Khaloud K. AlMansour

Saudi Advisor

To quote his royal highness, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, “Those who cannot dream are not welcome to negotiate with us or arrive at our doors.”

My childhood was influenced by art and diplomacy from a young age, which helped me to picture what I saw myself doing in later life.

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I am the eldest daughter in the family and, given that I was the eldest granddaughter as well, I was raised in my grandparents house and very much influenced by my grandfather, Abdul Aziz AlMansour. He was a military man who worked with the late Prince Naif bin Abdul Aziz at the Ministry of Interior and learned a great deal from him about the government’s foreign relations.

My father, Khalid AlMansour, is a man of arts and culture who helped to plant within me from a very young age a seed that grew into a love of learning and reading. That helped me hone my skills in writing and language, and I find myself constantly drafting and writing letters and notes, revising them along the way to make full use of the powerful influence of the written word.

I completed my schooling in Riyadh, earning a bachelor’s degree in English. My major helped me understand the importance of the written word even more, and of choosing one word over another to best relay the message I want to convey and facilitate communication across cultures.

In 2012, I moved to the US to study for a master’s degree in what I initially intended to be law but, as fate would have it, I ended up majoring in something far removed from that. After visiting the faculty of political sciences, I decided to make a turn toward a career that I deemed to be more pragmatic and aligned with my vision. I majored in political sciences and international relations at the University of Suffolk in Boston, because the subject resonated with how I wanted to represent myself and my country, and lead negotiations.

When I returned to the Kingdom, I identified a number of job opportunities in my chosen field and decided to join the Education and Training Evaluation Commission in the Directorate of Partnerships and International Relations. I worked there from 2014 until 2017.

I then moved to the Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdul Aziz Foundation (MiSK) as head of strategic partnerships. During my time there I supervised a number of strategic partnerships across several sectors, and oversaw partnership projects worth more than SR83 million ($22.12 million) with national, regional and international corporations.

MiSK is an important organization that focuses on developing the mindset of Saudi young people, through the celebration of art, culture, the Saudi identity and tolerance toward others, so that they become true global citizens. It represents and champions the crown prince’s vision for the future of the nation’s youth. Given that I had, from personal experience, an idea of how the Kingdom is perceived in the West, I was able to help reveal to the world the true image of Saudis.

In 2018, I received the call for which I had been waiting four years, when the Ministry of Foreign Affairs offered me my dream job.

It was a surreal moment in my life. In my work as a diplomat I represented my country and led negotiations internationally, and worked to change perceptions of the Kingdom.

I worked in the Asian Affairs Department, where I handled many bilateral relations between the Kingdom and a number of Asian countries, which have been evolving progressively into multi-faceted and mutually beneficial strategic partnerships. Having been exposed to different worlds and cultures as a child through books, I am fortunate also to have a chance to explore them first-hand as an adult. The opportunity to understand other cultures, differences in etiquette, traditions and individuality has helped me gain so much knowledge along the way, and my intellectual borders are constantly expanding.

Given my passion for international relations and my work at the Foreign Ministry, I am fortunate that I have been exposed to many different societies and cultures, and the connections between humanity. I left my post at the ministry early this year, taking with me another set of experiences that definitely shaped my vision.

I am now an adviser on international cooperation and strategic alliances. I have worked closely with his excellency Ambassador Mohammed AlJaber at the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen, where I gained a lot of experience working with young men and women in the field of international development, and building the national know-how for an important cause through creating strategic alliances with global partners.

We are all ambassadors for our cultures and heritage. As a member of the World Economic Forum’s Global Shapers Community, I was nominated to attend the annual forum’s meeting in Davos in 2019. This was a great chance to represent not only myself but also my fellow Saudi youth among hundreds of international peers, and to showcase our work to those who are eager to learn more about Saudi Arabia and how much we all have in common.

I am very driven and a workaholic. Horses have always calmed me and helped me regain my focus, and I also have a love of fast cars. Something about the rush of adrenaline that comes from driving fast cars and riding horses helps to fuel my passion; the feeling is exhilarating and makes me feel limitless.

Fostering growth is more important and complex than merely promoting inclusion. The mechanisms are there and can be tapped into through the efforts of everyone who shares a vision of a future goal. I’d like one day to help people tap their full potential and show them the opportunities that are there for the taking.

Follow Khaloud K. AlMansour
Twitter: @itiskkm
Linkedin: @khaloud-almansour

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