European, Arab women join hands to cross Arctic

A women’s expedition to the North Pole will face extreme weather as it undertakes two scientific studies.
Updated 12 April 2018

European, Arab women join hands to cross Arctic

  • Europe contingent comes from France, Sweden, Cyprus and Russia; Mideast team from Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE
  • Mariam Hamidaddin joined team to become the first Saudi woman to cross the North Pole

JEDDAH: Twelve women from Europe and the Middle East are on a mission to cross the North Pole.

The joint expedition will set out this month for the Arctic Ocean, an ecosystem that plays an important role in shaping global climate through processes such as oceanic and atmospheric circulation.

The expedition, led by Felicity Aston from the UK, brings together women from countries including France, Sweden, Cyprus and Russia while women from Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and the UAE will form the Middle East contingent. The women will face extreme climate conditions during their expedition, which will contribute to two scientific studies. The studies will help to make interstellar space flight and exploration possible in the future.

The 32-year-old explorer Mariam Hamidaddin joined the team to become the first Saudi woman to cross the North Pole. “I want to explore my own perceived limit and hope to share my story with others, to encourage them to seek out their own calling,” she told Arab News.

She said that she had received strong support from friends and family — as well encouraging messages on social media. Hamidaddin said the main obstacle was her own mind: “When skiing for 10-12 hours a day in such extreme conditions with little or no communication with others you are isolated with only your thoughts. You really need to make sure that your thoughts and positive and motivating every step of the way.”

This is her first time on an expedition — but many of her experiences have been “first times.”

“It proves that with commitment, determination and definitely the right guidance you can take on such challenges,” she said.

“Don't let fear be your guide but rather curiosity, passion and love. Work on your mental strength and the words you repeat to yourself, make sure they lift you up and push you forward.”

Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

Updated 14 November 2018

Ronaldinho plans Saudi Arabia football academy in Jeddah

  • Backstage at Misk Global Forum, Brazilian football legend reveals intention to open school some time next year
  • Player offered advice for audience, speaking about the value of teamwork, learning from failure and the rewards of giving back

RIYADH: Ronaldinho plans to open a football academy in Jeddah some time next year, the Brazilian football legend revealed to Arab News backstage in an exclusive interview after his appearance at the Misk Global Forum on Wednesday.

“First of all, I want to say thank you for a warm reception and kindness which I have received from the Saudi people,” he told Arab News. “As for the kids, those who want to be a player some day, dedicate as much as you can and follow your dreams.”

Earlier, Ronaldinho appeared on stage to a chorus of cheers at the end of the day’s sessions, where he gave a talk titled the Discipline – and Fun – of Teamwork. 

”I was lucky enough to be on a team with stars,” he said of his career with European clubs Paris St-Germain, Barcelona and AC Milan, and a World Cup win in 2002 with the Brazilian national team. “We all respected each other.

“For me it was wonderful, because my history with this team and players was a beautiful one: To idolize them and later play with them and later win titles again…”

Ronaldinho said he feels grateful for his God-given talent. “Throughout my career we had a plan, and I always worked hard. God gave me the privilege to play football. It was fun, not a sacrifice.”

“I’ve always liked to have a ball around me, to have contact with the ball.”

His advice for the audience? “Prepare yourself and help your colleague or team member,” he said. “Humility is important. Try to stay humble.”

He also said to train hard, read as much as you can and don’t fear failure. “I failed a lot of times,” he said. “Football is like that. You can’t always win. You have to seek lessons from the defeats and not lose hope.” 

Now that he’s retired, Ronaldinho is more concerned with giving back. “After I stopped playing, I have soccer academies. That’s what I’m proud of, and it has given me pleasure. To give something back (as a)  thanks to football and everything it have given me.”