Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud

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Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud
Minister of Education
In office 14 February 2009 – 22 December 2013
Predecessor Abdullah bin Saleh bin Obaid
Monarch King Abdullah
Successor Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud
Born (1950-05-13) 13 May 1950 (age 68)
Spouse Adila bint Abdullah Al Saud
Issue Four daughters and two sons
Full name
Faisal bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Abdulaziz bin Saud bin Faisal bin Turki Al Saud
House House of Saud
Father Abdullah bin Mohammed Al Saud
Mother Nouf bint Abdulaziz Al Saud
Religion Wahhabi Hanbali Sunni Islam

Faisal bin Abdullah Al Saud (Arabic: الامير فيصل بن عبدالله بن محمد آل سعود) (born 13 May 1950, Riyadh) is the former minister of education in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 14 February 2009 until 22 December 2013.

Early life and education[edit]

Faisal bin Abdullah was born in Riyadh on 13 May 1950.[1][2][3] He is from the Mohammad sub-branch of the Saud bin Faisal branch of the Al Saud family.[4] His mother is Nouf bint Abdulaziz Al Saud, a daughter of Ibn Saud and the full sister of King Abdullah.[4]

He was educated in the United States, receiving a bachelor's degree in business administration from Menlo College in 1971[1][2][5] and a master's degree in industrial engineering from Stanford University in 1977.[3] His master's degree studies included the fields of values, technologies and society, and futurology.[3]


Faisal bin Abdullah worked in the research and industrial development center at the ministry of commerce from 1971 to 1973.[3] During the period 1992 to 1997, he founded companies and became stakeholder in some firms.[3] Faisal bin Abdullah was deputy commander of the National Guard’s western sector from 1992 to 2003.[3] In the years before his 2009 appointment as minister of education, he was deputy chief of General Intelligence Presidency (GIP), a position he had held since 2003.[6][7] Prince Faisal was responsible for the reorganization of GIP's administrative structure.[6]

In addition to these official posts, Faisal bin Abdullah played a role in improving the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology.[8] He was also the chairman of steering committee of Al Aghar Group of Strategic Thought.[9]

Faisal bin Abdullah was appointed minister of education to the Saudi cabinet on 14 February 2009,[10] replacing Abdullah bin Saleh bin Obaid who had been in this post since 2005.[8][11] At the time of the appointment, western news media reported that Faisal had earlier been involved in efforts to reduce extremist influences from the Saudi education system;[12] his appointment was thought to reflect the King's intention to reinforce efforts to reduce the influence of extremists in the domain of education.[13] However, his appointment as well as the others made in 2009 was regarded as a struggle for power rather than a dynamic of reform.[14]

On 22 December 2013, Prince Faisal was removed from office upon his request and Khalid bin Faisal Al Saud was appointed minister of education.[15]


It was thought that Faisal bin Abdullah supported the reform initiatives of King Abdullah.[8] Furthermore, he was regarded as progressive.[16] Faisal bin Abdullah described King Abdullah as "the closest route between two points - a straight line."[17] He further argued that King perceived the things as straightforward.[17]

Faisal bin Abdullah stated in 2010 that curricula should be reorganized and improved to include more focus on progressive development and investment in human beings and to depend on Saudi Arabia's religious, historical and cultural characteristics.[18] He told in May 2010, speaking on Saudi Television's "Good Morning" program, that women would be employed to teach boys at the public primary school level, although there is no mixed classrooms in Saudi Arabia.[19] He further argued that it might be time for children to attend mixed-sex primary schools.[20] Concerning the unavailability of physical education courses in public schools for female students in Saudi Arabia, he stated in August 2011 that the ministry was still reviewing the issue.[21]


Faisal bin Abdullah is the chairman of the National Committee for Education, Culture and Sciences. He has a keen interest in heritage with a passion for archaeology. He supports the Saudi Commission for Tourism and Antiquities (SCTA), headed by Sultan bin Salman. For him, SCTA is very crucial to preserve the Saudi Arabia’s heritage. Faisal bin Abdullah is in favor of more parallel efforts by related authorities to assist the SCTA to achieve its mission.[18]

He is also member of the following organizations:[3] Vice president of King Abdulaziz and his companions foundation for giftedness and creativity;[22] president of the Saudi Arabian Boy Scouts Association, (at the age of 14 in 1963 he attended the 11th World Scout Jamboree in Marathon, Greece); president of the Saudi national commission for childhood, and chairman of the board of trustees of the equestrian fund.[23] He founded a think tank, dealing with the reform of higher education.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Faisal bin Abdullah is married to Adila bint Abdullah, daughter of late King Abdullah.[12][16][25] Princess Adila is one of only a few female members of the royal family to have a semi-public role.[26] It was thought that Princess Adila was very significant backing for his political initiatives.[16] They have six children, two sons and four daughters.[27] One of their daughters is a graduate of King's College in London.[28]

