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First female ambassador

First female ambassador

Saudi Arabia is often in the news for all sorts of reasons, both good and not the right ones. The world sat up when, in response to the demands of women activists, it not allowed them to go and watch football matches but also to drive cars. And this, when several activists still languish behind bars for having taken up the cause. Now the kingdom has taken quite a leap. Saudi Arabia has appointed its first female to serve as an ambassador for the kingdom. Taking all seasoned observers by surprise, it has named Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud to be ambassador to the United States. The princess, a member of the Saudi royal family, has been an advocate for women's rights in the kingdom and widely seen as a rising political star in the country. She will replace Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's younger brother, Prince Khalid bin Salman bin Abdulaziz. Princess Reema lived in Washington from roughly 1975 to 2005. Her father, Bandar bin Sultan al Saud, was Saudi's ambassador to the US. She attended George Washington University. A person close to her has informed that her appointment predates the murder of Washington Post journalist, Jamal Khashoggi, but she will take her post as the country tries to smooth relations with the US after much criticism surrounding the journalist's murder in Turkey at the Saudi consulate. Soon after Khashoggi's disappearance, according to well-informed sources, the CIA assessed with high confidence that the crown prince ordered Khashoggi's murder. It is by now well known that Saudi Arabia acknowledged Khashoggi was killed inside its consulate in Turkey. The US Senate passed a resolution condemning bin Salman. Princess Reema currently works with the Saudi General Sports Authority and has worked to promote women in sports in the kingdom through initiatives focused on inclusion and encouraging more "active" lifestyles. She worked with the Ministry of Education to ensure physical education for girls in schools and championed a gender-integrated team to the Special Olympics. She also worked in the private sector, as CEO at Harvey Nichols Riyad and co-founder of Yibreen, a series of day spas in Riyad. The Saudi royal has also actively praised Prince bin Salman for pushing for reform in the country. In 2018, she commended the Saudi government for lifting the ban on women driving and allowing women to enter sports stadiums. Earlier, in June, she was on record saying, "Yes – we would've liked to see it sooner, but the fact that we are doing it today for me, absolutely, it's wonderful." For all practical purposes, she toes the official government line. That ought to augur well for her in the new role as one of the top diplomats of her nation.

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