H.E. Dr. Bandar Hajjar
President, IDB Group, Chairman, Board of Executive Directors, Islamic Development Bank
Dr. Bandar Hajjar received a Bachelor’s degree with First Class Honours in Economics and Political Sciences from King Saud University, Riyadh, and a Master’s degree in Economics from Indiana University, USA. In 1982, he returned to Saudi Arabia to work as a lecturer for four years. In 1986, he attended Loughborough University in the United Kingdom on a scholarship, where he received a Ph.D. in Economics. His thesis, Financing Small Enterprises in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, argued that Islamic financing is appropriate for small enterprises, which often lack collateral and expertise in administration and marketing.
From 1994 to 1998, Dr. Hajjar occupied the posts of Deputy Dean of the College of Economy and Administration; Deputy Director of the Islamic Economics Research Center; and Head of the Committee on Curricula Taught from an Islamic Perspective. His courses on monetary issues, banks, economic development, the Islamic economic system and macroeconomics linked theory and practice with a focus on outlooks. He encouraged his students to engage in voluntary work.
Chief Editor, Money and Markets
Dr. Hajjar believes that there is a strong connection between the economy and the media, and that together they represent the two wings of societal enhancement. Responsible media reveals the economy’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and challenges. It contributes to the development and enhancement of the economy through the objective reading of events and outlooks.
This view was the main driver behind the 1996 establishment of Money and Markets, a specialized economics magazine to address the concerns of the Arab and Islamic worlds in line with ethical and spiritual values. The magazine provided objective insights about international events and developments and highlighted their effects on economic activities. It dedicated extensive space for Islamic economy and Islamic financing. Dr. Hajjar was at the helm of the magazine until it was discontinued in 2006.
Member, Shura Council
In 1997, Dr. Hajjar was selected as a member of the Shura Council in its second session. His membership continued for three sessions, spanning 12 years. He was appointed Vice-Speaker of the Council, holding that office for three years.
During his term at the Shura Council, Dr. Hajjar chaired its Committee on Foreign Affairs for one year. He was a member of the Council’s Committee on Economic Affairs and Energy and the Committee on Social Affairs and Youth. He served on several specialized subcommittees, including the Committee on Integrity and Combating Corruption, the Committee on University Admission and the Committee on Zakat. At the international level, he represented the Council in the Arab Parliamentary Union and the Inter-Parliamentary Union for two years. He was also a member of the team focused on the accession of the Shura Council to the Inter-Parliamentary Union.
While at the Council, Dr. Hajjar developed an interest environmental protection and renewable energy; the relationship between the public, private and tertiary sectors; investment in education as the major driver of development; human development with a humanitarian dimension in addition to the economic dimension; the role of the tertiary sector in economic and social development; the importance of the middle class in achieving economic, social and political stability; and endowments.
Chairman, Coordinating Council for Monitoring Municipal Elections
Dr. Hajjar formed a coordinating council of seven NGOs, under the umbrella of the National Society for Human Rights, to monitor the first municipal elections held in Saudi Arabia in 2005. The Council deployed approximately 1,500 volunteers to all cities in the Kingdom, and issued daily statements in both Arabic and English explaining the election instructions, regulations and outcomes.
Chairman, National Society for Human Rights
Believing that upholding human rights and dignity is paramount, Dr. Hajjar, along with 40 Saudi men and women, established a national non-governmental human rights society in 2004.
Under his five-year chairmanship, the Society built awareness among citizens and residents about their rights under Sharia, domestic laws and international conventions. It introduced human rights in curricula, published a monthly newsletter and established an information and documentation center. The Society issued Saudi Arabia’s first report on human rights, which was well received nationally and internationally.
Minister of Hajj
The Ministry of Hajj is the governmental body mandated with caring for and serving approximately three million Muslims who visit the Kingdom to perform Hajj (pilgrimage) and seven million visitors who perform Umrah every year. The services begin the instant visitors decide to perform the rituals while still in their own countries, continue throughout their stay in the Kingdom, and do not end until they depart.
Dr. Hajjar was Minister of Hajj from 2011 to 2016. During his term, he introduced 25 new initiatives to develop and enhance the services provided to the guests of Allah. Some have been fully implemented and others are in progress. Aimed at making the Hajj journey an easier and more enjoyable experience, his innovations include the online service for Hajj performers from inside the Kingdom and abroad; the construction of a full-fledged Hajj city in Medina for performers of Hajj and Umrah and other visitors; and the hospitality program for guests of Allah as they arrive and depart.
Dr. Hajjar has served on several national and international bodies, including the Board of Trustees of Takaful Charity Organization, which sponsors orphans and needy students; the World Council for Supporting the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH); the Disabled Children Association; and the World Islamic Council for Economy and Finance.