Sara Ashour, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to UNO
By Habib Toumi
They are the new type of successful Gulf diplomats determined to overcome challenges, bias and misconceptions both at home and abroad and to assert themselves as genuine voices for their countries, successfully delivering their global messages, loudly and clearly.
Sara Ashour, First Secretary, Permanent Mission of Saudi Arabia to the United Nations, and Amiera Al Hefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of the United Arab Emirates to the United Nations, are two accomplished diplomats.
In a sign of modern times, they have been impressively representing Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on the most watched stage in the world: the United Nations in New York. They symbolize the empowerment of Gulf women in political and diplomatic participation and in leadership. They are also the affirmation that the glass ceiling for success across all sectors, regardless of the gender, is only in the mind. And they convey their statements with great confidence, impressive panache and stylish elegance.
This week, they made headlines by stating the national positions of their countries regarding the Palestinian Cause and the significance of tolerance in domestic and foreign policies.
The two diplomats commanded great respect and demonstrated how far Saudi and Emirati women have advanced, elevated their status and asserted themselves as they served their country.
Sara has been well groomed for addressing the international community to emphasize her country’s positions.
According to his biography, she is an experienced political affairs officer with a demonstrated history of working in the government administration.
She worked at the Saudi embassy in Lebanon and at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs where she was a Political Affairs Officer before becoming a First Secretary
Sarah possesses strong community and social services as well as professional skills in analyses and negotiations.
The Saudi diplomat, who is also an Elections Officer and an Internship Director, holds an M.A. in International Affairs from the Lebanese American University and a B.S. in Business Computer from the same university.
She speaks Arabic, English, French, and Japanese, she posted on her LinkedIn account.
Amiera Al Hefeiti, Deputy Permanent Representative, Permanent Mission of UAE to UNO
Amiera manages Security Council, Human Rights, and Legal files. From June 2014 to April 2018, she handled the Social, Humanitarian and Cultural Affairs Committee (Third Committee) of the UN General Assembly.
She also led the Gender and Youth files and served as Vice President of the UN Women Executive Board for 2016, representing the Asia-Pacific Group.
In 2015, Amiera was conferred the Minister of Foreign Affairs Excellence Award for the Outstanding Diplomat.
She had participated in several diplomatic training programs, including at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C., New York University and Harvard Kennedy School.
According to her biography, Amiera joined the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs in January 2011 and worked at the Policy Planning Department (PPD) as an analyst.
She advised and developed strategies on several country-specific issues, including those relevant to GCC States, Yemen, Iraq and UK, specifically the UAE-UK Task Force, as well as issues related to human rights and women.
Prior to working at the Ministry, she worked in the field of research. She worked as a Parliamentary Researcher at the Federal National Council (FNC), the UAE parliament, where she conducted various studies and prepared materials for the FNC’s Speaker and members at regional and international conferences and forums.
She also worked as a Research Assistant at Mohammed Bin Rashid School of Government (previously known as Dubai School of Government) where she conducted a series of interviews on various gender-related topics and social issues.
Amiera holds a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, with distinction, from UAE University, and a Master’s degree in International Law, Diplomatic and International Relations, from Paris-Sorbonne University, Abu Dhabi. (Courtesy: theasian.asia)