Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa desert oasis becomes UNESCO World Heritage site

Prince Sultan bin Salman
Updated 30 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia’s Al-Ahsa desert oasis becomes UNESCO World Heritage site

  • Al-Ahsa Oasis is the fifth Saudi site to join UNESCO’s World Heritage list following Madain Saleh (2008), Tarif neighborhood in Diriyah (2010), Historic Jeddah (2014), and the Rock art in the Hail region (2015)
  • Al-Ahsa has been known throughout history for its agricultural practices and irrigation systems

JEDDAH: Al-Ahsa Oasis in the Eastern Province has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Prince Sultan bin Salman, president of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), said on Friday.
The decision was made during meetings of the World Heritage Committee in Bahrain’s capital Manama.
Al-Ahsa Oasis is the fifth Saudi site to join UNESCO’s World Heritage list following Madain Saleh (2008), Tarif neighborhood in Diriyah (2010), Historic Jeddah (2014), and the Rock art in the Hail region (2015).
Prince Sultan thanked King Salman for his constant keenness to register Saudi historic sites as World Heritage sites, and for the special care he gives to the country’s national heritage.
Prince Sultan also thanked Eastern Province Gov. Prince Saud bin Nayef bin Abdul Aziz, Al-Ahsa Gov. Prince Badr bin Mohammed Al-Jalawi, and Al-Ahsa Mayor Adel Al-Mulhim.
Prince Sultan praised the people of Al-Ahsa for their keenness to restore its historical and cultural status as one of Saudi Arabia’s most important inhabited cities dating back to the 5th millennium BC. Al-Ahsa has been known throughout history for its agricultural practices and irrigation systems, he said.
Al-Ahsa is the largest date-palm oasis in the world, with about 3 million trees. It is particularly famous for the khalasah date — known in Saudi Arabia as khlas — which is routinely named in polls as the best date in the world.


Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

Updated 28 min 29 sec ago
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Misk Global Forum: UAE Higher Education Minister aces ‘job interview’

RIYADH: The opening session on the second day of the Misk Global Forum began with a brain teaser – how many golf balls can you fit in a school bus? – as part of a job interview, but not just with any applicant.

Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al-Falasi, the UAE’s Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, talked about higher learning and his career in the format of a job interview, conducted by moderator Razan Alayed, an advisor to the Education and Human Resources Council in the UAE.

Al-Falasi said he was surprised that even though he went to very good schools and had a PhD in engineering, he got rejected when applying to many companies because they said he was overqualified. He realized he was underqualified in consulting, so he started to work on that. His learning? “People appreciated the skills I had, not my education.”  

Still, Al-Falasi said it’s important to have a specialization in higher education. “You need a core major. Academic background is still important.”  

To be successful, he said a person needs to be confident and passionate, and that it’s important to have skills of negotiation and articulation.

“I’m not the smartest person,” he said, rather modestly. “If I have to pick one skill, it will be my capacity to adapt.”

Al-Falasi said technology is helping education evolve: “Today with technology, you can have access to the best classes in the world. Data is also important, many say. A lot of technology is built on understanding.”  

At the end of his interview, when Al-Falasi was asked about his salary expectation. Without pause, he said if it’s for a job at Misk, the figure doesn’t matter.

“We all feel very passionate and positive today, especially with what’s happening in Misk,” he said. “All eyes are on Saudi Arabia today.”