TV presenter Kristiane Backer praises KSA’s Hajj efforts

Former MTV Europe presenter Kristiane Backer. (SPA)
Updated 22 August 2018
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TV presenter Kristiane Backer praises KSA’s Hajj efforts

  • Kristiane Backer is the author of the famous book “From MTV to Makkah: How Islam Inspired My Life.” 
  • Backer performed Umrah in 2001 when she visited Madinah and performed Hajj rituals in 2006

JEDDAH: Former MTV Europe presenter Kristiane Backer has praised the Kingdom’s monumental efforts to safeguard pilgrims as they perform Hajj rituals.

During her pilgrimage to perform Hajj rituals this season, Backer said she was impressed by the ability of the Kingdom accommodates more than two million pilgrims, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported.

Cover image of Kristiane Backer's famous book



She praised the efforts exerted by its leadership to allow the pilgrims perform Hajj rituals with ease and in safety, most notably the security and medical services provided, in addition to the logistical operation involved in transporting pilgrims between the holy sites.

Backer performed Umrah in 2001 when she visited Madinah and performed Hajj rituals in 2006, after which she wrote her famous book “From MTV to Makkah: How Islam Inspired My Life.” 

Her book describes her spiritual journey to Islam, which began with a meeting with Imran Khan, the retired cricketer who has just become the new Prime Minister of Pakistan.

In her interview with SPA, she spoke of improvements carried out in KSA between her visit in 2006 and now, noting the improved services offered to the pilgrims.

She said that when she saw the Kaaba after 12 years, she was so impressed that she was unable to speak.

Backer now works as a fine art consultant and is based in London.

 

 


We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States help build stronger ties. (AN photo)
Updated 19 September 2018
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We have a story to share with the Saudi people, says new US official in Riyadh

  • We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States: US Public Affairs Counselor in KSA

RIYADH: Cultural and educational exchange programs between Saudi Arabia and the United States “help build stronger ties between the two countries and bring them closer together,” according to Brian Shott, the new US Public Affairs Counselor in Saudi Arabia.

Speaking at a reception to welcome him at the US embassy in Riyadh on September 18, he said: “One of the main things we do is we try to share aspects of the United States and of American culture, but we also learn from Saudis and Saudi culture.” 

In her opening speech, the embassy’s Deputy Chief of Mission Martina Strong also highlighted the enduring relationship between the two countries, saying: “Tonight is a celebration, a celebration of a friendship that has extended over many, many decades.”

Shott, who previously served in Morocco, Cairo and Baghdad, will be in Saudi Arabia for the next two years, during which he will promote educational and cultural exchanges.

“There are some real opportunities here and we have been fortunate enough to be able take advantage of partnerships with Saudi organizations and Saudi agencies, whether it is the General Authority for Culture or the Ministry of Education,” he said.

“We have a story to tell and a story to share in Saudi Arabia with the Saudi people. We are pleased that so many Saudis want to study in the United States.”

Meanwhile, the reception also served as a farewell to Robin Yeager, the cultural attache in Riyadh. She said that it had been a “very dynamic time to be in Saudi Arabia. It has been a pleasure and an honor to be here at a time when I get to know first-hand the future that Saudis are trying to build.”

The night that women were were given the right to drive, she said she went out and saw the “thrill on their faces.” To assist with empowerment and other progressive policies, embassy staff work on social issues and provide leadership training for women’s groups, she said.

“It is beautiful because they take something that an American expert talks to them about and they turn it into the Saudi way to approach it,” she added. “It’s not that we are changing things; it’s that we are giving them tools, so they can build what they want to build.”