Face-Of: Ammar Sabban the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder.

Ammar Sabban
Updated 10 February 2019
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Face-Of: Ammar Sabban the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder.

  • He owns a company that designs and creates puppets to be used for live and video productions

JEDDAH: Ammar Sabban is the first professional Saudi puppeteer and puppet builder. He is the founder of 31 Workshop Ave. based in Thuwal, Saudi Arabia. 

Established in 2013, the company designs and creates puppets to be used for live and video productions.

He has been working as the creative content manager and master puppeteer at Bidaya Media since 2016. Bidaya Media is the producer of Iftah Ya Simsim (Sesame Street) in the UAE. At Bidaya Media, Sabban is one of the leading content writers and developers of Iftah Ya Simsim TV show, and he also handles various responsibilities toward puppeteers, their availability, training, guidance, and coordination. 

Sabban is also the co-founder and chief creative officer of the MSTDFR Podcast Network. 

Before Iftah Ya Simsim, he produced two puppet shows on YouTube and created a puppet monster called “Afroott.” 

Sabban was mentored by several Muppet performers.

He began his career as an architect. Sabban holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from King Abdul Aziz University, and a master’s degree in the same field from Washington State University in the US.

Sabban served in jobs related to his field of study for 11 years including being a landscape architect at Zuhair Fayez Partnership Consultants, a design architect at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, and the director of architecture department at Dartec Engineering Consultants. 

However, in 2013 he decided to quit his job and became a freelance creative consultant and started to work on building his dream career as a puppeteer and voice actor.

During an interview with Arab News on the  50th anniversary of “Sesame Street,” Sabban said: “I’m living out my childhood dream.”

“Being part of the team and creating it came full circle because I spent most of my time watching these cartoons,” he added.


Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

Updated 22 April 2019
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Muslim World League signs deal with Moscow to promote interfaith dialogue

  • Al-Issa lauds Russian model of national harmony and coexistence
  • Al-Issa also met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament last month

MOSCOW: The Secretary-General of the Muslim World League (MWL) Sheikh Dr. Mohammed bin Abdul Karim Al-Issa held a meeting with the president of the Russian People’s Council, Sergei Ordzhonikidze, and other council members, where they discussed issues of common interest.

They looked into means of boosting cooperation between Russia and the Muslim world, supporting positive national integration programs and countering extremist speeches and Islamophobia.

Al-Issa lauded the Russian model of national harmony and coexistence, while Ordzhonikidze presented Al-Issa with a copy of the council’s yearly report.

At the meeting the two parties signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to share their experiences in the fight against extremist ideologies, the promotion of interreligious dialogue and coexistence and the implementation of joint projects to achieve shared goals. They also stressed the pure and peaceful values of Islam and rejected all forms of extremism and Islamophobia.

The meeting was attended by the Russian deputy chairman of the Committee for the Development of Agriculture, Aygun Memedov, the chairman of the Committee on the Normalization of Relations Between Nationalities and Religions, Sheikh Albert Karganov, the Mufti of Moscow and the Khanti-Mansisk Region in Siberia Sheikh Tahir Samatov.

Last month, Al-Issa met with Speaker of the Russian Parliament Vyacheslav Volodin. They discussed subjects related to promoting and supporting dialogue among followers of different religions and civilizations, activating cultural contacts and exchanges between the Muslim world and Russia.

Al-Issa signed a cooperation agreement between the MWL and Moscow’s Fund for Islamic Culture, Science and Education. The agreement focused on tackling extremism and promoting tolerance. The agreement stressed the need for cooperation in the fight against extremism, intolerance, aggression and hostility among religions, races and ideologies that could lead to terrorism.

Both parties agreed to exchange information on the activities of scientific centers, cultural forums and websites.