Saudi Ambassador to the United States Abdullah Al-Saud detailed the extraordinary economic, social, and political modernization taking place in the Kingdom in an op-ed today in USA Today, titled “Saudi ambassador: Kingdom in transformation.”
The ambassador provided a long list of accomplishments and plans in areas ranging from health to technology to social development and entrepreneurship.
“For me, the transformation of the cities in my country has been nothing short of extraordinary,” wrote Amb. Al-Saud. “Once small towns in the middle of vast expanses of desert, they are now filled with skyscrapers, connected by superhighways and modern airports; dotted with international universities, state-of-the-art hospitals, and major shopping centers; and bustling with every form of commerce from global enterprises to start-up companies.”
The ambassador elaborated on transformations in the economy, society and foreign policy.
“When President Obama landed in Riyadh this week, he arrived in a Saudi Arabia that is rapidly moving toward a future where its economy is not dependent on oil,” he said.
Amb. Al-Saud said that economic investment will require a vibrant civil society that provides citizens with opportunities to participate in the decision-making process.
He said that there has been a transformation of Saudi engagement in foreign affairs in addition to economic and social change, as the Kingdom takes more assertive leadership to promote stability, security and peace. “Where there has been a need, Saudi Arabia has stepped forward to provide the unwavering leadership and action needed to bring about peace and stability to the region and the world,” he wrote.
The ambassador reminded his nation’s critics of the fast pace of modernization in the Kingdom, saying, “When people judge Saudi Arabia, and sometimes quite harshly, they seem not to notice that the modern Saudi state is barely 84 years old. In that short amount of time, we have gone from a desert kingdom to a modern country and a global leader.”
Read the full op-ed here.