, Indonesia and China. The courses pertained to combating terrorism, special operations, riot control, and security leadership. 

He participated in many counterterrorism operations. 

Al-Harbi also has extensive experience in the organization and management of Hajj and Umrah seasons in Makkah and Madinah. He has contributed in laying the foundations plans of crowd management and organization in Jamarat during Hajj. 

On Friday, he visited  the “Kafa” exhibition held in Makkah. The event was organized by the Kafa Anti-Smoking Association to raise awareness about the dangers of smoking and drugs. The association offers its services to pilgrims who wish to quit smoking and spreads awareness among them.  “Kafa” annually organizes campaigns and programs during the Hajj season to educate pilgrims about the dangers of smoking, and they reportedly treated about 500 pilgrims in Mina last year.