Hiwar: Success is a Woman named Nabeela al-Mulla

Women in International Diplomacy

It was notable that you were the 1st woman diplomat from the Gulf

Did that help (make you a ‘unicorn’) or hurt (she’s a token, not serious) your ability to serve?

What challenges did you face and were any unique due to your gender?

There are now women ambassadors from other GCC countries and other countries are sending women ambassadors to Kuwait.  Do you feel that your service was observed and demonstrated that women from the Arab world could be successful?  Do you think serving as an ambassador FROM an Arab country made it possible to female ambassadors to serve IN an Arab country?

Do you have to sacrifice ‘family’ to be successful in the diplomatic corps?

What do you wish you’d known when you started?

What advice would you give women interested in the diplomatic corps?


H.E.Nabeela Abdulla AlMulla, is a distinguished lecturer at the American University of Kuwait (AUK), President of the Board of Trustees of the Kuwait College of Science & Technology (KCST), member of the Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Disarmament Matters  and member of the British-Kuwait Friendship Society.  Ambassador AlMulla  is a former resident Ambassador of the State of Kuwait to Belgium, European Union, United Nations (NY), Austria, International Atomic Energy Agency, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, and non-resident Ambassador to Luxembourg, Cuba, Mexico, Bahamas, Hungary, Slovakia, Slovenia, Botswana, Namibia, Mauritius. She has represented Kuwait in the Arms Control and Regional Security in the Middle East (ACRS), Organisation of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) and the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). She is the first woman from the Gulf Cooperation Council to serve as ambassador 1993, the first woman from the Middle East and Southern Asia (MESA) to serve as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) 2002-3, and the first Arab woman to serve as Permanent Representative to the United Nations 2004.

Ambassador AlMulla received her B.A. in political science and her M.A. in international relations from the American University of Beirut. She was presented with the Austrian Grand Golden Decoration of Honor for First Class Merit in 2004, and with the Belgian Grand Cross Decoration in 2013. She was nominated by civil society for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005, and presented with SOS Children’s Villages Badge of Honour in Gold in 2014.


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