US diplomat highlights benefits of Jeddah Consulate relocation

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Ryan Gliha, US Consul General. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Ryan Gliha, US Consul General. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
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Ryan Gliha, US Consul General. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 13 November 2019

US diplomat highlights benefits of Jeddah Consulate relocation

  • Move aims to increase cultural, educational outreach

JEDDAH: The relocation of the US Consulate in Jeddah is aimed at making its services more accessible to the people of the city and the region, and to increase educational and cultural outreach, US Consul General Ryan Gliha told Arab News.
“It was such a difficult thing for our guests to come to our old place (in Al-Hamra district), and part of the reason for that was we had to add several layers of security to the compound,” he said.
“Since it (the former consulate building) was built in the 1950s, it had different standards.”
The consulate’s new location is Al-Muhammadiyah district. “Part of the move is to make us more accessible to the people of Jeddah and the region,” Gliha said.
“Because of the accessibility, we’re going to have more opportunity to do more cultural outreach, educational outreach.”
A number of programs available at the new facility include the monthly English Conversation Hour, where people are invited to partake in discussions covering varied topics.
There is also the monthly movie series, where people can watch and discuss films.
In an effort to expand its outreach, Gliha spoke of the facility’s information resource library and student advice center, which provides services to students looking to head to the US for university and graduate school.

HIGHLIGHTS

• A number of programs are available at the new facility include the monthly English Conversation Hour.

• There is also the monthly movie series, where people can watch and discuss films.

• The facility’s information resource library and student advice center provide services to students looking to head to the US for university and graduate school.

• There are currently over 100,000 Saudis studying in the US across all 50 states.

There are currently over 100,000 Saudis studying in the US across all 50 states.
“Our hope is that we’re going to increase those numbers by quite a bit. We have a fulltime advisor who works with students to try to find the right university or college in the US,” Gliha said.
“We have almost 5,000 colleges and universities in the US, and it’s hard to make the right choice. We could help people zero in on the right choices if they want to go and travel there.”
The consulate has partnerships with several schools in Jeddah that benefit from this program.


Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

Updated 25 January 2020

Saudi Arabia’s AlUla provides a perfect ‘Corner of the Earth’ for Jamiroquai to shine

  • “I was transported into a completely different world”: Jay Kay

ALULA: British band Jamiroquai thrilled a delighted audience at Maraya Concert Hall in Saudi Arabia on Friday night during a show packed with hits.

In a first for a venue more used to hosting opera and classical concerts, the British funk/acid jazz outfit had fans dancing along to the music.

The show, at the distinctive, mirror-covered concert hall in historic AlUla, was part of the second Winter at Tantora festival. It opened with “Shake It On,” followed by the hit singles “Little L,” “Alright,” and “Space Cowboy.” By this time the crowd was well and truly warmed up, and “Use the Force” got them on their feet.

“The song seemed to resonate with everyone” Jay Kay told Arab News in an exclusive interview after the show.

During the gig, Kay dedicated the 2002 song “Corner of the Earth” to AlUla, which he described as a “magical and wonderful place, which is absolutely stunning.” The opportunity to perform there was “an honor and privilege” he added. He also thanked “Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman for his vision, and Prince Badr for making this happen and the great hospitality.”

After a further selection of singles and album tracks, the show ended on a high with a quartet of hits — “Cosmic Girl,” “Virtual Insanity,” “Canned Heat” and “Lovefoolosophy.”

Kay praised the Maraya Concert Hall as “a brilliant place to play.” He admitted that initially he was a little worried when he saw it because he was under the impression it would be an outdoor venue. However, any concerns he had were gone by the time the first sound check was done.

“I was transported into a completely different world; the acoustics were unbelievable, like being in a German concert hall,” he said. “It is obviously very well thought out and that’s what makes it so good. The sound was fabulous — I never looked at my sound guy once.”

Jamiroquai’s music videos often feature Kay in super cars, of which he owns many, and he revealed that he would love to shoot such a promo in AlUla.

“In reality, I’m desperate to get in one of the dune buggies, and would kill to have a (Ariel) Nomad and have a go in one in AlUla, where it’s supposed to be driven, for a day or five and dune bash, which is such a rare thing for us in England,” he said.

The singer also said he wants to bring his family to AlUla, which has become a hub for culture and creativity in Saudi Arabia.

“I would like to come out with my family and my youngest, who is called Talula, so hopefully we can have Talula come to AlUla, which would be wonderful,” said Kay.

He added that he was looking forward to exploring the area on Saturday, before leaving the country, but added: “I’m sure you can never have enough time to see everything there is to see.”