Bilateral bonds strengthened at Saudi-Korean Youth Forum

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Updated 30 August 2012

Bilateral bonds strengthened at Saudi-Korean Youth Forum

JEDDAH: The Saudi-Korean Youth Forum, which ran in Seoul from June 17-27, witnessed a successful participation of 26 Saudi university students and professionals. The Saudis and their Korean counterparts exchanged knowledge and strengthened relations between the two countries.
Arab News participated in the forum from the beginning, and now looks back at the event.
The forum began with a preparatory workshop, held at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in May, where the participants were briefed on the activities of the forum as well as the preparations for holding a dialogue between the Saudi and Korean youth delegations.
The focus and theme of the forum was on knowledge-based economy, e-education and advanced broadband Internet services.
The Saudi-Korean Youth Forum is the sixth in a series of forums that are conducted within the framework of the historic initiative Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah took to achieve world peace through promoting dialogue between followers of various religions and cultures.
In Seoul the youth delegation toured IT and communication facilities, academic and technological institutions, research centers and places of cultural and historical importance.
Saudi youths visited the Korean Ministry of Education Science & Technology where they explored knowledge based economy and e-education programs.
They next visited Samsung offices where they where they given visual demonstration of the company’s profile and history and also viewed all the new products.
After each event Saudi delegates held dialogue sessions with their Korean counterparts on educational, social and technological aspects of their visits.
At the Korean Educational Development Institute, the Saudi youths listened to a lecture by Hyeseung Maria Chang, a research fellow at the institute. Hyeseung said the education system in Korea was instrumental in developing the country into a knowledge and industry-based economy.
“Higher education and professional training receive every support from the government,” Hyeseung said. “We also provide intensive training to teachers to improve the quality of education. We have introduced advanced technology to the education system.”
The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs initiated the program to promote Saudi youth relations with nations around the world.
Yusuf Al-Saadoun, undersecretary for economic and cultural affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said, “The mission is to support the development of economic, cultural and political relations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the world and to invest in Saudi youth by giving them the opportunity to communicate with youth in other parts of the world, while spreading a positive image of the Kingdom.”
Al-Saadoun underscored the success of forums held earlier in various countries, including China, Brazil, Germany and India.
During the forum’s conclusion Saudi and Korean youths presented statements, one to King Abdullah and to South Korean President Lee Myung-bak, the other to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The statements were given to strengthen bilateral cooperation in a knowledge-based economy, smart cities and e-education and make joint efforts to find solutions in scientific, educational, technological and economic matters.
Their statement to the UN chief said: “We are future leaders. Today’s youth are looking forward to the progress of knowledge economy, smart cities and electronic education and spread them all over the world. (…) We ask you to introduce e-education technology in schools and community centers throughout the world, especially in developing countries.”

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 20 July 2019

Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.

The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.