France launches Arabic website to bridge cultural gap

The ambassador said: “The Arabic language domain (France.fr) was developed for all Arabic speaking travelers. (Photo: twitter)
Updated 11 December 2018
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France launches Arabic website to bridge cultural gap

  • Mekachera said: Social media platforms are now also available in Arabic to inspire and encourage followers to share their experiences

RIYADH: With the aim of attracting 100 million tourists from different countries including the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) by 2020, France on Monday launched a major Arabic-language website.
French Ambassador Francois Gouyette launched the portal at his official residence in Riyadh in a ceremony attended by diplomats and other French officials.
The ambassador said: “The Arabic language domain (France.fr) was developed for all Arabic speaking travelers who can now benefit from the localized website, providing relevant content to help prepare for a great trip.”
This will help tourists and businessmen traveling from Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries to France, he added.
Karim Mekachera, director of Atout France, the France Tourism Development Agency, said: “Digital innovation is at the heart of our marketing initiatives and we have placed a significant focus on content creation, curation and distribution of the content on France in a number of languages to remain truly connected to people around the world.”
“The website’s aim is to boost France’s appeal as a touristic destination, improving its ranking as a top travel destination for the Arab traveler,” he said.
Mekachera said: “Social media platforms are now also available in Arabic to inspire and encourage followers to share their experiences. User-friendly and optimized for mobile consumption, the new website contains content and information on tourism in France, hotels, restaurants, things to do, culture and heritage, events and museums.”
He said the website contains a special section dedicated to travel information including customs and visas.”


Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

Updated 26 June 2019
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Innovative Saudi cultural center showcases world-famous ‘The Scream’ artist’s exhibition

  • 40 works by Edvard Munch go on display for first time in Middle East

DHAHRAN: A dynamic Saudi cultural center is to showcase the works of one of the world’s most famous painters in an exhibition-first for the Middle East.

Forty pieces by Norwegian artist Edvard Munch, best known for his iconic “The Scream” painting, will go on public display at the King Abdul Aziz Center for World Culture (Ithra).

The special exhibition, titled “Landscapes of the Soul,” is the latest in a series of high-profile cultural events to be staged at the showpiece Dhahran museum.

Developed by Saudi Aramco with the aim of stimulating knowledge, creativity and cross-cultural engagement, Ithra’s theater, museum, exhibition hall and art gallery complex forms a key part of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030 reform plan to promote culture and entertainment.

The Munch exhibition, which runs until Sept. 3, portrays the artist’s personal life experiences of misery, love, despair, loneliness and reflections of the soul, through his distinctive works.

“It is such an honor to host and introduce to Saudi Arabia, and indeed, the Middle East, the work of the world-renowned artist Edvard Munch,” Rania Biltagi, Ithra’s head of communications and partnership, told Arab News.

Munch’s (1863-1944) original exhibition has been located in Oslo, Norway since 1963, and the Saudi display is being staged in Ithra’s Great Hall in partnership with the Munch Museum in Norway.

As well as a lithograph version of his most famous painting “The Scream,” other works on show will include “Summer Night. The Voice,” 1894, “Self-Portrait,” 1895, and “The Sick Child,” 1896.

“A moment that stood out from the opening was when speaking to a couple visiting the exhibit, they mentioned that they were Norwegian and working in Saudi,” Biltagi said. “They explained that they had never had the chance to visit the Munch Museum in their homeland and what an unexpected pleasure it was to be able to see Munch’s work in Saudi.”

Biltagi added that the event epitomized the aim of Ithra in providing a platform to bring together cultures as well as people.

The center, featured in Time magazine’s list of the world’s top 100 places to visit, is a pioneer on the Kingdom’s culture and arts scene, organizing a variety of events, performances, programs and experiences to suit all ages and backgrounds. Previous exhibitions have included a focus on Saudi contemporary art, Leonardo da Vinci, and installations symbolizing creativity and innovation.