FaceOf: Dr. Hatem bin Hasan bin Hamza Al-Marzouki, deputy minister of education

Dr. Hatem bin Hasan bin Hamza Al-Marzouki
Updated 26 March 2019
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FaceOf: Dr. Hatem bin Hasan bin Hamza Al-Marzouki, deputy minister of education

Dr. Hatem bin Hasan bin Hamza Al-Marzouki has been recently appointed the deputy minister of education for universities, research, and innovation. 

He has been serving as the rector of the Islamic University of Madinah since 2016. 

Al-Marzouki has served the Emirate of Makkah region in different capacities between 2001 and 2009 including as assistant undersecretary of development, the general supervisor of the Information Technology Center, and as the secretary-general of Makkah Region Council.

He worked as an assistant professor of Islamic architecture at the College of Engineering at the Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah between 1999 and 2001. 

He also worked as an assistant researcher at the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Institute for Hajj and Umrah Research at the Umm Al-Qura University. 

Al-Marzouki holds a bachelor’s degree in architecture from Umm Al-Qura University in Makkah, Saudi Arabia. He received two master’s degrees from the University of Colorado in the US — one in urban design and urban economics and the other in architecture and planning. 

He earned his Ph.D. in architecture and planning from the University of Newcastle, UK. Al-Mazrouki has participated in several research projects for the development of the Makkah region and his research papers have been published in several publications.


Umrah pilgrims now free to move around Saudi Arabia

Updated 23 min 9 sec ago
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Umrah pilgrims now free to move around Saudi Arabia

  • Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah
  • Nearly 8 million Muslims are likely to perform Umrah this year

JEDDAH: Millions of Umrah pilgrims are to be granted the freedom to visit anywhere in the Kingdom during their stay, the Saudi Cabinet decided on Tuesday.

Muslims making the holy pilgrimage will be allowed to tour anywhere in the country as part of Saudi Arabia’s plans to boost tourism and the economy.

“The Cabinet has decided to exclude people coming to perform Umrah and to visit the Prophet’s Mosque (in Madinah), of the prohibition of movement outside Makkah, Madinah, and Jeddah. A royal decree has been prepared to this effect,” the acting media minister, Issam bin Saeed, said in a statement to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA).

Previously, Umrah pilgrims were restricted to the holy cities of Makkah and Madinah and the port city of Jeddah.

FASTFACT

 

Vision 2030 aims to increase the country’s capacity to welcome Umrah visitors from 8 million to 30 million every year.

Nearly 8 million Muslims will perform Umrah in the Kingdom this year, and the Cabinet’s move will enable them to enjoy a broader experience of Saudi Arabia by visiting key landmarks, historic sites, tourist attractions and shopping centers.

“We are looking to enrich the experience of pilgrims and facilitate their arrival,” Dr. Amr Al-Maddah, chief planning and strategy officer at the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, told Arab News. “Traveling around the Kingdom is an opportunity for pilgrims to visit cultural and tourist sites.

“At the same time, they will be allowed to arrive at any port in the country which will facilitate their arrival and expand the capacity to receive more pilgrims.”

Ministers hope their decision will help toward reaching Saudi Arabia’s goal of receiving 30 million Umrah pilgrims by 2030.

In the past, pilgrims were allowed to convert their visas into a tourist visa on the condition that they were registered with a tourism program. “This is no longer a requirement,” said Al-Maddah.

He added that they would now be free to plan visits to other Saudi cities, tourist destinations, festivals and events, within the period of their visa validity.

Al-Maddah said: “We want to make it available to everyone in order to enrich the experience of the pilgrims, which is one of the goals of Vision 2030.”

He noted that the authority responsible for implementing the Cabinet’s decision would be the Interior Ministry.