x
Breaking News
More () »

Who is the Saudi Crown Prince and what is he doing in Seattle?

The crown prince is seen as a bold reformer who moved quickly and aggressively to consolidate power, upending Saudi Arabia's traditional line of succession.

At just 32, Mohammed Bin Salman, is Saudi Arabia's second most powerful person, named heir to the throne.

Viewed as a bold reformer, he’s moved quickly and aggressively to consolidate power, upending Saudi Arabia's traditional line of succession.

While seen as ruthless by some, he’s also been hailed for his efforts to modernize the country and pursue an ambitious plan to diversify the economy, which explains his multiple stop visit across the U.S., meeting with VIPs from coast to coast.

His visit to the United States started last week in Washington D.C. with a meeting at the White House. Prince Mohammed also stopped in Boston and New York, meeting with top figures from Wall Street, as well as former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State John Kerry before making his way west.

The prince and his entourage landed in Seattle Friday afternoon at Paine Field in Everett where he reportedly met with top Boeing executives. While in town, he also met with Bill Gates, and reportedly with Jeff Bezos and possibly the CEO of Starbucks. Details of his itinerary have not been released.

Following his trip to Western Washington, there are reports he will meet with the top names in tech and entertainment in California. Axios reports expected meetings with Apple CEO Tim Cook and top Google executives. During the Los Angeles leg of the trip, he’s expected to meet with Oprah Winfrey, Walt Disney CEO Robert Iger, studio heads and talent agent Ari Emanuel, and possibly Rupert Murdoch.

Axios reports his final stop will be Houston, where he’s expected to meet with former President George H.W. Bush and former Secretary of State James Baker.

The whirlwind trip is designed to reinforce U.S.-Saudi relations and attract new business and American investment. Prince Mohammed has talked about plans for significant economic and social changes in Saudi Arabia which includes expanding an economy that's been long dependent on oil.

His vision includes building up Saudi Arabia's tech sector, as well as tourism and entertainment.

Under his leadership, Saudi Arabia has undergone some major social reforms, including lifting the ban on movie theaters. Women in Saudi Arabia have also been granted more rights, including being able to drive.

But experts on the region say overall rights still remain an issue, and Prince Mohammed made headlines for controversial arrests of hundreds of business people and officials last year.

Related: “Saudis Said to Use Coercion and Abuse to Seize Billions,” via New York Times

His visit to the U.S. also comes amid Saudi Arabia's direct involvement in the civil war in Yemen, widely viewed as a proxy war between rivals in Saudi Arabia and Iran.

The UN has called the conflict the UN calls the worst man-made humanitarian crisis of our time.

Paid Advertisement

Before You Leave, Check This Out