Saudi researchers join T20 summit in Japan

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Dr. Fahad Al-Turki, head of the Saudi delegation attending the T20 Summit in Tokyo, Japan with Kenichiro Sasae, president of the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA) and Julia Pomares, Executive Director of CIIpp. (AN Photos by Rawan Radwan)
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From left to right: Dr. Fahad Al-Turki, head of Saudi delegation; Kenichiro Sasae, president of The Japan Institute of International Affairs; Dr. Julia Pomares, co-chair of T20 Argentina during Argentine G-20 presidency; Kyoto Tsuji, vice-minister for Japanese foreign affairs; Naoyuki Yoshino, dean and CEO of the Asian Development Bank Institute; Gustavo Martinez, Argentine T20 executive director; Hiroshi Watanabe, president of the Institute for International Monetary Affairs pose during the event. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 27 May 2019

Saudi researchers join T20 summit in Japan

  • Ways to fill economic infrastructure gaps, the US-China trade crisis analyzed
  • Five Saudi think tanks are being represented at the summit

TOKYO: The world’s leading think tanks gathered for the G-20’s Think20 (T20) Japan Summit on Sunday in Tokyo, ahead of the upcoming G-20 Osaka Summit next month.
In the opening address, the president of the Japan Institute of International Affairs (JIIA), Kenichiro Sasae, spoke of the importance of technological advances, governance and multilateralism. 
“Technology is a tool,” he told assembled delegates. “We need two guiding symbols to harness modern technology to continue to pull economic growth. Technology has a wade-ranging impact, not only on business but also on privacy, protection.”
The T20 Summit comes amidst the backdrop of a four-day visit to the Japanese capital by US President Donald Trump.
Of the main topics discussed in closed sessions were finding innovative ways to fill economic infrastructure gaps, the US-China trade crisis, how to promote entrepreneurial ecosystems and climate change.
The host country has the privilege of selecting task forces specifically for the T20. Under the theme “Seeking a Sustainable, Inclusive and Resilient Society,” Japan’s T20 recommendations were based on theoretical and empirical analysis, and consist of 10 separate task forces.
They include sustainable development, climate change and environment, cooperation with Africa, Global governance and Future Politics.
Heading the Saudi T20 delegation, Dr. Fahad Al-Turki spoke to Arab News and told of the delegations’ various roles and expectations for the summit.
“We’re working with the Argentines, the Japanese and the Italians to ensure continuity on policy recommendations that will go to the G-20,” he said.
Five Saudi think tanks are being represented at the summit.
“The purpose is to have a collective effort from Saudi Arabia to represent the Kingdom at the T20. The first day went great, we talked with the authors of many of the policy briefs about our views and our recommendations,” he added.
Dr. Hossa Al-Mutairi told Arab News Saudi participation was essential, in anticipation to the 2020 G-20 Riyadh Summit.
“We participated last year as observers (at the 2018 summit in Buenos Aires), we went to learn from the Argentines, attended their sessions to understand the process of organizing T20 as well as how to select the task forces, but mainly to maintain a network with T20 members,” she said.
“One of the presentations that we had was on climate change, as Saudi Arabia cares about climate change, but we also care about economic stability. There is a connection between economics, environment and energy, you can’t separate them and we look into all energy sources.”

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

Updated 26 June 2019

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 exhibition in Dhahran.

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.