Saudi female archaeologist goes back to the future with career ambitions

Saudi female archaeologist goes back to the future with career ambitions
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Najla Al-Saeer and her team during their work at Wadi Matar excavation sites in the Farasan island of Jazan. (Photo/Supplied)
Saudi female archaeologist goes back to the future with career ambitions
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Najla Al-Saeer's team during their work at Wadi Matar excavation sites in the Farasan island of Jazan. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 24 July 2019

Saudi female archaeologist goes back to the future with career ambitions

Saudi female archaeologist goes back to the future with career ambitions
  • University sets up first women’s archaeology department to dig into Kingdom’s historical past

RIYADH: Najlah Salman Al-Saeer, one of Saudi Arabia’s top emerging female archaeologists, talks about her journey into the past and her career ambitions for the future.

A Saudi archaeologist is fast-becoming a leading light in the field for her work delving into the Kingdom’s cultural past.

Through her fascination for all things old, Najla Salman Al-Saeer has been digging back millions of years into the history of the country.

And she is hoping to expand her knowledge by continuing her education abroad to help unearth even more of the Kingdom’s treasures of the past.

After gaining a bachelor’s degree in arts (libraries and information) from Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University, Al-Saeer began studying for a master’s degree in tourism and archaeology, graduating this year from King Saud University (KSU).




Najla Al-Saeer's team at work. (Photo/Supplied)

The KSU archaeology department was established in 1977 to be the Saudi center for graduated qualified national professionals in the subject and its diverse sciences, and to provide excellent scientific knowledge to serve the job market and provide homegrown experts in the field.

Al-Saeer specializes in material heritage, archaeological sites and everything related to documents and manuscripts. “I write in newspapers about my field visits to archaeological and heritage sites,” she told Arab News.

“Studying archaeology was based on my love of exploration in the first place, and consequent entry into the work field on archaeological surveys and excavations.

“The study of material findings gives the researcher a concrete conception of the first human settlements, successive civilizations, and the culture prevailing in communities up until the period they belong to.

“My studies in libraries and information also played a role in choosing archaeology. My interest in manuscripts, which I call cultural heritage, meant I studied them in an archaeological way so that I could be within the scope of professional archaeological work,” she added.




Najla Al-Saeer's team at work. (Photo/Supplied)

Al-Saeer completed her master’s research project on “The Archaeological Study of the Manuscripts in West Africa (such as Timbuktu),” and she is currently working on writing a scientific report related to her surveys and excavations of the Wadi Shami and Wadi Matar sites in the Farasan island of Jazan.

While working on a temple at Wadi Matar, she discovered objects dating back thousands of years. “I found a fragment of Nabati pottery, beads, pottery wares and other artifacts such as bones and shells.”

Al-Saeer is not alone in the Kingdom as a female archaeologist. In 1989, KSU established the first women’s department of archaeology to promote the roles of female students and researchers.

Dr. Samer Sahla, head of the university’s archaeology section, said the department offered a postgraduate program exclusively for female students.

BACKGROUND

While working on a temple at Wadi Matar, Najla Al-Saeer discovered objects dating back thousands of years ago. Al-Saeer is not alone in the Kingdom as a female archaeologist. In 1989, KSU established the first women’s department of archaeology to promote the roles of female students and researchers.

“The number of female students currently in the graduate program is approximately 75. We accept annually 15 to 20 female students in our masters and Ph.D. programs, and applications are generally increasing,” he added. 

Al-Saeer’s main aims at present are to work on her Ph.D. project in archaeology and participate in surveys and explorations of other key heritage sites in the Kingdom, and she is also hoping for the opportunity to work abroad.

She said that archaeologists usually located excavation sites by foot surveys or using aerial photography and metal detectors.

One of the oldest Saudi sites is in the village of Al-Shwaihtia, about 45 km from the city of Sakaka in Al-Jawf, where human settlements dating back to the Paleolithic era have been found.




Najla Al-Saeer and her team during their work. (Photo/Supplied)

Al-Saeer pointed to the important role played by the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTH). “The commission took the coverage on its behalf by holding lectures and symposia after each task in the archaeological sites of the Kingdom to discuss the most important results, in addition to holding conferences including the first Saudi Archaeological Conference in Riyadh, in 2017.”

She added that the SCTH was able to develop global interest in Saudi archaeological finds through its longstanding partnerships with foreign teams including those from France, Germany and Japan.

She has benefitted from “working on different methodologies of archaeological research and practicing them in archaeological sites, in addition to benefiting from the diverse experiences within the work team, which includes individuals holding various specializations other than archaeology.”


