Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 1 June 2020

Saudi Princess Haifa appointed as kingdom’s representative to Unesco

Princess Haifa is an experienced academic and politician

Madain Saleh, the first-ever archaeological site in Saudi Arabia to join Unesco's World Heritage List. AFP
Madain Saleh, the first-ever archaeological site in Saudi Arabia to join Unesco's World Heritage List. AFP

Saudi Princess Haifa bint Abdul Aziz Al Mogrin was appointed as the kingdom’s permanent representative to the United Nations cultural agency late Tuesday, in a move seen as milestone for the country’s 2030 vision.

Officially known as the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, UNESCO designates and protects archaeological and heritage sites.

Princess Haifa, formerly a university lecture at King Saud University, has held several governmental positions and was the assistant deputy minister for sustainable development and G20 affairs.

Her nomination was announced on the United Nations mission in Saudi Arabia’s Twitter account.

Princess Haifa’s appointment reflects “Saudi Arabia’s emphasis on empowering its talented youth and women while prioritising culture, art and education,” the head of the Saudi mission to the European Union, Ambassador Saad bin Mohammed Al Arifi said on Twitter.

The Saudi royal received her bachelor’s degree in economics from King Saud University in Riyadh and her master’s degree in Economics with reference to the Middle East from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) in London.

The move is a “landmark achievement of Saudi’s vision 2030, which aims to empower Saudi women and enhance their leadership positions,” the kingdom's mission to the European Union said on Twitter.

Saudi Arabia became a member of the organisation’s executive council last November.

“The kingdom will seek to enhance its co-operation with all members of the council as well as preserving Arab culture and heritage and promoting social development and tolerance,” Saudi minister of culture, Prince Badr bin Abdullah said in a statement.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s Vision 2030 was set out to attract foreing investment and to create jobs for Saudi.

But perhaps the most significant reform in this regard was women's empowerment.

The Vision aims to increase Saudi women's participation in the workforce from the current rate of 22 per cent to 30 per cent.

The lifting of a ban on women driving in June 2018 was the most monumental change.

Further reforms recently removed the requirement for permission from a male guardian to take a job, enrol for university or undergo surgery.

Updated: January 15, 2020 02:40 PM

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