Mariah Carey wows fans in Saudi Arabia with her first concert in the Kingdom

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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)
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Fans gather outside the venue where Carey is due to perform. (AN photo) 
Updated 04 February 2019

Mariah Carey wows fans in Saudi Arabia with her first concert in the Kingdom

  • Singer becomes the highest profile star to perform in the Kingdom since the easing of entertainment restrictions
  • Fans tell Arab News of their excitement ahead of the performance in King Abdullah Economic City

KING ABDULLAH ECONOMIC CITY: Mariah Carey took the stage in Saudi Arabia on Thursday to become the highest profile international artist to perform in the Kingdom since the easing of restrictions on entertainment.

"I'm so happy to see you guys all together tonight," the superstar told an exuberant crowd at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City. 

She then launched into a string of her hits including "Love Takes Time," and "Make it Happen."

Wearing a full length black sequined dress, Carey dedicated the song "Always Be My Baby," to the crowd.

Fans flocked to the concert to see Carey become the first female international artist to perform in the Kingdom since social reforms removed restrictions on entertainment and segregation of the sexes.

Faisal Mulla, 21, said it was his first time seeing a concert in the Kingdom.

“I’d just like to enjoy it as much as I can,” he told Arab News as he waited excitedly outside the venue.

Ahead of her performance, fans told Arab News of their excitement at seeing the star on stage.

Hundreds gathered at the event before she arrived and the mood was joyful and full of anticipation. The crowd included a mix of Saudis and foreigners, with quite a few in their 40s and above. For many it was their first concert experience.

When Carey performed one of her classic hits "Fantasy" the crowd erupted, singing along. The mixed crowd cheered and danced with many holding their smartphones in the air.




Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)

“I came to encourage more artists to come to Saudi Arabia and celebrate," said 22 year-old Hamza Gamaraldin. "We’re all big fans of pop music and as we’re huge fans of her music, I came to support her too.”

“She’s a legend. We love Mariah and we thank her for coming to Saudi! I feel good and more encouraged about the future of Saudi Arabia, I’m encouraging it to be more improved and more open to foreigners.”

Earlier, Carey said her concert was a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation.

"Presented with the offer to perform for an international and mixed gender audience in Saudi Arabia, Mariah accepted the opportunity as a positive step towards the dissolution of gender segregation," Carey's publicists told The Associated Press.




Mariah Carey performing at the Bay La Sun resort in King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia. (AN Photo)

"As the first female international artist to perform in Saudi Arabia, Mariah recognizes the cultural significance of this event and will continue to support global efforts towards equality for all," the publicists added.

DJ Dash warmed up the crowd before Carey took to the stage while Dutch DJ Tiesto was set to perform after Carey had finished.

Ahmad, a 29 year old Lebanese man who was born and raised in Saudi Arabia, said that he was attending to see DJ Tiesto rather than Mariah Carey, and that “it's a great performance so far, it's just nice to see in Saudi.”




Fans gather outside the venue where Carey is due to perform. (AN photo) 

He added that it is the first time he has seen “something like this. I hope she comes again, and other artists.”

Carey's concert is taking place at the Kingdom's first major international golf tournament. Part of the European Tour, the inaugural Saudi International, powered by SBIA, has drawn several of golf's biggest stars. 

Ticket prices ranged from SR295 for the grandstand to almost SR800 for the "golden circle."

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Mariah Carey’s Saudi setlist 

I Like That

Shake It Off

Love Takes Time

Make it Happen

Fantasy

Always Be My baby

Dream Lover

My All

One Sweet Day

Honey

Don’t Forget About Us

We Belong Together

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G20 thinkers consider migration issues and youth unemployment in the COVID-19 era

Updated 13 min 13 sec ago

G20 thinkers consider migration issues and youth unemployment in the COVID-19 era

  • Think 20 engagement group discusses the challenges facing migrants, and ways in which they might be overcome

JEDDAH: Members of the G20’s Think 20 (T20) engagement group on Tuesday discussed migration, ways to tackle youth unemployment, and how innovative policies and programs to encourage cross-generational engagement might be developed.

