Touring showcase of Saudi culture and heritage arrives in Rome

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The exhibition in Rome featured 450 rare artifacts. (SPA)
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The exhibition in Rome featured 450 rare artifacts. (SPA)
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The exhibition in Rome featured 450 rare artifacts. (SPA)
Updated 29 November 2019

Touring showcase of Saudi culture and heritage arrives in Rome

  • “The exhibition provides an opportunity to learn more about the rich cultural history of both Saudi Arabia and Italy”

ROME: Prince Badr bin Abdullah, the Saudi minister of culture, on Tuesday officially opened an exhibition in Rome featuring 450 rare artifacts that showcase the cultural development and heritage of the Kingdom.

In his speech at The National Roman Museum during the inauguration of The Roads of Arabia: Masterpieces of Antiquities in Saudi Arabia across the Ages, the prince said: “We hope the exhibition’s visitors will find their passions satisfied in a journey that will take them to all the Kingdom’s historical periods, from the Stone Age to its unification by the founding king.”

He added: “My country is experiencing a major cultural renaissance, with the support of its leadership.” Prince Badr described Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman as “the leader of our cultural renaissance,” whose support for “the arts and culture sector in the Kingdom comes from a strong belief in its importance in building bridges between nations and cultures.”

He continued: “The exhibition provides an opportunity to learn more about the rich cultural history of both Saudi Arabia and Italy. We are confident that the exhibition will contribute to increasing understanding of the shared history between the Kingdom and Italy through the ages.”

Other dignitaries at the inauguration included Dario Franceschini, the Italian minister of cultural heritage and activities. The traveling exhibition was launched at the Louvre in Paris in July 2010. Rome, where it will remain for three months, is the 17th location it has visited, and it has welcomed 5 million visitors.

The Kingdom’s Ministry of Culture, which organized the exhibition in cooperation with other official bodies, said the event aims to highlight Saudi culture, promote cultural exchange, preserve artifacts and ensure their status as national treasures, and underline the Kingdom’s commitment to preserving its cultural heritage

The staging of the exhibition in Rome, the ministry added, reflects the long-standing cultural relations between Saudi Arabia and Italy, and continues the historical connections that link Arab civilization with the city of art and culture.
 


Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially. (Supplied)
Updated 2 min 33 sec ago

Startup of the Week: Eco-friendly food waste startup brings value-added benefits

  • Aldrees: “Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills”
  • Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids

Carbon CPU is a biotechnology startup specializing in turning food waste into fatty acids for use as livestock nutrients.
Launched through the post-graduate startup accelerator program (TAQADAM) of King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the venture was co-founded by Bin Bian, Jiajie Xu, Yara Aldrees, Sara Al-Eid and Prof. Pascal Saikaly.
The idea behind the enterprise began to take shape in 2018. Al-Eid said: “Our aim was to recycle food waste into value-added products in a manner that matched the Saudi Vision 2030 strategy.”
Similar to most countries, Saudi Arabia has a food waste problem, but Carbon CPU thought of utilizing it in a way that caused less harm to the environment and also benefitted the animal feed industry.
“Over 90 percent of food waste in Saudi Arabia is dumped into landfills,” said Aldrees. “This produces a lot of gas, including methane, carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and cycloaromatics, and contributes to global warming and air pollution.”
Water and soil were also being contaminated through leachate production, she added. “We’re trying to solve those issues, too.”
The team found that animal farms often struggled to provide enough feed nutrients for livestock such as cows and sheep. Al-Eid said there was a huge shortage of fatty acids, which are used as livestock nutrients and were in high demand from farmers.
“We’re trying to help animals live longer and be more nutritious,” she added.
Carbon CPU’s technology uses a specially developed, eco-friendly reactor to help convert food waste into fatty acids.
“We produce fatty acids from the food waste, extracting them through a liquid-liquid extraction system. The fatty acid oils are then used to help animal feed, as well as the feed and chemical industries,” said Xu.
KAUST has been highly supportive of Carbon CPU, both technically and financially, added Bian. “KAUST, especially the Environmental Biotechnology Lab led by Prof Pascal Saikaly, provided us with the facilities to set up our reactors. The KAUST Innovation and Economic Development department and the Entrepreneurship Center also gave us a lot of guidance on how to push our technology into the market.”
The startup initially faced many challenges that KAUST helped to resolve. As individuals coming from backgrounds mainly in engineering and science, the team lacked the know-how in business that its project needed.
“KAUST made up for our lack of business thinking through training on how to solve business issues and create business modules and find the right customers for our product,” said Bian.