Meet Lele, the Mexican doll on tour in Saudi Arabia

Monitoring Desk

RIYADH: With her long braids and button eyes, Lele, the Mexican doll known to travel the world, arrived at the Arab News headquarters office in Riyadh.

Lele is a rag doll with long braids, a headband made of vibrant colored bows, and traditional clothing from the indigenous Otomi community, who uphold and celebrate their culture through their arts, food and festivals.

As a gift from the Embassy of Mexico, a version of the doll “Lele” has a home at Arab News, Riyadh.

“I would like to thank Arab News for giving Lele a place in their editorial home and keeping her ever-present in Riyadh,” Anibal Gomez Toledo, Ambassador of Mexico in Saudi Arabia said.

Lele Arrived in Saudi Arabia in February and traveled through Riyadh with Mexico’s embassy staff.

She was featured in some of Riyadh’s most famous locations during the #LeleInSaudi social media promotion, including the Kingdom Tower, Masmak Fortress, and the UNESCO World Heritage Site in Diriyah’s At-Turaif district.

She also participated in last week’s Founding Day celebrations and visited “The Line exhibition.” She was introduced to the Saudi audience by a young Saudi woman, who filmed a small video with her in Arabic and English.

Lele plans to visit other regions, the embassy said. She would also like to explore other countries in the region, especially Bahrain and Oman.

Lele means “baby” in Otomi, one of the 68 indigenous groups and languages in Mexico.

She was recognized as part of the State’s cultural heritage on April 18, 2018, and she hails from the Mexican municipality of Amealco, in Queretaro state.

The Otomies are Mexico’s fifth-largest indigenous group and live mainly in the states of Hidalgo, Estado de Mexico and Queretaro.

Lele’s clothing harks back to Otomi weavers and is intended to highlight the accomplishments of indigenous women.

The doll was part of a public diplomacy campaign launched in January by Mexico in North and South America, Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

“Lele’s presence in Saudi Arabia is relevant as Mexico seeks to make visible the Mexican women, especially those of indigenous origin, and their contributions to the economy and the society,” Gomez Toledo said.

“It coincides with (Saudi Arabia) undergoing important reforms that increase the presence of women and girls in different fields.”