Makkah governor launches Arabic poetry award

Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal at the launch ceremony of the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry. (SPA)
Updated 12 November 2018

Makkah governor launches Arabic poetry award

  • The prize is worth SR1 million ($266,560) distributed over three categories, the first of which is the Arabic poetry prize

JEDDAH: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal pointed out Sunday, during the launch ceremony of the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry, that King Salman’s approval for this prize reflects his keen interest and care for culture and literature.
He said: “We are pleased today to launch this new prize at this young university and academy, and I wish everyone success so that this prize advances to meet the ambitions of King Salman. He has approved for the first time this poetry prize, which we have named after the late Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal.
“Saudi Arabia owes Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal so much when it comes to poetry and culture as he was a great advocate of Arabic poetry with his proper language.”
Prince Khaled emphasized the importance of valuing and cherishing the Arabic language as well as taking pride in it, as it is the language of the Holy Qur’an.
He said: “We must contribute to the dissemination of Arabic because God has granted Makkah a special status as the land of revelation and Islam. We must restore the importance of Arabic alphabets, poems, articles, and books in order to be the ambassadors of this culture, which makes every Saudi proud.”
The governor of Makkah thanked the Academy of Arabic Poetry and the Prince Abdullah Al-Faisal International Prize for Arabic Poetry, hoping that the prize would achieve many ambitions.
The prize is worth SR1 million ($266,560) distributed over three categories, the first of which is the Arabic poetry prize. It is worth half a million riyals and is granted to a contemporary Arab poet for all of his rich works of poetry, provided he submits at least three poetry books written and printed in classical Arabic.
Also, the music and rhyme of all submitted poetry books must adhere to the regulated poetic rhythm (vertical and trochee), and the poet should be recommended by a specialized cultural institution or an Arab or international publishing house. Members of the jury may not apply for the prize while working with the judging panel.
The second category is Arabic theatrical poetry, with a prize of SR300,000. Submitted works must be in the form of poetry and written in classical Arabic with no linguistic or structural mistakes. The poet must be established and have at least one published poetry book or poetic play in classical Arabic, or at least ten published poems.
The submitted work must be recommended by an arts association, a literary club, a specialized cultural institution, or an arts institution such as an institute or center specialized in the theater. The candidate may nominate himself based on the recommendation of one of the aforementioned bodies, and the recommendation must be mentioned in the candidate’s details.
The third category is sung poetry, with a prize of SR200,000. This is awarded to a contemporary poet who submits a song that adds to the arts field. Submitted poems must adhere to the regulated poetic rhythm (vertical and trochee) and be written in correct classical Arabic without compromising its tune.
Also, technical musical standards should be taken into account while writing the sung poem, the poet must have distinctive poetry works of at least one book or ten sung or published poems, and the poem must be recommended by a local or Arab arts association, literary club or specialized cultural institution.
A producer may nominate himself based on the recommendation of one of the aforementioned bodies. Awardees have to attend the awards ceremony with the song’s poet, singer, and composer and perform it on stage. Members of the jury may not apply for the prize while working with the judging panel.
Dr. Hossam bin Abdul Wahab Zaman, director of Taif University and secretary-general of the Academy of Arabic Poetry, said that establishing this academy at the university is a source of pride for it.
“It also reflects Prince Khaled Al-Faisal’s faith in the role of Taif University in supporting culture and science and its ability to efficiently manage this cultural project with his support and according to the academy’s ambitious plans,” he said.


Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

US Consul General Rachna Korhonen finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating. (Supplied)
Updated 25 February 2020

Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province feels very American, says US consul general

  • Saudi hospitality wins the heart of diplomat who considers Kingdom one of her favorite destinations

DAMMAM: The US consul general in Dhahran, Rachna Korhonen, lists the Kingdom as one of her favorite places and is in love with the local culture and traditions.

Working in the Kingdom since 2017, she has been impressed by the tremendous changes taking place in Saudi Arabia under Vision 2030.
Arab News caught up with Korhonen to discuss all things American and Saudi.
“As US Ambassador Abizaid has said, the US-Saudi partnership is more vital than ever, particularly as we confront regional security challenges and work hand-in-hand to achieve shared economic and political objectives.”
This relationship is strong and multifaceted, she said, adding: “We work together every day to promote prosperity and economic development, protect the security of our two countries, and build the people-to-people ties that keep our relationship strong.”
She said that a posting to Saudi Arabia was her first choice for an assignment.
“I did not know at the time that I would be the first woman to serve as the US consul general in Dhahran. I really wanted to learn about energy! I was pretty nervous and somewhat scared, but also excited and enthusiastic. I spent three years in Riyadh and some time in Kuwait and Iraq so I had a pretty good understanding of the region.”
Korhonen speaks highly of the Saudi hospitality and the way people welcomed her.
“I came (to the Kingdom) just before Eid Al-Adha. It is a tradition that the consul general makes Eid calls to visit prominent families. I was lucky enough to meet people from the very first moment I arrived. I have always made an effort to get to meet people at different occasions. Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me. I really have the best job in the best place at the best time,” she told Arab News.

Saudis have welcomed me into their homes, shared meals and traditions with me.

Rachna Korhonen, US consul general

Korhonen said she finds the diwaniya and majlis culture of the Eastern Province fascinating.
“I enjoy meeting new people and learning about what is happening in the Eastern Province. Diwaniyas are a great place to do that. I also love gahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates,” she said.
Korhonen said the Eastern Province feels very American to her. She thinks this is partly due to the close relationship enjoyed by the countries since the 1930s, which began with Aramco and also because thousands of Saudis from the Eastern Province have studied in the US.
Commenting on the social transformation in the Kingdom under Vision 2030, she said: “I still remember very well the first game I attended in Saudi Arabia. It was a very hot and humid day in August, but I wanted to be in attendance to show support for the Eastern Province teams. There was a big crowd and the energy in the stadium was amazing. At that game, I was the only woman in the family section. Now, it completely feels normal to see entire Saudi families in the stands. I could be anywhere in the world at a sporting event. It’s such a huge change.”
She told Arab News that “there have been no recent changes” in the US visa process, adding: “We have visa appointments most weeks from Sunday to Thursday. We encourage everyone interested in going to the US this summer to start thinking about applying now, since we expect demand will grow as we approach the summer season.
“We continue to look for ways to reduce the amount of time a person spends in our waiting room, the wait for visa appointments (especially for students), and the time it takes for someone to get their passport back with the visa.”
She said her favorite initiative that brings Saudis and Americans together is the International Leadership Program.
“The consulate also works with local Saudi partners to bring American athletes, musicians, entrepreneurs, artists and other experts to the Eastern Province to exchange ideas and explore ways to collaborate. Our EducationUSA office helps Saudi students who are interested in studying in the US learn about US universities, the admission process and how to prepare for their educational experience,” the consul general said.