Sustainability the watchword for Riyadh Economic Forum

Updated 07 July 2019

Sustainability the watchword for Riyadh Economic Forum

  • Panel discussion focused on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development

RIYADH: The Riyadh Economic Forum held a panel discussion on a study detailing the role of balanced economic development in “Reverse Migration and Sustainable and Comprehensive Development in the Kingdom” at the chamber’s headquarters on Saturday. 

The head of the team supervising the study, Dr. Rushud Al-Kharif, explained that it aimed to identify the obstacles that prevent the achievement of balanced displacement rates of young workers from small towns to big cities.

It also aimed to improve the quality of life in smaller urban centers through an analytical survey of different regions, based on the comparative advantage of each region and determining their industrial and service resources.

He added that the importance of the study stemmed from addressing the problem of migration, resulting from imbalanced development, due to the large size of the Kingdom.

He also pointed out that because of this issue, cities expanded vertically and horizontally at a faster rate than at any previous time in the history of Saudi Arabia in light of population increases, putting pressure on services and resulting in social and security problems.

The seminar provoked lively discussion regarding the study and how to reach effective solutions.

The chairman of the board of trustees of the Riyadh Economic Forum, Hamad Al-Shuaieer, stressed that the “effects of reverse migration, and plans to achieve balanced development between big and small cities,” was an important guide for the future of the Kingdom as it seeks to diversify its economy away from over-dependence on oil in line with Vision 2030.


Saudi Arabia to inaugurate National Theater Initiative

Updated 15 min 47 sec ago

Saudi Arabia to inaugurate National Theater Initiative

  • The ceremony will see the opening performance of the play Daraish Al-Nour (Windows of Light)
  • The initiative is one of many projects from the Saudi Ministry of Culture

RIYADH: The curtain has risen on an ambitious new era for Saudi theater — and its future looks bright, if the launch of the National Theater Initiative at the King Fahd Cultural Center on Tuesday night is any indication. The evening’s entertainment began with a speech from Minister of Culture Prince Abdullah bin Farhan, in which he offered his thanks for the “unprecedented” level of support for the theatrical arts the ministry has received, especially from King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman. “The theater is the father of arts, and we have great expectations regarding the future of the art of theater in Saudi Arabia,” he said. “We want Saudi Arabia to be a leader in the field.”

Abdulaziz Ismail, president of the National Theater Initiative, highlighted the importance of theater in Saudi culture and said that the new scheme represents a great step forward for the art form. “Our culture will be reborn through this historic moment,” he said. “We are going to express our culture through our theater.” The event continued with the first staging of the musical play “Daraish Al-Nour” (Windows of Light). Written by poet Saleh Zamanan and directed by Fatees Baqna, it features a cast of local actors including Naif Khalaf, Khaled Saqr and Ibrahim Al-Hassawi. The play explores Saudi culture, past and present, and includes a number of pop-culture and historical references that older audiences in particular will appreciate. The music evokes feelings of nostalgia without seeming overly dated, and even the style of directing recalls and pays tribute to the glory days of Saudi theater. The cast perform their roles beautifully, and if the audience’s reaction on Tuesday night was anything to go by, they made a great impression. Applause, cheers and whistles rang out through the theater at the end of every act, whether the scene on stage was a cheerful, traditional Saudi dance, or a more intense, dramatic scene full of angst. Lovers of Arabic theater, and especially of old Saudi plays, will delight in this spectacular first offering from the theater initiative. The stage of the King Fahd Cultural Center is used to its absolute fullest potential, with light, sound, color and space all perfectly employed. The script balances humor and lightheartedness with bittersweet and even tragic moments. One scene features a wedding celebration that is interrupted by the once-terrifying religious police, who storm into the celebration and, in a shocking moment, destroy an oud. But even before they saw the play, many people were already moved by the promise of the evening and what it represents as another step in the resurgence of art and culture in the Kingdom, and the wider development of the country. Bader Al-Zahrani immediately volunteered to be an organizer for the initiative when he read about it on Twitter. “I think it’s a wonderful initiative from the Ministry of Culture,” he said. “Seeing the adverts on Twitter, I knew that this play was something I definitely wanted to see. I want to thank the ministry for this great initiative.” There is a second performance of “Daraish Al-Nour” at 8 p.m. tonight, and free tickets are available from Theater is one of one of 16 areas in which the ministry is working to preserve and advance Saudi culture. The theater initiative aims to provide Saudi directors, playwrights and actors with a high-quality integrated system that will offer better opportunities and improve standards of quality.