Academics discuss ways to promote Saudi-European cooperation

Updated 17 December 2016

Academics discuss ways to promote Saudi-European cooperation

RIYADH: King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies has held discussions with a delegation of top European academics and experts on foreign affairs at the institute’s development of human resources training department in Riyadh. They discussed Saudi Arabia’s regional role, Saudi-European cooperation, the security situation in the region and its implications for the stability of the countries.
The discussions started with a speech by Prince Turki bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, CEO of the King Abdullah Foundation, who welcomed the delegation and praised the historic relations between the Kingdom and Europe. He also welcomed attendees, which included European ambassadors, academics, researchers and Saudi professors of political science.
The center’s secretary-general, Saud bin Saleh Al-Sarhan, said the discussions and accompanying workshop point to the keenness of King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies to maintain ties with international academic and research institutions so as to enhance academic research in regional issues.
The European delegation included Carl Bildt, former Swedish prime minister and foreign minister; Jeremy Shapiro, research director at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR) and former assistant to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; Ellie Geranmayeh, policy fellow for the Middle East and North Africa Program at ECFR; Alexander Stubb, former Finnish prime minister and foreign minister and member of the European Parliament; Joseph Mifsud, director of the London Academy of Diplomacy; Arnaud Danjean, member of the European Parliament and chairman of the Committee on Security and Defense at ECFR; Julien Barnes-Dacey, senior policy fellow and interim head of the MENA program at ECFR; and MattiaToaldo, policy fellow at ECFR’s Middle East and North Africa program.
The discussions were also attended by several ambassadors and diplomats from European countries, including Italian Ambassador Luca Ferrari, Finnish Ambassador Pekka Voutilainen, Swedish Ambassador Jann Knutsson, Norwegian Ambassador Rolf Willy Hansen, Ambassador of Denmark Ole Frijs-Madsen, Cypriot Ambassador Nikos Panayi and first advisor at the French embassy, Eric Jerou, on behalf of the French ambassador.

Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019

Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece exhibition in Dhahran.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.