Indonesia celebrates unity in diversity at Janadriyah Saudi cultural festival

Artists perform at the Indonesian pavilion at Janadriyah festival. (AN Photo)
Updated 19 February 2018
0

Indonesia celebrates unity in diversity at Janadriyah Saudi cultural festival

RIYADH: Indonesia, the Southeast Asian nation made up of thousands of islands and home to hundreds of ethnic groups speaking different languages, is representing Asia at the Janadriyah festival this year.
The Saudi Foreign Ministry invited the Indonesian Embassy in Riyadh to participate in the Janadriyah festival, Arab News learned on Monday.
“This is as a follow-up to the memorandum of understanding signed to bolster cultural affairs between Indonesia and Saudi Arabia that was inked during the historic visit of King Salman to Indonesia in March 2017,” said Sunan J. Rustam, information officer at the embassy.
Acknowledging the honor, Indonesian Ambassador Agus Maftuh Abegebriel said: “The partnership between Saudi Arabia and Indonesia is moving in the right direction. There are many untapped opportunities in cultural cooperation between the two brotherly countries.”
He also said that Indonesia and Saudi Arabia were key countries in the Muslim world, and with the fresh change of open policy in the Kingdom, cultural cooperation could be synergized to promote peaceful, open and moderate Islam to the world.
Notably, this is Indonesia’s first participation in Janadriyah, the national heritage and culture festival named after the village on the northern outskirts of Riyadh, where it has been organized since its inception in 1985.
Indonesia, represented by its embassy in Riyadh, is showcasing its diverse culture and heritage including traditional dances and signature dishes of the country.
Unity in diversity takes center stage in Indonesia’s participation at the festival, sharing primarily the experience of how Islam and democracy can coexist peacefully in a diverse nation, said the embassy official.
The Indonesian pavilion also highlights tourism on the largest archipelago in the world including packages of halal tourism from Lombok and Sumatra and brochures on Indonesian international products.
Lombok, also known as the island of 1,000 mosques, has been recognized as the world’s best halal tourism and honeymoon destination at a recent event held in Abu Dhabi.
Besides Indonesia, other countries representing various continents include Brazil, Algeria, Ukraine, and Ethiopia.
India is the guest of honor country this year. The annual heritage festival, which runs for 18 days, will conclude on Feb. 24.


Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

The end of the driving ban is expected to help bring an economic windfall for Saudi women. (Shutterstock)
Updated 23 June 2018
0

Saudi businesswomen eye greater role in the economy with end to driving ban

  • The historic move is a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Saudi Arabia, says businesswoman
  • A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market

The end of the driving ban will boost women’s financial power and allow them to play a bigger role in economic and social diversification in line with Vision 2030, prominent businesswomen said on Friday.

Hind Khalid Al-Zahid was the first Saudi woman designated as an executive director — for Dammam Airport Company — and also heads the Businesswomen Center at the Eastern Province Chamber of Commerce and Industry. 

She sees the historic move as a huge step forward for businesswomen in the Kingdom.

“Women being allowed to drive is very important; of course this will help a lot in sustainable development as the lifting of the ban on women driving came as a wonderful opportunity to increase women’s participation in the workforce,” she told Arab News on Friday, ahead of the end of the ban on Sunday.

She added that women in the job market are under-represented; they make up to 22 percent of the national workforce of about six million according to official estimates. Lifting the ban will help to take women’s representation in the workforce to 30 percent by 2030, she said.

“This is not just the right thing to do for women’s emancipation, but also an essential step in economic and social development as part of the reforms,” she said.

She said that there were different obstacles in increasing women’s participation in the workforce and other productive activities, and the driving ban was one of them. It was a strategic issue that needed to be addressed on a priority basis. With the issue resolved, it would help immensely in giving Saudi women better representation as they would help to diversify the Saudi economy and society.

She said that women could contribute hugely to the workforce and labor market as half of Saudi human resources were female, and unless allowed to excel in different sectors it would not be possible to do better, mainly because of restricted mobility.

A recent survey by the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce indicated that transportation was a major concern holding Saudi women back from joining the labor market.

Nouf Ibrahim, a businesswoman in Riyadh, said: “It will surely boost female economic participation and help increase women’s representation in the workforce immensely. It will also help to reduce the overall national unemployment rate as most of the unemployed are women and many of them are eligible as university graduates.”

She echoed the opinion that the move would help to bring an economic windfall for Saudi women, making it easier for them to work and do business, and thus play a bigger and better role that would help economic and social diversification in line with Saudi Vision 2030.

“Being able to drive from Sunday onwards after the ban is lifted will be a wonderful experience. Earlier we were dependent on a male family member and house driver to take us to workplace, to the shopping center, school or other required places for some work, now we can drive and that will allow active participation in productive work,” Sulafa Hakami, a Saudi woman working as the digital communication manager with an American MNC in Riyadh, told Arab News.

“Saudi women can now share effectively the bigger and better responsibilities,” she said.