Faisal bin Abdullah has lived in Jeddah since 1992 when he was appointed to the National Guard in the Western Province.[18] He is a professional photographer.[18] He took photographs of King Abdullah's daily life when the latter had been crown prince, and published them in a book.[17] Faisal bin Abdullah received an honorary doctorate degree from the Georgetown College in 2010.[3]


  1. ^ a b "H.H. Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Al-Saud". US-Saudi Forum. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b "Bio: H.H. Prince Faisal Bin Abdullah Al-Saud". SUSRIS. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h "Faisal bin Abdullah". Global Competitiveness Forum. Archived from the original on 19 April 2012. Retrieved 20 May 2012. 
  4. ^ a b "King's son-in-law takes control of Saudi ministry of education and education reform". Wikileaks. 16 June 2009. Retrieved 24 December 2013. 
  5. ^ "Profiles". Saudi Gazette. 15 February 2009. Archived from the original on 24 September 2012. Retrieved 10 May 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Anthony H. Cordesman; Khalid R. Rodhan (2007). Gulf Military Forces in an Era of Asymmetric Wars. Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 235. ISBN 978-0-275-99399-3. Retrieved 3 April 2013. 
  7. ^ "Faisal Named Assistant Intelligence Chief". Arab News. 2 July 2003. Retrieved 6 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c "King Abdullah Reshuffles Cabinet, Embarks on New Reform Initiative". US-Saudi Arabian Business Council. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  9. ^ "CP agrees to be honorary president of Saudi Association for Sociology and Social Service". Ain Alyaqeen. 25 March 2008. Archived from the original on 10 May 2008. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Saudi Cabinet" (PDF). Gulf States News. February 2009. Retrieved 26 May 2012. [permanent dead link]
  11. ^ "Hajjar New NSHR Chief". Arab News. 18 May 2005. Retrieved 1 September 2012. 
  12. ^ a b Christopher Boucek (June 2009), "Saudi Arabia's king changes the guard" (PDF), Jane's Islamic Affairs Analyst, Carnegie Endowment, archived from the original (PDF) on 11 April 2010, retrieved 5 May 2012 
  13. ^ Christopher Blanchard (16 December 2009). Saudi Arabia: Background and U.S. relations. Congressional Research Service. Retrieved 2 May 2012. 
  14. ^ Nabil Mouline (April–June 2012). "Power and generational transition in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). Critique Internationale. 46: 1–22. Retrieved 24 April 2012. 
  15. ^ Saudi King Appoints New Minister of Education Al Arabiya. 22 December 2013
  16. ^ a b c Simon Henderson (18 February 2009). "Saudi Arabia Changes Course, Slowly". The Washington Institute. 
  17. ^ a b c Brian Whitaker (24 March 2006). "The Guardian profile: King Abdullah". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 August 2012. 
  18. ^ a b c d Abdullah Obayan (4 September 2010). "Education and heritage drive Prince Faisal". Saudi Gazette. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  19. ^ Talal Kapoor (27 May 2010). "A Reformist King: Abdallah And Women's Rights". Datarabia. Retrieved 8 June 2012. 
  20. ^ Simon Mabon (2012). "Kingdom in Crisis? The Arab Spring and Instability in Saudi Arabia". Contemporary Security Policy. 33 (3): 530–553. doi:10.1080/13523260.2012.727683. 
  21. ^ Christoph Wilcke (21 March 2012). "Why a Token Saudi Female Athlete is not Enough". Human Rights Watch. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  22. ^ "King to chair Mawhibah 'gifted' board of trustees". Saudi Gazette. 27 February 2012. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 26 May 2012. 
  23. ^ "Reception For Saudi Equestrian Team". Saudi Press Agency. 10 August 2012. Archived from the original on 13 December 2014. Retrieved 12 August 2012. 
  24. ^ "Saudi Cabinet Reshuffle Signals Moderate Shift". PBS. 2 March 2009. Retrieved 2 March 2013. 
  25. ^ Simon Henderson (August 2009). "After King Abdullah" (Policy Paper). Washington Institute. Retrieved 28 July 2012. 
  26. ^ Stig Stenslie (2011). "Power Behind the Veil: Princesses of the House of Saud". Journal of Arabian Studies: Arabia, the Gulf, and the Red Sea. 1 (1): 69–79. doi:10.1080/21534764.2011.576050. Retrieved 14 April 2012. 
  27. ^ "Family Tree of Adila bint Abdallah bin Abdulaziz Al Saud". Datarabia. Retrieved 1 May 2012. 
  28. ^ Stig Stenslie (21 August 2012). Regime Stability in Saudi Arabia: The Challenge of Succession. Routledge. p. 38. ISBN 978-1-136-51157-8. Retrieved 7 December 2012.