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6,000-year-old relic handed to Saudi government

Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) honors Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk for giving the relic to the commission. (SPA)

RIYADH: Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH,) received a rare archaeological piece dating to 6,000 years ago from Mohammed bin Halil Al-Balawi of Tabuk. Prince Sultan handed Al-Balawi a reward and a certificate of honor for giving the relic to the commission.
The body’s Board of Directors at the body’s headquarters in Riyadh received the artifact following the conclusion of a meeting on Tuesday, reported Saudi Press Agency.
SPA did not identify the artifact.
The Saudi law stipulates that archaeological pieces are the property of the state and citizens who find them are required to hand them over to the SCTH.
Prince Sultan said some honest citizens who find archaeological pieces make the common mistake of digging them out and then hand them over to the SCTH. It is a mistake because 50 percent of the relic’s story is in the place it was found, he said. He added that the correct way to leave the piece in its place and notify only the Antiquities Office that will handle it.
He said keeping found archaeological pieces is a crime punishable by law. He said the SCTH will launch an awareness campaign. He said the SCTH receives nearly 20,000 reports of kept or stolen artifacts.

There goes the bride … off to Nepal to help underprivileged children

JEDDAH: Like any young bride, Razan Sindi’s wedding day was the happiest day of her life. But unlike most brides, Razan decided to postpone her happiness so that she could help deprived children instead.
On the day she should have tied the knot with her husband-to-be, Anas Al-Harbi, Razan was in Nepal with a team of Saudi volunteers working with the Butterfly Foundation, a non-profit humanitarian organization that looks after poor and underprivileged young people.
The couple believe the foundation on which they should build their life together is that their “common interests should not conflict with their personal goals,” and Razan decided that the happiness of others was more important than her own. So, with Anas’s full support, off she went to Nepal.
Volunteer tourism is a unique experience, Razan, from Alkhobar, told Arab News. “You travel to discover the world and help those in need, carrying a message with you that represents the high values of your religion and culture.
“Volunteer tourism is a unique and completely different experience from volunteering in your city or hometown, because it introduces you to different cultures and environments, which will polish your personality and build your confidence.”
Razan was part of a team of four men and four women from Jazeel, the Saudi skills-based volunteering platform set up in 2015. In Nepal, the team opened a gift shop, the profits from which will support the Butterfly Foundation. They also established a library and a primary-care facility for the foundation.
Using their skills, the Jazeel team also developed a website for the Butterfly Foundation, translated into several languages, and created social media accounts for the foundation on Twitter and Instagram.
Razan’s mission for humanitarian work is inspired by her mother and her late father, and children's issues around the world are her main concern.
Nepal is one of the five poorest countries in the world, with nearly half the population suffering from hunger, two-thirds living below the poverty line and 60 percent illiteracy. Children are deprived of education because of poverty, underdevelopment, illiteracy and other socioeconomic problems.
Razan wants to change that reality, and she has been working as a training and activities manager with Jazeel since 2015.
“I am a person who finds pleasure in learning and benefiting from the cultures of other countries,” she said. “When you have a goal that you seek, you should work at what you believe in.
“I am sure that being part of a distinguished group of volunteers is a great platform for professional and creative volunteering. I am proud of being among all these professionals, and that encourages me to achieve a lot more with them.”
And those wedding plans? They were postponed, but not canceled. Razan and Anas married when she returned from Nepal, and the couple are now on honeymoon in New Zealand.