Arab states condemn Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia

Arab states condemn Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia
Updated 9 min 41 sec ago

Arab states condemn Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia

Arab states condemn Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia

DUBAI: Arab states on Saturday condemned the Houthi militia’s attacks on Saudi Arabia that targeted civilian areas across the Kingdom.
The Kuwaiti Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “The Houthi militia’s insistence on continuing these terrorist acts constitutes a continuation of the dangerous escalation that these militias are undertaking to harm the security of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and undermine the stability of the region.”
The minister said this was “a flagrant challenge” to international and humanitarian law and an obstruction of international efforts seeking to reach a political solution that ends the ongoing conflict in Yemen.
Kuwait renewed its call to the international community, and the United Nations Security Council, to carry out its duties to curb the Houthis “dangerous escalation” and put an end to it to maintain international peace and security.
Kuwait affirmed its support of Saudi Arabia’s measures to preserve its security, stability and sovereignty.
The Yemeni government echoed Kuwait’s response in condemning the Houthi militia’s “repeated terrorist acts,” calling it a war crime that endangers the lives of civilians.
The Yemeni foreign ministry reaffirmed its support of the Saudi government, and praised the Saudi-led Arab coalition forces in supporting the internationally recognized Yemeni government.  
Bahrain also released a statement condemning Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia and affirmed its solidarity with its neighboring country.  
The Bahraini Foreign Ministry praised the coalition forces that were able to intercept and destroy the ballistic missile and drones, stressing the need for the international community to assume its political responsibilities towards these “unjust Houthi attacks” on the Kingdom’s territory.


Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions. (Supplied)
Updated 28 February 2021

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’

Saudi fashions ‘tell the world a story’
  • Eye-catching traditional pieces that women wear on key occasions highlight the Kingdom’s diverse heritage

MAKKAH: With Saudi Arabia’s diverse and colorful cultural traditions, fashion serves as a medium where foreigners and citizens can meet.
Fashion has always been an important part of how people define themselves and others, and Saudi Arabia’s traditional clothing is no different.
Those who watched the Saudi Cup horse race coverage would have noticed that many racegoers, including foreigners living in the Kingdom, donned eye-catching pieces from the Kingdom’s regions, while others made sure they showed off traditional fashion items.
For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an “American Saudi,” caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels.
Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land.
“The fashion scene was remarkable at the Saudi Cup. I am going to dub it the ‘Met Gala’ of Saudi Arabia in future. Saudi Arabia has such an old fashion heritage, so it was wonderful to be able to take a trip through history and to tell the world a story,” she said.

Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing.

Brandi Janow

“As a history lover, this is probably one of the best places that I can be to see so many remarkable sights with my own eyes,” she added.
Celebrating Saudi Arabia’s heritage, fashionable guests appeared in pieces that highlighted the Kingdom’s diverse heritage, including intricately embroidered daglahs for men and the heavily embellished zaboon worn by the women of Hijaz.
Janow calls Saudi Arabia her home and is “happy my journey brought me here.”

HIGHLIGHTS

• For almost 12 years, Brandi Janow has made Saudi Arabia her home. Janow, who calls herself an ‘American Saudi,’ caught the eye of photographers at the Saudi Cup with her striking red hair and gold coin headpiece while wearing a farwa (heavy overcoat) featuring a Sadu piece, or traditional embroidery of the region, on her coat lapels. 

• Janow told Arab News that she felt welcome and comfortable since moving to the Kingdom, and dressed according to the traditions of the land. She calls Saudi Arabia her home and is ‘happy my journey brought me here.’

The private sector worker is also the program director for art, culture, media and entertainment at the American Chamber of Commerce in the Kingdom and also manages Smuug, a small business where she designs and sells products based on her illustrations.
“Before I came to Saudi Arabia I had never traveled outside North America, so I was quite excited to see a new place. I cannot say that I ever experienced culture shock, but I was in awe of how different the country was from my own. It is really beautiful how big the world is, and how different (and the same) we all are,” she said.
“Saudi Arabia has changed immensely since 2009, and that is something I have appreciated witnessing. I really think that humanity cannot prosper without change, growth and evolution.
“This is the natural way of life. As someone who works in the creative industry, it has been such a pleasure to watch the blossoming of talent,” said Janow.


Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche
The Colorful Corniche initiative will extend over the central island of the southern corniche for 4,500 meters and is due to be carried out in eight phases. (Social media)
Updated 28 February 2021

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche

Creative touch adds a little color to Jeddah’s corniche
  • The event seeks to improve the appearance of main squares and meeting spots throughout the governorate in line with Vision 2030

JEDDAH: Citizens and creatives of Jeddah have come together for the Colorful Corniche initiative, painting roadways, walkways and squares to beautify the city.
The event, coordinated by the charity organization Oyoun Jeddah alongside Jeddah municipality, seeks to improve the appearance of main squares and meeting spots throughout the governorate in line with Vision 2030.
Prince Saud bin Abdullah bin Jalawi, adviser to the governor of the Makkah region, took part in the launch, while also overseeing mock-up paint trials carried out earlier.
Jeddah’s mayor, Saleh Al-Turki, inaugurated the event on Friday, saying that the collaboration between Oyoun Jeddah and the municipality, as well as government and private entities, will encourage the growth of the urban environment.
The corniche makeover has been praised by passers-by.

