Conserving archaeological and cultural heritage is part of Vision 2030, King Salman says

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Updated 09 November 2017

Conserving archaeological and cultural heritage is part of Vision 2030, King Salman says

RIYADH: Conserving Saudi Arabia’s archaeological and cultural heritage is a part of Vision 2030, and the Kingdom is proud to be the birthplace of inspiration and the cradle of civilization, King Salman said on Wednesday.
In a speech delivered on the king’s behalf at the first Saudi Antiquities Forum, Prince Faisal bin Bandar, the governor of Riyadh, praised a Saudi archaeological expedition that has toured 11 museums in Europe, the US, China and South Korea.
The exhibition, called Saudi Archaeological Masterpieces Through the Ages, features 466 rare archaeological pieces presenting Saudi Arabia’s cultural heritage and civilization.
The governor honored 140 Saudis who have donated archaeological pieces to the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH), revealed new archaeological locations and cooperated in maintaining the Kingdom’s cultural heritage.
He also presented the Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari awards to recipients who had best served Saudi heritage and antiquities.
It is named after Abdul Rahman Al-Ansari, the pioneer of archaeology in the Kingdom and the doyen of Saudi archaeologists. He was the first Saudi to study archaeology at the University of Leeds. Under his supervision, generations of Saudi archaeologists graduated. He led various archaeological surveys and explorations in different regions of the Kingdom for more than half a century. He was also involved in the first Saudi prospecting unit at Al-Faw village of Wadi Ad-Dawaser.
The Riyadh governor also honored groups participating in archaeological excavations in the Kingdom.
“Saudi Arabia holds the key to solving many mysteries of the prehistoric era due to its geographic location, which provided a gateway for early human migrations from East Africa to the ancient world’s continents,” Dr. Al-Abbas Sayed Ahmed of the University of Dongola, Sudan, told a scientific conference at the antiquities forum.
“Until recently, the Arabian Peninsula remained outside the world archaeology map due to historical circumstances that led to the scarcity of work in this field.”
Experts also discussed the depth of Saudi Arabia’s history, and referred to a collection of ancient rock carvings that reflect the evolution of human civilizations and their lifestyles.
Dr. Robin Engels, Professor of Archaeology at the University of York, said that although Saudi Arabia was the junction of ancient trade routes, only a few of the rock carvings and pictographs had been studied. “The southwestern region housed many pictographs that can help us understand ancient man’s passage to Africa,” he said.
Abdulrazzaq Al-Maamari, professor of Archaeology at King Saud University, presented a research paper in which he discussed how rock art provided evidence that ancient man crafted and used nets.
Robert G. Bednarik, the Australian prehistorian and cognitive archaeologist, said: “The carvings and drawings on rocks can be viewed and discussed using radioactive carbon and colors in order to discover the dates and information they convey.”
Dr. Majeed Khan, an archaeologist at the SCTH, presented photos of rock art found in different parts of Saudi Arabia, the most modern of which are 900 years old. They show that ancient man’s clothing was made of animal skin and not much different from that of modern man, which provides evidence that Saudi Arabia were a center for human activities in the ancient world and not merely a route for trade and convoys.
Dr. Zulfiqar Ali Kalhoro, an anthropologist at the University of Islamabad, spoke about how Saudi civilizations reached East Asia, and said identical rock drawings of Arab camels had been found in both Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.


Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

Updated 26 May 2020

Study says work-life balance disturbed by remote working culture

RIYADH: In the wake of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, governments around the world introduced strict measures to curb its spread.

Due to the unavailability of a vaccine against the virus, social distancing is here to stay for the foreseeable future.

And with stringent coronavirus measures, companies have made arrangements for employees to work from home. As there is no clarity about an end to this viral outbreak, debate on work-life balance has been ignited.

A new study titled “How COVID-19 changed the way people work” — conducted by global cybersecurity company Kaspersky — reveals how quarantine has influenced how people work from home.

The “new normal” that workers are now facing is starting to have an impact on their work-life balance.

Nearly a third (31 percent) of workers said they are spending more time working than they did before. However, 46 percent said they have increased the amount of time they spend on personal activities.

This increased time on “personal activities” may be attributed to the fact that many people do not have to spend time commuting.

The study added that it has become harder for workers to separate working and personal activity, especially when it comes to IT.

It further stated that 55 percent of workers are now reading more news compared with life before the pandemic.

Workers are also developing a habit of using personal services for work, increasing digital risks, including the disclosure of sensitive information. 

Some 42 percent of employees use personal email accounts for work-related matters, and 49 percent admit their usage has increased when working from home. 

“Organizations cannot just fulfill all user requests, such as allowing staff to use any services. It is necessary to find a balance between user convenience, business necessity and security. To achieve this, a company should provide access to services based on the principle of only supplying minimal and necessary privileges, implement a VPN and use secure and approved corporate systems,” said Andrey Evdokimov, chief information security officer at Kaspersky.

He added: “These types of software may have certain restrictions that slightly reduce usability, but offer greater assurances in providing security measures.”

Dr. Waquar Ahmad Khan, an assistant professor at Taibah University, Madinah told Arab News: “The COVID-19 outbreak and the subsequent work-from-home imperatives and lockdowns have led to significant changes in the workings and lifestyles.”

He highlighted that working from home has both positive and negative aspects. 

“Being an academic I can say that teaching is an occupation with low suitability to work from home. To teach remotely without socializing can compromise both teachers and students’ academic performance and mental health,” he said.

There are other issues from the new working culture. Support from colleagues is now harder to find, at least face-to-face, he said, adding that anxieties about the public health issues itself are high.

Dr. Majed Al-Hedayan, a legal expert, told Arab News that the pandemic has led to a restructuring of the concept of job commitments.

“It has become an ambitious and optimistic view contrary to what it was before the pandemic that the performance of workers was below the level of ambition,” he added.

“This motivates public and private entities to adopt a methodology for remote working in the coming period after the pandemic,” said Al-Hedayan.