The most prominent of prominent not royal Saudis is Ghazi Al Qosaibi. This is a name that every Saudi knows, young and old. He initially became popular for the reforms he implemented as minister of health, that and his Arabic novels compounded to make him one of the shiniest stars in the Saudi sky.
The first phases of his education were in neighboring Arab countries, Bahrain and Egypt. He then went on to a masters in the US and a PhD from the University of London. He then came back to Riyadh in 1971 to work as an academic at King Saud University. However, that did not last that long because he later sat at many important desks in Saudi; Director General of Saudi Railways Organization, Minister of Industry and Electricity, Minister of Health, Saudi ambassador in Bahrain then UK, Minister of Water, and now Minister of Labour.
Before he was assigned that last position, he was immensely popular all across Saudi but since becoming Minister of Labour, he has had to delve into areas that he had not touched before. As minister he is trying to tackle issues such as women unemployment rates, creating new sectors for Saudi women, reducing the number of low-skilled expatriate workers and training Saudis to take over their jobs. All of the above are held dearly to the hearts of our conservative majority.
It seems like they think anyone holding a Saudi passport is too good for blue-collar jobs. And they all live in a fairyland where every Saudi woman has a chivalrous man supporting her. And that’s why now his popularity has seen a dive.
To give you a sense of what he’s up against read these two articles:
RIYADH, 28 April 2008 – Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi yesterday criticized people who reject the idea of Arab and Saudi women working as maids in Saudi households.
“We are a society which is full of guardians,” Al-Gosaibi told reporters while answering a question about a proposal to have Egyptian housemaids in Saudi homes, as suggested by the Egyptian minister of labor.
“The Prophet (peace be upon him) said that all of you are guardians and that every guardian is responsible for his family. He did not say all of you are guardians for entire society,” said Al-Gosaibi.
Al-Gosaibi Seeks People’s Support for Job Policies
BURAIDAH, 24 April 2008 – Labor Minister Ghazi Al-Gosaibi yesterday called for sustained support from society to help his ministry successfully implement new employment policies.
Addressing the participants in the second day of the seventh national dialogue forum that began in Buraidah on Tuesday, Al-Gosaibi said no Islamic religious strictures prevent women from working.
“After detailed studies and discussions, the religious scholars, intellectuals and the Supreme Economic Council have agreed on the religious regulations on the employment of women,” the minister said.
Another thing that has to be mentioned when it come to Dr. Ghazi Al Qosaibi, is his great contributions to Arabic literature. His most noteworthy is The Apartment of Freedom which is about a group of Saudi college students in Egypt. It is so popular that it was made into a TV series. And his latest novel, The Genie, which was published in 2006 is also a good read.
One more thing is he was one of the first people to back Raja Al Sanea, author of Girls of Riyadh.