Dr Awwad al-Awwad stood in the middle of al-Hilal Football club’s ground on full alert to block any dangerous passes towards his goal. But nearly 30 years later, he stands ready to tackle any wave of sports fanaticism at a different location; Saudi Arabia’s Minister of Culture and Information.
Al-Awaad was appointed as Saudi Arabia’s new information minister on Saturday when King Salman issued at least 45 royal decrees that included domestic policy changes and a cabinet reshuffle.
As a goalkeeper for Al-Hilal FC, Awwad was known for his ability to read the other team’s attackers. He was considered one of Saudi Arabia’s top footballers of his generation, that included Fahd Al-Ghashian and Khamis Al-Awairan. He played in the Youth League during the Gulf Championship alongside Sami Al Jaber, former Al-Hilal player and striker Safouk Al-Tamyat.
“Awaad was intelligent in reading the ball before coming to the opponent and dealing with football intelligently and not just relying on physical exertion. He has the leader’s personality since he was a junior,” a former Al-Hilal youth teammate told Al Arabiya.
The 45-year-old Saudi minister attained his Bachelor’s Degree from the Faculty of Administrative Sciences at King Saud University in Riyadh in 1992, his Master’s Degree in Banking Operations from the University of Boston in 1996 and obtained a PhD in Financial Markets from the University of Warwick in Britain in 2000.
He has served as the kingdom’s envoy in Germany since October 2015, until April 22, 2017 when the Saudi king issued a decree appointing him as minister of information.
He’s previously worked as a consultant for economic and financial affairs at the crown prince’s office, as a consultant for Riyadh’s emir, as deputy governor of the General Authority for Investment and as head of the national competition center that aims to develop investments procedure.
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