His Excellency Abdulla Shahid
Minister of Foreign Affairs.
A Biographical Note
Honourable Abdulla Shahid is one of the senior most politicians in the Maldives, with a long and distinguished career in both the Executive and the Legislative branches of the country.
He started his career as a Foreign Service officer in the Maldives Foreign Ministry in 1983 and rose rapidly through the lower and middle management levels to being appointed Director, International Affairs in charge of the multilateral desk of the Ministry in 1993.
Recognizing his many skills, talents and administrative capabilities the then President appointed Shahid as Executive Secretary to the President of the Maldives (Chief of Staff) in 1995. He held the post for over 10 years, reflecting the trust and confidence placed in him by the President, and the high degree of distinction and diligence with which he executed his responsibilities.
Abdulla Shahid’s career in the Executive branch of the Maldives government gained further momentum in mid-2005 when he was appointed the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs and, just two years later, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. The appointment occurred at a time of sweeping political change in the country following the introduction of a new democratic constitution.
As Foreign Minister, he streamlined the work of the Ministry and widened the diplomatic reach of the Maldives by opening up new resident diplomatic missions. His efforts enhanced the image of the country despite formidable challenges facing a country in the early stages of a tumultuous democratic transition. Serving concurrently in the Executive as well as the Legislative branch as an elected MP at the time, Shahid vigorously advocated for human rights, good governance, rights of the parliamentarians, and measures to halt global warming and climate change. He attended numerous meetings of the UN, the Commonwealth, and the Organization for Islamic Cooperation, the SAARC and the Non-aligned Movement at times as a member and often as the head of the Maldives delegation.
Hon. Abdulla Shahid’s initial entry into domestic politics dates back to his appointment as a Member of the President to the Constitutional Assembly in 1994 and to being appointed to the People’s Majlis the following year as President’s Member. He was later elected as MP for the Vaavu Atoll constituency for two consecutive five-year terms in 2000 and 2005. Subsequently, he contested in the first multi-party parliamentary elections in 2009 and secured the seat for Keyodhoo constituency. In the parliamentary elections of 2014, he succeeded in winning a seat from Male’, the capital of the Maldives.
Hon. Abdulla Shahid was elected Speaker of the People’s Majlis on 29 May 2009, creating history as the first ever elected Speaker, confirming the confidence of his fellow parliamentarians in his leadership and oratory skills, sagacity and diplomatic prowess. He earned the respect and admiration of fellow MPs by skillfully steering the work of the Majlis amid vigorous and not seldom rancorous debates while protecting and promoting the rights and privileges of MPs and the legislature.
During his tenure as Speaker of the Majlis, Hon. Shahid also served as the President of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians Conference. In addition, he was also a member of the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association, having held earlier the membership of the Standing Committee of Commonwealth Speakers and Presiding Officers Conference.
Hon. Abdulla Shahid has been a leading and prominent voice of the Opposition movement both at home and abroad, calling for political and judicial reform during the last five years, even spending some jail time for his relentless political activism. He has played a key role in his capacity as the Chair of the Foreign Relations Committee of the Maldivian Democratic Party as well as the Joint Opposition group, bringing to the attention of the international community the many injustices, rampant corruption and the extra-legal activities and practices of President Yameen’s government, both in and out of parliament.
Following the successful presidential campaign of 2018, Hon. Abdulla Shahid was appointed the Chair of the Transition Committee of President-elect Hon. Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Born in Male’ in May 1962, Hon. Abdulla Shahid is married to Aishath Suiza. They have 3 children, 2 sons and a daughter.