My name is Sara A. Assiri and I am a first secretary at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
To live life as a journey balances logic, and allows us to grow and gain more wisdom — and if it includes some fun, it is a bonus. We never cease to learn from life experiences, family, friends, and the people we meet; they are sharing lessons whether we realize it or not.
I have two brothers and two sisters; I am the middle child. My siblings and I have varied interests but are compassionate and very supportive of one another.
My mother inspired my understanding of life as a journey. She dedicated her life to her family, while helping everyone she met along the way. She was keen on education more than anything else.
My father, now retired, worked at King Khaled International Airport and is still passionate about his career, looking back on it proudly. He taught us to stay humble no matter how flattering success might feel.
I went to Al-Tarbiah Al-Isalmiah School in Riyadh. It provided a rich and diverse environment, opening a window of opportunity to explore my interests, find my passion in life and get a glimpse of what my future might look like.
I was fascinated by literature and reading was part of my routine. An attempt to learn about writing as a language led me to create my blog, “I Speak Writing Everyday.” I discovered a passion for writing and it became part of my identity.
I attended King Saud University in Riyadh and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English Language and Literature. Poetry and other forms of literature are an integral part of my life, along with writing, blogging and painting. A daily dose of poetry is essential.
I am a big supporter of volunteerism and volunteer for the Saudi Alzheimer’s Disease Association, and the Arts and Skills Institute, which is part of L’Art Pur Foundation.
To live life as a journey balances logic, and allows us to grow and gain more wisdom — and if it includes some fun, it is a bonus.
I worked as an English-language teacher for 4th-grade students and enjoyed every minute of it but had to stop because I could not balance it with my postgraduate studies.
In 2009, I joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, where I worked in the media department alongside a great team, coordinating and organizing press conferences for the late Prince Saud Al-Faisal. It was a great opportunity to learn from him, building my understanding of the world of diplomacy.
Part of the motivation to join the ministry was provided by the prince, the Kingdom’s longest-serving foreign minister, and by Dr. Thoraya Obaid, former undersecretary-general and executive director of the UN Population Fund and the first Saudi woman to hold such a position.
A career as a diplomat was a long-held dream of mine. I still remember Dr. Thoraya’s appointment; I felt proud to see a Saudi woman in such a leading position and began to consider it as a career path.
One of my most memorable experiences happened two months after I began working at the ministry. I met Prince Saud before a conference and he shared some encouraging words with my colleagues and I, still young diplomats. He was well versed in the rules of diplomacy and an inspiration to many. I will always remember him answering a question during the conference by saying, “We must always be optimistic.” Optimism is essential to life, and to our careers as diplomats, too.
I also worked with the Saudi ambassador to Yemen, Mohammad Al-Jabir, from whom I learned a lot and gained experience in various areas. I worked at the Yemen Comprehensive Humanitarian Operations Center in 2018. As a team, we coordinated with and helped UN and international non-governmental organizations to assist and support their work in Yemen.
I was given an opportunity to speak about Saudi Arabia’s humanitarian efforts in Yemen during UN Economic and Social Council meetings. I was proud and excited to be given this chance, especially with the encouragement of Al-Jabir, who helped expand my perception of diplomacy.
For more than a year I worked closely with the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Center (KSrelief), which was a rich experience. I met many young Saudi men and women who inspired me with their dedication and passion. The friendships I made enlightened my days and painted a smile on my face. In 2019, I transferred to the Humanitarian Affairs department, working with a number of organizations, gaining more knowledge to add to my experience.
I currently work in the G20 Riyadh Summit office with a dynamic team aiming to contribute all we can to the Kingdom’s presidency of the organization.
I look back with nostalgia and forward in hope, believing that every journey in life comes with an invitation to learn.