Nouha Alhegelan, who led the Arab Women's Council campaign to "humanize" the war in Lebanon by staging White House vigils, taking the case to Nancy Reagan and crossing the country in a media blitz, is saying thanks but no thanks to Washington charities seeking her patronage.
"I've decided not to hold any benefits at all this year," says the wife of Saudi Arabian Ambassador Faisal Alhegelan. "I think our money is needed much more in the Arab world."
The Alhegelans became one of Embassy Row's most sought-after couples soon after they arrived in 1979. By last year their Massachusetts Avenue residence was a pit stop on the charity circuit.
"It seemed that practically every invitation we picked up was supported in some way by the Alhegelans," says Paula Jeffries of the Meridian House Ball committee, latest to be turned down by the Saudis.
Nouha Alhegelan says she plans to spend her money on humanitarian efforts "in a part of the world that has been treated so inhumanely." As owner of the residence, the Saudi government provides the setting for such parties, she says, "but it's the ambassador who provides the food and people who serve it."