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RIYAD: The French government has awarded Dr Hoda Al-Helaissi the rank of “Chevalier de la Légion d’honneur”.

She is the first Saudi woman to receive this award in recognition of her contribution to strengthening relations between Saudi Arabia and France.

“I cannot find words to express my gratitude and pride at having received such a great honor,” said Al-Helaissi, member of the Shura Council and of the Shura Foreign Affairs Committee, during his speech. speech after receiving the award at the French embassy.

The Legion of Honor is the highest decoration in France and was created in 1802 by Napoleon Bonaparte. It is divided into five grades of increasing distinction: knight, officer, commander, grand officer and grand cross.

More than 500 Saudis have received one of two honors since France first established official diplomatic relations with the Kingdom in the 1930s.

“It is an honor for me to be among the eminent names whose efforts have been written in the pages of the history of military and civilian merit and to be mentioned alongside the names of great personalities who have left their mark. in many areas, “said Al-dit Hélaisis.

Al-Helaissi was nominated as one of the first 30 women to join the Saudi Shura Council and her membership in the Council was renewed over the next two sessions.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the guardian of the two holy mosques, King Salman and Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman for their trust,” she said.

“I don’t know where to start to express everything I have learned over these years. Since the first year of my joining the council, I have chosen to participate in the foreign affairs committee of the Shoura council, as well as the francophone friendship committee, ”she declared.

Al-Helaissi said that his participation in the Shura Council has played an important role in his knowledge of many parliamentarians and prominent figures around the world. She also underlined how her participation helped to visit many countries to strengthen bilateral relations between the Kingdom and these countries.

Since 2011, Al-Helaissi has been a member of the board of directors of the Alliance Française in Saudi Arabia.

“On a personal level, France, its culture and its language hold a special place in my heart. Thanks to my parents, I was lucky enough to be educated at the Lycée Français in London.

She said that from her youth she realized how much of a significant impact France had made on the world, although the rest of the world also had a lot to offer. His late father was ambassador in different countries and his mother played an important role in making him discover France and its important cultural role.

Al-Helaissi thanked France and the French Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Ludovic Pouille, and the former Ambassador, François Goyette, for consolidating relations between France and Saudi Arabia.

“We are living today at a difficult stage in human history, full of challenges and threats, whether it is because of the corona pandemic which has changed our way of life, or the extremism which fuels racism and intolerance, or even climate change, the impact of which is increasing day by day. Coexistence with others has become inevitable in the era of globalization, “she declared.

“We must work with international partners to prosper and address the threats to humanity and human civilization so that we can create a better world for our children and grandchildren.

We all share universal values, and through hard work and a spirit of peace and humanity, we can, God willing, make real change, ”she said.

Al-Helaissi majored in French and joined King Saud University to teach French language and culture, as well as English for 23 years. She also worked for 14 years as head of the Languages ​​and Translation Department, which at the time only understood English.

Al-Helaissi once told Arab News: “What we are today is due to our past, just as tomorrow will be the result of our today.

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