Saudi General Entertainment Authority, Qiddiya launch job placement programs

The General Entertainment Authority is taking steps to create a diverse entertainment sector in Saudi Arabia. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 10 July 2019
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Saudi General Entertainment Authority, Qiddiya launch job placement programs

  • MoU signed to provide scholarships for 60 students
  • The program will begin in the autumn of 2019, lasting five years

JEDDAH: The General Entertainment Authority (GEA) and Qiddiya Investment Co. signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to launch joint programs to develop human capital.

It is part of the GEA’s scholarship program launched last week. The signing ceremony took place at the authority’s headquarters in Riyadh on Sunday. GEA Chief Executive Office Amr bin Ahmed Banaja and Qiddiya Investment Co. chief Michael Reininger signed the MoU on behalf of their respective organizations.

The agreement will provide scholarships for 60 students to study at Rosen College of Hospitality Management at the University of Central Florida in the US.

The first batch of students will receive scholarships in event management and entertainment management degree programs. The program will begin in the autumn of 2019, lasting five years. It will include English language preparation and internships at the Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

Through this ambitious scholarship program, the GEA is keen to achieve its strategic objectives in developing local content and creating a robust, diverse entertainment sector in line with Saudi Vision 2030. Moreover, the partnership aims to achieve Qiddiya’s goals in creating career paths for young Saudis to work at the company

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The first batch of students will receive scholarships in event management and entertainment management degree programs.
  • The program will begin in the autumn of 2019, lasting five years.
  • It will include English language preparation and internships at the Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

The registration process to win a scholarship opportunity will end on July 12. It has so far witnessed a large turnout by Saudi students eager to study and work in the Kingdom’s promising entertainment sector.

 

Interested candidates can get themselves registered by visiting https://www.gea.gov.sa/hr-development/qiddiya.

The GEA is one of the key drivers of transformation in the Kingdom, with clarity of purpose to build a world-class entertainment industry that will put Saudi Arabia on the global tourism and entertainment map.

Qiddiya, one of the three megaprojects, besides the Neom smart-city and the Red Sea Project launched by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will be located about 40 kilometers from the city center.

Upon completion, the prominent landmark is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city.

The project targets local, regional and international tourists and will be Saudi Arabia’s pre-eminent entertainment, sports and cultural destination that embodies the Saudi identity. It is expected to be the world’s largest entertainment city by 2030, with a total area of 334 square kilometers, surpassing Walt Disney World in Florida, which is only 110 sq. km. Investors hope the project will attract high numbers of international visitors. 

The project aims to improve the quality of local life not only through entertainment, but also by providing around 57,000 jobs for citizens and opening new opportunities for the private sector in various industries. It will also serve the Kingdom’s goal of elevating Riyadh to become one of the world’s top 100 cities to live in.


Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

Updated 25 min 6 sec ago
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Saudis recall history’s greatest TV event: Apollo moon landing

  • The TV images beamed from 320,000km away in space left viewers astounded but happy
  • The TV coverage influenced thinking and attitudes in the Kingdom just like everywhere else

DUBAI: It was a sleepy afternoon in Saudi Arabia, just days before the end of the school vacation, and Saudis had their eyes glued to their TV sets as they waited for live coverage of the Apollo 11 moon landing.

Before July 20, 1969, the idea of a human walking on the moon was the stuff of science fiction. However, almost overnight, sci-fi had turned into reality with a live broadcast showing American astronaut Neil Armstrong’s dramatic descent onto the empty lunar landscape.

Between science fiction and science fact, the live coverage of the lunar landing amounted to an unusual fusion of news and entertainment.

Saudi TV technicians bring the first live images of Neil Armstrong’s 1969 moon landing to
viewers around the Kingdom. (Supplied photo)

The historic images — beamed back to Earth more than 320,000 km away — left Saudi viewers astounded and confused, but mostly elated to be witnessing such an epoch-making event.

The event was covered live on television and radio stations in Saudi Arabia. Most Saudis and residents living in the Kingdom watched it on Saudi channels 1 and 3, owned by Saudi Aramco.

Hessah Al-Sobaie, a housewife from Al-Dawadmi, recalled watching the moon landing from her grandparents’ backyard as an 11-year-old.

“It felt weird watching a human walk on the moon,” she told Arab News. “I remember the endless questions I asked as a child.”

While most people were aware that going to the moon was risky, many Saudis believed that such a journey was impossible and all but unthinkable.


EVENTS WATCH

1. NASA’s Apollo 11 mission control room in Houston has been restored to its 1969 condition and regular tours
will be conducted by the Johnson Space Center.

2. NASA ‘Science Live’ will have a special edition on July 23 on board the aircraft carrier that recovered the Apollo 11 capsule.

3. A summer moon festival and family street fair will be held in Wapakoneta, Ohio, from July 17-20.

4. Downtown Houston’s Discovery green will host a free public screening of the ‘Apollo 11’ documentary, with an appearance by NASA astronaut Steve Bowen.

5. Amateur radio operators will host a series of events on July 20-21.

6. The US Space and Rocket Center is staging a special ‘Rockets on Parade’ exhibition.


The Apollo 11 mission prompted discussions across the Middle East over the reality of what people saw on their TV screens. Some Saudi scholars found it hard to believe their eyes.

“I watched it, and I clearly remember each and every detail of the coverage,” Hayat Al-Bokhari, 68, a retired school principal in Jeddah, said.

“My father, Abdul, was 56 at the time. He said the landing was faked. He couldn’t believe or accept that a human could go to the moon.”

Khaled Almasud, 70, a retired university lecturer, was a student in the US state of Oregon at the time of the mission. “Americans were stunned and over the moon, happy with their national achievement. But many Saudis like me were either in denial or insisting on more proof.”

Since the beginning of the 1960s, King Faisal had been rapidly transforming Saudi Arabia, inviting foreign-trained experts to help build a modern country with world-class infrastructure.

Billie Tanner, now 90, lived in the Kingdom for many years with her husband, Larry, and their two children, Laurie and Scott, aged six and four. The family had just arrived in Saudi Arabia and headed to the Aramco compound in Ras Tanura in the Eastern Province.

A screengrab of video of the first lunar landing beamed toward Earth and shown on television worldwide. 

“We were going through a culture shock,” she told Arab News. “I wasn’t thinking of the moon landing, but we heard about it on the news from Dhahran.

“My kids tried to see the astronauts on the moon with their binoculars and said they could see them walking around.”

The Apollo 11 spaceflight has become a milestone in the annals of human history and science. Since 1969 space exploration has greatly expanded man’s knowledge of the universe, far beyond Earth’s limits.

The captivating live coverage of the moon landing inspired millions of people around the world, profoundly influencing their thinking and attitudes.

The people of Saudi Arabia were no exception.