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OIC seeks steps to reduce unemployment in Muslim countries

The two-day conference ‘Developing A Common Strategy for Manpower Development’ brings together 56 Islamic states as well as regional and international organizations. (SPA)
JEDDAH: The opening session of the senior officials’ preparatory meeting for the fourth Islamic Conference of Labor Ministers began on Wednesday in Jeddah.
The conference, which is jointly organized by the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), and held under the theme “Developing A Common Strategy for Manpower Development,” brings together 56 Islamic states as well as regional and international organizations.
During the opening ceremony, Abdullah Abu Thunain, president of the fourth Islamic conference and deputy minister for inspection and development of the work environment at the Ministry of Labor and Social Development, said: “This event provides a great opportunity to discuss and exchange views on the most important challenges facing the creation of job opportunities for our citizens.”
“The economic recession in several countries makes us think deeply about finding solutions and addressing the challenges facing youth and persons with disabilities in the job market,” he said.
“In Saudi Arabia, we have taken the initiative and launched the Vision 2030, which supports youth and empowers women in the job market to effectively contribute to building the national economy in light of the country’s current comprehensive development.”
“We will review and discuss the content of two important documents: OIC’s mutual recognition arrangement for skilled employees and the OIC-recommended bilateral agreement on manpower exchange,” he said.
Maruli A. Hasoloan, president of the third Islamic conference and director general of labor placement and employment development at the Indonesian Ministry of Manpower, expressed his appreciation to Saudi Arabia for organizing and hosting the conference.
He said that OIC member states sought to improve cooperation to reduce unemployment, improve workforces and ensure a healthy work environments in Islamic countries.
Ambassador Hameed Opeloyeru, OIC assistant secretary-general for economic affairs, praised the efforts made to expand the scope of work and relations between OIC member states.
The fourth Islamic Conference of Labor Ministers aims to explore labor market challenges in OIC countries and ways to generate and sustain job opportunities, as well as exchanging information on policies and successful programs.
On Thursday, the event will also address the implementation of youth employment programs, the activities of the OIC Occupational Safety and Health Network, and the OIC Public Employment Services Network.

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Adapt or fall behind, Gulf education leaders warned

More than 200 senior education figures, including representatives from global universities as well as diplomats and advisers, took part in the two-day conference. (AN photo)
JEDDAH: Education in Saudi Arabia must adapt to keep pace with “profound developments” in global technology, the 7th Gulf education conference was told.
Deputy of Private Education Saad Al-Fuhaidi said: “New formulas must be found to harmonize education with the competencies required in today’s generation and the future functions that it has in the realms of cybersecurity and biotechnology, as well as three-dimensional printing, supercomputing and other profound developments.”
Earlier, Matthias Mitman, US Counsul General in Jeddah, told the conference: “Education is one of our countries’ strongest ties, as it increases the mutual understanding and gives Americans a more accurate picture about Saudi society and culture.”
“Saudi students excel through many education fields in the United States,” he said. “Saudis who graduated from US universities are able to start businesses and work in Saudi Arabia, including doctors, engineers, teachers and scientists. The US welcomes tens of thousands of Saudi nationals to study, and Saudi Arabia currently has the fourth-highest number of national students in the US.”
Chairman of the University of Business and Technology, Abdullah Dahlan, told the conference: “The Saudi Arabia leadership has made education one of its top priorities. Education has been one of the most important fundamentals of the future vision ... a foundation for building the state.” 
The Kingdom’s campaign to eradicate illiteracy offers services to more than 957 students. The campaign’s executive director, Hassan Adnawi, said that 26 learning centers for male and female students had been opened since 2017, with 58 teachers providing courses in subjects associated with the campaign.
Education Director of Gulf Education David Lock said: “The Kingdom has set out in Vision 2030 very clearly what it wants to do, but for that to happen the education sector has to respond and it has to respond at all levels, not just for the benefit of Saudi Arabia in Saudi Arabia but also for the benefit of Saudi Arabia in the world. Consequently, basic education, dealing with illiteracy, and introducing more people to English and other languages are vital for the success of Vision 2030.”
Simon Collis, British ambassador to Saudi Arabia, said: “There is a new understanding of where Saudi Arabia is standing in the world now and in the future. When we come to Vision 2030, you can see that the focus on education is at the heart of the program. It seems to me that every single challenge is a human resource development.”

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