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Mark Land
Associate vice president, IU Communications

Last modified: Wednesday, December 21, 2011

IU alumnus promoted to top Saudi ministry post

Dec. 21, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- An Indiana University alumnus has been appointed Minister of Hajj by Saudi King Abdullah.

Bandar Bin Mohammed As'ad Hajjar

Bandar bin Mohammed As'ad Hajjar

Bandar bin Mohammed As'ad Hajjar, who received a master's degree in economics at IU Bloomington in 1980, was sworn in last week as the head of the Ministry of Hajj, which oversees all services to Muslims making the annual pilgrimage, or hajj, to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The hajj is the largest pilgrimage in the world, attended by about 2.5 million visitors each year.

A member of the king's cabinet, Hajjar is the first IU alumnus to hold this high of a ministry appointment.

Born in 1953 in Madinah, Hajjar has held numerous key leadership positions in Saudi Arabia. He is former chairman of the National Society for Human Rights and deputy speaker of the Shoura Council, the formal advisory body to the Saudi king. He became a Shoura Council member in 1997.

He has a bachelor's degree in economics and politics from King Saud University in Riyadh. He received his doctorate in economics from Loughborough University in the U.K.

In recent years, IU has experienced significant growth in the number of Saudi students at the university. The total number of Saudi students has risen from 317 in 2009 to 486 this year. IU Bloomington has experienced the largest increase -- from 78 Saudi students in 2009 to 230 this year.

IU also has alumni chapters in the Saudi cities of Jeddah and Riyadh.