World’s biggest camel fest kicks off in Rumah

Celebrating the culture and way of life of Saudi Arabia and Bedouin traditions, the festival attracts about 300,000 camels and their owners.
Updated 20 March 2017
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World’s biggest camel fest kicks off in Rumah

RIYADH: The world’s biggest camel festival, held under the patronage of King Salman, begun on Sunday in Rumah, 120 kilometers northeast of Riyadh.
The 28-day King Abdulaziz Camel Festival will feature a camel beauty contest, with prizes amounting to a staggering SR114 million ($30 million).
The competition, having been founded in 1999 by a group of local Bedouin people, went on to receive support from the Saudi royal family. Due to its rising popularity it turned into a heritage festival, attracting people from across the GCC to travel to showcase their finest camels.
Celebrating the culture and way of life of Saudi Arabia and Bedouin traditions, today the festival attracts about 300,000 camels and their owners.
“The festival will offer a lot to the Saudis and foreigners in terms of history, heritage and entertainment,” said Dr. Talal bin Khalid Al-Tarify, spokesman of the King Abdulaziz Camel Festival, here Sunday. A major award ceremony will be organized during the course of the festival.
Al-Tarify said that an exhibition has been staged on the sidelines of the festival. The “Sanam Exhibition” will shed light on the history of the camel’s role as “the ship of the desert.”
A “Camel Carnival” has also been organized in which festival visitors can learn how to ride a camel.
“Not only will the festival include initiatives to raise awareness and celebrate core regional cultural and heritage practices, but will also utilize the latest in technologies and creative concepts to offer a one-of-a-kind memorable, and fun filled festival,” Al-Tarify said.
Reflecting the uniting role the camel has played for the Kingdom throughout history, Al-Tarify said that “economically, politically, socially and within culture, camels are not only referred to throughout ancient religious texts and poetry but are a source of food, drink, transport, a trading pillar, as well as source of pride and loyal friend to man.”

Al-Tarify pointed out that camel auctioning will take place daily using pioneering equipment set within a luxurious area especially set aside for trading.
The festival will also host a mix of competitions and partnerships relating to and building awareness for the arts including a poetry competition.
“A collaboration with National Geographic will be hosting a competition for the best festival image captured,” Al-Tarify noted.


FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

Ahmad Al-Khatib
Updated 27 May 2018
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FaceOf: Ahmad Al-Khatib, chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries

  • Saudi Arabian Military Industries aims to aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products

JEDDAH: Ahmad Al-Khatib was appointed the chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Arabian Military Industries (SAMI) in October 2017. 

He also holds the posts of chairman of the board of directors of the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) since 2016; chairman of the board of directors of the Saudi Fund for Development; adviser to the general secretariat of the Cabinet; adviser to the minister of defense; and adviser to the court of the crown prince.

Al-Khatib inaugurated on Friday the new facilities of the Aircraft Accessories and Components Company (AACC) at its new headquarters at King Abdul Aziz International Airport in Jeddah during a ceremony under the patronage of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

SAMI aims to reduce the country’s reliance on foreign purchases of military products and become one of the top 25 global companies in the field of military industries.

“Our goal is to localize more than 50 percent of the Kingdom’s military spending by 2030,” said the crown prince in his earlier statement.

Al-Khatib is a former adviser to the royal court, was the minister of health between 2014 and 2016, and served as the chairman for the Saudi stock company established in 2006, Jadwa Investment.

Al-Khatib has 23 years of experience in banking. In 1992 he joined the Bank of Riyad, working in various departments for 11 years and helping to establish the customer investment department. 

In 2003, Al-Khatib joined SABB Bank and participated in the establishment of Islamic Banking (Amanah). He then became the bank’s general manager.