Thuraya Obaid

12 November 2013

Thuraya Obaid is Deputy chairwoman, Shura Council human rights and petitions committee, Saudi Arabia

Thuraya Obaid

Position: Deputy chairwoman, Shura Council human rights and petitions committee

Biography: Thuraya Obaid has a history of establishing significant firsts for Saudi Arabia. In 2001, she was appointed executive director of the UN Population Fund and under-secretary-general of the UN. This made Obaid not only the first Saudi woman to work at that level in the UN, but also the first Saudi national to head a UN agency.

In 2002, she was responsible for the first Arab Human Development Report, which said the Middle East was wasting the talents of half its people. Obaid had a long career at the UN, starting in 1997, with a focus on empowering women across the Middle East and Asia.

In 1963, she became the first Saudi woman to receive a government scholarship to study in the US. In February 2013, Obaid was named deputy chairwoman of the human rights and petitions committee of the 150-member Shura Council, an advisory body that debates laws in the kingdom.

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