FaceOf: Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi foreign minister

Ibrahim Al-Assaf
Updated 28 December 2018
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FaceOf: Ibrahim Al-Assaf, Saudi foreign minister

  • Al-Assaf began his career as a part-time lecturer in economics at King Abdul Aziz Military Academy from 1971 to 1983
  • In 1986, after leaving academia, Al-Assaf moved to Washington, where he represented Saudi Arabia as the Saudi executive director of the International Monetary Fund. 

Ibrahim Al-Assaf is Saudi Arabia’s new minister of foreign affairs. He served in the past as the country’s finance minister. He is also a board member of the Saudi Public Investment Fund.

Born in 1949, Al-Assaf completed his BA in economics and political science from King Saud University in Riyadh in 1971. 

He later obtained an MA in economics from the University of Denver, Colorado in 1976, as well as a Ph.D. in economics from Colorado State University in 1982. 

Al-Assaf began his career as a part-time lecturer in economics at King Abdul Aziz Military Academy from 1971 to 1983. 

He was then appointed as associate professor of economics and head of the administrative sciences department until 1986. During that time, he was also an economic adviser to the Saudi Fund for Development. 

In 1986, after leaving academia, Al-Assaf moved to Washington, where he represented Saudi Arabia as the Saudi executive director of the International Monetary Fund. 

He left in 1989 and became executive director for Saudi Arabia at the World Bank Group for six years before being briefly appointed vice governor of the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency in 1995. 

Al-Assaf then joined the Council of Ministers and became minister of state until 1996, when he was appointed finance minister. 

In addition to being Saudi Arabia’s long-serving finance minister, Al-Assaf is a member of the board of directors at Saudi Aramco and chairman of the Saudi Fund for Development. 

In July 2017, he led the Saudi delegation at the G20 meeting in Hamburg, Germany.

In November 2017, Al-Assaf was briefly detained during Saudi Arabia’s corruption crackdown, but investigators found no evidence of foul play and he immediately resumed his duties.


Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

Updated 10 min 2 sec ago
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Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

  • He said he hopes to support Saudi filmmakers through his recently launched production company
  • The festival, at Ithra, is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province

DHAHRAN: Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. talked about his experiences in Hollywood, and the challenges he has faced during his career, when he appeared on Monday night at the fifth Saudi Film Festival, which is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province.
Known for his roles in movies such as “Men of Honor”, “A Few Good Men” and “American Crime Story,” among others, he has appeared in more than 85 films during a 30-year career on screen and stage. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.
Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), accompanied by Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. They were greeted by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.
Gooding Jr. spoke to the audience at Ithra for almost 60 minutes about his long career and the challenges and pitfalls he had experienced on the road to success in the film industry. He also offered some advice to anyone interested in following in his footsteps.
“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.
“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.
“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”
The actor also said that he intends to support filmmakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries through his recently launched production company.
Asked if he had any projects planned in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he said: “I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”