FaceOf: Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology

Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha
Updated 24 October 2018
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FaceOf: Abdullah Al-Swaha, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology

  • Al-Swaha holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and communications engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and degree in computer science from the University of Washington in Seattle

Abdullah bin Amer Al-Swaha has been the Saudi minister of communications and information technology since his appointment in April 2017 following a royal order. He succeeded Mohammed Ibrahim Al-Suwaiyel.
In addition to his ministerial post, he serves as chairman of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, chairman of Saudi Post and head of the National Executive Digitization Committee, as well as being a member of many boards.
Previously, he was the director-general of the digital transformation office at the Ministry of Economic and Planning. His responsibilities included expediting the realization of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 through digital infrastructure.
Al-Swaha also served as the chief executive officer of Cisco Saudi Arabia, which ranks fifth in Cisco’s global operations.
He held several positions at Cisco between 2005 and 2017; he was regional manager, then became operations manager, and most recently became vice president.
Al-Swaha holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science and communications engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, and degree in computer science from the University of Washington in Seattle.
He completed a number of programs in executive education at Harvard Business School and Duke University.
Al-Swaha is participating in the Future Investment Initiative in Riyadh from Oct. 23-25, representing the Ministry of Telecommunications and Information Technology.
He said that the communications and information technology market in the Kingdom is ranked 12th in the world, and it is an open market with promising investment opportunities.


Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

Updated 26 March 2019
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Hollywood star Cuba Gooding Jr. shares career at Saudi Film Festival

  • He said he hopes to support Saudi filmmakers through his recently launched production company
  • The festival, at Ithra, is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province

DHAHRAN: Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr. talked about his experiences in Hollywood, and the challenges he has faced during his career, when he appeared on Monday night at the fifth Saudi Film Festival, which is part of the Sharqiah Season in the Eastern Province.
Known for his roles in movies such as “Men of Honor”, “A Few Good Men” and “American Crime Story,” among others, he has appeared in more than 85 films during a 30-year career on screen and stage. He won the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance in the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger.
Gooding Jr. arrived for the event, at the King Abdul Aziz World Center for Culture (Ithra), accompanied by Claudine De Niro, the estranged wife of actor Robert De Niro’s son, Raphael. They were greeted by renowned Saudi film producer and Hollywood businessman Mohammed Al-Turki.
Gooding Jr. spoke to the audience at Ithra for almost 60 minutes about his long career and the challenges and pitfalls he had experienced on the road to success in the film industry. He also offered some advice to anyone interested in following in his footsteps.
“No one prepares you for success,” he said. “That’s why you see a lot of actors that star in movies, then disappear. Or you see athletes that make a $100 million and then they disappear, too. They weren’t ready for it.
“You have to envision yourself standing on that stage, holding an Oscar over your head, saying, ‘This is for the Middle-East’. You have to envision the script that you will write and envision being on that stage, holding that Oscar.
“People asked me after I won that Academy Award if I ever thought I would be on that stage. I always said, ‘Not in a million years.’ But that’s a lie. You have to envision yourself on that stage, winning that award, so that when you succeed it will feel normal, not like it’s something special, so that you can do it again.”
The actor also said that he intends to support filmmakers from Saudi Arabia and other countries through his recently launched production company.
Asked if he had any projects planned in the region, and Saudi Arabia in particular, he said: “I do, actually. I have a couple of things. I don’t want to give it away but let’s just say that there is a lot of great literature that I’ve read, a lot of different books, including Arabian Nights. It’s hard to talk about the things in development because you don’t want to give it away but there is definitely something in development.”