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What did Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the U.S. do on a visit to Utah?


Saudi Arabian Ambassador to america and Saudi royal member of the family Princess Reema bint Bandar Al Saud made her first go to to Utah in early March 2020, only a yr or so after her appointment to the submit when she turned the primary lady diplomat for her nation.

On her debut journey to Utah, Reema’s mission was to satisfy and have interaction with the state’s enterprise, authorities and religion leaders, hoping to launch relationships that may result in new collaborations and connections between the dominion and the Beehive State.

However simply days after the go to, the world was successfully shut down by the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the start of a interval of worldwide isolation, financial turmoil and a race to handle the unprecedented public well being disaster.

Final week, Reema was again in Utah, rekindling efforts first begun earlier than the pandemic and, this time round, connecting with an excellent broader group of stakeholders. Her mission of worldwide outreach and diplomacy comes alongside the challenges posed by Saudi Arabia’s authoritarian rule of presidency and a human rights file that sparked widespread concern.

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox stated these points had been on his thoughts, together with a deep curiosity find widespread floor with the Saudi diplomat, when he met with the ambassador throughout her three-day keep in Utah. Cox praised Reema’s forthrightness in talking on to these issues, together with the homicide of Saudi Arabian journalist Jamal Khashoggi on the Saudi embassy in Istanbul, Turkey, in 2018.

“Actually, we all know there have been some very troublesome points between the U.S. and the Saudi kingdom and we didn’t shrink back from that in any approach,” Cox stated. “It’s one thing that we’ve to attempt to navigate. I believe we should always maintain others accountable for dangerous acts and improper acts however on the similar time you don’t affect change by fully disengaging.”

Cox lauded Reema’s stance as an agent of change in Saudi Arabia, noting her work on a broad vary of ladies’s rights and fairness points in her residence nation. He famous Reema is the right consultant with which to construct collaborations on shared pursuits, and stated he and the ambassador had a wide-ranging dialogue about the place the collective targets of Utah and Saudi Arabia intersect.

“We now have financial pursuits in widespread that enable us to see one another … and these recognitions are how we begin to discover methods to construct partnerships,” Cox stated.

Cox stated two areas with nice potential are the power sector and post-secondary schooling as an financial driver.

“Ambassador Reema may be very involved in working to construct entrepreneurship in Saudi Arabia,” Cox stated. “We now have an extended historical past of that in Utah which is straight related to our schooling system. And we talked about methods to higher join Saudi college students with schooling alternatives right here in Utah.”

In a one-hour assembly with the Deseret Information editorial board and reporters, Reema praised Utah’s success in constructing one of many main state economies within the U.S. and highlighted Saudi Arabia’s curiosity find Utah partnerships.

“What may we do with Utah?” Reema requested earlier than sharing a couple of concepts. “We now have a really comparable footprint, as a nation that’s desert-based. Utah has a really comparable topography. Your pure sources match ours however your have to develop additionally matches ours. In that have to develop, we’re speaking now to firms that do manufacturing and asking in the event that they’d be involved in coming and partnering with the dominion and organising manufacturing. We’re speaking about new types of power and new know-how.

“We all know that Utah has a thriving entrepreneurial setting and you’re very welcoming to entrepreneurs. And we need to be, too.”

Reema stated the Saudi authorities has been working to revamp its home framework in hopes of attracting a broader worldwide enterprise presence. These modifications embody regulatory exemptions aiming to bolster firms working within the innovation and superior know-how realm in addition to capital incentives.

“We really feel that spirit of ingenuity that Utah has to thrive is one thing we’ve too,” Reema stated. “And so it felt very pure to return again right here and increase on these conversations.”

Potential perks for firms seeking to increase into Saudi Arabia, the second largest nation within the Arab world with a inhabitants of about 35 million residents and a $1 trillion gross home product, embody a brand new, streamlined visa course of; monetary incentives for brand new manufacturing services; the elimination of a former requirement to companion with a longtime Saudi agency; and “white glove” help from the Saudi Ministry of Funding to assist get new overseas ventures off the bottom.

Reema, who’s father, Bandar bin Sultan, served because the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. for over 20 years, famous her diplomatic mission to Utah is pushed by the will to deepen the dominion’s long-running relationship with the U.S. by making broader, grassroots connections.

“I don’t need our relationship to be merely political. I don’t need our relationship to be primarily based merely on protection,” Reema stated. “It’s obtained to be primarily based on individuals coming collectively, discovering shared impacts and dealing collectively.”

Reema is an avid skier who grew up and attended school within the U.S. She can be a member of the Worldwide Olympic Committee Ladies in Sports activities Fee and toured the Park Metropolis Olympic coaching services whereas she was in Utah. Reema stated she had an opportunity to observe Ukrainian winter sports activities athletes figuring out throughout her go to and is involved in partnering with U.S. Olympic officers to create alternatives for Saudi winter athletes who at present practice in Europe.

“You’ve gotten magnificent services right here,” Reema stated. “And, what’s so fascinating to me about how the U.S. trains different athletes is, you practice them in addition to you practice your individual. You take a look at the person and also you spend money on particular person improvement no matter the place they arrive from.

“I believe that spirit of kindness and wholesome aggressive improvement doesn’t actually exist in the remainder of the world, nevertheless it exists right here.”

Reema additionally highlighted curiosity find Utah companions in renewable power improvement, an effort that she stated is driving billions in funding from Saudi Arabian petroleum powerhouses like Aramco. Reema stated the investments are an acknowledgment that, whereas petroleum belongings at present drive a 3rd of the Saudi Arabian economic system, world environmental impacts require that fossil fuels be supplanted by cleaner power sources.

“We’re transferring ahead aggressively (on renewable power improvement),” Reema stated. “Not as a result of somebody advised us to do it however as a result of it’s the fitting factor to do for the setting. The fitting factor to do for the economic system.”

Reema additionally touched base with Utah well being care suppliers together with a gathering with executives from Utah-based well being providers big Intermountain Healthcare.

Sue Robel, Intermountain Healthcare area president and system chief nursing govt, stated she and her colleagues met with Reema and mentioned findings from Intermountain’s inhabitants research and genetic mapping in addition to its inexpensive medicines applications and response to COVID-19.

“Assembly with Princess Reema and her delegation was pleasant and insightful,” Robel stated in a press release. “We’re enthusiastic about our relationship, and we stay up for persevering with dialog and main innovation that helps our communities — each in america and in Saudi Arabia — obtain high-quality care and medication.

“It’s clear we share a typical mission to make sure our group members dwell wholesome and fulfilling lives.”

World Commerce Middle Utah helped coordinate alternatives for Reema and her group to satisfy with quite a few Utah enterprise representatives on her go to and the group sees a wealth of potential in near- and long-term business collaborations and partnerships.

Stephen Lefevre, World Commerce Middle Utah chief of workers and director of strategic and overseas affairs, stated there was an immense stage of curiosity from Utah companies in listening to about alternatives to work with Saudi Arabian officers on increasing worldwide enterprise ventures.

“There have been so many requests from companies that we weren’t capable of fill all of them,” Lefevre stated. “Princess Reema makes a compelling case for collaboration alternatives throughout a broad spectrum of sectors. We’re persevering with to construct a deep relationship with the ambassador and her group and I consider we’re going to see large developments in partnerships connecting Utah and Saudi Arabia.”





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