KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman
Updated 24 April 2018
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KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

  • The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities
  • The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah

JEDDAH: The First International Conference on Humanizing Cities will take place from May 7 to 10 at Taibah University in Madinah.

The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah, under the patronage of Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Madinah region and chairman of the Development Authority of Madinah.

The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities,” looking at modern ways to develop public places, city centers and neighborhoods to improve urban spaces and the quality of urban life, so that cities are more friendly and comfortable places to live.

There will be discussions of the best ways to develop cities, and of the most suitable local and international mechanisms for doing so to most benefit residents. Ways to encourage various sectors and communities to get involved in the initiatives and humanization projects will also be examined.

There will be 20 panel discussions, including presentations, case studies and open debates on the humanization of cities. The participants will include 20 international experts in the planning and development of cities, public areas and open spaces, and 27 distinguished local experts in architecture, design, planning and urban development. The speakers come from 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Singapore, Indonesia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Jordan.

A number of experts and academics will take part, including: Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Charles Landry, a British planner known for his studies on creative cities; Joel Kotkin; Michael Mahaffey; Khoo Teng Chye, director of the Center for Liveable Cities in Singapore; Michael Sorkin, a professor at Columbia University in New York; Fred Kent, the founder and president of the Public Spaces Project; and Herbert Dreiseitl, director of The Liveable Cities Lab.

The conference will also feature senior officials from the Kingdom and other Gulf countries, and Saudi mayors. Directors of regional and international organizations working in the field will also take part and visit the Development Authority of Madinah to discuss the current state and future of moves to humanize cities.

Speakers will discuss a number of key themes, including the principles and practices of achieving human cities, a review of how best to manage them, and the role of local authorities, highlighting planning and design, and the part played by public areas and open spaces.

Other aspects covered by the conference include the financing and the transformation of cities to make them more suitable for all residents. The integration of environmental sustainability with humanization programs will also be discussed, as will the role of culture and education.

The conference will also present and discuss the experiences gained through the projects and initiatives that are part of the Humanization Madinah project carried out by Madinah Development Authority, which aims to make Madinah an example for the development of modern cities.

The conference is targeted at specialists in ministries and other government agencies and bodies, leaders of local administrations, and employees of non-profit organizations, private-sector institutions, universities and specialized research centers, along with other researchers and individuals interested in the field.


Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

The Arab coalition is striving to rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, says Yemen’s Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani. File/Getty Images
Updated 26 May 2018
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Yemen FM: No peace before Houthi disarmament

  • Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis
  • The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them

LONDON: There cannot be peace in Yemen unless Houthi militias abandon their arms, said the country’s newly appointed Foreign Minister Khalid Al-Yamani.

The internationally recognized government will not allow Iran, which backs the Houthis, to maintain a foothold in Yemen or interfere in its internal affairs, he added.
“This terrorist regime” in Tehran, “which supplies terrorist militias all over the world, is close to collapse as a result of international and popular pressure by the Iranian people, who are suffering as their terrorist state spends billions here and there for a foolish expansionist idea,” Al-Yamani said.
“The modern and civilized world that respects international law cannot accept the existence of a state sponsor of terrorism and all subversive and terrorist militias in the region,” he added.
“If Iran wants to be part of the social, cultural and political fabric of our region, it must rationalize its behavior.” Its “terrorist behavior… encourages the spread of violence in the region,” he said.
Al-Yamani added that he will start his tenure as foreign minister by focusing on negotiations and the efforts of the UN special envoy to Yemen, Martin Griffiths.
The government is working round the clock with the envoy’s office so he can present his ideas on June 7 after consultations with the government, Al-Yamani said.
There will be meetings in the next few days with Yemeni President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, and a special meeting with the negotiating team, all within the framework of the envoy’s efforts in the region, Al-Yamani added.
Griffiths has visited several countries in the region, and has met with Yemen’s government and the leadership of the Saudi-led Arab coalition.
The Houthis “suggest that political arrangements should come before security and military arrangements,” said Al-Yamani.
But “the coup against the state in January 2015 came as a result of the preference of political over security arrangements,” he added.
“And after the Houthis achieved their goals, they turned against the national consensus reflected in the peace and partnership agreement, under which the president provided facilities to save the homeland from the fate we have reached today,” Al-Yamani said.
“We cannot talk about any political arrangements because we consider them to be a foregone conclusion if we achieve the withdrawal and delivery of heavy and medium weapons and missiles,” he added. “We cannot retry something we tried before... The coup must end.”
The Houthis’ “weapons and missiles must be handed over, and there is no room for dialogue or negotiation about them,” he said. “Heavy and medium weapons should be handed over, and those militias must be withdrawn.”
Al-Yamani criticized Iran’s ambassador to the UN for speaking in dovish language while his country causes destruction in Yemen.
“Most of what we have been able to remove of the mines planted by the Houthis had the trademark of Iranian industry,” Al-Yamani said.
“Even if we achieve peace today, we will need decades to demine... There will be no possibility of safe living in the areas where mines were planted.”
Al-Yamani expressed the gratitude of his government and people for the Saudi-led coalition’s support for the government to achieve security and peace in Yemen and the whole region.
Alongside military operations, the coalition is undertaking humanitarian work to “rebuild the humanity destroyed by the Houthis, rebuild the Yemeni psyche destroyed by the war, distribute goods throughout Yemen, and reconstruct what was destroyed by the Houthi war machine,” he said.
“All this confirms that the project of restoring the state… is the project of life,” which is “opposed to the project of death brought by Iran and its Houthi militias to Yemen,” he added.
This interview is simultaneously published in Asharq Al-Awsat.