The webinar for the T20’s Task Force 9 on Migration and Young Societies was hosted in cooperation with Jordan’s Center for Strategic Studies. The participants included representatives of research centers, government bodies and civil-society organizations.

The event featured two panel discussions that focused on the ways in which migration might shape the future, and how new digital platforms will affect the experiences of migrants, women and children.

During her opening speech, Princess Maha bint Mishari, the lead co-chair of the task force, emphasized the severity of the demographic challenges faced by societies and migrants, and the negative effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on “already vulnerable” groups. She said the challenges facing young people, women and migrants have been heightened by economic and educational shutdowns, closed borders and lack of healthcare infrastructure in many places.

She also noted that under King Salman, Saudi Arabia has made remarkable and unprecedented progress on many levels, politically, socially, economically and developmentally.

“These achievements are the pillars of the Vision 2030 reform program, (and show) that the Saudi leadership is committed to its pledge to build a state for the future and consolidate its position in the G20,” she said.

Paolo Magri, the executive vice president and director of the Italian Institute for International Political Studies, said that efforts to address migration issues require a multilateral approach involving countries of origin, transit and destination.

“This is especially true in light of the rising disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. “On migration, the pandemic has been a source of disruption in migration channels, the international agenda and capacity. These three major disruptions might endanger the prospects of improving migration governance.”

Amal El-Ouassif, a specialist in international relations at the Policy Center for the New South, discussed trends in African migration, changes caused by the pandemic, and the lessons that can be learned from experiences during the health crisis.

“It is important to understand what we expect in the near future,” she said. “Intro-African migration will predominantly remain within the continent, as 80 percent of migration happens within the continent.”

She added that G20 countries have a vested interest in African migration issues because much of the migration in Africa is to countries that are G20 members.

Fahad Al-Sharif, a senior research fellow at King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies, highlighted some of the factors that have affected global migration over time, including early movements of humans, the two world wars, and now the pandemic.

“Many types of migrations have emerged through time, depending on the geographic, socioeconomic and push-and-pull factors,” he said. “For example, forced migrations caused by civil wars, natural disasters and ethic cleansing, among many other things.”

He also discussed legal and seasonal migrations, as well as undocumented migrants and issue of migration during the pandemic.

“Countries should deliver policies in support of irregular migrants,” Al-Sharif said. “Even though COVID-19 proved our unpreparedness and vulnerability, it also created a new opportunity for us, as individuals and countries, to engage in finding new, creative, compassionate and usable policies to face the future.”

He also offered some recommendations for ways in which the needs of undocumented migrants can be better addressed in the COVID-19 era.

“We should increase trust between these communities and health authorities,” he said. “We also need to assure communities that their members will not face any punishment.

“We also have to implement a system that allows undocumented migrants to call emergency services without the threat of retaliation. Moreover, we need to develop more robust and long-term cooperation with foreign embassies to facilitate the identification of undocumented migrants and their presence in their countries.”

The webinar concluded with a speech by Ziad Eyadat, the director of the Center for Strategic Studies, and closing remarks by Fahad Al-Turki, chair of the T20.

Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of the G20 this year and the group’s annual summit is due to be held in Riyadh in November. The T20, a network of think tanks and researchers, is one of several independent G20 engagement groups led by organizations from the host country. They focus on different sections and sectors of society and work to develop policy recommendations that will be presented to G20 leaders for consideration.

The Migration and Young Societies task force focuses on finding ways to develop skills and opportunities among young people, and encourage macroeconomic and microeconomic policies that address high youth unemployment, demographic changes, economic growth and the reform of social systems.

It is one of 11 T20 task forces working to develop research and policy recommendations on issues such as economic development, climate change, women and youth, technology and innovation, multilateralism, financing, food security, access to water, and methods of solving complex problems. They operate under the presidency of King Abdullah Petroleum Studies and Research Center, and King Faisal Center for Research and Islamic Studies.