A record 6 million visit Janadriyah festival

Updated 24 April 2013
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A record 6 million visit Janadriyah festival

A record 6 million people, including foreigners, visited the 28th Janadriyah heritage and culture festival that ended here last night.
The popular festival opened 15 days ago with a camel race in a somewhat subdued spirit because of the death of Prince Badr, former deputy commander of the National Guard. The event was organized by the National Guard.
Minister of State and Member of the Council of Ministers Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, commander of the National Guard, opened the pavilion of the People’s Republic of China, the guest of honor at the festival this year.
The largest Saudi cultural and heritage event in the country showcased local traditions and the exotic aura of desert life.
There was a dizzying array of exhibitions including various styles of bridal attire, ancient hunting weapons, farming tools and folk songs and dancing. The air at the festival was filled with the aroma of spicy dishes, amid centuries-old architectural styles.
The festival’s spokesman, Col. Khaled Al-Muqbel, urged visitors to post their ideas, criticism or proposals on the festival's website.
A number of Gulf countries also participated in the festival.


Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

Updated 29 min 47 sec ago
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Al-Ula Royal Commission launches second phase of university scholarship program

  • High-quality education will make students ‘valuable assets’ in transformation of the region
JEDDAH: The Royal Commission for Al-Ula has launched the second phase of its overseas scholarship program, giving students the chance to study at universities in the US, UK, France and Australia.
The program is intended to broaden the horizons of Saudi students, creating more rounded graduates with wider experiences of foreign cultures and practices.
The students will also learn the languages of their host countries, which will aid them in later life depending on what path they choose, and encouraging interaction and exchanges between the Al-Ula region and the rest of the world.
Rami Al-Sakran, capabilities development manager for the commission, said the Al-Ula scholarship program was one of four strands in a community development plan.
“We have four different units, sector planning and business licensing so that covers economic development, with community engagement and human capability under the social development plan,” he told Arab News.
The second phase of the scholarship program will run for five years following the positive response to the first phase, which was launched last year. The second phase has been expanded to accommodate 300 students and is open to all genders.
Last September, 165 students were sent to the US, UK and France with Australia to focus on fields such as hospitality, tourism, agriculture, archaeology and heritage.
Many residents from the area had migrated to larger cities because of the lack of job opportunities, he said, so it was important to engage and employ locals first.
“We’ll flood the equation. We’ll see people coming in and our priority is the local community and to provide them with jobs. We want these jobs that we’ll create to be filled by the locals first.
“We’ve currently provided jobs, whether directly or indirectly, some of them temporary and others permanent. At Winter in Tantora, we have volunteers, ushers, drivers as this is seasonal but we’ve established a database and some jobs are permanent, whether they’re directly employed by our CEO or some contract.”
Al-Sakran said locals were key to the success of turning Al-Ula into a major tourist destination.
“Locals, locals, locals. Without the locals, we can’t succeed. We have a very transparent relationship, it’s a two-way street with them. We cooperate with them and communicate with them on every basis. We have a strong relationship with the governor of Al-Ula and we listen to the locals.
“Whether it was our social or economical development, as you can see Winter in Tantora has a major socio-economic impact on the area and ... the locals are working everywhere here and that’s what we want. It’s theirs. We’ll unveil it to the Kingdom ... that’s the idea, to make it a strong and significant destination for all.”