This is such a great initiative because it will turn this beach area where people hang out, have a picnic or work out into something vibrant and full of life, while encouraging creativity and showing the country’s support for art.

Nourah Al-Nahi

“I was having my lunch break at the corniche yesterday and I wish this had been implemented then so I could have seen it,” said executive assistant Nourah Al-Nahi, 29.
Al-Nahi said she often stopped by the corniche to sit and reflect.
“This is such a great initiative because it will turn this beach area where people hang out, have a picnic or work out into something vibrant and full of life, while encouraging creativity and showing the country’s support for art,” she added.
University student Jana Abdullah, 19, said that the urban makeover will encourage her to take more walks at the corniche.

HIGHLIGHT

The aim is to highlight urban design, and integrate art and architecture in the urban landscape, raising cultural awareness by improving access to contemporary work in daily life.

“I don’t go to the corniche often because of the crowds, but this makes me want to go early on weekends for a quick jog or fast walk.”
Abdullah believes this initiative will add life to the austere asphalt and stone setting of the walkway, and will appeal to both adults and children.
“It also represents the country’s interest in art and its desire to revitalize it and encourage those pursuing it,” she added.
The Colorful Corniche initiative will extend over the central island of the southern corniche for 4,500 meters and is due to be carried out in eight phases.
The aim is to highlight urban design, and integrate art and architecture in the urban landscape, raising cultural awareness by improving access to contemporary work in daily life.


Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University
Updated 27 February 2021

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

Who’s Who: May Mohammed Al-Rashed, College of Nursing dean at King Saud University

The service of May Mohammed Al-Rashed, who has been dean of the College of Nursing at King Saud University (KSU) since 2018, was recently extended for two more years.

Al-Rashed received a bachelor’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences from the College of Applied Medical Sciences (CAMS) in 1996 from KSU.

Six years later, she was awarded a master’s degree in clinical laboratory sciences, majoring in biochemistry, from the same college.

In 2014, she obtained her Ph.D. in molecular genetics from University College London (UCL), UK.

Al-Rashed has served as deputy of the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS. She has also been an assistant professor at the clinical laboratory sciences department in CAMS. From 2008 to 2009, she was the deputy of the dental health department at CAMS.

Prior to that, Al-Rashed worked as a lecturer in the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS, where she taught clinical biochemistry, the inborn error of metabolism, clinical enzymology, scientific writing and research methodology, from 2002 to 208.

For five years beginning in 1997, she served as a medical technologist in the clinical laboratory sciences department at CAMS; teaching practical laboratory skills and techniques, preparing reagents and design experiments for basic and advanced biochemistry courses.

Between 1996 and 1997, she served her internship at the Riyadh-based King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC).

She is an expert in molecular genetics techniques including DNA extraction, PCR, cloning, DNA sequencing, homozygosity mapping and next-generation sequencing.


KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal
Updated 27 February 2021

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

KSU and Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property sign exchange deal

RIYADH: King Saud University (KSU) and the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property (SAIP) have signed a memorandum of cooperation and mutual understanding to support the academic alliance to carry out research and development in the fields of intellectual property, information management, and data exchange so that the research serves as the reference and legal umbrella for all future projects the two parties seek to implement, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Saturday.

The MoC was co-signed by KSU President Dr. Badran bin Abdulrahman Al-Omar and SAIP CEO Dr. Abdulaziz bin Mohammed Al-Suwailem.

The signing of the MoC comes based on the principle of joint and continuous cooperation between KSU and the government sector in the Kingdom. This move also reflects belief in the importance of intellectual property rights for enabling universities and scientific research institutions to protect and enforce these rights.

Under this MoC, the two parties will cooperate in studies and research specialized in intellectual property policies and systems in accordance with the best practices and regional and global methodologies, the scientific and practical applications of the results of these studies, exchanging advice and experiences in the field of emerging technologies and the applications of digital environment and artificial intelligence, training and developing human resources in this promising field, and contributing to the investment in and the employment of intellectual property rights to achieve economic and social development in the Kingdom.

In addition, the two parties, under the MoC, will prepare and design academic and training curricula in the fields of intellectual property in order to enrich the local and Arab knowledge content on intellectual property issues.

KSU is a local and regional pioneer in the field of intellectual property rights, in general, and patents, in particular, owing to the role of the Entrepreneurship Institute, which is supervised by Dr. Ibrahim Mohammed Al-Harkan. KSU has over 1,450 patents and is among the best 100 universities in the world for the seventh year in a row, the last of which was 2020, in terms of the number of patents granted.

KSU is the largest depositary of patents – compared with the universities of the world – for the Saudi Authority for Intellectual Property, with over 450 patents. This highlights the accuracy of the scientific methodology adopted by the KSU administration to care for the fields of intellectual property for the university’s employees and develop it at the scientific and practical levels in accordance with the best international practices.