YPFP NY: Global Diplomacy Series event on Saudi Arabia's Engagement in Multilateral Diplomacy

Posted on April 26, 2013

Around a wide conference table on April 16, 2013, in the Permanent Mission of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, Ambassador Abdallah Y. Al-Mouallimi spoke to members of YPFP on Saudi Arabia's active role and engagement in the United Nations (UN), Saudi-U.S. relations, and Middle East issues, at a YPFP Global Diplomacy Series event, titled “Saudi Arabia’s Engagement in Multilateral Diplomacy.”

Ambassador Al-Mouallimi has been the Permanent Representative of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations since June of 2011. He was previously the Saudi ambassador to Belgium, Luxembourg, and the European Union, and has also served as the mayor of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia’s second largest city, from 2001 to 2005.

The talk opened with a historical overview of the relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, as well as Saudi Arabia’s role in the United Nations. Saudi Arabia was one of the founding members of the UN and Ambassador Al-Mouallimi mentioned that he is pleased to be serving at the Saudi Mission at this particular time, as the country will be up for election to the U.N. Security Council for the first time in October 2013.

Ambassador Al-Mouallimi then delineated the Saudi perspective on, as he termed them, the three hot topics in the region: Palestine, Syria, and Iran. It was on Palestine that Ambassador Al-Mouallimi spoke most forcefully. On this issue, Saudi Arabia has “major disagreements with the United States,” he said. “Peace-making is not a part-time job that can be done within election seasons,” Ambassador Al-Mouallimi stated. “It is high time President Obama works to earn his Nobel Prize.”

The Ambassador’s introductory remarks were short, leaving ample time for questions. Attendees obliged. By the event’s end and after almost twenty queries, the room was still full of raised hands.

YPFP members raised a variety of topics, which ranged from unemployment in Saudi Arabia, the concept of peak oil, and the impact of the U.S. invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq. Other questions brought up the U.S. drone program, Saudi’s relationship with Qatar, recent events in Egypt, and issues of gender equality. Ambassador Al-Mouallimi spoke most personally on this last topic, as he discussed how the country’s first license to practice law was only recently granted to a Saudi woman and his own daughter’s interest in studying law.

The event was a part of YPFP NY’s ongoing Global Diplomacy Series. The Global Diplomacy Series offers YPFP members the opportunity to engage with the most distinguished diplomatic representatives in New York, including diplomats from permanent missions, consulates, and embassies. Discussions are typically open to only a limited number of attendees, and take place at the relevant embassy, residence, or cultural office.

See event photos here. Stay tuned for more events in the series – and make sure to sign up quickly to attend! The registration list for this event was closed quickly, as the intimate and exclusive nature of the event drew a full crowd of interested YPFP members.

There is an upcoming social networking event for YPFP NY on Monday, April 29, 2013 at the Galway Pub Midtown from 6:00-9:00 p.m.  For this event, no RSVP is necessary – come join us to meet other YPFP members, talk with the volunteer staff, and discuss all-things-foreign policy.


Eve Ahearn is Associate Director of Communications for YPFP NY.