DUBAI: Emirati singer Hussain Al Jasmi is scheduled to perform at the annual Christmas concert in the Vatican on Saturday.
Al Jasmi, a UN Goodwill Ambassador, will become the first Arab artist to perform at the event. His participation in the concert will be alongside the Grand Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Renato Serio.
“I have always been pleased to contribute to charitable work in order to create an environment conducive to a dignified life, respect, equality and peace, the values that we have grown on and inherited from the late Shaikh Zayed.” Al Jasmi wrote on social media.
His performance is a nod to the policy adopted by the UAE to consolidate the values of inter-faith tolerance, moderation and intercultural exchange, as well as to continue creating channels of communication with all peoples worldwide, regardless of their ethnic, religious and cultural backgrounds. Notably, The UAE is the first country to establish a ministry for tolerance, the Ministry of Tolerance.
The performance will take place at Paul VI Audience Hall on the eve of Christmas, and will air on the fifth Italian Channel as well as several channels around the world.
New Saudi TV drama ‘Doon’ asks how far you would go to save a loved one
“Doon” tells the story of a 19-year-old’s struggle to free his older brother from prison
He is about to be executed for a crime he did not commit
Updated 20 January 2019
JEDDAH: A new Saudi drama series is set to premiere, in the latest sign that the Kingdom’s booming film and TV industry is going from strength to strength. “Doon” tells the story of a 19-year-old’s struggle to free his older brother from prison, where he is about to be executed for a crime he did not commit.
“He has to obtain SR 25 million to get his brother out of jail,” said scriptwriter Sara Al-Olayan. “He comes from a very humble kind of family; they don’t have much money and he has to find it before the execution date.
“We see how motives can kind of play with a person’s morals when it comes to someone they truly love. Morals, I would say, can shift when a person is trying to do whatever they can to get a person they care about out of jail.”
Al-Olayan joined other members of the cast and crew at film production company Millimeter on January 18 for a special event to launch the series. The 22-year-old writer said that when she joined the production there was little more than a brief description of the plot, and she was given the chance to play a major part in expanding and shaping the story.
“I fell in love with the summary of the show right away and felt that I had to be part of this,” she said. “I did my best to expand on it, to develop the story and include more characters, and to make sure that the story is culturally acceptable while also something people can relate to.”
Naif Al-Daferi, who stars as Hazem, the falsely accused older brother, is confident that the show will be hit with young people in the Kingdom.
“They will see a good representation of their community, especially the youth, and that the series talks about high schoolers not in a comedic way or in a way that insults their intelligence, so people in school will watch it,” said the 30-year-old Saudi actor. “It is the same kind of content that we expect to see in western productions — viewers will get action and drama. The premise is a big one: you have to save your brother through high-risk means.”
Co-star Fay Fouad, 23, highlighted the advances made recently by Saudi women in the local entertainment industries.
“Now we can show the world who Saudi women are and what they are capable of,” she said. “As an actress, I can tell stories from our society and portray the characters accordingly. I can tell the stories of the girls around me, and when they see me on television they see that we (women) can do it. Nothing is difficult for us.”
She said that the entire cast of “Doon” is proud of the local production.
“We are all Saudis and we are very happy with the story,” she added. “It is a unique plot, not stereotyped like other stories. It is full of surprising events. Each cast member put their heart into it and I am looking forward to its release.”
Fellow cast member Daliah Hajjar said Saudi Vision 2030 had helped to make her childhood dream come true.
“It is a wonderful feeling because I have wanted to become an actress since childhood,” said the 29-year-old Saudi. “Back in the day, such an idea wasn’t supported. My family wanted me to study medicine and so I did. I completed my studies abroad and I came home to the Saudi Vision 2030. King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman greatly support women. There has been a great leap forward for Saudi women during this time. I feel supported.”
“Doon” is produced by Viu Original (MENA) in cooperation with Qubba Production.