The amazing woman of Saudi Arabia, Princess Reema, was appointed as the Kingdom’s first-ever female and 11th diplomate to the United States. The Kingdom decision came on February 23, 2019, to appoint her as the envoy. Her origin, paternally and maternally, is the House of Saud.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud is a daughter of Bandar Bin Sultan. Led by King Abdulaziz Bin Saud, her father was one of the two sons of Sultan Bin Abdulaziz who was the seventh ruler of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sultan Bin Abdulaziz was one of the forty-five sons of almost a hundred children who also one of the seven princes born to King Abdulaziz’s favourite wife, Hassa bint Ahmad al-Sudairi.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud
Her father Bandar Bin Sultan spent a considerable amount of time as an ambassador to the United States from 1983-2005 where she attended George Washington University in Washington D.C. Born in 1975, Princess Reema has been living in the West for almost her entire life. Once married to Prince Faisal bin Turki bin Nasser, she has been single with their two children after their divorce in 2012.
A former business executive of Alfa International, a multi-brand luxury retail company, with Harvey Nichols Riyadh, she founded Alf Khair, a social enterprise with an aim to elevate the professional capital of Saudi women through a structured curriculum focusing on professional guidance and career management in 2013. In 2017 she was appointed as President of Mass Participation Federation, a sports and physical activity facility.
According to the World Economic Forum, since August 2016 she has been Vice-President, Development and Planning, General Sports Authority, a governmental body focused on developing the Saudi sports and physical fitness space, Young Global Leader (2015) and the World Economic Forum.
Member and advisory body of several, including the Saudi National Creative Initiative, whose programmes aim to create a communication platform for creative talent in Saudi Arabia. Founding Member, “Zahra” Breast Cancer Association.
Recipient of, honours and awards, including Business of Fashion’s Top 500 people working in the fashion industry (2013 and 2014); Fast Company’s Most Creative Person of 2014; selected as one of the most powerful 200 Arab women of Forbes Middle East magazine (2014); Foreign Policy Magazine Global Thinker Mogul (2014); Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Creative Sports Award, 9th edition.
With her active involvement and advocacy for various social and financial and developmental activism, Princess Reema has been a pioneering figure for women empowerment and sports endeavour of the country.
Saudi Vision 2030 is often described as a roadmap for economic, cultural and social development. Being the protector of the Holy Mosques and being at the heart of the Arab and Islamic world, to be global investment powerhouse, transforming Saudi Arabia into a global hub connecting all the three continents- Asia, Europe and Africa, from an oil-dependent country to global industrial conglomerate, building a thriving country in which all citizens can fulfil their dreams, hopes and ambitions and expansion of various digital service are paramount aspects of Vision-2013 of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz.
For a balanced and high-quality lifestyle, an increased and gender participatory involvement opportunities are realised. The kingdom intends to encourage extensive and regular participation in sports and athletic activities, working in partnership with the private sector to establish additional dedicated facilities and programs which will enable citizens and residents to engage in a wide variety of sports and leisure pursuits.
Asked why Saudis think it is important for Saudi men to involve in sports, Princess Reema said, “we are not talking about individual playing sports, the whole ecosystem revolves around it which is immediately a job creation.
By instigating the sports economy and supporting individual athletes we are is actually creating a diverge value-chain for women to participate, men to participate, for children and their families to be reconnected. When we talk about social integration, for us it is reintroducing the mother and the father concept of the family. Family participation in sports will allow us a community to really embrace the beauty of our nation”.
Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud, president of the Saudi Federation for community sports the first Saudi woman to represent the sports community to oversee male and female sports she is also vice president for the development and planning of Saudi Arabian general sports authority. She is involved in so much more social and community health, social and business development.
Saudi Arabia, one of the oldest monarchs to run state affairs by the House of Saud has been able to present them with a moderate-minded Crown prince Salman. Salman is determined to ‘moderate Islam’ and seeks help from the world to transform a hardline kingdom into an open society.
Salman says “Changing Saudi for better definitely means changing regions and the world”. According to FoxNews Salman said that his father’s generation had steered the country down to the problematic way and it is the time get rid of that.
Many Saudi women are in sports, their cultural perception has been changed recently, and women can drive and venture out alone. Women now also can travel alone without male-guardianship, as part of Vision-2030. Her entire plan and dream are centred on sports.
She thinks sports and sportsmanship of children, enthusiasts, professionals and women can liberate and instil a positive perception. A prolific, authoritative speaker with a diplomatic persona and rich linguistic command of excellent neutral English accent she really is a diplomatic sweetheart and indisputable choice for Saudi Arabia.
The decision came, on 23 February 2019, at the time when the relationship between the Kingdom and the USA has been strained centring the murder of Saudi dissident, author and columnist Jamal Khashoggi for criticising the kingdom on account of arresting women’s rights activists, Saudi-led military intervention and arrest and torture of women’s rights activists in the country.
Will the royal decree of appointing Princess Reema as a diplomat to the US soil assuage the concurrent tension between the two countries?
The killing of Jamal Khashoggi, in fact, overshadowed all of his liberal and open-minded intentions for the citizens and his playing the role-model of tolerant and inclusive perception have been surfaced to be a pipe dream for the kingdom. Investigations suggest
Prince Salman’s direct involvement in the killing who gave orders to lure Jamal Khashoggi into the embassy, in Istanbul, where he had been reportedly dismembered.
Revoking the citizenship of Hamza bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, by the Saudi authority servers as another piece-meal to the world. Although repealing her citizenship was signed in November last year the final news of his Saudi statelessness came only recently. Is the kingdom seriously trying to restore its lost credibility to the world?
In the interview given to TIME, the crown prince said that Saudi Arabia is the terrorist-prone country to propagate their ideology, and said that Osama bin Laden was a dangerous guy.
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His plans to eradicate corruption from the country, Six Flags theme park, semi-Autonomous tourist spot where women will be at their will, recent move to allow women to drive and going out without male guardianship, are undoubtedly laudable moves.
But how much will he be able to bring about changes to the kingdom, even if the world believed its strategy to restore the world’s faith in it? Can the world expect him to be a different king with a moderate worldview apart from his predecessors’ extreme religious conservatism?
The Indian proverb, bapka beta shipaika ghura, kuch nehi to thuda thuda, means a son must inherit some of his father’s qualities. Killing Khashoggi and indiscriminate arrest of women’s rights, the gross violation of human rights and the ghastly beheading of criminals speak volumes about how far he stepped forward overlooking the age-old tradition of the House of Saud.
Aside from the psychological impact of sports in terms of fitness and holistic health, it is not quite certain how much ideological change is likely to take place ignoring the rest of the mediums of change.
Teaching tolerance, liberalism, open-mindedness, inclusivity, acceptance, involving women into the mainstream workforce, demobilising financial backing to terrorist groups and expanding and encouraging scientific research, investment and innovation would be the key to changing the prevailing worldviews of Saudis.