The Saudi Ministry of Culture’s strategy
The Ministry of Culture has emphasized that its current role focuses on growing and developing Saudi Arabia’s cultural sector, within the context of the broader transformation witnessed by the Kingdom through the Vision 2030 reform plan.
The ministry plays a vital role in developing existing cultural entities in the Kingdom, including those in the state and private sector, and supporting them so they can participate more effectively in developing the country’s cultural sector.
Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan is no stranger to the culture scene and it is clear that he knows how to navigate this space to show the world how the Kingdom can be an incubator of local, Arab and international talent, to change the stereotype of the Gulf states and Arabs in general, and to show the world that this land is not a barren desert and just wells for oil, but the cradle of civilization and human enlightenment.
There are no limits to art and creativity — they are the keys to the soul, mind and sensitivity.
Therefore, upgrading aesthetic tastes and nurturing creativity requires the construction of more heritage villages, professional ateliers and studios and encouraging artists and painters to work full time.
The Ministry of Culture is not starting from scratch. The infrastructure is already set up although it needs to be repaired, organized and controlled. There are innovators, clubs and associations in place. Misk Foundation, an initiative from Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, communicates with people of the world. The Saudi Heritage Preservation Society safeguards treasures in the Kingdom and makes them known to the world, especially after UNESCO registered it as an international nongovernmental organization in the heritage field.
The Ministry of Culture has taken practical steps to improve popular taste, support artists and restore heritage palaces to preserve the past and brightness of the future.
At the global level the ministry has taken part in cultural events outside the Kingdom as a way to strengthen international standing. The ministry is keen to reach the international public and specialized audiences through cultural forums, partnerships, joint development programs and exchange platforms. These, in turn, allow Saudi Arabia to learn from best practice and develop the country’s cultural sector.
The ministry also injects a distinctive cultural presence at the global level, taking into consideration the values of the Kingdom and its Arab and Islamic identity.
The participation was outstanding on World Poetry Day, when Prince Badr bin Abdul Muhsin presented the beautiful face of the Kingdom through language.
The ministry sponsors efforts to maintain Saudi culture and heritage by documenting the Kingdom’s past and present, empowering future generations with a deep understanding of heritage. It also cares for heritage activities, focuses on the development of local cultures and supports craftsmen working in the sector.
This soft power stems from an awareness that cultural diversity is the common language of people and their convergence in a world devastated by politics.
But the important aspect of this effort remains to preserve our identity. So what is the point of winning the world and losing yourself?
• Talal Al-Harbi is a published author and political consultant.