Saudi Archaeology Forum calls for involving scholarship students in archaeological work

Participants share ideas at the first Saudi Antiquities Forum in Riyadh on Wednesday. (Photo by Ahmed Fathi)
Updated 10 November 2017
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Saudi Archaeology Forum calls for involving scholarship students in archaeological work

RIYADH: Saudi scholarship students at the first Saudi Archaeology Forum have said that involving them in archaeological work and enacting legislation to preserve the national heritage were key issues.
Cooperation between the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), the Ministry of Education and universities was the best way to achieve this, they said during a workshop on the second day of the forum.
Other recommendations from the workshop included a partnership between the SCTH, the Ministry of Education and universities to determine the needs of archaeology; sending scholarship students to study technical specialties such as painting, surveying and photography; and the formation of a higher committee to determine scientific needs in archaeology.
Khalid Fayez Al-Asmari, a Ph.D. student in Britain, called for finding ways to overcome the obstacles faced by scholarship students, notably language. He also called for “partnerships with foreign universities to develop programs of archaeology in the Kingdom and expand students’ perceptions and opportunities.”
Mesfir Hamad Al-Qahtani, a Master’s degree student in the US, said that language is also one of the main obstacles for archaeology scholarship students, as well as the lack of guidance for important disciplines.
Fahda Salman bin Afizan, a Ph.D. student in France, stressed that funding and language were among the most important obstacles she faced. “However, we are able to overcome these obstacles because of the importance of studying abroad and what it can add either through comprehensive preparation for study or qualification.”
She called for “the establishment of a higher education committee comprising the SCTH and specialized universities to organize the process of scholarship and identify the needs of the archaeological sector in the Kingdom.”
The workshop included experiences of Saudi students in the study of archaeology in scholarship countries; the development of scholarships programs for archaeology; and the development of relationships between Saudi universities, the scholarship agency and the SCTH to develop the path of research in archaeology.
Faisal Al-Fadhel, a member of the Shoura Council, called for all necessary protection for the Kingdom’s antiquities. He explained that this could be done through the identification of violations and penalties appropriate to these.
“The SCTH and judicial bodies will implement this according to competence, in addition to obligating the violator to repair the damage he causes, while ensuring his right to object to the decision or sentence issued against him,” Al-Fadhel said.


Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

Updated 46 min 5 sec ago
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Muslim World League, Vatican boost religious ties

  • Accord emphasizes the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures
  • Two parties obliged to work toward strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims

JEDDAH: Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa, secretary-general of the Muslim World League (MWL), and Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, president of the Pontifical Council for Interfaith Dialogue at the Vatican, have signed a cooperation agreement on achieving common objectives.

Tauran praised the efforts of the MWL in leading initiatives to strengthen relationships and build bridges between religions. 

“It is not my intention to present a list of the many initiatives implemented by this organization, but I am fully aware of the relentless efforts exerted to make it through its various programs, really reflect the true meaning of its name, a link, not only among Muslims but also with believers of other religions, especially Christians, to achieve common goals,” he said.

This agreement represents the culmination of the previous cooperation agreement signed between the MWL and the Pontifical Council, following the secretary-general’s visit to the Vatican last September, during which Al-Issa met with the pope and Tauran, adding to the recent visit of the cardinal to the Kingdom.

Under the terms of this, the two parties agreed to establish a standing work committee to be headed by the cardinal and Al-Issa. 

A coordinating committee composed of two members from each side shall also be set up to meet annually to prepare for meetings. The joint committee shall convene every two years, with its meetings held alternately between Rome and a city chosen by the MWL.

The agreement emphasized the need for promoting dialogue in a world that has become more versatile in terms of race, religions and cultures. 

It also called for strengthening religious and spiritual ties between Christians and Muslims, and establishing fruitful relationships based on respect and peace between them.

It highlighted the role of the Pontifical Council in promoting constructive relations with believers of other religions, and the distinctive role of the MWL at the level of Muslim nations in terms of interfaith dialogue.